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At This Hour

Soon: President Biden Speaks Following Disappointing Jobs Report; Biden Approval Rating Plunges As Economic Recovery Slows; House Committee: Trump Concealed Over $70M In Losses At Trump Hotel. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 11:00   ET



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

Here is what we're watching at this hour. Another miss, the jobs report disappointing, off the mark by hundreds of thousands of jobs. President Biden set to speak on this, this hour.

Economic calamity avoided, for now the Senate extends the debt ceiling avoiding a disastrous default but only for weeks and Democrats still can't agree on their ambitious spending programs. And rounding the corner, positive signs on COVID, more positive signs, fewer cases, more vaccinations, mandates pushing even more people to get the shot. But those same mandates are forcing some people to choose between the shot and their job.

Thank you for being here everybody. At this hour, we're standing by to hear from President Biden set to deliver his first public remarks on the September jobs report just out and it was a major disappointment. The report showed the U.S. economy added just 194,000 jobs last month, and some economists actually expected it to be more than twice that number.

Report is even worse than the last disappointment which was just the month before, both below what was expected both raising real questions about what is happening in this recovery. The new report will likely put even more pressure on the President to push his economic agenda through Congress, which remains deadlocked over the size, the scope, the details of these massive spending plans. It also adds a new wrinkle for the Federal Reserve which is trying to boost the labor market while also keeping inflation in check. This comes as Congress recovers from one bruising fight already having to brace for the same one coming up next.

The Senate voted last night to extend the debt ceiling, but only for two months. And senators on both sides are fuming over Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's comments following the vote. We're going to have more on that in a moment. But let's start with CNN's John Harwood. He's live at the White House. John, this is a day I'm always very happy you're available for us. The President because of your expertise in this area, the President is soon to lay out his take on what this jobs report means, at least from his perspective. What do you expect to hear from him?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the first thing I expect to hear his ascribing as economists do, the disappointing jobs report in large part to the impact of the coronavirus. The pandemic is in control of this economic recovery and the Delta variant was surging at the time when this unemployment report data was gathered.

And so the President will talk about the need to enhance the vaccination regime. He's been pushing mandatory vaccinations both for the federal government but also for private employers. I would also expect the President as you indicated to make the case for his economic program to tell the American people this is why Congress has to move ahead on this build back agenda, build back better agenda. And that's precisely what Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said on CNN just a few minutes ago.


MARTY WALSH, LABOR SECRETARY: I would hope that, you know, members of Congress and members of the Senate today look at this jobs report and sees where the shortfalls are and understands that these investments that the President wants to make in these areas will have long term, lasting positive impacts on our economy moving forward.


HARWOOD: Now, there were some positive signs in the report. Unemployment was down to 4.8 percent. Those employed were working more hours, wages were up, although the inflation that you mentioned, is eroding the value of those worker wages. But overall, this just makes the case that the pandemic, controlling the pandemic is the key to restarting the economy. And President Biden needs to get his agenda on track to build long term economic prosperity, as he sees it and as he's trying to get his Democrats to come along with him on.

BOLDUAN: All right, John is going to stick around with us as we are going to be standing by to hear from the President. He'll be with us when he does. John, thank you for that.

Some of the areas of the economy hardest hit last month, healthcare and education. There's also a lot of focus on what happened in hospitality and what it means for all of us. CNN's Matt Egan joining me now, he's been digging into these numbers even further. Matt, the Labor Secretary called this a complex report. What's sticking out to you?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: It definitely was a complex report. And a lot of that was because of the Delta variant and the reopening of the economy. But that means there's kind of something for everyone here in terms of the positives and the negatives. Now clearly, the big negative is the fact that the economy added just 194,000 jobs last month that is less than half of what economists have been anticipating. And as you can see, you know, there was a surge in hiring this summer, but that has clearly faded big time. This was actually the worst job gain of the entire year. And so that means the U.S. economy is still down 5 million jobs during the pandemic. That is, you know, that's disappointing. Three quarters of the jobs that have been lost have been recovered, but that last quarter has been the hardest to bring back. At the current pace, it would take two years to get back all the jobs lost.


Now we have to look at the sector breakdown to really see where the weakness was. And the big concern is schools, you look at local government education that dropped by 144,000 jobs. That's a big deal because normally schools they add back a lot of teachers and staff that had been taken off the payroll during the summer, the fact that that didn't happen as much as expected, suggested maybe they had some trouble hiring, finding workers to hire.

Also hotels were only up 2,100. That's not enough, because that sector got crushed by the pandemic, healthcare actually lost more than 17,000 jobs, food services up 29,000. But, Kate, there were some positives here, the unemployment rate dropped to a pandemic low of 4.8 percent. It's well below the 15 percent, nearly 15 percent that we saw in of April 2020. Wages were up -- wages -- unemployment rate for black Americans has also fallen substantially. So there are some positives here. But this is all evidence of the distortions created by the pandemic and how much COVID continues to rule the U.S. economy.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you, Matt. Thank you very much.

Turning out of Capitol Hill where an economic crisis has been averted. The Senate voted last night to extend the nation's debt limit through early December, avoiding a potentially catastrophic default. But it is not a final victory. Really, it's not even a victory, or at least it's short lived because they only pushed it off for a couple of months. And it may be even tougher for both sides next time, after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered a really tough speech around the vote last night that Republicans and even some Democrats are not happy with. CNN's Jessica Dean, she's on Capitol Hill for us now. Jessica, what's going to happen next?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you just alluded to this, Kate. This does not solve the stalemate over raising the debt ceiling. This is the bare minimum in the sense that America has to pay its bills, and they've got it done through the beginning of December. But we -- none of the dynamics have changed here. And in fact, people have become even more entrenched after the last several days have played out.

So the bottom line is we're just going to see this all over again but even worse, and with more entrenched positions as we move toward December. So at this point, there is no clear route forward for Democrats, Republicans insisting they must do it on their own. Democrats saying they do not want to take the route that Republicans want them to. And they're really not giving either way. So we're going to see how that develops over the next several weeks.

In the meantime, things are incredibly tense around here. Yesterday was very high stakes for members of both parties. But it was really came to this culmination when we saw Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer giving his speech right after 10 Republicans crossed over to allow them to go forward to lift this debt ceiling. Here's part of his speech. Take a listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans insisted they wanted a solution to the debt ceiling, but said Democrats must raise it alone by going through a drawn out convoluted and risky reconciliation process. That was simply unacceptable to my caucus. And yesterday, Senate Republicans finally realized that their obstruction was not going to work.


DEAN: And you saw Senator Joe Manchin there to Schumer's left putting his head in his hands as he was talking. He told reporters after that civility is gone. It was not appropriate to be that partisan after the vote that had just taken place. And the Senate Minority Whip John Thune, Kate, went to Schumer and said, told reporters he let him have it. Mitt Romney also saying this was a moment of grace. So people on both sides not happy to hear that partisan speech, what they call a partisan speech, right after they had accomplished, you know, at least getting the debt ceiling lifted until December. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Jessica, thank you so much for that.

Joining me right now, with some more is economic reporter for The New York Times, Jeanna Smialek. Jeanna, thanks for being here. So you've got the debt ceiling looming out there once again, I'm just going to say it. But that is for later, at least for the moment. This jobs report, another mess. It paints a confusing picture, another confusing picture of where exactly the country is in this recovery.

Rana Foroohar post, I think the perfect question, which is, does anyone really know what is happening with this economy? What are all the smart people telling you?

JEANNA SMIALEK, FEDERAL RESERVE AND ECONOMY REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: I think that this is such a challenging moment to read the tea leaves. And just to sort of demonstrate that, I think that one place to look in this jobs report to just see how extremely confusing it is, is that state and local government education hiring that we were talking about earlier, you know, those numbers are impossible to read right now. Because a surge over the summer, which could be messing with the numbers now, and it's just really impossible to figure out sort of what the trend is versus what is just completely, you know, pandemic noise.


And so I think it's very difficult for economists to get a good read on how quickly this job market is healing, how quickly it's going to heel going forward, and how long we have until we've reached a full recovery. I think the big takeaway is that we're definitely not there now. And it's probably going to take a lot longer than just about anybody was hoping for us to get there. You know, the drop in the unemployment rate is good news. But everything else was basically bad news in this report.

BOLDUAN: And I am constantly curious on how inflation plays into this whole picture. I had Jared Bernstein, one of the President's economic advisors on yesterday, and other than tracking what's playing out with inflation, I want to play for you what he said the White House is doing with regard to it.


JARED BERNSTEIN, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: We have a taskforce designated to these tasks. And we are already at work. We probably don't talk about that enough. We have folks in ports who are trying to help that coordination problem improve so that we don't have maritime parking lots in Los Angeles and Long Beach. At the same time, we're trying to make sure that we have the strongest labor market with rising wages in the background to help improve people's income over this period.


BOLDUAN: Jeanna, how do you think that fits into an economy where not enough people are going back to work yet?

SMIALEK: Yes, I think that the challenges with inflation are very real. I think that earlier in the year, folks at the White House, I think folks at the Fed were really hoping that those inflation numbers were going to fade with time, bottlenecks were going to clear up. And instead, what we've seen is those bottlenecks have gotten a lot worse, the ports are really backlogged. Global shipping routes are all messed up. There's really no reason to believe that inflation is going to fade extremely quickly, it could last well into next year.

And I think that's a point of real concern. And especially I think, when we talk about the wage story that we're experiencing right now, like, yes, wages are going up, but inflation is eating that away quickly. And as those wages increase in worker shortages, like you alluded to, what we're seeing is the companies are having to, you know, up their labor bills in order to produce kind of the same amount. And so we're seeing increased prices.

And so I think that that data dynamic is going to be really interesting and really sort of potentially pretty risky for economic policymakers over the coming months.

BOLDUAN: Yes, so much to watch. Jeanna, thanks so much, really appreciate it.

SMIALEK: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: So we're going to be hearing very soon, as I mentioned from President Biden himself, his take on this report and the state of the country's recovery from the COVID recession. It comes at a critical moment for the President who is facing a dip in his approval rating. And as we know, the economy plays a huge part in that approval rating for every president. Joining me now for more on this, CNN's senior data reporter, Harry Enten. Harry, we're going to hear from the President on the economy, this all impacts his approval rating overall, what you're looking at, it's not great, but what do you see?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: Yes, it's not great. The trend over the last few months shows that Biden's approval rating has been falling, right? If you look back on August 1, which you saw was President Biden's approval rating I believe was at 51 percent. And look at it now it's at 44 percent. And you can just see over the last few months from August 1st to September 1st to now, you see that net approval rating, that's approval rating minus disapproval rating, going from positive at plus eight to minus two on September 1, and now at minus five points going in the wrong direction.

BOLDUAN: What is driving this? Is it clear what's driving it?

ENTEN: Yes, you know, if you look by party, what you see is you do see that his net approval rating is dropping among Democrats, Republicans and Independents. But look at among the Independents, you go from an August 1, his net approval rating was plus three. Now it's minus 16 points. So it's down 19 points more than either Democrats or Republicans. And why is this so important? Because Independents are the reason that Joe Biden won in the 2020 election.

What we saw back in 2020 versus 2016 is among Independents, Joe Biden won them by 13 points, Clinton them lost them by four, and the change from Clinton's margin to Biden's margin shifted by 17 points, much more than it shifted among Democrats or Republicans.

BOLDUAN: President Biden very clearly thinks that these big programs, the infrastructure bill, the reconciliation bill, these big spending bills are key to turning this around and turning around a lot of things, but especially turning around his approval rating included. Is it clear that that is the case that it would do that?

ENTEN: It can't hurt, it can't hurt. And the reason why it can't hurt is if you ask voters whether or not they think that Joe Biden has accomplished very much. What you see in the trend line is essentially say -- they say no, look at this. In late August, 58 percent of voters said only some are very little. That was up significantly from late April when it was 47 percent. Who said only some are very little and the great or fair deal dropped from 51 percent in late April to just 40 percent in late August.


And here's the thing I'll note is if you look back, look at Biden's build better agenda, look at that, the support minus opposition plus 30 on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan on the $3.5 trillion social programs plus 20 points much better than Biden's approval rating.

BOLDUAN: It's really interesting to see it by the numbers like that, Harry. Thank you so much for putting that together.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up next for us, for the first time Congress is releasing a look at former President Trump's finances specifically with regard to that D.C. hotel, the Trump International Hotel. And lawmakers say there's evidence that Donald Trump tried to hide tens of millions of dollars in losses.



BOLDUAN: We do have some breaking news. For the first time, congressional investigators are releasing details of former President Donald Trump's financials. Details that Trump has worked so hard, fought so long in multiple courts to keep from going public, millions of dollars in losses from his D.C. hotel and attempts to hide millions in payments from foreign governments. CNN's Kristen Holmes joins me now with all of the details as this been rolling out. Hundreds of pages here, Kristen, this is from the House Oversight Committee. What did they find?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Kate, this is really incredible. It appears to be the most detailed version of the former president's finances that have been made public to date. And it's especially notable the amount of access the Committee was given. Remember, Congress has been chasing this kind of detail for years during the Trump presidency and beyond. And this is the first time we're actually seeing it. And that's particular when it comes to those payments you mentioned from foreign governments.

Now, according to the Committee, Trump received an estimated $3.7 million from foreign governments. This is money that flowed through the hotel that was never disclosed. And it's leading to a lot of questions as to what if anything, foreign governments were getting in exchange for this huge amount of money. Now, it is important to note that despite all of this money coming in from foreign governments, the Trump hotel was actually experiencing losses.

Take a look at this, while they claimed that they were making about $156 million in revenue, documents show that actually it was -- they were losing more than $70 million. They were losing so much money, in fact, that they had to be loaned more than $24 million from another one of Trumps holdings. Now, another thing to point out here, this goes back to those foreign governments, the Committee says that these documents show that President Trump was given preferential treatment by Deutsche Bank, a foreign bank that essentially deferred his payments, that is also considered a gift, something that was never disclosed by a foreign bank.

So just to note, the Committee says they're not done yet that they are seeking more answers. And certainly, Kate, after this, we are also seeking more answers into what has really been a black box that is Trump's finances.

BOLDUAN: Yes, Kristen, thanks so much. Joining me now for more on this is CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. You know, Donald Trump broke with decades of precedent when he refused to give up, you know, his financial interests in his business when he took office, Jeffrey, so conflicts of interest with him are not a surprise. But the Trump Hotel in Washington was a particular minefield. And is that what we're seeing right here? I mean, what jumps out to you?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's part of what we're seeing, you know, it was an open secret that the way foreign governments ingratiated themselves with the Trump administration was to stay in the Trump hotel, and many governments did it. You know, it is not clear what they got in return. But the whole point of the Emoluments Clause, which is an ancient clause in the Constitution, is that federal officials, including the President should not have conflicts of interest, should not be receiving any sort of money, emoluments, from foreign governments. But it obviously happened here to the tune of several million dollars.

BOLDUAN: There's been so many questions raised about Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank. The Committee saying that in 2018, they allowed Trump to delay payments on a loan of 170 million. I mean, how could this fit into the larger picture of Trump's relationship with this major bank? And I mean, as Kristen was laying out to this point, it's been like this black box.

TOOBIN: Well, you know, this reminds me, bear with me on this. In the -- Donald Trump was the subject of a fryers roast back long before he was president. And what he said to the people who were roasting him is you can joke about anything, except that I don't have a lot of money. That's the one thing you can't joke about. But you know what, Donald Trump does not have a lot of money. And I think people are missing the point, when they say the real risk to him is criminal prosecution, whether in the Manhattan D.A.'s Office or something coming out of January 6th, I don't think there going to be any criminal prosecution prosecutions.

But because Deutsche Bank was so indulgent of his failed businesses for years and years, he has been able to stave off financial disaster. But Deutsche Bank has said we're done with him now. And he is not going to find American or big lenders in the United States or companies that do a lot of business in the United States. And that's the reason problem he faces in the next few years. It's not just this hotel. It's all the hotels that are doing terribly and he doesn't have the money to pay back his loans.


BOLDUAN: Is there more beyond this? The Committee says we're not done yet. They're going to keep digging. But as you suggest, you don't think that there's criminal prosecution in the future for him. His CFO is facing tax fraud charges in New York. I mean, the web of people around him facing charges is extensive. But you think that this -- how does this all fit together, then what Congress gets to next, I kind of wonder? TOOBIN: Well, I think it is fair to say that the former President has been very good at protecting the secrecy of his business operations. We are just finding out today that in fact, the hotel was doing poorly. I think anyone who can say for certain what Donald Trump's finances are or will be, is blowing smoke, because we don't know. But the news has been all bad. And that's worth keeping in mind.

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey, thank you.


BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, Congress going from crisis to crisis, the debt ceiling solved for a few weeks. Now Democrats can quit fighting Republicans and go back to fighting each other over the President's economic agenda. We'll talk to one member next.