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Biden To Visit Saudi Arabia Despite Promise To Make It 'Pariah' State; Jan. 6 Committee Postpones Wednesday Hearing; FDA Advisers Meet To Discuss Moderna's Vaccine For Kids 6 To 17. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired June 14, 2022 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The fact is we've got about roughly 790 or so billionaires in America. Do you know what the average tax rate is for a billionaire? I'm serious now. There's a dead earnest, you can check it out, 8 percent. The tax rate for all of you is significantly higher, two to three to four times higher. Tax rate. I say it again 8 percent in federal taxes.
Anybody in this room who thinks that I know you don't think it's fair, but we got to do something about it. And by the way, it's not just labor organized -- labor unions and Democrats who think that. The average Republican knows it's not fair. That suburbanite, mom and dad out there, they look around and it's -- no, it's not fair. I happen to believe that no billionaire should be paying a lower tax rate than a teacher a firefighter or electrician or a cop.
Republicans have it all backward. Their plan literally calls for increasing taxes on the middle class and working people and cutting taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans. I'm not talking about punishing anyone. Just pay your fair share. It's a matter of decency. It's a matter of dignity. It's a matter of fiscal responsibility.
Look, I believe in bipartisanship, but I have no illusions about this Republican Party, the Maga party. I've been able to bring some Republicans along on parts of my plan. But the fact is Republicans in Congress are still in the grip of the ultra Maga agenda. They still refuse to consider changing any part of the Trump tax cuts, which delivered massive windfalls to the billionaires and others and they weren't paid for. They still refuse to consider a minimum corporate tax of 15 per 50 percent minimum tax. They seem to think that the problem in America today is that working families aren't paying enough.
Congressional Republicans Senator Rick Scott of Florida, as my mother would say, God love him. He laid out a plan. I think you have it on your desks. I just took one page of that plan, OK. This is published. It says. All this is one -- just one other idea is all federal legislation sunsets in five years. If the law is worth keeping, Congress could pass it again.
Now guess what that is, Social Security, not a joke, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Every -- that's not a joke. Every five years have been put into the chopping block -- every five years. And if it's not reinstated by a vote in the Senate have a 60 or more, guess what? It automatically has got an existence. That's what they're proposing. Unless a common -- the Congress affirmatively votes back that bring them back in existence. Think about that.
Social Security, you paid for your whole life. Medicare, Medicaid, not a joke. Really ask yourself, how are you going to sleep at night knowing that every five years, Ted Cruz and the other ultra Maga Republicans are going to vote on whether you'll have Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid? It's unlikely they'll be able to wipe it out. But any one of you doubt for a second, they'll find ways to cut benefits and programs in order to keep anything going. That's what this is about.
They've always wanted to cut Social Security. They've always wanted to cut Medicare. They've always wanted to cut Medicaid. But if you have to start from scratch, the gentleman from Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is back at it again trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, including his protections for pre-existing conditions. 100 million people have pre-existing conditions. The only reason the insurance company has to cover it is because of that law. And they're never going to stop going after it. So now, that the plan is Senator Scott trying to walk back, but it's clear the last thing they want to see is workers and power in this country.
The bottom line is this. I truly believe we made extraordinary progress by laying a new foundation for our economy, which becomes clear once global inflation become -- begins to recede. There's so much at stake. But the truth is I've never been more optimistic about America than I am today. I really mean it.
BIDEN: I traveled the world trying to put things back together. You know Trump did not leave a very good situation. Do you think I'm kidding? No matter where I go in the world, whether it was the inner American Conference, we just have for the -- this hemisphere, or NATO, or dealing with the ASEAN countries or the Far East, guess what? They look at me and I say -- I say America's back and they look at me and they say, for how long?
This is America. We can do any damn thing we put our minds to. And guess what? We're not going back to the false promises of trickle-down economics. We're going forward. We're going forward.
I really mean this. I know I'm called a cockeyed optimist but this is based on history. We're the most unique country in the world. We're organized on one notion. Every other country is organized based on ethnicity, religion, and geography, but the United States is based on the idea. Only country in the world based on an idea. Think about it.
Look to your right, look to your left, see if your -- everybody shares the same -- the same backgrounds. We're so diverse. Why are we doing it? Because we said we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, life, and liberty. We've never met the goal but we've never other than the Trump administration tried to walk away from that goal. And it gets better every time we push. And unions are going to play a critical role in that future.
America is always counted on you and your workers, giving us half a chance. You have never, ever, ever, ever let the country down. We're counting on you, again, to build this country for all of us. Help build an economy that works for working people. And I promise you, I'm going to keep fighting for you. Are you prepared to fight with me? We'll let's build it together. Let's continue to give working families a fighting chance, face our challenges head-on. And let's keep going toward a better America because we can do it. God bless you all, and may God protect our troops.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: President Biden is speaking there to the AFL- CIO in Philadelphia for more than 30 minutes. With me now, CNN Economics and Political commentator Catherine Rampell, who's also, of course, an opinion columnist for the Washington Post, and CNN White House Correspondent John Harwood who is there in Philadelphia.
Look, John, I want to start with you because I'm curious as to how things played in the room. It's one thing to watch it on TV to hear the reaction there, a largely friendly crowd for the president, but impossible to ignore the fact that it was 15 minutes, at least in -- by my account before the president really mentioned, inflation, and the impact that's having on families.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Look. I think, Erica, he was savoring the opportunity to talk before a friendly union audience. He said from the very beginning of his campaign, when he got into the 2020 race, that he's a union guy. He's talked about that as a very consistent theme. So he's talking to his friends, he wanted to take the opportunity to boast about job creation, low unemployment on his watch to draw a sharp contrast with Republicans painting them as the party that supports the rich that doesn't support the middle and working classes through programs such as Medicare and Social Security, and the Affordable Care Act. So he went hard after the Republicans.
And I think on inflation, he made the point that it's his top priority. He did not talk about the trip that he's going to make to the Middle East but that's a compromise that he's making with his concerns about civil rights and -- human rights that is, in order to try to get gas prices down. And I think the president reflected some irritation. He's ticked off at the criticism he's gotten. He thinks he's gotten more than he deserves on inflation. He was trying to push back on that today.
HILL: He was. He's saying at one point, you know, my plan will become more clear once global infrastructure starts to recede. Yes, there is absolutely a global component to this, Catherine. There is a lot going on here I do want to pick up though.
Let's talk about Saudi Arabia quickly if we could because part of there's a lot of pushback. And we're hearing from more and more Democrats now this morning in response to this trip that the president has planned now next month that he will meet with NBS. We've learned -- part of what we're being told right is that this is also tied to gas prices like this is about national security, so John Kirby, but gas prices could be a part of it. Can you just give us a reality check here? How much could Saudi Arabia actually due to change the price of gas here in the United States?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Saudi Arabia has the greatest stability of basically any country right now to turn up the spigot quickly enough and in great enough volume to make some difference in gas prices. And in fact, Saudi and the OPEC Plus countries have indicated in the past few weeks that they might increase production. Part of this trip is presumably designed to encourage that commitment or that interest in doing so. And it could make a difference.
RAMPELL: I mean, I don't know that I can quantify it. It depends on what they actually do. But yes, remember, president -- the former President Trump helped to negotiate a cut in oil production from the OPEC countries including Saudi Arabia. Back in 2021, oil prices went negative, in part because they were trying to stabilize prices. They dropped off if they were too low. So clearly, there is a perception -- an accurate perception that what Saudi does makes a difference.
HILL: We'll be watching for that. We are a little tight on time. We're going to leave it there. Good to have both of you here this morning. Just ahead, the January 6 committee postponing tomorrow's hearing as they make the case that Trump's big election lie was also a big fundraising rip-off. We'll take a look next.
HILL: Just in. The January 6 committee postponing tomorrow's hearing. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren says technical staff needed more time to edit video testimonies. So now the next hearing is set for Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern. The panel, connecting the dots yesterday between Donald Trump's election lie and bilking his supporters out of some $250 million. The committee argues Trump did that despite being told repeatedly by his closest advisors and even family that he had lost the election. CNN's Katelyn Polantz is live in Washington with more. Katelyn, good morning.
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Good morning, Erica. This disinformation campaign that the committee dug into yesterday in their hearing, they are saying that they have found that it also was a grift. Representative Zoe Lofgren. She was very straightforward about this in presenting the financial findings that a team of investigators working with the House Select Committee found. Here's what she said at the hearing yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D-CA): Will also show that the Trump campaign use these false claims of election fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters who were told their donations are for the legal fight in the courts. But the Trump campaign didn't use the money for that. The big lie was also a big rip-off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLANTZ: So the committee did lay out some of the specifics that they found here, that included them saying that Donald Trump and his fundraising effort collected more than $250 million after the election going towards something that they marketed as the official election defense fund. But one campaign staffer told the committee, and we saw this in a clip at the hearing yesterday, one campaign staffer said that that official election defense fund, it wasn't real. It didn't exist. That money instead of going toward election litigation ended up going to political causes that were not related, Erica.
HILL: And that is certainly getting a lot of attention. Katelyn, appreciate it. Thank you. Joining me now to discuss, CNN Senior Political Correspondent, the anchor of INSIDE POLITICS Sunday, Abby Phillip, and CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers. She's a former federal prosecutor.
Abby, I just want to start with the news of today that this hearing is being delayed according to Zoe Lofgren because of technical issues. I have to be honest. My first thought is that you have a former head of ABC News producing this event. And the technical issue is you're not getting videos edited in time. We work in a business where things happen on a dime. Are there rumblings in Washington that perhaps there's something more here or is this really about having enough time to edit?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And, of course, these hearings have been planned for a very long time. But I do think there is -- there might be more than simply, you know, the videos not ready. I mean, there are things that are happening behind the scenes, witnesses being secured. That changes what they need to get from the tapes deposition. And I think that what the committee is producing hearing by hearing is very much in flux.
And as you can imagine, I mean, largely the witness testimony that is in person that we are seeing, it has to ultimately be voluntary. Yes, the committee has subpoena power, but it takes time to enforce those things. And so as the presentation is ongoing, as it's being digested by the world -- the political world, that's probably affecting what the committee is able to put together in terms of their in-person testimony, and it has ripple effects for the things that come later. So I think that there might be the -- it just really highlights the complexity of what they're trying to do over these, you know, six or seven hearing days.
HILL: As we look at where we stand, right, they're building this case. What was interesting is there was a lot of talk about, Jen, could there be wire fraud charges, or other criminal charges coming. There was this very public contradiction yesterday between the chairman and the vice-chair over whether there will be any criminal referrals to the DOJ for either Donald Trump or anyone else. What do you make of those public contradictions?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I don't really know what to make of that. It's very strange. I mean, the criminal referral is nothing more than a referral. DOJ doesn't need it. I don't think frankly, they're going to pay all that much attention to it. They're doing their own investigation. They'll make their own decisions. So I don't really know what this struggle is about what the referral is. What's more interesting to me, of course, is hearing the evidence and thinking about what crimes they could put together. Yesterday, wire fraud being one that really bubbled to the surface.
HILL: Well, as you listen to that, right, as an attorney, when you're putting together a case, you're building this case, right. Is there a specific case that you see the committee building right now?
RODGERS: Well, they're doing a few different things. They're certainly building the case for the conspiracies that we've been talking about, conspiracy to obstruct Congress and his duties, conspiracy against the United States. But also now wire fraud kind of comes to the surface. They're talking about this, the big rift or the big rip-off, which is a terrific term and I hope they keep using it. And there needs to be more investigation here, right, you have to follow the money, you have to prove what was really happening here, where it was going, what they were saying to get it.
But if you can prove that these fraudulent statements were made for the purpose of getting people to give money for something other than what they thought they were giving money for, that's not just a federal crime, that, frankly, is much more comfortable and familiar for federal prosecutors to bring than all of these crimes against the nation really, that we've been talking about.
But it's also a crime that can be charged in any jurisdiction, where the statements were made, and where victims are located. Which means that state and local prosecutors may be picking up their ears and thinking, hey, wait a minute this is something that I can now look into too.
HILL: Abby, this also the -- his hearings it's important to point out this is also about making a case right to the American people as they go through their investigation and what they found.
HILL: And I was -- I was intrigued by something our colleague Ron Brownstein wrote saying the committee is really testing whether Americans can still agree on a shared reality. Testing whether any disclosure, no matter how damning, he writes, can reach the dome of disinformation that Trump and his allies and conservative media have built around many voters in the GOP coalition. We're two hearings in at this point, but is there an indication, Abby, that some of this is breaking through? PHILLIP: Not in the way that I think Ron means. I mean, what I've seen is actually backlash against the people who have testified about the fraud, the corruption that was going on, as it relates to these election lies. There's a backlash against, you know, Fox News hosts, like Sean Hannity for the things that he said in private against Trump that are now being revealed. The backlash is not against the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 election results. And that's incredibly telling.
I do think that Ron is absolutely right, that this is definitely going to test whether or not truth matters in our political system right now. But so far, the evidence really isn't very good. When you look at all the Republican officials in Washington, who are still basically more or less backing Trump up in his continuance of these election lies, none of this is changing their posture toward whether or not this particular truth matters. And I don't know that anything else that the committee has to say will turn that tide ultimately.
HILL: Abby, Jen, great to have you both here. Thank you. Just ahead here, vaccine advisors for the FDA meeting right now to consider Moderna's COVID vaccine for kids over six. The former head of the CDC joins me next.
HILL: The FDA's vaccine advisory committee is meeting right now to review and vote on Moderna's COVID vaccine for kids ages six to 17. Now, the Moderna vaccine is currently only available for adults ages 18 and up but scientists have been looking into possible links between Moderna's vaccine and a rare heart condition. Of course, that will be discussed. Joining me now, Dr. Richard Besser, he's a former acting Director of the CDC, always good to have you with us. So the FDA advisors voting today on Moderna's vaccine, this is for kids ages six and up. How much of a difference would it make do you think to have a second COVID vaccine option for kids?
DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, CDC: Well, you know, Erica, I think it is very valuable to have options, to have more products, to have more vaccines that the children can receive. You know, clearly, children are one of the groups for whom we've been -- we've been really waiting for vaccines to come. I, as a -- as a pediatrician, when I talk to parents, I talk about the value in getting their children vaccinated against COVID.
A lot of parents are still on the fence. They're waiting and seeing. And -- but the conversations that these FDA committees have, the way they look at data, the attention they pay to safety and effectiveness, hopefully, will convince some parents that it is time to move forward and get their children vaccinated.
HILL: You know when you pick that up, the vaccination rate for kids five to 11 is still below 30 percent. You mentioned you've heard some people say they're waiting and seeing. As a pediatrician, what are those conversations like? BESSER: Yes. You know, there's -- the conversations going on a number of ways, some parents are very eager to get their kids vaccinated. And when we -- you know, hopefully, we'll have a vaccine for kids younger than -- younger than five, younger than six, we'll see some parents who've been really waiting, step forward and get their kids vaccinated. But there's a big group of parents who are saying, you know, thankfully, COVID is less severe in young children. I want to wait and see -- I want to wait and see how these vaccines play out when they're given to millions of kids, many more than are in the trials. And then there are some parents who are saying no, you know, I've been hearing information out there that raises concerns for me.
One of the things that concern me greatly is that a lot of the information out there is misinformation, and frankly, by some disinformation. Information put out there to confuse individuals. As a pediatrician, you know, I'm grateful and thankful that COVID is less likely to cause hospitalization and death. But I am concerned about the symptoms of long COVID in children. I am concerned about a rare but concerning inflammatory syndrome that you can see in some children.
And so having the ability to vaccinate kids, not only can help protect them physically, but for families that have had this emotional toll of concern of their children being with other children, being able to say to those parents, you know what, your kids can go out and play your kids can just be kits. That I think will be a really great thing.
HILL: Right. And then the parents themselves don't have to leave such a shelf sheltered life to protect their children, which is a concern. Really quickly, we only have about 30 seconds left. There are major concerns about federal funding for COVID -- for the COVID response. It pays for a lot of these vaccines. I know you're worried about that. What happens when the money runs out?
BESSER: This is huge. You know, clearly in this pandemic, the -- not every community has been hitting in the same way while all communities have experienced COVID. We need these federal funds to make sure that anyone who wants a vaccine, anyone who needs a test can get -- can get those tests, can get those vaccines without federal funding. That's not going to happen. And we're going to be back to a situation where if you have health insurance if you've got a job that provides that kind of care for you, you will have services and if you don't, you're going to be out of luck. We can't allow that to happen.
HILL: Dr. Richard Besser, always appreciate your insight, great to have you with us this morning. Thank you.
Thanks to all of you for joining us this hour, stay tuned. INSIDE POLITICS with John King starts right now.