Return to Transcripts main page
The Lead with Jake Tapper
Victory For Biden As Senate Dems Pass Climate, Tax, Health Care Bill; Detectives Trying To Determine Motive In Killings Of 4 Muslim Men; U.N. Warns Of "Disaster" After Rockets Hit Near Nuclear Plant; Source: Two Years Of Alex Jones' Texts Turned Over To Jan. 6 Committee; Singer And Actress Olivia Newton-John Dead At Age 73; Greenland Believed To Hold Critical Minerals Needed For Green Energy. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired August 08, 2022 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the moment I saw you and forever, your Danny, your John.
And THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Washington appears to be working even in August.
THE LEAD starts right now.
President Joe Biden one step closer to a major legislative victory after the Senate passes the climate and health care bill. What's in the bill and will it actually ease the pain in Americans' wallets? White House chief of staff Ron Klain joins us live.
And then a community on edge after four men are killed in ambush style shootings. Police say all of the victims have one thing in common: they're all Muslim and of South Asian descend. One of the men's brothers takes CNN through the crime scene.
Plus, she's the one that we wanted and treasured. Singer, actress, and icon Olivia Newton-John passes away.
BROWN: Hello, and welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown in for Jake Tapper.
We begin this hour in our politics lead. President Biden began his week on the cusp of a huge win for his party. The Senate this weekend in a marathon voting session passed the Democratic branded Inflation Reduction Act strictly along party lines. Every single Republican voted against it. The bill now heads to the house. It is expected to pass along party lines there as well. And President Biden could sign it into law as soon as Friday. The
massive $750 billion bill contains sweeping health care provisions, tax increases on wealthy corporations, and the largest climate investments in U.S. history.
And this comes as the president and first lady tour eastern Kentucky, where hellish flooding killed more than three dozen people and caused catastrophic damage to communities.
President Biden says the bill will have an immediate impact for Americans and as Kaitlan Collins reports, it could have an impact on his own political fortunes, too.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the Senate passage of a major climate and economic package, President Biden is on the verge of victory.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Do I expect it to help? Yes, I do. It's going to immediately help.
COLLINS: The president one step closer to securing a big legislative win, and salvaging key parts of his domestic agenda which he says will help Americans' bottom line.
BIDEN: That's a big deal, it changes people's lives -- a whole range of things that are game changers for ordinary folks.
COLLINS: After a year of infighting, Senate Democrats passed the bill now known as the Inflation Reduction Act.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It was a long night, it was a long month, it was a long year, but we got it done.
COLLINS: While it falls far short of the Build Back Better proposal, this bill includes more than $300 billion for energy and climate reform, including tax credits for electric cars and energy efficient homes, allows Medicare to directly negotiate the price of prescription drugs for the first time, and creates a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations making at least a billion dollars in income.
The bill goes to the house after passing because of a tiebreaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris after no Republicans supported it. Instead, attacking it as a tax increase that empowers the IRS.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Hiring 86,000 more IRS agents, if that makes you feel better, you missed a lot. They're coming after waitresses, Uber drivers and everybody else to collect more taxes.
COLLINS: The moment marks a major victory for Biden, who warned about the need to combat climate change as he toured flood damage in Kentucky today.
BIDEN: We have suffered a consequence of climate change, significant number of weather catastrophes around the nation. COLLINS: Tomorrow at the White House, Biden will sign legislation
aimed at boosting the U.S. semi-conductor industry and then on Wednesday, signs a bill expanding health care access for veterans exposed to toxins. As Democrats celebrate a string of wins they hope will help in the midterm elections.
SCHUMER: The last six weeks have been one of the most productive six weeks in legislative history in decades.
COLLINS (on camera): Now, Pam, later this week, this bill will go to the House, then of course, assuming they make no changes to it, it will be on President Biden's desk for his signature. What remains to be seen is whether or not it changes the president's poll numbers. Obviously, that's something the White House would like to see, but the chief problem that he still has is right there in the name of this bill. Of course, that's inflation, Pam.
BROWN: Kaitlan Collins at the White House for us -- thank you, Kaitlan.
And for more on what exactly is in this massive bill and how it's going to affect consumers like you, CNN's Rahel Solomon joins us live to talk about this.
And, Rahel, the bill as Kaitlan talked about has inflation in the name. It's called the Inflation Reduction Act. Americans are getting crushed by inflation.
How soon will they see any potential benefits from this legislation if it passes the House as it's expected to and becomes law?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, in some ways you could see an immediately impact. A huge part of this are the tax rebates for electrifying your home, electrifying your vehicle. When you look at some of the rebates for say you want to buy an electric washer or dryer or an electric stove, the idea is you could possibly see that at the point of purchase, at the point of sale. The hope being that sort of alleviates some of the burden for lower income households.
That also just depends on how it's rolled out at the state level, but the hope is you might see that on the front end. In terms of electric vehicle tax credits, it's intended to be felt at the dealership level, so pretty immediate.
However, there is a major caveat and that it forces automakers to move their supply chains to the U.S., to North America, away from China, and so that could take some time in terms of building up those domestic supply chains but the hope is once that happens you will feel that at the dealership. A huge component is the health care component of that, and the big part of that, of course, is Medicare finally being able to negotiate for lower prices. That, however, is still three years away, Pamela. And in terms of the
out of pocket cap of $2,000, that's also years away. So lots of rebates here, lots of incentives here. Some will be felt sooner than others.
BROWN: And we know, Rahel, the inflation aspect of this bill is still fiercely debated, but one thing everyone seems to be agreeing on is inflation is too high right now. We get a key inflation report this week. What can we expect?
SOLOMON: Yeah, so we get consumer price index on Wednesday. The CPI report, which will get a lot of attention. You might remember that last month, it showed inflation yearly had risen to 9.1 percent. That was a 40-year high.
The expectation on Wednesday for the month of July is slightly cooler. Citi puts it at 8.8 percent. Look, I don't think anyone is going to celebrate 8.8 percent yearly, but directionally, if we see it's moving in the right direction, some would view that positively.
BROWN: All right. Rahel, thank you so much.
Joining us live to discuss is White House chief of staff, Ron Klain.
Hi there, Ron.
So, the president is on the verge of a huge victory for his party if the health care and climate bill passes the House this week, as is expected to.
What are the tangibles in the bill that Americans can expect to see right away?
RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Thanks for having me, pam. Yes, you know, people will start to see immediately some of those rebates for energy efficient products. But I think they're seeing one thing already, which is they're seeing for the first time in decades, Washington standing up to special interests, to fight for working families.
We saw that when the president a few months ago was able to stand up to the national rifle association and get gun control passed for the first time in 30 years. You saw when the president and his allies in Congress stood up to the prescription drug industry and said we're going to cap what people pay for prescription drugs. We're going to let Medicare negotiate.
The president took on the big corporations and won, and for the first time, big corporations, profitable corporations, making billions, will have to start to pay taxes like everybody else. So what you're seeing is that Washington is now taking on these special interests. The president is having victories over the special interests. That's going to bring prices down.
I remember at the start of the summer the president said as the price of oil goes down, the price of gas needs to go down. He put it right to the oil companies. Every single day this summer, the price of gas is down. It's down well over a dollar.
We're going to see today the average price of gas fall to $3.99. The most common price of gas in America is $3.79. So, by taking on the special interests, taking on the powerful interests, we're making progress on inflation, making progress for working families.
BROWN: And as you know, economists are split over Democratic claims that this bill will reduce the cost of living. Republicans are seizing on that.
Here is what Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Democrats have already robbed American families once through inflation, and now the solution is to rob American families yet a second time. Jacking up Americans' electricity bills and gas prices in order to subsidize rich people buying luxury cars and new appliances will not make one dent in the future trajectory of global temperatures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: What is your message to Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck that can't afford a new appliance or car and don't see the provisions of this bill helping them at all in the near future?
KLAIN: First, I have to disagree with Senator McConnell. As I said, far from jacking up the price of gasoline, we brought it down every single day this summer in an historic decline.
In addition, these tax rebates will help people afford new appliances when they need them, afford new cars when they need them, bring down the costs.
We're fighting to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. That's something every American family, almost every American family struggles with. This bill also brings down the cost of your health insurance premiums, 13 million Americans will see their health insurance premiums fall.
Now, by contrast, what are the Republicans offering about inflation other than speeches? What plans do they have to bring inflation down? In fact, they even voted on Saturday against a $35 a month cap on the price of insulin.
So Democrats are fighting to lower the costs that families face. Republicans stood with the corporations to say they shouldn't pay taxes, stood with the big drug companies to say they shouldn't bring down the cost of drugs. That's not going to help with inflation at all. In fact, the Republican campaign chair of the Senate has proposed to raise taxes on working families.
BROWN: As you know, Republicans have criticized the tax on companies saying that is only going to be passed on to the consumer. These companies will just pass that on. But I do want to ask you, according to a recent Monmouth poll, 82 percent of Americans say things in this country are headed in the wrong direction.
Of course, when you look at those numbers, that does not bode well for Democrats in the midterm elections which are less than 100 days away. If this bill does indeed pass, will it be coming too late to save Democrats in November?
KLAIN: Well, look, I think that Democrats are going to do fine in November. I'm covered by the Hatch Act, and here at the White House, I have to be careful about my partisan comments.
But I will say this, the famous FiveThirtyEight polling organization today for the first time had Democrats ahead of Republicans for the fall elections. They also predicted Democrats would gain seats in the U.S. Senate. That would make President Biden the first Democratic president since JFK to gain Senate seats in his first midterm election.
So, what I know fundamentally is this. What we have seen over the past few weeks is a big difference between Democrats and Republicans -- a choice between one party that is taking on the special interests and winning and a party that is siding with the special interests.
And I think when voters have that choice in front of them in November, I'm confident which side they'll choose.
BROWN: I want to ask you about something else that has been going on with China. President Biden today said he is concerned about China's movements around Taiwan in the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit last week. The president is supposed to set foreign policy, not the House speaker. Did her visit to Taiwan bring the U.S. closer to war with China?
KLAIN: No, look, I think the president does set foreign policy for the United States. He speaks for our country. But it is a free country. And Speaker Pelosi is the leader of a separate branch of our government and has the right to travel to Taiwan, just as speaker Gingrich did a generation ago.
BROWN: But just really quickly, the president is the sole organ of foreign affairs. I mean, he could say look, this is interfering in foreign policy, don't go. Look what has happened since the trip.
KLAIN: Well, thanks, Pam.
The president does speak for the country on foreign affairs. But what America makes America differ from China is we are a free country, Pam, and people like Pelosi have the freedom to travel to Taiwan. That's what we're standing for around the world, the choice between freedom and autocracy. In other countries, maybe the leaders tell people they can't travel
abroad. That's not our country.
So the speaker made the trip -- the decision to go. The president defended that decision, in his conversation with President Xi, made it clear that's her right.
The most important thing right now is we're working with our allies in the region to try to de-escalate the tension. We've told the Chinese government that there are attacks over Taiwan, their missile fires over Taiwan are unacceptable. We have told them that this level of military activity is unacceptable, and we're working hard to de- escalate tensions in the region.
BROWN: OK. Quickly, before we let you go, got to task, a few Democrats lawmakers recently have raised the issue of the president running for re-election in 2024. Some saying they're hoping for another candidate. Congresswoman Maloney saying she didn't think he would run again.
I want to give you an opportunity to respond to that.
KLAIN: Well, first of all, Congresswoman Maloney also said that if the president chooses to run --
BROWN: She did, yes.
KLAIN: -- and it is his intention to run, she'll strongly support him, as has a number of other members of the House and Senate.
If the president runs, and it's his intention to run, I am confident he'll have overwhelming support in our party. The actions we have seen this summer show what a strong leader he is. What a strong effort he's made to deliver for the American people. I think if that's the way this comes out and that's his intention to run, I have no doubt about his level of support.
BROWN: All right. Ron Klain, happy birthday to you, by the way. Thank you for your time on your birthday to come on THE LEAD.
KLAIN: Thank you, Pam. Appreciate it.
BROWN: We appreciate your time. Take care.
KLAIN: Of course.
BROWN: Well, coming up, four Muslim men are ambushed and shot to death. And now, police are looking for a vehicle as the brother of one victim walks CNN through the crime scene.
And then, Alex Jones is having a bad few days, to say the least. The January 6th Committee just got their hands on all of his text messages, what they're looking for after this break.
BROWN: In our national lead, a shaken community in Albuquerque, New Mexico after the recent killings of four men. The victims all had two things in common: they were Muslim and of South Asian descent.
The most recent victim was killed Friday night after attending the funerals of two other victims.
CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Albuquerque where families are grieving as police try to identify a suspect.
IMTIAZ HUSSAIN, VICTIM'S BROTHER: Something first happened here.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was just after 9:00 at night last Monday with Muhammad Afzaal Hussein stepped out of his Albuquerque, New Mexico, apartment to take a phone call. His brother says neighbors tell him that when Muhammad Afzaal got to the end of the block, he was ambushed.
HUSSAIN: This is the place there his body was found.
LAVANDERA: Imtiaz Hussain says neighbors tell him a gunman pulled up on his brother and fired multiple rounds. He says the neighbors also told him Muhammad Afzaal ran away. Then the driver pulled up next to him and fired again.
HUSSAIN: He was laying down with his face like this, hand on the face, and this half of his head was gone.
LAVANDERA: From that, you take that whoever was behind this was motivated by extreme anger?
HUSSAIN: Not -- extra, extra, extra, extreme, extreme anger. So this is not a random killing. This is extremely motivated and extreme hatred that he wanted to make sure he couldn't survive.
LAVANDERA: The murders of four Muslim men have sent a shock wave of fear and panic through the small Islamic community of Albuquerque. Law enforcement investigators say each victim was alone fired on and killed in ambush-style attacks. The four murders took place in southeast Albuquerque.
Mohammad Ahmadi was killed last November. Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, Aftab Hussain and Naeem Hussain were all gunned down in the last two weeks.
On Friday, Naeem Hussain attended the funerals of two other victims.
Tahir Gauba with a mosque in Albuquerque said he spoke with him briefly after the service and said he sounded concern.
TAHIR GAUBA, ISLAMIC CENTER OF NEW MEXICO: He said, hey, brother, what's going on? Everything going to be okay? I said, yeah, don't worry about it, just be careful.
LAVANDERA: Just a few hours later, the 25-year-old truck driver was killed. Naeem's brother-in-law says he was shot while sitting if his car in this parking lot.
This isn't the first crisis the Albuquerque Muslim community has faced. Last year, around the time of the first murder, a woman attempted to set fire to the Islamic center mosque. The woman was arrested, and her case is still pending.
Muslim leaders are now urging members to use the buddy system when moving around the city and avoid being out at night alone.
As we finished our interview with Tahir Gauba, he checked his phone.
GAUBA: Right now, I have probably three, four missed calls from my wife. Where are you? It's getting dark.
You know, she's freaking out. So it's terrifying to be honest with you.
LAVANDERA: For Imtiaz Hussain, the terror he can't escape is the conversation with the police officer who told him his brother was dead.
HUSSAIN: He said he's deceased. You know, everything fell apart. Our life became dark.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Our life became dark. That's the anguish so many families are dealing with. Albuquerque police have released the picture of a gray what they believe to be a Volkswagen Jetta or Passat, that they believe is owned by someone who might have information about the killings. They are asking the public to take a close look at the car can call with any information that might help them lead investigators to who is behind these murders.
Right now, we haven't heard today whether or not that has -- those pictures being out there have provided any leads for investigators. But, you know, many people, thousands of people desperately waiting for information right now -- Pamela.
BROWN: Yeah, we need some answers. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much.
Well, it's being called, quote, suicidal. What is happening near a nuclear power plant in Ukraine that could lead to disaster?
BROWN: Topping our world lead, growing fears of a Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster as artillery and rockets strikes around a Russian occupied nuclear plant in central Ukraine. The head of Ukraine's state nuclear energy company says selling has hit dangerously close to the process fuel storage area which the U.N. secretary-general is calling suicidal.
And we're also learning more about the horrible toll Russia's invasion has taken on children, which the U.N. says it is now investigating.
CNN's Jason Carroll is on the ground there in Ukraine with a look at this war's tragic impact on kids, and we need to warn you, some of these pictures in his report are graphic and disturbing.
JASON CARROLL, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Serhii Sorokopud is still healing from his injuries, the deep scars on his back and leg permanent reminders of his story of survival.
Sometimes I feel pain, he says. He took us to the place behind his school where he says he was standing in line for food last March when there was an explosion and he was hit by shrapnel.
It was so scary, he says. First, there was a strong blow to the back. I fell. I couldn't move. He explained that at the time of the blast, his village located about two hours outside of Kyiv, was occupied by Russians.
He says they dragged me to the Russian medical center, they gave me first aid, then he says the Russians took him to Belarus for treatment, where he stayed for two months. The 14-year-old had no cell phone, no way to contact his parents.
His mother had no idea what had become of her son. It cannot be described in words when you don't know where your child is, she says. I cried day and night.
Serhii found his way home, only after a doctor in Belarus posted information about him on social media and his family spotted him. She says we are happy that he came back and we're all together.
Sadly, there are many stories about Ukrainian children that have been injured during this conflict. According to Ukrainian government database, more than 700 children have been injured during the conflict so far, and more than 360 have died.
Those tracking the numbers say they're likely even higher, given that there is less known about the fate of children in Ukrainian territory now occupied by Russia. We don't even know the exact number yet, she says.
Counted among Ukraine's injured children is Katerina Volkova's 7-year- old daughter Xenia.
KATERINA VOLKOVA, INJURED IN RUSSIAN MISSILE STRIKE: She is probably much stronger than some of the adults in terms of how she's coping with this.
CARROLL: This video showing rescuers pulling Xenia out from underneath the rubble of what was their apartment in Kyiv in June. Her father killed in the Russian missile strike, her mother trapped under a slab of concrete for five hours.
VOLKOVA: At the beginning, I was thinking about just so that it could stop and I could die.
CARROLL: Both share the scars from their experience, the psychological impact on someone so young still unclear.
VOLKOVA: She is shy but she's saying, yeah, it's so-so and it's hard for her. I'm not sure that we adults emotionally understand what is happening. So --
CARROLL: Thankfully, Xenia is back to gymnastics with her friends. Her mother says it helps her heal and for a short while forget.
CARROLL (on camera): And, Pamela, after spending a great deal of time with these children, you really get a sense of their strength and their resiliency, and you know, you talk to their parents a little more, and they'll tell you they feel as though an entire generation of Ukrainian children have basically have their childhood stolen from them because of this war, and they say the true fallout from that probably won't be known for years from now -- Pamela.
BROWN: It's just so devastating, so sad. Jason, but so important to report on what they're going through.
Jason Carroll in Ukraine, thank you.
Well, who knew the White House plumber was also an archivist during the Trump years? The picture worth 1,000 words, after this break.
BROWN: In our politics lead, two years of text messages sent and received by far right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones have been turned over to the January 6th committee. And it comes after the texts were given to it attorney who represented two Sandy Hook parents who sued Jones for defamation and emotional distress.
CNN's Sara Murray is part of the team that was first to report this.
So, Sara, how did the January 6th committee get the text messages and how significant could they be?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Pam. I mean, this was a weird story from the beginning. The person who handed them over is the attorney for the Sandy Hook parents. He only told us that he is cooperating with the committee. A source told us that the two years of texts have been transmitted to the committee. This was a wild story because this attorney got them because Alex Jones' attorney during this trial that was ongoing apparently inadvertently transferred two years of texts over to the attorney representing the sandy hook parents and then from there, that attorney handed them over to the J6 committee.
You know, we know this committee has been interested in Alex Jones. He was on the capitol grounds that day. He was sort of riling up the protesters. And we know when Alex Jones went in to speak to the committee, he didn't give them any information.
So, this could potentially be significant. One of the big unknowns is we don't know what timeframe these text messages cover and we don't know who else Alex Jones may have been talking to. The attorney said in court at one point that there were text messages between Alex Jones and Roger Stone. Now, if those were relevant, if they were around the January 6th or the period leading up to that, you can bet the committee is interested in that.
BROWN: All right. Sara Murray, thanks for breaking it down for us.
Meantime, a candidate for Michigan attorney general who embraced Trump's lie about election fraud is being investigated for ties to a possible scheme to seize voting machines. Michigan's current attorney general, Dana Nessel, has requested a special prosecutor to look into her Trump endorsed opponent lawyer Matthew Deperno.
Now, Nessel's office says Deperno and two others tried to convince local election clerks to hand over voting machines, tamper with them, and then print fake ballots during the 2020 election.
All right. Let's discuss with our panel. We're going to start off here.
Christy, his campaign is seizing on this, telling 'The Detroit News", Nessel, quote, knows she's losing the race and called the investigation unethical.
In a way, could his campaign use it to their advantage, look, he's just the victim here because, you know --
CHRISTY SETZER, PRESIDENT, NEW HEIGHTS COMMUNICATIONS: They're certainly going to try, right? I mean, that has been the Trump way of doing things that he's always the victim.
I think what the story shows is what a tremendous hold these big lie candidates still have over the Republican Party, and also what tremendous lengths they're willing to go to up to and including breaking the law in order to prove the conspiracy theory. So it sort of calls to mind the Tina Peters who was the Republican clerk in Colorado, right, who was arrested for vote tampering. She lost her primary last month, but in this case, obviously, he won the nomination, and now sort of we're going to see.
I mean, what I would say is, you know, the only thing that is unethical here would be having the top law enforcement officer in the state be somebody who was actually incredibly accused of breaking the law. ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: What's also unethical here
is continuing to put out false claims of election fraud, and what is illegal here is tampering with voting machines. And there is enough evidence to begin this investigation. I think the A.G. did the right thing by stepping back, understanding there is a conflict of interest here and making sure that the proper authorities look into this.
And look, if this guy did nothing wrong, then this is a great campaign issue for him to go on, but the truth is, there's enough information out there --
BROWN: But even if he did, do the people -- do voters care?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & EDITOR-AT-LARGE: So, Republican voters, I think, to Christy's point, it is weirdly a sort of a badge of honor among some of them, but that's not really the issue. He's going to be the Republican nominee in a few weeks.
The issue is the general electorate, and can that sort of thing sell in a general electorate?
I mean, the thing that I think we undercover is the fact that Mark Finchem in Arizona, the secretary of state nominee in Michigan, these are people who are election deniers who are running for offices in which they're going to be in charge of elections. They may not win, right? But they certainly have a lot better chance than I do. They're the Republican nominee to hold this office.
We focus so much on Donald Trump, and rightly so, he's the front runner to be the Republican nominee in 2024, and he continues to push this stuff. But the insidiousness of the idea, the false idea the election was stolen is that it has seeped down far below that top level that lots of people are paying attention to, and those offices have real power even if people aren't paying that much attention to them.
DANA MILBANK, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: What's happened now is at least in the past, in the early Trump days you had some pushback, not enough, but some pushback from the Republican establishment. These guys are the Republican establishment now, and you mentioned Arizona -- the gubernatorial candidate, attorney general, secretary of state, their Senate nominee, all election deniers.
BROWN: Yeah, yeah. It's terrifying. When you think about what it could mean for democracy, right? That is the thing.
CILLIZZA: I was going to say, we know from the January 6th committee, it wasn't that big a gap between Donald Trump getting what he wanted and what wound up happening. If Mike Pence sort of goes along with this, we're in a constitutional crisis. It's not as though we were 100 steps removed from democracy and the results of a free and fair election being at least questioned in a manner as opposed to overturned.
So to Dana's point, that to me is the issue here, is that we already know in 2020 that we came perilously close this happening. Now, we're going to have people in -- potentially I should say -- potentially in Michigan, a swing state, Arizona, a swing state, where they, the orthodoxy they believe is that the election was stolen.
They don't have to be convinced the election was stolen. That's why they were animated to run for the office.
BROWN: That was their main message, yeah. Yeah -- absolutely.
So, I want to go to something else, Dana, because you have a book coming up, "The Destructionist: The 25-year Crack-Up of the Republican Party".
Look, it has been a banner two weeks for bipartisanship agreement on Capitol Hill and legislative accomplishments for Democrats. You write in your new book, "The Destructionists: The 25-Year Crack Up", why not say it again, the 25-year crack-up of the Republican Party, you have to put it out there, much has been made of the polarization in American politics and it's true that moderates are a vanishing breed.
The problem isn't polarization. The problem is that one of our two major political parties has seized good faith participation in the democratic process.
So are you surprised then by the momentum on Capitol Hill, what's been accomplished?
MILBANK: No, I think this basically proves the argument that I have been talking about. Take this inflation reduction act as they're calling reconciliation. It took two years to get here. It happened without a single Republican vote. Republicans were voting against things they certainly support and all of the above energy policy, there will be expedited drilling permits involved. They were voting against prescription drug lowering, which they have supported for a long time.
And what did they do? They were so angry about this, they said, right, we're going to vote against burn pits for veterans, health care for veterans. Eventually they came around on it. They said, we're going to vote against the Chips bill to help American manufacturers compete with China. Heck, we may even take gay marriage and throw that off the table, we might not negotiate on that anymore.
What I've written about in the book is an idea that Republicans have been putting party before country. So, I trace that all the way back to Newt Gingrich, which had been going on for some time. What you have seen with this bill is a perfect encapsulation of that -- voting against something for the sake of voting against it so the other guy can't have a win even if it's a win for the country.
BROWN: I have to give the Republican at the table a chance to respond. STEWART: Look, there have been some bipartisan accomplishments.
Certainly, the Chips Act, and the PACT, as well as the infrastructure we had earlier on in this administration, but this is what we have this week, this so-called Infrastructure Reduction Act, this is not going to impact or reduce inflation. This is --
BROWN: Economists are mixed on that.
STEWART: Two hundred thirty economists have looked at this and even Bernie Sanders has acknowledged this is not going to reduce inflation.
When you're looking at spending this kind of money in the middle of a recession and historic inflation, this is not the way to go about doing so.
And we heard Ron Klain at the top of the show talking about how these rebates for the rich people who can afford electric vehicles, that's not going to help people in middle America put food on the table and pay their rent, and the rebates they're giving to people for electric vehicles and solar panels, that doesn't help everyday Americans.
BROWN: Very quickly.
SETZER: I mean, look, I think this is a psychological victory for Democrats as much as it is a legislative one. And I don't think that the American public yet is so focused on the details. They know it's something about climate. It's going to help there, going to help energy costs a little bit.
Democrats need to take the next three months and actually figure out a way that they can encapsulate it neatly and sell it to the American public. So we're just not there yet, we're at step one.
BROWN: All right. Thanks so much to our panel. And don't miss Dana's new book, why not say the title again the third time, "The Destructionists: The 25-Year Crack-Up of the Republican Party". It comes out tomorrow.
Congrats on your book.
Well, the treasure hunt that has some of the richest men in the world digging in Greenland.
Plus, summer loving had us a blast. Saying good-bye to singer, actress, and icon Olivia Newton-John.
BROWN: With the loss of an icon topping our pop lead. Olivia Newton- John has died at the age of 73. The actress and pop singer shot to stardom playing Sandy opposite John Travolta in the musical blockbuster "Grease". Newton-John was also a tireless advocate for breast cancer research and early detection. She herself successfully battled the disease in 1992, but it returned several decades later.
Over her long career, she won four Grammys and sold more than 100 million albums. Her biggest hit was "Physical."
(VIDE CLIP PLAYS)
BROWN: That song was banned by several radio stations but it spent ten weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.
In our "Earth Matters" series, global warming induced ice melt is making Greenland the epicenter for the dire impacts of climate change. But in an ironic twist, the ice melt is also creating opportunity to find new sources of precious metals needed to power green energy.
As CNN's Rene Marsh reports, many companies are scrambling to mine these essential resources.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the southwest coast of Greenland, some of the world's richest men are funding a massive treasure hunt, involving a chopper and a transmitter in hopes of discovering a trove of critical materials capable of powering the green energy transition.
A band of billionaires from Jeff Bezos to Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates is all betting that below the surface of the hills and valleys on Greenland's Disko Island and Nugssuaq Peninsula, there's enough nickel, cobalt, and copper to power hundreds of millions of electric vehicles.
KURT HOUSE, CEO, KOBOLD METALS: So we're looking for a deposit that will be the first or second largest, most significant nickel, cobalt deposit in the world.
MARSH: The Billion Club is financially California start-up KoBold Metals, a mineral exploration company partnered with U.K.-based Bluejay mining to find renewables. Bluejay mining says Greenland's ice melt is changing the game for sourcing these sought after metals.
BO MOLLER STENSGAARD, CEO, BLUEJAY MINING: You can see that you are dealing with longer windows from sea ice. We have longer periods where we are able to transport ore, metal from Greenland to the global market.
MARSH: A camp of 30 geologists, geophysicists, cooks, pilots, and mechanics are on site and CNN is the first media outlet to get video of the activity happening there. They're taking soil samples, flying helicopters with transmitters to measure the electromagnetic field of the subsurface and map the layers of rock below. Artificial intelligence is analyzing the data to pinpoint exactly where to drill next summer.
While the vanishing ice opens opportunity for unearthing and transporting these metals, it's also fueling sea level rise and extreme weather. A concern for scientists in eastern Greenland working below the surface of the ice sheet in ice tunnels using heavy machinery to drill and retrieve ice samples.
Analysis of the 60,000-year-old ice may yield clues about Greenland's past climate.
Concern is also high in Northwest Greenland where CNN joined a team of NASA scientists measuring ice melt on the arctic ocean.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're trying to understand how that melt is happening now, how that ice that used to survive several years in a row is now disappearing.
MARSH: The disappearing ice highlights a unique dichotomy. Greenland is ground zero for the impact of climate change. But it could also become ground zero for sourcing the metals needed to power the solution to the crisis.
MARSH (on camera): And the climate and tax bill that the Senate just passed if it becomes law will accelerate the shift to clean energy and Greenland's significant mineral deposits have the promise of meeting some of the world's growing demand for these materials, allowing the U.S. to diversify its mineral sourcing -- Pam.
BROWN: Rene Marsh, thank you so much for that.
Well, the supply is not passing mustard. Why France is facing a shortage of its signature condiment.
BROWN: And in our money lead, there is a condiment crisis in the land that gave us charcuterie. Mustard is missing from the shelves of French supermarkets. France is the world's largest consumer of mustard, yet the reason behind the missing condiment is a grainy picture. Some experts blame the climate crisis for wiping out mustard seed crops. Others say the war in Ukraine is the culprit, disrupting avenue for importing the sought after seeds.
Meanwhile, the French are hoping supply of their beloved compliment -- condiment I should say can catch up to demand. Yeah.
I'm Pamela Brown in for Jake Tapper. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM." Have a great rest of the day.