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At This Hour
Florida Governor Sends Migrants to Martha's Vineyard; Mark Meadows Complies with Justice Department Subpoena in January 6 Probe; Biden Speaks about Averting Rail Strike. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired September 15, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. AT THIS HOUR, migrants sent from the border to Martha's Vineyard and the vice president's residence. That political fight heating up in a whole new way today.
Plus the tentative deal that could help avert a major rail strike and avoid a major threat to the U.S. supply chain.
And a Hall of Fame quarterback and a huge scandal over misused welfare funds. This is what we're watching AT THIS HOUR.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan.
The two stories off the top today, we're standing by to hear from President Biden after the White House announced a tentative deal to avert a national rail strike after more than 20 hours of negotiations between the unions, rail companies and the Biden administration.
We're also following the battle over border policy playing out in cities far from the southern border. Within just the last 24 hours, Republican governors in Texas and Florida have sent migrants to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts and even to the doorstep of the vice president's residence in D.C.
We're going to have much more on that in just a moment. But let's begin with Jeremy Diamond live at the White House on the very late night and early morning negotiations to avert this rail strike.
What are you learning about the deal, Jeremy?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, 20 hours of negotiations between these union leaders the railway companies and also involved the White House and the Labor Secretary, Marty Walsh.
President Biden was being kept updated throughout the day yesterday. These negotiations began at 9:00 am yesterday and they ended at 5:00 am today with this tentative agreement that is now going up to the union's membership for a vote. That is expected to pass because these union leaders say they would
have not have struck the deal if they didn't believe it had the support of the membership. Let's get into the details.
A 24 percent wage increase over five years from 2020 through 2024; an immediate payout on average of $11,000. And also there is this new provision, which was the key sticking point in these negotiations, which will now grant these railway workers time off for certain medical events.
This is the first time that they will now have the ability to take time off for routine and preventative medical care. And that was a key victory for these union leaders.
Now in terms of the president's involvement, Kate, I'm told by a source familiar with the matter, that the president placed a call at 9:00 pm last night into the negotiating room at the Labor Department, where the president laid out the stakes, the potentially catastrophic economic stakes, of failure to reach an agreement before the midnight deadline tonight.
The president making clear this could be damaging for businesses and communities and individuals across country and sources say that helped the two sides get closer and ultimately reach that deal this morning.
BOLDUAN: It is good to see you. Much more to come.
And now to the border battle. This morning two buses filled with migrants arrived unannounced outside of Kamala Harris' residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington.
They were sent there by Texas governor Greg Abbott, who has been sending thousands of migrants to sanctuary cities like New York, Chicago and D.C., and doing so for months.
Now Florida governor Ron DeSantis is jumping into what is both a policy debate and a political stunt, sending two planes carrying undocumented migrants to Martha's Vineyard.
Gabe Cohen is outside the vice president's residence.
What is happening there now?
GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDEN: Well, Kate, the scene is calm now but this morning there were close to 100 migrants on those two buses dropped off just behind where I'm standing here at the U.S. Naval Observatory. We're talking about families, young men, most from Venezuela, fleeing a country in turmoil.
Some now trying to seek asylum in the United States. They were they were carrying trash bags of belongings and some documentation. But many had no idea where they were going or even where they were when they stepped off the bus here in the nation's capital.
It creates a scramble among non-profits in that area, trying to provide services and resources, shelter to those who just arrived here in D.C. And listen to one of the volunteers who was here describe their conversations with people getting off those buses about how they ended up here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARLA BUSTILLOS, VOLUNTEER: They felt fooled and they felt that their suffering was exploited. They were physically and mentally fatigued from the journey. And they were also very nervous and anxious about the dropoff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COHEN: And as you could imagine, as you can imagine those nonprofits are gaining a lot of experience in responding to these incidents.
COHEN: Because, as you said, governor Greg Abbott, since April, has bused thousands of migrants to metropolitan areas around the country -- New York, Chicago and here to Washington, D.C., although most of them have been dropped off at Union Station, the major train station just a few miles down the road.
Very few here outside of the vice president's home. In this case the hundred or so people who arrived have now been moved to a local church as they figure out where to go next.
BOLDUAN: Gabe, thank you so much for that.
So the situation in D.C. has been building for months. Now Massachusetts is a new target. Migrants sent to Martha's Vineyard by Ron DeSantis and officials there left scrambling with very limited resources to handle the planes arriving yesterday afternoon.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is live in Martha's Vineyard with this.
Miguel, what is happening?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we've just gotten on the ground here and talking to folks. This was all very, very sudden. We're at the airport, where they had about 20 minutes' notice before the planes came in yesterday.
The air charter company that brought those migrants here said that, at the moment, they don't have any other plans to bring other migrants from either Texas or Florida. But the towns here on Martha's Vineyard are preparing for that.
All of the migrants are being cared for right now at a local church. St. Andrew's Church. We have a few details about who they are. Most, if not all from Venezuela; about 50 in total; four were children between the ages of 3 and 8. Seven families were among the people who were brought to Martha's Vineyard.
And there is great concern, one, because they're not sure if more are coming but, two, they are stepping up and trying to right now provide the very basics that these people need, because, from everything that we understand about them, they had zero idea where they were going and then they end up in Martha's Vineyard.
Obviously it is a beautiful, gorgeous island where many people vacation in the summertime. We're just past that summertime high season and now there is about 20,000 people who live here year around. There were several schools here and towns that are here all year around.
So now they have to figure out where all this goes from here. I could tell you that FEMA and Massachusetts state emergency management are on the way here now to figure out and coordinate what happens with these folks and to figure out what happens if more come. Back to you.
BOLDUAN: Near term and long-term issues that really do need to be hammered out urgently. Miguel, thank you very much.
I want to get back to D.C., because joining me now is Tatiana Laborde. She is with SAMU First Response.
Thank you for coming on with me. Our correspondent was talking about what happened this morning.
But what you are hearing from the people that got off the buses outside of the vice president's residence?
TATIANA LABORDE, SAMU FIRST RESPONSE: So it has been a very confusing morning altogether. Our team was on the ground at 5:30, ready to receive the two buses that were expecting at Union Station and then at around 7:15, the news broke that they were actually dropped off here so we had to quickly mobilize.
By the time our team got to the migrants, they were very lost and they didn't understand where they were standing. This is a very residential area. They were just standing on the sidewalk, trying to understand what is next for them.
BOLDUAN: It is a very residential area, for people who don't know. The Naval Observatory is a huge property but right next to and across the street are other embassies and other residences. It is a very residential area.
I heard one migrant say this morning that he and his family are hoping to end up in New York, where they say they have family.
Do you know where the others want to end up, what -- where they're from and where they want to go?
LABORDE: So we've been seeing since we've been working on this operation, is that about 40 percent of the migrants that arrive move to New York City. So we're already coordinating with agencies on the ground to be able to have a reception for them. So we expect about half of those on the bus today will be on their way later this afternoon.
BOLDUAN: Gotcha. So this is all wrapped up in a lot of policy debate but also wrapped up in a lot of politics, obviously. Governor Abbott from Texas and governor DeSantis from Florida, what they say is, generally speaking, that, if places like D.C. want to be sanction cities, then they are best situated to help alleviate the crush of people coming across the border.
They say cities like D.C. should do their part.
What do you say to that?
LABORDE: So we have been working with local community, with the local government to be able to bring those people and treat them with dignity and respect as they should.
LABORDE: And we have that plan. The lack of collaboration is what makes the logistics extremely difficult. Yes, we are receiving them. But what happened this morning and their being left in the middle of the sidewalk, without coordination, is what makes this job extremely challenging.
BOLDUAN: Yes. You told "The Washington Post" that these moves by these governors has made D.C. an unofficial border town.
Does that mean in your view that what is, at least in part a political maneuver and stunt by those governors, is working?
LABORDE: It is working in a way that is bringing light to something that is happening on the border to communities like Washington. Migrants, though, are very welcome here.
So we have had a really good reaction from local organizations, from the neighbors, the support from the community, to embrace them and bring them in. And it is been beautiful. So I do believe that they are in a better situation by coming to the district. Now how sustainable in the long run it is, that is a different point.
BOLDUAN: And that is very true. I mean, the mayor of D.C. declared a state of emergency last week over this situation. I mean if D.C. has become an unofficial border town, what does that mean for D.C.?
LABORDE: So I think the step that the city has taken is very positive, creating an Office of Migrant Affairs that would coordinate all of the arrival because they're not only just coming in, in buses; they're coming in with other means of transportation.
And so really having a structure to give them the tools so that they can understand where they are, they can get enrolled in schools and get connected to social services as needed and then also coordinate with all the municipalities around the district. The district alone doesn't work if it is not with the counties around it supporting it.
BOLDUAN: Tatiana Laborde, thank you for taking the time today after what was clearly a busy morning for you and your whole team.
Coming up for us, Trump's former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows now the highest ranking Trump official known to comply with a Justice Department subpoena as part of its insurrection investigation. CNN's exclusive reporting on this next.
BOLDUAN: Some reporting now exclusive to CNN. Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has complied with the Justice Department subpoena. It is part of the DOJ's ongoing investigation into the Capitol insurrection.
He's now the highest ranking Trump official known to be cooperating with the probe. Katelyn Polantz is following this from Washington.
Katelyn, what does Meadows hand over as part of the subpoena?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is the documents he has, his communications leading up to and on January 6; perhaps even after then. And this is part of the Justice Department trying to get information from many, many people who were closely advising Donald Trump after the 2020 election.
So Meadows' closest aides have gotten subpoenas as have some top people in the White House counsel's office, advisers from the vice president's office, managers from the Trump 2020 campaign.
When you step back, a grand jury subpoena to Meadows, he's perhaps the number one conduit to then president Trump on January 6. As the White House counsel at the time, Meadows is the highest ranking person from the administration to get a subpoena so far in this criminal investigation.
And now CNN has confirmed he responded to it and turned over records. Now we do have a caveat. Even the public has seen a lot of these communications already, according to one source.
What the DOJ has now is the same records that he previously provided to the House Select Committee investigating January 6. So those are things like chats with Donald Trump Jr. where the president's son was pleading to get his father to do something to calm the attack on the Capitol.
Meadows was also texting with cabinet members and Republican members of Congress and even lawyers, including several people interested in overturning the election.
So it is a trove of information and it is going to the grand jury from another key person next to Donald Trump, the end of 2020, beginning of 2021.
But in all of these pursuits, will Meadows cooperate beyond this? We know he's withholding a lot, claiming executive privilege. So we'll
have to see what happens with the Justice Department.
BOLDUAN: That is a big question still. It is great to see you, thank you very much.
Coming up for us, text messages linking NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre to a massive welfare fraud scheme in Mississippi, considered the largest public fraud scheme in the history of that state. The state auditor who led the investigation into this is our guest.
BOLDUAN: Let's head back to Washington right now. President Biden just beginning to speak after announcing his administration helped broker this tentative deal to avert a national rail strike. Let's listen in.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- a tentative labor agreement between -- that has been reached between the railroad workers and the railway companies.
This agreement is a big win for America. And for both in my view. I want to thank the lead negotiators from the labor movement, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and the trainmen, International Association of Sheet Metal and air and rail and transportations workers' union and other labor unions engaged.
And this is a win tor tens of thousands of rail workers and for their dignity and the dignity of their work. It is a recognition of that.
During these early dark, uncertain days of the pandemic, they showed up so every American could keep going. They worked tirelessly through the pandemic to ensure that families and communities got the deliveries they needed during these difficult few years.
And because of the labor agreement, those rail workers will get better pay, a 24 percent wage increase over the next five years; improved working conditions, peace of mind around their health care by capping the cost that workers will have to pay.
And it is about the right to go to a doctor or stay healthy, to make sure you're able to have the care you can afford. It is all part of this agreement. They earned and deserve these benefits.
And this is a great deal for both sides in my view. The agreement is also a victory for railway companies. I want to thank the lead negotiators from the National Railway Labor Conference and our major rail companies.
The companies also played a critical role in keeping America moving during the pandemic. And that is not hyperbole, it is a fact.
With this agreement, railroad companies will be able to retain and recruit workers and continue to operate effectively as a vital piece of our economy. They're really the backbone of the economy.
I have a visual image of rails being the backbone, I mean, literally the backbone of the economy. So I thank the unions and the rail companies for negotiating in good faith. They met for 20 straight hours in that negotiation.
And for sticking with it, especially over the last few days. In fact, the negotiators here today, I don't think they've been to bed yet. So I don't want to keep this very long and having to stand besides.
And together you reached an agreement that will keep our critical rail system working and avoid disruptions of our economy.
And I'm grateful, grateful for the members of administration who worked tirelessly on both sides to help get this done. I especially want to thank Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, card-carrying union member and the first union Labor Secretary in decades, for his tireless, around-the clock-work.
BIDEN: This agreement is validation, validation of what I've always believed. Unions and management can work together, can work together for the benefit of everyone.
They're traveling now, a number of them, but I want to thank Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and Agriculture Secretary Tim Vilsack, who were deeply involved; along with -- I want to thank Deputy Labor Secretary Julie Su; director of National Economic Council Brian Deese and the Deputy National Director of Labor Celeste Drake for this commitment and hard work.
For the American people, this agreement can avert a significant damage that any shutdown would have brought. Our nation's rail system is the backbone of our supply chain.
Everything you rely on, and it is hard to realize this, everything from clean water to food to gas to everyday -- I mean liquefied natural gas -- to everything -- every good that you need seems to end up on a rail, getting delivered to where it needs to go.
With unemployment still in the record lows and signs of progress and lowering costs, this agreement allows us to continue to rebuild a better America with an economy that truly works for working people and their families. Today is a win -- I mean it sincerely -- a win for America.
BIDEN: So I want to thank you all for getting this done, both business and labor. And thank you, thank you, thank you and may God protect our troops. Thank you so much. (CROSSTALK)
QUESTION: Mr. President, grocery prices are up over 13 percent.
What do you tell struggling Americans?
BIDEN: (INAUDIBLE) moving, it's not going to go up.
QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) are you confident the situation at the border is under control, Mr. President?
QUESTION: Mr. President, unpaid sick leave good for workers?
BOLDUAN: All right, we're just listening in to see if the president would take any more questions as he walked back into the Oval Office.
President Biden celebrating this tentative deal between unions, rail companies and also help partly brokered by the Biden administration, calling it a big win for America, saying it is going to help the workers, the companies and everyone at home when it comes to the supply chain and getting the goods where they need to be when they need to get there.
Much more to come on that tentative deal and the future of that.
But we also still ahead for us AT THIS HOUR, text messages linking NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre to a massive welfare fraud scheme in Mississippi. The state auditor who led that investigation, he is our guest. That is next.