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At This Hour

Biden Speaks After Economy Adds 943,000 Jobs in July; Gov. Cuomo Accuser Files Criminal Complaint. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired August 06, 2021 - 11:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you for joining us.

Any moment now we're standing by to hear from President Biden. He's expected to making remarks touting the latest jobs report and it was a good one. When President Biden begins, we'll bring that to you.

But back to the report, over 943,000 jobs added in July. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.4 percent, a big sign the economy is making big steps toward recovering from the depths of the pandemic.

But there is much more to this, with trouble ahead. The report comes as a majority part of the economic agenda is facing a key vote, another key vote, maybe the key vote. The final vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that is likely to happen this weekend.

The good economic numbers are also matched with warning signs, big ones. That it could be short lived. The number of daily cases and here is why -- the number of daily cases rose to 103,000 on Wednesday and a surge that has not shown an end in sight, with implications for all of us and everywhere.

CNN senior White House correspondent Phil Mattingly, he's joining me now for more on it from the White House.

Phil, what are we expecting to hear from the president any moment now?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Look, there's no question about, he's going to focus on the jobs report, right? I think economic officials inside and outside the White House pretty much universally acknowledged that when you deg through the data of this report, there is not a lot that you could be uncomfortable with or worried about.

Obviously, the top line number was bigger than analysts estimate heading into the report. Wage growth is solid. Upward revisions in May and June. The president is going to want to talk about all of those things and try and make the point that he believes it is an acknowledgment that his proposal is working. But you hit on the two key items you are also almost certain to hear

the president talk about. Yes, the infrastructure proposal moving through the Senate, it's part of his $4 trillion economic agenda, the administration is in the process of moving through. Taking very positive steps forward in their view that looks like it is almost certain to pass the Senate at some point over the course of the next couple of days.

Still, a long road ahead and a larger second piece of the proposal that Democrats will have to unify around in the Senate and the House to get everything the president wants done. So you'll hear a phone us on that.

But I also think, the White House focus has shifted so much to the delta variant and the surge around the country to the degree we haven't seen in several months. It has been the focus of all of the president's remarks and the COVID team is holding multiple briefings a week again. There is a recognition and there has long been inside of the White House just how interconnected the public health of this, and the economic piece of this actually are.

So you will hear the president once again talk about the one element that me know works better than any other, vaccinations. They have seen an uptick in vaccinations over the course of the last several weeks. Yesterday, I think hitting the highest level that they've hit since early June. That's positive news.

But the reality is, as you look at those case numbers you were talking about, hospitalizations, deaths as well, surging primarily in unvaccinated areas of the country, the president is going to focus on that because the reality is this jobs report does not capture any of the effect of delta over the course of the last couple of weeks and I think while the economic team feels comfortable in conversations I had about where they stand at the economy is in a different place than in January, no question about that, the looming threat of what delta could present on the health and the economic side is very real.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, there is so much what we've known after the last couple of weeks.

Phil, thank you. Phil is going to stand by.

We are going to waiting to hear from President Biden. We'll bring you the remarks when they begin.

In the meantime, let me bring right now, Diane Swonk. She's a chief economist at Grant Thornton.

It's good to see you again, Diane.

On the report, what did you -- give me your take on this jobs report?

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GRANT THORNTON: Well, it's a terrific jobs report, back-to-back near million jobs. That's really great with the upward revisions. Most of the gains or half of the gains came in education, public education and leisure and hospitality sectors that we know are still recovering from the crisis.

Bit of a seasonal adjustment there. Basically, public education didn't lay off as many people as they do in the month of July. They kept summer programs that were shuttered last sum were opened and they had to get people into start getting the schools prepped for full reopening in August and September.

I think those are all good things. We know to keep those things open and going. We need to get vaccinations up. That is really important. This is all pre-COVID as you mentioned.

We also know job search picked up in areas across the country. But I think it is important to also underscore job searches less in areas with low vaccination rates, than high vaccination rates and we know that as mask mandates are reinstated, people who are working in offices are returning to work from home and that is spill over effects in many urban centers.


And so, we'll see how these job numbers hold up. I think they'll still be good and solid in August. What is the concern now is that the moment in the sun that workers are getting in terms of their wages going up for low wage workers which is great after decades in the shadows is that that could create some unwanted inflation along with all of the supply chain bottlenecks out there and I think that is a real risk that the Federal Reserve has to grapple with going forward.

BOLDUAN: That is interesting. The labor force participation rate is something that we watch very closely to see just how many folks are still on the sidelines? How many folks are not jumping back into look for work?

What do you think it shows us in this one?

SWONK: You know, we did see a pick up that was great and we saw a big reduction in those who are on the long-term unemployed about half a million, but it is still over 2 million higher than it was pre-crisis of long-term unemployed.


SWONK: What we also saw though was something worrisome. Black men and women of color saw a reduction in their participation rate. And those are the workers that were hit hardest by COVID and by COVID-related layoffs. And we don't know if long haul COVID is also another factor inhibiting their ability to return to the work force now.

BOLDUAN: It's actually -- that -- long haul COVID is a factor I think that we need to talk about more and is going to have a greater impact going forward, Diane, that I don't think people have appreciated enough.

A lot -- so much is changing with what we know about the virus and the delta variant as we literally as we speak. And as Phil pointed, this report does not capture the impact of the delta variant. How uncertain is the future and path from here with that in mind?

SWONK: That is a great question. What we've seen is we've gotten more resilient. We're able to sort of move online and compensate and keep spending going. We're also able to better deal with COVID in hospitals if we don't overwhelm them.

So vaccinations are key. But we do know that because of the delta variant also may be transmitted asymptomatically among the vaccinated to the unvaccinated, to children, that makes it another issue.

So it is not going to derail the expansion. But it could dampen the gains that we see during the remainder of the year from what we would have other wise seen after unprecedented stimulus at a moment where many of the safety nets that were out there are falling away. And that is where we worry about the inequality getting worse by COVID. So we really need to get those vaccination rates up so that we could keep the expansion going full out and work our way through some of these backlogs.

I take a little heat when it means more people are getting jobs. It is harder when the heat comes and still not enough people are getting jobs out there.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. It's is good to see you, Diane. Thank you very much.

So the jobs report was good news for the White House. But there is no full recovery for the U.S. economy without getting past the pandemic. That is so clear. And that's nowhere near over yet.

While the White House continues to push and plead for the unvaccinated to get their first shot, it's also now considering a new phase of the strategy for the vaccinated. That includes booster shots. They were once seen as unnecessary. And now they may be inevitable.

Joining me now for more on this is CNN medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen, the author of a new book, "Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health".

It's good to see you, Dr. Wen.

So this now reporting that the FDA could lay out its COVID booster strategy in early September, the strategy would apply for all vaccinated people and a decision on what to do for immuno-compromised people could come sooner than that. All of that taken together, what does this tell you?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, I think it is exactly right that the CDC and FDA are addressing this issue of booster shots. We always knew that at some point, boosters may be needed if immunity looks like it is waning or if there are new variants that develop that the vaccines that we have may not be as effective against.

Right now, frankly, there are some individuals who may benefit from a booster dose. People who are severely immuno-suppressed. I actually hope we don't wait until September to be able to give the people that the shots that they may night.

And there is one step the FDA could take right now which is expand the use of the emergency use authorization and to say that look we're not recommending booster doses to the majority of American public, but we're making this available so that doctors and in talking to specific patients looking at medical history, if there are patients that may benefit from the booster dose right now, they should be allowed to get it when we have so many doses in the U.S. that are expiring.

Why not allow people who need to get a booster shot, the opportunity to get that now?


BOLDUAN: That is interesting.

There is also new reporting that the Biden administration is trying to figure out how to potentially use more of its federal authority, like federal power, to increase the vaccination rate across the country. Obviously it is stubbornly kind of stuck, increasing but not fast enough.

One of the things that they are -- that apparently is included in this discussion is with holding federal funds for nursing homes funds and similar facility. It would be a much more aggressive approach if that is the path they go. What do you think of it?

WEN: I think it is exactly what they should be doing right now. There are two things that they could do immediately. One is they have authority over the nursing homes as in the federal government provides guidelines for safety and health and in these nursing homes.

What could be more important right now for the safety and well being of residents and nursing homes other than having people be vaccinated? And so I think there is a very compelling argument to say there are already all of these regulations that the federal government has in nursing homes, why not add one more which is vaccination of the staff?

Something else, too, that the federal government could be doing which is to say there are federal buildings, planes, trains, in the jurisdiction, under the authority of the president. These are places that are already requiring masks. Why not say that to enter a federal building, to get on a plane or train, you have to have a vaccination, or you have to have a recent negative test. That would make a huge difference.

And I think there are many people who on the fence about getting vaccinated but if they know that in order to travel, they need to be vaccinated, I bet that many people will get the vaccine.

BOLDUAN: We have actually heard that. I mean, we've heard that anecdotally of people wanting to travel and that is when they went and got the shot. We've seen it in polling as well. It is an interesting element of this.

And of course as you lay out, one thing that we know is the vaccines are essential. And so many school children are still not eligible to get a vaccine, which is why I was pretty confused when I heard the head of one of the largest teachers unions in the country dance around endorsing vaccine requirements for teachers.

Randi Weingarten speaking to John Berman on "NEW DAY" this morning. Let me play this.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": If a city or a state comes forward and said we want vaccine requirements for teachers in school, if they come and ask you that, will you say yes?

RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FOUNDATION OF TEACHERS: We are going to be bargaining over those policies. Yes, of course.

BERMAN: What's the bargain -- but what is the -- where is the negotiation in that? Either you support being vaccinated or not?

WEINGARTEN: You bargain over the impact and make sure that people with religious accommodations or medical exemptions, and I'm not -- look, I'm a big believer in vaccines. My point is that we're looking at these things right now.


BOLDUAN: John Berman brought it up, tried to push that discussion forward multiple times and Randi Weingarten, really, you can see, she was not in a place to take a position. When it comes to what the science says, keeps our kids safest, Dr. Wen, why is this even a question if politics are not involved?

WEN: Well, if it is purely from an affection control standpoint, the best thing that we could be doing to protect our children is for all of the adults and all people, 12 and older, to get vaccinated. That is the best thing for us to do.

I mean, we have an obligation to protect our kids, my kids and so many other that don't have the opportunity yet to be vaccinated. That is what we should be doing. I think that if there are workplaces that don't want to impose a vaccine requirement for whatever reason, they could impose a testing requirement.

So, specifically, they could say that everybody is required to get tested twice a week. But if you are vaccinated, you could opt out of that. That may be a way to get around this issue of if there are some people who say I don't want to be vaccinated. Well it is still your choice. You could choose to get tested twice a week. But vaccination then becomes the easy and convenient choice in that case.

BOLDUAN: Dr. Wen, it is good to see you. Thank you for being here.

WEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We're standing by. We're awaiting the president. He's expected to be speaking any moment now. We're going to bring you his remarks live when it happens. On the heels of this very big jobs report this morning, it will be interesting to hear the president's tone at this moment in the pandemic.

And also coming up, more companies mandating vaccines for employees. Now, the first major American airline is joining in. Details on that next.

Plus, new developments in the investigation into New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, an accuser just filed a criminal complaint.

Much more on that ahead.



BOLDUAN: Any moment now we're waiting to hear from President Joe Biden reacting to today's very positive jobs report. We will bring you the remarks as soon as they begin.

But we also have breaking news just into CNN. One of the women accusing Andrew Cuomo of harassment just filed a detailed complaint detailing her sexual misconduct allegations against him. Her allegations were detailed first in the bombshell report released this week from New York's attorney general and that massive investigation into the governor.


CNN's Polo Sandoval and Shimon Prokupecz, they're joining me with more on this.

Polo, if I could start with you, what do we know about this complaint?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we know right now, Kate, that this woman identified in the attorney general's report as executive assistant number one turned to authorities here in Albany County, to the sheriff's office and filed this complaint yesterday after a briefing here, and in that basically now laying out her story here.

This is obviously significant, as she's the woman that has come forward with the most serious allegations against the governor. We read that report from earlier this week, the attorney general lays out the allegations that the governor basically hugs her and then reached under her blouse and fondled her breasts.

And then it was just this morning I was reading analysis from the CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, and when you read that particular allegation, he said that if true, that would not -- that would only potentially constitute a violation there, a civil violation but could lead to criminal charges.

So, that obviously is key here. What will the local sheriff's office do next with this allegation?

BOLDUAN: But this is a first could be a very potentially very important step. We'll see.

Shimon, what does this mean for the governor?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: No, it is certainly significant, right? This is the first criminal complaint that has been filed alleging that the governor groped her. This is the complaint where she said that the governor touched her breast. It is potentially very significant.

There is always questions of whether or not this accuser would cooperate in a criminal investigation. That answer is now very clear and that is yes.

She has now filed this criminal complaint. It will get referred to the Albany County district attorney who has already been investigating this and running a criminal investigation. But this certainly, Kate, raises the stakes much higher in terms of for the governor. Because now we know that he could potentially, much more seriously than ever before, we know that he could potentially face criminal charges. That is certainly significant.

BOLDUAN: I'm just going to jump in, Shimon, Polo, thank you very much.

Get over to the White House. The president checking his watch real quick and making his first remarks on big jobs report this morning. Let's listen in.


Yesterday, the United States Senate took the additional step toward passing the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It's a bill that would end years of gridlock in Washington and create millions of good-paying jobs and put America on a new path to win the race for the economy in the 21st century.

Historic investment in roads and rail and transit and bridges and clean energy and clean water, and will enable us not to build back, but to build back better than before the economic crisis hit.

I want to thank the bipartisan group of senators for working together and the committee chairs for raising their ideas and concerns with me and Vice President Harris and members of our cabinet.

As you did with the Transcontinental Railroad and the Interstate Highway System, we'll soon once again transform America and propel us into the future. This bill makes key investments to put people to work all across countries (ph), in cities, in towns, in rural communities, small towns, big towns, coast -- along the coastlines and in the plains. It covers the nation.

It's going to put America to work in good paying union jobs, building and repairing our roads, bridges, ports, airports, and, you know, once this bill passed the Senate, I know that body will move toward establishing a framework for the remainder of my Build Back Better agenda, and giving tax cuts to the middle class by investing in childcare and home care for seniors, critical investments to combat climate change and to build a clean energy future. Vital steps needed to bring down the cost of health care and so much more.

And we're going to do it without raising taxes by even one cent on people making less than $400,000 a year.

And here is another part of the bill: 90 percent of the jobs created by this legislation will not require a college degree, 90 percent. It's a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.

Which brings me to another piece of good news this morning, we learned that the economy created 943,000 new jobs in July, 943,000. The unemployment rate fell by half a percent to 5.4 percent.

Now while our economy is far from complete, and while we have doubtless will have ups and downs along the way as we continue to fight the delta surge of COVID, what is in disputable now is this, the Biden plan is working.


The Biden plan produces results and the Biden plan is moving the country forward.

We're now the first administration in history to add jobs every single month on our first six months in office. And the only one in history to add more than 4 million jobs during the first six months. Economic growth is the fastest in 40 years. Jobs are up. The unemployment rate is the lowest since the pandemic hit.

Black unemployment is down as well. Why? Because we put in place the necessary tools. Early in my presidency, the COVID vaccine, the COVID- 19 vaccine plan, the American Rescue Plan to fight the virus and fight the economic mess we inherited.

As a result we were able to make progress on both fronts against grave challenges, and we have -- we put in place the tools that prevent this delta variant wave of COVID-19 from shutting down our small businesses, our schools and our society.

You know, when we first got to office, COVID-19 crisis and economic crisis were unrelenting and devastating for people. And as a nation, we didn't have the tools to deal with either.

Nearly 4,000 Americans were dying each and every day through the virus, 4,000 a day. The economy had been wiped out. We were down 10 million jobs from where we were before the pandemic. We were in a dark winter, with real concerns about what spring would bring.

But then we got to work. We passed the American Rescue Plan shortly after I was sworn in. It gave us the tools to fight the pandemic and rebuild our economy and produced results. To beat the pandemic, we ramped up testing and protected equipment and we brought -- we went out and bought enough vaccine for every single solitary American could be vaccinated. And because of the help of everyone from the military to civilian

efforts, we carried out one of the most difficult logistical challenges in our nation's history to get 220 million shots into people's arms in the first 100 days in office, 220 million.

Over the past seven months, we've cut COVID-19 deaths by 90 percent. As of today, 193 million Americans have gotten at least one vaccination shot, including over 70 percent of adults over the age of 18, 165 million Americans are now fully vaccinated.

Because of our success with vaccination effort, this new delta variant wave of COVID-19 will be very different. We'll be able to deal with than the one that under -- that we under -- was underway when I took office.

And, yes, cases are going to go up before they come back down. It is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. I know I've said that constantly and others have as well, the vaccination of the unvaccinated. You know, it is needless -- taking a needless toll on our country.

You know, we have roughly 350 million people vaccinated in the United States. And billions around the world, and virtually no one's died because of that vaccinations. But even so, the impact is going to be different than what happened last January. Today, about 400 people will die because of the delta variant in this country, a tragedy, because virtually all of deaths are preventable if people had gotten vaccinated.

Seven months ago today, almost 4,000 people died on that very day from COVID-19 -- 4,000 versus 400. That shows how much or vaccination progress has already done to protect us from the worst of the new delta COVID-19 wave.

Likewise, the American rescue plan has given us the economic tools we need to protect our recovery against the worst impacts of the delta virus. Fourteen hundred checks in the pockets -- $1,400 checks in the pockets of millions of Americans helped to keep folks in their homes, helped to put food on the table.

Remember those long lines we used to talk about. People lining up in their cars for hours just to get a box of food put in their trunk. Help to small businesses safely and keep the lights on and the doors open and the employees on the job.

Because states were losing revenue, they were having to lay off essential workers. Well, the aid to states and cities and counties and tribes that kept essential workers going, police officers, firefighters, educators, on the job.