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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Kyle Rittenhouse Testifies In His Own Defense In Homicide Trial; Biden Touting Economic Plans Amid Inflation Concerns; Biden Touting Economic Plans Amid Inflation Concerns; January Sixth Committee Interested In Information From At Least Five Members Of Pence's Inner Circle. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 10, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDGE: If you didn't object, then I didn't address it. Now I'm not going to police this case so everybody -- any time somebody wants to put some evidence in, I'm going to say, well, wait a minute, what about that, what about that?
I have to have an objection. I get an objection and I rule on it. There's been no objection during this trial when either side has exported an image or anything like that. If either brought in an objection, I would have ruled on it.
But to say now, well, this has already been done during the trial. I've got an objection in front of me now. He's suggesting that the amplifying the image is altering what is portrayed. The image which is portrayed, and you are giving me as a defense, it's no different from using a magnifying glass. I don't believe that.
The image is the same and all it is doing is improving my poor old vision. Here you've got someone -- correct me if I'm wrong. I do believe the expert testified that he had inserted or either him or the device, inserted additional pixels into the image.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Different program, your honor.
JUDGE: I don't know -- I don't care what kind of a program it is. The question is, is the image in its virginal state?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I care about what program it is, Your Honor, because these are -- these are technical issues. Mr. Richards has just made representations with no basis whatsoever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you slow down?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
Mr. Richards has just made technical representations with no basis in this record whatsoever. He is questioning a common part of life that we use -- everyone uses every single day. The expert who testified was talking about a different software program and it does make a difference.
JUDGE: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then, Your Honor --
JUDGE: I said before, I'm not going to talk about it further. You're the proponent, and you need to assure me before I let the jury speculate on it that it is a reliable method that does not distort what is depicted.
So we're going to take a break.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, if I understood you correctly, we can play it now and then we'll tie it up later?
JUDGE: I don't think that's what I said.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what I thought you said, so that's what I'm asking.
JUDGE: Yeah, I don't know. Maybe -- I did, if I said that, shame on me. I said -- I said that we're going to take a break right now. And I said before I'm going to allow this to be amplified in the way that you want, it is going to have to be shown -- demonstrated to me that it's a reliable way to do it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then we would request an adjournment to do that now.
JUDGE: We're not going to adjourn the case now to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, before I am done with my cross-examination of this witness, I would like to use this video and I will need some time to make arrangements for what you're asking. So I would ask that before I am -- I would like time to do that before I'm done cross- examining this witness because this is an important exhibit that I intend to use.
JUDGE: Maybe you can get somebody to testify on this within minutes. I don't know. We'll take a break.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Operating system are they using on the iPad? We can ask that question, you know?
JUDGE: That was on the top of my head.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
JUDGE: OK. Let's aim for 3:20 on that clock which is -- let's aim for 3:20.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We've been watching discussions in the courtroom during the cross- examination of Kyle Rittenhouse who has surprisingly taken to testifying in his own defense in that Kenosha, Wisconsin, courtroom today. Rittenhouse killed two people and injured another during protests in
Kenosha last August. Rittenhouse says he did it in self-defense because he believed he was being attacked with lethal force at the time.
Let's get straight to Sara Sidner outside the courtroom in Kenosha.
And, Sara, Rittenhouse's testimony has lasted several hours. It's had a few key moments.
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Very key moments. What we heard is unusual, as you pointed out. It's unusual for a defendant to take the stand in any trial, certainly any criminal trial.
In this case, we heard Kyle Rittenhouse's version of events from the time that he came into town to remove graffiti from a high school to the moments in which he ended up shooting three people. He details that very, very explicitly. And then the cross-examination, the prosecutor tries to catch him in inconsistencies.
JUDGE: Is your mind clear today?
KYLE RITTENHOUSE, DEFENDANT: Yes, Your Honor.
SIDNER (voice-over): Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense for the killing of two men and wounding of another last summer during the unrest that exploded in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the night of the 24th, were you aware of anything going on in Kenosha?
RITTENHOUSE: I knew there was protests, demonstrations and riots going on in the later evening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. And how were you aware of that?
RITTENHOUSE: I saw videos on social media.
SIDNER: The next day, his friend suggested they go to help protect businesses, and they did, he testified. He said, they went to the Car Source car dealership and the owners accepted their help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did they give you permission to be there?
RITTENHOUSE: They did.
SIDNER: Later that night, Rittenhouse left the dealership and was asked to put out a fire elsewhere. That led to his first deadly shooting. When it came talk about it, though, Rittenhouse broke down in sobs saying he was cornered. RITTENHOUSE: As I'm walking down the road, I hear somebody scream,
burn in hell, and I replied with friendly, friendly, friendly to let them know, hey, I'm just here to help.
SIDNER: He said he noticed a dumpster fire, went towards it and was approached by two men.
RITTENHOUSE: As I was stepping forward, I believe his name is Joshua Ziminski. He steps toward me with a pistol in his hand and as I'm walking towards to put out the fire, I drop the fire extinguisher and take a step back. I look over my shoulder, and Mr. Rosenbaum was now running from my right side. I was cornered from in front of me with Mr. Ziminski and there were -- there were people right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take a deep breath, Kyle.
SIDNER: His sobbing prompted the judge to call for a break. Rittenhouse returned, completely composed.
RITTENHOUSE: Mr. Ziminski instructed Mr. Rosenbaum to get him and kill him. I turn around for about a second while continuing to run, and I point my gun at Mr. Rosenbaum.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that stop him from chasing you?
RITTENHOUSE: It does not. He's gaining speed on me. A gunshot is fired from behind me, directly behind me. And I take a few steps, and that's when I turn around and as I'm turning around, Mr. Rosenbaum is, I would say, from me to where the judge is, coming at me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't you just keep running?
RITTENHOUSE: When I was over there, there were about a hundred people surrounding that -- those cars. And there was no space for me to continue to run to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so you turned around?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And as you see him lunging at you, what do you do?
RITTENHOUSE: I shoot him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many times did you shoot him?
RITTENHOUSE: I believe four.
SIDNER: Rittenhouse says he began to run.
RITTENHOUSE: People were screaming, get his ass, get his ass, get him, get him, get him.
SIDNER: Rittenhouse then describes how and why he shot the other two men saying he was defending his own life. RITTENHOUSE: What I remember is running past Anthony Huber and as I'm
running past Mr. Huber, he's holding a skateboard like a baseball bat and he swings it down, and I block it with my arm trying to prevent it from hitting me, but it still hits me in the neck. As I block it, it goes flying somewhere off in the distance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you stop then?
RITTENHOUSE: No. I get lightheaded. I almost pass out, and I stumble and hit the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Okay. Before you hit the ground, how many times were you struck?
RITTENHOUSE: I believe twice. I'm on my back, and Mr. Huber runs up. He -- as I'm getting up, he strikes me in the neck with a skateboard a second time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What happened?
RITTENHOUSE: He grabs my gun, and I can feel it pulling away from me and I can feel the strap starting to come off my body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what do you do then?
RITTENHOUSE: I fired one shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After you fired, striking we now know Mr. Huber, what do you do?
RITTENHOUSE: I lower my weapon and I see Mr. Grosskreutz. He lunges at me with his pistol pointed directly at my head.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you rerack your weapon?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did not.
SIDNER: That contradicted Gaige Grosskreutz's testimony where he said Rittenhouse tried to reload. Rittenhouse said he only fired at him when his life was in danger.
Prosecutors then cross-examined Rittenhouse, questioning him about why he possessed a gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you're telling us that the reason you wanted Dominick to buy you an AR-15 as opposed to a pistol is the only reason was because you felt you couldn't lawfully possess a pistol?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You didn't pick out the AR-15 for any other reason?
RITTENHOUSE: I thought it looked cool.
SIDNER: The prosecution also tried to bring in evidence that Rittenhouse said he wished he had a gun to shoot shoplifters in the days before he arrived in Kenosha.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you agree me that you're not allowed to use deadly force to protect property, correct?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But yet you have previously indicated that you wished you had your ar-15 to protect someone's property.
SIDNER: The judge suddenly sent the jury out and barked at the prosecutor admonishing him for his line of questioning, which the judge said went against a pretrial motion about what evidence can come in.
JUDGE: Why would you think that that made it okay for you without any advance notice to bring this matter before the jury?
SIDNER: So you hear the judge there really going after the prosecution in this case. And you also hear him admonish the prosecution very loudly and very pointedly for bringing up the fact that Rittenhouse was silent for a while before he took the stand. The judge saying it's his constitutional right not to speak about the case. There were a lot of fireworks in this courtroom, Jake. Ones we had not seen before the judge and the prosecutor got into it in court.
TAPPER: All right. Sara Sidner in Kenosha, thanks.
Let's talk about this with former prosecutor Charles Coleman Jr. and Defense Attorney Mark Eiglarsh.
Mark, I'll start with you.
What did you make of the cross-examination so far. Would you as a defense attorney have done anything differently?
MARK EIGHLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I don't know that I would have put him on. I would have been fearful that you let a teenager loose on the stand, you never know what's going to float from his lips like, yeah, I thought getting an AR-15 would be cool. Yeah, I would be cringing at that remark.
That said, so far it's paying off for the defense. He has had the right effect, breaking down emotionally. I mean, you can't script that any better. Trials are theater for the jurors so they're connecting with him and also he has to explain that he reasonably feared death or great bodily harm and answer all the questions they might have. I think he's doing a very effective job.
TAPPER: Charles, the court reporter noted that jurors were attentive earlier in the day but as the cross-examination went on, the jurors were taking fewer notes, rubbing their eyes. Do you think there's a risk the prosecutor dragged on the cross-examination too long?
CHARLES COLEMAN, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, Jake, I do think that at this point in the trial, especially with regard to this witness and his testimony, the jury is tired. The jury has gotten a sense of what Rittenhouse has to say, as Mark already talked about. When Rittenhouse broke down earlier today, that was one of the key moments in his testimony in terms of setting the stage around his mental frame, his frame of mind, and the jury at this point, because of the way the prosecution has tried to walk them through this very, very long cross-examination around his frame of mind, I think they are just tired, mentally exhausted and, quite frankly, I don't know how effective it's being at this point.
TAPPER: Mark, as a defense attorney, do you think Kyle Rittenhouse was effective at convincing the jury that without question, he was acting in self-defense? He felt he was under attack every time he fired his gun?
EIGLARSH: I'll say this because I can't read jurors' minds. He did the best he could at his level awareness. I don't think he could have done any better. The biggest issue, though is, number one, do they credit his testimony? Secondly, do they believe then that it equals he reasonably feared death or great bodily harm?
And then the biggest issue is, but was he the aggressor? Did he start this? Why did he go there with a gun? That's always a starting point in a case like this. That said, I thought he was very effective, Jake.
TAPPER: Charles, while being questioned by his attorney, Rittenhouse appeared to break down crying as we've discussed, leading the judge to take a recess. The pool reporter inside the courtroom noted that jurors appeared sympathetic when he broke down. How do you think that emotion would affect the jury?
COLEMAN: Well, I think one of the things that Kyle Rittenhouse has working in his favor is that he's a 17 -- at the time, he was a 17- year-old young man, and I think that one of the things that immediately comes to the jury's mind when they see him break down in that way is the reminder that he was a teenager.
I agree with Mark's point that it was a risk putting him on the stand because I, as a defense attorney, would not have wanted my client to say I wanted an AR-15 because I thought it was cool. But I think when you look at how the jury responded in just sort of what they connected to in terms of Rittenhouse and the emotional testimony when he broke down, it may be that the risk is worth the reward.
TAPPER: All right. Thank you so much for your insights. Both of you gentleman, I appreciate it.
Any moment, President Biden is set to speak in Baltimore about the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill and perhaps more.
CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is traveling with President Biden in Baltimore.
And, Kaitlan, we just learned that President Biden is set to sign this legislation on Monday and he's going to hit the road ahead of that to try to explain to the public what exactly is in the bill.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, this is the bill he is selling here today in the port of Baltimore as a way of saying this infrastructure plan could help ease that supply chain gridlock. Of course, that's been a concern for the White House and one they've been dealing with for months.
And so, you see President Biden is coming out on stage just now. And they just announced that he's going to be signing this bill on Monday, Jake. Of course, that's going to be a ceremony at the White House that we're told will be bipartisan. They're going to invite Republicans and Democrats who helped to get this bill passed. You saw last week when that vote was happening, 13 Republicans did vote to pull it over the line.
And so, of course, Jake, the question the White House is facing now are these new numbers that came out today when it comes to inflation. And, of course, those are not the numbers the White House wanted to see because they've been hoping the numbers would stabilize. Prices would stabilize. And, instead, you're seeing that, of course, over the last year, inflation has jumped over 6 percent. In the last month alone, almost an entire percentage.
And so, that question that's facing the White House is how they deal with messaging that. And the president says it's a top priority of his to deal with. He put out a statement today saying he recognizes the heartbreak in Americans' pocketbooks because what you're seeing is the household daily items are going up in prices when it comes to eggs, bacon, even chicken. All of those prices are jumping.
And so, what the White House has been saying for the last several months is they believed these higher prices were only temporary and it wasn't going to last for very long. Of course we had seen some other voices, automotive voices out there saying they did not believe that was the case. They thought prices would go up as people were trying to get out of this pandemic.
Now that's something they are reckoning with. One big question the White House is considering today after seeing these new numbers is whether or not this complicates the president's agenda on Capitol Hill, because yes, he's here today to tout that bipartisan infrastructure bill they got passed late on Friday night. He's going to be signing on Monday. But, Jake, as you know, he has a much bigger bill that he also wants to get passed --
TAPPER: Here's President Biden.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have an expression -- we used to have an expression when I served in the Senate -- Senator Van Hollen -- they said -- when they wanted to make some statement that was personal, they'd say, "A point of personal privilege."
You know, when you were talking about being a waterman, working on the water -- my family is originally from Baltimore, came in the early 1800s. And the entire Biden family worked in the water -- were watermen until probably 1906, -7, or -8. And my father was raised here in Baltimore. They don't say
"Baltimore." They say "Bawltamer." And so, you know, although they never worked at the port, they did work in the bay and along here.
So, you know, this has been -- this is one the oldest ports in the country continuously running and one of the best ports in the country.
And so, Tony, thanks for that introduction. And, Mayor Scott, thanks for the passport into the city. I appreciate it very much.
And I want to thank Governor Hogan for being here and members of the delegation. I want start off with one of my best buddies and, I think, one of the most effective people in the United States Senate, Chris Van Hollen. Don't -- if you need something, go to him, man. He knows how to get it done.
And to also Dutch Ruppersberger. And a guy who -- I knew him when he was a kid. He doesn't remember me. I'm getting so old; I knew his dad, Senator Sarbanes. And Congressman Sarbanes, Congressman Brown, and all -- all of this delegation. You got a first-rate delegation.
And so, I want to thank them for being here today and thank them for all the help in getting the members of the House and getting the legislation passed. It's a big deal. It's going to make a big difference.
The reason I started calling this "Build Back Better" is:
We're the only country in the world -- we underestimate ourselves; we're sort of down on ourselves the last 10 years or so -- we're the only country in the world, as a matter of history, that every crisis we've faced we've come out better on the other side. We not only beat it -- not a joke, think about it -- we've come out better than we were before we went into the crisis.
And the economic and political, as well as the health crisis we found with COVID -- I was determined, when we got elected, we got to build it back better than it was. Because the world is changing so rapidly -- so rapidly, man. We got to keep up. We're in competition to determine whether or not we can still remain the most powerful economic force in the world.
And so, today, I'm here to talk about one of the most pressing economic concerns of the American people -- and it's real. And that is: getting prices down, number one; number two, making sure our stores are fully stocked; and number three, getting a lot of people back to work while tracking and tackling these two above challenges I mentioned.
Today's economic reports showing unemployment continuing to fall, but consumer prices remain too high. Tell us -- the Ameri -- the American people, in the midst of an economic crisis, that recovery is showing strong results, but not to them. They're still looking out there. Everything from a gallon of gas to loaf of bread costs more. And it's worrisome, even though wages are going up.
We still face challenges, and we have to tackle them. We have to tackle them head on. And on the good side, we're seeing the highest growth rate in decades,
the fastest decrease in unemployment at this point ever since 1950. Jobs are up. Wages are up. Value is up. And savings are up. But we're -- we got problems too.
Many people remain unsettled about the economy, and we all know why. They see higher prices. They go to the store online, or they can't -- or they go to the store -- go online and they can't find what they always want and when they want it. And we're tracking these issues and trying to figure out how to tackle them head on.
My administration, with the help of the folks on my left over here, is -- has a plan to finish the job at getting us back to normal from the pandemic and having a stronger economy than we've ever had before.
Let me explain the part that the ports play and why they're so critically important. It starts with a piece of good news: Infrastructure week has finally arrived.
How many times did you hear over the last five years "Infrastructure week is coming"?
Anyway, but, last week, we took a monumental step forward as a nation and we did something long overdue and long talked about in Washington but almost never actually done: The House of Representatives passed my Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. Along with another plan that I'm advancing, this bill is going to reduce the cost of goods to consumers and businesses, and get people back to work, helping us build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out that -- where everybody is better off.
You know, I'm tired of this trickle-down economy stuff. I come from Delaware -- just across the line up here -- and, you know, we have more corporations in Delaware than every other nation in the state combined. And so, I understand big business.
The fact of the matter is, it's time they start paying their fair share. The fact is, you have 55 corporations last year that, in fact, made $40 billion -- didn't pay a single penny in taxes.
Nobody is going to -- nobody is going to pay more -- if you make less than 400 grand, you're not going to pay anything more in taxes at all. Period. Guaranteed. Including gasoline tax. Not going to -- additional, from a federal government standpoint.
And so, look, this is a once-in-a-generation investment to create good-paying jobs, modernize our infrastructure, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity. When I talk climate to other world leaders, I think one thing: We're
dealing with climate -- think "jobs." Good jobs. Because that's how you beat the climate crisis.
Put us on a path to win the economic competition of the 21st century we face with China and the rest of the world. China is outspending us on research and development. And China is
outspending all these -- these other countries are as well.
And here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to create good-paying union jobs -- union. Not good jo- -- not 12 dollars an hour, not 15 dollars an hour -- 45 bucks an hour and up with good benefits so you can raise a family on and build the middle class out. And jobs that cannot be outsourced; they can't outsource these jobs.
And I'm going to transform our transportation system with the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years; in roads and bridges -- the most significant investment in 70 years; and investments in public transit that we've done over the period. You know, it's going to -- it's going to modernize our ports with $17 billion in investment -- $17 billion in investment.
We're going to reduce congestion. We're going to address repair and maintenance backlogs, deploy state-of-the-art technologies, and make our ports cleaner and more efficient. And we're going to do the same with our airports and freight rail.
We're going to create jobs replacing lead water pipes that are here in Maryland, as well as every other state in the union, that are poisoning our kids and others.
We're going to make high-speed Internet affordable and available to everywhere in America. Those of you who have kids in school when we we've been going to this hybrid thing -- some in class, some out of class -- how many times if you haven't -- if you don't live in an area where you have high-speed Internet you can afford, how many times have you driven your kids to the parking lot of McDonald's and sat there going off the McDonald's Internet so you could hear? No, I'm not joking. Think of this -- the United States of America, for God's sake.
So, folks, we're going to build the first-ever national network of electric vehicle charging stations all across the country. IBEW is going to put in 500,000 charging stations across the country.
And guess what? That's in the Recovery Act -- excuse me -- that's in the Build Back Better Bill, which is not going to raise taxes one single cent. It's totally paid for. Totally paid for by making taxes work for people who make over 400 grand and just do their fair share.
I'm a capitalist, man. You should be able to be a millionaire or billionaire if you can. But pay your fair share. Pay something along the line. I'm going to get America off the sidelines on manufacturing - the
manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries to store energy and power the electric vehicles from school buses to automobiles.
We're also going to make historic investments in environmental cleanup and remediation, rebuilding resilience against superstorms and droughts and wildfires and hurricanes. I traveled all over the country this year. You know, there's nine --
literally, $99 billion in losses because of storms this year. Ninety- nine billion dollars.
You ever think you'd hear somebody stand up and say, "The Colorado River is being drained"? Did you ever think you'd see -- you'd go out -- more wildfires in the West than the entire -- and lost -- land lost, homes lost -- burned to the ground -- I've flown over in Marine One -- than the entire state of New Jersey, from the Cape all the way to New York. That's how much we've lost in America so far -- so far.
And according to the economic experts, this bill is going to ease inflationary pressures, lowering the cost to working families. Seventeen -- excuse me -- yeah, 17 Nobel laureates in economics wrote a letter to me about 10 days ago saying this is going to affect -- bring inflation down, not up.
Best of all, the vast majority of these jobs are going to create -- that we're going to create don't require a college degree -- don't require it. This is the ultimate blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America.
I'm not waiting to sign a bill to start improving the flow of goods from ships to shelves. Yesterday, I announced a port of -- a port plan of action. It lays out concrete steps for my administration to take over the next three months to invest in our ports and to relieve bottlenecks.
This builds on the progress we've already made. Last month, I reached a deal with two of the largest ports in America -- the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach. And I met with you guys, with the longshoremen there, and we worked out a deal between the port owners and the longshoremen to move toward operating those two ports.
Forty percent of everything in the Pacific comes through those two ports. And they're lined up -- ships are lined up 70-some lined up out as far as you could see. So they all agreed they're going to go 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It's already paying off. Last week, the number of container ships in the docks for more than nine days fell by over 20 percent. And now we're announcing steps to improve ports on the East Coast to provide support for the Port of Savannah, the fourth-largest container port in the country, to help reduce congestion.
With our help, they now have the funds they need to set up five new inland port sites in Georgia and North Carolina so goods can get closer to their final destination more quickly. And other ports across the country will have the resources they need
to make these kinds of immediate investments as well.
The challenge we need to meet here, and that my plan is going to help address, has to do with the supply chain.
You hear a lot about the supply chains in the news, but, frankly, not a lot of people are clear -- or have a clear understanding, whether they have a PhD or they didn't go to school, about how a supply chain works.
It's easy to talk about it, but what's the impact on the economy, let alone how to fix it?
It's perfectly understandable because supply chains are incredibly complex.
And as long as goods and materials are getting where they need to go on time, there's usually no need to worry about the supply chains. But when global disruptions hit, like a pandemic, they can hit supply chains particularly hard.
COVID-19 has stretched global supply chains like never before.
And suddenly, when you go to order a pair of sneakers or a bicycle or Christmas presents for the family, you're met with higher prices and long delays, or they say they just don't have any at all.
And the reason for that, last year, was -- has a lot to do with most companies make their product -- how they make their products today.
In simple terms, a supply chain is just the journey that a product takes to get to your doorstep: raw materials plus labor, assembly, shipping -- everything it takes to create the finished product. These supply chains are complex.
Even products as simple as a pencil can -- have to use wood from Brazil, graphite from India before it comes together at a factory in the United States to get a pencil. It sounds silly, but that's literally how it happens.
So if, all of a sudden, you got a COVID crisis in Brazil, you can't get the product maybe because the plant shuts down. That's what's happening.
Products like smartphones often bring together parts from France, Italy; chips from the Netherlands; touchscreens from New York State; camera components from Japan -- a supply chain that crosses dozens of countries.
That's just the nature of a modern economy -- the world economy.
But global supply chains have helped dramatically bring down the price we pay for things we buy. But they've also made us much more reliant on what happens in other parts of the world. So if a factory in Malaysia shuts down due to a COVID outbreak -- which they have -- it causes a ripple effect that can slow down auto manufacturing in Detroit. Why? They can't get the computer chips they need.
If a climate disaster closes a port in China, it can delay shipment of furniture or clothing, reduce worldwide supply, and driving up prices here in America.
And the irony is: People have more money now because of the first major piece of legislation I passed. You all got checks for $1,400. You got checks for a whole range of things.
If you're a mom and you have kids under the age of 7, you're getting 300 bucks a month, and if it's over -- over 7 to 17, you're getting $360 a month -- like wealthy people used to when they'd get back tax returns. It changes people's lives.
But what happens if there's nothing to buy and you got more money? You compete for getting it there. It creates a real problem.
So, on the one hand, we're facing new disruptions to our supplies. But at the same time, we're also experiencing higher demand for goods because wages are up, as well as -- as well as people have money in the bank. And because of the strength of our economic recovery, American families have been able to buy more products.
And -- but guess what? They're not going out to dinner and lunch and going to the local bars because of COVID. So what are they doing? They're staying home, they're ordering online, and they're buying product.
Well, with more people with money buying product and less product to buy, what happens? The supply chain is the reason, and the answer is you guys -- and I'll get to that in a minute -- but what happens? Prices go up.
So, we got nearly 20 percent more goods coming into the country than we did before the pandemic struck.
In 19 day -- excuse me -- COVID-19 has changed the way we spend our time and our money. More products are being delivered than ever before.
That's because people have a little more breathing room than they did last year, and that's a good thing.
But it also means we got a higher demand for goods at the same time we're facing disruptions in the supplies to make those goods. There's a -- this is a recipe for delays and for higher prices, and people are feeling it. They're feeling it. Did you ever think you'd be paying this much for a gallon of gas? In some parts of California, they're paying $4.50 a gallon.
That's why it's so important that we do everything in our power to stabilize the supply chain.
And here's the good news: Yesterday, I spoke with the CEOs -- personally spoke with the CEOs of the major retailers -- Walmart, Target -- and the leading freight movers -- FedEx and UPS. They assured me that the shelves will be stocked in stores this holiday because they signed on to 24/7 as well. They signed on to 24/7.
And they provide more avenues -- they're getting more of their containers off the ports quicker than ever before.
Because a lot of stuff on the ports, it was sitting around, staying there. Why? Because it no longer is the product they need at this moment. And it doesn't cost them anything to leave them sitting at the port, rather than in their warehouses. That's moving as well.
Part of the reason why is because my Port Envoy, John Porcari -- who was the Secretary of Transportation here for two governors -- John has worked with the operators, the shippers -- shipping companies and unions and retailers to speed commerce so they can get products to stores and to your doors, and to get the shelves fully stocked this holiday season.
Instead of pointing fingers, we're seeing folks start to work together: railroads, ocean liners, labor, state and local governments.
The progress has already begun. And now we passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill -- the deal -- it's only going to accelerate.
You've heard me say it before: Infrastructure -- infrastructure used to be rated, in the United States, as the best in the world when I got to the Congress.
But today, according to the World Economic Forum, you know where we rank in infrastructure? Thirteenth in the world. Twelve countries in the world have more modern, efficient infrastructure than the United States of America.
By investing in our roads, our bridges, our ports, and so much else, this bill is going to make it easier for companies to get goods to market more quickly.
Here in Baltimore, you've got a port that's older than America itself, and it's been operating for 315 years.
By the way, you got any Marines here -- any former Marines? Raise your hand. Well, if you're here as a Marine, happy birthday. It's your 247th birthday -- the United States Marine Corps. They deserve some applause.
Look, this port is connected to the nation's oldest rail line, the B&O Railroad, which -- which in turn relies on the tunnels that are about 126 years old, those tunnels. OK? The tunnel has become a major bottleneck to the port. Now, the Port of Baltimore will be getting a $125 million grant to upgrade that tunnel so freight trains can come double-stacked through that tunnel -- double-stacked with -- with these cars -- with containers on top of them.
Twice as much. They move out a hell of a lot more quickly if they're going -- if they're imports going out, but if they're exports -- going across the ocean. That means, in addition to more good jobs being filled, more products on shelves delivered faster and lower prices.
It's about taking a long-term view of our economy to deliver lower costs, more jobs, and ensure our shelves are stocked with product. And the longer-term view means building greater resilience to withstand both the shocks and disruptions we can anticipate as the world continues to change: pandemics, weather extremes, cyberattacks, or whatever else comes our way. And they're all going to come our way. You know it. We need to be ready.
We need companies throughout the supply chain to create and support good-paying jobs for people that are -- that they can grow in, build skills in, join a union, make a decent living.
That's when disruption hits -- so when disruption hits, companies can quickly adapt because they're invested in their workers, their skills, their training, and a strong foundation of what -- when I always think unions and my family, I think of dignity and respect. That's what it's about: dignity and respect.
Taking a longer-term view also means making "Buy American" not just a promise, but an ironclad reality. When I got elected, I said we're going to -- I get to "spend", quote/unquote, $600 billion of your money making everything from aircraft carriers to balloons.
But guess what? So much of it has been going out and getting foreign contractors to do it. Well, this administration has been doing - we set new rules to strengthen our domestic supply chains with a new Made in America office within the White House.
Never again should our country be left unable to produce critical goods because we don't have access to the materials we need. Never again should we have to rely on one company or one country, particularly when the country doesn't share our values.
I've said it before: We're in a competition for the 21st century and who's going to own it.
America still has the most productive workers in the world and the most innovative minds in the world. That's not hyperbole, that's a fact. But other countries are closing in. We risk losing our edge if we don't step up now.
This Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill is a major step forward. It represents the biggest investment in ports in American history. And for American families, it means products moving faster and less expensively from factory floor, through the supply chain, to your home.
The bottom line is this: With the bill we passed last week and the steps we're taking to reduce bottlenecks at home and abroad, we're set to make significant progress.
We're already in the midst of a historic economic recovery. And thanks to those steps we're taking, very soon we're going to see the supply chain start catching up with demand. So not only will we see more record-breaking job growth, we'll see lower prices and faster deliveries as well.
This work is going to be critical as we implement the infrastructure bill and as we continue to build the economy from the bottom up and the middle out by passing the Build Back Better plan.
We need to unlock the full might and dynamism of our economy, guys, and of our people. I really mean it. And with this plan, we've set in motion what a -- that's -- what's -- exactly what we're going to do: We're going to build a better America -- not a joke. We're going to lead the world again -- not a joke. We're going to be in a position where we once again own the 21st century, because when we own it, everybody does better. Everybody. Not only America, but around the world.
Sorry to take so long. And the sun is down. You don't have any sweater on. You're going to freeze. I'm going to stop talking.
A man with little -- as little hair as mine just took his hat off. I'd put it back on. You're going to get cold if I don't step down.
But look, all kidding aside, I want to particularly thank the longshoremen. You guys -- there's an old expression up in Claymont, Delaware, where I was from: Y'all brung me to the dance, man.
You've stuck with me from the first time I ran. And you've stepped up every time you've been asked -- every time you've been asked. And I want to personally thank you while I'm standing in front of you.
God bless you all, and God bless all the workers that keep our economy going. And make God protect our troops. Thank you so very much. Thank you.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: There's President Biden milling about with well wishers and local leaders at the port of Baltimore. He was talking mainly focused on the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, which he will sign into law on Monday. Also discussing concerns that so many Americans have about rising prices and a much higher rate of inflation that came out this morning than had been anticipated.
Kaitlan Collins is traveling with President Biden in Baltimore.
Kaitlan, he really has -- it's a difficult dance here because the president is trying to project optimism, good news, but also at the same time, express empathy about some worrying economic signs when it comes to higher prices and inflation.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake. What you just heard from President Biden there was really his first political defense against those numbers that we saw today showing that prices have jumped over 6 percent in the last 12 months alone. Of course, almost a full percent, 0.9 percent from September to October.
Obviously, not the numbers that President Biden was hoping to see this morning as he and his aides have been making the case they believe inflation is going to be short term. They believe these prices would eventually stabilize and clearly, of course, Jake, they're not.
And so, the concerns the president has is not just inflation but he did address it head on in Baltimore. At the port of Baltimore, the reason he is here is because of the supply chain gridlock that we've been talking about at length. And the president saying that that infrastructure bill that's just been passed and that he is going to sign at the White House on Monday, he believes will help with those gridlocks and bottlenecks in the supply chain and then in turn help lower inflation and stabilize prices.
Of course, the question of how long that takes, Jake, remains to be seen because we know officials have been saying you're likely to see inflation for the next several months. We saw that economic forecast from the federal government yesterday saying they don't expect energy prices to significantly drop until next year in 2022. And they are expected to average out. So it's all one big political combination facing President Biden. But the one he tried to do here was tie it back to his economic agenda.
Not just that American rescue plan, that stimulus money that passed when he first took office but also the infrastructure plan that has just passed and soon start going into effect and also, Jake, that bigger economic package that he is trying to get passed on Capitol Hill, one that we are expecting to be a tough fight. And the president himself has acknowledged that. So, of course, he is here today.
Also what we heard from White House officials is he wants American people who are seeing higher prices at the gasoline pump, who are having higher receipts at the grocery store to know he is listening. That was the tone he tried to strike here. Of course, that is something that's affected his poll number as well.
And so, they'd like to see those number goes down. How long it takes remains to be seen.
TAPPER: And let's bring in Mark Zandi, who is the chief economist for Moody's Analytics. As Kaitlan just talked about, one of the big concerns beyond the pain
that so many Americans are feel with the inflationary prices and the pain at the pump is what this means in terms of President Biden's and the Democrats in congress' attempt a have this bill to combat climate change as well the Build Back Better Act, because key Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has expressed concern that more money in the economy at a time of inflation would be harmful to the economy.
And he tweeted today, quote, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not transitory and is instead getting worse. It was, of course, the reassurances of the Biden administration that it is transitory.
What do you make of all of that? Do you agree with Joe Manchin?
MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: No, I don't think the build back better agenda will be inflationary. I think it's designed to lift long-term economic growth by improving productivity. That's public infrastructure, roads, bridges, broadband, that will make us more productive. That should ease inflation. They should get more people into the workforce. Child care, elder care, housing, that should help make it easier for people to get to work. So that should also ease inflationary pressures.
A lot of what's in the Build Back Better agenda is designed to address those bottlenecks. So just as an example, housing, $150 billion in the plan to increase the amount of affordable housing that's available, rental housing. And that's obviously very key because one of the key components of higher inflation is the growth in rent and that's a longer term problem. This is designed to address that.
The other thing I'd say, Jake, is that a lot of what's in the Build Back Better plan is to lower the cost of living for lower and middle income households. So the child care benefits, the educational benefits, elder care, these are things that will reduce the cost of living for those folks that need the help the most. People with lower incomes than middle incomes.
So, no, I don't agree. I don't think this is going to add significantly to inflation. I think it will help long-term economic growth. But not add to inflation.
TAPPER: All right. Mark Zandi and Kaitlan Collins, before him, thanks to both of you.
We're following all the breaking news. Next, a CNN inclusive about the inner circle of former Vice President Mike Pence and the insurrection. Who does the January 6th Committee want to talk to?
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Breaking news in our politics lead, in a CNN exclusive, sources are confirming that the House Select Committee investigating the deadly capital insurrection is looking for information from several members of former Vice President Mike Pence's inner circle.
CNN's Jamie Gangel is here with her exclusive reporting.
Jamie, who exactly does the committee want to speak to?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So there are at least five members of pence's inner circle. We're told that some of the individuals close to pence are either voluntarily reaching out to the committee or they will engage under the guise of a friendly subpoena to give them a little cover.
According to sources familiar with this, of course the committee is interested in speaking to them. But this is the first time we're really hearing that people close to Mike Pence may be willing to engage. It's -- we have not heard that before.
Let me give you three names. Former Chief of Staff Marc Short, former national security adviser Keith Kellogg, former general counsel Greg Jacob. We reached out to all of them and others on the list, people either did not return our call or declined to comment.
One person did comment, and that's the chairman of the committee, Bennie Thompson. We asked if people were being cooperative. He hedged a little bit. He said, well, yes and no. I don't want to just say yes when there have been some people who clearly have said no.
So we've had, you know, people on both sides. But bottom line, Jake, the committee really wants to speak to these people. And we are getting the sense for the first time that inner circle of pence world is engaging with the committee.
TAPPER: You know, let's take a step back. People may not know these individuals. Marc Short, Jacob and Kellogg, but some of them are very close to pence.
GANGEL: So, Marc Short, chief of staff. Critical fact witness. Obviously, he was with the former vice president in the days leading up to January 6th. He was up on Capitol Hill on January 6th with him. You can see him walking there.
He knows exactly what was going on in the days leading up, and on that day. Greg Jacob, a name most people might not recognize, former chief counsel. He is a critical witness I'm told because he is the person who pushed back on Trump's lawyer, John Eastman who created this memo saying that Pence could overturn the results.
Greg Jacob, again, a critical witness. Keith Kellogg was Pence's national security adviser. But that day, he was actually, on January 6th, with Donald Trump all day in the White House. He saw what Donald Trump was doing during the insurrection and what he was saying -- the first Pence inner circle person to be subpoenaed.
TAPPER: And I want to show you something that you brought to our attention on the night of the insurrection. Pence's official Twitter account tweeted out these pictures of then-Vice President Pence meeting with capitol police, very few people even remember that this happened, but this just underscores the big difference between how pence's office responded to the attack and how Trump did.
Remember, Trump for days wouldn't even put the flags at half staff after Officer Sicknick died.
GANGEL: I think these pictures are extraordinary. They are hiding in plain sight. They put them out there.
Look at them closely. He is standing there surrounded by Capitol police officers, completely different from what then-President Trump was doing. I think it also speaks to the political balancing act that former Vice President Pence is now walking.
It's no secret. He may want to run for president in 2024. How does he balance what he did that day and still hold on to the Trump base that he wants, if he's going to run for office?
TAPPER: It's a difficult, if not impossible task because --
TAPPER: I mean, just to put up that tweet again if we could. Pence thanks the Capitol Police, quote, for keeping us safe today, just to -- not to put too fine a point on it. For keeping us safe from the deranged MAGA mob. That's who he is talking about keeping him safe from.
GANGEL: Correct, 100 percent. It is two very different method pictures what Mike Pence did that day and what Donald Trump who apparently was sitting there for 187 minutes, just watching this.
TAPPER: Yeah, popping the popcorn.
Jamie Gangel, thanks so much.
TAPPER: President Biden made the hard sell for infrastructure, but will inflation make it difficult to sell it to voters? The president's chief of staff, Ron Klain, will join us live, next. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, authorities just gave an update on the deadly Astroworld festival. What we're learning about the investigation. That's ahead.
Plus, more than $100 million on hand. The massive fundraising under way as Donald Trump considers running again.
Leading this hour, President Biden minutes ago touting the bipartisan infrastructure bill which he plans to sign into law on Monday. President Biden also selling the rest of his legislative agenda, the social spending bill. In moments, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain will join us live.
But, first, let's right to CNN's Kaitlan Collins who is live in Baltimore with President Biden.
Kaitlan, as much as the president is trying to sell his infrastructure bill, he's also urging Congress to pass his social safety net bill, the Build Back Better Act. How is he threading this needle amid news that Americans are seeing the worst inflation in 30 years?
COLLINS: Well, Jake, a big question facing the White House is whether or not these new inflation numbers that came out today are going to complicate the president's path to getting that larger bill passed. But you've already seen people like key Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia talking about this saying this is a problem, that D.C. needs to focus on for the American people.
And President Biden to his credit came out here the port of Baltimore and one of the first things he talked about were those high numbers that came out, Jake, of course, showing that over the last 12 months, consumer prices have jumped by 6 percent. And in the last month alone, 0.9 percent.
So, of course, that's affecting things for Americans from everything to buying gas to buying eggs and bacon at the grocery store. And so, the president today said that consumer prices are still too high.