A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, November 20, 2022 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.
ANNOUNCER: "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JONATHAN KARL, ABC HOST (voiceover): Extraordinary circumstances.
MERRICK GARLAND, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Appointing a special counsel at this time is the right thing to do.
KARL: Just days after Donald Trump announces his latest bid for president, the Justice Department names a special counsel to oversee multiple investigations into the former president. The possibility of an indictment looms larger than ever.
BILL BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: They probably have the basis for legitimately indicting the president. I don't know, I'm speculating. I think they probably have the evidence that would check the box.
KARL: This morning, January 6th Committee member Adam Schiff joins us live. Plus, Pierre Thomas with late reporting on the new special counsel.
End of an era.
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I will not seek re-election to Democratic leadership in the next Congress.
KARL: Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes the torch as Republicans take control of the House.
KEVIN MCCARTHY, MINORITY LEADER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The era of one party Democrat rule in Washington is over.
KARL: Can Kevin McCarthy get the votes to become Speaker? And what lessons did Republicans learn after a disappointing midterm result?
PAUL RYAN, (R) FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's pretty clear, with Trump we lose. We get past Trump, we start winning elections.
KARL: Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on the future of the GOP, a "This Week" exclusive.
And inside Ukraine, President Zelenskyy and the U.S. at odds following a fatal blast that killed two in Poland.
MARTHA RADDATZ, CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: The Russians have been targeting infrastructure here in Ukraine, especially critical during these winter months.
KARL: Martha Raddatz reports from the war zone.
Plus, Elon Musk brings Donald Trump back on Twitter. That and all the week's politics on our Powerhouse Roundtable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week." Here now, Jonathan Karl.
KARL (on camera): Good morning and welcome to "This Week."
As we come on the air it's becoming clear American politics and American justice are on a collision course.
First, the moment many Republican leaders had hoped to avoid, the former president who sparked an insurrection and led their party to lose in places they almost certainly would have won, announced he is running for president yet again.
Second, Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to oversee two separate and unrelated cases that have one thing in common, both could lead to indictments of Donald Trump.
Looking at the political calendar and the legal calendar, it's not inconceivable that the trial of the former president and the campaign by that former president could be happening at the very same time.
We've used the words unprecedented and extraordinary a lot over the past six years or so, but we have never seen anything remotely like that in all of American history.
It's all happening against the backdrop of midterm elections that have brought a divided Congress and uncertainty about what Republicans can accomplish with their razor thin majority in the House or even whether their leader, Kevin McCarthy, can get the 28 votes he needs to become Speaker of the House.
We're going to discuss it all with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in a moment. But we begin with new reporting on the investigations now being overseen by special counsel.
ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas joins us now. Good morning, Pierre. What do we know? How did we get to this extraordinary moment?
PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS CHIEF JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Jon, you're right, extraordinary. That's how the normally understated attorney general described the situation. And the situation we find ourselves in is severe. The former president of the United States is now the target of two criminal investigations.
There is no guessing. The Justice Department clearly suspects there was an illegal effort, potentially a conspiracy, to intentionally and criminally block the peaceful transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden after the 2020 election that culminated in that vicious attack on the Capitol on January 6th. If so, was Donald Trump a willing participant?
Second, did Donald Trump direct the unlawful removal of presidential records and classified documents from the White House as he was leaving power? Was national security compromised, Jon? And did Trump, once the removal was discovered, intentionally try to object instruct the investigation?
KARL: And Pierre, Merrick Garland wouldn't be doing this, would he, if indictments of Donald Trump weren't a real possibility?
THOMAS: Well, Jon, this much I can tell you, these investigations have been going on for weeks. So this is not a surprise to anyone. So clearly, the attorney general suspects there is a potential that an indictment could come. No final decision has been made. But he wants this done by the book, so that someone who's seen as somewhat independent can look at this evidence, oversee the final stages of these investigations and make, perhaps, one of the most controversial calls in anybody's memory.
KARL: Pierre, let me turn to the horrific news overnight, a mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs. What more do you know about what happened?
THOMAS: Jon, another mass shooting in America. Five people killed, at least 18 injured. The suspect is in custody in the hospital. We still don't know the motive but the FBI is assisting and, obviously, until the motive is confirmed, they will look at whether this was a hate crime because it was in a LGBTQ nightclub.
Jon, this is the 601st mass shooting so far this year. The pace is slightly down from last year but there's been a dramatic surge since 2019 when there were only 417, that's a stunning 44 percent increase. Sadly, mass shootings where four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident or location have become routine in this country, Jon.
KARL: Pierre Thomas, thank you for joining us.
KARL: We're joined now by Intelligence Committee Chairman Congressman Adam Schiff, who is also a member of the January 6th Committee.
Congressman Schiff, thank you for joining us. I want to begin with the news overnight that Donald Trump has been reinstated by Elon Musk on Twitter. Watching the January 6th Committee hearings, Trump's tweets were a big part of the story to be told. What do you think of him being back on Twitter?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think it's a terrible mistake and you're absolutely right. As we showed in the January 6th hearings, the president used that platform to incite that attack on the Capitol, his comments about the vice president, his own vice president, put Mike Pence's life in danger. He showed no remorse about that. He continues to lie about his actions on that day. He talks about pardoning the people who attacked police officers and attacked the Capitol that day. And it contradicts what Elon Musk said that he was going to establish a counsel to evaluate this and further contradicts Musk and his claimed concern about bots on his own platform to subject the decision to a poll (ph) on the platform that could be easily abused that way.
It just underscores the erratic leadership of Twitter now under Musk, but also the security concerns, with security people fleeing Twitter and what that means for the protection of Americans' private data.
KARL: He did it with that SNAP Poll (ph) and even then, the vote was 52 to 48. Close.
But let me move on to the Merrick Garland's decision to appoint a special counsel. Is this the right move?
SCHIFF: I think it is the right move. You make a decision like this not because you think you are going to persuade the former president you are doing the right thing or even his most extreme supporters, you do it --
KARL: Because they're still going to say it's political. And --
SCHIFF: They're still going to say it, but it's the right thing to do and, most particularly, if you ensure that it won't cause any delay.
So if the same prosecutors that have been investigating the former president and others can be moved on to the special prosecutor's team, then there is every reason to do it, no reason not to do it, and I think the person he's chosen seems to be amiably (ph) capable and qualified.
My concern, frankly, has been leading up to this point, which is they were very slow at the Department to work up the multiple lines of effort to overturn the election. It took them a long time to get started, and the delay has already been baked in. I hope that the special prosecutor will move with (inaudible) and fulfill the commitment Merrick Garland made at the outset, which is that everyone will be treated equally under the law, and that includes the former president.
KARL: I mean, the timing is extraordinary. You really could have, if he gets indicted, a trial and a presidential campaign happening at the same time.
SCHIFF: You could. And -- you know, look, for four years when he was president the Department took the position, which I think is flawed as a constitutional matter, that you can't indict a sitting president. You can't now take the position while you also can't indict a former president who wants to run again. Otherwise, that president becomes above the law and the founders would have never subscribed to that idea.
KARL: What does this mean about the January 6th Committee's deliberations about a criminal referral? Will you be making a criminal referral or referrals?
SCHIFF: We're in the midst of reaching a conclusion on that right now, should we make referrals, what kind of referrals should we make. I don't want to get ahead of that decision. But I can say that I think Judge Carter in California who analyzed just one small piece of this concluded that the former president and others were engaged or there was evidence they were engaged in a criminal conspiracy, evidence they were engaged in an effort to stop an official proceeding, the Joint Session.
I think the evidence is there to make a referral and we just have to decide whether that's the course we are going to take.
KARL: Trump has said that he won't partake in the investigation. I don't really know what that means. But he has already defied the January 6th Committee and your subpoenas. Will he -- before this lame duck is done, will he be held in contempt of Congress for that?
SCHIFF: We're discussing that. We have very limited options. And even where we have held people in contempt, we're only batting 50 percent with the Justice Department in their willing to -- willingness to enforce it.
But once again, Donald Trump took the cowardly way out. Unlike other presidents that have fulfilled their duty even after office and testified before Congress, very -- not surprising with the former president, it was disappointing with the former vice president who, like others before him, sadly, said I can't share this information with the American people and Congress, but I could write a book about it. That's very disappointing.
KARL: So, obviously, we have the Republicans winning back control, barely, of the House. One of the things that Kevin McCarthy has said he is going to strip you of your position on the House Intelligence Committee.
SCHIFF: Well, I suspect he will do whatever Marjorie Taylor Greene wants him to do. He is a very weak leader of his conference, meaning that he will adhere to the wishes of the lowest common denominator. And if that lowest common denominator wants to remove people from committees, that's what they'll do.
It's going to be chaos with the Republican leadership and sadly, the kind of the crazy caucus has grown among the Republicans. Many Republicans who won primaries in deeply red districts are coming to Congress like the Marjorie Taylor Greenes and Paul Gosars and it's a tragedy for the country.
KARL: You also have some that won in moderate districts. I mean, it's going to be hard if he goes too much in one direction, he's going to have to worry about the other direction.
One of the other things that Republicans are saying is they're going to launch all matter of investigations, Hunter Biden, Anthony Fauci, the border, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You were harshly critical of the Trump White House, and Donald Trump himself, for defying congressional subpoenas, not cooperating with congressional oversight.
What's your advice to the Biden administration? Should they comply with subpoenas and cooperate with oversight from this Congress?
SCHIFF: They should cooperate with appropriate oversight. They should follow the law and that means complying with subpoenas. But they're going to need to analyze whether the Republicans are following appropriate procedures and whether they're doing this just for vexatious purposes. And I don't envy the task they're going to have.
But we can --
KARL: But they should cooperate, they should.
SCHIFF: They should cooperate with appropriate oversight. I think they will cooperate with appropriate oversight. But we continually to face a variation of the same question, which is should the Democrats do the right -- do the appropriate thing when Republicans have consistently refused to.
I think we maintain the high ground. We follow the law. We follow our responsibilities under the separation of powers. But -- but that doesn't detract at all from the abuse that we saw during the Republican administration.
KARL: So I want to ask you, you're on the Intel Committee. You've spoken out strongly against Saudi Arabia and their leader Mohammed bin Salman's claim -- you know, actions regarding Jamal Khashoggi, as implications in that murder.
Now we see the Biden administration say that he has immunity while he is effectively the head of state for Saudi Arabia.
I want to read something that Fred Ryan of "The Washington Post" said in reacting to that.
In granting legal immunity to Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, President Biden is failing to uphold America's most cherished values. He's granting license to kill to one of the world's most egregious human rights abusers who is responsible for the cold-blooded murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
What do you think of that move?
SCHIFF: I don't support the granting of immunity. This is a guy who was involved in the murder and dismemberment of a person residing in the United States of America, a journalist.
And, you know, we ought to put our value on life not oil, and I think this is a tragic decision. I don't think it was a necessary decision. They clearly, in Saudi Arabia, contrived to put him in the position of prime minister days before this court decision.
KARL: To get this --
SCHIFF: We didn't have to go along with it and it's antithetical to our values.
KARL: And, finally, before you go, today is Joe Biden's 80th birthday. Do you think he should run for re-election?
SCHIFF: I think he should. I think he's extremely capable. What he's been able to do in the last two years is an unprecedented level of accomplishment. If he wants to continue, I'm for him.
KARL: All right. Adam Schiff, thank you for joining us here on "This Week."
On Friday, I sat down with former speaker of the House and former vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan, for his first Sunday show interview since leaving office.
Ryan is now out with a new book, "American Renewal: A Conservative Plan to Strengthen the Social Contract and Save the Country's Finances". He also happens to be the last Republican to serve as speaker of the House.
We began by discussing the legacy of his successor, Nancy Pelosi.
PAUL RYAN, (R) FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It's an impressive legacy. I mean, obviously, she and I usually disagree on things, but first woman speaker, a career to be proud of. And, frankly, I think about her husband, Paul, a lot these days. I just feel so awful about what happened to them. She has an incredible legacy and career to look - you know, look back on.
KARL: The -- the - the midterms, you had -- I think I saw you - you had predicted that at least 15 seats --
RYAN: Yes. Yes.
KARL: Republicans would pick up at least 15.
RYAN: A couple of factors, but I personally think the evidence is really clear. The biggest factor was the Trump factor. Just look at how Chris Sununu ran ahead against -- ahead of Bolduc in New Hampshire. Look at where Kemp ran ahead of Walker in Georgia. So, I think we would have -- clearly have won the Senate had we had traditional Republicans in the general election like these governors did. I think we would have won places like Arizona, places like Pennsylvania, New Hampshire had we had a typical and traditional conservative Republican, not a Trump Republican.
So, I think what we now know, it's pretty clear is, with Trump we lose. So, I don't mean this personally, it's just -- it's just evidence. We lost the House in '18. We lost the presidency in '20. We lost the Senate in '20. And now, in 2022, we should have and could have won the Senate. We didn't. And we have a much lower majority in the House because of that Trump factor.
So, I think it's just -- it's palpable right now. We -- we get past Trump, we start winning elections. We stick with Trump, we keep losing elections. That's just how I see it.
KARL: But he had incredible power in the primaries.
KARL: I mean he -- his candidates won in the Republican primaries almost across the board.
RYAN: That - that's the point. He can get his people through the primaries but they can't win general elections.
So, what -- it's really clear, I think the Republican voter is going to move on. I - that's why I don't think he ends up winning the - the nomination at the end of the day. I think we have a great stable of good, capable conservatives who are more than capable of winning this primary for presidency and winning the election. And I think Republican voters know that.
So that's why I think our voters, ultimately, who really want to win, are going to -- are going to give us candidates who can win.
KARL: What will it mean to the Republican Party if he actually wins the nomination again?
RYAN: We probably likely lose the White House. We just did in '20. So, I think we probably lose the White House with Trump. And if there's someone not named Trump, my guess is we win the White House.
KARL: But - but if - I'm saying if he wins the general election, if he becomes president again, I mean the way Liz Cheney has put it, it's like an existential threat to the country.
RYAN: I just don't think he's going to -- I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think he'll win. I think --
KARL: He's just unelectable?
RYAN: That - yes, I think he's unelectable because that suburban voter -- you think he's more popular since the '20 election with the swing voter in America or less?
KARL: There's no evidence of that at all.
KARL: But he does seem to have a hold on a good chunk of the Republican Party, whether or not it's a majority, we'll see.
RYAN: That's right, but I think -- I think he's going to continue to lose altitude because we want to win. And we know with him we lose. We have a string of losses to prove that point. And there are a lot of really good, capable conservatives who people I think like that are more than capable of not only being good conservatives in office but can win elections.
KARL: As you know, the fear that Republicans have had, and this goes back to 2015 when he first announced, the fear that they have is that Donald Trump loses the primary but then marches across the street and declares he's an independent candidate.
RYAN: Then he gives the left the country. And I think he would not want to be blamed for doing that.
KARL: So, you think that he has the ability to --
RYAN: Look, what do I - I -- look -
KARL: Yes, maybe to --
RYAN: I don't talk to him, so I don't know what's going on in his mind.
RYAN: Look, here's how it -- I - I was not an never-Trumper. People sort of think of me --
KARL: You worked with him as speaker. I mean -
RYAN: I worked -
KARL: Yes. Yes.
RYAN: I was - I - I governed with him. And I'm very proud of those days. I'm proud of the accomplishments of the tax reform, the deregulation, of criminal justice reform. I'm really excited about the judges we got on the bench, not just the Supreme Court, but throughout the judiciary. But I am a never-again-Trumper. Why? Because I want to win. And we lose with Trump. It was really clear to us in '18, in '20, and now in 2022.
KARL: A few weeks before the election you said that a - a single digit majority in the House would be in-operational. In other works, as speaker couldn't lead.
RYAN: Well, you couldn't run the place with just your party. You couldn't run the place with your votes.
KARL: Yes. Because now McCarthy's going to have maybe a three or four seat majority.
RYAN: Yes, you - you always have leakage. You -- no matter what bill you're going to bring to the floor, it is almost impossible with that tight of a majority to have just only your party passing legislation.
When I was speaker, we had better majorities, bigger majorities. We could pass bills on our own. But if you have such a narrow majority, it's going to be really hard.
Having said that, there's nothing as unifying as a really razor-thin majority. That is a unifying thing in and of itself. I've been in the House where we've had pretty tight majorities. Not this tight, but -
KARL: I mean, it wasn't this tight.
RYAN: But it wasn't this tight.
KARL: Yes, you had double digits, to be clear.
RYAN: But - yes, I had double digits when I was there. But, you know, I -- we -- (INAUDIBLE) in the Hastert days we had a couple really thin majorities.
KARL: Yes. Yes.
RYAN: And it does bring people together. It -- it makes people realize I can't get everything I want, I have to be a part of a team. But having said that, it's going to be really hard on day in, day out to consistently have only your party bringing votes.
KARL: But you're already having -- I mean, McCarthy's not elected speaker yet, you already have two members that have come out and said, no, never, we'll never vote for him. He may have a three-seat majority...
RYAN: Yes, I mean, I think I lost like eight votes my first time. And then one vote my second time, if I'm not mistaken.
KARL: Yes, yes, but you had 236 votes.
RYAN: Yes, yes, I know, I had a pretty good cushion.
KARL: You did (INAUDIBLE), yes.
RYAN: So -- so, I mean, that's to be expected.
KARL: What happens if he can't get 218?
RYAN: I think he'll get 218.
KARL: But what happens if he can't?
RYAN: It -- it breaks down. I mean, if he doesn't get 218, we've got to elect a speaker, and there isn't anybody better suited to running this conference than Kevin McCarthy. He has been good for conservatives, frankly, but he's also a person who really understands how to manage a conference.
KARL: Adam Kinzinger said that if McCarthy becomes Speaker, he will be, quote, "led around on a leash by Marjorie Taylor Greene and members of the Freedom Caucus." I mean, that's a vivid analogy, but this -- I mean, it's going to be tough.
KARL: He has to -- he's not going to be able to -- to -- he's going to need to have them on board.
RYAN: Look, you run a coalition government when you're speaker of the house, within your own party. And there are big -- we just elected a bunch of new people from New York and California, from what I would call more centrist, moderate-leaning districts. Those are the majority-makers.
RYAN: Kevin understands that. So, you have to run a coalition.
KARL: But do you get uneasy when you see like Marjorie Taylor Greene over his shoulder when he was announcing the commitment to America and...
RYAN: Look. He's running a coalition government. Everybody's going to be...
KARL: He needs them.
RYAN: He needs -- he needs the entire conference to work with him and he needs to motivate that entire conference.
KARL: So -- so, you do -- you do have this book out which looks at the financial issues facing the country, which are immense, obviously. They were not part of this campaign. And when I see what Republicans have done so far as they prepare to take the majority is talk about investigations. We've seen them come out, talk about, you know, Hunter Biden. There were a number of impeachment resolutions that were already filed even before the election, not just Biden but members of his cabinet. Would it be a mistake for Republicans, instead of getting to the ideas you're talking about, getting into a, you know, heavy, heavy investigation, investigation...
RYAN: No, they need to do oversight. I mean, typically what happens when you have one party rule throughout Washington, between the White House and Congress, is, there isn't enough sufficient oversight and accountability...
KARL: Oversight, but Hunter -- but dragging in Hunter Biden, you know, Fauci, and...
RYAN: That does -- no, I think -- I think there is some stuff there that -- at DoJ and Hunter that they probably should have some -- some accountability and some investigations. But that's not a substitute for an agenda.
So, the purpose of putting out an idea, and I'm glad you brought the book up.
RYAN: I wasn't sure you were going to bring the thing up.
KARL: We do have the book. We do have the book.
RYAN: And so, the purpose of this is to offer a conservative plan to help this country get over its enormous challenges in the 21st Century. If -- we have an unsustainable debt. And we're on an unsustainable debt trajectory.
But we're going to have to make these programs work better. We're going to have to reform these programs so that you and I and the X generation on down actually have something. That's the kind of conversation we have to elevate our debate to, I think, in our federal national politics. And I think we can because, you know, America has always gotten it right at the end of the process, but 'ere we go through a lot of political machinations.
KARL: You're ever, ever optimistic, so...
RYAN: I'm an optimistic person. Yes.
KARL: So -- so, finally, you've -- you've put forward the ideas. You've talked about the direction of the party, the direction of the country. Are we ever going to see you back in politics?
RYAN: I like doing it the way I'm doing it now.
KARL: Could you see yourself running for president again? I mean, you ran for vice president...
RYAN: I never ran, but I ran for vice president.
KARL: But you were on a -- yes.
RYAN: No, I mean, I definitely am not running 2024. And I don't think I -- it just -- I have presidential-sized policy ambition, but I really don't have presidential-sized personal ambition. So I just don't see myself doing that.
KARL: OK, so we can take that as a maybe.
RYAN: Don't (INAUDIBLE).
KARL: All right. Paul Ryan, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Thank you for taking the time.
RYAN: Good to be with you, man.
KARL: Our thanks to Paul Ryan.
Up next, Martha Raddatz reports live from Ukraine as tensions rise over those missiles that hit Poland.
And later, after a week of erratic moves from Twitter owner Elon Musk, a late-night decision to reinstate @realdonaldtrump. The fallout and the reaction. We're back in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD AUSTIN, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Russia's invasion offers a preview of a possible world of tyranny and turmoil that none of us want to live in. It's an invitation to an increasingly insecure world haunted by the shadow of nuclear proliferation because Putin's fellow autocrats are watching.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: A stark warning from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin days after a massive wave of missile strikes hit Ukraine this week, with a stray missile hitting Poland for the first time.
ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and "This Week" Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz is in Kyiv. Good morning, Martha.
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Jon.
We drove across Ukraine this week and you can see the destruction from missile strikes everywhere. But there was nothing in scope like this week's attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ (voiceover): It was the largest wave of missile attacks in a single day since the war began. Nearly 100 missiles pummeling Ukraine's residential areas, infrastructure and power grids. And just across the border another alarming first, a missile landing in Poland, killing two civilians, prompting fears that with a NATO ally now hit, the war with Russia would soon spread.
President Biden with world leaders at the G20 Summit holding an emergency meeting, but U.S. Military leaders and our allies soon determining that the missile was not launched by Russia, but was likely an errant Ukrainian missile trying to defend from Russian missiles.
AUSTIN: This explosion was most likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile.
PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: (Speaking in foreign language) --
RADDATZ: But Ukraine did not buy it. In a rare clash with the West, President Zelenskyy still convinced Russia was to blame.
OLEKSIY DANILOV, UKRAINE SECRETARY OF NATIONAL SECURITY: (Speaking in foreign language) --
RADDATZ: Zelenskyy's Secretary of National Security Oleksiy Danilov showing us this week the scope of the Russian attacks and, like Zelenskyy, not believing the missile that hit Poland was Ukrainian.
RADDATZ (on camera): Do you still believe that the missile that hit in Poland just over the border was a Russian missile?
DANILOV: (Speaking in foreign language) --
RADDATZ (voiceover): I have my own opinion, he tells me.
RADDATZ (on camera): President Biden said the evidence does not show it was Russia. You don't believe it?
DANILOV: (Speaking in foreign language) --
RADDATZ (voiceover): Danilov saying he disagrees, but in spite of the disagreement, what's important, he said, is that the allies continue to work together to defeat Russia. And the U.S. and allies believing that even though Russia may not have launched the missile that hit Poland, they are to blame for everything that has happened since they invaded Ukraine nearly nine months ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RADDATZ (on camera): Defense Secretary Austin reiterated that by saying Russia chose aggression, Russia chose war, Ukraine chose only to fight back. Jon?
KARL: Martha, this is the third visit for you since the invasion, third visit to Ukraine. How have things changed?
RADDATZ: Jon, we visited Bucha about 20 miles outside Kyiv where the Russians slaughtered hundreds of Ukrainian civilians who were then buried in a mass grave, but the town is once again bustling and the determination of the people to win this war seem stronger than ever. Jon?
KARL: Incredible. Thank you, Martha.
We'll have more of Martha's reporting next Sunday on "This Week" as she continues to travel the region.
Up next, Rachel Scott is live in Las Vegas where the 2024 GOP hopefuls are making their case and breaking with Trump. That's next.
KARL: Coming up, Rachel Scott is on the ground in Las Vegas where we're hearing something we haven't heard in a long time, a gathering of high-profile Republicans, some of them saying it's time for Donald Trump to go. This as Elon Musk has brought Trump's Twitter account back to life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIKKI HALEY (R), FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR: We just lived through a disheartening election. It should be a wake-up call for all of us. We have to stop losing and start winning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's stop supporting crazy, unelectable candidates in our primaries and start getting behind winners that can close the deal in November.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): We spend far too much time preaching to the choir, talking to the same 2.6 million people watching Fox News every day. But we need to talk to young people, and Hispanics, and African Americans, and suburban moms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Republican leaders in Las Vegas last night as the 2024 presidential cycle begins.
Congressional correspondent Rachel Scott is there covering it all for us this morning.
RACHEL SCOTT, ABC NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jon, good morning.
Well, I can tell you that that early announcement by former President Donald Trump has done little to clear the field. In fact, many Republicans largely shrugging it off as they lay the groundwork for their own possible bids for the White House in 2024. GOP heavyweights descending on Las Vegas this weekend for the Republican Jewish Coalition's Annual Leadership Meeting. Much of the focus here has been on how to move forward from what many considered a disappointing finish in the midterm elections and how to win back the White House in 2024. And what was evident is that a growing number of Republicans are showing signs of wanting to move on from Donald Trump, even questioning his hold on the party.
His former secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, saying that celebrity and personality cannot win elections. Republican Governor Larry Hogan, an early and outspoken critic of the former president, told me that now more Republicans are speaking out. He's calling for a course correction. Mike Pence said that he believes voters will have better choices than Trump in 2024.
And closing out this weekend's event was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, still riding high from that decisive victory in Florida. He received a standing ovation. He made no mention of 2024, no mention of Donald Trump, but he did close out his remarks by saying that he still has more work to do and that he's just getting started, Jon.
KARL: Well, it's certainly not a warm welcome for the Trump presidential campaign.
Rachel Scott, thank you very much.
Back in 2016, Donald Trump led a crowded GOP field through most of the Republican presidential primaries, but is Trump the frontrunner in 2024?
Here's Nate Silver.
NATE SILVER: The 2016 predictions, including by yours truly, that Donald Trump wouldn't win the GOP nomination were obviously way off the mark. But this time does look at least a little bit different.
Trump led nearly wire to wire in polls of Republican voters from July of 2015 until he essentially clinched the nomination. But this year, Trump's position is already in doubt. Three national polls after the midterms showed Trump trailing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. So did a series of polls in early primary states from Club for Growth Action, a GOP super PAC that has been critical of Trump. Trump still is in other polls, but DeSantis clearly has momentum.
And Florida's governor is another problem for Trump. He represents a sort of clear alternative that Trump was lacking in 2016. In 2016, Trump won early primaries with a relatively small share of the vote because he faced a crowded field of opponents.
For example, he won New Hampshire with 35 percent of the vote, not nearly enough to win, in a head-to-head race. And while other candidates like Mike Pence or Mike Pompeo could also run, they don't have DeSantis' electability argument.
On a very difficult night for Republicans overall last Tuesday, DeSantis won re-election in Florida by a whopping 19 percentage points. All while Trump endorsed candidates were losing pivotal battleground races. Plus, no party has nominated a previous presidential election loser since Republicans tapped Richard Nixon in 1968. Though many GOP voters don't accept that Trump lost and believe his false claims about the last election.
Clearly, Trump has a lot going for him, including the loyalty of a large majority of Republican voters, but is he the frontrunner? I don't quite buy it. I'd say he and DeSantis are more like co-favorites.
KARL: Thank you, Nate Silver.
The roundtable is next.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGARET HOOVER, HOST, "FIRING LINE": If Donald Trump were the nominee of the Republican Party again, would you support him?
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I'm just hoping it never comes to that because I think it would be a tragedy if he is our nominee, if he is the Republican nominee.
HOOVER: Could you vote not for the Republican if Donald Trump were the Republican nominee?
BARR: Well, again, I think it gets down to what I said, which is, I would have to make the judgment at that point for the impact on the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Former Attorney General Bill Barr not exactly looking forward to Trump's third presidential bid. Let's bring in the "Roundtable": National Review editor and Bloomberg Opinion columnist Ramesh Ponnuru; former North Dakota Democratic Senator and ABC News contributor Heidi Heitkamp; senior White House correspondent Mary Bruce; Rachel Bade, Politico Playbook co-author and also co-author of the excellent book "Unchecked: The Untold Story Behind Congress's Botched Impeachments of Donald Trump."
So, Ramesh, is the party moving on? Is the Trump era over?
RAMESH PONNURU, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR: I think it would be premature to say that. I think that Trump has a very strong base of support in the Republican Party. That doesn't mean it's a majority base of support. And I do think this has been a lackluster launch. So he attacked National Review, my magazine, a couple days ago. And I just haven't been hearing much about it. And what I have been hearing has been people saying congratulations and sending money to National Review.
KARL: I mean, it has been extraordinary, Heidi, to -- to hear the -- the lack of endorsements coming. I mean, he is -- he is pleading for these endorsements practically, and -- and, you know, I don't know if it matters. I mean, he didn't have many Republican endorsements when he launched in 2015.
HEIDI HEITKAMP (D), ABC CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER NORTH DAKOTA SENATOR: Well, Jon, you wrote the book, "Betrayal." Can you imagine how angry he is right now with all these people on the stage in -- in Las Vegas basically saying, move over? When he thinks he made the party, that he was the -- the deal-maker that gave them the platform. And so he is calling, not just these folks, but calling the two senators in North Dakota who sought and got his endorsement. He is calling party leadership. He is calling all over to try to solidify what he thinks is making them take the loyalty oath.
KARL: And for the most part, they are letting the calls go to voicemail.
Mike Pompeo, who was out there in Vegas, had this Tweet which seemed to be a reaction to Trump announcing, although he didn't mention his name. He said, "We were told we'd get tired of winning. But I'm tired of losing. And so are most Republicans."
I mean, Rachel, that's the attitude, but it is -- Chris Christie made a point out there. It's like, say his name.
RACHEL BADE, CO-AUTHOR POLITICO PLAYBOOK: Yes, the fact that he won't even say his name is really telling, right? Still clearly afraid of Trump.
I think, obviously, the Party right now is having this sort of soul searching moment. But the problem here is that Trump is actually so weak right now that we could conceivably see a repeat of 2016. You have a lot of Republicans who are saying, okay, he's weak, I'm going to jump into the 2024 field. And if there is a ton of candidates out there, Trump still has his core base and he could very easily, you know, run away with this nomination and we could see him be the person that's running again into 2024. So yes, it's tough.
KARL: Mary, Biden was right in when Trump announced the -- I mean, it was interesting. He put out a video while the announcement was still underway, at least on that personal account.
MARY BRUCE, ABC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Which actually is a big deal for Joe Biden who treads very cautiously when it comes to Donald Trump and him running again. So the fact that Biden, yes, from his personal account, had this video ready to go, calling out Trump's record, arguing that he's obviously not, in his opinion, the right choice for this country, that is a big deal and does obviously set up this rematch that we may potentially be heading towards.
Donald -- or Joe Biden doesn't like to weigh in and get into a tit-for-tat with Donald Trump all the time, but he certainly is laying the groundwork for what could come. The White House continues to insists that, yes, Joe Biden, is likely to run and they think he is essentially the only one in the Democratic Party who could stand a chance of beating Donald Trump because he has done it before.
KARL: And happy birthday, Joe Biden. It's --
KARL: -- his 80th birthday.
BRUCE: Eightieth birthday.
KARL: But in terms of the Republicans, I mean, Rachel, we've been here before. We've been here before many times, actually.
KARL: And you're kind of like the House expert on Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell who ultimately did not vote to convict Donald Trump in that second impeachment trial but basically said he is done, does McConnell regret that vote, do you think, now?
BADE: You know, you definitely have to wonder because, as I reported in my new book, "Unchecked," McConnell thought that Trump was going to be fading into the background. One of the reasons he chose not to vote to convict was because he thought if he did so, Trump would become a martyr and he would stick around longer and try to dominate the Party and come back in 2024.
Well, that calculation clearly proved wrong because Trump is still around even though he was acquitted. And so you have to wonder, yes, if he is regretting that choice because he is still haunting McConnell and will continue to do so for --
KARL: Because that choice could have come with a prohibition on running for president again?
BADE: Yes, exactly. They could have barred him from office. And I mean, you know, in the book we talk a lot about these impeachmentments and how they were -- we use the word botched. The reality is that Democrats, not just Republicans, have turned a blind eye.
Democrats never went all in, in terms of trying to go after Trump and investigating everything they could to try to lay out this case that this man is dangerous and shouldn't be president again. And so, you know, pick up the book. You'll read a lot of stuff in there about how they didn't go all the way and --
KARL: Yeah, no --
BADE: -- coming back.
KARL: I think you make a compelling case there. But, Heidi, I mean, is there a part of the Democratic, just pure politics, you're glad to see Donald Trump still around?
HEITKAMP: Well, Mary, you know, Biden comes out, you -- we saw all across the country in the last midterm, Democrats going all in on more conservative, more Trump candidates. There is a little bit of that at play here. Because Trump is the candidate that keeps losing. If you are going to pick someone to run against, why wouldn't you pick Donald Trump? He's the gift that keeps on giving to Democrats.
RAMESH PONNURU, NATIONAL REVIEW EDITOR: See, but the problem with that strategy, I think, is also the problem with the prevailing Republican anti-Trump strategy which is to say that he's a sure loser. He's not a sure loser. If there's a recession, you will have head-to-head polls probably showing him ahead of Biden some point next year, and then, A, what happens to the anti-Trump strategy if he no longer looks like a sure loser and, B, have the Democrats ended up again playing with fire?
KARL: Heck, if he -- if he -- if he gets the nomination, he may have Bill Barr's vote even after Barr just said it would be a tragedy.
HEITKAMP: Well, there's huge Trump fatigue in the elector. I mean, you get -- it swirls around here. But let me tell you, I know Trump voters who are tired. I got tons of texts from friends who are Republicans saying, ugh, when Trump announced.
And so I disagree. I think Trump -- clearly, that the Republicans are reading the tea leaves right. He can't win election. And if you're going to pick a candidate right now to run against in 2024, you pick Donald Trump if you're a Democrat.
KARL: All right. The other drama, I mean -- many dramas simultaneously happening here, but the Republican takeover of the House, does McCarthy actually have the votes to become speaker?
PONNURU: If he has -- if he gets the votes, he'll get them a few minutes beforehand. I don't think he has the votes right now.
KARL: So -- so what happens?
PONNURU: I think you have the potential for prolonged chaos where the opponents of McCarthy inside the Republican Caucus show that they've got him where they want him and then allow him to take the speakership.
KARL: Prolonged chaos?
BADE: Yeah. I mean, you talk to McCarthy's camp, they think he's going to do it. They think he's going to get there. And that the question is, what does he have to give these conservatives in order to get there? But --
KARL: He won't get there on the first ballot. They're going to have to vote over and possibly over and over again.
BADE: I mean -- potentially. But the issue here is that you now have a number of conservatives who say there's nothing that McCarthy could give them that would make them vote for him for speaker.
And we have seen something like this before. Speaker Pelosi had this problem in 2018 where there's a bunch of rebels who wanted her out, so they won't vote for him -- vote for her. But she was able to pick them off one at a time.
The issue here is McCarthy is no Pelosi when it comes to the iron grip that she had over the Democratic caucus. And so, if he -- if he gets there, he is going to have to really give some serious concessions that are going to make him potentially the weakest speaker we have seen in modern history because he is going to be giving up a lot of authority to these conservatives.
KARL: Mary, you spent a lot of time around McCarthy. I mean, he does have really strong relationships within -- I mean, that's what he -- he has been campaigning for 218 votes for a long time.
But you -- I mean, you have guy like Matt Gaetz come out and said he'd rather be waterboarded by Liz Cheney, I think, was the quote, than vote for McCarthy?
MARY BRUCE, ABC NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, given the razor-think majority here, it's going to be really hard for McCarthy. And then the question is, even if he is speaker, is it governable the majority that he does have? Because he is going to have to give so many concessions. You know, how do you appease the different factions within the Republican Party?
And then, what does that mean when it goes with working with the White House? I mean, talking about relationships, McCarthy and Joe Biden not exactly friends.
KARL: I mean, they've barely spoken.
BRUCE: No, they had that -- they had that one phone call. And even Joe Biden has been frank in saying he doesn't really know the guy. I'm told they are planning to have a face-to-face meeting someone soon or he will meet with Republican leaders, possibly once this is sorted out I suspect.
But, look, the idea that they're going to get anything done, I think, is beyond optimistic. We all know where McCarthy is heading and this is going to be just an investigation palooza.
KARL: And that's the thing, Ramesh, if he doesn't get 218 votes, it's chaos. But those that are saying "hell no", they won't vote for Kevin McCarthy, they like chaos. I mean, that's not an argument against it. I mean, they want chaos.
HEITKAMP: Yeah. But, ultimately, you got to have a speaker. And I -- I can't let this go by without drawing the contrast between what's happening in the Republican conference and caucus and what Nancy Pelosi pulled off in this transition of leadership.
I mean, the mark of a really great leader is a succession planning. She had this thing greased. And now, you got to --
KARL: And there's no drama.
HEITKAMP: I know. And think about -- think about the comparison. If it takes them two months to name a speaker and you say, well, the administration work with them, the first thing they announce is that they are going to investigate your son.
So, I mean, you know, this -- Paul Ryan was fairly optimistic that there's going to be an agenda. Trust me. There's not --
KARL: It was Will Rogers who said I don't belong to an organized political party, I'm a Democratic. I mean, it was pretty organized.
PONNURU: Yeah, parties have traded places.
KARL: So, let's go back to the other -- I mean, there's crazy news overnight. Donald Trump is back on Twitter. Elon Musk did it with a poll. Do we have the poll? A twitter poll. This is how he made this monumental decision.
It was 52 percent to 48 percent. That's not what Musk said he was going to do.
BRUCE: But there it is. And you -- you know, Donald Trump has suggested he may not return to Twitter, right? He prefers his Truth Social. But I don't know if Donald Trump can resist.
I mean, the audience and the platform of Twitter we know is a hard one for Donald Trump not to just want to jump at. I think there is a question about what kind of Twitter he will be participating in given what we have seen at the company in the last week, given the massive exits and layoffs and just sort of the problems that that company may be encountering. But there is a real risk here.
I think, you know, Twitter is something that I think all of us rely on and use a lot. The question is what kind of megaphone will it give to Donald Trump, what kind of checks will there be? And, this is a man who was kicked off of Twitter for inciting violence and spreading blatant lies.
And what happens when he is given free rein again and does it become potentially, you know, a hotbed for misinformation again?
KARL: Because -- I'm sorry. Because he's got -- he's got 83, I mean, it keeps changing, million followers that have been restored on Twitter. On Truth Social, which is his own, and he owns the - the platform, he's got a fraction of that. I mean -
BADE: And that's --
KARL: And he - he -- he truths, or whatever they call it, and nobody hears it.
BADE: That's exactly why I think a lot of people expect him back on Twitter. He loves the attention, right? And talk about a gift to Democrats. I mean, I remember covering Paul Ryan, one of your previous guests, when Trump would tweet all the time from the White House and we would chase Paul Ryan around the halls and ask Republicans -
BADE: Comments on this controversial comment that Trump just made. And they would spend all their days trying to dodge all these questions.
But for Democrats, it's great. They can hold that up to their voters and say, look at the Republican Party. We are the adults at the table, and this is what's happening on Twitter.
KARL: Well, if he goes on Twitter again, his own company is effectively dead.
HEITKAMP: Right. And - and there is a discussion today about an SEC restriction that he has in his own company to not migrate all of his tweets over there. You know, like a six-hour holdoff. And so he -- not that Donald Trump has always been worried about legal guardrails, but --
KARL: He's worried about money though.
HEITKAMP: But - yes, yes, he is. And - and he -- the last thing he needs is an SEC investigation.
PONNURU: Yes. Yes, well, there's also a big loophole in that contract, which allows him to do things, to get out the vote, for example, on other media, which includes Twitter and almost anything he says could be intercepted that way if he wants to.
BADE (ph): That's correct.
PONNURU: But I think that this time what needs to happen, not just with Trump, just with Twitter in general, the press needs to cover Twitter with an understanding that's internalizing in every story, that most people aren't on it.
PONNURU: And - and even most people who are on it aren't obsessive about it the way we in the press tend to be. That, I think, has been a real dysfunction in the - in the relationship between the press and Twitter.
HEITKAMP: But - but Rachel makes such a great point. I've watched them dodge during my time in the Senate, reporters like you, and that's going to make it miserable for all the people who don't want to be disloyal to Donald Trump, but also don't want to own his crazy.
KARL: All right, we've got to take a break.
We will be right back.
KARL: That's all for us today. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday us with. Check out "WORLD NEWS TONIGHT" tonight and tune in next week for more of Martha's special coverage on the war in Ukraine.
Have a happy Thanksgiving.