Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

U.S. Economy Adds 559,000 Jobs in May, Unemployment Falls to 5.8 Percent; Manchin on Filibuster; "I'm Not Throwing Caution to the Wind"; FBI Director Compares Ransomware Threat to 9/11. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired June 04, 2021 - 11:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

Here's what we're watching AT THIS HOUR:

It's jobs report Friday. So what the latest numbers tell us about how real the recovery is?

The next 9/11. Why the FBI director is putting cyber attacks on the same level as terrorism.

Are we alone in this universe? The government report on UFOs soon to be released. The details of what they found and what they didn't already out.

Thanks so much for being here.

We begin though with breaking news: President Biden touting the new jobs report which shows hiring picked up steam in May after a disappointing April report. The Labor Department putting out that employers added 559,000 jobs (AUDIO GAP) jobs that were added in April.

The president saying the U.S. economy is rebounding.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In short, this is progress, historic progress, progress that is pulling our economy out of the worst crisis it's been in 100 years. As we continue this recovery, we're going to hit bumps along the way. Of course that will happen. We can't reboot the world's largest economy like flipping on a light switch. There are going to be ups and downs in jobs and economic reports.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Christine Romans is joining me now with details on this new jobs report.

So, Christine, what's your take on the numbers? What do you see? CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's

solid, but there is a lot more work that needs to be done. At this pace, it would take a year, almost 14 months to get all the jobs back lost in the COVID-19 crisis. So, more work does need to be done.

But you can see there, 559,000 is better than we saw in April. And that had been a big disappointment. And the jobless rate, the hiring is enough to bring it down to 5.8 percent. And that's a notable milestone here. And you can see the trend for the unemployment rate is very clear.

And the sectors, we saw good hiring in leisure and hospitality and in health care, hospitals and medical, even in manufacturing you saw some hiring there. So seeing some of the low wage jobs start to come back.

And where do we stand? Still in a deep hole, 7.6 million jobs, still the deficit from before the financial crisis. This particular crisis began, more work to be done.

But there is also this big debate raging now, that why can't you get workers to come and match the demand you're hearing from employers, especially in the low wage, low wage part of the economy.

A lot of states, about half the states have actually ended their extra unemployment benefits or will end them very soon to try to entice people back into the labor market.

Kate, I'm telling you, it's much more complicated than just an extra jobless check. Schools have not been -- they have been disrupted. Childcare is disrupted. People have family responsibilities, especially women have family responsibilities.

And so, getting them back into the workforce is going to take time. It's not going to be easy.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, for sure. Christine, thank you so much for that.

Joining me for more perspective is CNN's John Harwood, and CNN global economic analyst, Rana Foroohar. She's a global business columnist and associate editor for "The Financial Times."

It's great to see both of you.

Rana, so if last month's report was, I don't know, shocked pretty much everybody, all the smart minds, what does this report mean?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, generally, it's a good thing, right? I mean, we're back on track. This is a little under what was expected, but very, very robust.

Now, Christine's right. It's going to take a year at this current level to get us back to pre-pandemic job levels. I think this is a very good thing in general. One thing that I'm really thinking about though is all right, we've seen a little bit of wage increases like 2 percent across the board. We're going to probably see more than that and that's not necessarily a bad thing. You know, we spend a lot of time talking about wage inflation and how

hard it is for businesses. We haven't seen any wage inflation in the service sector in 20 years. We actually need a little butt right now -- a little bit right now and a -- a little bit right now and a recalibration among low wage workers about what it's going to take to get them back into the job market.

I think that we're about to see a real sea change in the economy from what is good for companies alone to what's good for workers as well.

BOLDUAN: How does this report and kind of the trend, John, how does it impact Biden's kind of big priority right now, do you think? His infrastructure plan that includes more assistance for families.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, I do think, Kate, the fact that this is the second straight report that fell short of expectations, obviously nothing like the one in April. But still some what less than had been expected. It's going to fuel some Republican arguments that Biden's policies are not encouraging people to get back in the labor force.

Most of that is a retrospective argument about unemployment insurance, which was extended in the American Rescue Plan.


It's less about infrastructure. And, of course, the infrastructure investments he's talking about would spend out over a long period of time. So it's not that relevant to the current situation.

But I do think the mild disappointment in the numbers will probably strengthen the resistance of Republicans to Biden's proposals and say, hey, you're actually in some ways holding the recovery back.

BOLDUAN: And so, Rana, Christine was talking about this. I want to get your take on what do you think this tells us about this debate over the worker shortage and what is keeping people on the sidelines? And not getting people back into industries, you know, hospitality is one of them that is having a hard time getting -- filling a lot of positions.

FOROOHAR: Yeah. So, I think it's a couple things. The president made the point, you can't just flip a light switch and turn the economy back on. And that's totally true. You know, you see this. It takes a few months to get people back in the work, to ramp up.

I mean, a lot of restaurants are going from 0 to 60 at this point, which is a good thing, but it takes a while to catch up. Then there is this question of are people willing to settle for $15 an hour? Or less? You know, I had a very interesting conversation a couple days ago with some public officials in L.A. area.

They had set up a platform to get health care workers that were out of work into jobs as child minors during the pandemic. People were getting 22 bucks an hour. I mean. the average rate for a child worker in this country is usually $12. So, again, I think we're seeing a real shift in power towards labor, and I think that that's going to continue.

BOLDUAN: You know, John, you had some interesting reporting yesterday about President Biden speaking with former Treasury Secretary Larry summers. Interesting because Summers has been really critical of some of the moves -- economic moves that Biden team have made so far.

What do you make of it?

HARWOOD: What I make of it is Joe Biden respects Larry Summers. And Larry Summers is become a figure of derision among many of the Democratic left who somehow associate him with centrism or some sort of corporate approach to economics.

But the reality is in the Obama administration, he was pushing for the Obama administration and its recovery plan from the great recession to be more aggressive. So I think there has been a little bit of a bad wrap given to Larry Summers. President Biden respects that. And I think he's taking the inflation worries of Larry Summers to heart.

Not necessarily that he's going to adjust his plan and say well, Larry summers says so, so I'm going to back off in some ways. He's not dismissing it either. And the White House economists are watching that very closely. It's nobody has a high degree of confidence they know exactly what is going to happen. The Biden White House remains where the fed is thinking that inflation is going to be transitory. But nobody can be certain.

BOLDUAN: John Harwood, Rana Foroohar, always great to see you guys. Thank you.

President Biden, he is also set to speak to the top negotiator on infrastructure again today. To maybe finally answer the question, is there a deal to be had?

Once again, the key isn't just Republicans. It is also one Democratic senator in particular Joe Manchin.

Manchin telling CNN he is not ready to give up on the -- on a bipartisan deal quite yet, even though some Democrats say it is time to do just that. And for their party to move forward alone.

CNN's Manu Raju got that exclusive interview with Joe Manchin. He is joining me from the Hill.

Manu, what else did Manchin tell you?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, he made clear that he wants talks to continue with Republicans. He's not the ready to go it alone for the Democrats. En that is an option that Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has on the table with infrastructure. If he wants to essentially circumvent a Republican filibuster. He can use a budget tactic to do just that.

But there's a big catch, they need Joe Manchin and everybody, all 50 Democrats, to support moving ahead. And Manchin made clear, he told me yesterday, this will take time. Things take time to play out. It is not time yet to pull the plug on these bipartisan talks.

So regardless of what happens today, that is the reality that the Democratic leaders will have to deal with. And there is also a question about how to move forward on other pieces of legislation that will be blocked by Republicans. Whether it is an issue of voting or on other issues as well. Whether or not Joe Manchin will back off firm opposition to gutting the current rule that requires 60 votes to overcome any filibuster. That means 10 Republicans will be needed to break ranks.

And I tried to push him on saying he would never touch that 60-vote threshold. He didn't go quite that far. He made clear he's extremely skeptical.


RAJU: Just take it off the table and say, you'll never reduce the 60- vote threshold on the filibuster.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Let me just tell you one thing -- we're going to make the Senate work the way it was intended to work. I'm totally committed to that.


I'm not throwing caution to the wind. I have never desired to do that. I've listened to everybody's point of view. But the bottom line is this country has got to unite. We can't divide it.


RAJU: So, the big issue coming up this month is on voting rights. He's trying to work on legislation, a narrower bill than the one the Democrats plan to try to bring to the floor. He opposes that Democratic bill, to essentially combat what's happening on the state level.

But, Kate, I asked him whether he would support the filibuster rules to allow voting legislation to pass on a simple majority. And he said, you see what happened last time. And you don't want with those rules if the Democrats are back to the minority. So he is not in favor of doing what so many progressives want him to do -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Manu Raju, thank you.

Coming up, cyber 9/11. Why the FBI director is comparing the recent hacks links to Russia to the problems links to the 9/11 attacks.

Also ahead, beaten with the flagpole of the flag he had sworn to defend. Officers speaking out for the first time about what they faced on the day the mob attacked the Capitol. A CNN exclusive, next.


[11:15:30] BOLDUAN: Developing this morning, FBI Director Christopher Wray says the challenges of confronting ransomware attacks striking the United States is similar to the challenges the U.S. faced after the September 11th terror attacks.

Josh Campbell is here now with more details on this.

Josh, can you lay out more of what the FBI director is saying?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is sounding the alarm, Kate, on this growing threat. He makes the parallels to 9/11 where before that attack, there was this information that wasn't being shared across the intelligence community, for example. There were people that had their own individual silos and there was a growing threat.

And that, obviously, that resulted in that devastating attack. What Chris Wray is trying to say is, when you look at the recent ransomware attacks, the cyberattacks, there are parallels. Look at the most recent attacks we've seen on critical infrastructure in the United States.

You have actors that continue to prey on systems here in the United States. And, you know, when it comes to trying to sensitize the public, what Wray is saying, I'll read a portion of the interview with "The Wall Street Journal," is that it's up to the American people to understand we're in this together. He says now realizing it can affect them when they're buying gas at the pump or buying a hamburger, I think there is a growing awareness of how we're in this fight together. The scale of this problem is one that I think the country has to come to terms with.

So trying to ensure the public understands this issue. Now, when it comes to where these culprits are, Wray also pointing out that so many of these adversaries are in Russia. He went on to say that time and again, a huge portion of those trace back to actors in Russia and so if the Russian government wants to show that it is serious about this issue, there is a lot of room for them to demonstrate some real progress that we're not seeing right now. So, we continue to see those attacks over and over.

And one thing that is so concerning is that we often see the government get really good at trying to respond to the last attack. Not so much demonstrated ability to look forward in a way that can help prevent. That is what Wray is trying to say.

Finally, I mention that as navy captain once served said that there is a difference between admiring a problem and actually solving it. That is what Wray is trying to say here. Even if you get foam say this is an issue, what are we going to do to stop it? He is certainly trying to sound the alarm today -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Great point. Josh, thanks so much.

Joining me right now for more on this is former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe. Thanks for being here.

Chris Wray is talking about -- he described it as the parallels to 9/11.

What do you think the parallels are, Andy?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Kate, it's obviously not the same threat. We're not walking up this morning to 3,000 Americans dead. But there are a lot of elements of this threat that are similar, as the director mentioned.

For me, the one that screams out for attention right now is the fact that this is not something that the FBI or any single agency is going to be able to solve or prevent. There's no one thing that we can do. There is no silver bullet.

I know from my own experience in the FBI, responding to 9/11 and working to build our counter-terrorism capabilities, what we realized was we had to do everything. It had to be a whole of government response. Every solution, every approach we thought of had to be pursued with absolute focus.

We had to learn how to coordinate and work with each other better, work with our foreign partners better. We had to rethink how we were changing information. In this case, of course, exchanging intelligence with the private sector which has been a problem for years. It's something that the FBI and intelligence community really needs to work on.

But everything needs to be done because this is clearly a threat that can impact us in astounding ways. I think people are just opening their eyes to that now.

BOLDUAN: And serious people have been warning for years of this. I want to play something that Dan Coats, a former director of National Intelligence, something he said from 2018.


DAN COATS, FORMER DNI: In 2001, our vulnerability was heightened because of the stovepipe approach of our intelligence and law enforcement communities that produced what they called silos of information. It was in the months prior to September 2001 when according to the then CIA Director George Tenet, the system was blinking red. And here we are two decade -- nearly two decades later, and I'm here to say the warning lights are blinking red again. Today the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.



BOLDUAN: Andy, has the government done nothing about this since? MCCABE: Well, we haven't done enough. I think he was right then. The

lights were blinking. They're not blinking anymore. It's actually happening.

I mean, in the last few months, we have seen our fuel system attacked, our food system attacked, health care is under attack, transportation. So, we are in the middle of a multi-prong attack, and it's time to do something about it.

The biggest area where government has fallen behind is imposing meaningful consequences. These actors are not going to stop and the governments, i.e., Russia, that give them safe harbor, the protect them, that allow them to operate from their territory, are never going to step in and stop this until the U.S. government imposes serious impactful consequences. Beyond just sanctions, beyond tough talk. We actually have to start acting these folks in the space that they occupy.

BOLDUAN: Look, Andy, do you -- I mean, Biden is going to be face-to- face with Putin very soon for this summit. Does that present an opportunity? Does this present a challenge? Like how do you bring about these meaningful challenges when Russia still denying that this comes from Russia?

MCCABE: They're always going to deny that, right? The Russians don't respond to anything other than force.

So I think it's a great opportunity for the president to lay out or to project that force, that resolution to make it absolutely clear what we're demanding. But it's not enough. You've got to go beyond mere words and we need take action -- action in cyberspace, action diplomatically.

This is a problem far beyond the scope or the ability of the FBI director to solve.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. Great to see you, Andy. Thank you so much.

MCCABE: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Mike Pence is trying to do the impossible, distance himself from Donald Trump's take on the January 6 insurrection. Pence calls it what it is, but also trying to win the support of the very same tomb from time from Donald Trump's base. Is he going to be able to pull that up?

That's next.



BOLDUAN: For the first time, some of the officers who risked their lives on January 6th, that came to face-to-face with rioters, they're sharing stories with CNN.

CNN's Whitney Wild spoke with them. She's joining me now with more on this.

Whitney, what are these officers telling you?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, that they are really struggling with what they've seen in the aftermath. One officer telling us that anybody who says it wasn't that bad is coming from a place of privilege. That if you were there, you know the riot was that bad.

Another officer telling us he is extraordinarily frustrated by what he saw play out in Congress last week, the failure of that 1/6 commission bill that would have investigated the origins and causes of this insurrection.

That officer's name is Sergeant Aquilino Gonell. He came from the Dominican Republic to the United States when he was 12. He deployed in 2003 then joined Capitol police in 2008.

All of a sudden, he finds himself on the west front of the Capitol battling an enemy, a domestic enemy, and he says, in an instant, he didn't recognize the country he loves so much.


SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, UNITED STATES CAPITOL POLICE: It was very scary because I thought I was going to lose my life by then. All I could think was we can't let these people in. There's going to be a slaughter inside.

I started texting my wife. What I said to her, I'm okay. See you whenever.

When I came in, she wanted to hug me, and I told her no, because I was covered in -- I was covered in pepper spray. I didn't want to get that on her.

I was injured. My hands were bleeding still. And I even -- I couldn't even sleep. I took a shower, but instead of helping, that re-enflamed the chemicals.


WILD: Kate, he tried to take a bath in milk. That didn't help. He took an antihistamine, that didn't help.

Finally by 5:00 a.m., so this is almost 24 hours after he left for work on January 6th, by 5:00 a.m., January 7, he fell asleep because he was just so exhausted. He woke up at 8:00 and went back to work.

One of hundreds of Capitol police officers who reeling from the trauma still got back in the car the next day and drove back to work and worked what was very long hours for several weeks and still into months. They go back to the scene of the trauma every day, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for bringing us their stories. Thank you so much, Whitney.