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At This Hour

Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Assassinated; U.S. Economy Adds 372,000 Jobs in June, Beating Expectations. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired July 08, 2022 - 11:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The family has perfected an ingenious way to hunt here. First, they swim sideways to hide their telltale dorsal fins. The seals have no idea that these six ton killers are so close. Then the Orca do something extraordinary. They beached themselves.



ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, I got to say I'm watching this, my jaw dropping open. Don't miss it. Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World Sunday night at 9 o'clock right here on CNN. Thanks to all of you for joining us today. I'm Erica Hill.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. Our colleague Boris Sanchez continues our coverage right now.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Kate Bolduan. Our morning's top story, the shocking assassination of Japan's former prime minister stunning the world. Plus, a strong new jobs report out this morning that could actually complicate the fight against runaway inflation. We're going to talk to one of the President's top advisors. And we're going to hear from President Biden directly he's speaking this hour as the White House is rolling out its plan to protect access to abortion. That's what we're watching At This Hour.

We begin with new developments in the assassination of Japan's longest serving prime minister. Shinzo Abe killed, shot twice during a campaign speech earlier today. And the attack was caught on video. It is hard to watch. Here are the moments the shots rang out.


SHINZO ABE, JAPAN'S FORMER PRIME MINISTER: (Speaking in Foreign Language).

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Police took the gunman into custody just moments after the shooting. Official say he's a local resident in his 40s though his motive is not yet known. The assassination of the 67-year-old Abe has shocked Japan, a country where gun violence is extremely rare. His death also having an impact around the world. Abe a stepped aside as prime minister, partly because of health issues in 2020. But he was one of the most consequential leaders in post-World War II Japan. So let's take you live to Tokyo now in CNN's Blake Essig. Blake, the current prime minister of Japan saying that Abe's death is absolutely devastating.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, look, Boris, I mean, today an absolutely devastating day across Japan. And just in the past few hours, we've learned more about the suspect in the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Police say that the suspect, a 41-year-old unemployed man has now admitted to shooting Abe. He was sworn by security after the shots were fired and arrested while in possession of what NHK Japan public broadcaster describes as a homemade gun.

Police say that the man went after Abe because he hates a certain group that he believed Abe had ties to. That man is being investigated as a suspect for murder with 90 police investigators dedicated to this case, while a controversial figure here in Japan and around the world for his policies at times, Abe is also an incredibly important figure. And news of this shooting is absolutely shocked the nation in the world during a press conference shortly after the shooting current prime minister Fumio Kishida really encapsulated the feelings of the people here in Japan. He appeared emotional, almost in tears while speaking to the press and said that this is not a forgivable act and that we will comprehend the situation and take appropriate measures.

Now, Abe's brother and current Minister of Defense Nobuo Kishi also addressed the media calling the attack an affront to democracy and suppression of freedom of speech. And we've also seen pictures of Shinzo Abe's wife. You're looking down at the ground as she entered the hospital where her husband was fighting for his life. And just tonight, pictures being, or excuse me, flowers being laid, you know, at the location where this assassination took place in Nara, simply put, you know, there's an overwhelming sense of sadness and shock across Japan and really around the world.

And Boris those emotions will likely only deepen with the news that former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been assassinated.

SANCHEZ: Blake Essig live from Tokyo, thank you so much.

Leaders around the world are sharing in their sadness and outrage that's being felt in Japan right now and that includes here in Washington where President Biden met with Abe many times over the years. Let's go to the White House now. And CNN's Jeremy Diamond has details on the White House's response. Biden, Jeremy, noting that on Abe, even in his final moments was engaged in democracy.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's exactly right. Assassinated while he was campaigning and President Biden this morning saying that he is quote, stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news of the former prime minister's assassination. Listen, vice -- former -- as Vice President Joe Biden overlapped with Shinzo Abe, Abe was elected for the second time as prime minister just weeks after then Vice President Biden and then President Obama had been reelected to a second term.


And Abe served as Prime Minister of Japan throughout that second term, and then of course into President Trump's first term in office. And during that time, President Biden met several times with the Japanese prime minister of both in Japan as well as here in the United States. Now, in a statement, President Biden this morning saying that quote, he was a champion of the alliance between our nations and the friendship between our people. The longest serving Japanese prime minister, his vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific will endure. Above all, he cared deeply about the Japanese people and dedicated his life to their service. Even at the moment he was attacked, he was engaged in the work of democracy. While there are many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable, and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it. The United States stands with Japan in this moment of grief.

The President also sending his quote deepest condolences to the family of the Japanese, of the former Japanese prime minister. And we heard this sentiment expressed as well by former Presidents Obama, Bush, and Trump noting the length of Abe's service as Japanese prime minister. And of course, the ways in which he took the U.S.-Japanese relationship to new heights during his time as prime minister. Boris?

SANCHEZ: Jeremy Diamond from the White House, thank you.

Let's discuss the assassination and Abe's legacy, his impact with CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser. She's a staff writer for The New Yorker. And Motoko Rich, the Tokyo bureau chief for The New York Times. Motoko, put this into context for us. It is shocking not only that the former prime minister was assassinated, but the way that he was killed, what's your reaction?

MOTOKO RICH, NEW YORK TIMES TOKYO BUREAU CHIEF: Well, I mean, it's very stunning in a place like Japan, where there's so few gun crimes at all. I mean, it has one of the strictest gun laws in the world. So the idea that Mr. Abe was killed by a gun albeit we're learning now that was handmade is truly shocking for the nation that thinks of this as a pretty safe place. And that campaigning is never considered to be a dangerous activity.

SANCHEZ: Susan, Abe was beloved in Japan, he was well regarded around the world. What was his vision for the country? And did he come close to achieving it?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, you know, he was so remarkably long serving in his role as prime minister, the longest serving ever. He also made a big footprint for Japan internationally, right? He was a key proponent not only of reinvigorating Japan's role in Asia, but it was probably one of the closest partners to a succession of American presidents. Now, people remember him in particular for his skills. The last few years of his tenure as prime minister coincided with Donald Trump's term in office.

And, you know, many international leaders I've spoken with said, he was basically the gold standard of Trump whispers. He was willing to do whatever it took to preserve alliances with the President of the United States who really wasn't fully committed to alliances that included not only flying to New York to see Donald Trump at Trump Tower after he was elected, breaking with a precedent to do that. He would golf with Trump. He would call him again and again. He even nominated Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize. He was willing to do almost anything to preserve not only the U.S.-Japan relationship, but the web of alliances that Trump at times threatened.

SANCHEZ: Motoko, you noted, and we showed a graphic that makes clear that gun violence is not nearly as common in Japan as it is in the United States. What do you think the impact of this is going to be on the Japanese people?

RICH: Well, I'm sure that they'll introduce a level of fear and paranoia, right, that they've been watching these images of violence both in the United States and in Ukraine, and assuming that their country is safe, and now wondering, is it. I mean, what we understand is that this was a homemade gun, not something that the gunman purchased, but we still -- there's so much that we still don't know. But I think it's very, very rattling to have had this happen. So many people that we talked to today said this is so un-Japanese. We never thought this could happen in Japan. So I think there's going to be a huge unsettling effect.

And then of course, just the idea that you could walk outside and feel safe, I think people might be thinking twice about that right now just because of what happened today.

SANCHEZ: Motoko, investigators are still working to develop a motive. We I heard reporting from Blake Essig that indicated that the shooter had some fear that Abe was connected to a group that he didn't like. Is there in Japan a contingent that was angry at Abe that had political motives to see him assassinated this way?


RICH: I mean, it was so far from anyone's mind that there was anyone planning to assassinate a politician, much less the longest serving Prime Minister who's a big, huge powerbroker in the party, of course, like he was a very politically divisive figure, and there were people who didn't like him. But no one ever thought that this was going to lead to an assassination. So I think it's -- we're hard pressed and all struggling to figure out what happened here.

And as you said, we know so little, what the police have released is quite vague, that he objected to a particular group that he had a grudge against. And he said that Abe had an affiliation with this group, but we don't even know what the group is. So I think we're hoping to find out a lot more in the coming days as the investigation unfolds.

SANCHEZ: Right. And Susan, you pointed out his relationship with Donald Trump, how close the two were, his relationship with Obama as well. How did Abe alter U.S.-Japanese relations long term?

GLASSER: Well, I think he was a very strong voice in pushing the United States and other partners in the region to think more long term about, you know, the consequences of rising China. You look at his advocacy for Taiwan, his willingness to go out on a limb. When the United States, Barack Obama, he worked very closely with to create a new Transpacific trade partnership when the United States under Donald Trump withdrew from that, Abe continue to do it. And in part because it exists now as an economic alliance and alternative in a way to Chinese influence.

And so I think he'll be remembered for that. But he also was a relentless advocate of a kind of resurgent Japanese, nationalism that was very controversial. The relations were strained with South Korea as a result of that, at times. And I think he will be seen as a key postwar political figure in Japan, not only because of his longevity, but I should point out. He is from almost the dominating family of Japanese politics. He is the grandson of a prime minister. His father was foreign minister. His brother is currently the defense minister. I mean, this is, you know, the equivalent of almost the Kennedy's in the sense of the domination of Japanese politics. So it's a really resonant event for Japan and the whole region.

SANCHEZ: Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, tragically assassinated at 67 years old. Susan, Motoko, thank you so much for your time this morning.

RICH: Thanks for having us.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

Coming up, a new jobs report suggesting the jobs market is booming. But could this make the fight against inflation even tougher as prices keep rising? We're going to talk directly to President Biden's top economic adviser after a quick break.



SANCHEZ: So a new jobs report is out this morning. And it looks good. It shows the U.S. economy added 372,000 jobs in June. That's about 100,000 more jobs than analysts predicted. And it means the unemployment rate remains at a low 3.6 percent. That is good news on just about any other day because it might make it harder for the Federal Reserve to fight the inflation that's still squeezing Americans budgets.

Joining us now live from the White House is Cecilia Rouse. She's Chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Cecilia, good morning, we're grateful that you're with us. The jobs report coming in above expectations, good news for the labor market. President Biden, I want to read to our viewers part of his statement, he says, quote, we have more Americans working in the private sector today than any day during Donald Trump's presidency, more people than any time in our history.

But if we look at the numbers, there are almost two jobs available for every applicant. And that puts pressure on wages to go up. So can we have the kind of jobs market that we have right now without it inevitably leading to inflation?

CECILIA ROUSE, CHAIR, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: So the jobs report today reflects the fact that we have had a historic recovery from the pandemic recession, and that there are employment opportunities across our economy. And it's across almost every industry. We saw job gains in the private sector have actually 381,000. And that puts that employment above where we were in February 2020. There was some losses in government sector, primarily in the federal government.

So what this report reflects is that we have a labor market that remains very strong. We saw wage growth of about 0.3 percent month over month, that is strong, but it's actually a bit of a deceleration from the month prior. So we actually do not actually see signs in this report that wages will be causing additional overheating, if we look at the annualized rates we see over the last three months, wages have cooled just a little bit. At the same time, we know that we're seeing gains among our lowest paid sectors such as leisure and hospitality, transportation, and warehouse that are robust because those are areas where they're still struggling to find workers, as you pointed out.

So this is a strong report. It reflects there's still some work to be done in certain sectors. But overall it means that the U.S. economy at least on the labor side has got the kind of headroom that Jerome Powell and his colleagues will need as they try to engineer a soft landing on inflation.


SANCHEZ: Isn't that an issue though, if Americans are making more money, even if the rate is decelerating, it's still increasing. And at the same time, everything costs more so they can afford less. This doesn't concern you about inflation, seeing that there are more jobs on the jobs report than expected?

ROUSE: So what this reflects is that we have a very healthy labor market. Obviously, inflation is a challenge. And we, you know, the President understands, I understand what that means to the house -- the households to Americans, as they face increasing prices for food, for gas, for everyday items. You know, the good news is we have seen gas prices coming down over the last couple of weeks, which provides some relief. Prices for gas were set on the global market. We know that Russia continues its war against Ukraine.

But that at least for the moment, is a welcome sign and is going to be welcomed for many people. And importantly, energy costs feed into not only, you know, energy, but also into other goods. So that'll -- that should provide a little inflationary easing as well. We'll get new data next week when the CPI is released. But we understand that's why the President is proposing lowering costs for prescription drugs and other and other important goods for households. It's why he is focused on reducing the deficit, you know, he's on track to have some of the most highest deficit reduction, you know, in recent history.

And it's why he proposes increasing taxes on the very wealthiest corporations, to not only is that fair, but it allows it takes off some fiscal pressure. And it allows us to be making the kinds of investments we know we need to be making to build our economic capacity, whether that's in physical infrastructure, whether that's in human capital, getting people back to work, helping people deal with these increasing costs.

SANCHEZ: Cecilia, you mentioned a moment ago, the Fed attempting to engineer a soft landing and avoiding a recession. Does this report put more pressure on the Fed to again, raise interest rates at a historic level?

ROUSE: So the Fed is an independent agency, and I really do not want to speak to what their will or will not do. They need to have the space to read the data and make the professional judgment that they will be making. What this suggests, many people were asking, are we in recession, what this suggests is, at least on the employment side, in the labor market, we still have a very healthy economy. And, you know, the President understands that in order to bring down inflation, the Fed is going to, you know, needs to cool the economy to some extent.

But what we're hoping and what the Fed is hoping for is that we transition to the kind of economy where we see steady, sustainable growth, where we do have growth, but that is growth that's generated from productivity increases and from the increasing economic capacity, because we're making the kinds of investments in physical infrastructure that the bipartisan infrastructure law entails. Because we are able to make the kinds of investments we know we need to be making as we transition to clean energy, because we're making the investments and families to help people get back to work.

So when we make those kinds of investments, we increase our economic capacity. And that's the kind of growth the President is hoping to that we can transition to.

SANCHEZ: Cecilia Rouse, we have to leave the conversation there. We appreciate your time as always. And just want to let our viewers know, the President is expected to speak from the White House in just a few moments, signing an executive order expanding abortion access. Cecilia, thank you again.

ROUSE: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: Of course.


Also coming up, a major moment on Capitol Hill, Pat Cipollone, the former White House Counsel, sitting down for closed door testimony with the January 6th Committee. What President Trump's former attorney could reveal, that's next.


SANCHEZ: Happening right now behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, the Committee investigating the effort to overturn the 2020 election is speaking with a key witness, the former White House Counsel for President Trump, Pat Cipollone, a figure that could give critical insight into what Trump was thinking and planning after he lost the election. Note this, his appearance comes just four days before the Committee's next public hearing on Tuesday. Let's go to Capitol Hill now in CNN's Melanie Zanona who's there. And Melanie, today's deposition comes after months of negotiating with Cipollone.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Right. Pat Cipollone is a big get for the Select Committee. And it's easy to see why he was a key fact witness and had a front row seat to a number of pivotal episodes, what's leading up to January 6th and also on January 6th. In fact, Sources tell CNN that Pat Cipollone was in and out of the dining room with Donald Trump on January 6th during this critical 187 minutes where Trump refused to act even as he watched on television as the rioters stormed the Capitol building.