tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN November 16, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
forecasters say every state in the lower 48 will record below-freezing temperatures over the next search days. the real problem, they say, will be in the northeastern united states, where paralyzing lake-effect snow is in the forecast over the next few days, some locations around before lo, new york, could pick up three feet or more, with po to 4 inches of snowfall an hour. other areas as western michigan, northeastern ohio, and east of ontario will see significant snow. you can follow me on facebook, instagram and twitter. if you ever miss an episode, you can license to "the late" from whence you get your podcasts. i'll be back in a few hours for a town hall with mike pence. "the situation room" begins with
wolf blitzer. i'll see you in a few hours. happening now, major developments on capitol hill right now with republicans just one seat away from win the house. over in the senate mitch mcconnell on on a way to another term after minority leader. we're also tracking reaction from former president trump's white house bid. the deadly blast in poland is now believed to be the result of ukrainian air defense missiles, the pole ultimately blaming russia for its unprovoked invasion, and defending ukraine's right to defend themselves. four university students in idaho are dead, and we're awaiting an update from the
police. welcome. i'm wolf blitzer, you're in "the situation room." we begin with an update for the battle of the house of representatives, as well as the very bitter republican infighting for party leadership now spilling into the public eye. jeff zeleny has our report. >> control of the house, and changing the balance of pow ner washington. but far less change than they envisioned, with turmoil inside the gop, dampening the party's mood. >> i'm not good deal anywhere. >> reporter: mitch mcconnell surviving a threat from florida senator rick scott, with 37 republicans voting to keep mcconnell tess helm, 10 voting for scott, amid deep infighting.
at the center of broader recriminations is former president trump. >> much criticism is being placed on the fact that the republican party should have done better, and frankly much of this blame is correct. >> reporter: who took no responsibility for midterm election losses, as he pulled a trigger on another bid for the white house. >> i have no doubt that by 2024, it will sadly by much worse and we'll see more clearly what happened and what is happening to our country, and the voting will be much different. >> reporter: his announcement is being met by a collective groan from a broad swath of the republican party, including many who served in his administration. mike pompeo, who is considering a presidential run of his own, saying we need more seriouses in, less noise, and leaders looking forward. those stinging comments a reference to this --
>> we must conduct a top-to-bottom overhaul for clean out the festering rot in washington, d.c. and i'm a victim, i will tell you, i'm a victim. >> reporter: while trump enters the race as a clear frond runner, beloved by a loyal base of supporters, he's unlikely to have the field for himself. florida governor ron desantis, who swept reelection by nearly 20 points drew applause today saying the 2024 campaign can wait. >> we just finished this election. people just need to chilled out on this stuff, seriously. we just ran an election. >> reporter: mark esper, who served under trump, told cnn the party should look forward. >> a new generation of republican leaders, who may be more in line -- i consider myself a reagan republican, can do so without the baggage and self-centeredness of donald trump. >> reporter: and former vice
president mike pence says the country should not turn back to trump. >> i think we'll have better choices in the future. >> reporter: tonight mcconnell said -- for the next one trump will have company in the race. >> the way i go into the presidential primary season is to stay out of it. i don't have a dog in that fight. >> reporter: on the other side of the capitol, kept mccarthy, who wants to become house speaker in about seven weeks, he told cnn today that he thought that the former president gave a good speech, but he declined to say whether he intends to support him or not. as for leader mcconnell, this is the first time he's been challenged in 15 years. next year he becomes the longer-serving senate party leader, butted republican party has changed dramatically during that time. >> stand by. i want to stake take a closer look at the battle for house of representatives.
manu raju joins us from capitol hill right now. manu, with house republicans just one seat away from clinching a majority in the house, what is kevin mccarthy doingb hind the scenes? >> reporter: he's not wasting time. he's been trying to lock down enough support to become the next speaker of the house. yes, he did get the support of 188 republicans to get the nomination to become speaker of the house, but that is not enough. he needs 218 votes in the full house in january, in order to secure the speakership, mean the 31 or so republicans that voted against him, he needs to get most of them back, because they supported a republican challenger indeed. this is why the margin is so significant. we do expect republicans to take back the house, but the margin will be much narrower than they had hoped. mccarthy and his team put a lot of money into what they called a comfortable majority, but it would be razor thin.
at the same time, they are preparing for investigations. tomorrow, two committee chairmen, jim jordan and james comber, expected to lead two key committees, plan to announce what they plan to do next congress, which is to investigator joe biden and his family's overseas business dealings. and in other news, the senate took a keep step to protect same-sex marriage. what is the latest? >> reporter: a bipartisan support to advance a significant built that would essentially protect same-sex marriages across the country. this comes in the aftermath of concerns that the conservative supreme court may ultimately overturn same-sex marriage, scrapping that law, but we saw votes from both sides of the aisle. this was the first procedural vote today to advance this
measure. it had some support from middle of the road, some conservative senators as well. this is expected to become law before the end of the years, a significant development in the final days of this congress. >> manu raju, thank you very much. let's discuss this with ja jamie gangel, nia-malika henderson and jeff zeleny is back as well. republicans appear very close to winning at least a very slim majority in the house. how will this impact kevin mccarthy? >> i think what we have heard over the last couple days, miserable, ugly, as nia-malika said yesterday, they're sometimes known's the raucous caucus. they will throw bombs and blow things up just because they can. that's what kevin mccarthy is
facing here. it's interesting to me he has not said anything about donald trump right now while a lot of republicans are saying they're happening to move on, because kevin mccarthy probably needs donald trump right now, because he needs him to call the raucous caucus and say, c'mon, get on board. >> nia, mitch mcconnell says he's proud of the 37-10 victory to remain the party's leader, but he's facing significant pushback. how is this working out for him. >> he will be the senate minority leader, which he faces this challenge, and in some ways it's about the split in the republican party, but what direction should it go in? should it still cling to donald trump or go in a different direction? mitch mcconnell wants the old dales back when the party was like what we all grew up with,
and it's strayed very far from that. i think it will be a dynamic that makes it difficult -- maybe not as difficult and miserable as kept mccarthy said, but still there will be voices who want to amplify trumpism. and then with trump on the scene again, i think that would make things difficult. >> speaking of trump now, officially running for president of the united states, he's doing it without the support of key republicans, including some presumed presidential hopefuls. even kevin mccarthy would not say he was endorsing trump when asked earlier today. what impact does all this have? >> i think not much. he still has the loyal support of his base, you know, of probably at least 30%, may even be more than that. the question is, is he able to sort of keep others from running? it's a double-edged sword from him. he's trying to keep people out,
but it's actually helpful if more republicans get in. we all remember 2015. we all remember how he sort of moved through iowa and new hampshire. he benefited from this massive field. so that is the central question. he doesn't necessarily need his old supporters. he didn't have the establishment at the very beginning. he needs his base, but he needs donors. donors are really questioning all of this. this is a different moment for him, but he's not fazed by the party that the establishment people are not supporting him. >> just to underscore what jeffrey said, there is a problem with donors. the won't "abandon" comes to mind today. we have heard major donors saying they are move on. we've seen the murdoch newspapers absolutely troll him, devastate him. there's one thing that
donald trump wants, and that is his name -- there you go -- florida man makes announcement. there's only one thing worse -- firms that was the front page of "new york post," then you see the story on page 26. >> they didn't use his name. that alone would make him absolutely crazy. there's something else that's going on here. ivanka trump did not go to her father's announcement. done junior did not go. she came out with a statement, saying she's out of politics. there's a lot of people he's used to having at his beck and call who aren't there anymore. >> i think the question is, do they come around eventually? we saw this in 2016, the establishment didn't like him. moderates didn't like him. the true republican party didn't like him, and then after victory after victory, they eventually
came around. what was so interesting about his speech is it was so low energy. i think there was a tweet that said donald trump himself seems tired of donald trump. and what is his message? he likes to talk about there's a doom and gloom in america, that americans haven't realized quite yet, but they will at some point. what is his message? will 4th have a vision that will still connect those voters? >> i think low energy was no doubt there. but it was a sign of discipline. he was trying to, at least for the moment, stay on pledge. he was still on fox last night, so unless the voices of fox sort of changes, you know, he is likely to have that support. you get the sense from voters that you can still like him, but not want him to run again. look, someone has to beat him, so we do not know who that
person would be. >> guys, stay with us. where he important know to our viewers right now. tune in later tonight at 9:00 p.m. eastern for a special cnn town hall with former vice president mike pence. just ahead, mike pence says his's closing the door on testifying before the january 16th select committee. we'll discuss that and more with one of only two republicans on the panel. adam kinzinger is standing by live. plus, the war in ukraine spilling over into poland. we have new information about the blast that killed two people in poland. connect your business,han you can make it even smarter. now w ports can know where every piece of cargo is. and where it's going. (dock worker) right on time. (vo) robots can predict brereakdowns and order their own replacement parts. (foreman) nice work. (vo) and retailers can get ahead of the fashion trend of the day with a new line tomorrow. with a verizon private 5g network, you can get more agility and security. giving you more control of your business.
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committee. joining us to discuss that and more, republican congressman adam kinzinger of illinois, one of only two republicans on the select committee. thank you for joining us. first, listen to what the former vice president mike pence just said about your committee. >> congress has no right to my testimony. we have a separation of powers under the constitution of the united states and i believe it would establish terrible precedent for the congress to salomon a vice president of the united states to speak about deliberations that took place at the white house. >> so you're closing the door on that entirely? >> i'm closing the door on that, but i must say, again, the partisan nature of the january 6th committee has been a disappointment to me. >> let me get, congressman kinzinger, your reaction. >> so pence is trying to re-win
over the trump people and then he'll make something that makes them mad -- first up, we do have a right to your testimony if you needed it. secondly you violated the separation of powers who your boss sent rampaging people to destroy the capitol. so let's just stop that. we're probably not going to talk to him, that's fine, but to say we don't have a right is completely unacceptable. he's going to try to both-sides everything. i'm looking forward to seeing him try to skate through some of that tonight. >> we'll see how it unfolds. the republicans are on the verge of potentially securing a very narrow majority in the houptsds. kevin mccarthy is facing stiff opposition from fellow republicans over his speakership ambition. you are retiring from congress, but in your view, does mccarthy have what it takes to become the
next speaker of the house? >> he probably does, because he's completely shameless. he'll cut as many deals with as many people. really, the question is, and this should be asked of the mod rule republicans sticking around next year -- if he goes too far for the freedom club of things, are you willing to vote against him? he's gone too far. typically moderates by their navy, they try to work together. so i think he does have what it takes to win, depending on how color the majority is. he will be one of the most miserable people in that job that has ever exited. he will be led around on a leash. he won't have the freedom to exercise any kind of strength. i highly doubt he will last long. >> mccarthy refused to say whether he supports former
president trump's just launched 2024 presidential run. could trump tank mccarthy's request for speaker if he doesn't get an endorsement? >> certain. if you noticed, elise stefanik, one of the first thing she did, announce that she's supporting donald trump. she wants to wait in the wings for if mccarthy goes down or be trump's vice president, even though he used to be one of the most reasonable members of congress. so if trump called mckathy and said endorse me or else, certainly he would, because he's kevin. secondarily he could have enough members withhold votes. >> i know you're calling on republicans to walk away from trump. you think that's going to happen? >> i don't know. we've been in this position so many times, my knee-jerk reaction is to say no.
this somewhat feels difficult. i guess donald trump is going to have a much harder time probably than he imagined, but it's it depends on who runs, who has the courage not to just speak out, but to tell the truths h. donald trump is bad, dangerous and a stain on our country, but i think it remains to be seen. >> congressman adam kinzinger, as usual, thanks so much for joining us. >> you bet, wolf. coming up, we go live to ukraine for the latest blast that killed two people in neighboring poland. stay with us. from santa claus, indiana to snowflake, arizona. from garland, texas to north pole, new york and everywhere in between. we're holiday ready with fast and reliable delivery, serving every address in america. the united states postal service.
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we're following the investigation right now into the deadly blast in poland, spillover from russia's invasion of neighboring ukraine. cnn's senior international correspondent sam kiley is on the ground for us tonight, with new information. >> reporter: death in poland. two farmers killed in a missile strike, a spillover from the war in ukraine. ukraine's president insisting his country wasn't responsible. >> translator: i don't even doubt that report that i have received from the air defense command. i don't doubt that it wasn't our missile. i don't have a reason to doubt. i'm going through this war with them. >> reporter: in any case there's no blame on kyiv from poland. >> it probably was an accident. ukraine shot quite a few missiles to neutralize the
attack. there's a high chance that one of the missiles fell in our territory. >> reporter: it could have been much more. if poland civilians had died in a deliberate russian strike, there could broadband all-out war against the kremlin. those fears are all but over. the west is blaming russia. >> let me be clear. this is not ukraine's fault. russia bears ultimate responsibility, as it continues its illegal war against ukraine. >> reporter: on tuesday, ukrainians endured close to 100 cruise missiles in a storm of attacks on cities and infrastructure. many russian missiles were shot
down, but ukraine's electric at grit was hit. the internet was cut by a third. and two people were killed in kyiv. russia denied it had launched against targets close to poland, but the ukrainian town had shot down 10 out of 30 russian missiles on thursday. >> we had been requests to close our skies. we were talking to intermanners about this on an almost daily basis. we believe the air defense capability of ukraine will continue to be a top priority for us. coming up, right now, we can make a major projection, with huge, huge consequences here in washington and indeed across the nation. cnn projects that republicans will win control of the u.s. house of representatives,
re-claiming a majority for the first time in four years. this is a major blow to democrats, as republicans gain new power to potentially limit president biden's agenda and make crucial decisions about house investigations. let's go to manu raju. this is a major development. the republicans take the majority in the house. >> reporter: with that the power of committees and to set the agenda, which is why it's hugely significant. even though it's not as big a majority as kevin mccarthy had wanted. they had hoped they would be in the 230-seat range, maybe even 240. we don't know the final numbers, but they have at least 218 seats. that's the majority to take back the house. they may have up to 220 we'll see ultimately how many they have. once you have the majority in the u.s. house, you have the chairmanships on each key committees. you have subpoena power. you can set schedules for
hearings. you can call cabinet secretaries to testify. on the floor of the house, the speaker of the house, the house majority leaders gets to set the exact schedule what they bring to the floor and what they refuse to bring to the floor, and decide the priorities, which is why winning back one chamber of congress will have significant ramifications for the next two years of the biden administration. remember, wolf, democrats had control of the house and senate in the first two years under joe biden. they had the narrowest of majorities, a handful of seats in the democratic-led house. they were ability to do some significant bills along straight party lines, because they could do that under the budget process that allowed them to pass something like a covid relief bill and the sweeping inflation reduction act. they will no longer be able to dodd that, because in order to move through the budget process, you need support within
essentially among your party and republicans and democrats would not agree to move in such sweeping legislation. what does it mean is it it means that any legislation that passes will have to be incremental, so surpass a 60-vote threshold in the senate, even as the democrats are going to regain control of the senate. they may have 51 seats. and what can be done next year is an open question. they will have major things do deal with, including major -- the government always a tricky issue, something that could lead to a shutdown if there's not an agreement between the two sides, but at the moment, the big pressure point for the administration will be the investigations into the biden family, the border, origins of the coronavirus, among a whole wide range of issues. and a new dynamic here. jeremy diamond is over at
the white house for us, watching it unfold as well. a major development right now, cnn projecting the republicans will win the majority. jeremy, i assume officials over where you were at the white house were bracing for this. >> no doubt about it, wolf. this is a major inflection point in joe biden's presidency, for his first two years in office, he has enjoined controlled from a democratic perspective from both the house and the senate. for the first time, he's in and out staring down the barrel of divided government, from power sharing with republicans in a way that he has not yet had to experience as president of the united states. this is going to be a real test of one of the major things he ran on during his 2020 campaign, which is this idea that he can perhaps be a bridge between the two parties. right now that appears to be the last thing that is going to happen. we know that republicans are sharpening their investigative and oversight powers, that they
are preparing to wield that subpoena power against the biden administration on a number of fronts. investigations into everything from the withdrawal of afc to the department of homeland security's handling of border secures, impeachment threats have been made both as the secretary of homeland security, as well as at the president himself, but to be clear, this is a white house that's been preparing for all of that for months now. they are also lookings at the fact that this is a house republican majority that's going to be the narrowest majority in the house in decades. so while they will still have to face the subpoena power of this house republican majority, as slim as it may be, it does not change. there is a certain sentiment, that her giddy at the prospect of kevin mccarthy having to wrangle this narrow and oftentimes this very rowdy republican caucus to getting things done. but a number of challenges
beyond the investigation that this white house now faces in terms of funding, the government adding issues like the debt ceiling, these are all things that president biden was warning about over the last several months. now it's a reality he will have to confront. lastly, wolf, i would just add president biden, as much as he has experience with a number of republicans on capitol hill, kevin mccarthy is not one of them. he is, of course, the most likely person to become the next speaker of the house, he's someone who president biden, while they spoke last week, they have not had many dealings with. but you can be sure they'll have to sped much more going forward. jeff zeleny, the democrats will be the majority in the new senate, but the republicans will be the majority in the new house. talk about it. >> it is a sea change here in washington. it's coming a week after the midterm elections, it actually broadband dramatic in january
when the congress reconvenes, and even though the majority is limb, the oversight power will sting just as much to this white house, in terms of really inspecting the spending that's been going on, really looking into swrf where this infrastructure money is going, and calling in secretaries for the grilling that they will certainly give. there's also a sense of -- hunter biden will also be front and center. that's one of the things that's going to happen. even though it's a narrow majority, likely on the one hand of a finger, probably single digits, for sure, maybe five, eight seats, that doesn't mean the committees will have the investigative authority, but i think interesting, the house and senate, what can get done? there was such a big message
sent from voters to washington, that people want to get something done. we heard senator mcconnell say that earlier. we'll see about that, but this is a huge sea change in the new congress next year. >> i think one of the first things the republican majority in the house probably will do is eliminate the january 6th select committee. >> i think that's exactly right. i mean, it's as good as gone right now. listen, that's why you saw the democrats when they were in control do as much work as they did, and my goodness, they interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and put on compelling hearings. that is gone. we'll see the reverse of that, right? we'll see investigation into the biden administration, vise into afghanistan withdrawal, and told be something that the biden administration will have to deal with. democrats say, in some ways maybe that won't be a terrible thing. it could show republicans over-reaching, right?
focusing on issues that don't necessarily benefit average americans as they grapple with inflation in a tough economy. does that make biden sort of look like he's above it all, and focusing on the bread-and-butter issues that voters care about? >> one of the other things they may investigate is the january 6th committee. the republicans have been complaining they don't have access to all of these transcripts and interviews. i know one of the things that the committee is dealing with right now is, what do they complete before they turn into a pumpkin and they're no longer in control. i want to add one other word. that is donald trump. because of the chaos we've been talking about in the republican conference, because of the freedom caucus members, people like matt gaetz, who will blow
something up just to blow something up, donald trump will have more power with a rep conference. someone like kevin mccarthy, as we were talking about earlier before, may need to reach out to him to say, help me get these guys in order. >> he will do that? >> we'll see a lot of chaos. >> and it's already coming as the presidential campaign is already building. usually it starts in the next year. obviously the events of last night show that it's starting right now. still, it's a moment for if there's a political middle. the election does not lead much opportunity, but there is a demand in the country for both the house and senate to do something. we are seeing that much more, so the synergies with both houses of congress already fascinating to watch. the investigations -- some things they'll be looking at,
will there be an impeachment inquiry of president biden? i would be very surprised, because the majority is so, so narrow, it does not seem there's room for that. but there is substantive work, some serious committee chairmen have have some things to look into. white house has been hiring lawyers, advising agencies, and this is usually what happens. happening a week later, but just as significant. you've been watching, speaking to a lot of folks up there, and yes, it will be a slim majority, but a majority is a majority, and the majority in the house will be able to do a lot of things that the biden administration, the democrats hate. >> no question about it the first challenge is getting them to become the next speaker of the house. it will still be a challenge for him. he will have a handful of defections that could undercut that effort. he's working to lock down the
votes now behind the scenes. there could be a big decision that could come as of this week, and what happens for the future of nancy pelosi. of course, she will not be speaker in a republican-controlled congress, but does she stay on? that's something that's democrats have been watching closely. i'm told that they expect this to come as soon as this week. she's not tipped her hand one way or another. she did say the attack against her husband would enter into the decision, but to suggest -- she did suggest several years ago s. that this congress would not the last time leading house democrats, but has never firmly shut the door. now we could see potential a decision coming in the next few days. that would have significant ramifications, given the fact she's been the most dominated for the past two decades, and prompt a leadership scramble.
right now the front-runner is hakeem jeffries, a new york democrat, currently in leadership. he's expected to be the front-runner, but he could face a challenge. it's uncertain if pelosi's number two, steny hoyer, would challenge for that royal. adam schiff, he will not run for the top democratic spot, even though he put his foot in the water over this potential run for the last several months. there are others looking to fill out the rest of the leadership positions, if pelosi does decide to step aside. it will prompt a significant scramble among house democrats, because they believe, too, wolf, because of the narrowness of this majority, they could certainly by back in the majority in 2024. they have a chance to do just that because of the fact that the republicans gained so few seats here, despite getting control of the house, they have a chance of getting back into power in the next election
cycle. good point. the future of nancy pelosi, i suspect right now, is pretty much up in the air. >> without question. i think some hints were out there on sunday whether she was on "state of the union" talking to dana bash. she used the word family numerous times. the attack on her husband is something that shook her and her family to the core. even without that, she was on the verge of really, you know, reassessing her time in the house. i was talk to go someone very close to her. they believe the decision will come tomorrow. she is keep this decision very close to her vest, but one can draw the conclusion she has reached time, and, again, family is something that's so key to this. >> whatever she decision, i think one of the things that's going to happen, she's had very tight control over her conference. talk about someone who has been able to herd c but if she
leaves, she's leaving at a time whoever takes her place, will really have a challenge ahead of them. that said, just let's go back to this election. voters really came down in the middle. they did not want election deniers. we all sat here and talked about, it's the economy, stupid. in the end, people were worried about democracy. people did not want too much crazy. i think that if the republicans push too far, if the freedom caucus, the raucous caucus, or john boehner used to call them something else, you know, if they try -- if they don't hold themselves together, they could find themselves losing the majority in two years. >> listen, whoever fills nancy pelosi's high heels, should she
decide to retire, and not become the leader, they will have a tough job. you have progressives who want the democratic party to be much more progressive, and you've got the moderates that really want to tack to the middle. whoever it is will need to have some lessons, i think from nancy pelosi, but i think on both sides we're seeing an ideological battle, a generational battle, too, particularly on the house side. there is this sort of younger restless crowd of people who walely want power and want to define what the party looks like. jeremy diamond, you're over at the white house for us. it's one thing for the democrats to have the speakership, for nancy pelosi to be the speaker. it's totally a very, very different thing for nancy pelosi to be the minority leader in the house of representatives. so how is the white house been preparing for this possibility? >> reporter: we've heard it from the president himself.
he's over the last week, particularly before he left for this foreign trip, he's been setting the table. you look back to last thursday before the president jetted off toaciousy for these international summits, and he held what was essentially what looked and felt like a victory rally, despite the fact that the white house wall street very much anticipating they would indeed lose the house. it wasn't about basking in the fact that he defied history by losing fewer seats, but it's also about showing there is energy, enthusiasm behind the president, behind his agenda. administration officials have been eager to point out that democrats on the call pointed out they ran on his agenda. this is a white house than been trying to set up their leverage for these coming negotiations with republicans to come at this from a position of strength. it's what you've heard from the
president, he believes the message sent wasn't about wanting a divided government, but the fact that voters want republicans to work with him, as much as they want the president to work with those republicans. that's something we heard the president say a couple times last week. you can expect that that is going to be kind of the white house's mantra here, as they look at some of the negotiations over spending packages, over the basket functioning of government. they are going to put in that expectation to say, look, we're not the on this ones here responsible, you are, too. >> good point. let's go back up to capitol hill. manu raju getting more reaction and more information. setting the stage for mccarthy to become the next speaker unfortunate house, what is going on up there? this is a major, major.
>> reporter: he's trying to convince the republicans that, even though the majority is not as big as they had hoped, that it is still a majority nonetheless. they will still have the power to wield the gavel, still have the power to subpoena and the rest, but they will have challenges going forward. the house is an institution much different than the senate. the house is a majoritiaryian institution. the senate requires 60 votes to pass legislation through the senate, which is why things are much often pass the house, they die in the senate. the challenge for kevin mccarthy now for the next two years, will be because of the narrowness of the majority, even passing simple messaging bills will be difficult. he'll have to not only cater to folks on his right flank, often folks at odds with what the leadership wants or what other members of the congress want,
but he also has now members from sdikts that joe biden wants, from new members from new york, other parts in the country that they don't want to go nearly as far as some of the conservatives are going. if kevin mccarthy is trying to push forward, on issues from immigration to the i.r.s., that will still be very complicated. that will still require a significant amount of negotiation behind the scenes, mccarthy so even if he does get the speakership, which is his first task, doing the art of legislating will be incredibly complicating on basic messaging issues, let alone the major issues like avoiding a debt default next year or funding the government, things that they absolutely have to do in which democrats will be at odds, particularly if they try to do things with the debt limit that they don't like. so we're looking at probably two
years of legislative gridlock in a difficult time for the republicans to negotiate here as they deal with a narrow majority here. >> manu, stand by. i want to go back to jeremy diamond at the white house. i understand you're getting a statement, jeremy? >> yeah, wolf. we just got a statement from president biden on this projection that republicans will indeed control the house of representatives next year. this is what the president says. he says, last week's elections demonstrated the strength and resilience of american democracy. he says that there was a strong rejection of election deniers, political violence, and intimidation. he says it was an emphatic statement that in america the will of the people prevails. he goes on to congratulate leader mccarthy on republicans winning the house majority and says that he's ready to work with house republicans to deliver results for working families. and finally he says, quote, in this election, voters spoke clearly about their concerns, the need to lower costs, protect the right to choose, and preserve our democracy.
as i said last week, the future is too promising to be trapped in political warfare. the american people want us to get things done for them. they want us to focus on the issues that matter to them and on making their lives better. i will work with anyone, republican or democrat, willing to work with me, to deliver results for them. and that last part, wolf, exactly the point that i was making earlier, which is this idea that the president is going to go into this power-sharing divided government situation that he is now facing by focusing on the fact that he is ready, he is ready to negotiate, he is ready to deal with americans, to address fundamental concerns. he is then going to put that onus on republicans to then deal with him as well. this is the president setting the table, of course. now on what areas specifically president biden is willing to compromise, he really hasn't laid those out. he has laid out red lines, though, on abortion, national abortion ban, and cuts to social security and medicare where he said he would veto any of that
legislation. so, again, very serious negotiations are sure to be ahead, and very contentious ones as well. >> indeed. jeff zeleny you're watching all of this unfold. very important dramatic developments unfolding. a very detailed statement released by the white house in the name of the president of the united states. i assume they just assume that kevin mccarthy will be the speaker. >> they do assume it, but they don't know. [ laughter ] and president biden, of course, has been in this town long enough. we should also point out election day was his 50th anniversary of being first elected to the senate. so he has seen divided government up close. last week he said he didn't have much of a relationship with kevin mccarthy. of course, he came into power after senator biden, then vice president biden was largely out. but he's about to develop one. and i am told that the white house is going to have meetings like we saw in the obama era of the top four, they call it, the speaker, the ranking democrat from the house and senate. so we'll see this relationship
build. if kevin mccarthy is the speaker, or whoever is, that makes it difficult every time they go to the white house. but we've seen it in years past that presidents can be elevated by divided government. look at bill clinton, barack obama, george w. bush, to an extent. so it's a new moment in washington. it's difficult in some respects for the white house with these investigations and these hearings. but it's also an opportunity for this president to try and work together with them. it's kind of interesting it's coming at the end of the week here when everything seems, you know, familiar with president trump back in the ring again, mitch mcconnell being elected. but this is a new era. we're on a new moment here. for the president, no one has more experience dealing with a divided congress. so we will see how this works. but it's going to be a fascinating new congress with the white house. >> jamie, i was the white house correspondent during the bill clinton administration. and after that first midterm
when the democrats got crushed, he immediately began working very closely with the new house speaker newt gingrich and they got a lot done, democratic president and newt gingrich during that era. >> to your point, to jeff's point, yes, i think that's where you will see joe biden go. but we in 2022 are in very, very different waters. and while the biden white house just released that statement, you might want to take a look at kevin mccarthy's twitter feed. his penned tweet. this is the thing he wants everyone to say is not exactly the same message. president biden is trying to divide and deflect at a time when america needs to unite because he can't talk about his policies that have driven up the cost of living. the american people aren't buying it. so all i would say is not so fast. >> well, he's still running for a job. and that was from a week ago. but he still is very much in the
fight of his life really for the speakership. and we do not know what is going to happen. there's no projections that we can make about what's going to happen in that vote in january. we've seen many speakers after newt gingrich left, we thought bob livingston would be the speaker, but that didn't happen. >> kevin mccarthy not so long ago -- >> he thought he would be the speaker and paul ryan was. that's why the next seven weeks through the holidays here, never mind the georgia runoff, which is interesting, but the speakership is interesting. >> whoever the speaker ends up being, i would imagine that kevin mccarthy is the odds-on favorite. one of the tasks on their plate is to deny joe biden a second term. they have very little incentive to work with him to give him legislative wins beyond what sort of necessary to keep the credit running in good standing. so he's going to be trying to make a republican the next president to deny president biden a second term should he
even run. he's going to be helping donald trump in some ways, right, who will not want to see any legislative wins for joe biden. so, listen, i think what kevin mccarthy tweets there, they're going to be constantly poking president biden. and i can't see much getting done. >> it may be a week old. he may be running for speaker. but he's going to be running and running and running. >> no, i think that's right. >> and as you said earlier donald trump will be at the center of all of this. >> no question. >> that is something that history does not offer us much of a guide for that because donald trump's a whole new animal in a whole new era. >> there are moderate republicans from states like new york, for example. and they have very different perspectives than some of the far-right republicans who were re-elected or elected. >> without a question. but one thing that they all have in common, they want to get re-elected. so there is a sense perhaps i'm being too optimistic here, but
there is a sense that they want to do some things on the margins, at least. but as you were saying earlier, i think the democratic side of this equation really democrats have been pretty united through this midterm election thing. all were basically running on the biden agenda. that can come to an end, particularly if speaker pelosi is still here. but if she's not to sort of herd them all. so we're about to see some divisions exposed on the democratic side as well that have been just kind of under the radar a touch, but still there brewing very -- >> you hear some democrats say it's time for a younger leadership referring to nancy pelosi. >> correct. and to what nia-malika said and jeff said, this is going to be a struggle to get these democrats together. a republican up on the hill just texted me, basically, watch out
for matt gaetz who has said there is no way he will vote for kevin mccarthy. if there are enough votes, he may not need matt gaetz, but there are 31 who did not vote for him in that conference. so he has a ways to go. there's one thing that manu was talking about earlier that kevin mccarthy gets to give out. and that's committee assignments and chairmanships. i think one of the things you're going to see him do is a lot of promises, promises to get these votes. >> and he also can take away committee assignments. he said he's going to remove some democrats from these committee assignments. so it's going to be a whole sea change. that's why we saw so many retirements from house democrats because they didn't want to work in the minority. they all remembered that. so we'll see if any more retirements happen. what's remarkable is that democrats still control the senate, which was not the
expectation of leader mccarthy. >> i think it's going to be hard to keep the job if he gets the job. we've seen that in the past with john boehner not being able to control, you know, sort of the tea party caucus at that point, which is now a freedom ycaucus. this is not going to be easy for mccarthy to get the job and then to keep the job. >> let's not forget the republicans may be the majority in the house, but the democrats will be the majority in the senate. >> no question. and that's going to help joe biden, especially if they get to 51 after georgia. >> we'll see what happens on that front as well. all right, guys, thanks very, very much. i am wolf blitzer in "the situation room." "erin burnett outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, the u.s. and nato say russia is ultimately to blame after a uk