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Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan is Interviewed about Cheney's Ouster; Capitol Police IG Testifies on The Hill; NYPD Searching for Person of Interest; Tensions in Jerusalem Rise. Aired 9:30-10a ET.

Aired May 10, 2021 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[09:31:26]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.

As early as this Wednesday, House Republicans could hold a vote that would likely remove their number three leader in the House Republican Conference, Liz Cheney, from that role. This as the number one House Republican now publicly backs a replacement.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): As conference chair, you have one of the most critical jobs of the messenger of going forward. That's why we need a conference that's united. That's why we need a conference chair that is delivering that message day in and day out and uniting the nation to make sure that we are on the right footing going forward.

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do you support Elise Stefanik for that job?

MCCARTHY: Yes, I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Here's what's critical to understand. While former President Donald Trump was president, Cheney voted in line with him more than Stefanik did during their careers, Cheney about 93 percent, Stefanik 78 percent. But Cheney voted to impeach Trump the second time and she's not afraid to call out his big election lie. Stefanik tried to get the election results overturned and has promoted election lies.

Meaning, right now, to have power it appears in the Republican Party you have to be totally loyal to former President Trump, including to his lies.

With me now, someone who is not, who is Georgia's lieutenant governor, Republican Geoff Duncan.

I mean not supportive of the lies. Thanks for being here, Lieutenant Governor.

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): Thank you.

HARLOW: It's notable that Kevin McCarthy, who now wants Liz Cheney out of power, said just last year about her, quote, she's a fighter, she's a powerful voice for conservatives and she is the type of person we need to lead the charge back to the majority.

What do you see happening to your party right now?

DUNCAN: Yes, I think one of the more disappointing things is Liz Cheney's probably having the same type of conversations I am with, you know, long-standing, respectable Republicans and quietly they'll lean up and say, look, you know, it's really, you know, commendable what you're doing. And I just wish my district would support it or I wish leadership saw it the same way you did.

And, you know, look, I think, at the end of the day, Republicans of all different makes and models will eventually buy into a GOP 2.0 mindset. Some are going to get there because they believe in it. Some are going to get there because they eventually believe in it. And some are just going to get tired of losing in the coming years. But I think that we're in the middle of a transition and we'll get there.

HARLOW: I mean that's akin to what you told my colleague, Brianna Keilar, last week that struck me is you said, I think we, as a party, are going to head into a better direction. When you have what's happening to Liz Cheney happening, being ousted for telling the truth, when you have only 23 percent of Republican voters in CNN's voting actually believing that Biden legitimately won the 2020 election, what actually tells you that, that the majority of the party is going to move in this direction of a 2.0 that you want?

DUNCAN: Well, it's going to take time and it's going to take leadership. And like I said a minute ago, some folks are believing in it already. Some are going to get there and some are just going to get tired of losing and try to find a different strategy to go forward. I mean we, as Republicans right now, have plenty to be talking about other than trying to relitigate the last election cycle.

We've got a $27 trillion debt that's headed to $30 trillion before we blink. We've got global pressure. We've got all types of issues going on that we should be talking about and putting our leadership style on display. I think we'll eventually get there, we'll eventually start doing it. I know here in Georgia we're focused on trying to -- the tail end of a pandemic. We're trying to make sure our economy stays strong. These are Republican strong areas for us to stay focused on.

HARLOW: When you say get tired of losing, are you talking just about presidential elections? Because it's very likely that McCarthy could be House speaker, that the Republicans could take over the House in the next election.

[09:35:07]

DUNCAN: Yes, look, my personal opinion, and I think it's one of many others across the country, is Donald Trump dug us a huge hole as Republicans and it's going to take years to get out of. I think folks in every corner of the country are going to face -- Republicans are going to face mounting pressure around, you know, whether you embrace the conspiracy theories that have been debunked a million times or not. I think it's going to affect mayor's races. I think it's going to effect congressional races. I think it's going to ultimately affect presidential races as we move forward.

HARLOW: I know you and your wife are really weighing right now whether or not you should run for re-election, and you've talked about your sole focus really being what you've created, which is you call it GOP 2.0, focusing on what you call PET, policy, empathy, tone.

I guess I would flip the question on you and ask, why would you run again if this is the party you're running in?

DUNCAN: Look, this is -- this is a tough time for Republicans. And it's going to take bold leadership. It's going to take folks walking into GOP meetings on Saturday mornings all over the country and telling them exactly what the truth is. And that's the conspiracy theories were false. It was a bad narrative that didn't make sense and it hurt the party.

GOP 2.0 is just a better pathway forward. It's not a new party. I've got literally folks from 50 states almost all day long trying to reach out for us to figure out how they tap into this. Is it -- is it popular today? No, but it's headed in the right direction and it's going to take bold leadership to get there.

We're essentially casting a net in the water 100 yards away from where the voters are today, knowing that beyond a shadow of a doubt that's where Republicans are going to head because, like I said before, they're going to realize that it makes sense to focus on the real issues that we have and they're going to want to put leadership on display and they're going to get tired of losing.

HARLOW: I was struck by this comment yesterday in an interview my colleague, Jake Tapper, did with Congressman Jim Clyburn about Liz Cheney.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC): I don't agree with Liz on much politically, but, you know, that's how we grow as a country. This whole thing that everybody ought to be marching in lock-step, that is what leads people to destruction.

Now, they talk a lot about cancel culture. This is the classic cancel culture. They are perpetrating that which they argue that they are against.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Is he right about that?

DUNCAN: Yes, those are some real wise words. The first time I've heard them, but certainly, you know, look, we can't, as a party, be tone deaf to reality. And we've got to be able to have dissention amongst us and a platform to be able to have those conversations, much like a board room, right? Everybody listening today has a job and they don't walk in there and start screaming and hollering every time they don't agree with somebody. They have conversations and strategy to get through difficult situations. Certainly we need to do a better job of that as Republicans right now.

HARLOW: Yes.

Let me -- let me ending on what seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back with Liz Cheney because, remember, she was protected in the last vote to potentially oust her by a lot of folks in your party, but now that's not going to happen likely on Wednesday if there is this vote.

It seems like when she said, especially the senators that voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election, she said, those that led the unconstitutional charge not to certify the election is disqualifying. So we're talking about eight senators and 147 Republican members of the House. They say -- she says it's disqualifying, they should not be allowed essentially or considered by voters to run for president in 2024.

Do you agree with her? Is it disqualifying?

DUNCAN: Yes, I certainly see it through a very similar lens. I mean that was one of the most disruptive, you know, horrible times in our nation's -- at least in my lifetime, history, watching the events play out and certainly, look, I don't have a crystal ball and knew exactly what was going to happen on January 6th, but you could see the train wreck coming.

You could see the dissention and lies coming out of all different angles during those ten weeks. And certainly anybody who didn't want to admit to the disruptive, dishonest nature of that time certainly, in my opinion, doesn't deserve to lead this nation.

HARLOW: So you think it's disqualifying as well.

Thank you, Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan. It's good to have you.

DUNCAN: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Jim.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A gunman randomly fires at innocent bystanders in Times Square, including a four-year-old girl. That gunman is still on the loose this morning. We're going to have a live report on the latest, next.

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[09:43:48]

SCIUTTO: Today the failed response to the January 6th violent insurrection back in the spotlight. The Capitol Police inspector general will testify on Capitol Hill before members of the House about what went wrong, what signals were missed, what are they going to do now.

HARLOW: Our law enforcement correspondent, Whitney Wild, is with us this morning.

Whitney, good morning to you.

I mean it's obvious that there were critical communication lapses to say the least ahead of January 6th.

Tell us what we can expect today.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the inspector general, this is Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton, is going to detail a list of deficiencies surrounding the threat assessment operation within Capitol Police. And among those he's found that there was simply outdated or vague guidance for how to operate, failure to adequately track officer contacts, which meant the agency couldn't evaluate possible trends among people who officers are contacting, who may possibly want to do harm.

And then, finally, a lack of a counter surveillance entity that is stand-alone and insufficient resources. Now, Capitol Police say they would like to do all of the recommendations that Mr. Bolton is offering for building a robust threat assessment operation, but they say they can't do it without the funding.

[09:45:00]

Jim and Poppy, House Democrats are trying to move forward a bill to supplement the security funding on Capitol Hill, but we just don't know where it's going to go yet.

HARLOW: OK. Yes, we'll keep an eye on where all that goes, if it moves.

Thank you, Whitney.

Well, police, right here in New York City, are searching for whoever shot and injured three people in Times Square on Saturday, including a four-year-old girl.

SCIUTTO: Detectives have recovered clothing worn by someone they're calling a person of interest in the shooting. They recovered it last night.

CNN's Alexandra Field, she's been following the story.

Alex, what more do we know? I mean this is a heavily populated, trafficked area of the city, of the world. What do we know about how seriously they're taking this person of interest?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and a major tourist attraction for the city of New York at a time when they're trying to rebuild the decimated tourism (INAUDIBLE) pandemic year.

They put out this picture and they've identified this as a person they want to speak to in connection with the shooting that happened on Saturday afternoon. Police are investigating the possibility of one shooter and of multiple shooters. They were told by witnesses that the shots did ring out after two to four men were involved in some kind of argument.

The three people hit by those bullets fired, unintended targets according to police, two women from out of state, a four-year-old girl who was in Times Square with her family. There is dramatic video of a police officer with the child in her arms rushing that child to an ambulance. All three of the victims taken to hospitals to be treated for their injuries.

This is something that is getting a critical amount of attention, of course, again, because of where it happened, right here in Times Square in broad daylight. Police recovering three shell casings at the scene.

This is also coming at a time when we are observing a disturbing trend in the city, the increase of gun violence. As of early May, shootings in the city were up more than 80 percent compared to the same time period last year.

(INAUDIBLE) a number of the (INAUDIBLE) mayoral candidates speaking out about the need to improve crime prevention in the city and about their policing agenda ideas. Certainly, Jim and Poppy, something we're going to be hearing a lot more about in the coming weeks before the city's primary.

SCIUTTO: No question.

Alexandra Field, good to have you on the story.

As if we need more evidence that gun violence is a huge, growing problem in this country, listen to these numbers. At least 15 people were killed, 30 others injured in nine, that's right, nine separate mass shootings this weekend alone, Mother's Day weekend.

HARLOW: That's right. Look at them on your map. They're all over the country. CNN defines a mass shooting as one with four or more people killed or wounded by gunfire. The deadliest attack this weekend was in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is where police say a gunman opened fire on a family gathered for a birthday party. Six people were killed there. The suspected shooter, believed to be a boyfriend of one of the victims, also died.

SCIUTTO: It just seems like every day.

Well, overseas now. Violent clashes at one of Jerusalem's holiest sites as tensions soar between Israeli police and Palestinians. We're going to go live to Jerusalem after the break.

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[09:52:37]

HARLOW: Thousands of Israeli police have been deployed across Jerusalem this morning amid escalating violence and unrest across the city.

SCIUTTO: According to a Palestinian aid organization, more than 300 people were injured, dozens hospitalized after clashes with police inside and around the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. That's the third holiest site in the Islamic faith.

CNN's Hadas Gold is live in Jerusalem at Damascus Gate.

I wonder, Hadas, if you could explain what is leading to these protests now in terms of who runs east Jerusalem.

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: That's a great question, Jim. Well, I'm standing outside of the Damascus Gate, one of the main entrances to the old city for Muslims. And just in the last few minutes we have seen a lot of action, a lot of activity here. Police swarming into the plaza, intermittently trying to clear out the people that you might be able to see sitting behind me. They've come in and out sitting behind me and police have cleared them out at some points up to -- up to the street as well.

And, Jim, tensions have been absolutely boiling in Jerusalem for some time now. In the last three days, we have seen some of the biggest clash that Jerusalem has seen in years. As you noted at the Al-Aqsa compound, more than 300 Palestinians were injured, including nine police officers.

And today is a day that many people are worried about because today is what's known as Jerusalem Day. This is a day that Israel marks when it took control of the western wall and what typically happens is there's a march of tens of thousands of Israelis through the old city.

And they were originally planned to actually come through this gate and walk through the Muslim parts of the old city and there was a lot of concerns that would only further enflame tensions. But just within the last hour, police have changed the route of that march. And we saw people in the plaza here chanting, cheering soon after that decision was made. Now those Israelis will be marching through the Jaffa Gate, through a different part of the city. But, still, a lot of concerns of what the rest of today will bring as those tens of thousands of Israelis are expected to march through.

Now, one of the latest flash points of these clashes has been what's happening in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem. This is where several Palestinian families, some of whom have been living there for generations, are facing a possible eviction as part of a long running legal battle. Now, they're -- a supreme court hearing on an appeal of that eviction was supposed to take place also today, but that has actually now been postponed.

[09:55:00]

But, really, officials are very worried about the tensions in the city and, Jim, it really feels like this city is on the precipice, teetering on the edge of some sort of eruption.

HARLOW: Yes, certainly. Hadas, thank you very much for that reporting, for that important background. We appreciate it.

Well, CNN has learned that a Russian criminal group is likely behind the latest cyberattack. This one shutting down essentially the largest gas pipeline in the United States. What will the response from the White House be? What action? We'll talk about that next.

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HARLOW: Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

Right now the White House says that multiple federal agencies are responding, planning for numerous scenarios and responses after one of the worst ever cyberattacks on U.S. infrastructure.

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