A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, December 4, 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.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC HOST (voiceover): Historic handover.
NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The House Democrats are passing the torch to a new generation of leaders.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A new era for House Democrats.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, (D-NY): House Democrats fight for the people. That's our commitment as we move forward.
STEPHANOPOULOS: This morning, the newly elected Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries, a “This Week” exclusive. And the GOP response from the chair of the Republican Governance Group, Congressman Dave Joyce.
UNKNOWN MALE: I wasn’t spending any time or effort trying to manage risk on FTX.
STEPHANOPOULOS (on camera): That’s a pretty stunning admission.
STEPHANOPOULOS (voiceover): Lessons of the FTX collapse. More of my exclusive interview with Sam Bankman-Fried. Plus, Dan Abrams and Rebecca Jarvis on the legal and economic fallout.
And final stretch.
SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, (D-GA): I've got one question for you, are you ready to win this election?
HERSCHEL WALKER, CANDIDATE FOR UNITED STATES SENATOR, (R-GA): Now what we got to do is we got to get out and vote.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Georgians break turnout records ahead of Tuesday’s Senate runoff as Democrats consider a seismic shift in the primary calendar for 2024. Former DNC Chair Donna Brazil takes part in those discussions. She joins the Powerhouse Roundtable to discuss that and all the week’s politics.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week." Here now, George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS (on camera): Good morning and welcome to "This Week."
One month after the midterms the new Congress is coming into focus. Georgia Senate a runoff between Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker will determine if the Democrats have 50 or 51 votes.
And last night, the House was finally decided when California’s John Duarte became the 222nd House Republican, mirroring the Democrat’s narrow majority in the last Congress.
The big question now for the GOP will Kevin McCarthy have enough votes for speaker? The Democrats made history with their choice this week, voting unanimously to make Hakeem Jeffries their leader. He’ll be the first Black lawmaker to lead a party in Congress.
And he joins us now. Good morning, Congressman. Welcome.
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES, (D-NY): Good morning, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And congratulations to you. What's your mission in the new Congress?
JEFFRIES: Well, our mission is to find ways to work with Republicans whenever possible to get things done for the American people TO work on issues related to the economy and inflation and lowering costs, fighting for better paying jobs and safer communities. And I hope that Republicans will look for common ground with us, but we will also oppose them when we must, particularly as it relates to any effort to go down this rabbit hole of unnecessary, unconscionable, unacceptable investigations of the administration.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to talk about that more coming up. But first, why don’t you lay out specifically where you think there can be some bipartisan compromise?
JEFFRIES: Well, from my view, the American middle class and those who aspire to be part of it have been under assault for decades. There have been a series of forces conspiring against them whether that's the globalization of the economy, outsourcing of good paying American jobs, upholding negotiated trade deals, decline in unionization, rise of automation has made it difficult for folks to pursue the American dream.
That's not a Democratic problem or an American --
STEPHANOPOULOS: What's the solution? That’s what I'm asking.
JEFFRIES: Well, I think the solution relates to several things, one we can build upon the work that has occurred already, Inflation Reduction Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs, like the CHIPS and Science Act, making sure we bring domestic manufacturing jobs, other jobs back home to the United States of America, implement the historic legislation that has already been put in place, and to find common ground to look for other ways to build upon that great work.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Have you had any conversations with Republican about that yet?
JEFFRIES: Have not had any conversations with Republicans yet. We are in the process of organizing as Democrats, they are in the process of course as organizing as Republicans. But I look forward to those conversations soon.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you expect that Kevin McCarthy is going to be speaker?
JEFFRIES: Well, that's the question at the end of the day that the Republicans are going to have to work out. He seems to be having a difficult time at this moment getting to 218. But we’ll see what happens on January 3rd --
STEPHANOPOULOS: It may involve Democrats as well. I have seen that some Republicans have suggested perhaps putting forward a moderate Republican as a challenger to Kevin McCarthy, hoping to draw Democratic votes. Any chance that Democrats will cooperate with that?
JEFFRIES: Well, we have to organize on our side and be prepared to hit the ground running on January 3rd. They have to organize on their side. And we'll see what happens. But --
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's a possibility?
JEFFRIES: I wouldn't say that it's possibility. Right now, Democrats are preparing to get ourselves ready as we transition temporarily from the majority into the minority, continuing to work with the Biden administration, with Democrats in the Senate, building upon the great work led by Speaker Pelosi and Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn that has been done over the last few Congresses when we've been in majority. And then let’s see what happens on the other side of the aisle.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that -- but that's only part of it. I'm going to press this one more time because this is -- you talk about your main mission is finding a way to have bipartisan compromise. If somehow Democrats and Republicans can come together to elect a Republican speaker who’s willing to compromise, wouldn't that be good for Democrats? Wouldn’t that advance your mission?
JEFFRIES: Well, I think the question right now is, what are the Republicans going to do? From our standpoint we know what our mission is, fight for lower costs, fight for better paying jobs, fight for safer communities, defend democracy, fight for reproductive freedom, put the public interest first and ensure economic opportunity in every single corner of America.
The question on the other side of the aisle is, what will Republicans do? Are they going to double and triple down on the extremism that we've seen from people like Marjorie Taylor Greene? That would be unfortunate. And if that happens, then there’s not going to be real meaningful opportunities --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- they don’t, the door may be open?
JEFFRIES: Well, let’s see. David Joyce is a colleague of mine. We’ve actually worked together on legislation, introduced the PREPARE Act to prepare the federal government to move toward the legalization of cannabis which state after state, blue states and red states and purple states all across America are doing.
There is an opportunity for common ground. I've worked with the Trump administration in the past on criminal justice reform. We've worked on trade agreements, particularly with respect to the U.S./Mexico/Canada trade agreement, and in fact, as you know, at least in the Senate, gun safety legislation that we passed for the first time in 30 years, that was bipartisan, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, bipartisan, the CHIPS and Science Act, where we’re working to bring domestic manufacturing jobs back home to the United States of America, that was bipartisan as well. These are foundational things that hopefully we can build upon as we look to the future.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You got a pretty stingy welcome from Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday. Took to the Senate floor and said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITCH MCCONNELL, MINORITY LEADER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE: The newly elected incoming leader of the House of Democrats is a past election denier, who basically said that the 2016 election was, quote, illegitimate. And suggested that we had a, quote, fake president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Suggesting the equivalence there with Donald Trump. What's your response?
JEFFRIES: Well, you know, it's unfortunate that Republicans have chosen to focus on me, House Democrats are going to focus on solving problems for the American people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you did say that history will never accept Donald Trump as legitimate president and the Republicans are making quite a big issue out of that. What is your response?
JEFFRIES: Well, here's the Republican playbook, facts don't matter, hypocrisy is not a constraint to their behavior, and in many cases, they believe shamelessness is a superpower.
My view of the situation has been pretty clear, I supported the certification of Donald Trump's election, I attended his inauguration even though there were many constituents and others across the country pushing me and others to do otherwise, and found ways to work with the Trump administration being the lead Democrat in negotiating historical criminal justice reform.
That track record speaks for itself. At the same time, I will never hesitate in criticizing the former president. I think I’m in good company there throughout the world.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We saw yesterday President Trump taking to Truth Social, tripling down on his election denial, even suggesting -- I want to put it up right here, I'm not going to quote it all -- but he said, that a massive fraud of this type allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. What did you make of that?
JEFFRIES: I thought it was a strange statement. But the Republicans are going to have to work out their issues with the former president and decide whether they're going to break from him and return to some semblance of reasonableness or continue to lean into the extremism, not just of Trump but of Trumpism.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Suspending the Constitution.
JEFFRIES: Suspending the Constitution is an extraordinary step but we're used to extraordinary statements being made by the former president.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How about President Biden? We saw this major move by him and his allies in the DNC this week to rejigger the primary calendar, putting South Carolina first, of course, South Carolina many would argue, made Joe Biden president back in 2020. Do you expect him to run? Do you want him to run?
JEFFRIES: I, certainly, expect him to run. And I absolutely look forward to strongly supporting him.
If you think about President Biden's track record of success, it includes but is not limited to the American Rescue Plan, save the economy, shots in arms, money in pockets, putting kids back in school, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, creating millions of good paying jobs, fixing our crumbling infrastructure, all across America. Urban America, rural America, suburban America, small town America. The heartland of America, gun safety legislation for the first time in 30 years, it will save lives. We've got to do more but it was an incredible step. The CHIPS and Science Act to bring domestic manufacturing jobs back home and the historic Inflation Reduction Act to strike a decisive blow against the climate crisis, lower energy costs, strengthening the Affordable Care Act, low healthcare costs, and drive down the high price of life-saving prescription drugs for millions of Americans.
Those are just the highlights, George. That's an extraordinary record. And on top of all of that, Ketanji Brown Jackson is seated on the United States Supreme Court.
That is a compelling track record of success. I know he'll have a vision for the future. I look forward to strongly supporting President Biden's re-election.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Both Democratic leaders in Congress now from Brooklyn, what does that mean for your hometown?
JEFFRIES: Well, it's been an honor to be able to work with Chuck Schumer ever since my days in the New York state assembly. I look forward to working closely with him. And certainly, we'll make sure that the issues of importance to America are going to be dealt with in a way that lifts everyone up.
But there's a lot of pride back at home on the streets of Brooklyn, and I certainly understand that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Jeffries, thanks for joining us today.
JEFFRIES: Thank you, George
STEPHANOPOULOS: And we're joined now by the chair of the Republican Governance Group, Congressman Dave Joyce.
Congressman, thanks for coming in this morning.
REP. DAVE JOYCE (R-OH): Thank you for having me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, the Republican Governance Group, a group of about 50 Republican members of Congress, moderates -- you describe your group as a, quote, dealmakers hell-bent on breaking through Washington’s dysfunction.
How much leverage do you have? How are you going to use it?
JOYCE: Well, our group is basically focused on making government work. We know what the problems are at home. We've heard about them.
And we're not the people who you see on TV every week talking about issues that aren’t germane to what the people are feeling at home.
You know, what the people are feeling is, you know, that -- you see all this fighting and you see all these kabuki theater taking place in D.C., but what is that doing to lower the price of gas? What is that doing to lower the groceries? How we start fixing the problems that we have with our educational system?
And so, the more we can deal with those type of problems and show that we can govern, then perhaps we'll be respected and given the majority back.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Your priorities are remarkably similar to Hakeem Jeffries’ priorities. He’s just on a few minutes ago.
But where are the specific areas, what are the specific pieces of legislation you can work on together?
JOYCE: Well, first off, we have to set a budget. Every family lives by a budget. That’s what’s -- and the cost of inflation has been blowing up those budgets.
We have to set the budget. The numbers are going to be lower than that has taken place in the last four years. And then we have to do the appropriations process, the 12 bills that actually spend that money and they're going to be lowered than what’s happened in the last four years, too.
And that's going to take 218 votes. And I brought up with the whole conference, when we brought. You all talk about different things but at the end of the day, we're going to do our job and put 12 appropriations bills out there. Are you going to have 218 votes to push this through?
STEPHANOPOLOUS: Well, are there 218, for example, for a program -- for an idea floated by many Republicans to not extend the debt limit unless there are major cuts in programs, including perhaps Medicare and Social Security.
JOYCE: Well, you know, obviously, the debt limit is an issue, and it’s going to be times where I hope that we don't get in a position like we did with that failed experiment in October 2013 where we shut down the government for a long period of time because in the words of a great philosopher, Lebowski, that didn't end too well for us.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But that's what some Republicans are threatening now.
JOYCE: Well, true enough. But, you know, they -- I think -- while Republicans are threatening that I think there's enough of us and enough Democrats that want to actually watch this world work, watch our government work, and make sure that government stays open.
And we’re not going to agree on everything obviously. But it’s important that we start to focus on the things that we can agree on. And, you know, when you focus on those things, like keeping the government open, keeping the budget that’s specifically low so that people understand what the cost and expenses of running their government is.
And if you look at what we've done over a ten-year span with discretionary spending, we’ve actually kept the cost of running the government down. It’s the mandatory spending that’s driving us into the $31 trillion -- as well as the excess spending in the last year.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Would it make sense to clear the decks for that by just extending the debt limit perhaps permanently in this lame-duck session of Congress coming up?
JOYCE: Well, I would think that with the Democratic majority not being completely there, certainly controlled the presidency and Senate, or it appear, that would be at least equal in the Senate, that, you know, it would make sense for them to do those type of things, to create an omnibus right now that takes care of their priorities and set the debt limit ceiling to push it past the ’24 elections. That would -- politically, I think that would make perfect sense for them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Would you vote for it?
JOYCE: I'd have to see. I don't deal in hypotheticals, George. I’ve got to look at the numbers.
That’s the -- I’ve always -- as a former prosecutor, I consider myself a fact-based problem solver. So, when the facts are presented to me, I will make the decision there.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m going to ask you to look at the numbers for Kevin McCarthy. Right now, it looks like he does not have the 218 votes he needs for speaker. You have 222 Republicans --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- in the House right now. At least five have said at least that they're not going to vote for him.
Does he have the votes? How will he get there?
JOYCE: Well, you can't beat somebody with nobody. And right now, you hear that we're just not going to vote for Kevin. Well, then who then?
I mean, Kevin deserves the opportunity. And he has done the hard work that was necessary to bring together the majority. He laid out an outline (ph) on which we could represent our constituents and this country moving forward.
And we were given this opportunity to do that and he deserves the chance to lead us. And he deserves the chance to lead for two years. I’m not a fan of a motion to vacate. I think that’s a stupid idea. We were elected for two years. That’s –
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s one of the demands of your conservative counterparts in the House Republican Conference
JOYCE: Right. And I still think it's stupid because we were given the opportunity to lead for two years. If constituents don’t like what we’re doing, then they can vote us out. Well, certainly, we should give the speaker the opportunity. And at the end of two years, then vote him out. I saw what happened to John Boehner. It wasn't fair. John was a hell of a leader and I think we’d have fared a lot better under the last presidency had Trump – had Boehner been our speaker.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How did – how does Kevin McCarthy manage a conference that has, on the one hand, Dave Joyce and members of the Republican Governance Group on the other hand, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert? He seems to be under great pressure form that front – that faction of the caucus as well.
JOYCE: Well, you know, remember, Kevin started as a minority leader in California. So he’s listening – used to listening to a diverse group of folks. And one thing Kevin does very well is, he makes -- lays out his visions to folks and allows everybody to speak and have that opportunity. And what these people got to get used to is that if a majority of the – of our conference agree to something, then that's how you move the ball forward. And just because five or six people don’t like it doesn’t mean that we should hold up the whole thing.
STEPHANOPOULOS: If they – if they stay hard-nosed, and Kevin McCarthy simply can't get the 218 votes he needs for speaker, would you be behind this effort that some have talked about – I talked to Hakeem Jeffries about -- put forward a moderate Republican that would attract Democratic votes?
JOYCE: But, you know, I think Hakeem was also straight in that he said, you know, they want to exact some things out of that. And I just don’t see anybody on our side willing to give up chairmanships or the opportunities that come with being in the majority. So that would make it harder for anybody to actually get there. That probably would be a perfect resolution to find somebody that everybody could agree on and so we could start moving forward, but I just don't see it happening without -- I think the Democrats are going to vote for Democrats, Republicans will vote for Republicans. And I think, at the end of the day, Kevin will be the next speaker of the House.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I have to ask you a question about Donald Trump's statement yesterday talking about suspending the Constitution. Your reaction?
JOYCE: Well, you know, when President Trump was in office, I didn't make a habit of speaking out on his tweet du jour. I don’t know what came out on is – whatever his new social platform is. But, you know, people were not interested in looking backwards. The people who gave us the majority -- and, again, we – we – we barely won it. We barely eked it out. So, let's be straight about where we're at. They gave us an opportunity, and we need to perform. And we need to care about the issues that they care about, which is, how do they lower the cost at the pump?
I know when I go into Hinans (ph) that the price of everything I buy, eggs, bacon, toast, it all goes up, right? It hasn’t gone down. And, again, people have to live within their budget. What are we doing to make sure that they fall within that budget? What are we doing to make sure that their lives are better? And how do we continue to make sure that they have the jobs and the economy is stable and they have the jobs to be able to live and take care of their families.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Donald Trump was your nominee in 2016 and 2020. You voted for him in 2016 and 2020.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now he's talking about suspending the Constitution. Can you support a candidate in 2024 who’s for suspending the Constitution?
JOYCE: Well, again, it’s early. I think there’s going to be a lot of people in the primary. I think, at the end of the day, you will -- whoever the Republicans end up pick, I'll fall in behind because that’s –
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if it's Donald Trump and he’s called for suspending the Constitution?
JOYCE: Well, again, I think it's going to be a big field. I don’t think Donald Trump’s going to clear out the field like he did in ’16.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s not what I'm asking. I'm asking you, if he's the nominee, will you support him?
JOYCE: I will support whoever the Republican nominee is. And just don't think that, at this point, he will be able to get there because I think there’s a lot of other good quality candidate out there.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s a remarkable statement. You just – you’d support a candidate who's come out for suspending the Constitution?
JOYCE: Well, you know, he says a lot of things. You have to take him in context. And right now I have to worry about making sure his Republican Governance Group and the Republican majority, that we make things work for the American people. And I can't be really chasing every one of these crazy statements that come out about – from any of these candidates that come out (ph).
STEPHANOPOULOS: But -- but that's an extraordinary statement. You can't come out against someone who’s for suspending the Constitution?
JOYCE: Well, first off, he hasn’t -- he has no ability to suspend the Constitution. Secondly, I don’t --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But he says he's for it.
JOYCE: Well, you know, he says a lot of things that -- but that doesn’t mean that it’s ever going to happen. So you’ve got to accept exact fact from fantasy. And fantasy is that we’re going to suspend the Constitution and go backwards. We're moving forward and we're going to continue to move forward as a Republican majority and as a Republican conference.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't see how you can move forward if your candidate is for suspending the Constitution but thank you for your time this morning.
JOYCE: Thank you for having me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Coming up, more from my interview with the crypto mogul, Sam Bankman-Fried, and his candid and shocking admissions that led to billions of losses. Rebecca Jarvis and Dan Abrams are going to analyze the fallout.
We're back in 60 seconds.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPH CURRY, BASKETBALL PLAYER: …expert, and I don't need to be. With FTX I have everything I need to buy, sell, and trade crypto safely.
TOM BRADY, FOOTBALL PLAYER: I'm trading crypto. FTX is the safest and easiest way to buy and sell crypto. It's the best way to get into the game.
UNKNOWN: Like I was saying, it's FTX. It's a safe and easy way to get into crypto.
LARRY DAVID, COMEDIAN, WRITER, PRODUCER: Ehhh, I don't think so. And I'm never wrong about this stuff. Never.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Cryptocurrency firm FTX was riding high, spending lavishly on celebrity endorsements before it all came crashing down earlier this month, costing investors billions, wiping out the fortune of founder Sam Bankman-Fried, who is now facing investigations from prosecutors and regulators. I sat down with him in the Bahamas this week for his first broadcast interview.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It's on you. It's also a potential crime, isn't it?
SAM BANKMAN-FRIED, FOUNDER & FORMER CEO, FTX: The that way I see it, like, look, I screwed up, like I was CEO. I had a responsibility here. I had a responsibility to be on top of what was going on on the exchange. I wish I had done much better at that. From my understanding there were documents drafted up that, you know, by legal that were covering what was happening. And you know, frankly, I was -- there's a lot of other things going on.
I have sort of a tendency to be involved in many things, to be, you know, spread thin sometimes. And...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But isn't this the heart of the problem right there?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I mean, this is the -- the reddest of red lines. You don't use money from depositors. You don't borrow money from depositors to give to a sister company. That's true, isn't it?
BANKMAN-FRIED: I mean, there were explicit mechanisms by which there was allowed borrowing and -- and lending on the platform. But I completely agree that it is in general like a huge warning flag and I thought that we had, you know, processes in place that were managing it. I didn't do nearly as much much diligence on that as I should have.
I -- I also really underestimated the, you know, risk of, um, what a correlated market crash would look like here which is also something I should have gotten right.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's get more on the legal and economic fallout now with our chief business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, our chief legal analyst Dan Abrams.
And, Dan, I went round and round with Sam many times on this idea of giving FTX depositors' money over to Alameda Research. He had a hard time answering. He finally landed on, I didn't do anything improper. I call it a red line, but what is the law?
DAN ABRAMS, ABC CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, look, there's no question that it's improper, right? The question is whether it crosses the legal line. And when you're talking about the possibilities of, you know, numerous federal crimes here from wire fraud, securities fraud, et cetera, now his defense seems to be, I didn't know what was happening at my own company. And we've actually seen that a lot with CEOs who are indicted. The defense ends up being, I know this is hard to believe, but I didn't actually...
STEPHANOPOULOS: But they have a fiduciary responsibility, don't they?
ABRAMS: Of course they do. Of course they do. But as a legal matter, you still need a level of intent to commit the crime. And his basic defense, it sounds like, is, I didn't have the intent. I wasn't trying to do it. That's not enough in a lot of cases. That's not going to protect him necessarily from getting indicted. But it is something we hear from CEOs who get tried, and it almost never works.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Now, Rebecca, give us some sense of the scale of the losses here for investors and its impact on the crypto industry overall.
REBECCA JARVIS, ABC CHIEF BUSINESS & ECONOMICS CORRESPONDENT: Well, George, when you look at crypto, overall, about a year ago this time the whole industry was $3 trillion. Today it's about a $900 billion industry. It has come down a lot because a lot of cryptocurrencies have dropped and also because of what has happened inside of FTX. And that's smaller than Apple at this point. The entire industry is smaller than Apple.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Entire industry, yes.
JARVIS: It’s half the size of Apple as an entire company. I think one of the things that the finance community is really looking at here is how FTX was built.
So Dan talks about whether or not he knew, he built the accounting that this company was based on.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He created both companies --
JARVIS: He created both companies. He owned the hedge fund, Alameda Research, and he partly owned FTX and got a lot of investors into it. That was built on top of Alameda. And where the finance community is really looking at this is, where are the regulators right now? Where are the policymakers right now, taking a closer look at this story? Because a lot of people have lost a lot of money. And we don’t even know the extent of it yet.
STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of people lost a lot of money but you sort of answered my second question in your answer saying this whole industry is smaller than Apple. I’ve been a little bit surprised that this collapse in the crypto industry hasn't spreader into the broader financial markets.
JARVIS: And one big reason for that is that the collateral that the rest of the industry would accept is not crypto. So for example, when we saw the housing collapse, the collateral behind the housing collapse was the U.S. housing market. In this case, we're talking about crypto. You can’t walk into a bank --
JARVIS: -- right now and say, I've got a token and I want to buy a home. That doesn’t work. But to your point, there are economic ripple effect from this.
Crypto currency have been the underpinnings of things like some exotic car markets, the booming going out market, bars, clubs, that kind of thing, the Bahamas is already seeing this because of where FTX is based in the Bahamas, they say they’re seeing it. Places like Miami are starting to see it. This is has been an underpinning of spending in the U.S. economy for segments of the U.S. economy, especially young people.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Dan, the regulation of the whole crypto market is pretty murky right now, but Sam Bankman-Fried apparently must have defied all of his lawyer’s advice to do a two-hour interview like that (ph) and he's continuing to talk.
ABRAMS: Absolutely, and you have to wonder what is he doing? Right? Why is he talking to so many people? And it seems that there are two basic groups he’s probably trying to talk to.
Number one, is the public, court of public opinion, trying to convince people, feel bad for me, it wasn't my fault. That's a tough sell. Tough sell.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that’s saying (ph) he feels bad for all the investors --
ABRAMS: Yes. Yes. That's not going to be an easy sale.
The other one is, if I thought that he could somehow convince prosecutors or regulators not to charge him by going public, I would say great, that's a really smart strategy. But I don't see how that could possibly be helping.
Meaning, the way to do that, if you're serious about trying not to get charged in a case like this, would be to talk to them, would be to have a conversation where you would agree to speak to prosecutors or regulators. He's going public, that annoys prosecutors and regulators. They get irritated by that. And everything he says can and will be used against him.
And it’s the nuances sometimes, right? It’s even the small differences between at one point saying, well, I was nervous about what was happening, and then at another point saying, well, I wasn't really that concerned.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I was vaguely aware.
ABRAMS: Right. Right. And those sorts of distinctions could end up being critical in any case -- and we’re talking about, by the way, the possibility of up to life in prison. You're talking about the economics of this, the amount of the dollars matters. When you're talking about this much money, in the federal sentencing guidelines, you're talking about the possibility of enhancement after enhancement after enhancement based on the dollar amounts that could lead to something up to life.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Many more twists in this story.
Dan Abrams, Rebecca Jarvis, thanks very much.
Our one hour special, “Billions Missing, Inside the FTX Crash” is streaming now on Hulu.
And coming up, Democrats block (ph) the presidential primary calendar with major implications for 2024. Donna Brazile is going to join the Roundtable with all the details. She was part of those discussions. That’s coming up.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Roundtable and Nate Silver are coming up.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I’m very honored to have more than 85 percent of the conference vote for me, and that's like winning the primary. Who wins by 85 percent?
So we're going to the floor and I believe we'll get to 218. Why? Because if we don’t, none of those investigations go forward.
We either are successful together or we will fail individually, and we will not be given the possibility or the opportunity to be in majority again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Kevin McCarthy scrambling to find the votes for speaker when the new House is seated in January. Just a handful of votes to spare. McCarthy facing a perilous test.
Here’s FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver on his chances.
NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: On the surface, Kevin McCarthy would appear to have a lot of problems. But dig deeper and it's a bit less clear.
Let’s start with one seeming problem, 31 Republicans voted against McCarthy in a secret ballot vote to be their speaker, with those votes going to Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs of the House Freedom Caucus. Republicans will likely have a four to five seat majority next year and McCarthy can’t afford that many defections when the House officially votes for speaker in January.
But that may not be a deal breaker. In 2015, Paul Ryan initially had 43 Republicans prefer another candidate. Four years later, Nancy Pelosi had 32 Democrats oppose her. But their members fell in line and they both became speaker.
The thing is, there needs to be some alternative to McCarthy and it’s not clear who that might be. Some hard-right members would like to see a different speaker, but the GOP won their narrow House majority through a mini red wave in New York where they won six seats won by Joe Biden in 2020. Those new moderate members will be top targets for Democrats in 2024 and they probably won't follow conservatives against McCarthy.
But according to betting markets, McCarthy has a 75 percent chance of being speaker while Louisiana’s Steve Scalise is the second most likely candidate at 10 percent. But Scalise is McCarthy’s number two. He said he isn’t challenging for the top spot.
Bottom line, I think it will be a rocky road involving multiple ballots. But if you forced me to pick, I’d buy that McCarthy will eventually become speaker.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks to Nate for that.
The roundtable is up next.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERSCHEL WALKER (R), GEORGIA SENATE CANDIDATE: Less than two years, y'all see where we're at today? And that's because of Senator Warnock, his votes that he's been giving out. Less than two years this is where we're at. He's asking you to give him six more years. Can you put up with six more years of this?
SEN. RAPHAEL WARNOCK (D), GEORGIA: This is not about right and left. This is about the difference between right and wrong.
I believe in my soul that Georgia knows that Georgia is better than Herschel Walker.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Georgia Senate runoff coming up on Tuesday. We're going to talk about it on our “Roundtable.” We're joined by: Chris Christie; Donna Brazile; Julie Pace, the AP's executive editor; and Washington Post congressional reporter Marianna Sotomayor.
Welcome to you all.
Julie, let me begin with you. We all predict elections at our peril these days, but it does appear in these final couple of days that Raphael Warnock has the momentum in Georgia.
JULIE PACE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ASSOCIATED PRESS: There's certainly a sense that this race -- this runoff race in Georgia is starting to edge toward the Democrats. Obviously Georgia, very close state right now. But I think a couple of dynamics that have been moving in the Democrats' favor. One is the fact that this is not any more the decisive election for control of Senate. That was taken care of in the -- in the November election. And so I think that has taken an little bit of the energy out of the sails of Republicans who were really hoping that they could energize their voters.
The other thing is just looking at these early votes numbers. You don't want to over-read it too much because obviously Republicans tend to vote in larger numbers on Election Day. But Democrats are hitting their markers, particularly in areas of Georgia where they have strong representation from Black voters. And that has given them a little more confidence going into Tuesday.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Democrats have gotten a lot of practice at this, Donna.
DONNA BRAZILE, ABC CONTRIBUTOR: Ha ha. You know, Reverend Warnock is running like a quarterback who understands how to run that ball into the endzone. Herschel Walker disappeared for almost four days during the Thanksgiving holiday when people were focused and they were preparing to go out and vote early. So I do believe that Reverend Warnock will be able to score this time, win decisively.
And -- and why not? I mean, this really is about competence and character. And Reverend Warnock has shown that he's head and shoulder above Mr. Walker.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Kemp trying to carry Herschel Walker over the goal line.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC CONTRIBUTOR: He would be the first human being who ever dragged Herschel Walker over the goal line, yes.
CHRISTIE: And, look, Brian Kemp, and I -- we talked about this a few weeks ago, right? Brian -- Brian Kemp, people wondered whether he would go all-in or not. He has. With his staff he has been out there personally campaigning for Walker. Now it's different, as you know, George, than him being at the top of the ballot. And -- and so, some of that is transferable but maybe not all of it.
I think it's going to be very close. These Georgia elections have been very close. I think it will be close. I agree with you that Warnock appears to have momentum. And let's face it, he came into this with a lead from Election Night, right? So Walker has got ground to make up.
And I think Julie is right that what hurts the Republicans the most is you can't argue now that this is for control. If it was for control, some people who have some misgivings about Herschel Walker would probably be willing to abandon those in order to prevent Democrats from getting control. But now that control is not up, I think that may hurt Republican turnout a little bit.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Marianna, the stakes are lower but there is a difference between 50 and 51.
MARIANNA SOTOMAYOR, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: There is. And you have actually seen a number of surrogates going out there trying to make that distinction. It is a little bit hard to explain, but Obama really driving home, OK, this is what happens when you have 51 votes. You don't have to listen to Republicans about who you can subpoena. It really does help on committee assignments as well, because Democrats will be able to have more say and literal physical representation in those committees.
And then you have someone like Ted Cruz who is going out there for Warnock (sic) saying, hey, I'm sitting on the Judiciary Committee, I don't want more Democrats on there. So it's not necessarily the most interesting subject to talk about. But surrogates are out there trying to say it does matter, a 50/50 Senate does matter.
CHRISTIE: But, George, voters -- voters are just not going to get it.
CHRISTIE: You know, I mean, I get it and I understand the importance of it having been a governor with a Democratic legislature. I understand all that. But voters in general in a runoff are going to go...
STEPHANOPOULOS: One of the things they may be getting, you know, Donald Trump in the last three weeks, at least, between the midterms and the runoff, announced he's running for president, meets with Fuentes, meets with Kanye West, Ze (ph) you're supposed to call him now, right? Or Ye. Whatever.
And then last night comes out for suspending the Constitution. I ask you a version of this question all the time. I don't understand why it's so difficult to come out against someone who's suspending the Constitution?
CHRISTIE: Well, obviously neither do I. And -- and -- and I think, you know, look, this has been the most uninspiring Republican presidential announcement since Fred Thompson. I mean, like, everybody had this anticipation he's going to announce. Nothing has happened since then except bad things for Donald Trump because he is being his post-2020 election untethered self.
It should not be hard to say that the 2020 election is over. It should not be hard to say, no, I don't favor a re-vote, I don't favor the true winner, as he put it, being put into office by some extra-constitutional act. This is what kills my party right now is this conversation.
This morning we're not talking about issues that the American people care about, you and I are sitting here talking about this. And we as a party need to have this open family argument in the public about whether this is the way we need to go as a party and we need to have that argument and we need to have it now.
BRAZILE: Chris, you need a backbone to have that conversation. You had a backbone when you condemned what happened during that dinner in Mar-a-Lago. You did it. No one else in your party. It took them a week to get the message that Donald Trump (inaudible) of the Republican Party was sitting down with a known antisemite and Ye, another known antisemite.
BRAZILE: And, you know, it took days after you made that courageous statement for others to follow. So, no, without a backbone Donald Trump is going to continue to pull the strings in the Republican Party and he's going to continue to be the face of the Republican Party. And only a toxic dictator, a would-be dictator would say, we got to suspend the Constitution.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Marianna --
BRAZILE: It doesn’t make sense.
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- not making things easy for Kevin McCarthy either. We just heard Nate Silver on Kevin McCarthy’s chances. You cover Congress every single day. How’s that playing out right now?
SOTOMAYOR: Republicans are really nervous just because they don't know how it's going to play out and if you ask them, they say anyone who tells you McCarthy has it or he doesn't, doesn’t know. And there is time for these five or so, they won’t say -- they keep saying, we're recruiting someone or, you know, there's someone in the shadows. Well, they have time to be able to find someone but no one wants to lead a majority of just four or five votes because it's going to be difficult.
And, you know, I've actually been talking to a couple of moderates like Joyce who say it's actually good to see McCarthy trying to convene all of the different factions within the Republican Conference because they were also worried seeing him in the minority leaning too far right and not denouncing some of the voices that were actually hanging out with Nick Fuentes in the conference themselves.
So they really are looking at this as, okay, this is a test for McCarthy, too, to bring all of us together, try and hash it out early. But again, there are just people in the Republican Conference who just don't like McCarthy. He could give any concession possible, they just don't like him.
PACE: At the same time, if McCarthy is going to clear 218, and I agree, I mean, this idea of you can't beat somebody with nobody is kind of where Republicans are right now, if he crosses 218, he is going to have made so many promises to some of those conservative really far-right lawmakers around particularly the investigations that that’s going to be --
STEPHANOPOULOS: And they want the ability to recall him at any moment --
PACE: Exactly --
PACE: -- so many concessions to them that his ability to do much to Chris' point to be able to actually take action on issues, real things that the American public wants, to be able to make that argument going into the 2024 election is going to be just extremely limited --
STEPHANOPOULOS: But no one else wants the job --
PACE: -- by his own actions.
CHRISTIE: Well, listen, there may be some other people who quietly look in the mirror in the morning and see a speaker in that House Conference but no one else is looking in that mirror and seeing a speaker.
McCarthy is the leading candidate because -- let's face it, to give Kevin some credit, when he took over as the leader, they were in the minority, he won seats in 2020, when no one expected the would, and they won enough seats to get a majority this time.
So nobody else was doing that heavy lifting. I saw the work Kevin McCarthy did across the country. The guy was on an airplane more than he was on his feet. And, you know, people do remember those things. So in the end, they’re going to vote for McCarthy. How much he’s going to be able to get done is going to be up to two things.
One, how well he's able to maneuver inside that room and, two, what the Democrats do because sometimes the opposition can make it easy to unite you. So see what they do and whether they make it hard or easy and Hakeem Jeffries is going to have some big decisions as a new leader to make.
And I think a lot of people in the Democratic side are going to appreciate Nancy Pelosi more than they did. That's not a knock on Hakeem. But it is that se she had a lot of experience dealing with herding those cats. And --
STEPHANOPOULOS: -- difficult job. No question about --
BRAZILE: -- Kevin is a walking salesperson. He's going out promising committee assignments, promising to investigate. The problem is the Republican Caucus has a split personality. You have one -- a huge chunk, the Freedom Caucus, they want to do a lot of oversight, a lot of investigations. They're not looking at passing legislation, they're trying to embarrass the president.
Here’s what I suspect, those seven to nine members in the House GOP Caucus that won in Biden district, districts that President Biden carried in 2020, they're going to be hellbent to look for compromises with Democrats. So I think Kevin will have to talk to Hakeem a lot to get some votes (inaudible) --
STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna, take us inside these deliberations, the DNC, you were part of, to change the primary calendar, South Carolina now proposed to be first. A calendar tailor-made for Joe Biden.
BRAZILE: You know, when I walked into our informal dinner and the president -- I haven’t gotten a letter like this from a president a long time, he laid out his principles.
And you know, George, I might have walked into that room thinking, you know, the calendar should start perhaps in another state.
But when you -- the president's laid out such an important agenda for us that it was very difficult to counter the president's proposal. So, yes, we're going to extend this tradition that we have given to Iowa and New Hampshire as long as I can recall to additional states.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just explain to everybody what the first month is now going to look if this proposal goes through.
BRAZILE: If this proposal -- we are going to grant waivers to allow five states to go before the window, which is Super Tuesday, March 5th. Twenty states applied, 17 were under consideration, five states. That includes February 3rd, starting in the great state of South Carolina, followed by the next Tuesday with Nevada and New Hampshire and then followed by Michigan and then Georgia.
So, four out of the five states are battleground states, and I do believe that this tradition that allows voters to look under the hood, check the tires of these candidates -- I think the voters in South Carolina will do a remarkable job.
STEPHANOPOULOS: If it goes through, Chris, it could create some difficult decisions for Republicans as well.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: I don’t think the Republicans are going to change, George. I haven't heard anybody saying in the aftermath of what the DNC is proposing oh, yeah, either, we're in a tough spot or we’re going to change. I think you're going to see the traditional calendar.
And let's face it we’ve heard from the two United States senators from New Hampshire that they are going to do everything they can to make sure that New Hampshire is first, and they're going to do whatever they need to do to move that date and to do whatever --
STEPHANOPOULOS: And state law.
CHRISTIE: That’s right. It is law that they have to be first. And if you go to New Hampshire, as we all have at one time or another, it is part of like your first grade education -- we're first.
So, I think the Republicans are going to probably stay right with the calendar the way it’s been with, you know, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, and then everybody else coming up behind on Super Tuesday, I don't see the Republicans change them.
BRAZILE: Look, the Republicans are going to have a leadership fight. The My Pillow guy is going to run against Ms. McDaniel.
BRAZILE: So, whatever is going on in the Republican Party, we don't know because you guys are still trying to sort it out and you ordered another autopsy -- autopsy, baby.
CHRISTIE: I know that on Sundays, you like to do a little betting, Donna. Do yourself a favor, no matter what the odds are, don't bet on the My Pillow guy, OK?
CHRISTIE: Not going to happen.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Marianna, you know, during the summer and fall, we saw a lot of Democrats reluctant to come out and endorse Joe Biden running for president in 2024. Hakeem Jeffries was about as forthright as you could possibly be.
SOTOMAYOR: Yeah. And, you know, right before the election one of the questions we had was -- the assumption was Democrats were going to lose big in Congress. And there were already a lot of Democrats privately saying, man, if that happens, I mean, it's in part because of Biden’s fault.
Complete 180, right, because Democrats were able to hold on, especially in these swings seats, the opposite is true. That doesn't mean that there aren't people who are calling for new leadership. You have heard that and we just saw that demonstrated with House Democrats once Pelosi stepped down. She knew that they were not enough votes for her to stay on.
However, Democrats are -- just like Jeffries said, backing Biden, saying you know what, his agenda we helped pass, it helped us win when we were talking about it in these swing districts, and that’s what we need to continue to run to maybe win back the majority in ’24.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And this new calendar -- just the most solid indication yet that he wants to run. He could still change his mind later.
PACE: He absolutely could still change his mind, but he is laying the ground work for a run. And I think in some ways, you know, the story of the Biden presidency is becoming, kind of, exceeding low expectations.
He did it in the 2020 election, he's actually done it over the last two years with what he's been able to get through Congress, and then certainly I think coming out of these midterms where the Democrats did far better than expected. And I again think he's laying that ground work for another run.
STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s all we have time for right now. Thank you all very much.
Coming up, the biggest protest in China since Tiananmen Square. Bob Woodruff is on the scene in Hong Kong. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the president's reaction when he hears protesters in China chant "freedom" or “Xi Jinping step down”?
JOHN KIRBY, COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, NSC: The president’s not going to speak for protesters around the world. They're speaking for themselves.
What we are doing is making it clear that we support the right to peaceful protests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: The White House responding to mass protests in China against the government's zero Covid policy. President Xi relaxed some of the lockdowns this week, a move with massive implications for his regime, the course of the pandemic and the health of the global economy.
Bob Woodruff is tracking the developments from Hong Kong.
Good morning, Bob.
BOB WOODRUFF, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, George.
You know, we have not seen such large, public, anti-government set of demonstrations here really since the Tiananmen Square uprising in 1989, 33 years ago.
This time, the anger is pointed to President Xi Jinping for his strict Covid policies, which have saved lives, but at the cost of the economy and personal freedoms.
WOODRUFF (voice over): Frustration is hitting a boiling point for many Chinese citizens this week. Thousands pouring on to the streets from Beijing, to Shanghai, to Guangzhou. The anger fueled by resentment over the government's zero Covid policy.
While most of the world’s countries, including the U.S., have turned to living with the virus, China has not. It is still imposing extreme lockdowns, constant testing and nationwide surveillance. Those strict lockdown measures have helped mitigate the spread of Covid-19. They come at an enormous economic cost. China is key to global supply chains. Apple now reportedly looking to shift some of its production outside the country after protests at a factory in Jingju (ph).
Adding to the challenges President Xi Jinping faces, this week the country's former president, Jiang Zemin, died. He led China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, mending ties with the west and overseeing the country's economic boom in the '90s. Jiang Zemin spoke English, smiled with U.S. presidents, and sometimes sang.
In Hong Kong, Chinese citizens lined up to pay honor to President Zemin.
WOODRUFF (on camera): There are some concerns with the police that they might use this kind of crowd to turn it into a protest. You can see there are police officers up over there. There’s gathering along the edge of the road. They don't want some kind of uprising.
WOODRUFF (voice over): Attempting to diffuse national unrest, some cities have begun easing Covid restrictions. But President Xi has largely remained quiet. And China’s top Covid official has softened her tone. But she has not admitted it’s because of unrest, instead saying it’s because the omicron variant is less deadly.
WOODRUFF: Now, it is unclear how much will change in China, but even the current easing demonstrates the extraordinary pressure that the government is feeling because of the protests.
Another major challenge for the country's Covid policy, President Xi has refused to allow the world's most effective mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and others, to be used on his citizens simply because they were not invented and made in China.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you, Bob.
And thanks to all of you at home for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News Tonight at 6:00pm ET.