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The Lead with Jake Tapper
UAW Launches Historic Strike Big 3 Automakers; Autoworkers Go On Strike Asking For 40 Percent Pay Increase, 4 Days Workweek; DeSantis, Trump Try To Court Evangelicals At D.C. Events; Trump Falsely Claims Florida "Sort Of" Had Vaccine Mandate; Biden Admin Imposes New Sanctions On Iran Ahead Of Anniversary Of Mahsa Amini's Death; Biden And Zelenskyy To Meet In The U.S. Next Week; Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), Is Interviewed About Pentagon Revisiting Investigation Into Kabul Airport Bombing; Actors And Writers Show Solidarity As Hollywood Strike Drags On. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired September 15, 2023 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- boarders who are waiting to hear from UAW President Shawn Fain and Bernie Sanders. The folks that I have spoken to said they feel a sense of solidarity today. They believe in the union's work. They believe in the union's demands. You have people who came from the picket lines to be here, you have people who came from inside factories.
I met a busload of people who traveled all the way in from the Ford plants out in Kentucky. I also asked them how they were feeling about negotiations, they said that they are so happy to hear that the automakers and the union are getting back to the table tomorrow because ultimately, they want a deal too. They are also very encouraged that President Biden announced that he is sending senior adviser Gene Sperling and Labor Secretary Julie Su, to come to Detroit to try to help out with negotiations. They think that move only helps the situation.
Now the plan is to hear from speakers on stage today. And then this group of hundreds of UAW members are going to walk a few blocks down the street to GM's headquarters, rally outside those offices and then make their way back here. But in just moments, Shawn Fain, Bernie Sanders and Governor Gretchen Whitmer are going to be taking the stage and people here are very excited to hear what they have to say, Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So, Vanessa, so far, the CEOs of the automakers seem to be scoffing at the demands of workers, including a 40 percent pay increase over four years, four-day workweek and the like. Are you hearing from workers that they believe they can ultimately achieve their demands?
YURKEVICH: They do. They say that they trust their bargaining committee. I asked them what they thought of the big three automakers recent proposals, and in their words, they said that the proposals were BS. So clearly, they believe that they deserve the 40 percent in pay increases, which in some ways are in line with what the CEOs of these major corporations are making. And they have total trust in Shawn Fain and the union to get them there, Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
I want to turn now to UAW Local12 President Bruce Baumhower. He oversees all 5,800 workers who are striking in Toledo, Ohio today at the Stellantis plant.
Bruce, I want to start with what Ford CEO Jim Farley told us on THE LEAD about workers demand specifically, the 40 percent pay increase, take a look at -- listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM FARLEY, FORD CEO: Forty percent will put us out of business, we would lose $15 billion. We would have to plant -- cut people, close plants. What's the good of that? It's not a sustainable business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What's your response?
BRUCE BAUMHOWER, PRESIDENT, UAW LOCAL12: Well, I think about not only Jim Farley, but Carlos Tavares and Mary Barra and their 40 percent bonuses that they got. Mary's now at $29 million a year. I think that's probably where Shawn got that number to throw that 40 percent out. I don't know what it will be when we get done, it probably less than 40 percent. But it'll be -- it needs to be substantial.
TAPPER: Can you tell us what the state of negotiations stand right now between the workers and the CEOs of GM, Ford and Stellantis?
BAUMHOWER: Well, I'm glad to hear that. They're coming back to talk again. I think we're on solid ground here. You know, I keep reading the polls and say that 74 percent of Americans agree with us.
I think the reason they agree with us is we were there through the bankruptcy in late 2008, early 2009. We did everything -- Barack Obama, when he took over and offered the bailout money to the companies, he met with us. And he said you guys going to have to take -- share some pain in this, and we did. An example I will share with you is starting pay at the Chrysler plant is $15.78 an hour coming out of bankruptcy. And here we are 14 years later, it's still $15.78 an hour. So, that's ridiculous.
They tell you about the $30 guidance or longevity guy, but 1/3 of our plant is in that $15 range.
TAPPER: So --
BAUMHOWER: Go ahead.
TAPPER: I was just going to say but right now they're only strikes at three plants, including yours. This is obviously just the beginning. Assuming there isn't any serious progress over the weekend, is there a schedule for more plants? I mean, how many plants are going to have walkouts on Monday or by this time next week?
BAUMHOWER: Shawn kept that close to the vest. He has told us that he will escalate this if he has to. I think he -- I think he hit a home run when he picked those three plants, our plant in Toledo, there's Chrysler's Crown Jewel, the corporation, the Ford plant and the GM plant, our SUVs and crossovers and small trucks, that's what's selling. So I think they hit them hard in the right spot. I think it was a great suggestion.
And so I'm thinking that's why we're going to -- and you know, why they're anxious to get back to the table and try to work through this. And I'm confident we'll get an agreement.
TAPPER: How are your workers doing? Do you see the strike continuing for a while?
BAUMHOWER: You know, I'm hoping that. We had a -- we were out there last night. And when they walked out through off the picket line, we met with every one of them. And they were here today to sign up for strike pay. Our strike pay in our union historically was $200 a week, it's now 500 based on our recent convention last year.
And all day to day we had 5600 over the year signing up for strike pay. And I didn't have one negative comment from anybody. Everybody thinks that we're doing the right thing and I believe we are.
TAPPER: Right. But you know, it's day one, I mean, day 50 might --
TAPPER: -- be different, right?
BAUMHOWER: I agree. And I'm hoping that because Shawn pick those three plants that escalates things. I mean those three plans were all --
TAPPER: UAW has about $125 million dollars in the bank to pay auto workers on strike. And obviously, by starting the strike off small, the UAW is hoping to make the fun last. Do you have any idea how long the UAW can afford to have workers on strike just in terms of the strike pay?
BAUMHOWER: Right, I do not have that. But the number that I have heard from official people, is that if we took the whole country, if we took all of our 170,000 members out, we run out of money in about seven or eight weeks. So, that's another reason for that why their strategy, I think, is a smart one.
TAPPER: Why don't -- what can you tell me about this request for a four day work week? I think most Americans watching can understand the desire to have an increase in pay, certainly as your CEOs experience a 40 percent increase in pay themselves of the last few years. But what's with this four day workweek?
BAUMHOWER: Yes, you know, Shawn's made that proposal. And I don't know, we've done a lot of contracts. I've been in the UAW for 51 years now, I've been the president of this local for 31 of those years, and we kind of -- we negotiate with 42 different companies in Northwest Ohio. So sometimes we've had our proposals, we'll put something on there that we know we can modify or get rid of, if it takes it to get an agreement. I don't know if that's one of those or not. But I trust Shawn Fain.
I think he's done a great job. But you know, every contract ends up in some kind of compromise. This one will too for both parties. And where that fits into that, we'll see.
TAPPER: And how is the strike in your area impacting other businesses and other plants in the community? If you have seen that effect as of now. I realized it's only day one.
BAUMHOWER: Yes, first, I've seen that firsthand. And Local12 is what we call an amalgamated local, so we have contracts with 42 area companies. Twelve of them are shut down right now because of Jeep being shut down. We have companies that make our seats, companies that put our tires on the room, companies that make our instrument panels. We have companies who do our frame construction.
So, all of those plants that I represent in Local12 are dark today because of this. So those people fortunately won't be able to go on unemployment. But it is difficult to have that many of our company shut down.
TAPPER: All right, UAW Local12 President Bruce Baumhower wishing you the best of luck. Hope the strike is over quickly. Thanks so much for your time today.
BAUMHOWER: Thank you, sir.
TAPPER: Trying to out anti-Fauci each other, the new campaign trail fight between Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. Plus, after growing pressure the Pentagon now says it is reexamining the deadly bombing at the Kabul Airport during the botched American withdrawal. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our 2024 lead, two Florida men are fighting over which one of them is more anti-Anthony Fauci. Now those Florida man just happened to be the Republican front runners for president of the United States. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGYN KELLY, THE MEGYN KELLY SHW HOST: You actually give him a presidential commendation before he left office. Wouldn't you like a do over on that?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know who gave him the commendation. I really don't know who gave him the commendation.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Was that the immaculate commendation that just happened to happen. It said Donald Trump awards Fauci this commendation. So I thought it was really pathetic to sit there and listen to that drivel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The immaculate commendation. Now former President Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, are up north with dueling appearances in D.C. before two separate conservative gatherings. CNN's Kristen Holmes and Jessica Dean are following this closely.
So, Jessica --
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
TAPPER: -- DeSantis already spoke with the Concerned Women for America Summit, clearly speaking to conservative women, one according to female vote, what other groups is he trying to court?
DEAN: Well, we know based on this audio that CNN obtained a couple of weeks ago that never backed down the Super PAC that supporting him, so that kind of this target audience is someone with who's educated, who attends church regularly, who reads the Bible, who has a higher income, that's really a target DeSantis audience. However, to go back to the evangelicals for a second, there's a very good reason why we see him going back to the well with that group of voters over and over again, it's because that's where they really see a weakness, potentially, for people who supported Donald Trump in the last two elections that they think they can kind of start to bring those people over their sides. In fact, when he launched his campaign in Iowa, that's where he was, he was an evangelical church. And we've seen him go back to that again and again, and they're hoping that he can really be that viable Trump alternative for people who like Trump's policies, but maybe are weary of the man and all of the chaos that continues to surround him. So I'll let you --
TAPPER: And porn star. Let's not forget the porn stars.
DEAN: Well, yes, we could lump in the porn stars with the chaos. But here's a little bit of what he said today, just to give you a sample.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESANTIS: They will tolerate our faith as long as it doesn't impact their agenda. The minute there's a conflict, they expect believers to bend the knee, I can tell you in Florida, that is not acceptable. When I become president in the United States, that is not going to become acceptable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: So again, that's a lot of what we've heard him when he's in front of these specific types of audiences. He goes back to again what he's done in Florida. He likes to talk about his record there and they believe that these types of voters could be very pivotal for them especially in an early state.
TAPPER: Like Iowa?
DEAN: Like Iowa. Right.
TAPPER: And Kristen, Trump's going to speak at the exact same event as well. What do we expect his pitch to be?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so earlier this week, he released a new policy video in which he essentially is saying that he would be a champion for people who homeschool their children. So expect him to talk about that. That's really what he has been doing at these kinds of events, talking to parents advocating for parents' rights, he knows that this is a flashpoint politically --
TAPPER: Bigotry, sure.
HOLMES: -- particularly when it comes to the religious right. But I do want to touch on one thing that Jessica said, because I think it's very interesting. You know, it's not just the evangelicals, it's also women. And we -- women evangelicals in particular. You know, you make the joke about the porn star and this was something that actually Trump overcame in 2016 --
TAPPER: Sure did.
HOLMES: -- in part, because of picking Mike Pence for vice president, because he needed that evangelical voice. He doesn't have that this time around. And obviously, he is drowning in legal issues. That is going to continue, it's going to continue on the campaign trail when he's in mingling them with trials.
Can he actually get the evangelical vote? There's -- you know, mostly polls are showing us that they still support him in mass numbers, but also women, women in particular, who they are slightly concerned about that.
TAPPER: And Jessica, back to that anti-Fauci debate, Trump also claimed that Florida under DeSantis' leadership, quote, "sort of" had a vaccine mandate. But I don't think that's true.
DEAN: No. And you covered all of that every single day when COVID was happening. And I think we all recall that Florida, of course, stood apart and what it was doing, and the governor is very pointed in his comments about that he goes back to it over and over again. But the facts are that he never imposed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Now he did at times talk about how people who were vaccinated would do better in the hospital that you had a lower mortality rate, but he was very clear over and over again from the beginning, and then his language has shifted even more --
DEAN: -- over time that that it should be someone's choice. So there was never a mandate in Florida. And in fact, he banned businesses from saying that you had to be vaccinated to come inside of the businesses in Florida.
HOLMES: Well, I do want to -- can I add one thing about this --
HOLMES: -- because I think it's really fascinating. When that interview, when he's talking about that with Megyn, Kelly, Megyn Kelly specifically said multiple times during that interview, this is the number one question, talking about the vaccine, talking about Anthony Fauci, that my viewers my listeners want to know about. The reason why I find that so fascinating is because that is the thing that Donald Trump is the most concerned about, is that reaction to COVID. They know that it's a weakness for him, particularly when it comes to Ron DeSantis because of the way that was laid out. And it's interesting to see that there is still so many people, there are still so many people who are writing into Megyn Kelly and saying, this is what we need him to answer for and they know that.
DEAN: For sure. And you saw Ron DeSantis is the immaculate commendation.
DEAN: He was really kind of tickled by it. Like they lean very into this.
DEAN: And they really feel like that's a good point.
TAPPER: Great job guys. Thank you so much. Appreciate it. Kristen Holmes, Jessica Dean.
CNN is the first network to reach the town of Derna after it's washed away by a wall of water. What is happening on the ground as search teams search for 1000s who are still missing? Stay with us.
TAPPER: We're back with our world lead and the unthinkable devastation in northeast Libya. Volunteers in the coastal town of Derna continuing to retrieve dead bodies washing up along the shore. Those victims swept out to sea by an enormous wall of water after flash floods on Sunday caused dams to break. The floods caused by a major storm that had previously hit Europe before going through the Mediterranean Sea. More than 5,000 are estimated dead and at least 10,000 remain missing.
Before and after satellite images show where neighborhoods and roads one stood now replaced with a graveyard coated in debris and mud. CNN was the first U.S. network to reach the town of Derna. And that's where we find CNN Jomana Karadsheh. JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a scene of utter devastation here. Everywhere you turn it's apocalyptic scenes here. It resembles a warzone. Many cities across the Libyan coast were impacted by that storm. But what happened in Derna was so different.
This catastrophe as people describe it here was of course, caused by those two dams that burst unleashed all that water, the floods that swept through the city and destroyed pretty much everything in its path, washing out entire neighborhoods, entire buildings, infrastructure, families that ended up in the sea. And you speak to people here, survivors who describe a night of horror that they went through. All this destruction, all this human loss, the 1000s of lives that were lost, the more than 10,000 people who are unaccounted for right now, they say this all happened within the span of about 90 minutes. We've spoken to some survivors describing how they have to race to save their lives, their children, grabbing what they can, their children and running and trying to escape the rising waters that just kept on rising three storey high. We heard that the waves were up to about 22 feet, and those who survived it are just traumatized.
You speak to people right now who are barely able to comprehend what happened to them, what happened to their city. People are in shock. And Libyans tell you they have seen everything, they have dealt with war, they've seen death, they have dealt with loss before, but nothing prepared them for this. And right now from what we have seen but they don't have the capabilities to deal with a disaster on this scale. There are some search and rescue teams that have come in from different countries but they say that this is nowhere near enough.
They need more. We have seen so many volunteers here in this bitterly divided country, a country where city fought city, east has been fighting west for more than a decade now. We have seen people from all across the country who have poured into that and who have poured into the east to try and support the people, to help volunteers search and rescue trying to help retrieve the dead bodies. In the words of one woman we spoke to earlier saying this catastrophe has united the people of Libya, and it seems like it has at least for now.
Jomana Karadsheh, CNN Derna, Libya.
TAPPER: Jomana Karadsheh, thank you for your report.
Also in our world lead today, the Biden administration imposed new sanctions today on more than two dozen Iranian officials and entities tied to the regime's violent suppression of protests in that country. This comes on the eve of the one year anniversary of Mahsa Jina Amini's death, the young Kurdish Iranian woman who died while in custody of Iran, so called morality police arrested because she supposedly wore her hijab incorrectly, showing too much of her hair. Her death sparked nationwide protests and outrage against the Iranian regime. That defiance still carries on today despite the constant brutal crackdown aimed to silence the courage of these protesters. CNN's Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour joins us now.
Christiane, you grew up in Tehran, what do you make of how Tehran and elsewhere in Iran has changed a year after Amini's death?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, Jake, I've been talking to a lot of people in the last few days and weeks, and certainly in the last year since Amini's death and since those protests. And what I'm hearing now is that there has been a -- I mean, some people say, in a way the women there have won. And the reason I say this is because they -- at least in Tehran and the big cities are now able to and are leaving their homes without their hijabs on, a mixing with members of the opposite sex and in, you know, in restaurants and other such places. And there are all sorts of reports and eyewitness accounts of women who say, yes, they have to screw their courage to the mosque as they leave their homes without the hijabs and sometimes they get abused and heckled and maybe harassed, but they basically tell those people to, you know, to go to, you know, do whatever themselves, and they are continuing to be able to go out without this hijab.
Having said that, the regime is trying to preempt any, you know, demonstrations and protests over this anniversary. So it is cracking down on activist journalists and others. It is doing that kind of stuff right now. But this, we're told was never in the current circumstances going to be what many in the west envision like another revolution. It was women protesting for their rights alongside their male allies.
And to an extent within the parameters of that very authoritarian regime they have won at least a battle. There's a huge, huge, you know, war to continue fighting for their rights.
TAPPER: Speaking of a different kind of war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is going to meet with President Biden next week as Zelenskyy pushes for more funding needed to continue defending Ukraine against Russia's invasion. That meeting will either be in New York at the U.N. General Assembly or in D.C. where Zelenskyy is scheduled to meet with members of Congress. How worried is Ukraine that they're losing western support in this war?
AMANPOUR: Well, look, I think they're constantly looking at the reports of, you know, how politics are going in the U.S. mostly, by the way, and you keep seeing now these polls saying that potentially, you know, it's getting much closer, maybe a slight majority are tired of putting all this support towards Ukraine. But in general, the coalition and the alliance is holding, and in general, Zelenskyy has been very effective and his people and obviously those who are fighting the war and galvanizing sentiment towards them, and particularly pointing out how important it is not to let Russia win this.
TAPPER: You also have new reporting fascinating stuff about this Ukrainian ballet company and its efforts to fight the war on the cultural front as Russia is trying to annihilate Ukraine in every way. This is going to air Sunday on "The Whole Story" with Anderson Cooper. Let's run a little clip from that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AMANPOUR: Do you feel that you are doing your bid to protect your country and to tell the world about your country by dancing, by having left by not being on the front line?
OLEKSII KNIAZKOV, PRINCIPAL DANCER: I'm trying. I'm trying -- all our company try to represent our country that people will fall in love in our country and then our people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we want to in a good way with a soft weapon, we're going to remind people that we still need help, please don't forget about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: How are their messages being received Christiane?
AMANPOUR: Really well. They went to the Kennedy Center, they had a great reception and around the world, they've had engagements. But you'll hear in this hour, more of them here in, you know, out of Ukraine, you'll hear the ballet dancers I spoke to in Ukraine, why they stayed, why some of them even went to the front line.
So it's, you know, it's a beautiful, different slice of life from a country in war that's trying to, you know, really protect its own culture, its identity, its history in the face of Russia, trying to tell the world that there is no Ukraine, there is no Ukrainian identity. And that's why Russia wants you to be part of it.
TAPPER: Well, it's good stuff. Everyone tune in an all new episode of the whole story with Anderson Cooper, one whole hour, one whole story airs Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific only on CNN. Christiane Amanpour, thank you so much. Appreciate it as always.
Coming up, new questions about who the Pentagon is interviewing about the deadly Kabul airport bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members. That's next.
TAPPER: In our World Lead, it's been more than two years since the Abbey Gate bombing that killed 13 U.S. troops and at least 170 Afghan civilians, 45 U.S. service members were wounded. It was the deadliest day for U.S. troops in roughly a decade in Afghanistan. And today the Pentagon announced it is going to interview 19 additional service members who were firsthand witnesses to the bombing, but for some reason were not consulted for the Pentagon's initial investigation.
This news comes amid an ongoing push from gold-star families and witnesses who cast doubt on the Pentagon's assessment that the attack was not preventable. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has been following the story from the beginning. Nick, what is the main focus of these new interviews?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Is to ensure that some of the people who were essentially out of reach when the first investigations were done. U.S. service personnel who were injured, essentially have their story heard by an official investigation. They have been heard in the media certainly, and one particular individual who suffered horrific injuries as a result of the blast. Tyler Vargas-Andrews essentially has said he thinks he saw the bomber and was denied as a sniper permission to engage him. And therefore could he thinks have prevented the blast.
Testimony is not uniform. There's lots of confusing conflicting reports about who saw what. I've been shown an image by somebody who was there of who they thought the bomber may have been, or somebody associated with the bomber. But essentially, we're dealing with one of the most tragic episodes of the loss of U.S. and Afghan life in certainly decades.
Amongst which there are extraordinary unanswered questions. The initial Pentagon investigation, leaving so many individuals unsatisfied, essentially saying that many of the people whose testimony are presented in documents released by the Freedom of Information Act may have been confused because of brain trauma, leaving those who survived deeply angry at the official version of events. And many Afghans who lost relatives their or survived furious, frankly, and what they see as the misrepresentation of what they saw, Jake?
TAPPER: And we know this is only part of the story. Of course, the Pentagon's investigation had big holes, you at the time reported on dozens of Afghans shot after the bomb.
WALSH: Yes, look, I mean, the original investigation didn't have holes, it just didn't really make any sense at all. There were in documents, interviews with U.S. personnel who admitted running out into the aftermath of the blast and opening fire into a smoky area and not quite knowing what they were hitting, though, U.S. personnel saying shells, bullets were landing around them.
There was clearly in the evidence presented by U.S. personnel, a lot of gunfire after that blast. And we spoke to dozens of Afghans who were the relatives or survivors of what they saw, were gunshot injuries there. There were 19 people who saw individual shot or was shot themselves. There were 14 cases where we had documents where individuals weren't shot or indicated gunfire.
And there were staff at five separate hospitals in Kabul, who treated gunfire, but the U.S. and U.K. who also had personnel there as well say that No, the only people there firing were their personnel, and they didn't hit anybody at all. And in fact, all of these injuries and all of those accounts of people seeing gunfire amongst their own personnel were mistaken result of brain trauma, or the injuries that were seen were in fact, the result of the explosion itself, whose ball bearings, the shrapnel that the bomb detonated, were very similar in size to bullet wounds.
A huge amount of holes here that need to be further investigated. And we are learning from CENTCOM today that in fact, they will interview those 19 U.S. military personnel but they're also holding out the possibility. They may have to interview more individuals too and that could include Afghan civilians as well. At this point, they've interviewed zero. Jake?
TAPPER: Yes. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much.
With us now to discuss Republican Congressman Mike Waltz of Florida. Thanks for being here. You're a combat decorated Green Beret, retired colonel in the National Guard. What's your reaction to the Pentagon basically reopening this investigation of what happened?
REP. MIKE WALTZ (R-FL), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, Jake, we have to give a lot of credit frankly to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the investigation that we've led, the hearings that we've had in Congress since we've taken the majority. We had --
TAPPER: With Chairman Michael McCaul, yes.
WALTZ: With Chairman Michael McCaul and his team absolutely. We've had the sniper, a Marine Corps Corporal Vargas, Tyler Vargas, that was on Abbey Gate that has testified that he had the sniper in his sights and was denied permission to take the shot. We now know through various documents that there were other attempts to try to strike the suicide bomber as he made his way there in the days before, unclear why those attempted strikes were denied.
So there's a lot that we have uncovered. And then finally, we have the gold-star families. And the gold-star families were told one thing, I think it was a real mistake on the Pentagon's part to not send the Abbey Gate investigators to brief the families. Instead, they sent some attorneys, colonels. I'm not sure who they sent. They got conflicting stories. They're very upset. They don't have closure.
I think we've pushed the Pentagon to reopen this. I'm not sure that they would have without this push from Congress and the gold-star families, but I'm glad they're doing it.
TAPPER: So I mean, I think the very least that we owe the gold-star families is just a thorough accounting of what happened. And I don't -- you're a veteran, so you explain to me why wouldn't there be one?
WALTZ: That's right. I mean, why don't we have these gold-star families, into the Pentagon with everybody that we can possibly get there, and we close the door and nobody leaves until they're done asking questions, until they have closure on exactly what happened. And then we'll continue to unpack in terms of accountability, the lack of planning, whether they should have been in Kabul Airport in the first place versus Bagram or what have you.
But the least we owe those gold-star families is exactly how their loved ones died, what their final moments were, get them their personal effects, and get your story straight when it comes to dealing with those moms.
TAPPER: Hundred percent. Two other big issues I want to touch on with you before I let you go home for the weekend. The House impeachment inquiry into President Biden, the other night you told my CNN colleague, Kaitlan Collins, that the evidence is overwhelming. My mind is open but evidence of what and evidence against whom?
WALTZ: Well, first, we have a series of complaints both in e-mail, text and otherwise, from Hunter Biden complaining to his daughter about sharing the money that he's making and having to share half of it with his dad. We have other complaints from Hunter to other family members about paying his father's bills. We know now that, for example, he received money from a Russian oligarch, Hunter did.
That Russian oligarch post Ukraine is not on the sanctions list. I think that's a valid question of why and we now know from Hunter, from Devon Archer, Hunter's business partner that despite President Biden's claims, I've never haven't talked to his son about any of these dealings. We now know that was a lie that he was on, according to this testimony, multiple phone calls, had dinner with them.
And the question is, did he change policy as both vice president or now, as a result of it. We also have an interview from the prosecutor that Vice President Biden pushed the government to fire that he was pushed because he was digging into Burisma and the corruption there. He had frozen their assets. And we know from a board meeting and testimony now, I mean, you asked what we know. You need the rest of the hour to know what we know and these ties to the father.
I mean, bottom line, Jake, did he change policy when he was vice president? Did he profit? Did he pay taxes? And is he changing policy now, as a result of this?
TAPPER: There's a lot to unpack because there's a lot of contexts that you're not including, look, if there's evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden, show it, bring it I don't care. But I haven't seen anything. Ken Buck was here, and said that he hadn't seen any evidence that Joe Biden had personally financially benefited. And in fact, as you know, Speaker McCarthy was going to bring this up for a floor vote. And I asked Ken Buck, why didn't he bring it up for a floor vote. Here is what your conservative colleague Congressman Ken Buck had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): Oh, he knew he wouldn't pass. There were probably more than 20 Republican votes that would not have been in favor of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So I mean, again, there has been an investigation to a lot of this the firing of Viktor Shokin, the entire Western world wanted to do. I don't doubt that Hunter Biden has been, you know, unethical and sleazy. I just -- where's the evidence that President Biden got any of this money?
WALTZ: But Jake, you're acting as though we introduced articles this week. We didn't introduce articles of impeachment. We introduced, we started an inquiry which the Nonpartisan Congressional Research Service and the court system has upheld precedent gives us greater standing in two regards. One it penetrates claims of executive privilege so when we have for example e-mails sitting at the National Archives that could be claimed as executive privilege.
The courts have saying this, this inquiry would trump that. And then number two, when we conduct normal oversight, as we've been conducting and uncovered all of this, that has the further legislative purpose. Now with an inquiry that is set aside, we can actually ask for things like bank records, who are these 20 LLCs registered to, who is profiting from them, whose bills were paid, were the President's bills paid, as Hunter was complaining about?
All of those things will be uncovered from the inquiry, impeach is not a foregone conclusion. But I think what just what I laid out, and I could lay out more, it's reasonable that we ask those questions.
TAPPER: Well, I mean, Chairman Comer has been asking the questions and there hasn't been any smoking guns about President Biden. That's why you couldn't get those 20 Republicans. That's why Speaker McCarthy couldn't get those 20 Republicans to vote for an inquiry.
WALTZ: We're going to move forward responsibly. We're going to seek the facts. But I don't think I think anybody looks at this and says, there's a lot of smoke here. This stinks. And when the President's repeatedly lied about it, including saying his son didn't receive anything from China didn't profit from China. But then when he's under oath, when Hunter under oath in court, he receives 3.5 million.
WALTZ: And he traveled there repeatedly on official business with his father. And his father was charged by President Obama with policy responsibility from China. Look, we've got to look into this and we've got to get to the bottom of it. And I think that's what the American people expect of us.
TAPPER: Republican Congressman Mike Waltz, thanks so much for being here. Appreciate it. We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.
TAPPER: In our National Lead, the writers and actors strike that is ground Hollywood production to a halt for months drags on the Actors Union, SAG-AFTRA joined the Writers Guild of America strike in July and many of the same issues that drove writers to strike are also shared by actors, the demand for a fair working wage and job protections as streaming as up ended the entertainment industry.
And joining me now to discuss his two-time Tony and six-time Emmy award winning actor Bryan Cranston, a friend of the show, I think it's fair to say. Bryan, thanks for joining us. Are you encouraged at all that major studios are set to resume talks with the Writers Guild? And where do talks stand with SAG-AFTRA, the Actors Guild? And do actors want to seat at that table?
BRYAN CRANSTON, ACTOR: Oh, we certainly do. Thanks for having me, Jake, good to see you again. The writers have been out for almost around four months, the actors for two. It's always a good sign when you're invited to get back to the negotiating table. As far as the after SAG end of it. We've been asking the AMPTP to be a part of these negotiations and to come back to the table.
And thus far they have refused to accept that invitation. We try not to be pessimistic about that. Our sister, Union Writers Guild of America, they are going back apparently next week, and it's hopeful. I mean, anytime you're actually sitting at the table, something can happen. If you're not talking, nothing can happen.
TAPPER: Yes. Both the Writers and the Actors Unions have visually been united, as demonstrated by a large joint rally in Los Angeles, Wednesday. Do you think that unity is going to hold if one side reaches an agreement before the other?
CRANSTON: I hope it does. We are so related in our storytelling capacity that it does behoove us and helps each other to stay united. I hope that we do. We have some slight different issues than the Writers Guild have. But for the most part, I would say 75, 80 percent of their issues are also our issues as well.
TAPPER: A lot of that has to do with how streaming has upended the business model on which so many careers and lifestyles were built, the industry was built. Let me play this clip. This hopefully can help us and our audience, understand some of this. This is from your friend and fellow "Breaking Bad" co-star actor Aaron Paul. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AARON PAUL, ACTOR: It shows live forever on the streamers. And it goes through waves, you know. And I mean, I just saw just the other day that "Breaking Bad" was trending on Netflix. And it just -- it's such common sense. And I think a lot of these streamers, they know that they have been getting away with not paying people just fair wage. And now it's time to pony up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So it might be tough for people to understand "Breaking Bad" is airing on Netflix, it was originally on AMC, now it's on Netflix, and actors aren't getting paid for it.
CRANSTON: Well, there if you literally figuratively, you are getting paid. But the scale is so far below what we're used to. There used to be several different revenue streams for a working actor to cuddle together to actually make a living. And you needed all of them to be able to do that. Well, those have been whisked away. And what was called New Media years ago, now the streaming market, we know what it is. And we know that all the legacy studios have switched their entire business model to become part of that contest to be a leader in the streaming wars. And it has created a situation where the AMPTP is taking an old and out modeled business model and coming up with their contract offers according to that, well, everything has changed. This business has changed demonstratively. So we need to look at what are the new situations that we're dealing with? What are the new rules that we're playing by? And come up with new agreements that answer to that.
There's also the simple fact that about five weeks ago, "The New York Times" did an expose on the rents in Los Angeles from 2000 to '23. And they showed that rents in Los Angeles went up 35 percent on average. At the same time the increase in pay went up only 6 percent. So it doesn't take a mathematician to realize that inflation has had a tremendous effect on the working actor.
TAPPER: Yes. And I know one of the other big sticking points is for instance, on Netflix, you don't even know how many people are watching because Netflix does not share the data. That is one of the big sticking points for the writers and the actors let you know, because the ratings used to be the way that the network's would let people know there was all public and that information is now being guarded through in an unbelievable way.
Bryan Cranston, always good to see you. Thank you so much. We all hope that this strike ends soon and that living wages are paid.
CRANSTON: Thank you.
TAPPER: Coming up Sunday on State of the Union, we'll have former vice president and Republican presidential candidate, Mike Pence. Plus, Senator Bernie Sanders who just made an appearance at that rally for striking auto workers that Sunday at 9:00 and noon Eastern only on CNN.
New developments just in from the Ford Motor Company related to the Auto Workers strike, that's coming up next in "THE SITUATION ROOM". I will see you Sunday morning.