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At This Hour

Biden Speaks at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day; Grocery Bills on the Rise as Inflation Hits 30-Year High; Trump Asks Appeals Court to Stop Release of White House Records. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired November 11, 2021 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: Why is that important for you? What are you hoping to learn?

THOMAS HENRY, ATTORNEY FOR MULITPLE ASTROWORLD VICTIMS: Well, I think the site itself realistically has been videotaped from so many different angles that the inspection itself, although it's important, I think, that most everything we see from the event is caught on video. I think the inspections and the restraining order are more along the linings of preserving all the communications, preserving all the video, and, you know, the empty site is going to be an empty site with structures. So, that in and of itself, you know, is different than the night of the event.

But we captured that information. That's pretty easy to capture. But the more important information is the communication in and among all of the leadership that was patrolling that event. So, you have got two directors that shut that down (ph). We've got multiple communications (INAUDIBLE). We want to make sure those communications are stored and (INAUDIBLE). We're very concerned about that.

BOLDUAN: Mr. Henry, thank you so much for your time. I do need to cut us off now. I need to go back to Washington, Arlington National Cemetery, where President Biden is now taking to the stage to offer his remarks on this Veterans Day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, please remain standing for the invocation given by Chaplain Juliana Lesher, National Director of Chaplains Service for Department of Veterans Affairs.

JULIANA LESHER, NATOINAL DIRECTOR OF CHAPLAINS SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: Let us pray. Almighty and loving God, we come before you this day to honor our nation's veterans, those men and women who have bravely given up themselves on behalf of all of us as a nation.

Throughout our nation's history, you, God, created and designed each of our nation's veterans with unique gifts, abilities, talents and values, which would guide and direct them to a unified calling and mission, the defense of our nation's freedoms. And we are ever so grateful for those men and women who sacrificially chose to leave the comforts of family, friends, home and security to use their God-given gifts and abilities for the most noble mission of the preservation of our nation.

Our nation's veterans have faced horrific challenges on land, sea and air. And you, as our omnipresent and ever-abiding God, have strengthened and upheld our service members and veterans through their darkest hours. You are the God who sees, who sees and understands each of us. Though humanly we do not know the names and diverse characteristics of all who have served, you, God, know.

As the inscription on the Tomb of the Unknown reminds us, here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.

Thank you for uniquely designing each of us, for knowing each of us, and for your everlasting care. As we honor our nation's veterans, may you, God, continually equip each of us to give of ourselves in a purposeful mission and calling which seeks to uphold and honor the well-being of our nation.

In your holy name, we pray, amen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, I'd like to invite Mr. Alan Paley, National Commander, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, to lead us in our pledge of allegiance.

ALAN PALEY, NATIONAL COMMANDER, JEWISH WAR VETERS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please be seated.


It is now my distinct privilege to introduce the members of the Veterans Day National Committee located in box seats throughout the amphitheater. The committee was formed by presidential order in 1954 to plan this annual observance in honor of America's veterans and to support Veterans Day observances throughout the nation. Please hold your applause until I have introduced these special guests. If you're able, please stand when your name is called. Mr. Alan Paley, National Commander, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America. Mr. Tom Burke, National Vice President, Vietnam Veterans of America. Mr. Matthew M. --

BOLDUAN: All right. As we're waiting now as the program continues, we wait to hear from the president himself, let me bring in Mark Hertling for this. I'm so happy to have you on today. This is one of those -- I always enjoy having you on, General Hertling, but this is one of those days that I especially appreciate it, what is it, 37 years of service you've offered to this country and so many more. Just your reflections on what this Veterans Day means.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, usually, Kate, Veterans Day is a very happy event. It is a day very different from memorial day in May, but this is the day when we not only remember past veterans, the camaraderie we've had, the memories we've had as soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, but it is a day to reflect on those who have gone on before us, but also enjoy our collegiality with fellow veterans.

It starts with the president has always given an address at the amphitheater. It usually starts with laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, as he did a little while ago. I'm sure the president is going to have some interesting words today because it's been a tough year for veterans. There have been the effects of COVID on the force, on the active force. There has been certainly the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the suicide rates unfortunately for veterans are still high today.

I think the president perhaps in his speech is going to give some good news about what he's doing with regard to burn pit and airborne disease and how he's tasked the D.A. to expand their look on that, our generation's Agent Orange, if you will, just like the Vietnam veterans suffered from that kind of infliction. Our generation has suffered from the burn pits and the airborne diseases from Iraq and Afghanistan. So, all of these things are going to be part of today's ceremony.

Certainly, the president is just a few months from the withdrawal from Afghanistan that further divided our nation, attempting to end a 20- year war, but at the same time veterans certainly have mixed reaction to that withdrawal and the way it happened. So, all of those things are on the mind on this November 11th, the day that is the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month that started after the World War I armistice.

BOLDUAN: And as you noted, this is a different Veterans Day, right, General? I mean, this is the first since the withdrawal from Afghanistan, the first this 20 years that the United States has not been in war in that country as we mark this together. What do you think -- what do you think the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan but especially the veterans, those who served in Afghanistan, what they would like to hear, what they need to hear from the president on this Veterans Day?

HERTLING: Well, I think the president has stated his strategic purpose in the withdrawal from Afghanistan. It was a war that had gone on way too long. It was a war that truthfully -- I mean, we had -- my war, Kate, as you know, was Iraq. I spent three tours there over 36 months. And we had a saying then in Iraq that I think applies to Afghanistan as well, is that country needs to want it more than we do.

And it was obvious toward the very end as the government fell and as the majority of the army of the Afghan nation kind of dispersed because of the concern about the government falling, that they didn't want a new birth as much as we wanted it and as much as we paid in blood and treasure and, in fact, in resources.

So, you know, for those who have served multiple tours in Afghanistan, it's painful. You know, when I left Iraq for the last time in 2008, it was painful to see what happened in 2014 with an ISIS takeover, thinking that we had left the nation that was in very good shape with an army that was willing to fight. The same thing is true in Afghanistan, but it's more raw right now because it only happened a few months ago and we're still trying to get many of the Afghan allies out of that country.


The president, truthfully, has received great praise for pulling out of Afghanistan. Many presidents before him wanted to but didn't conduct the operation. This one was -- it was unfortunately a little bit of a debacle at the beginning even though eventually they pulled out about 140,000 people from that country, but still there's a mixed reaction among the veterans committee. Some are very glad that that war is over, but there are some who feel -- they ask themselves a question, what was it all for, which is something all war veterans ask themselves.

Whenever you come out of combat, even World War I and World War II, was it worth it? Tell me I'm a good man for doing what I did, because there is such a change in personalities for the soldiers as they experience war.

My wife and I have, we have two sons and a daughter-in-law who served in combat, and the biggest thing that we saw when they returned, something my wife didn't see in me because she had known me for such a long time, was a change in innocence from a young person that first goes off to see war.

And we have an entire generation of volunteers who not only served one tour but in some cases anything up to seven, eight, nine tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. And it is a generation that's been affected by this combat significantly, and we're seeing that in the V.A. and in the veterans community.

BOLDUAN: I sincerely appreciate our conversations all the time, but especially on this day. Thank you so much, General.

And, General, if you could please stick with me, we're going to continue to monitor. We're waiting to hear from the president. This also is personal for him. His late son, Beau, served. And you know that -- I'm curious to hear his thoughts and how he relates his personal experience on this Veterans Day as well.

We're going to take a break as we look on Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: The big economic news, inflation at a 30-year high with consumer prices of 6.2 percent since last October, and that is hitting Americans very hard, especially at the grocery store and now, just before Thanksgiving, of course. The price of eggs up 12 percent, for beef, you're paying 20 percent more, bacon also 20 percent more expensive than a year ago, fruits and vegetables up 3 percent, cereal up 3.5 percent. Groceries for a family of four on average cost $674 a month a year ago. Today, it's $849 a month for that same family.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is live in Des Moines, Iowa, with more on this. Because, Vanessa, add to all of that that I just laid out, people are also paying more for gas, for fuel, as well.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And if you can see those prices just behind me, over $3 a gallon here in Des Moines, Iowa, that's up more than a dollar since last year.

We spoke to one gentleman who said that he's actually been gas station price hopping. He went to one gas station. It was $3.40 a gallon. He decided he was not going to pay that. He found one that was closer to $3 a gallon, and he felt more comfortable with that.

Also you mentioned, Kate, those high prices in the grocery store. We spoke to one gentleman who said he was in the grocery store that day just to peruse the aisles, but once he realized that prices were lot higher, he decided he needed to stock up.


YURKEVICH: Have you noticed in the last couple weeks, months, higher prices in the store?

JOHN HOSKINS, ANKENY, IOWA RESIDENT: The meat and the -- like today, the bacon was pretty high. I've kind of seen it on the news a little bit, but, yes, it's jumped up a few dollars.

YURKEVICH: Did that stop you from buying anything today?

HOSKINS: I thought I'd buy it and put it in the freezer, to be totally honest with you.


YURKEVICH: The biggest concern we're hearing here from Iowa residents are these rising energy costs. Mid-American energy, that's the largest power provider here in the state, says that residents here can expect to pay nearly double what they paid last year for energy just to heat their homes.

And, Kate, yes, you can price shop at the grocery store, maybe even here at the gas station, but it's really hard to cut costs on heat for homes. Here in Iowa, the winters get very cold, and Iowans are going to need that heat, that energy source to keep warm this winter. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it, Vanessa. So, inflation has become a top priority now for the White House as well. Joining me now is Rana Foroohar, CNN Global Economic Analyst, she's a Global Business Columnist and Associate Editor for The Financial Times.

President Biden and his chief of staff, Rana, they were out yesterday making the case that the bigger spending bill that is still being debated and negotiated in Congress, they say that it is the best answer to bring down the cost of living, really, for Americans at this point.


When you tick through all the prices that have increased, when you listened to Vanessa and looking at the price of gas, the price of fuel, how immediate the need is, the White House says they're worried about inflation. It is worrisome. But Ron Klain said, when it comes to the Build Back Better plan, it's not going to add to inflation, he says it's going to do quite the opposite. Do you see evidence of that?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, ultimately, yes. It's all about the timeframe though. If you think about what is causing inflation right now in food prices, for example, it's everything from port delays, ingredients that are backed up, labor shortages, transportation, the energy costs that go into transportation. So, you can see that building more port capacity or increasing the capacity of railroads, making highways better, helping labor to get better trained, I mean, all of these things will eventually help to drive down costs.

But the truth is that in the short term it actually could raise prices, and that's the rub for the White House, that some of this stuff is going to be inflationary in the sense that it is going to mean there will be building, you'll need, you know, things to make those roads and bridges and train those people. So, it's really a mixed bag and it's all about the timeframe.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And for months, the Biden administration, they have downplayed the fears that inflation was a long-term concern. I want to play for everyone just a reminder of that.


JANET YELLEN, TREASURY SECRETARY: My judgment right now is that the recent inflation that we've seen will be temporary. It's not something that's endemic.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: And by the way, talk of inflation, the overwhelming consensus it's going to pop up a little bit and then go back down.

GINA RAIMONDO, COMMERCE SECRETARY: We do not have fears at this point related to persistent inflation.

YELLEN: Supply bottlenecks have developed that have caused inflation. I believe that they are transitory. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Rana, we're going to actually have to jump, I'm so sorry. We need to get over to Kara Scannell who has some breaking news now from Washington on what we were just talking about, Kara, on President Trump and the potential of him filing an appeal to keep those documents on January 6th secret.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, Kate. So, just moments after we were last speaking, the former president's attorneys did file their notice of appeal with the appeals court asking the appeals court to step in and issue a brief stay in this case and want a brief administrative injunction. They want to keep the status quo, which they say is to not turn over documents and allow the appeals court to hear on an expedited schedule the arguments about executive privilege, the arguments that the lower court have rejected soundly.

Now, according to Trump's lawyer's court filing, they have agreed with the House on an expedited briefing schedule where if the appeals court agrees to this, it means that all briefings in this case will be made by early next week and we would then have a ruling expeditiously in the matter. But this filing was just made moments ago. We have yet to see any documents or filings or comments from the House committee and we have to see if the appeals court will take this up.

But this filing and the Trump lawyers are asking for an expedited brief administrative injunction to this to pause the release of these documents from the National Archives to the House committee to allow them time to argue the case on the merits, the big questions, the big constitutional questions about executive privilege. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Kara, stick with me. I also want to bring in Jeffrey Toobin on this, because I want to understand this filing and what this means a little bit more.

Jeffrey, what's your reaction to -- what was expected for the appeal, but this is -- the filing for the appeal but this is important that it happened.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the Trump lawyers are really playing beat the clock here because the status quo, the legal status quo now is that the National Archives is legally obligated to turn over these records starting tomorrow.

Now, I don't know if it's 9:00 A.M. or 5:00 P.M. That may turn out to be significant. But the status quo is the House won and Trump lost. What Trump is asking for in the appeals court is a stay, is basically -- an opportunity to stop the National Archives from turning over these records tomorrow so that he can argue that the district court was wrong in ordering him to turn over the records. We don't know if they will grant that stay, but -- but that's the dilemma that the Trump forces find themselves in.

What's especially going to be interesting in this situation is which three-judge panel is designated to hear this issue because the D.C. circuit -- [11:55:08]

BOLDUAN: The judge really matters. Who gets it matters.

TOOBIN: It matters a great deal, particularly in the D.C. circuit, this court, which is a deeply politically polarized court. There are seven Democratic appointees on that court, four Republican appointees, four senior judges who hear some cases who are Republicans.

And how -- the judges don't like it when they -- when we put so much emphasis on which president appointed them, but in cases like this, it's an awfully good predictor of how they will come out on this issue.

So, we should know in the next four hours who the panel is that will be deciding the stay issue.

BOLDUAN: And we often say that legal proceedings move very slowly. We've seen that in many regards. But when it comes to something like this, they do know the deadline that they are up against, that the National Archives is obligated to move forward in releasing these documents tomorrow if something doesn't happen.

TOOBIN: Right, and that's why the Trump forces are asking for what's called an administrative stay. An administrative stay is not a judgment on the merits that a stay is appropriate. An administrative state is simply a delay so that the arguments can be made.

BOLDUAN: How long does an administrative stay last? Is that kind of I guess subjective?

TOOBIN: It's up to the court. It sounds like, from Kara's reporting, they are basically asking until the beginning of next week, which is not a very long administrative stay. But once you grant an administrative stay, it becomes easier to grant a substantive stay. So the House can be sure -- will be sure will be arguing this if they can get a briefing in time. But the -- an administrative stay is simply freezing the proceedings so that arguments can be made. It sounds like they are asking for one of less than a week.

BOLDUAN: Guys, do we still have Kara, because I have a question about this filing, because, obviously, we haven't had a chance to see it yet? If Kara is still plugged -- Kara, quick, Kara, on your great reporting. I was just reading -- and I'm being told we now need to go back to Arlington National Cemetery. We'll continue to follow this breaking news on this legal matter, but let's go and focus in on this Veterans Day on President Biden at Arlington National Cemetery making his remarks now.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Folks, being president of the United States, you are afforded many opportunities to try to express your love, commitment and admiration for the American people. And I must say to you that the single greatest honor I have been afforded as president is to stand before so many of you, those Medal of Honor winners out there, and talk about Veterans Day and veterans. I want to welcome all the cabinet members and honored guests joining us today, including the father of our secretary of state who served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Ambassador Donald Blinken, whose birthday is today. Happy birthday.

Thank you for your service to our country, and I just want to tell you I know you're a little younger than I am, but, you know, I've adopted the attitude of the great pitcher in the negro leagues who went on to become a great pitcher in the pros in Major League Baseball after Jackie Robinson. His name was Satchel Paige.

And Satchel Paige on his 47th birthday pitched a win against Chicago, and all the press went in and said, Satch, it's amazing, 47 years old, no one has ever, ever pitched a win at age 47. How do you feel about being 47? He said, boys, that's not how I look at it. And they say, how do you look at it, Satch? He said, let's put it this way, how old would you be if you didn't know how old you were. I'm 50 years old, and the ambassador is 47. But all kidding aside, Mr. Ambassador, thank you for your service during World War II as well as your service as an ambassador.


And thank you for raising such a fine man, Tony Blinken, our secretary --