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Senate Set for Nail-Biter Vote; Controversy Over Andy Puzder; Iran Reacts to Trump's Russia Comment; Al Qaeda Leader Comments on Trump; Pence Casts Tiebreaking Vote. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired February 7, 2017 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[12:00:26] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thanks for sharing some time with us on another very busy day here in nation's capital.
A short time ago at the White House, President Trump vowed to win the court battle over the legality of his controversial travel ban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to take it through the system. It's very important. It's very important for the country, regardless of me or whoever succeeds at a later date. I mean we have to have security in our country. We have to have the ability.
When you take someplace like Syria, you take all of the different people going around -- and if you remember, ISIS said, we are going to infiltrate the United States and other countries through the migration. And then we're not allowed to be tough on the people coming in? Explain that one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: A key test looms later today in a federal appeals court hearing. The president's lawyers will make his case. State attorneys general will make theirs.
Busy on Capitol Hill today too, the Senate's top Democrat gets a curtesy call momentarily from the president's Supreme Court pick. We get to see the top of that meeting and we'll take you there when we can.
And on the Senate floor right now, a showdown that is both a fight over the president's choice to be education secretary and an important and broader test of the test of wills early in this new political environment. Betsy DeVos is the nominee in question this hour. You see the Senate coming into session with a prayer there by the Chaplin.
CNN's senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju is live with us to set the stakes.
And, Manu, I guess the fact that the vice president of the United States has to be there potentially to break a tie vote tells us at least the beginning of what we expect to be a dramatic hour ahead.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Absolutely. This, remember, John, is a historic vote. We have not seen a vice president come to the Senate to break a tie on a cabinet nominee. And this is the first time this will happen.
We do expect Betsy DeVos to get confirmed. Democrats have staged this all night session to raise their objections over her qualifications, not believing she should be confirmed to the post, but to no avail. We are getting no indications that Republicans are breaking ranks outside other than the two Republicans who initially voiced their objections, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. Those are the two. That's the reason why it's a 50/50 vote right now and Mike Pence has called in to break the tie. Also Jeff Sessions has not been confirmed to his post as attorney general because he needs to be here to vote as well on Betsy DeVos. So watch for her to be confirmed this hour. Then afterwards, John, the Senate to vote to break a filibuster on Jeff Sessions' nomination to be attorney general. Expect him to be confirmed later this week as the Senate tries -- Senate Republicans try to muscle through two other nominees later, that's Steven Mnuchin to be treasury secretary and Tom Price for health and human services. They hope to get this all done, even if it mean a weekend session, a rare weekend session, in the Senate. An effort to make sure that Donald Trump gets his picks in place and Democrats doing their best to stall it as long as possible.
KING: And, Manu, tell us about the last few days up there. I saw Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, on "New Day" here this morning and he was saying the calls into their Senate offices are at Obamacare levels. Meaning thousands of calls a day like it was in the middle of the health care debate. Is that Democratic spin or is that true?
RAJU: I think that's true from both sides. I'm hearing it from Republicans and Democrats. They are getting flooded with phone calls from constituents. Now, a lot of Republicans, John, are quick to dismiss those calls because they say this is organized by outside groups, by teachers unions, by progressive activists. But, nevertheless, they are jamming up the switchboards and the Democratic base is very, very engaged on this nomination, which is why you're seeing something somewhat rare here. Democrats united from the most conservative wing, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, two red state Democrats up for re-election in 2018, to the most progressive members, Elizabeth Warren, Al Franken, all voicing their opposition to Betsy DeVos. Something that has not been common for the other Trump nominees, but a sign, too, of the controversy and how polarizing she has become as a nominee.
KING: We'll get back to you, Manu, as developments warrant. And you see the Senate coming into session. This vote will take -- it usually takes about 20, 25 minutes. We'll keep an eye on it as it plays out, get back to Capitol Hill when it's important. With us here in studio to share their reporting and their insights,
Laura Meckler of "The Wall Street Journal," CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Reid Wilson of "The Hill," and Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast."
I want to pick up where Manu left off, in the sense that, yes, this vote is about Betsy DeVos about whether she will be the education secretary, but this vote is also about Democrats trying to plant a flag. You're going to need our votes when you replace Obamacare. You're going to need our votes when we get to tax reform. And Chuck Schumer wants to prove today, yes, we have some red state Democrats in Trump states who are up in 2018 and, yes, from time to time they may leave the flock, if you will. But when we need to, we can plant a flag and prove our relevance, right?
[12:05:10] LAURA MECKLER, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": And also more to the point that this is sort of the left-wing side of the party asserting itself and saying, you know, just as the right ring, for a long time, has, you know, really controlled the Republicans in Congress and gotten them to do what they see is best, it's what's happening now, saying, you know, you can't just like go along. You can't just -- this woman is not qualified for the job, in their view, and you need to -- this is the place where we're going to try to stop it and make a point, even if they don't ultimately stop -- stop the nomination from going forward and also make it very uncomfortable trying to switch the -- switch things up on them, make it uncomfortable for the Republicans who -- to say yes to her.
JACKIE KUCINICH, "THE DAILY BEAST": And they can't be less enthusiastic than their base. Their base is out in the streets. They're protesting. They're calling their members of Congress and senators and flooding the lines. Chuck Schumer being the defacto leader of the Democratic Party right now, can't look like his members aren't going -- aren't willing to stand up as firmly as those who are, you know, leading these movements.
KING: And it's early in his career as leader. And so as someone who spends a lot of time on The Hill, Reid, there's a lot of layers to this and Chuck Schumer's trying to prove to his Republican counterparts and to the guy who calls him a clown, that would be the president of the United States, that you have to deal with me. You may get your cabinet, but we're going to prove you have to deal with us.
REID WILSON, "THE HILL": And I think this gives us an important window into the Democratic coalition as it exists right now. The Census Bureau just came out last week with their annual survey of union membership. Union membership is down across the board. It's been on a precipitous decline for the last 30 years. What we're learning here is that teachers unions still play a huge role within the Democratic Party, more so almost than say unions that are going to oppose President Trump's pick for commerce secretary or somebody like that. These teachers unions have mobilized the entire party, again, like Manu mentioned, from Elizabeth Warren to Joe Manchin, and they are making their voices heard. They are forcing Mike Pence to show up at the Capitol today to cast a vote that no other vice president has ever cast. KING: And if you look at the screen -- Jeff Zeleny, come into the
conversation -- if you look at the screen, the voting is underway. One of the things we are most proud of here, we have Manu on The Hill. We have a great congressional team of producers and reporters on The Hill. Our Ted Barrett says, expect this to go about 25, 30 minutes. Senators who (ph) come in and out. Mike Pence not in the chair at the moment, but he has an office just off the Senate floor. He is prepared to come in when necessary and Republicans say it will be necessary to break the vote.
Jeff, before I bring you in, I just want to give people a flavor of this debate. Democrats took over the Senate floor yesterday. They went late into the night, early morning hours. Again, they're making their case against Betsy DeVos, but they're also making the case essentially for Democratic unity and sending the president a message. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: If you cannot be a champion for public schools, you should not be secretary of education.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: It is clear from her testimony, Betsy DeVos has not done her homework.
SEN. BRIAN SCHATZ (D), HAWAII: We have the wrong person who may be confirmed as the secretary of education.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We need just one more Republican to stand up for the children of America.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: There are certain issues that are too important that demand putting country above party.
SEN. AL FRANKEN (D), MINNESOTA: The secretary of education has an enormous amount of power to shape our nation's future. So this is not a job for amateurs.
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: Let's ask President Trump to send us someone who is qualified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Show of unity there across the spectrum of the Democratic Party and some more conservative Democrats not in that little montage there who are also going to do this. So the Democrats are united. The Republicans lost two, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, two of the more moderate members who say they can't vote for Betsy DeVos, but they checked with the leadership first before they did that and this is essentially a (INAUDIBLE) but -- that both parties are polarized and dug in. We're in the third week of the Trump presidency. What does it tell us?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean usually this happens much later into an administration. Usually this happens after the first 100 days. But, look, this tells us a couple of things. One, that the math is
working out just perfectly for the vice president to break this tie. It would be a major shock if another Republican stepped forward. The reason it won't happen most likely is because that would cause huge problems for this administration. That would be the first nominee that he has that would not make it through.
It's clear that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is going to get this president's nominees through come hell or high water. But Betsy DeVos also has a different relationship with most Republican senators. She has been one of the biggest contributors for so long. If she was someone who was unheard of, unknown, I'm not sure all Republicans would be standing with her. But it is good politics now to be with her, but uncomfortable as well because Dean Heller from Nevada, others, Deb Fischer from Nebraska, huge protests in their districts, at their offices, school children writing them. This is a vote that is -- is going to stick for a while.
KING: It's a vote that's going to stick for --
ZELENY: Sting for a while.
KING: Sting for a while. And as we watch it play out, a very important point about Betsy DeVos. She has a history. A lot of these new nominees are going through. Betsy DeVos has much more of a history with Republicans than most of the members of the Trump team going in.
As we watch the vote play out, we're waiting for her to come in. But what does it also tell us, Betsy DeVos, one of the objections to her is she's a big proponent of school choice, big proponent of taking federal money, giving it to the states and say, run voucher programs, experiment on your own, don't let Washington tell you what to do here.
[12:10:10] Now, she can do some of that administratively, but it's federal money. Congress appropriates the money. If they can't stop her nomination, what kind of a fight are we in when we get around to when she wants to implement her agenda and the Congress controls the purse strings and the Democrats, they only have 48 votes, but that's enough sometimes to slow the train?
WILSON: And one of the interesting elements of this is that the reason that Senator Collins from Maine and Senator Murkowski from Alaska are opposing her is because they say that her policies would affect rural schools. These are the voters that Democrats lost overwhelmingly in November. If this is the first window into -- or the first opportunity that some Democrats have to talk to a part of the base or a part of the electorate that they have lost so badly over the last couple of cycles, that could sting even more over the long term.
KING: And back to the question, is this just about Betsy DeVos or how much does this mean going forward? The Trump cabinet picks are going through, most of them, but we're still waiting, Andy Puzder is the choice to be the labor secretary. His hearing has been rescheduled several times and is still out there. His ethics paperwork has still not been posted online because he's the CEO of the fast food company that -- Carl's Jr. and Hardee's and he's negotiating with the government, the ethics office, about what he has to divest and what he has to disclose. That's still in process.
Just yesterday, weeks into this process, he disclosed this. "My wife and I employed a housekeeper for a few years during which I was unaware that she was not legally permitted to work in the United States. When I learned of her status, we immediately ended her employment and offered her assistance in getting legal status." He added, "we have fully paid back taxes to the IRS and the state of California and submitted all required paperwork."
You can be certain Democrats want to know when. What are the dates of all that happening? But if Betsy DeVos goes through with the vice president's vote, you know the Democrats are immediately going to turn their attention to Andy Puzder, who they think doesn't want to raise the minimum wage. They don't like what he's done as a CEO. Plus, he's on team Trump and they want a trophy.
MECKLER: Well, also I think the irony behind that statement is that he says that he worked to help her adjust her status. Well, that is not necessarily the fate of most people who are in this country illegally. In fact, under the executive order that was signed recently, all those people are subject to deportation if they're viewed in the eyes of an ICE officer as being a threat. There's no real standards the way there have been under Obama for who exactly is subject to being deported. So that was sort of a compassionate way to look at it. In fact, Andy Puzder has actually been pro-immigration reform, unlike most others. But I think that there's a certain irony there.
KING: A few weeks back, I reported that he had shown some reservations about the ethics process back and forth and had talked to a few friends about, is this worth it? And I'm told from the highest levels of then Trump Tower -- this was during the transition -- he was told, stay in the fight.
Do we have any indication? I know that the White House wants him to stay in the fight. Do we have any indication, a, that he would go, or, b, that the Democrats could get three Republicans, not two Republicans, and make it interesting?
WILSON: I don't see any indication whatsoever. I mean there's -- there is no sort of organized protest.
WILSON: And there's not really -- yet. And -- but there's not really the incentive that a, you know, for a Democratic groundswell against a nominee for the commerce position, as there would be for, say, the secretary of education.
KING: Right. Right.
And to Jeff's point earlier, you would not be seeing this vote unfold. We think it's going to take another 20 minutes. Mitch McConnell would not have allowed this to begin if he did not have iron clad commitments from just enough Republicans senators to get her across because he would be embarrassed and the president would be embarrassed. So we're going to wait for the final total, but we expect 50-50. The vice president to come into the chair.
I want to quickly get to this. Also on Capitol Hill today is the secretary of Homeland Security, a former general, now Secretary Kelly. There was a big dust-up about the rollout of the travel ban. We'll have a court case later tonight. We'll see how the legal case goes. Politically here in Washington, members of Congress felt blindsided, some of the agencies involved were blindsided. General Kelly took one for the team today. Listen here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KELLY, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: In retrospect, I should have -- this is all on me, by the way -- I should have delayed it just a bit so that I could talk to members of Congress, particularly the leadership of committees like this, to prepare them for what was coming.
The desire was to get it out. The thinking was to get it out quick so that potentially people that might be coming here to harm us would not take advantage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: General Kelly, by the way, is a proud member of Red Sox and Patriot Nation. And what he's doing there is -- he's doing his job, as Coach Belichick would say, and he's taking one for the president because he was blindsided by this.
KUCINICH: But this doesn't happen often.
KUCINICH: I mean this happens once, maybe twice. If the Trump administration continues to blindside or continues to keep their cabinet secretaries out of the loop, like they've done, like they reportedly did with Kelly initially, and they've done with Rex Tillerson, before he was even brought in, they were -- they were moving some things around that have made his life harder on day one. So I would just keep an eye on this and, you know, maybe at this point they're -- everybody's singing from the same hymnal, but someone like General Kelly isn't going to take this lightly if this happens again.
ZELENY: He's a good soldier in this case, or, you know, other adjectives we could use to describe this here. But the reality here is, everyone in that room in the committee know what happened.
[12:15:07] KUCINICH: Yes.
ZELENY: He was on the job for a number of hours before this happened. He had -- he had barely been sworn in. They know it's not his fault. But I think you're absolutely right about this. He only does this a couple times here.
KING: Right. ZELENY: But he's being a team player here and he wants this to work, obviously. But I'm not sure anyone believes that it was actually his fault, because it wasn't his fault.
KING: We're going to keep watching this vote. The education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos, her nominating being voted on at the moment.
Also when we come back, when we say everybody is talking about President Trump, we mean everybody, including the ayatollah and a key al Qaeda leader.
And, as we go to break, there's a celebration going on back home, that would be Boston for me, right now. Want to show you, Super Bowl champions, the New England Patriots, making their way through the back bay. Ah, the duck boats. Sorry, folks, but that's awesome.
[12:20:24] KING: Live pictures here. The United States Capitol, a busy day there. Several big hearings underway and this, a dramatic vote underway on the floor of the United Senate -- United States Senate. Right now, Betsy DeVos is Donald Trump's -- President Trump's nominee to be secretary of education. What we are expecting here is a 50-50 tie. The vice president of the United States on standby outside the Senate chamber ready to come in and break that tie and give the president his education pick. We're watching the vote. We'll see if there are any surprises. We'll get back there as soon as developments warrant.
Moving on, though. Russia, Iran and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have a common threat in their most recent propaganda, President Trump. Let's start with Iran, the supreme leader's reaction to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": Putin's a killer.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. What, you think our country's so innocent?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Here's what Ayatollah Ali Khamenei thought of that statement. Quote, "we, however, thank this new guy in the White House since he did largely the job we have been trying to do in the past decades, to divulge the true face of the United States. Their claims to human rights are no longer tenable."
This was what we heard in the early hours after people first saw the interview between the president and Bill O'Reilly saying that the Russians would use this as propaganda, that it essentially tracked Russian propaganda, and what the president was saying about the United States, and now Iran saying, thanks, you've been trying to tell us to improve our human rights records and now the president of the United States conceding we're all equals. MECKLER: Well, I'm not sure if we should be surprised by this. He said
something very similar during the campaign and it was -- that clearly seems to be sort of where -- where he's coming from, in that he sees a lot of flaws in American policy and so therefore he's not going to use that as a way to criticize Russia, who he seems very reluctant to say anything bad about. So --
KUCINICH: So --
ZELENY: One big difference, though, when you're president, you're lack of --
MECKLER: Well, of course, (INAUDIBLE) --
KUCINICH: It matters.
ZELENY: Your words are magnified around the world.
MECKLER: But that's true with everything.
ZELENY: And this, I think, is the latest example. No question about it. And I think this is --
MECKLER: Exactly. Everything he's doing, though, is something he had said.
ZELENY: You know, we're going to have a list of examples on the wall, I think, when you're president, your words may be the exact same but they're taken differently and more importantly now. This is an example of that. It's -- has more than Republicans scratching their heads.
KUCINICH: And that's -- that's what I was going to say. That's why you saw the immediate reaction kind of across the spectrum with the exception of Vice President Pence, who kind of tried to clean up the mess, but that's what he does.
But you saw this -- you know, Marco Rubio, Liz Cheney, Mitch McConnell. They don't want to respond to things like this, but they have to because that's so fundamental.
KING: Right. And so here's another one. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. There was a raid in Yemen. Some things went wrong. Horribly, a U.S. service member was killed and others were injured. There are some reports that they were targeting the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He issued a statement. It was an 11-minute audio recording, but we don't want to play the audio for you. I'm just going to read this part of it to you. "The new fool of the White House received a painful slap across his face."
Now, throughout the George W. Bush administration, to a lesser degree in the Obama administration, in the post 9/11 world we have had bin Laden's statements and other statements from al Qaeda leaders the president's general policy is ignore it or don't reflexively react to it. Donald Trump is someone who reflectively reacts. What do we think? MECKLER: Well, I think we see the perils of that and it's true across
the board. On domestic policy for sure he's constantly responding. His comments about the judge in Seattle who issued the ruling were, you know, completely out of step with what a president normally would do. But when it is, as Jeff said, when it's on the foreign stage, when you're talking about serious issues like this, we're talking about al Qaeda and you respond, there are consequences. Now, we -- it's only been, what, two and a half weeks, hard to believe, but, yo know, we maybe haven't seen them yet, but I think we will.
KING: It's an interesting point. You just alluded to this a minute ago. I want to read you something. Manu Raju, our congressional correspondent, spoke to Senator Rubio yesterday and he said -- he said this. "In the end, the most important thing is not what he said but what they're doing." He was talking about the stay in the whole terror -- the ban, the travel ban. But this is a United States senator saying on the record what's the most important -- it's not what he said. He is the president of the United States. Paul Ryan today at this press conference said something very similar. He said he's an unconventional president. He gets frustrated with judgments. But the most important thing is his actions, not what he says.
WILSON: This is something we've heard out of the White House nonstop. This, don't take him literally but take him seriously. And the weight of a president's words truly matter, especially at this huge stage, this moment in which the world is in peril, and then he says something like he did yesterday in talking about the media not reporting terrorist attacks. I mean this sort of beggar's belief. What are we supposed to believe? What are we supposed to take seriously? To Laura's point, everything that he said on the campaign trail he has done. Sure sounds like we should start taking him literally sometime soon.
[12:25:11] ZELENY: Without question you have to take him as both as president. But I think so interesting what he is says about all of these 74 acts of terror. It just simply isn't true. We have covered all of them to some degree, most of them to a major, major degree.
I am struck by now the third president in the row here who talks about terror. He is sounding totally different. Again, it's early, but he was almost sounding like he was like stoking the fears that we need to be -- it was so different. So what he was doing on that is deflecting and building support for his travel ban.
ZELENY: That's, of course, what he's doing. But we've not heard him talk --
WILSON: But -- but is --
KUCINICH: And by reminding people -- because there wasn't an action that caused this reaction.
KUCINICH: Something didn't happen, thank goodness. But that -- so he needs to bring up these other things to show people why they should be afraid. And we have to keep focused on that. That's what -- that is what he's doing.
WILSON: Right. And to both of your points here, this is the president of the United States implying that Americans need to be afraid. And that's not something we've heard -- we heard from President Bush. That's not something we heard from President Obama. It's not something we've heard from --
ZELENY: More calming of nerves (ph).
WILSON: We had a president who actually said, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. Now this new guy is saying, let's all be afraid.
KING: It's an interesting moment. Wanted to let you know, we're watching the final tail end of this vote in the United States Senate. We're going to stay right here until we get to it because we only have a handful of senators left to vote and we know the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, is standing by -- he has an office just off the Senate floor. The vice president serves as the president to the United States Senate gets to vote when there's a tie and we are told to expect a tie today.
Betsy DeVos is the -- she's a philanthropist, billionaire from Michigan. She's President Trump's choice to be the next secretary of education. We expect a 50/50 tie. This after all day Democratic protests. We're going to stay with this vote.
And as we do, let's come back to this for a minute. I -- later on in the program I do want to talk about the president's warning yesterday, the president's effort to incite fear, as we listen in to the Senate floor. Mr. Johnson, aye (ph). That's Republican Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. We've watched the party loyalty play out here.
Come back to the moment and what this -- this is -- yes, it's about Betsy DeVos and whether she runs the education department, but it's about more.
ZELENY: It is. And coming up alphabetically, Wolf, here is someone else, Jeff Sessions, who was not going to be a senator anymore. Of course, he's the attorney general nominee. He is sticking around because his vote has not happened yet as well. So his vote also critical today in that. So they need every single person.
What I'm going to be watching for in this is how much blowback there is for some Republicans who are in blue states. We talked so much about those ten Democrats in Trump states. There are Republicans in blue states and a Dean Heller from Nevada is one of them. So this is an uncomfortable vote for him, I'm guessing.
KING: Right, and we expect this to be, to your point about Jeff Sessions, we expect this to be his last vote, do we not, because they want to move on to then breaking the filibuster so that he could be the attorney general. When the president has a travel ban tied up in the courts, most likely to go to the Supreme Court, when the president is trying to build a border wall, when the president is trying to do a lot of other things, you would kind of think he wants his attorney general on the job. But he was told by Leader McConnell, you have to leave him right here until we get through these votes because they didn't know how fast Governor Bentley in Alabama would move to name the replacement.
ZELENY: Exactly. And I believe that this is the first cabinet secretary he's voting on. I believe he's abstained from the others so far. But he needs it. The math needs him today.
Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill watching this play out.
Manu, join the conversation. We were talking about some other things as we went through a lot of this vote, keeping it on the screen, what did we miss?
RAJU: Well, right now it's 50-50, John, so we're expecting any moment Mike Pence to come in and cast that divisive vote. I was talking to top Republicans who are involved in this vote. and even though it's very, very close, they're not feeling any drama --
KING: There he is right now, Manu. Mike Pence is taken the -- Mike Pence -- excuse me for interrupting, but the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, he used to work across the hall in the House of Representatives, now, for the first time, taking this seat in the Senate to cast a big vote. Let's listen in.
MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the nomination is confirmed.
SEN, MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MAJORITY LEADER: (INAUDIBLE).
PENCE: Majority leader.
MCCONNELL: I move to reconsider the vote on the nomination.
PENCE: Question is on the motion to reconsider.
MCCONNELL: I move to table the motion to reconsider.
PENCE: The question is on the motion to table. All in favor say aye.
PENCE: All opposed?
The ayes appear to have it. The ayes do have it. And the motion to table is agreed to.
MCCONNELL: (INAUDIBLE) mandatory quorum call be waived?
PENCE: Without objection.
[12:30:07] KING: Manu Raju standing by for us. We just saw the vice president of the United States cast his first tie-breaking vote.