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At This Hour

Dems' Wakeup Call; Interview with Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) on Infrastructure and Spending Bills; Jurors Selected in Ahmaud Arbery Murder Trial; Prosecution's FBI Surveillance Video in Rittenhouse Trial; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Press Briefing. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 04, 2021 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Here's what we're watching at this hour.

Big strategy shift: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushing ahead for a vote on President Biden's agenda, even if it puts House Democrats even more at odds with Senate Democrats.

Twelve jurors but only one who is African American. Now a warning about discrimination from the judge at the trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery.

And a new weapon against COVID-19, a pill to fight the virus that is being called a possible game changer.


BOLDUAN: Thanks so much for being here. We begin with new developments on Democrats' efforts to President Biden's domestic agenda through Congress. House Democrats are meeting at this hour to talk about changes to their trillion-dollar spending plan.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is pushing for votes as early as today on that as well as the bipartisan infrastructure plan.

Quite honestly, that is hard to see right now. We're waiting to hear from the Speaker any minute.

It comes as Democrats are struggling to find a path forward after this week's disappointing election results. President Biden is blaming congressional Democrats for not passing those bills before Election Day.

But Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief, at least a little bit, after Phil Murphy pulled off a win over his Republican challenger. The incredibly close race in a state, that President Biden won by 16 points last year, captures why Democrats are raising alarm about 2022. Let's begin with Manu Raju live on Capitol Hill.

What are you hearing?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nancy Pelosi just told her caucus in a closed-door meeting that she does plan to have a vote on that bigger bill as soon as tonight.

Now this plan, as you know, has changed multiple times over the past several weeks. So we'll see if it actually comes to fruition. But she is trying to push ahead to get this bill out of the House tonight.

She can only afford to lose three votes and that margin of error, it's possible she could lose more than those votes if she moves ahead, which is why it's uncertain if she would do that.

A number of members in her own caucus want to learn more about the details of the bill, the cost analysis, get an official estimate from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office before they go ahead and have the vote.

At this hour, she has asked her caucus to say whether they will vote yes or no on this bill. She told them there is a deadline by 11:00 am to say where they will come down. Perhaps that plan could once again change.

The hope for Pelosi is to have a vote tonight and move on to the bipartisan infrastructure bill tomorrow. That bill, of course, $1.2 trillion for roads, bridges, broadband, waterways. It's been awaiting action in the House for months.

But she wants to move forward on both pieces of legislation before the end of the week. Now how this ultimately plays out remains to be seen. We expect to hear from her in a matter of moments. We'll ask her whether or not she does plan to move forward and whether they will decide to punt this once again.

But right now, White House officials are meeting with the Democrats in the House, going through this bill section by section and indicating that they, too, want to get this done.

Kate, as we've seen from this process over months, can it get done?

If it gets done in the House, there is a whole question about the Senate and that's a whole different problem, with Joe Manchin indicating he wants substantial changes to the bill when it goes over there, assuming in a matter of weeks.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Manu is there in the room. We're going to get back to Manu and the Speaker when this all happens, because things could be changing.

Manu, thanks so much. Stand by.

In the meantime, Republican congressman Tom Reed is a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

Congressman, from what Manu is saying, the Speaker is pushing for a vote tonight on the bigger spending bill and then the vote tomorrow on infrastructure. You don't support the bigger spending bill. You have been a yes on infrastructure.

But just first and foremost, logistically, do you think it that's actually going to happen this series of votes?

REP. TOM REED (R-NY): I don't see how that could happen this evening or this week. They're still waiting for the official referee, the Congressional Budget Office, to score the bill. That's a responsible legislative position because you want to know what's in the bill before you pass it to figure out what's there.

The referee is the one that people look to, to say, how much does this cost, who's affected by the tax increases?

A lot of my colleagues on the Democratic side are concerned.


REED: But the bipartisan infrastructure bill, the $1.2 trillion bill, that's ready to go. That has my full support, Republican support, Democratic support. We should get this delivered to the president's desk so the American people win from this gridlock rather than continue the fighting.

BOLDUAN: You've been saying that for quite some time; let's move forward on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, as well as many other members of the Problem Solvers Caucus.

I remember you telling CNN at one point you think 10 or 20 Republicans could get behind that effort, could get behind supporting that.

Do you still think that's the case?

I know this changes day by day.

But on infrastructure, are you still looking at numbers like that?

REED: I am. Talking to my colleagues, because the ones of us that have shown support for it, that bill has been obviously vetted for months, this is about roads, highways; it's about airports, rail, everything, American ports.

And they've got 19 Senate Republicans. We're ready to move on this bill and I think there's still a strong support of Republican base that will be there of 10 to 20, somewhere in that range.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask, an important provision to a lawmaker who represents a state with high taxes like New York, your state, is being proposed, a new provision being proposed to be included, at least maybe in the Senate.

Bob Menendez is part of this and that's eliminating the salt reduction (ph) cap for some people.

If that is added, does that make it harder for you to vote against the larger bill? REED: It doesn't make it harder for me because the $1.7 trillion bill has so many expansions of government policies and has other tax increases in it, that that provision, obviously I support it, the repeal of the salt tax.

But I will tell you that's not enough to move me to a yes on that overall huge package they're pushing forward.

The thing about the salt taxes, we have to be honest with the American people. This is going to help higher income earners. There's no denying that. So this game that's played of "we're not going to tax middle-class Americans and make sure the 1 percent pay their fair share," that's not what the salt deduction is all about.

So they'll have hypocrisy to deal with. I don't know how they will thread that needle. But I hope they figure out a solution.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you on the broader question of the message from the elections on Tuesday. I wanted to play for you what Joe Biden said when he was asked about what the message was from the election, specifically the Democratic loss in Virginia. Listen to this.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People are upset and uncertain about a lot of things, from COVID to school to jobs to a whole range of things and the cost of a gallon of gasoline. So if I'm able to pass and sign into law my Build Back Better initiative, you'll see those things, a lot of them, ameliorated quickly and swiftly.


BOLDUAN: Is he right?

What was the lesson from Virginia?

REED: The lesson was the dysfunction of Congress has to stop. We have to put the American people, the people on the front line first, and listen to them. They don't know what's in this bill. They don't know what we're legislating in detail.

But they want to see Congress function and they're tired of the back- and-forth that we here in Washington, D.C., sometimes focus on. I think what the president is touching on is that he has an agenda he wants to accomplish. I respect that.

But it's not the agenda of the American people. You look at the polls saying, we're not on the right track in America; that's the voice you have to listen to. They support infrastructure. They recognize roads, airports, they know that. Now let's get a win.

And the president -- I'll give the credit to the president. I don't care who gets credit. At the end of the day, the American people win.

BOLDUAN: On some level, getting stuff done, a little of what he's talking about, you agree with that. REED: Absolutely. That's why kicking this over to the Senate, the

spending bill, it's not going to make its way through the Senate.

So why would you go through this exercise?

And my colleagues on the Democratic Party will have to vote for it. They won't be voting for the final package. That will put them further at risk in their political future.

BOLDUAN: The Virginia election, there was nothing thing we saw in that Virginia election, was that the Republican, now the governor- elect, Glenn Youngkin, he made a choice in keeping Donald Trump at arm's length, never appearing with him. He outperformed Trump in every county in the state.

Do you think another lesson from that election is that Trump is still a drag on the GOP, Republicans should run by running -- you know, keeping him at arm's length?

REED: I think what the governor-elect did in Virginia that was very wise is he recognized that silent voice that president Trump tapped into.


REED: And still continues to listen to and continues to be a major force representing. And it's bigger than president Trump in my humble opinion. It's that voice of the forgotten man and woman back home.

That's where I think the lesson from that election on the Republican side comes from. And so we'll continue to work with president Trump. Obviously, I supported president Trump when he ran, one of the first eight to endorse him and his policies resonated with the American people.

The style, obviously, people had a different opinion on that. But I will tell you the policy is driving the narrative and the listening to the hardworking men and women of America.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for your time.

REED: Good to be with you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, one Black juror and 11 white jurors will decide the trial in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery.

With race being a central issue in the case, is that fair?

Details and a live report next.





BOLDUAN: Developing this morning in a Georgia courtroom, the jury will consist of one Black man and 11 white jurors to decide the trial of three white men, accused of chasing down and killing Ahmaud Arbery.

Prosecutors objected to this, arguing that other potential Black jurors were cut out because of race; 25-year-old Arbery, you'll remember, was out just jogging, just jogging in South Georgia last year when he was shot three times with a shotgun.

CNN's Martin Savidge is live in Georgia with more on this.

Martin, what more are you hearing about this jury makeup and the case now?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Good morning to you, Kate. There is a lot of controversy now surrounding this case, especially in light of the fact of what we know about the makeup of this jury.

You already pointed out the most critical part, is we have 12 jurors, 11 white, one African American. If you expand the jury pool to include the alternates, it is 15 who are white and one who is African American.

Or if you break it down by gender, again, with the 16, it's 11 who are female and five who are male.

The defense, when they heard that, immediately jumped up -- and or, I'm sorry, the prosecution when they heard that immediately jumped up and filed a motion in court, alleging that the defense had purposely struck African Americans simply based on the color of their skin.

The defense said, no, they eliminated people because they felt they could not be impartial. They argued back and forth for two hours, sometimes emotionally, and then the judge came in with basically his decision. Here's what the judge said.


JUDGE TIMOTHY WALMSLEY, GLYNN COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT: This court has found that there appears to be intentional discrimination in the panel. Said again (ph), quite a few African American jurors were excused through preemptory strikes exercised by the defense. But that doesn't mean that the court has the authority to reseat --


SAVIDGE: So there you hear the judge, essentially saying he agrees with the prosecution. He believes that at least a number of jurors on the part of the defense were struck because they were Black.

But he also said, as a result of the law in Georgia, he didn't have a whole lot of recourse. So the jury is going to be what it is, 11 whites and one African American -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Martin, thank you so much for that reporting. We'll continue to follow this.

We also have big developments in another big trial. A juror dismissed over an offensive joke. And prosecutors showed jurors also in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial a key piece of video evidence, FBI aerial surveillance video, they say, shows Rittenhouse moving toward protesters right before he shoots three people, killing two of them.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with more on this.

Shimon, what are you hearing?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: Yes, so drama this morning over a juror; the judge taking the bench this morning, telling the court, the attorneys that he wanted to raise some issues over comments that a jury made to a deputy on Tuesday, as they were leaving the court.

According to the judge, pretty offensive stuff. When you think about it, the judge saying that the juror was joking; it had reference to do with Jacob Blake.

Of course, Jacob Blake is the man shot by police, that ultimately led to the unrest here in Kenosha.

And what the judge said that this juror was joking about, saying, why did it take seven shots to shoot Jacob Blake?

Obviously, highly offensive comments; the juror said he was joking to the deputy about it. But the judge was concerned over the appearance of bias and, therefore, he said he had to dismiss this juror.

Of course, there are a lot of concerns over how things are being conducted inside this courtroom, the judge concerned over the perception of this trial. He has made references to some of the activity that's going on outside of the courtroom. So he dismissed this juror.

So now we are left with 19 jurors. We came in with 20. We are now left with 19. As for today's testimony, we're continuing with video.


PROKUPECZ: They have a "Daily Caller" employee on the stand now, testifying about an interview he conducted with Kyle Rittenhouse on the night of the shooting.

BOLDUAN: Wow, there is a lot going on there. Thank you, Shimon. We'll continue to follow this out of Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Coming up for us still, the powers of Congress and a former president put to the test today in a federal courtroom.

Will a judge block the release of January 6th documents?

We'll discuss. (MUSIC PLAYING)



BOLDUAN: Let's go to Capitol Hill right now. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking with reporters.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: -- part of our caucus. We heard from our magnificent chairman, had a Q&A with our members, with each chair about the specifics in the legislation as amended from what they had seen since last week.

It was very inspiring and heartening to see the depth of knowledge, the value-based decisions that were made in the committees and the -- just the ongoing commitment to getting the job done for the people. I'm so proud of the president. I'll come back to that.

But the president returning from representing America, to show that America is back, whether it comes to fighting the pandemic of COVID, whether it's saving the planet from the climate crisis, whether it's enormous success that he had with the global minimum tax, major, major accomplishment, making progress in how we deal with keeping Iran from becoming nuclear and also issues that related to, again, global security.

Security, security, and also economy and governance. He had a beautiful visit with the pope. You know his schedule but you don't know the pride we take in all of it. I was particularly inspired by his visit with the pope, fresh off of my own visit. I've heard some of you cavalierly say on TV, why don't the Congress go there?

Well, I did. I did when I was in Rome for the G20 of parliamentarians, which preceded the G20 of the leaders of the countries. To see His Holiness' commitment to the people of the world, talking about a pandemic or a planet, just so inspiring.

So to see the two of them, the President of the United States, a devout Catholic, and His Holiness, the pope, glorious leader but also knowledgeable about saving the planet, respectful of the refugees that puts strain on migrations and other conflicts.

So again, proud of the president. Also for him to come home at a time, only a few days, but, in that time, the system was established with little children to be able to get the vaccination to keep them safe, to keep their families safe, as we know how things spread in school.

And to see the beautiful pictures of the children, some of them near tears, getting a shot, others very proud of the fact they'll be on TV or whatever. So it begins and ends with everything we do.

And now that we see -- it's about 750,000 people who have died from COVID in the United States, 5 million in the world. So sad.

Sadly, this morning some of our members are saying goodbye to congress man Dale Kildee of Michigan. He had a noble spirit of public service.


PELOSI: He, too, was in the church -- I don't know if he was actually ordained but studying for the priesthood. And he brought those values to the Congress with a definite separation of church and state.

So our prayers are with his nephew, Dan, who serves with us now, and to his wife, Gayle, and to the rest of the family. Goodbye to Dale Kildee.

Hello to a new member, congresswoman Shontel Brown, elected in Ohio. I think it was 80-20 in the election. She's a proud daughter of Cleveland, a strong advocate for working families and a courageous voice for civil rights.

She's here to Build Back Better and I'm happy to swear her in later today.

OK, so Build Back Better, that's why you're here, right?

We are just completing a meeting of the House Democrats. Again, I wish everyone could see the pride we take in the work that has been done by the members, by the chairman, by the staff, relentless, not only our own staffs and the committee's staff but the Congressional Budget Office, the council office and the rest.

This morning we have a report from Joint Tax (ph), which is -- documenting how the bill -- validating how the legislation is paid for. It came in about 10 o'clock. I refer it to you for your review. It's a very solid -- because people said it isn't paid for. People say a lot of things.

But this document joint text (ph) is objective, not Democratic, not Republican, it's objective view and that it is solidly paid for. That doesn't even take into account the money that we'll get from what we're very proud of, is an agreement on prescription drugs, which generates resources as well as enforcement, which is several hundred -- $400 billion in enforcement.

So here we are with all of this. The prescription drug bill is something that is from last week. It enables us to do something we've been trying to do for a very long time. The secretary of HHS negotiated for lower drug prices, outrageous price hikes above inflation and making it more affordable for insurance.

It's not just about Medicare prices. It's about the private sector, commercial sector as well. We're very excited about what happens in the legislation, took pride in hearing various committees address how children are affected, you know, but the Biden child tax credit, universal pre-K in 3- and 4-year-olds, families of child care costs.

Again, this is an area where we have consensus, House and Senate have, for a long time. Nothing very new in that care section except the fact that we would like to put on the table the family and medical leave, so needed and so popular in our country, and make such a difference in the lives of America's families.

Very important to women but men, too, to have that opportunity. It is, again, better jobs, lower cost, reduces the debt and makes the wealthy and those pay their fair share. It's not punitive. It's just fair.

Particularly appropriate at this time is what it does for the climate crisis. Again, I'm sure you read the bill last week and I'm sure you're well aware of some amendments to it this week.

But I just want to remind you, the largest investment to the climate crisis in history cuts pollution and reduces energy costs and creates good-paying jobs. It's a health issue, clean air, clean water for our children.

It's a jobs issue, being competitive and pre-eminent in the world in terms of new green technologies. And technology is really what's helping us to advance in making these jobs better and us more competitive.

Third, it's a national security issue. As national security experts tell us, the competition from resources, resulting from drought and famine and rising sea levels and encroachment of deserts and the rest, that migration can create conflict and, therefore, a national security issue.

But as always a values issue for us to pass on this plan to future generations in the best possible way.

And young people have taken a lead on this, so it's very -- very exciting.

So on the Build Back Better.