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Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ) Is Interviewed About Spending Bill; Biden To Transfer Power To VP While Under Anesthesia For Colonoscopy; Judge Allows Jurors To Take Home Copy Of Jury Instructions. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired November 19, 2021 - 11:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. We begin with breaking news on Capitol Hill, where President Biden just scored a major legislative win. Democrats there cheering, as you can see, after the House just passed the president's massive social spending bill, sending the $1.9 trillion package to the Senate, where it faces now an uncertain future.

The vote today, this morning, coming just hours -- coming hours later than it had been planned. After Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy commandeered the House floor with a record breaking marathon speech more than eight hours long, in hopes of delaying passage of the plan. CNN's Jessica Dean is live on Capitol Hill with the breaking news that we're following this morning. The Speaker just took questions from reporters. Jessica, what is she saying about the path forward?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, obviously she's very excited and very positive, but also acknowledging that the Senate is likely to send back a bill that is different than what passed out of the House today. Now, originally, her strategy had been nothing's going to -- we're not going to pass anything in the House that can't pass the Senate.

But that simply became untenable as they were trying to make sure that they could thread the needle and get the support of moderates, and also progressives in the Democratic Party in the House to get on board with both the infrastructure bill that's now law, and then also Build Back Better, which is what they just voted on.

So now it does head to the Senate. Well, remember, they need to get all 50 Democratic senators on board. This is a very specific process. They're using to pass this. So there's a lot of procedural hurdles that they have to face and get through. But they also more than anything need to get on the same page.

And at this point, Senator Joe Manchin, of course, has expressed a lot of concern about a number of provisions that are coming out of the House over into the Senate. One example of that paid family leave. That is more likely than not to get dropped. He's expressed that he does not believe that belongs in this bill.

But there's a variety of other issues, climate provisions, for example, as well, that they're going to have to get into and figure out what can get the support of all 50 Democrats and then send it back over to the House where then the question becomes, too, will it be enough for progressives. So it is a long and winding road.

But the big picture here, Kate, is that President Joe Biden has seen a giant step forward in his domestic agenda, getting this massive expansion of the social safety net in this country, and the climate revisions down the road. So now they have cleared this hurdle. They go toward the next one, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Good to see you. Thank you, Jessica.

Joining me right now for some more reaction to this moment, Democratic Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill from New Jersey, Congresswoman, thank you for coming in. That moment on the House floor we played at the top of the show, when this was just passive, Democrats just all cheering, is not something that we really see very often definitely not the extent that we saw, what was that moment about for you?

REP. MIKIE SHERRILL (D-NJ): Well, I think that moment was the culmination of a week where I was able to vote for and pass so much of what we've been working on for years now. So I started the week at the White House, really able to watch the President sign into law, some of the key priorities of North Jersey, things like the gateway tunnel project, getting the Lackawanna cut off done, really critical issues that we've been so focused on for years, and then ending the week with making sure that we were able to bring down costs for families in New Jersey, make New Jersey more affordable.

Make sure were getting rid of or lifting the state and local tax deduction cap, you know, investing in families getting a tax cut for middle class families, bringing down cost of childcare, bringing down cost of prescription drugs, bringing down cost of insulin, I have a woman in my district who had to go to Canada for years now for her sister.

And one time she was telling me about when she wasn't able to get there and her sister used to dirty port and got a horrible infection. This is what families had been living with and things that have gone and address for far too long.

BOLDUAN: So the celebration has to be temporary, though, as we well know, the process is not over because you don't know what the Senate will do with this bill. But do you have any sense of what you think this bill is going to look like when it comes back to you guys in the House?

SHERRILL: So we have some sense of what it might look like, it certainly will be changed. You mentioned some of the things that Senator Manchin has already suggested might not be in the bill as it comes back. But I think it was important to take this step.

So we had the bill written, people could see it on paper, determine what they thought we should invest in, and then move forward. But we, you know, this is a critical piece of the legislative process. And this is where the rubber is now going to meet the road in the Senate to really invest in the things that are going to move our country forward and to understand where we can go.

And make no mistake, we've already passed, you know, a pieces of legislation that are going to invest in our future like the American rescue plan, which already I'm talking to mayor's around my district about critical investments they're making in our town's like the infrastructure plan which will finally get shovels in the ground on the gateway tunnel project.


BOLDUAN: But this is the big culmination. I mean this has been the one that's been the biggest, hardest log to get over the finish line obviously. And we've covered this in depth on how this process has been moving forward. And to be clear, you were a full, yes, from jump on this major spending bill.

You made clear that there's a key element, one key element for you is raising the cap on how much state and local taxes people can deduct as an important tax deduction for people in your district that shorthand is SALT that everyone hears people talking about it. If that gets stripped out in negotiations, what do you do?

SHERRILL: Well, I don't think we should undermine what we just did Monday, when the President signed into law, a bipartisan infrastructure piece of legislation that Senator Portman, the budget director under Bush called counter inflationary. I mean, that to me was a critical piece of the legislation that we had to get over the line. And that wasn't so easy to get, get finished, despite all the support for it.

So I think that was really an important piece of legislation that I'm very supportive of, and think really provides the base for a lot of what we need to do and invest in in this country. This is also -- this bill also contains things that are going to bring cost down for New Jersey families. Like you said, the state and local tax deduction.

I think there's some misunderstanding of how we work in our state that this is not untaxed income. This is something that's never been in our tax code from the time of Abraham Lincoln until now. We have had the ability to deduct our state local taxes. And it's been really important for us to invest in, for example, the nation's best public schools.

BOLDUAN: But that's why I'm asking because you've made clear kind of, you tweeted out something like no if, you know, no SALT, I mean, no go or something. I'm paraphrasing a tweet that you put out. But is that still the case when it comes back to you in the House? That's what I'm trying to establish.

SHERRILL: Yes, no SALT is critically important to get it through the House. And we've made that clear. My, you know, people like myself and Josh Gottheimer and Tom Suozzi and Bill Pascrell. This is critical, because this is a critical investment in our state and how we bring down cost in North Jersey. And so certainly, this is a piece that I have to see to pass it through the House. And we've been working through what it's going to look like in the Senate. And I was just on the floor of the House talking to the speaker about how important this is. And she knows she's just tweeted out yesterday how important it is. And we were talking about how we're going to get this through the Senate.

BOLDUAN: One step and what has already been a long road, it looks like they're still road ahead, but we will see. Thank you for coming on, Congresswoman. Really appreciate it.

SHERRILL: Thanks so much for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Also breaking right now, President Biden is at Walter Reed Medical Center undergoing his first physical since taking office. The White House says that the President will transfer power to Vice President Kamala Harris for a brief period of time when he's under anesthesia to get a colonoscopy. CNN's John Harwood is live at the White House with this breaking news for us, John, what are you hearing right now?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Kate, I think it's worth noting the bit of history that's being made today. Of course, this is the first time we've had a woman vice president. And as a consequence of that, when the President takes this routine step for presidents when they undergo anesthesia, she's going to be the first woman in American history to exercise or have the potential to exercise presidential power. I don't know how much of that she's going to do. She's going to be working out of her West Wing office.

But that is something worth stopping and taking notice of. This is something that is routine under the 25th amendment. That is the same 25th amendment that got talked about from time to time under President Trump about whether his cabinet might move to somehow take power from him. Of course, that didn't happen.

But presidents have under the 25th Amendment routinely, Ronald Reagan in 1985, for example, when he had intestinal surgery, signed over power for a few hours to his then Vice President George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, excuse me, George W. Bush, his son as president, did it twice transferring power to Dick Cheney when he had two different colonoscopies.

The one person who has not regarded it as routine, who resisted it very strongly was President Trump, as we learned in Stephanie Grisham's book. When he went to Walter Reed in 2019, he felt so strongly that he did not want to surrender power, even temporarily to Mike Pence that he underwent a colonoscopy without anesthesia.

That's a pretty severe step, Kate. And so, President Biden clearly doesn't feel that way. He's having his physical today. Colonoscopy is part of that. So he's going to sign over these powers. Every expectation is, this will be quite routine, and the powers will revert to him a couple of hours later, but worth taking stock of the history that Kamala Harris is making today.

[11:10:00] BOLDUAN: Absolutely great point, John. It's good to see you. Thank you so much. More updates to come as the president -- on the President's physical as they will be releasing a report on that.

Coming up for us, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to join us to talk about President Biden's health and this procedure that he's getting. That's next.


BOLDUAN: We are following a breaking news, the White House says the President will transfer temporarily, transfer power to Vice present Kamala Harris today as he undergoes a colonoscopy where he'll be under anesthesia. The President is at Walter Reed Medical Center right now for his annual physical, his first since taking office. Joining me right now is seen as chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta for more on this. Sanjay talk me through what it means that the President is getting a colonoscopy?


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So this is a -- it's a procedure, a screening procedure to try and determine if someone is developing any kind of polyps or anything worrisome for colon cancer. And it's recommended for really anyone over the age of 45 at periodic intervals.

So when you have this procedure, most typically you're sedated with a medication like Propofol or something. That doesn't mean your breathing is taken over or a breathing tube is placed into your trachea. It's a sedation to make the procedure more comfortable. It typically takes less than about half an hour.

But when you wake up from the sedation, you may be groggy for a little bit, an hour or so, maybe start to finish from the beginning of sedation to the time that you're more fully awake. That's sort of typical. And obviously can vary from person to person. This commonly done procedure, again, a screening procedure, Kate, I'm sure the President has had other procedures like this. He most likely got to prep last night to basically make it so that his colon could be more easily visualized. And that's basically it. I had -- I tell you, Kate, I had one yesterday. So this is commonly done.

BOLDUAN: And if you've ever had one or of your loved ones have had one, you know that the prep the day before can be just as extensive as the day of procedure, which leads, of course, to the understandable reason why President would see, would need to temporarily transfer power, right, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Right. So, you know, he will be sedated. I mean, I can just tell you again, with Propofol, you know, you basically are, you see the medication, maybe going into your IV and the next thing you remember, half an hour later is basically waking up in recovery.

So there is a period of time where you're very sedated. Again, it's not general anesthesia, which typically means someone's breathing is taken over with a breathing machine and everything but, yes, you wouldn't, you know, you wouldn't be in any position to be able to be woken up at that point and answer questions or do something like that.

BOLDUAN: Beyond the colonoscopy, he is -- this is part of his routine annual physical today and he turns 79 years old tomorrow. What are you interested in seeing when the White House releases the write up on his physical considering his medical history?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think that's a big part of it. You know, you want to direct your exam towards specific aspects of his medical history are obviously looking at major organ systems and, you know, it's a routine physical, so you're just evaluating all that. But he does have this history of atrial fibrillation. So I'm sure things like an EKG determining whether or not he needs any medications for that. He takes a medication to lower his cholesterol.

I think the biggest part of his past history was that he had a brain operation for aneurysms back in the late 80s. And it was monitored for that for some time up until 2014 at least. The last records we saw, there was no evidence that the aneurysms had grown or changed any way. They had been operated again, you know, back in the late 80s. So those are the big sorts of things, blood work, chest X-ray, EKG, the colonoscopy, I think will be the biggest procedure. It sounds like that he is going to have today.

BOLDUAN: Another big announcement while I have you Sanjay because this is also a big day when it comes to COVID and the fight and the pandemic and boosters. The FDA signing off on expanding access to boosters to all adults, the CDC vaccine advisors are meeting today. So what happens today, Sanjay?

GUPTA: So this is a process that we've seen unfold a few times now, Kate, right, as we've all talked through these vaccine authorizations. The FDA has now weighed in basically saying all adults can authorize this booster for all adults, the CDC is likely to make this a formal recommendation this afternoon.

I think what is sort of driving this is some of the data that we've seen over time. We know that the number of boosters have been administered. But if you look at the overall rate of illness, severe illness leading to hospitalization among vaccinated or unvaccinated, largely, you know, it's almost all unvaccinated.

We had data going up to sort of August with regards to the overall change in hospitalization rates. I don't know if we have that graph, we can put it up. But I think more recently, what they have seen is that the number of people who are developing illness that is significant enough to end up in the hospital who've been vaccinated has ticked up a bit.

And when it's ticked up, they're trying to figure out that do boosters make a difference. And if we have this this data from Israel, please put up on the screen, I can show you the basically most of the people who are ending up in the hospital with COVID are the unvaccinated.

[11:20:06] The next biggest category is people who've received the vaccine. But we do see people who've been boosted, getting additional protection from that severe illness. So that's, I think, what's really driving this. And I think that's the critical point that the CDC and FDA are thinking about today.

BOLDUAN: Yes, it's good to see you, Sanjay, thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us. The judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, raising more questions after he allows a juror to take home, the jury instructions are awaiting a verdict as we speak details in a live report next.



BOLDUAN: Now to the two trials gripping the country first in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It's day four of jury deliberations in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. The jury has now been behind closed doors for a total of nearly 24 hours. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live outside the courthouse for us once again. Shimon, the judge agreed to an unusual request from one juror, tell us about it.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's extremely unreal really. In some ways, it's hard to believe that he even allowed this. But again, this judge does things the way he wants to do things. A juror came in yesterday at the end of the day, when he was dismissing them to go home. She is sitting in the second row. She raised her hand to ask the judge a question. Every day he ends his day by asking the jurors if they have any questions.

She said, yes, she had a question. She wanted to know if she could bring the instructions, the jury instructions, which contains all the law and the things that they need to consider for the charges. It's 36 pages. She asked them if she could bring it home. The judge looked around the courtroom, looked at the prosecutors looked at the defense attorneys, the defense attorneys objected to it. But the judge allowed her to take it home.

Obviously, this is like something that's never done. Certainly I've covered a lot of cases. I've never seen it done. The lawyers, the defense attorneys, they've never seen it done. But again, this is how the judge sort of does his thing. So as you said, they're back here.

They came in around 9:00 a.m. And they've been deliberating, pretty remarkable when you think about it. Now 24 hours. Yesterday, we did not hear anything from the jurors. They stayed behind closed doors. They didn't ask for anything. They didn't need anything. They had their lunch. And then around 4:30, they went home.

The big question obviously is what happens today. And if they don't reach a verdict today, do we go into the weekend? So we have yet to hear from the court what the plan is. BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Shimon, stick close, appreciate it and thank you.

Now let's turn to Georgia in the trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. The Arbery family attorney telling CNN that an attorney for one of the defendants tried to reach a plea deal for their client and the prosecution declined. Closing arguments are set to begin Monday. CNN's Martin Savidge is live at the courthouse there on this one. What are you learning about this plea deal request, Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. Yes, this is another weird one here, what we know, Lee Merritt, the attorney that represents Wanda Cooper-Jones says that he'd been in contact with the prosecution. The prosecution says last night Kevin Gough, the attorney for William "Roddie" Bryan came to them and wanted to make some kind of a plea deal. We don't know what the deal was.

We don't know the details. We do know that the prosecution rejected that Wanda Cooper-Jones Jones going into court today also said, yes, it's true. And then we had Kevin Gough coming into court today. And of course he was peppered with questions. Take a listen.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Gough, did you offer --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the plea report --

GOUGH: That's --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What exactly are you referring to?

GOUGH: I'm not getting into it with you, denied.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Denied that you ask prosecutors for a plea?

GOUGH: Denied, denied, denied. I don't know what you all talking about.


SAVIDGE: That is read into by a lot of people as implying that the defense might be very fearful now of their case after everybody has rested. We'll have to wait and see closing arguments as you say taking place on Monday could be up to six hours or more. Today they're going over the charges that will be explained to the jury then. Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right, much more to come. Martin, thank you. Joining me now is CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig and Bernarda Villalona, criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor. Elie, can we just start with Martin was just laying out for us. What do you think of this, what family attorney for the Arbery family says was an asked by one of the defendants for a plea deal and the plea -- for them and a plea deal that prosecutors declined.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Kate, so this does happen sometimes, very rarely. But it happened to me a handful of times while the jury was out deliberating. A defendant lawyer said hey, would you be interested in a plea? Now my answer was always no. As a general rule as a prosecutor, you do not take a plea while the jury is out, if you have any kind of confidence in the case that you've just put on.

I think the natural inference we draw is that there's some concern by this particular defendant about the strength of the government's case against them. And I also think it's important to note, this lawyer represents William Bryan, of the three defendants in the case, the two McMichael's and William Bryan. The evidence is the weakest against William Bryan. He was the guy in the follow car, the neighbor. So it's interesting that he of the three defendants if true was interested in pleading.