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At This Hour

William Shatner Makes History As Oldest Person In Space; U.S to Reopen Canada and Mexico Borders to Vaccinated Travelers; NFL Says, No Plans to Release Findings of Washington Football Team Probe. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 13, 2021 - 11:30   ET



NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (voice over): What a life lived, 90 years. And then to cap it off at being 90 and doing what he did this morning. I mean, I was sitting here through that whole entire mission just saying, wow, wow, I had no words, because it was one of the most beautiful things that I think I've ever seen.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR (voice over): Absolutely. And we're playing the video from the moment he left the capsule. And you really can see how moved and profoundly emotional he really was.

What is -- I mean, honestly, Nischelle, I was struck before William Shatner went into space with how hysterical he was. His interview with Anderson had me on the floor, that he did last week. And now, I don't even know what to say. I'm -- it's -- what is it about this man, the original Captain Kirk, this actor, that has captivated the imagination and Star Trek itself, it's captivating the imagination of generations of people.

TURNER (voice over): Absolutely. I mean, He was one of the originators of swag, if we're being honest, six decades ago, when he was playing Captain Kirk. And he came on our screen as this man of bravado, this man of risk, and that's who we thought he was. And then we get to know William Shatner. And he is this man of hilarity and he has these amazing words. And it just almost kind of confirmed that hero status that we all wanted to have for him for so long.

So, to see this career span six decades for him, to see him win Grammys, to have these spoken word albums, to kind of have morphed from Captain Kirk into this man, and then to see him have that full circle moment today, it's almost indescribable.

He was a trailblazer on television, doing a lot of things for us. He was the first to have an interracial kiss on television with my namesake, Nischelle Nichols, Lieutenant Uhura. He really kind of broke ground in a lot of ways.

So now in his real life, to break ground in a way that kind of meld him back into Captain Kirk I think is something that we're all sitting in awe of this morning, Kate. I'm not even sure if that made sense. I was trying to be as astute as him but you just can't. You just -- I want to be him when I grow up.

BOLDUAN (voice over): Absolutely. No, what you said totally makes sense. And I'm glad one of us is making sense, as I have been just kind of watching this in awe.

TURNER (voice over): But you sit in awe of this. I was listening to Miles and trying to take in everything he was saying because it's definitely an experience, even for us who are sitting at home watching it.

BOLDUAN: And, Miles, you describe this so well. I mean, where do you want to take this? What are you thinking about this now? There are two things that are both very real. There's this really beautiful, profound human experience that William Shatner has described in a way that no one else has, Miles, as you've said. And there's also then the technical aspect of like what does that mean in the grander, greater scheme of things, right?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AEROSPACE ANALYST: Yes. All the plumbing worked, all the electronics worked. So what? William Shatner just gave the most epic post-flight speech ever. I didn't even need the flight. I would have been happy just to hear that. The fight was a great prelude and it's teed him up for this amazing, poetic statement about things so much larger than what occurred in that four-minute period when he was floating around.

But for him to be able to grasp all of that, take that all in and then share it with us in such a beautiful, coherent way, literally like the lyrics of one of his spoken word songs written out right there, I don't think Jeff Bezos could even comprehend what he was hearing.

BOLDUAN: No. In the middle of it, Jeff Bezos like goes and grabs a champagne bottle. And I'm like, wait a second, Shatner is having a moment here.

O'BRIEN: Listen to this guy. Would you listen to him? He's got something to say here.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. I think he was like mid that -- what was that? He was describing this blue comforter of sky and having it ripped off in the middle of your sleep and then you're in the darkness. And then he literally says, is this death. I mean it. This is -- look at him. I could redo this all over again, Miles.

O'BRIEN (voice over): It was so amazing. And, really, this is why this is cool, technicalities aside. As more and more people that have the ability to do what we just saw, which is an innate talent as more and more people have that experience, we're going to understand what this is all about in a really profound way.

And, really, ultimately, as anybody who has gone to space will tell you, what you focus on is us, Earth, home, and we will understand our planet better. I don't want to get too schmaltzy and carried away here, but this is actually how we bring people together on the planet.

[11:35:00] BOLDUAN: I'll take schmaltzy any day with you, Miles. Thank you, Miles, for sharing this moment. Thank you, William Shatner, for being William Shatner. And, Nischelle, it's great to see you. Kristin Fisher on the ground giving us all the reporting, thank you, guys. I really appreciate it.

All right, much more to come from us as we will be continuing to see, more videos will be released, I'm sure, by Blue Origin. We'll bring that to you when we get it.

But also ahead for us, America's borders with Canada and Mexico will reopen soon to fully vaccinated travelers. We have details and the real impact of this on so many aspects of our lives, next.



BOLDUAN: Developing this morning, the United States plans to reopen its borders with Canada and Mexico next month to fully vaccinated visitors. It's been 18 months since restrictions have forced them to close at the start of the pandemic, of course. The announcement comes as coronavirus numbers continue to trend in a good direction here in the United States.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is joining me now with much more on what does this announcement really means, Priscilla.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: The U.S. is signaling here that it is opening back up to business. As you mentioned, after more than 18 months, fully vaccinated foreign visitors will be able to cross land borders in Canada and Mexico for nonessential reasons. That means visiting friends or family or passing by for tourism. And it's going to happen in two phases.

So, in early November, the fully vaccinated foreign visitors from Canada and Mexico will be able to cross the land borders for those nonessential reasons. Then in January of 2022, that vaccination requirement is going to apply to essential travel, like cross-border trade, which has been able to continue during the pandemic.

Officials also say that they are waiting for a decision by the CDC to determine which vaccines will be accepted, but they said they anticipate that those authorized and approved by the FDA and WHO will be accepted. So, a big monumental change for those border communities today. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Priscilla, thank you so much for that.

Also developing at this hour, consumer prices up more than 5 percent in September compared to a year ago, as suppliers continue to face these big backlogs at America's ports. But there is also some good news though this morning for social security recipients. Let's get the latest on this.

CNN's Matt Egan is joining me with more. Matt, what are you seeing? MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Kate, unfortunately, prices are still soaring, sort of like a rocket ship. In September, we saw consumer prices jump by 5.4 percent. That's an acceleration from August. It's tied for the biggest gains since 2008. Month over Month, prices up 0.4 percent, that's also an uptick. Both numbers are moving in the wrong direction.

If you take out food and energy, which tends to be more volatile, core prices were up by a more modest amount but still significant. Of course, Americans can't take food and energy out of their budgets and their budgets are getting squeezed by these price spikes.

So, let's look at the notable price gains over the last 12 months starting with gasoline, gasoline up 42 percent, used cars, 24 percent, steaks, 22 percent, laundry equipment, eggs, children's footwear, all up double digits.

Now, there are some silver linings here. Used car prices, they actually decelerated. We also saw month over month prices declined for apparel, jewelry and also for watches. Help is on the way for retirees. Social security recipients are getting their biggest annual cost of living adjustment since 1992. But, Kate, unfortunately, after years of pretty stingy increases, advocates for social security fear that this increase is not going to go far enough to help senior citizens make ends meet.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And it really is so interconnected, as you lay out so perfectly, Matt. Thank you so much for that.

And that is why this is becoming such a big focus for the Biden administration right now, hoping to do something to alleviate the bottlenecks impacting suppliers all along the way. President Biden set to try and ease some of the delays now along the supply chain, like at ports on the west coast, by expanding to round-the-clock operations.

Let me go over to CNN's John Harwood. He is live at the White House to explain what does the Biden administration, what does the president think they can do here.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, the pandemic has upended American life in so many ways, including economic life. It's changed things that we want to buy, when we want to buy them. It's changed the ability of manufacturers here and around the world to make those products. And it's affected our ability to get those products from the factory site on to store shelves in the United States. And you can see that in the backup at ports, not just in Los Angeles and Long Beach, but in Savannah and other parts of the United States.

So, what the administration has been doing has been rustling a supply chain task force to try to unkink, uncrimp the difficulties in the supply chain. One of those things the president is going to announce today or celebrate today is the round-the-clock operations at both Long Beach and Los Angeles ports, try to get those containers off the ships to market. Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg explained the point.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Thinks about it. When you see these pictures of those ships waiting at anchor, waiting outside of the ports, that means the ships are already there.


So it's everything after that that we have to work to unclog. It's there not being spaces for the ships at the berths, it's the containers being backed up. And that goes through our supply chain, through the rails, through the trucks, again, all the way to the store shelf.


HARWOOD: And, Kate, because all of this is contributing to the inflation that Matt Egan talked about, they're working across government departments. The agriculture department is trying to expand poultry processing to meet demand. The commerce department is trying to unkink the supply chains for semiconductors, so more new cars can be built. Not clear how large of an effect that all of this can have on the inflation rate, but the Biden administration is motivated right now to do everything they can.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I have to say with the ports, I'm just surprised that they haven't already been operating at 24/7 capacity. That was just a surprising thing to learn today. It's good to see you, John. Thank you very much.

Coming up for us, the NFL Players Association calling on the league now to make public the findings of their investigation into the Washington football team. The NFL is responding this morning. Former player Donte Stallworth joins me next on the fallout.



BOLDUAN: This just in to CNN, the NFL is rejecting calls now to make public the findings of an independent investigation into the Washington football team. This is after the Players Association was urging the league to release hundreds of thousands of emails and documents. As you well know now, Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden, he resigned because of some of these emails after The New York Times published details of homophobic, racist and misogynistic comments that he'd made over several years over email.

Joining me now is Donte Stallworth, who you well know played ten seasons in the NFL. It's good to see you, Donte.

The Players Association wants to see the remainders of these emails and documents. How important do you think that is?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL WIDE RECEIVER: I think it's very important because it broadens the scope of the initial investigation that was underway through the Washington football team because of their culture of misogyny and sexism that a lot of women had come forth and told their stories about. So these stories that are kind of popping up, just branching out from that initial investigation, I think it will broaden the scope and it will really prove and show, like what the NFL culture actually is.

Being a former NFL player, I played for ten years, I played for a number of different teams. There were a number of locker rooms where you had coaches, players that felt similar to Jon Gruden, maybe not as expressive as him but it's definitely there. But on the flipside of that too, there were a lot of guys who felt the exact opposite way and feel the exact opposite way.

So, releasing these emails, I think, will just be really big for transparency, but there are 650,000 emails, according to The Wall Street Journal, so I'm not sure if they're going to release them at all.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, you don't want to paint up the entire league with every player, every coach with the same brush, of course, but there's a lot still, who knows, to be known.

I mean, you've interacted with Gruden as an opposing player and a broadcaster. Were you surprised to read this stuff coming from him?

STALLWORTH: I was. I was shocked because you just never know what someone's private and internal feelings are if you're not in their inner circle. And all of the things that I've come in contact with Gruden, again, as an opposing player, as a player in the NFL, someone who played offensive guru and he was coach at the University of Tennessee where I went to school, all of these things kind of led me to just have a natural respect for him.

And it's unfortunate that these things -- these emails were released because it wasn't -- you know, it wasn't a one-off situation, it wasn't an isolated incident. These show a pattern of behavior and a pattern of mentality over the course of seven years. And, as you said, who knows what else are in those emails.

So, it really was really, for me, personally upsetting and I know a lot of people that are close to Jon are also very upset and disappointed in him. But I really want to make the point too that, unfortunately, you know, in the past 10, 20 years, I was drafted in 2002, and the league has changed a lot.

And we still have a far way to go, the NFL still has a very long way to go. But there are now women that are officiating, there are women that are pro-scouts, there are women that have really entered themselves in this game, and the NFL is really trying to widen and broaden that net. But when things like this happen, it just sets the NFL back two steps when they take one step forward.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Look, and as you've pointed out, there have been progresses. You've seen it. You've talked very openly even about your progress, your evolution on these issues.

And Roger Goodell was actually one of the targets of Gruden's commentary, his gross commentary in some of these documents released, according to The New York Times. Do you want to hear directly from Roger Goodell on this? What do you think that would do?

STALLWORTH: Yes, I'd like to hear from Roger. I'd like to know how he feels. I'd like to hear what he thinks about Gruden's comments and what that means for the NFL and just the type of platform that the NFL is afforded as, you know -- I'm obviously biased, but the greatest game in America.

So, we have a responsibility to the public. We have a responsibility to the rest of the players in the league and to our fans to show that this is not tolerated and this is not accepted.


But, unfortunately, I'm pretty sure I heard that -- or I read somewhere that the Raiders' owner was privy to all of these emails, even the ones that were released later in the week or the next week. He was privy to all these things. And I think that just the fact that, you know, that Mark Davis, the Raiders' owner, was really not moved at all initially to make some type of statement or effort to really penalize Jon Gruden for this until The New York Times report came out that showed not only the racist comments but the misogyny, the anti- gay slurs and things like that. So, that, to me, I think is also disappointing.

But, again, the NFL has tried to make progress but they keep getting pushed back. So, we'll see what happens in the future.

BOLDUAN: As we always say, sunshine is the greatest disinfectant, and that seems clear here too as well. Donte, thank you very much. It's good to see you.

Thanks for being here, everybody.

Inside Politics with John King starts right after this.