'This Week' Transcript 11-5-23: White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer, Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Rep. Steve Scalise
This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, November 5.
A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, November 5, 2023 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)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC "THIS WEEK" ANCHOR: Urgent pleas. Israel's military pushes deeper into Gaza, rejecting American calls for a humanitarian pause.
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We need to do more to protect Palestinian civilians.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And Congress clashes over aid to Israel and Ukraine.
REP. MIKE JOHNSON (R-LA): We can help Israel and ensure that our own House is in order.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): House Republicans released a partisan and woefully inadequate package.
STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning Ian Pannell reports from inside Gaza. Plus, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer and Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise.
One year out.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's unite this country. Let's do it together.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We're going to make America great again.
STEPHANOPOULOS: As the 2024 election comes into focus, the shrinking GOP primary field gets set for a third debate.
NIKKI HALEY (R), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No one’s going to outwork me in this race.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We’ve got to focus on the American people’s issues.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Voters head to the polls in several states Tuesday with abortion rights on the line.
GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN, (R) VIRGINIA: There is a choice here between no limits and reasonable limit.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin joins us live. Rick Klein breaks down our brand-new poll results. Plus, analysis from our powerhouse roundtable.
BEN CLEMENTS, FREE SPEECH FOR PEOPLE CHAIRMAN AND SENIOR LEGAL ADVISER: Our message to the secretaries of state is that Donald Trump is disqualified by the Constitution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Devin Dwyer reports on the growing legal battle to bar Donald Trump from holding office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News it’s THIS WEEK. Here now, George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK.
Four weeks ago Hamas launched the bloodiest attack on Israel since the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago. And now the fallout is spreading across the globe. As we come on the air, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has just wrapped an unannounced visit to the West Bank to meet with the president of the Palestinian Authority. It comes during a weekend of intense shuttle diplomacy in which the Israeli prime minister rejected the Biden administration’s call for a humanitarian pause in fighting, and Arab leaders push for an immediate cease-fire.
Chief foreign correspondent Ian Pannell was one of a small group of international journalists brought into Gaza yesterday. He starts us off.
Good morning, Ian.
IAN PANNELL, ABC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, George.
Four weeks into the war and over one since the ground incursion began. This really was our first opportunity to see the situation on the ground in Gaza first-hand. I mean inevitably our trip was limited and there were many things that we couldn't see. And the IDF checked our footage for operational security.
PANNELL (voice over): Overnight, Israeli Defense Forces encircling Gaza City as they move to root out Hamas militants. This morning, for the first time since this war began, we go into Gaza. Embedded with troops from Israel's 401st armored brigade for a few hours. The first time they've taken journalists into the war zone since it began.
PANNELL: Well, we’re just on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza. We're together with a tank regiment. They’ve got tanks. They’ve got armored personnel carriers. And they’re going to take us basically down this track, which leads straight into Gaza. I asked the commander, what is the situation on the ground. His answer was very simply, nowhere is safe there.
PANNELL (voice over): The convoy starts to move. The doors of our heavily armored vehicle lock tight and a tense, (INAUDIBLE) journey begins. Lieutenant Colonel Ido Ben-Anat is the deputy commander of the 401.
PANNELL: How tough has the fighting been?
LT. COL. IDO BEN-ANAT, 4TH BRIGADE, ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES: It's tough. It's tough. They're trying to surprise us. They're trying to see where we're – we’re strong, where we're weak, and how they can take it as an advantage.
PANNELL (voice over): We were driven about three miles into the Gaza Strip towards the northern side of Gaza City. It's a scene of utter devastation. Building after building scarred and blackened by the bombardment. The crackle of gunfire and crump of tank fire ever present. The landscape is apocalyptic.
PANNELL: We're here in Gaza at the moment. We're here together with the Israeli Defense Forces. We're not allowed to say exactly where we are. You can see the tanks next to me. You can hear the sound of the tank fire. We’re hearing gunfire. This still remains an incredibly active zone.
PANNELL (voice over): But this is what we couldn't see on the (INAUDIBLE). The death toll in Gaza, more than 9,400 according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry. About two-thirds women and children.
This man yells, you walk on the street, you're hit. And while you're carrying the body to bury, they strike us.
On Friday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken visiting Israel, urging a humanitarian pause in the offensive, but conceding to Arab leaders Saturday that without the release of the roughly 240 hostages, a temporary cessation is unlikely.
ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's our view that a ceasefire now would simply leave Hamas in place, able to re-group and repeat what it did on October 7th.
PANNELL (on camera): Well, George, what I saw unfolding on the ground is an incredibly complex, dangerous and difficult military operation and incredibly costly in terms of civilian lives. I think it’s going to take months at best to achieve its goals. And even then, I'm actually not sure that the goals that the Israeli government have set out are achievable. I think the challenge for Israel, America, and Arab allies is, what does the day after look like? Few are likely to be willing to pick up the pieces of what's going to be left in Gaza after the fighting stops.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Ian Pannell, thanks very much.
Let's bring in President Biden’s deputy national security adviser, Jon Finer.
Jon, thanks for joining us this morning.
You just saw Ian’s report right there, says nowhere is safe in Gaza right now. What's your read on the situation in Gaza right now? How much damage has been done to the Hamas leadership? Has it come at an acceptable cost?
JON FINER, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, George, obviously there has been a devastating toll on civilians in Gaza, on infrastructure in Gaza. But let's take a step back and – and discuss a bit why that is and why that came about.
Obviously, there was a horrific attack on October 7th. Hamas fighters then retreated into the Gaza Strip, hid themselves among the civilian population, sometimes underground, underneath critical infrastructure and densely populated areas. Now, we have said, that places a higher burden on the Israeli Defense Forces in the way that they prosecute that war.
It doesn't diminish, though, their responsibility to distinguish between civilians and fighters. And – and we have raised that issue publicly. We've raised that issue quite directly with Israeli officials. And we're going to continue to hold them to the expectation that the war will be conducted according to international humanitarian law.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about those pointed questions Ian Pannell ended with, are the goals of the Israeli government achievable and what does the day after look like?
FINER: I'll let the Israeli government speak to its own objectives. What I think we believe and – and feel strongly is that Gaza cannot and should not be allowed to be a platform from which horrific terrorist attacks can be conducted against Israel. And – and so to the extent that they are seeking to – to make that no longer possible, that is both a very legitimate and we believe an achievable goal.
Beyond that, what comes on the day after? I think we've also started to speak to. We cannot go back to a pro-October 7th environment in Gaza where it can threaten Israel in that way, but the president has also said we cannot go back to a pre-October mindset when it comes to Palestinian governance overall, including in the West Bank, including in Gaza. And that means resuming the urgent work of giving a political horizon to the Palestinian people, which to President Biden means a two-state solution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Did – did – did Secretary Blinken make any progress on that with the Arab leaders yesterday and with Prime Minister Netanyahu? He didn't appear to.
FINER: Well, look, I – I think you focused understandably on areas in which there is still agreements. A number of the Arab countries are calling for a ceasefire. Secretary Blinken spoke quite clearly to why we believe now is not the time for an overall ceasefire, although we have made clear that we would support and are advocating for humanitarian pauses to allow humanitarian aid to be distributed, to potentially facilitate the release of more hostages and to give some relief and to allow the Palestinian residents of Gaza to take a breath amid this heavy, heavy bombardment.
But I think underneath that area of disagreement there is actually a lot of alignment among the United States and our Arab partners on the fact that we cannot go back to a pre-October 7th mindset. None of them are particular supporters of Hamas. That is quite clear. And all of them, I think, are strong supporters of the need for a two-state solution, which is what Secretary Blinken and President Biden have also been calling for, and the need to resume that work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What do we know about the situation with the hostages right now? There were some reports from Hamas that several dozen have been killed in the air strikes.
FINER: So, George, we can't verify any of those reports. They are coming directly from Hamas. And -- and we believe they should be taken with a grain of salt.
But what we can say is this is, obviously, a very dangerous situation for anybody in Gaza, including the hostages who are being held there against their will. There are quiet, intensive negotiations going on behind the scenes involving a number of – of parties. We have not detailed all of the back and forth in those negotiations. They have been going on virtually since the day in which these hostages were taken. It is a huge priority for the president and for all of us to get as many of those hostages home, including, obviously, the American citizens who are held there as soon as possible. And we believe that is still possible, but that work is continuing and there is no agreement yet.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But do we have any independent information on the condition of the hostages and whether any have been killed?
FINER: We do not have any detailed information. As you know, we are not on the ground. The United States government, the United States military not on the ground in Gaza. So, it is very difficult to verify those claims. We, obviously, have deep concerns about the safety and well-being of -- of Americans and others who are being held there.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The president has been under growing pressure from Democrats here at home to do more to end the fighting. We've seen protests as well.
Probably the harshest is Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. I want to show what she put up on Friday. She said: Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people. The American people won't forget Biden. Support a ceasefire now or don't count on us in 2024.
FINER: Look, we strongly disagree with some of that messaging and with some of the terms used to describe this conflict. But what I will say is we know that this is a conflict about which there are strong views on all sides, including in the United States, including frankly, even within the United States -- the Biden administration about the conduct of this conflict.
We have seen some of that spill out into the public. We have seen strong comments made by members of Congress. We respect the fact that there are people who have deep personal ties to this conflict in a way that may have been unusual in terms of the recent world events.
All of that said, some of the characterizations and the terms used we believe have technical definitions, have certain historical resonance and weight, and that we do not accept their application to this particular war even as we continue to raise our serious concerns about the toll that this is taking on civilian life and the need to do even more to protect it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, the presidential request for aid to Israel and Ukraine and Taiwan and others appears to be the victim of a stalemate right now. House Republicans have passed aid to Israel tied to cuts in IRS enforcement. We have the Republican Leader Steve Scalise on the program next.
What's the president's message to House Republicans?
FINER: I think the message is pretty clear, that it is not good for the United States, good for the region, or good for Israel to tie emergency assistance to Israel to what we consider to be essentially a partisan request for a way to offset that spending. We do not -- we think that is basically without precedent in recent history and we don’t support it and are urging members of our party and members of Congress from any party not to support it either.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon Finer, thanks very much.
And now, let's bring in the House Republican Leader Steve Scalise.
Congressman, thank you for joining us this morning.
You just heard Jon Finer. Your response?
REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: Well, George, good to be with you.
And first of all, we wanted to make sure we quickly got relief to Israel. We’ve been working with the Israeli government on this specific request that they’ve had, replenishing the Iron Dome, replenishing David's Sling, some other strategic missile systems that they are using right now.
Look, I met with some of the families Friday, George, of those victims, those hostages, people who died in the attack on the 7th, and they want relief. They want their families back, and that's why this talk of a pause needs to stop.
Hamas needs to be eliminated. Hamas working with Iran has been plotting and planning for months, if not over a year, to invade Ga -- to Invade Israel, and Israel has a right to defend themselves and we in the Congress stand right behind them in their efforts to -- to, you know, fight this war and win this war.
It's going to be -- it’s going to be a long war, and it's a conflict that we are with Israel on every step of the way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But as you know, this funding request that you have put through is dead on arrival in the Senate. You've tied the aid to Israel to cuts in IRS enforcement, which is designed to go after wealthy tax cheats.
Why com -- why combine those two? Is the new speaker prepared to put clean funding for Israel on the floor of the House?
SCALISE: Well, actually, even the CBO says that some of that money would be going after low and middle-income families.
But at the end of the day, we passed a bill that addressed two problems that our Defense Department talks about. One, we need to get aid to Israel and we do, but when our generals come and testify before committees like Armed Services, they say our debt is our biggest national threat, not other countries like China, and Russia. They say it’s our debt.
We addressed both in this bill, and we've got a bipartisan vote, George, and I think that's important too.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me -- let me just stop, let me just stop you right there.
You say you addressed the debt, in fact, and you’re the one who referenced the CBO. The CBO said that this proposal you put on the floor that you passed the House is actually going to increase the deficit, not reduce the debt.
SCALISE: Well, only CBO would say reducing the size of government --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you just cited the CBO. I mean, that's their analysis. It’s going to reduce it because you’re taking away enforcement.
SCALISE: Right, but the CBO said -- but the CBO said it's going to actually hit people making under $400,000 a year with $4 billion in new taxes.
That violates President Biden's own pledge by the way that he made to low income families. He promised he wouldn't raise their taxes. CBO said it would be a $4 billion hit to those families.
SCALISE: At the end of the day, we passed the bill to give the aid to Israel and it was a bipartisan vote. And it's over in the Senate.
If the Senate has an issue with the bill, they can take it up. If they send it to the president, I have no doubt the president would sign that bill because that gives Israel the aid that they need, again, with a bipartisan vote out of the House.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, I’m confused. You cite the CBO, you -- approvingly when they agree with the proposal you -- when they agree with your conclusions, and you dismiss them when they disagree?
SCALISE: The CBO has been wrong on a number of fronts. And you can go look at how well that’s documented. The bottom line is, they do acknowledge that about $4 billion in new taxes would hit low and middle income families. That’s something that violates President Biden’s own promise he made during the campaign.
STEPHANOPOULOS: They also say quite explicitly you can increase the deficit, but we’ll move on right now.
This week one of your former -- colleagues, Congressman Ken Buck, a Republican of Colorado, said he was leaving, retiring from Congress. And here's what he said on his way out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Our nation is on a collision course with reality. And a steadfast commitment to truth, even uncomfortable truths, is the only way forward. Too many Republican leaders are lying to America, claiming that the 2020 election was stolen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: He said that you're one of those leaders who has been unequivocal in saying it was a clean election, that Joe Biden did not steal the election.
SCALISE: Well, Ken, I’ve worked with, on a number of issues, including getting spending under control, getting our economy back on track. He's talked about that 2020 election as well. You and I have, I think, have talked about that too. At the end of the day, getting our country back on track is our focus. And that’s what we’re focused on right now. That’s why we're moving bills out of the House to address our open border, which, by the way, you don't see this administration wanting to confront when you have people on the terrorist watch list coming across our open border. We want to get our economy moving again by getting energy prices under control.
We just passed a bill Friday that gets no press coverage that stands up to Iran’s ability to sell their oil on world markets. They've made $80 billion since Joe Biden took office, selling their oil on world markets, and then using that money to fund Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
We passed a strong bill will a very bipartisan vote Friday to push back and impose tough sanctions so Iran can't keep making that kind of money. Let's make our energy in America, not let Iran and other bad, hostile countries get that money that they use to fund terrorism. Those are bills we just passed. That’s what our focus has been on, getting our country back on track and supporting our allies and going after our enemies who are emboldened right now by the weakness from this administration. We need stronger action right now.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you say unequivocally the 2020 election was not stolen?
SCALISE: What I’ve told you, there are states that didn’t follow their laws. That is what the state constitution – the U.S. Constitution requires. You know, I've seen in my own state where we had to send our elections commissioner to jail years ago for fraud and corruption. And we cleaned up our act in our state. Every state ought to follow the laws that are on their books. That’s what the U.S. Constitution says.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s not what I asked. I said, can you say unequivocally that the 2020 election was not stolen?
SCALISE: Look, Joe Biden’s president. I know you and others want to talk about 2020. We’re focused on the future. We’ve talked about 2020 a lot. We're talking about how to get our country back on track, how to get our economy moving, how to stand up to the bad actors around the world.
Xi is not slowing down in China. He's looking at Taiwan. You see what's going on in Russia. You see what Iran is doing to work with Hamas and other terrorist organizations. This administration needs to pick up the pace. They're not standing up to the bad actors around the world they need to. We're passing bills to address this through the House. The Senate needs to take action. The president needs to take action as well. That's what we're focused on in the House.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman, I know that Joe Biden is president. I'm asking you a different question. Can you say unequivocally that the 2020 election was not stolen?
SCALISE: What I’ve told you, and you’ve -- you've seen this -- there are states that didn't follow the laws that are on their books, which is what the U.S. Constitution says they have to do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you -- so you just refuse to say unequivocally that the 2020 election was not stolen?
SCALISE: So, you want to keep rehashing 2020. We’re talking about the future of (INAUDIBLE) threats this country.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I just want an answer to the question, yes or no?
SCALISE: We've asked – look, we've talked about this before. But, again, will you acknowledge that there were states that didn't follow the actual state legislative enacted laws on their book, which the U.S. Constitution says they’re supposed to do? Do you know that?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I know that every single – I know that every court that looked at whether the election was stolen said it wasn't, rejected those claims. And I asked you a very, very simple question. Now I've asked it, I think, the fifth time that you can't appear to answer. Can you say unequivocally that the 2020 election was not stolen?
SCALISE: I told you – I told you there were a handful – there were a handful of – there were a handful of states that didn't follow their laws. The rest did. The rest followed. And, again, states that Trump won, States that Biden won that did follow their laws, there were a handful of states that didn’t follow the laws that were on the books. They went to secretaries of state to change the rules of the game and then the voters didn't know what the rules were because ultimately the state laws weren't followed in those states. That's not what the U.S. Constitution says. At some point, we should go back to following the Constitution, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: The courts have all followed the Constitution. They all rejected the claims you just made. And I just want to say, again, for the record, you cannot say -- you cannot say that the 2020 election was not stolen?
SCALISE: Or they said there was no standard. They’re – some of them they didn’t reject some of those (INAUDIBLE) standing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes or no, was the 2020 election stolen?
SCALISE: What I've told you is Joe Biden's the president of the United States, and right now, he's failing the country on so many fronts that matter to families.
We're talking about what matters to families today. You can keep talking about 2020. I'm talking about what's wrong with our country today, how to fix the problems, how to secure America's border. You don't want to talk about that because Democrat mayors across the country are talking about how broken our border is, to the point where people on the terrorist watch list from some of these hostile countries are coming into our country today, not just bringing drugs that are killing young people but people that actually want to do us harm. And this president won't take action.
We've passed legislation to fix this problem, to secure our border. The president doesn't want to negotiate with us or with Democrat mayors who are telling him it's a major problem, to big cities like New York, that we should all be concerned about.
So the president can keep talking about the past. You can. We're going to talk about the future and how to help these families who are struggling across America with high gas prices, high prices when they go to the grocery store, every other problem that they're concerned about. That's what we're focused on in this House.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks for your time this morning.
Coming up, one year to the 2024 election, political director Rick Klein breaks down our brand-new poll, plus voters head to polls Tuesday for several key races. And Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin joins us live.
STEPHANOPOULOS: One year from today, voters will cast the final votes on what may be the most consequential election of our lives. And this morning we have a new poll with Ipsos that offers a snapshot of where they stand today.
Political director Rick Klein is here to break down the results.
And, Rick, the poll confirms what we've been seeing, voters in a sour mood.
RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, George, voters are just plain frustrated across the board. Seventy-six percent of adults in this poll say the country is headed in the wrong direction. Only 23 percent, less than a quarter of the country, say that we're headed on the right track.
And the issues that are animating voters' frustration, it's almost unspeakably vast and broad. Economy, 74 percent of Americans say it's very important to them personally; 69 percent say the same about inflation. Those are issues in our poll that tend to favor Republicans. Voters say they trust Republicans more than Democrats on those issues. Other issues, including health care, abortion rights, a little bit lower on the priority list, but at least now tend to more favor Democrats.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump popular?
KLEIN: Yeah, and this is such a remarkable moment in this country, George, because a year from the election, it looks very likely that Donald Trump is going to be the Republican nominee. He's the front-runner. And the Democratic nomination is almost assuredly going to go to President Biden. But people don't like either one of these men.
Look at this. Only 33 percent of the country now saying they have a favorable opinion of Joe Biden. That's one-third, compared to half of the country that has an unfavorable view. And Donald Trump's numbers, even worse, 29 percent favorability compared to 60 percent, who say they view him unfavorably right now.
And in this poll, George, we asked a "What if" question. What if the nominees aren't Biden and/or Trump? What does that do to your vote?
On the question of Biden, 29 percent of Americans saying they're more likely to vote for a Democrat who isn't the current president.
As for Donald Trump, 31 percent say they’re more likely to vote Republican if the nominee isn’t Trump. And in both of those cases, the number of independents, even higher, about 38 percent in both -- in both of those matchups say they're more likely to vote for that party if the current front-runner is not the nominee.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we've got some key state elections this week.
KLEIN: Yeah, and I want to focus on the state of abortion rights in this country, George, because we've talked a lot about it and it could be determined by the result in a couple of key states. The green states here are states where abortion remains widely legal and available. The red states are where it's banned. Orange and yellow, somewhere in between.
And we’ve got gubernatorial races in two states that are very heavily Republican, including Mississippi and Kentucky. In Kentucky, the Democratic governor running for re-election against the state’s current abortion ban.
An interesting race also in Ohio, there was a ballot initiative that would put abortion rights into the state constitution. If that goes down, then you could see an effort to revive the six-week ban in that state on abortion.
And very closely race -- watched races in Virginia -- the state legislature on the line. And if Republicans take control of the state house of delegates and the state senate, you're going to see Governor Glenn Youngkin push a 15-week ban on abortion. Virginia right now, the only state in the South where abortion remains legal.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Rick Klein, thanks very much.
Let's bring in the Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.
Governor Youngkin, thank you for joining us this morning.
That 15-week ban is front and center in the campaign right now. Are you worried that it's going to cost you the legislature?
GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA: Well, George, good morning.
And there -- there are huge elections in Virginia on Tuesday, three short days away, and I appreciate you covering them because I think they're the most important elections in America because these issues that are so important to Virginians are also the ones that are going to be so important to Americans next year.
And on the topic of abortion, this is a tough topic. It’s one of the divisive topics across Virginia and America today, and I’ll just remind you that just four years ago, in Virginia, they were one -- they were one vote away from the Democrats passing a bill that would extend abortion rights all the way up through and including birth paid for by taxpayer money.
I really feel that this is a moment for us to come together around reasonable limits where we can protect life at 15 weeks where a baby feels pain, with full exceptions in the case of rape and incest, and when the mother's life is at risk. And I think this is a place that Virginians can come together.
All the way up through birth is way too extreme. This is a place we can come together and settle on a very difficult topic and I think we can lead here as opposed to fight.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, you -- but current Virginia law says you can -- has 26 weeks, has abortion access up to 26 weeks. Why not just leave that law in place?
YOUNGKIN: What I’m hearing from Virginians and nearly 70 percent have responded that they would support a bill to protect life at 15 weeks with full exceptions where a baby can feel pain, and I think this is a reasonable place for us to land.
And what's on the ballot I think is a choice between no limits and reasonable limits, and I think this is one where Virginians come together around reasonableness. And it then allows us to move onto really important topics, George.
We, of course, see the impact of runaway inflation scaring Virginians and they’re worried about how to make ends meet. Sixty percent of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. They're spending $700 a month more on buying the basics of groceries and clothing for their children than they did just two years ago for the same things.
I hear this all across the Commonwealth. They're worried about jobs. They’re worried about inflation. They’re worried about education. They're worried about public safety, and they're really worried about behavioral health.
And we have led on all of these topics. We have 230,000 more people working today in Virginia than just 22 months ago. We passed record education budgets with 12 percent raises for teachers just in the last 18 months. We’ve had a massive transformation of our behavioral health system which desperately needs it because it's overwhelmed. And we've really gone to work to increase funding into law enforcement.
These are the topics that I hear about every day as I travel around the commonwealth from a vast array of Virginians, Democrats, Republicans, independents who were discussing these real-life concerns every day around their kitchen table. We’ve delivered results, and that’s why I’m excited about what’s going to be on the ballot.
I think we can hold our House and flip our Senate and we can keep going because there are so many important topics for us to focus on, to drive Virginia to be the best place to live in America. And we're seeing a lot of people move here as a result of the great actions I think we've taken.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You got a lot of Republicans around the country want you to run for president, as you know. You just saw the poll we had that showed both Joe Biden and Donald Trump unpopular. Now, I know you say you’re not going to address this until after the Tuesday election, but I just want to know, have you -- have you ruled out running for president in 2024 or is that still a possibility?
YOUNGKIN: Well, George, I am -- I’m a -- I’m a homegrown Virginian who 40 years ago was washing dishes and taking out trash, and to even have my name tossed around in this is incredibly humbling.
I'm excited about the fact that people are, are encouraged by what's happening in Virginia where common-sense policies really are working, working to generate job growth, and we have a huge tax rebate that has gone out we've had $5 billion of tax relief. People like this.
And so, I continue to be very focused on Virginia. I've said over and over again., I've been at the Rockingham County Fair, not the Iowa State Fair. I'm campaigning across Virginia and focused on Virginia, not in New Hampshire, not in South Carolina, and not in Nevada. I'm focused on Virginia, and that's where my attention will continue to be.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's about the -- good answer, I was expecting. It wasn't exactly a no, but thank you for addressing the question.
Let me just finally ask you the question that I asked Steve Scalise, he couldn't answer yes or no on whether the 2020 election was stolen. Can you?
YOUNGKIN: Well, I've consistently said that Joe Biden was legitimately elected president. He's sleeping in the White House. I wish he weren't. In all candor, the chaos that we see around the world and at home is his projected weakness. International foreign policy has resulted in multiple spots of chaos from Israel to Ukraine to China is his foreign policy weakness again, has resulted in bad adversaries being funded like Iran.
And then we see his weakness at our border, which has turned every state into a border state. The free flow of illegal drugs and crime has really invaded everywhere. We have five Virginians a day on average that died from fentanyl overdoses. And of course, the chaos in our economy is not only hurting Virginians, and Americans, but it projects weakness around the world yet again.
And so, I wish you weren't our president. We can't afford to have him be our president again. And Virginians are telling me every single day that these issues, these issues of jobs and inflation and public safety and great education for their children are so important. That's where we need to be focused and common-sense policies do work. We've demonstrated it in Virginia.
And I'm looking forward to having Virginians come to the polls on Tuesday, and hopefully hold our House, flip our Senate so we can do even more to drive Virginia forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you for answering the question. Governor Youngkin, thanks for joining us.
Up next, Evan Dyer (ph) takes a closer look at a growing legal effort to block Donald Trump in 2024 election -- from 2024 ballot.
Stay with us.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable’s coming up. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC OLSON, PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: We are here because Trump claims, after all that, he has the right to be president again. But our constitution, our shared charter of our nation, says he cannot do so.
SCOTT GESSLER, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP’S ATTORNEY: This is election interference. The petitioners here, the six voters, have appointed themselves private attorney generals that can pick and choose and file lawsuits against whom they seek to disqualify.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Courts in Colorado and Minnesota held unprecedented hearings this week about whether the Constitution's 14th Amendment bars Donald Trump from holding office again because of his attempts to overturn the 2020 election. Senior Washington reporter Devin Dwyer reports that it's almost certain to reach the Supreme Court.
DEVIN DWYER, ABC NEWS SENIOR WASHINGTON REPORTER (voice over): He's been unscathed by his rivals and undeterred by four criminal indictments, but this week Donald Trump faced a new line of attack inside two state courtrooms.
RON FEIN, FREE SPEECH FOR PEOPLE LEGAL DIRECTOR: Petitioners ask this court to uphold the U.S. Constitution and defend American democracy.
DWYER: Judges in Colorado and Minnesota are being asked by bipartisan groups of voters to decide whether an often overlooked part of the Constitution bars Trump from their state ballots.
BEN CLEMENTS, FREE SPEECH FOR PEOPLE CHAIRMAN AND SENIOR LEGAL ADVISER: Donald Trump is disqualified by the Constitution, by section three of the 14th Amendment, from ever holding office again.
DWYER: Attorney Ben Clements, who helped file the Minnesota case, is leading a national campaign to get Trump disqualified.
DWYER: So, is this just another group of Democrats desperate to defeat Donald Trump?
CLEMENTS: No, absolutely not. After taking the oath to defend and uphold the Constitution when he first became president, he violated that oath and engaged in insurrection in his efforts to illegally overturn the election.
DWYER (voice over): Section three of the 14th Amendment was ratified after the Civil War to keep former confederate rebels from holding public office. It says anyone who took an oath as an officer of the United States to support the Constitution and who then engaged in insurrection or rebellion or gave aid or comfort to the enemy is disqualified as a candidate.
The argument gained steam after two prominent conservative legal scholars wrote an analysis concluding Section 3 is valid, enforceable and self-executing.
DWYER: You said that the evidence they’ve laid out, there are 126 pages, is momentous. Why do you say that?
LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: The fact that they are associated with the Federalist Society, that unlike me, they are not liberals, I think, adds credibility.
DWYER: Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe says Section 3 clearly applies to Donald Trump.
TRIBE: This is a provision that's supposed to operate whether or not you are prosecuted and convicted. And the courts are going to have to consider the role that he played, not only in the mob that sacked the Capitol but in the false elector scheme and in all of the other schemes leading up to what happened on January 6th.
DWYER: Some legal scholars say secretaries of state who oversee election ballots could remove Trump today, but none have been willing to enforce Section 3 on their own.
STEVE SIMON, MINNESOTA SECRETARY OF STATE: Eligibility challenges of any kind, whether it's residency or age or anything else, go through one channel and one channel alone, and that's the court.
DWYER: Minnesota's Steve Simon, who is a Democrat, insists his hands are tied.
Are you really that powerless?
SIMON: Well, I don't think it's "powerless." We're not an investigatory office. We're not a law enforcement office. The ones who are going to make the legal calls about who engaged in what conduct and whether it rises to the level of constitutional disqualification, that's what a court will do.
SIMON: This week a court in Michigan will also take up a 14th amendment case against Trump as his attorneys counter-sue there to order the state to include him on the ballot.
SARAH ISGUR, FORMER TRUMP JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON & ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: This is tough, and it hasn't been used before since the Civil War. There's a few sticking points. Was January 6th an insurrection or rebellion, in that legal sense of the term?
Did Donald Trump engage in that insurrection?
The other problem, though, and I think this one's more difficult, is that the language of Article III actually only applies to people who took the oath of office as officers of the United States.
DWYER: But wasn't Donald Trump effectively an officer of the United States as president?
ISGUR: No. Donald Trump took the oath for the president. He did not take the oath for an officer of the United States.
DWYER: Trump has called the lawsuits "an absurd conspiracy theory," his legal team arguing the first amendment right to free speech protects him from allegations he's engaged in insurrection.
SCOTT GESSLER, ATTORNEY OF FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP: We argue here that this, at its basest level, this is election interference.
DWYER: A ruling from the highest court in at least one state could come by the end of the year, and if any decision were to keep Trump off the ballot, legal experts say that would most likely get a Supreme Court review.
TRIBE: It would be a nationwide ruling about the meaning of this provision and how it's to be enforced.
DWYER: And what do you think the odds are that they actually get there?
TRIBE: I think the odds are pretty good that they'll render a decision on the merits, although there's a fairly good chance that they'll find a way to duck, that they'll say it's a political question, not for us, for the voters.
DWYER: And why not just defeat Trump at the ballot box?
The purpose of Section 3 was to say certain people engage in conduct that's so egregious, that is such a threat to our democracy that, even if they have the support of the majority of Americans, they should not serve.
DWYER: For "This Week," Devin Dwyer, ABC News, Washington.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Devin for that. The roundtable's next. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Folks, we're not only transforming rural communities, we're transforming our economy. All this is no accident. It's Bidenomics and by the way, we got more to do. We got more to do.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We're one year from Election Day. We need to put every dollar and every bit of energy into winning in November. We will evict Joe Biden from the White House, and we will finish the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: One year out, they are the front-runners. Let's talk about it at our round table joined by Donna Brazile; our newest ABC political analyst Reince Priebus, he served as the RNC Chair, also Trump White House Chief of Staff -- first Chief of Staff of the Trump White House; Executive Editor, AP, Julie Pace; and our Chief Washington Correspondent Jon Karl, author of two best-selling books about Donald Trump. His third, "Tired of Winning: Donald Trump and the End of the Grand Old Party" debuts in just over a week.
Jon, let me begin with you. We showed our Ipsos Poll early in the broadcast. Rick Klein was here. Neither front-runner, popular, but perhaps even more stunning, this poll in "New York Times" this morning showing Donald Trump leading Joe Biden is five of the six key battleground states, including some rather large leads in Nevada and Arizona.
JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT & "THIS WEEK" CO-ANCHOR: Yeah, it's not an outlier. We have seen similar polls like this that shows that hypothetical match-up which doesn't seem all that hypothetical anymore, Biden versus Trump. It shows that he can actually win and he's leading in these battleground states.
But, George, I have to tell you one thing to consider here is, Trump has been in the news over the last year or so based on the -- on these criminal cases, the civil case in New York, but people have not been paying attention to what Trump has become. Trump since he left the White House, and this is really the theme of my book, has become more detached from reality than he ever was even in the White House.
If you think of where we were in January of 2021, that's the starting point for where a Trump presidency would be next time around. So I think he's had largely, believe it or not, a free ride. Again, the criminal cases we know about, but what he's thinking, what he's doing, he had a speech just the other day in Texas where he referred to the people that are in prison because they attacked the U.S. Capital and beat up police officers, he called them not prisons but hostages. He -- we talk about Biden's age a lot. Biden's negatives are on television every day. You see them.
Trump has become also increasingly confused about things. He -- sometimes he thinks that he lost to Obama in the last election. He confuses basic facts, says some rather strange things, but there isn't much attention paid. As we get closer to these primaries, we'll see where not just Trump is based on these criminal cases, but where he is now as a human being.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna, this does seem to be much more a proxy about what people feel about Joe Biden and what they think about Donald Trump, and the big -- I guess, the big news in the poll is that Biden is losing to Donald Trump because of huge losses among black voters and young voter.
DONNA BRAZILE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR & FORMER DNC CHAIR: Absolutely, George, and let me just say since age is going to be a factor in this election, let me tell my age. I'm old enough to remember that Ronald Reagan was trailing in 1984, his re-election. I'm old enough in 1984 for his re-election. I'm old enough to remember when Bill Clinton was trailing and Barack Obama was toast right before the 20/11 re-election.
So, don't count out Joe Biden, but this is a -- I would say a wakeup call once again for Democrats to be reminded that they have to go back out there, pull the coalition that they allowed Joe Biden to break new ground in 2020, especially in Arizona and Georgia, but more importantly to bring back that coalition. Without that coalition, it's going to be a very, very difficult race.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Julie Pace, honestly, don't count on Joe Biden. But this is probably going to lead to a lot of Democrats increasing the chatter, that Joe Biden should step aside and, and make room for another Democrat.
JULIE PACE, ASSOCIATED PRESS EXECUTIVE EDITOR: And I think the problem that Democrats have is they don't know who that Democrat would be right now. I don't think that people look at Kamala Harris and feel like she is ready to take that step forward. They look across the rest of the party, governor, senators, mayors, House members, and they're struggling to figure out who they could put up if it's not Joe Biden.
So, I think the reality is Democrats are probably going to run Joe Biden against Trump, for the White House and for the Biden campaign, they need to remake this race into that choice. That's the way that they pull that coalition back together. Because there's just not that enthusiasm for Joe Biden as an individual among some of these coalition's young voters, in particular right now. They are hoping that as Trump takes that step forward, as he maybe becomes more in the spotlight for what he would do as a second term, that they can clarify the choice (INAUDIBLE).
STEPHANOPOULOS: (INAUDIBLE) respond to what Jon was saying earlier, you worry that as, as we get to a two-person race, the Donald -- Donald Trump strings today may become weaknesses by next November.
REINCE PRIEBUS, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: It depends on if, if you look at the electorate today, when I look back at 2016, Donald Trump represented the biggest middle finger that the electorate as a body could find. And what this poll shows and what I see happening across this country is that they're looking for an even bigger middle finger.
This time, they're more angry today. People are more concerned about where we are in the economy. They said in this poll, they're not better off than they were four years ago, they said in one of the responses is that the world is falling apart. And importantly, it also in this poll, the respondents said over 60 percent of the people said that Biden was not mentally up to par.
So, you combine all of that, and the fact that they see Donald Trump as retribution and a big middle finger. The reality is, the more it becomes about Donald Trump, I think if the -- if you agree with that, then I think he could get even stronger. But as, as, as we move forward, because none of these things are affecting Donald Trump.
KARL: I mean, there's, there's a lot of discontent with Biden, there's discontent with the economy, people do think that Biden is too old. He's not as sharp as he once was. But are people ready to sign up for a campaign of retribution? I mean, that's what this is about. What -- he's talking about using the power of the federal government, the IRS, the FBI to go after his enemies.
I think that right now, what you're seeing is discontent with where we are. People want to go back to 2019 when inflation was low, there was relative peace in the world. But are they ready to sign up for a president? Are they ready to put Donald Trump's mental acuity up against Joe Biden?
PRIEBUS: But it only matters with hundred -- listen, this is going to come down to 100,000 people in five states. All the people you're talking about are going to come down to win 100,000 people believe in 100 states after $10 billion is dumped on their head. And all that microtargeting and all the polling. And by the way, what this poll doesn't have as third-party candidates of that (ph).
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, let --
PRIEBUS: So (INAUDIBLE) and there, it's going to help Donald Trump even more.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you a different question. We know that according to some of the polls that if Joe Biden were to step aside, even in The New York Times, well Kamala Harris has a little bit better than Joe Biden does. Do you believe that Donald Trump is your strongest candidate going into next year?
PRIEBUS: Yes, I don't know. I used to think that Donald Trump wasn't the strongest candidate in 2016. And I -- if you asked me now, I think he may have been the only one after looking at what happened in 2016, that would have beaten Hillary Clinton in 2016. I think we've got a lot of good candidates out there. This is not -- this is not to say that one of these other candidates wouldn't be a great candidate.
But certainly, for the Democrats who hate nothing more on the face of the earth than Donald Trump, it's astounding to me --
BRAZILE: Whoa (ph).
PRIEBUS: -- that they're sticking with the one person that's sinking in every single poll, in every single category, 20 points down from where he was in 2016, Black voters, Hispanic voters, young voters, suburban women, and they're just marching off the plank with, with Joe Biden.
BRAZILE: But, you know, I got to constantly tell, whether it's you, my friend, or other Republicans.
BRAZILE: It's not about a hatred of one individual. It's about protecting the democracy for over 233 million Americans. And the middle finger is not what the American people want. It's not what the American people will vote for. I mean, George, I am baffled too. When you have a president that can create 14 million jobs, 1.6 million manufacturing jobs, inflation is down 60 percent, and yes, I agree the price of eggs, the price of gas is not gone down to the point where, you know, we all feel a little good.
Joe Biden is a very credible president. This is going to be a choice election and the choice is really going to be much bigger than who Joe Biden really is.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Julie Pace, another Republican debate this week. Donald Trump is not expected to be there, almost certainly will not be there. Time is running short for the other candidates to make any headway.
PACE: It is. I mean, yes, we are two months away from Iowa and yes, a lot can happen in two months. We have seen surprises in this kind of time frame before, but the fundamentals of this Republican race have remained completely unchanged. Donald Trump doesn't participate in the debates, it doesn't hurt him. Donald Trump faces legal threats, it doesn't hurt him. In fact, he actually grows stronger. You see Mike Pence dropping out, you don't see any further coalescing happening within the Republican Party. It's just very difficult to imagine how something can completely flip this dynamic, which has been entrenched for months at this point.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Right. Glenn Youngkin didn't rule out a race when he answered the question earlier. Is it realistic for anybody else to get in or is that door closed?
PRIEBUS: Well, if you look at the filing deadlines, they're coming up already by the end of the year in 17 states. So to get on the ballot, you have to have a serious operation -- 15,000 signatures in North Carolina, 10,000 in Virginia. It's not easy. Youngkin is really popular, 55 percent approval. He may have a great night on Tuesday. He would be a great president but I think that, like Julie said, I mean, this ship is coming in the harbor against President Trump who is at 53 percent in a crowded field. That's a lot different than even 2016.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon, we have about 30 seconds left. What are you expecting Tuesday?
KARL: It's really a question whether or not Nikki Haley can continue. I'm sorry about (ph) the election -- I'm thinking Wednesday.
KARL: Well, look I think that Kentucky is an absolutely fastening (ph) race. And I think that…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor's race.
KARL The governor's race, and I think the governor (ph) Democrat stands a good chance of winning in Kentucky which will be very interesting. (inaudible) split decision, if Reince is right about Virginia, we'll have a split decision, and it might not tell us much about what going to happen (ph).
BRAZILE: And maybe Mississippi might be a surprise.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I knew you were going to go there.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you all very much. We'll be right back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out "World News Tonight" and I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."