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The Lead with Jake Tapper

President Touts Job Numbers, Awaits Action On Spending Plans; Pelosi Pushes Infrastructure Votes Tonight; Sources: Roughly 20 Progressives Won't Back Bill; 26 States Sue Biden Admin Over Federal Vaccine Mandate; Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Admits He's Unvaccinated; Former N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Arraignment Postponed. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 05, 2021 - 17:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Dozens of states now suing the Biden administration over his sweeping vaccine mandate for businesses and corporations.

And leading this hour, some good news for President Biden, it appears that the House might be somewhat moving ahead on his agenda. We'll see.

But more importantly, there is also good economic news. U.S. businesses added more than a half million jobs in October. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent. That's down more than two full percentage points since Biden took office. And revised August and September reports show 100s of 1000s more jobs were added than first reported.

So let's start with our Chief White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, there's a lot of craziness going on on Capitol Hill. But there is some good news for the President when it comes to the economy and perhaps with his agenda on Capitol Hill.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so the question kind of, Jake, is whether or not he's going to get another bit of good news and if Democrats are actually going to deliver this infrastructure bill to his desk tonight. And that is really what the White House is waiting and watching just as much as the rest of us, essentially, to see what's going to happen on Capitol Hill, because White House officials did start their day with that jobs report, which of course exceeded the expectations of economist. And so you saw President Biden coming out this morning to not only tout those numbers, but also to use them as a reason, he said, essentially a launching point to pass these bills.

And not only just to pass them, Jake, he said he wanted to get them passed right now. And that would mean getting that infrastructure bill to his desk if it does pass the House and sending that other bill the larger social safety net expansion package to the Senate so they can start working on it. But now we are seeing in the hours since we last heard from President Biden how the timelines are shifting here and how Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that they are going to move forward with that vote on infrastructure today.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether or not she has the votes. Though, she did hint that she feels that she does, saying that she's seen the secret whip count and she has a pretty good feeling as despite the objections that we are seeing from progressives over this latest plan of action.

And so, the White House is really waiting to see if they are also going to get the infrastructure bill. And so, that of course depends really largely also on the President's schedule, because, Jake, he was scheduled to leave the White House today for the weekend.

Right now the White House is kind of sitting back and waiting to see what is going to happen before they make any decisions on that. They've caught a lid right now, which means we are not likely to see the President before 6:00 p.m., is they are waiting to see if he's going to have a bill on his desk tonight or not.

TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.

And I just want to bring you this the information from our own Manu Raju, he says that President of Biden just called the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal, and she left the meeting of the Congressional Progressive Caucus to take the call. But also another source tells CNN that after Jayapal asked for a show of hands of those who would not back the infrastructure bill, roughly 20 progressives raise their hands according to a source talking to Manu Raju.

But let's talk about the economy with our experts.

Rana Foroohar, there are lots of good economic numbers. President Biden was happy to rattle them off this morning. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Job creation in the first full nine months of my administration has about 5.6 million new jobs. A record new unemployment claims have fallen every week for the past five weeks. Unemployment has decreased more in this year and since 1950.

Weekly pay went up in October. Men and women who work in restaurants, hotels, entertainment have seen their pay go up a 12 percent this year.


TAPPER: Rana, do you think we're seeing the start of some sort of economic boom?

RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST: Well, I think we've been seeing it. You know, not only do we get higher than expected jobs numbers this month, but we're seeing those usual revisions. Every single time we get a new jobs figures, the ones before are revised upward. So at this point, it's looking like the last few months have actually been pretty robust, arguably even faster than previous recoveries over the last decade or so. So yes, I mean, all things considered. This recovery is looking pretty good.

Now it's all about the virus. If we were to see another surge, if we were to see something that couldn't be controlled with vaccines, it would be a different story. But right now, the President has a lot to be happy about.

TAPPER: Austan Goolsbee, take a look at this. A poll released last Monday found 65 percent of the American people think the U.S. economy is in poor shape. Only 35 percent feel it's good. How do you explain this apparent disconnect?

AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, CHAIRMAN, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS UNDER OBAMA: Well, it takes a little bit of time. I mean, the -- in the beginning of the year, the economy was very strong, the polling numbers were strong. As the Delta variant rose and the economy weakened, you're seeing that reflected in the polling now.

I would think if they keep putting up literally 600,000 private sector jobs created a single month, you put up a few months like that, I think you would expect to see the polling numbers would move back into the positive.

TAPPER: And Doug Holtz-Eakin, despite the good news, Americans are seeing shortages and high prices at grocery stores.



TAPPER: Gasoline prices are up. Inflation is going on. We're hearing warnings about holiday gift shortages because of the supply chain issues. Do you think this is the new normal? Or will we ever get back to an old normal?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: Oh, I think we'll get past the supply shortages. Eventually, it's not going to be a matter of months, it's going to be a quite a while. But you know, the inflation is the real Achilles heel for this administration.

And, you know, we're seeing wages rise rapidly, but for the year, real wages have fallen, inflation has gone up faster. And for people, your typical household, half their budget is food, energy and shelter. And those are the numbers that are going up most rapidly.

And so, I think for the administration, you look at today's report, there's some really good news in there. I think the best number is the fact that payrolls are growing at a 7 percent annual rate. That shows there's a lot of demand for labor, and it's generating a lot of income to households.

And also the bad news, the labor force participation rate doesn't move. We got to get people back into the labor force and back into jobs. So we're not going to solve these problems.

TAPPER: Rana, what do you think the effect if these two bills do actually end up passing Build Back Better in the bipartisan infrastructure? And I recognize that's a big F. But if they were to pass and become law, how do you -- what do you think the effect would be on the economy? Because I have heard some people say, more money in the economy might actually make inflation worse?

FOROOHAR: Well, you know, it depends on how soon things get done, what gets done. I mean, ultimately, the infrastructure bill, particularly the idea of building, you know, building better ports, building better roads, I mean, think what that could do for some of the supply chain delays that we've seen. Better training for workers, helping to solve the mismatch between supply and demand and labor right now. Helping childcare so that women can get back to the workforce.

These are all things that would actually -- it would be disinflationary, it would be good for the economy. But in the short term, of course, there are going to be inflationary pressures.

The question is, do we use this time to make the changes that we need to ensure that we're going to have a robust economy and not have stagflation in the next few years going forward?

TAPPER: Austan, I know that every White House thinks that their problems are never about policy or candidates, it's always just a comms problem. It's always just communications. But there might actually --

GOOLSBEE: (Inaudible) fault.

TAPPER: Yes, exactly. But there might actually be some indication problems here. For example, very few Americans know how many children were lifted out of poverty by the Child Tax Credit that President Biden and the Democrats passed earlier this year. What do you think Democrats and specifically President Biden can do to better tell the story of some of the successes? I realized inflation is going to be a problem for a while, and you can't come to your way out of that, but there are some successes here.

GOOLSBEE: Yes, I mean, if you're asking message advice from a guy with a PhD in economics, you're probably making a big mistake. But I do think that they -- the more people hear about what is actually in the bills, the content of the bills is actually quite popular. It's only once it gets into the partisan scrum and the Republicans hear that it's Joe Biden's plan that they say they hate it. And that dynamic, you know, has been playing out for some years.

I think in this, it's all about, as we just said, what's going to end up being in it? What will Joe Manchin think? What will Senator Sinema think? And will it be paid for?

If it is paid for, and if it's spread out over some number of years, which it looks like it's going to be, I don't anticipate that in the short run, these supply constraints are really going to be the issue. I think there, if we get control of this virus, which hopefully we are and we got some great news today on the medical front, I think you'll see a big shift back to people spending money on services, which is what they always used to spend their money on. And as that happens, it's going to ease some of the constraints on the supply chain and may ease inflation.

TAPPER: Doug, do you agree with that? As we're making progress as a nation on combating COVID, do you see the pandemics hit on the economy ending hopefully soon as well?

HOLTZ-EAKIN: I agree with Austan that the outlook for the coronavirus is everything for the outlook for the economy. There's no question about it. And we are making progress in not just vaccines, which everyone sort of always appeals to as a silver bullet. But we're also getting these therapeutics so that the impact on a person with -- if they do contract COVID-19 is less severe.

And as we do that, the threat of the virus to undertaking normal economic activity come smaller. That's exactly what we need from a public health point of view, globally. I mean, all of these supply chain problems are, in the end, labor shortages somewhere on the globe. And so, getting that job done is still the number one thing for everyone.

I think I just disagree politely with the other two on the Build Back Better agenda, which I think really is not a developing into a bill that the American people should support. As it sort of evolved, it has steadily become programs that are front loaded so that they don't cost as much. So that means all the spending is up front and the pay fors are spread out over 10 years. That's more and more like a stimulus bill, which is not what the economy needs right now.


The infrastructure bill, it's fine. That's not a threat from an inflation point of view. It's not particularly dramatic, either. I mean, it's going to do a modestly positive impact over the next five or seven years. But the Build Back Better, it's full of poorly drafted provisions that are front loaded, and that's not a good idea.

TAPPER: All right. Thanks one and all. Really appreciate it. Have a great weekend.

We're following the big news on Capitol Hill this evening. Speaker Nancy Pelosi minutes ago says Democrats will vote on some of Biden's agenda tonight. We're told that at least 20 or so progressives might not go along with this plan. Will they actually follow through?

Plus, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers now passing blame for all his unvaccinated COVID drama. Stay with us.



TAPPER: We are back with some wacky breaking news. House Democratic leaders saying just moments ago they are planning for two votes tonight, one on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate, then a second procedural vote on the rules for Biden's Build Back Better plan, the larger expansive social safety net bill.

CNN is learning that there might be enough progressive Democrats against this move to sync the infrastructure bill completely. Let's go to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

And Manu, just to bring our viewers up to speed, the progressives want the Build Back Better Act, and they're holding infrastructure hostage. The moderates want infrastructure, they're holding Build Back Better hostage. You've got some new reporting about President Biden trying to get progressives on board with the plan. What is it?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. President Biden was on the phone this afternoon with Pramila Jayapal, who is the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. She left this meeting that she was having with her caucus members to discuss their strategy. And she came out didn't want to comment, but I'm told that by multiple sources that she did have a call with the President.

Now I'm also told in that meeting, she took a show of hands. She asked who is ready to vote against the infrastructure bill, roughly 20 progressives said they would do so, because they are demanding as they have for months that this bill moves alongside the larger Build Back Better plan to expand the social safety net and pump hundreds of billions of dollars into efforts to fight climate change.

But that larger bill is also been held hostage among a handful of moderate Democrats who want a full accounting by the Congressional Budget Office to understand this budgetary impacts. But that analysis is going to take a couple of weeks. So the progressives are saying, OK, that's going to take a couple of weeks, let's wait a couple of weeks to vote on the infrastructure plan.

And they are suggesting that despite Nancy Pelosi's gamble to move ahead with the infrastructure vote, they will vote no. This is what Jared Huffman, a congressman, told me earlier today.


REP. JARED HUFFMAN (D-CA), CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: I am disappointed. Don't have constructive words to describe my level of dismay that we would do this drill. Again, if the BIF comes to us as a standalone vote separated from the Build Back Better Act, I'm a hard no.


RAJU: So, Nancy Pelosi is indicating that she is not concerned about these warnings from her left sides, saying that she is still going to put this bill on the floor. This is a rare gamble by the Speaker. We'll see she ultimately carries through with that.

But Jake, she typically does not go to the floor when she does not have the votes. And the progressives are indicating they have at least 20. That's likely enough votes to scuttle this bill. We don't expect enough Republicans to offset those losses from the Democratic votes.

So we'll see how this ultimately plays out, Jake. But it's been a day of disarray for Democrats that they've tried to keep their caucus together, tried to get both bills through the House. But it's possible, neither will pass and then they go to recess with nothing.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thank you so much.

I want to bring in the panel.

And look generally, Dems in disarray is considered -- Democrats often make fun of the media for saying Democrats in disarray. But I think it's fair. I think we can bring it out of the discarded the cliche bin and say, this is disarray. Do you think Speaker Pelosi actually knows that she has the votes that she almost always does, or is she gambling?

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ANALYST: I have seen Speaker Pelosi count votes before. So I think this is probably -- you can rest assured she thinks she has the votes. Questions, are they're there?

And there's -- remember this, there's what people say they want in public, and it's what they really want. And so, what they really want is say in quiet conversation one on one. And she said today, I've got my private speaker count. And I don't tell anybody, not even my friends who's in that number.

TAPPER: And what do you think, Manu (ph), I mean, I'm sorry, Ramesh, what do what do you think? Manu just reported, he had a clip from Jared Huffman, congressman who said I'm a no. That's not just --


TAPPER: A hard no.



TAPPER: On camera, on CNN. Now look, it has happened before, people say that they are no and then they end up voting yes, that happens. I mean, Speaker Pelosi could say, you really going to sink Joe Biden's presidency? But what do you think what do you think's going to happen?

RAMESH PONNURU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think one reason why some of those progressives might end up voting no, is because this isn't the end of the process anyway. Even if the moderates and the progressives in the Democratic Party may be joined by a couple of Republicans get together and come up with solution, they don't have a Build Back Better bill that has Manchin sign off in the Senate yet. So, there's a certain kind of we're spinning our wheels thing going on here --


PONNURU: -- is impeding a solution. SIMMONS: Yes. Remember quickly, Jake, they don't need the Senate, right? What they believe is, my understanding, let's pass what the House wants. Let's get it over the Senate. And the Senate was to ship stuff out.

Let the Senate ship it out, and then we'll vote on whatever the next thing is. But they don't have to do the Senate's dirty work for them.


FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY: I think you're getting on to say a key point. What I've been hearing is, things like paid family leave, we're going to put it in there and then force the Senate into a position where they have to strip it out, and then they have to explain why they stripped it out of the bill.

Now, is that what's likely to happen? Are we likely to see those sorts of items in the final bill? No, but that is the strategy in the play here.

TAPPER: But do you see this disarray? Again, I'm going to say it. This or fine dysfunction?


TAPPER: Do you see it as having played any role in what happened Tuesday, the shellacking the Democrats got from coast to coast in a lot of elections?

HENDERSON: Sure. I mean, it would have been better if they hadn't spent the last months wrangling over this bill, would have been much better if they had delivered something. So if you're the Democrats who were running, you could go around and you could say, listen, this is what Joe Biden has done. This is what the Democratic Party is all about.

I also just think there is an anti-incumbent weigh in, and Democrats got swept away by it. And I think in 2022, if you think about historically, what happens to the President's party, have there likely be a continuation of that way?

There was some good news for this president this week. I think this idea that there could be a pill to a battle COVID, I think the rollout of vaccines for children, that's good news for this president.

TAPPER: Sure. And this good economic news today.

HENDERSON: And the good economic also.

TAPPER: Good jobs report, and they revise the last two bad jobs to make them good again.

HENDERSON: Exactly. So that is some good news. And maybe by the time we get to 2022, there is a better climate. People feel better about the direction of the country. I also feel like his bills, I don't even really know how much they're going to help Democrats in 2022. (Crosstalk) Yes, it just it doesn't work that way.

PONNURU: I think that the disarray that you hear, your new favorite word, equates both inside and an outside problem. The inside problem for Democrats is one of the ways you get your followers to take votes they may not be enthusiastic about is by giving them the impression, we know what we're doing as leadership. We've got a plan. And I think that has gotten -- that has been eroded and eroded and eroded, and now is not there.

The outside problem is what is the message here? We heard Congressman Huffman talking about BIF, not one and 100 Americans knows what --

TAPPER: It's the bipartisan infrastructure bill. And so you know.

PONNURU: This debate has now gone on so long that everybody is referring in legislative shorthand and completely as out of connection with the public.

HENDERSON: Yes, it's not clear that the final bills are actually going to matter to people, that they're going to feel them in their everyday --

TAPPER: They will, though. I mean, that's the truth.

HENDERSON: We'll see. We'll see.

TAPPER: Whether it's --


TAPPER: -- tax hikes --


TAPPER: -- that they don't like for wealthy people --


TAPPER: -- or broadband constructed in their yards for people in rural America.

HENDERSON: But will they connect them to --

SIMMONS: Or universal pre-K.

HENDERSON: -- Biden? I mean, we'll see. Yes.

CHAMBERS: Well, that would be the next step. And the White House signaling today that they would need to do a robust outreach and to promote these. One of the concerns that Democrats had in 2009 was that there wasn't enough promotion done of that, and then, you got to that midterm shocking. So, I've been told by Democrats that they've learned that lesson, and that they will be hitting the road aggressively, putting cabinet secretaries out there and others. Because as we've seen in polling, people don't know what's in this bill.

HENDERSON: But it's also true, if you have to explain it, it hasn't been done, right?

TAPPER: I want to talk to the point that you two made, Ramesh and Nia- Malika, the idea that it doesn't really necessarily matter all that much --


TAPPER: -- whether these bills passes to whether or not Democrats get reelected. The ones that are the frontline Democrats. So what do you think will it be? It will be the economy? It will be --

HENDERSON: Gas prices.

TAPPER: -- COVID, gas prices, inflation.

HENDERSON: Grocery prices.

PONNURU: Yes, but look, even a good economy and good trends on COVID, those are things that will limit the losses --

TAPPER: Right.

PONNURU: -- of the party in power. They're not, I think, going to make it a good midterm for the Democrats.

SIMMONS: Here's where it matters, it matters when the President's poll numbers are up, but the President's poll numbers are down. And if people think Joe Biden is winning, then they're going to want to be on the winning team.

TAPPER: OK. So that --

SIMMONS: Right? So they got to move that ball forward. And I'm struck today by the images that we saw from Colin Powell's funeral, with all those people sitting there, and I was thinking, you know, that whole scene, those are all the people the January 6 rioters and the Trump people are all against. They want to get rid of everybody who was in power inside that cathedral today, because those are the people who they view as the establishment who are in the way.

But those rioters, those Trump people that think the Democrats are going to be running against are people who see America as a brutal place, that can't talk about its past or think about its future, and I think the Democrats are going to have to run on something that's more inclusive about a strong America that's big enough for all of us. And I think that values conversation is the one that Democrats have to get in.

TAPPER: And Francesca, I just want -- people might be watching what's going on right now and think, OK, this is annoying, and it's dysfunctional, but it's not that unusual. It's actually fairly unusual.

The House gaveled in at 8:12 this morning, and the Democrats has now set a record for the longest period of time that it was open for a vote, for that one vote. The previous record was two hours and 51 minutes. We're now obviously well past nine hours. I mean, congratulations.


HENDERSON: Yei (ph).

TAPPER: But like this is unusual.

CHAMBERS: And meanwhile you have the president of the United States who was supposed to be leaving for Rehoboth Beach this evening, he's still --

TAPPER: While we plays (INAUDIBLE).

CHAMBERS: And he's still at the White House. We don't know when we could hear from him. He suggested earlier today that if a vote takes place that we could hear from him, and he didn't say when. So, unclear if that's tonight, or when that would be tomorrow either, so.

HENDERSON: Yes. And this is Biden who promised competency, who came in saying that he could bring both sides together and he was a great dealmaker, having so much problems, so many problems with his own party, let alone bringing Republicans along, bridging the two divides sort of the progressives and the moderates, he can't seem to do that.

PONNURU: And the upcoming midterms make the problem worse for the Democrats. Because on the moderate side it's going to be, if we vote for this, we're going to be even that much more likely to lose our seats. On the progressive side is, we're going to lose everything. This is our last chance to get all the initiatives that we want.

HENDERSON: And this is Biden's last chance to get anything done, right?


HENDERSON: You know, most presidents, you're able to get one big initiative you had with Trump, his tax cuts and Obamacare, which again did not help him in the midterms. Anyone can remember that. So, this is --

TAPPER: It's still around, though.

HENDERSON: It is still around. It is still around. But it didn't help with any of the midterms.

SIMMONS: Keep in mind, the progressives also -- really, a lot of Democrats on the Hill and around the town, around the country believe we're going to lose. HENDERSON: Yes, that's exactly right.

SIMMONS: The Democrats are going to loss next year, right? So, they want to get everything they possibly can now, right.

HENDERSON: Yes, we're going to loss.

SIMMONS: Because they may not get another chance at this after 2022.

TAPPER: Right. I mean --

CHAMBERS: But they always thought that. They always thought that, and that's actually why they felt that instead of doing the bipartisan deal in the first place, they should have moved on this particular bill, reconciliation way earlier in the summer and they would have had a much better chance of getting it done before the end of the year.

TAPPER: My thanks to the panel.

A sweeping vaccine mandate that covers 10s of millions of Americans with more than half of the governors of U.S. states are now suing to stop it. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Topping our national lead, not my house, that's the message from 26 states to President Biden who are now suing after the Biden administration announced the deadline for the most aggressive vaccine mandate of the pandemic so far. The mandate applies to any private businesses with 100 or more employees.

As CNN's Athena Jones reports, the White House says it is confident the new rule will hold up in court.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): It's been my belief that mandates only further divide and politicize our state in our country.

GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): We don't need an outrageous, overreaching mandate to get us to do the right thing.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Growing backlash to new federal vaccine requirements setting up a legal showdown.

IVEY: The Biden mandates will be judged and gorged.

JONES (voice-over): Under the new rule announced yesterday by the Biden administration, workers had private businesses with 100 or more employees must be vaccinated by January 4th, or produce a negative COVID test weekly and wear a mask. The roll is expected to impact some 84 million employees, with employers facing fines of up to $14,000 per violation, even higher for willful violations. GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): This is a rule that is not consistent with the Constitution and is not legally authorized through congressional statutes.

JONES (voice-over): Now, more than two dozen states are challenging the new rules in court.

DESANTIS: I just think people are so sick of constantly being bossed around restricted, mandated all these different things. We've had enough of it. And we want people to be able to make their own decisions.

JONES (voice-over): Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis has railed against COVID-related mandates for months, joining a suit with Georgia and with Alabama, whose governor signed legislation today that allows state residents to claim a medical or religious exemption from a COVID vaccine requirement.

Some prominent U.S. trade groups also taking issue with the rule. The National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, calling it burdensome for retailers during the crucial holiday shopping season. The Associated Builders and Contractors, a construction industry trade group, warning the rule is likely to exacerbate existing issues, including increasing costs, supply chain bottlenecks and a worker shortage.

Still, the White House says vaccine requirements are working, helping bring the number of those unvaccinated who are eligible in the U.S. down to about 60 million, slowing COVID spread and giving the economy a boost.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Vaccinated workers are going back to work. Vaccinated shoppers are going back to stores.

JONES (voice-over): And they believe they're on firm legal footing.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRINCIPAL DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: We're pretty confident the administration clearly has the authority to protect workers and actions announced by the President are designed to save lives and stop spread of COVID.


JONES: Now, when it comes to enforcing this rule for large private businesses, an official telling seen in the agency making sure businesses comply, "We'll have planned inspections of some workplaces and will also rely on complaints from workers to enforce the rule." Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Athena Jones, thank you so much.

Coming up next to CNN exclusive, why was there so much confusion among Capitol Police on January 6th. What CNN is learning happened to the intelligence unit just before the interactions. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our sports lead today, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers now admitting he has not been vaccinated against coronavirus after contracting the virus earlier this week. But instead of admitting that he had misled the public to believe he had been vaccinated, Rodgers is now blaming the, quote, "woke mob" for how he's being treated, perhaps creating a new definition for the term cheesehead.


AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY PACKERS QUARTERBACK: I realize I'm in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now. So before my final nail gets put in my canceled culture casket, I think I'd like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself right now. I'm not, you know, some sort of anti-vaxx flat- earther. I am somebody who's a critical thinker. If you guys know me, I march to the beat of my own drum.


TAPPER: And of course, of course, Rodgers invoked Martin Luther King Jr., saying, the great MLK said that you have a moral obligation to object to unjust rules and rules that make no sense.

Here to discuss this all, CNN Sports Analyst Christine Brennan, Christine, what do you make of Rodgers reaction to all this? I mean, he was the one who led everyone to believe he had been vaccinated. And now he says he's being targeted by a woke mob which I'm not sure he even knows what woke means if that's what he's talking about.\


CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Exactly, Jake. I mean, this is a huge unforced error by a man who has transcended football and wants to have a career, a long lifetime, in whether it's hosting Jeopardy or in other parts of our culture. What a shock. What a surprise that this is the guy we thought was so smart and well-read and turns out that he doesn't even have the courage or the guts to say that he wasn't vaccinated, probably because he was fearful of that woke mob.

And even now given a chance to explain away his errors, he did not do it. Consider that he did not wear a mask day after day, when you would meet with the media at the Packers facility or after games like he was supposed to because he was unvaccinated, but he was trying to have the charade that he was vaccinated apparently.

Think of all the people that were potentially exposed to whatever he might have had, maybe go home to a husband or wife. And that's, you know, they might have immune issues. So, my goodness, what a horrible mistake by him. I think we're seeing a very different side of Aaron Rodgers. I think we're seeing a side of Aaron Rodgers that people are really, really disgusted by.

TAPPER: He's talking about facing cancellation. He's not facing cancellation -- and we talk to Colin Kaepernick about facing cancellation -- but is there any kind of discipline that he might face for being so misleading?

BRENNAN: Yes, he could be fined by the National Football League, but it's a little slap on the wrist. He could also be suspended. The odds are that it will be more of the Packers that are looked at and get some kind of a fine. My guess is it'll be a fine, Jake, because the bottom line is the NFL wants Aaron Rodgers back on the field.

The question I think moving forward is what does the rest of America think? And, you know, again, as I said, he was on Jeopardy. That's a double and triple vaxxed audience there. And so what he has done, I think, is irreparable damage to the kinds of things he was hoping to be, that crossover star much different than your average old football player.

But yes, he could face some punishment. I think the punishment will be much greater over his lifetime, potentially, in endorsements. We'll see how it plays out. But I'm sure that a lot of people who are vaccinated and concerned about these issues are looking at him and saying, what in the world are you doing, pal? We thought you were smarter than this.

TAPPER: And look, when you're a public figure, there's a certain obligation you have to the public in terms of, you know, sharing information that's accurate, not just about yourself, but in general, he spread information in that very interview. He claimed he would have better protection against COVID than from a vaccine. The CDC says that's not true. He's saying because he had COVID that the antibodies it. I mean, that has the potential to have a massive impact on his fans. I mean, I might not be a fan of the Green Bay Packers, but there are millions of them.

BRENNAN: Well, there are. I think of the Packers fan who today has been on the fence, maybe trying to be convinced by his or her, you know, grandchildren to get the vaccine. And now they listen to their hero Aaron Rodgers and they decide not to, as we head into this season of cold weather and being indoors.

I mean, it is a devastating prospect. The ramifications of what this guy is doing and what he's saying sounds like a crackpot. I mean, not listening to science, says he's smart, says he gets it and then saying these things. He has a responsibility as a role model to the millions of Packer fans out there and everyone else who looks up to him who might be taking their lead from him, Jake.

And now he's saying these things. It's really, again, a surprise, a disappointment, a stunning twist in the life of a guy we thought we knew at 37 who's lived this kind of interesting, intriguing life that we kind of are interested. Where's he going to go next? We never saw this one coming.

TAPPER: Yes, it's a real disappointment. Christine Brennan, thanks so much.

Peloton screeching to a halt as Americans get back to the world and leave their spin bikes behind, that's ahead.



TAPPER: In our national lead, the arraignment former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has been postponed. A criminal complaint was filed against Cuomo in October alleging that he forcibly touched a woman. Cuomo, as you may recall, resigned in August after multiple women had accused him of sexual harassment or worse.

CNN's MJ Lee joins me now live. So MJ, is this good news for the former governor? What's going on?

MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jake, there are just so many questions right now. So here's what we know tonight. Andrew Cuomo's arraignment on the count of forcible touching, as you said, has now effectively been postponed.

The Albany D.A. saying that the filings that were made by the Albany sheriff's office were potentially defective. This comes in a new letter that he has released in which he says that the Albany sheriff's filing was unilaterally and inexplicably filed. And that one big problem is that it did not include a sworn statement from the victim.

Now the arraignment has now been moved to January 7th of 2022. And whether to proceed with criminal charges, that is going to be now a question entirely for the D.A. to make. And now, essentially, what has happened is that he has more time to complete his own investigation into the matter before ultimately deciding whether to move forward with these charges.

They certainly just raises a lot of questions again, as to why the sheriff's office decided to move forward with the charges in the first place without consulting with the D.A.'s office. Just remember, Jake, last week when this news came out, it was very unusual. We noted that at the time, that there seemed to be no coordination of remember the D.A.'s office said they were surprised to see the charges certainly indicating that they didn't know they were coming. And so now this new letter from the D.A.'s office raises even more questions about what is going to happen with this case, Jake.


TAPPER: All right, MJ Lee, thank you so much for that update.

Let's bring in former Federal Prosecutor Ellie Honig. Elie, what does this tell you about the District Attorney's strategy, if anything?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Two things, Jake. First of all, the D.A. is trying to buy more time. We did have that looming court date of November 17th, on which the former governor would have been arraigned, handcuff, mugshot, et cetera. The D.A. has now asked for an extension. So the D.A. has more time because remember, ultimately, the call about whether to proceed with these charges, it's not up to the sheriff, it's up to the D.A. The second thing that I think we're seeing is the D.A. is planting a seed of doubt here. The D.A.'s letter says that these charges as filed by the sheriff are potentially defective. That's a very strong thing for a prosecutor to say. And it tells us that the D.A. could well have a problem with these charges and may not want to proceed with them.

TAPPER: What does it say about the sheriff's role in all this?

HONIG: Well, it's sort of the D.A. calling out the sheriff because remember, the sheriff went without the D.A., went to a judge, got these charges issued. That's an unusual move to make and a high profile case like this, where there is no time pressure. So ultimately, the sheriff is not the one who gets to decide here, the D.A. does.

And I think we're seeing the start of a signs of some sort of rift between the sheriff and the D.A. They may see this case differently.

TAPPER: All right, Elie Honig with the latest on the Andrew Cuomo matter. We'll be right back after this.



TAPPER: January 6 was the most visible and the most violent part of Trump's attempt to undermine the election last year and hold on to power despite the fact that he'd lost, but it was far from the only part of his campaign to do so.

Tonight in a CNN special report, trumping democracy and American coup, my team and I attempt to examine how close Trump and his team came to actually ending American democracy. I talked to state and local election officials, folks from the Trump White House, Republican lawmakers from all over the United States, who watched in horror as leaders from their own party led by Trump, kept pushing the big lie and pressuring states to disenfranchise American voters, including just hours after Congress came under physical attack, as MAGA terrorists took the Capitol.


TAPPER (voice-over): Hours after the last rioters have been pushed out of the Capitol, while there was still glass on the floors and blood on the stairs, Congress tried to get back to the business of democracy.

BIDEN: Let's get back to work.

TAPPER (voice-over): They had a presidential election to certify.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we reconvene that night, there was an opportunity for leadership from Kevin McCarthy. An opportunity for him to stand up and say it's time for us to recognize that the election is over. It's over, and we need to come together and heal.

KEVIN MCCARTHY, MINORITY LEADER, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I rise to address what happened in this chamber today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As I sat on the floor and listened to his remarks, they began like that, but then it became clear he was urging continued objection to the electoral votes, which I can't understand.

MCCARTHY: -- hearing valid concerns about election integrity.

TAPPER (voice-over): By the end of the night, two-thirds of Republicans in the House of Representatives, including the current Republican leadership, voted not to certify the state of Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I object to the electoral votes.

TAPPER (voice-over): And not to certify that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

(on-camera): Do you think Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise and Elise Stefanik all of them voted to not count electors after blood had been shed after this attack? Do you think they actually believe this cause they've taken up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not a word of it. I don't think they believe any of it. But I think you can convince yourself if you're determined to, that I'll just play the game a little longer so that I'll be here to lead to a new direction. Or I'll play the game because I don't have the power and influence to change the ship.

You know, when you think about the heroics on Flight 93 on 9/11, you know, all those passengers standing up rushing the cockpit and saving the Capitol, had Todd Beamer or any of those others alone, charge the cockpit. We would have probably a rebuilt Capitol today and a lot of casualties. But they all decided to do it together.

And when you only have a few people speaking out, it's no doubt that that's not going to turn the ship. Everybody has to particularly, the leaders of the party.


TAPPER: You can join me for much, much more in the CNN Special Report, "Trumping Democracy, An American Coup," tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

Finally from us today, please check out the Homes for Our Troops' Fifth Annual Veterans Day Celebrity Auction. We have a lot of great items up for auction on eBay, including friend's shirts from Jennifer Aniston's personal collection that she autographed. The Jon Bon Jovi autographed Fender guitar. You can buy at zoom call with Paul Rudd and also me.

Gwyneth Paltrow will name an item of her new clothing line after the winning bidder. Plenty of other incredible offers from Don Cheadle and Mindy Kaling and George Clooney, Will Ferrell, so many more. All proceeds go to build specially designed homes for the most severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. You can find all the items at, Homes for Our Troops, H-F-O-T. Bidding closes November 14th.

Be sure to tune in to State of the Union Sunday. Among the guests, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Mayor-Elect, Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. That's at 9:00 and noon Eastern.

Our coverage continues with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you next week.