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At This Hour

Biden Meets with British PM Boris Johnson; FBI Chief Testifies After Release of 1/6 Insurrection Report; Biden's Domestic Agenda Hits Wall as He Begins Foreign Trip; Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) is Interviewed About Biden's Stalled Agenda. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 10, 2021 - 11:00   ET



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

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

Standing together. President Biden rallying allies in Europe on his first trip abroad, and making a statement with a massive donation of vaccines to fight the global pandemic.

Summer of fear. Police chiefs are worried about a surge in homicides and whether the worst is yet to come. What they're doing and what is behind the violence on the streets of America's cities.

And the push to vaccinate children. A critical meeting today could provide answers on how you vaccinate one of the last groups vulnerable to the virus.


BOLDUAN: We start now with a focus overseas. President Biden is in England. He is meeting right now with Prime Minister Boris Johnston. They're expected to announce a new Atlantic Charter, strengthening the alliance as President Biden pushes to reset relationships in the post Trump era.

You can see just moments ago, video from their meeting.

President Biden began this trip vowing to stand up to adversaries, delivering this blunt message to Vladimir Putin ahead of their high stakes meeting.


JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm heading to the G-7 and then to the NATO ministerial, and then to meet with Mr. Putin to let him know what I want him to know.


BOLDUAN: President Biden is also expected to make major announcement that the United States will be buying 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to share with countries around the world.

So, there's a lot going on. Let's get started with CNN's Jeff Zeleny traveling with the president. He is in England.

Jeff, the tape is just coming in on that first -- well, before cameras sit down between the two leaders.

What happened?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, we are getting our first look at this, really first face-to-face meeting with President Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. We saw them meeting one another outside on the ocean's edge and then walking into that private meeting which under way right now.

Our cameras did get a look at the early bits of conversations between the two of them. Let's listen to that and talk in a moment.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Great to pleasure, Mr. President, to welcome you to Cornwall.

BIDEN: Great pleasure to be here.

JOHNSON: Fantastic to see you.

What I think is your first big overseas trip since you've been --

BIDEN: It is.

JOHNSON: Since you've been president.

BIDEN: (INAUDIBLE) great country many times. But this is the first time as president of the United States.

JOHNSON: Everyone is absolutely thrilled to see you.

BIDEN: We're thrilled to be here. Thrilled to meet your wife.

JOHNSON: Yes. And they got off to be something else.

BIDEN: They did.

I told the prime minister we have something in common. We both married way above our station.

JOHNSON: I'm not going to -- I'm not going to -- I'm not going to dissent on that one. I'm not going to disagree with you there or indeed on anything else, I think highly likely.


ZELENY: So very light conversation there, but interesting. At the end of that, Prime Minister Johnson said I'm not going to disagree with that. President Biden was complimenting his wife. But also said I'm not going to disagree with anything else as well.

We do know that they're actually having a very substantive conversation right now. Several things are on the agenda between the two of them.

One, of course, are the travel restrictions that had been in place between both countries. There is going to be a discussion about eventually and swiftly in the eyes of both countries changing and easing restrictions so travel can open up. Also talking about Brexit, the situation in Northern Ireland, President Biden not pleased with the prime minister's view on Brexit and, of course, discussing democracy and really strengthening the alliance.

Kate, what is so interesting about this is that Boris Johnson, as we all know, was a key ally to former President Donald Trump. They met on several occasions during the campaign. President Biden referred to Boris Johnson as a clone of Donald Trump.

Bygones are bygones. This is a new relationship being reset as presidents and prime ministers do. So certainly they have many reasons to work together and reform that alliance really have frayed over the last four years during the Trump era. It's in both of the interest to do it.

So, yes, some challenging conversations ahead. But certainly, you know, talking about that specific relationship as well as signing, we're going to get a look at the end of their meeting the new signed Atlantic Charter. That is a modern day version, both signing this 80- year-old document that FDR and Winston Churchill signed back in 1941 -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Jeff, thank you so much for that.

Joining me now for more is CNN senior political correspondent, anchor of "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY", Abby Phillip, and Josh Rogin, CNN political analyst and columnist for "The Washington Post."


Abby, a safe place always to be when before cameras is talking about the weather and definitely always talking about family. A place that Biden does like to be.

And, look, traditionally the meetings before the cameras are choreographed and somewhat predictable. What do you think of -- what do you think this meeting between the two leaders means as Jeff was getting to?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, I think that as Jeff said, you kind of let bygones be bygones. There is a sense that both men are ready to start fresh with their relationship.

And it's been interesting to see Boris Johnson really shifting his approach in the post-Trump era to embrace Biden. And he embraced Biden quickly after Biden was elected president. Even in spite of all the controversy happening domestically here in the United States.

And it seemed to suggest that at least from Johnson's perspective, he welcomes this opportunity to truly strengthen the U.K.-U.S. relationship. And the partnership and the reliance on each other that is necessary in order to build, rebuild some of these global institutions that have been really shaken in the last four years by a desire under the Trump era to either reshape them, to perhaps dissolve them altogether.

Boris Johnson may be further right than obviously Joe Biden is. But he clearly wants that longstanding partnership to be as strong as it has been in the decades prior to the last four or five in particular.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, and, Josh, I mean, the reason they're talking about bygones be bygones is in 2019, Biden once called Johnson a physical and emotional clone of Donald Trump. I mean, that is not a compliment, if you need any further description of it.

And since then, I will say, Johnson made clear that even on -- I would say kind of a small thing, but maybe not, because not in his mind, he has distaste for the term special relationship between the U.S. and U.K. Biden's team used that term often and even in recent days.

I'm just going to -- thinking of this and wondering what is going on behind the scenes? How does this dynamic or what was in the past impact what they're working toward?

JOSH ROGIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. Well, we have to remember that Boris Johnson wasn't just representing himself. He was representing a movement in England and Europe and in America, a nationalist populist movement that was set against the thing that Biden and most other American leaders have been pushing for all these years, which is a multilateral international world order based on globalization and all the rest.

And Johnson is practical enough to realize that Biden is president now. But he is also smart enough to know that in four years from now, we could have another shift back to Trump or a Trump-like figure.

So, he is playing it cool and he knows the U.S.-U.K. relationship is too important to really, you know, mess with too much. But, you know, the big question will be what happens when Biden and Johnson get before the other G-7 leaders? Because they're the ones who are the ones who are really abused by Trump. They're the ones that had tariffs and trade restrictions placed on them by the Trump administration that they want to get rid of right now.

And they're the ones who are really looking for Biden to say, no, no, we're not going to head towards nativism and populism and nationalism. We're going to reinstitute internationalism as the guiding force.

And can Biden do that? We don't know. Is Johnson going to go along with that? We don't know.

And will the Europeans believe that Biden administration when they say America is back, are we back? I think that remains to be seen. BOLDUAN: Let me bring in CNN's Nic Robertson as well, as he's been

watching all of this play out.

Nic, just your reaction to kind of what this moment is, the face-to- face between the leaders and kind of what's the most you think can come that you think is going to come out of this meeting?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, Boris Johnson desperately wants to be liked by President Biden. He desperately wants the relationship to be a good one.

He desperately wants the trade relationship with the United States that is positive and beneficial to the U.K., as well as the U.S. and that really, you know, could hit a potential stumbling block over Boris Johnson's post-Brexit wrangling with the European Union over Ireland, over what is known as the Northern Ireland protocols that president Biden doesn't take Boris Johnson's side. He takes the European Union Irish side.

So there is a potential point of conflict there. Look, a huge amount of pressure on the -- you know, President Biden's first overseas trip, Boris Johnson kind of scores a coup being the first international leader that meets the new U.S. president, you know, on his soil overseas. That's important.

And a lot of -- you know, the camera is pointing. The reporters are all there watching the president, the first lady, Boris Johnson, his new wife, Carrie Johnson, looking out over the beautiful, idyllic sandy beach in a British cove, a place that most people go to relax and enjoy.


And they've got the world's media looking at them screaming questions at them. And what happens? What happens?

Well, Joe Biden says to Boris Johnson, I think we both married up. And Boris Johnson responds, I'm not going to disagree with you on that one and I'm not going to disagree with you on anything.

And I think that underlines and underpins how much Boris Johnson wants to get on well with President Biden and how much he wants the relationship to succeed, because in essence, that's who Boris Johnson is. He likes to be liked by everyone. People say that is a fault.

He wants to be on the global stage. He wants to be a good actor. He wants to be perceived as doing the right things, helping women's education in developing countries, helping get COVID-19 vaccines around the world, helping deliver a more sustainable, you know, climate -- a more sustainable growth and the planet that looks after and takes care of climate change, all of those things.

And I think that's what we saw on the sea front today. A new, if you will, prime minister wanting desperately to get on with a new president who is a hugely experienced political operator.

BOLDUAN: And this is just the first stop of what is multiple stops and very important meetings ahead.

Nic, thank you so much. Abby, Josh, thank you as always.

All of it culminating with a very different type of meeting, this face-to-face between Joe Biden and Putin next week. Much more to come on that.

Also ahead for us, while President Biden meets with world leaders overseas, his domestic agenda at the moment is all but stalled. And now, new pressure from Democrats on their Democratic leaders to cut off talks and go it alone.

Plus, the TSA is so short on manpower, it's begun asking office staff employees to volunteer at America's airports. That's coming up.



BOLDUAN: AT THIS HOUR, we're keeping a close eye on Capitol Hill, where FBI Director Christopher Wray is testifying before a House committee. He's giving his first public comments since the release of the Senate report on the January 6 insurrection and the security failure surrounding it.

CNN's Jessica Schneider is joining us now with more on this.

Jessica, what did the FBI director say about it?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kate, the FBI director currently facing a lot of tough questioning, not just from Democrats, also Republicans. And he is saying that he and the rest of the leaders at the FBI are outraged about what happened on January 6th. And they're determined not to let it happen again.

And just in the past few minutes, the Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, she talked to or she asked Director Wray specifically this, are the words that former President Trump used before January 6th that many people have said helped incite the riot and attack on the capitol, are those words at all being reviewed by the Department of Justice? Are they being referred to the Department of Justice for an investigation? Director Wray said he is not aware of any investigation into that specifically. So that was just in the last few minutes.

But Director Wray has spoken more broadly about the attack on the Capitol on January 6th saying it was motivated by extremist ideologies. And he says that the FBI and the department of justice have done a lot in the past few months referencing the more than 500 arrests they've made. We reported on that extensively.

Here's a little bit more of what Director Wray had to say.


CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: As can you imagine, we are just as outraged by what happened on January 6th and just as determined to do our part to make sure that never happens again. Now the Norfolk report that you referenced is a specific piece of raw, unverified intelligence that emerged on January 5, the day before, from a source online, unvetted. And despite the raw nature of it, it was quickly passed, not one, not two, but three different ways to the Capitol Police.


SCHNEIDER: And Director Wray has made that point before, that this intelligence was passed on to all law enforcement agencies in multiple ways. They knew that this possibility was out there.

And, Kate, there's a lot of criticism it's too why these agencies and in particular the Capitol Police were not more properly prepared -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: That's right. Jessica, thank you very much.

Also happening on the Hill, key elements of the president's domestic agenda are in danger of falling by the wayside as it is running into a wall of Republican resistance. That's just the math on Capitol Hill right now.

Bipartisan negotiations on the massive infrastructure plan collapsed earlier this week. Though the White House says it is holding out for hope for another bipartisan bill to take place. But that's not all. Police reform, voting rights protections, they're also facing major hurdles right now.

So, is there a path to the president's desk for any of his priorities at the moment?

CNN's Manu Raju is joining me now also on Capitol Hill.

Manu, you're tracking all of this. What is your gut check on where things are headed?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's going to be very difficult to get most of the items through the finish line here. There are not enough votes for a number of key items on Joe Biden's agenda, perhaps on the issue of overhauling police practices in this country. There could be a deal.

But Tim Scott, the lead Republican negotiator made clear today that there won't be a deal this week. If there is anything next week and there is still some differences they need to divide -- they need to bridge there.


But on infrastructure, which is the central piece of Joe Biden's agenda, what happens there is big question, because there are those bipartisan negotiations that are happening. But there is major skepticism within the ranks on both sides that a deal could ultimately be reached. And there is also concern particularly within the Senate Democratic Caucus that there's effort to negotiate with Republicans in their view is fruitless and they say essentially pull the plug and try to move a bill along straight party lines.

But talking to key negotiators, Democrats and negotiators who are part of that group today, they're urging the caucus to be patient.


RAJU: Would you be opened to going by reconciliation if this doesn't play out?

SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): Well, I don't want to cross that bridge until we come to it. I think the country needs a major infrastructure upgrade. I don't think there's much doubt about that. I say -- let's give it a little more time.

SEN. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-NH): I'm not interested in putting that time limit. I'm not interested in trying to get an agreement.


RAJU: So Jeanne Shaheen made clear to me, I asked her, would you support going this budget route, it's called budget reconciliation to pass a bill along straight party lines in infrastructure? She said, we do not have the votes to do that right now.

So that is this challenge for the Democrats. They're concerned about these bipartisan talks and there is also concerns they don't have the votes to go it alone which could lead to key elements of Joe Biden's agenda by the wayside -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Which means something's got to give if it is just as you lay out. Great reporting. Thank you as always.

Joining me right now for more on this is Democratic Congressman John Garamendi of California. He sits on the very critical House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as we talk about this.

Thanks for being here.

I want to quickly play for you the senator saying I don't want to put a timeline on this. but we have heard people setting something of timelines and deadlines of when there needs to be some forward motion and it's getting a little confusing to me. I want to play what Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told Wolf Blitzer yesterday, essentially saying that you all have all summer to get this done.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: It really follows the legislative calendar, right? Even today in the House, they were doing a committee markup on a piece of our transportation policy. I think I heard that Schumer say that July is when they want to take this up in the Senate. It really has to be this summer really.


BOLDUAN: This summer is long, thankfully. I love summer. But that is not what the commerce secretary suggested to me, Congressman, just a few days ago.

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): Well, we do have --

BOLDUAN: Wait. I'm sorry. Congressman, listen, let me -- let me play Gina Raimondo for you. I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry.



BOLDUAN: If this stretches into July, has it gone too far?

GINA RAIMONDO, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Probably. You know, it depends. It's hard to say. It depends where we are. But, you know, he said Memorial Day. They asked for a bit more time. He's giving them a bit more time. I think we want to get something done far sooner than July.


BOLDUAN: Where are you on this?

GARAMENDI: We're in process of moving piece of legislation around.

Last night, yesterday, we spent 19 hours marking up the surface transportation bill. Unfortunately, at the end of that entire process, not one Republican voted for it. That's a pretty clear sign of where the Republicans are going. They don't want anything to do with climate change. They don't want to put a few additional dollars into the surface transportation.

We also marked up the Clean Water Act again. Not one Republican voted to upgrade our sanitation systems around the nation.

But this is a process. This is step one. The next step will be that legislation will eventually go to the Rules Committee, and to the floor. I would expect that to be done by the end of -- certainly by the end of July, maybe early July.

Other pieces of legislation are moving around. The Senate voted out $125 billion of new money in a critical piece of the infrastructure. That's the research and the manufacturing technology that we need on that piece of it. That was a bipartisan piece.

So the pieces are coming together. We should have most of this on the floor of the House in July and then the final negotiations in August, early September. I think we're going to be online to get it done. Will there be Republican support? Not at the moment.


BOLDUAN: And that's it. And that's it. And the details matter because -- obviously, the details of every bill matters.


BOLDUAN: But what also matters is the broad picture, which is what you just said. You don't have any Republican support right now. And that's in the House where you guys do have the numbers. In the Senate, you can't move on anything unless you got 10 -- at least 10 Republicans support.

And that's what Chris Van Hollen is saying. He said last night, he says it's time -- time is already run out for negotiating and Democrats need to figure out a way to go it alone.

Are you in that place as well?


Because as you said, you're not -- you're not winning Republicans over. And bipartisan agreements -- bipartisan negotiations have shown no fruit.

GARAMENDI: Plan A, I just described to you. Plan B is also under way. A new budget is now being written in that House of Representatives. That should be on the floor during the month of June. That then sets the stage for reconciliation.

The Republicans are going to have to make a choice. They're either going to seriously negotiate, which they are not now doing in my estimation. And at war (ph), they say reconciliation process.

We would much prefer to have Republican votes. But last, yesterday was very, very disappointing. No, they don't want anything to do with climate change.

They don't want anything to do with the electrical grid. They don't want anything to do with moving with enough money to actually build the surface transportation -- trains, bridges, highways and the rest. It was very, very disappointing, but an awful lot of talking points.


GARAMENDI: We spent nearly two hours talking about defunding the police. What that has to do with this is beyond anybody's estimation other than the Republicans wanting the talking point.

BOLDUAN: So just my knowledge of Capitol Hill, you're far more extensive knowledge of Capitol Hill, I'm getting the sense that if this stretches into -- I mean, if we're steel still talking infrastructure come August and into September, that's probably not surprising with the process that you're laying out right now.

GARAMENDI: Well, what we'll be talking about is moving forward to get the job done. Will they do it with a piece of legislation through the normal order? And we can do that in the House of Representatives. We do have the 50 percent -- more than 50 percent vote. We will do that in the House of Representatives.

It will be all at this end, the president's plan. It will have all of the pieces including broadband. For the life of me, I don't understand why Republicans in the Midwest in rural areas don't want broadband. But in any case, we will do that. And then we'll also have a plan B if

the Republicans simply refuse to go along in the Senate or somehow stall this in the House. We can do reconciliation.

BOLDUAN: Now, Congressman, I do want to ask on another topic, because it's just happening this morning.

A group of Jewish Democratic members have just released -- put out a letter condemning comments by fellow Democratic member Ilhan Omar. We'll put up what she tweeted because that is at the crux of what I'm talking about.

She tweeted the following, that we have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.

And fellow Democrats are now asking for her to clarify for what they call offensive and misguided remarks equating the U.S. and Israel to terrorist organizations.

What is your reaction to her words?

GARAMENDI: I think she needs to be much more careful. I don't think she ever intended to lump the United States and Israel into the same terrorism that was being conducted by those other organization -- by those terrorist organizations.

She ought to walk it back. She ought to be very, very careful here.

The problem is that this kind of language incites violence in the United States. We've seen too much of that. The Jewish community has been affected by that.

And we need to -- we need to really tamp this down. We need to be very measured in our conversations here. There is a lot of emotion in play, understandably so. But be very, very careful. All of us in all that we say.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. This gets into the realm of should she or should someone apologize for something? Do you -- do you -- does that matter here? Do you think you would look for an apology for what she said?

GARAMENDI: The word apology can mean many, many things. It can be, you know, I'm sorry or it could be what I really meant to say is the following.

I would hope that she does clarify what was in that tweet. One of the things that I learned and occasionally forget is be careful with what you e-mail and what you tweet. The E in e-mail is for evidence.

So we ought to be very, very careful how we use these platforms because they can be very -- they can incite trouble. And as we saw with the president, both his rhetoric and his tweets, it can incite violence.

BOLDUAN: John Garamendi, Congressman, thank you for coming in.

GARAMENDI: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, you're going to hear -- you're going to want to hear what former White House counsel Don McGahn says that then-President Donald Trump demanded that he do. This came in testimony behind closed doors. What he told lawmakers about why he called Trump's request a point of no return.