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Senate Passes Debt Deal; May Jobs Numbers; Trump Reacts to Classified Documents Tape; Doug Heye is Interviewed about Trump and DeSantis; Double Murder Suspect Arrested in Texas; Arizona Limits Construction. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 09:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN NEWS CENTRAL HOST: Disaster averted. Today, President Biden will sign into law a bipartisan debt ceiling bill, avoiding what could have been a true economic nightmare.

And this just in. An amazing May jobs report soaring past expectations. Market futures reacting.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEWS CENTRAL HOST: Promising results. A brand-new breast cancer drug in clinical trials decreasing the risk of recurrence for certain patients. So, how long before it hits the market?

BOLDUAN: Arizona taking drastic measures now to make sure the state has enough water. What the state is having to stop in its tracks in order to deal with the climate crisis now.


BERMAN: So the stock markets open up in just a few minutes. Right now you can see futures are up. This is on the back of the amazing mammoth jobs report just out. We have teams of our best people digging through the numbers and we will have the highlights for you on that in just minutes.

But first, the big news overnight, that the Senate passed the bill to suspend the debt ceiling. The president will sign it into law later and address the nation this evening. So no doubt analysts will try to assess winners and losers from the negotiations.

One clear winner is the U.S. economy. The fact that the country will not default on its debt as soon as Monday.

The bill passed the Senate overnight, 63-36. It was bipartisan every way you look at it. It took both Republicans and Democrats to get it through. But it was opposed by significant numbers of both parties as well. The bill suspends the debt ceiling until after the 2024 presidential election. It caps non-defense spending at about $700 billion, and protects veterans medical care.

The package will add work requirements for some adults receiving food stamps, though it eases the past to receiving assistance for others. It claws back some Covid relief funds and reduces by $20 billion the amount allocated to the IRS over the next several years. It also mandates the repayment of student loan debt by the end of the summer.

Again, the news, it passed the Senate, will be signed into law.

CNN's Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill, where the work on this is done now, Lauren.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a Friday, and lawmakers wanted, obviously, to get back to their homes for the weekend. You know, those jet fumes can never be underestimated here on Capitol Hill. And last night they voted, and not just they voted, but they voted very, very quickly, John, holding a number of amendment votes. Some of them under ten minutes, which is rare on Capitol Hill. But they finished this up just before midnight last night. Schumer argued they were tired, but it was finished. Not everyone was happy though. Here's what some of the lawmakers said.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): This is about paying the ransom to a bunch of hostage takers. And that is not how we should run this government. It's not good for the people of this country, and it's not good for the position of the United States all around the world.

SEN. PETE WELCH (D-VT): But the good news is we preserved and protected all of the big initiatives of the Biden administration last year. But, no, I don't like this.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Is it a home run? No. It's maybe a single, maybe a double, but I don't think anyone expected that Kevin McCarthy could deliver any base runners at all, and he has.


FOX: And I think a lot of lawmakers this morning on both the Democratic and Republican side realizing that maybe Kevin McCarthy was a little bit underestimated in these negotiations. You heard that there from Mitt Romney.

One other thing I would note is that this was a coalition in the middle, John. And it is a coalition that is probably going to have to come together a couple more times this year because, obviously, they have a spending deadline at the end of September, they have to pass the farm bill. There was an argument from a lot of Republicans and promises from leadership that they may move forward with another supplemental on Ukraine funding.

So, expect to see this show again in terms of getting those votes in the middle whether or not Kevin McCarthy could potentially have any issues with holding his job from the far right if he keeps making these kinds of deals. We'll keep a close eye on that.


BERMAN: I think Mitt Romney, with the extended baseball metaphor there.

Lauren Fox, on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.

Let's get to the White House and get the reaction there.

Jeremy Diamond, Mitt Romney calls this a baseball game. How's the White House feeling tonight after the ninth inning?


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's certainly a sense of relief here, John. I'm not going to try and extend that baseball metaphor any further for you. But what I can tell you is that there is a sense of relief from some very tired negotiators. I mean keep in mind that this is the culmination of a weeks-long process of intense negotiations, in particular with three top White House officials meeting daily, shuttling sometimes multiple times a day between the White House and Capitol Hill to try and get to the kind of agreement that now is enshrined or set to be enshrined in law when the president signs this bill into law as soon as today.

And the president hailing this agreement as a big win for the economy and the American people. He said, quote, no one gets everything they want in a negotiation, but make no mistake, this bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people.

And that sense of compromise and of accomplishment in a bipartisan way is certainly something that we're hearing about a lot more from the White House today. They have played this process very close to the vest over the course of these negotiations, but we are finally starting to get a little bit of a sense from this White House of how they feel about this agreement. The confidence in the ability to get a bipartisan deal here, but also the sense that not only does it avert that immediate possibility of default that could have come as early as Monday, but also because this really helps to clear the decks for the rest of President Biden's term. It removes the debt ceiling issue up until 2025 and it also incentivizes lawmakers on Capitol Hill to pass those government funding bills at the end of the year, disincentivizing them from a potential government shutdown ahead of a next presidential election.

BERMAN: All right, Jeremy Diamond, great to have you at the White House this morning. Thanks so much.


BOLDUAN: Also this morning we have a new read on the U.S. economy. The May jobs numbers just released, and they came in way above expectations. The data showing that employers added 339,000 jobs last month, a significant gain from April's 253,000 jobs added, and well above what analysts had expected. So at - in terms of the unemployment rate, it rose to 3.7 percent. That's up from 3.4 percent the month before.

Let me bring in Christine Romans, as always, to try to figure out what to make of this. What do you do with this, Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You know, this is a hot job market. I mean it really is. And that 339,000, it's actually -- April was revised higher. So was March.

BOLDUAN: Oh, really.

ROMANS: So the whole spring has been stronger hiring than we thought. And the unemployment rate went up to 3.7 percent. One of those reasons is because 110,000 people entered the labor force.


ROMANS: So they hadn't been looking for a job. Now they are. But also looking into that household survey. There might have been some more people who said - they told the government they're not working right now.

But, overall -- overall what businesses are saying is they were hiring like gangbusters here. It's pretty broad based, quite frankly, the hiring.

BOLDUAN: That's what I was going to ask, where.

ROMANS: Professional and business services, 64,000. Government jobs, 56,000. Health care, 52,000.

We just saw manufacturing pretty much down maybe 2,000 jobs there. So, every place but manufacturing doing very, very well here.

This is a strong report. I mean, for context, in 2019 we added just shy of 2 million jobs the entire year. That works out to be about 163,000 every month on average.

I mean look at this year. I mean we - we've been way above that every single month. So this is a much, much stronger position for the - for the labor market this year than the pre-pandemic years.

BOLDUAN: Yes. So, I - you know, candidly, I will say the same thing that I always say, which is, this confuse -- this is confusing to me.

ROMANS: I know.

BOLDUAN: And I'm sure lots of others, except you can make sense of it.

The Fed meeting later this month.

ROMANS: Right.

BOLDUAN: What does Jay Powell do with this?

ROMANS: Well, he looks at the wage number, which is 4.3 percent for annual wage growth. A little bit cooler than the 4.4 percent, but not a lot, in April.


ROMANS: So, what's good news for workers is their paychecks are fatter. It's kind of bad news for the Fed because that can spin off inflation. So, I think this means the Fed's work is not done.

There are those economists though who say maybe this is a sign of a soft landing. Maybe you're going to have an overall economy slowing down but you're not going to have big cracks in the labor market.

One other thing I will say is Nela Richardson at ADP, that's the private payrolls, they count private payrolls, she told me this week that small employers, small businesses, are finally doing most of the hiring. Because you've seen the big headlines from big companies that have paused their hiring or they've had layoffs. So, finally, small businesses, small business owners who have been desperate to get workers, they're the ones who finally have a - a shot at getting workers. And that's where you're seeing a lot of hiring too. And that's good for the economy.

BOLDUAN: Super interesting, this coming in.

ROMANS: Isn't it.

BOLDUAN: Wow, it's great to -- thank you, Christine.


BERMAN: All right, new overnight, former President Trump responded for the first time to exclusive CNN reporting about a 2021 recording in which he acknowledges holding on to a classified Pentagon document. Trump now claiming he knows nothing about it.

CNN's Paula Reid, part of the team that broke this story, is with us now.

So, Paula, where does that leave things?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Dan (ph), this is the first time that - John, this is the first time that the former president has responded to our reporting here.


And I want to remind folks, before we listen to exactly what he said, in this recording our sources say he was aware that he was being taped. This was back in the summer of 2021. In the room were not only some of his aides but also people working on a book for his former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows. And during this time Trump wanted all conversations with writers, with reporters, to be recorded. And still we hear, according to our sources, on this tape, him discussing being in possession of a classified document.

And let's - let's take a listen to what he said when he was asked about this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, all I know is this, everything I did was right. We have the Presidential Records Act, which I abided by 100 percent. It's a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time. It's a hoax. And it has to do -- it has to do, more than anything else, with trying to interfere with the election.


REID: That's a familiar refrain that we've heard from the former president, that, you know, he did nothing wrong whenever there are questions about his conduct. But unlike some of the other incidents, here, of course, the big news is that there is a recording of the former president in his own words revealing, claiming that he had a classified document, suggesting he would like to share it, but acknowledging the limits of his ability to do so.

And this reporting is significant for many reasons, but it really undercuts all of the public defenses that he and his lawyers have given for why he was in possession of classified materials.

So again, this recording suggests everything that his lawyers and his associates have said for the past year may not be correct. So, I leave it to the voters to decide whether he's being truthful here as well.

BERMAN: Well, and it may be up to more than just the voters. It may be up to prosecutors and ultimately -

REID: Well, it's not - it's not a -- you're right, it's not a lie. It's not a crime to lie to the media. I always say that. But, yes, I agree with you. Prosecutors are also looking at whether he's being truthful here or not.

BERMAN: Paula, this work is super significant. Thank you for joining us this morning. Appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: So, the 2024 Republican field, it is expanding quickly now. At the front of the pack, of course, still remains the frontrunner Donald Trump, and also Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Allies turned frenemies to now what we're seeing is out and out rivals on the campaign trail.

And we round out this week seeing very clearly that they'll be taking each other on quite directly and personally in this campaign, even on something as small as it seems how the governor pronounces his last name.

Here is that back and forth from just yesterday.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You don't change your name in the middle of an election. Change his name in the middle of the election. You don't do that. You do it before or after, but ideally you don't do it at all. GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I think it's so petty. I think it's so

juvenile. I don't think that's what voters want. I think that's one of the reasons he's not in the White House now because I think he alienated too many voters for things that really don't matter.


BOLDUAN: Joining us right now, Republican strategist, former communications director for the Republican National Committee. It's good to see you, Doug. Doug Heye is here.

So, Doug, going on the attack against Donald Trump, it is a choice. And it was a big question, kind of in the lead-up to Ron DeSantis getting into the race as how he was going to do it, if he was going do it, what it was going to look like. Do you think Ron DeSantis needed -- needs to take this approach, or is there another way to take down Donald Trump?

DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I think very clearly we know that the nomination goes through Donald Trump. You can't go around him and hope to avoid his gaze, his glare, or his attacks. So, at some point, as Trump was attacking DeSantis, DeSantis was going to have to respond. And we're starting to see that right now.

And what DeSantis said is ultimately true. So much of what we've seen with Donald Trump is petty name calling and the things that -- when we have a global pandemic, when we have an economy that's somewhat on the brink, that voters aren't concerned about that. They want real answers and real solutions. So, DeSantis is smart to take this to Trump.

What we don't know is whether or not this will be successful.


HEYE: We saw some candidates in 2016 try and take it to Donald Trump and basically fail.

BOLDUAN: And I think - and that's the unknown that we have to see. What are the lessons from 2016 in the primary? You know, with - with the name pronunciation, that was kind of Trump - Trump punched first and Ron DeSantis punched back. And now I want to play another example for you. This is Ron DeSantis jabbing first, taking on Trump, saying -- about the fact that Donald Trump can now only serve one - one more term.

Listen to this.


DESANTIS: It will require a daily grind for not just one term but I think for two full presidential terms.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: When he says eight years, every time I hear it I wince because I say, if it takes eight years to turn this around then you don't want him - you don't want him as your president. DESANTIS: Why didn't he do it his first four years?


BOLDUAN: I'm seeing this in -- seeing the back and forth as, you know, one of the -- some of the things that we follow, but does it matter what they're going after each other about?


Because what we've -- these couple examples, and what really we've seen so far, it's not taking each other on policy. It's not even really taking each other when it comes to character.

HEYE: Yes, look, when you have a last name like mine, Kate, and thank you for pronouncing it correctly, name pronunciation is a very critical, political issue.

BOLDUAN: If I mispronounced your name after the number of years I've known you, it's a fireable offense.

HEYE: It happens every day of my life.

But, ultimately, voters are going to want to see two things. They're going to want to see fight. Republican primary voters love to hear their candidates, whether it's in the House, Senate, or gubernatorial, presidential race, talk about their eagerness and their willingness to fight. They also wants and need to see that you don't just have that eagerness, but that you have the ability to land a punch, to win a round, and ultimately knock out your opponent, which is where some of these candidates who talk about fighting the most ultimately fall short.

DeSantis makes an important point here, which is - which is a multi- tiered one. That it's going to take eight years. That means two things. One, Donald Trump can't serve eight years. He can only do one more term. It also re-enforced with Trump and with Biden the age issue. You know, DeSantis is obviously a lot younger. He's in his 40s. He's going to highlight that as much as he can. Whether he does it overtly or through things like this.

BOLDUAN: I also want to ask you, they're - "The New York Times" and "Politico Playbook," they picked up on something that I - I saw this morning and wanted to ask you about, and it's how Ron DeSantis, right now, is talking about - about the issue of abortion. Abortion rights and abortion access.

In Iowa, since he's hit the trail, in Iowa he took the approach in several stops talking about the six-week abortion ban that he approved in the state of Florida. That's in Iowa. But in more moderate New Hampshire, he did not bring that up when speaking to voters. All small politicians -- smart politicians, as we know, they cater their message to their audience. But on this issue specifically, which is going to be an issue in this election, on abortion, can you have it both ways?

HEYE: Well, you know, look, Ron DeSantis is, I think, one of the more interesting candidates in how he communicates. He is very methodical when he takes on a culture war on what he says, when he says it, and abortion is an issue that he hasn't talked about a lot despite signing the six-week abortion ban.

And When you're a candidate, you do tailor your message. In Iowa, if you're talking to the farm bureau and the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce, those are different audiences and different messages.


HEYE: But clearly if you're DeSantis or any of the other candidates, but certainly a governor who signed a ban, you're not going to be able to avoid that issue. You may not proactively talk about it a lot, but you'd better be prepared to talk about it because it's going to come up.

BOLDUAN: Definitely something interesting to watch here.

It's great to see you, Doug. Thank you.

HEYE: Always. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

We're seeing, they're taking it to each other very directly now.

BERMAN: Very directly. And it's really interesting to see where each chooses to focus. The idea that this could go on for months and months and months.

BOLDUAN: And if this is where it starts, like, where are we at eight months, right before - or that's kind of -- I hope my calendar math is working, right before Iowa. That's going to be super interesting.

BERMAN: It's going to be quite a summer.


BERMAN: So, the ground is so dry in Phoenix, state authorities are halting all permits for new building. Why this could be a sign of trouble elsewhere.

Police have arrested a man who confessed to killing two people, including his former roommate. Now they fear they may have a serial killer on their hands.

And a settlement reached between actor Alec Baldwin and the family of the cinematographer fatally shot on the "Rust" movie set. So, what's in the fine print?



BERMAN: New this morning, President Biden is now expected to veto a bill that would block his student loan forgiveness program. Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Jon Tester joined Republicans to pass the bill in the Senate, as well as independent Kyrsten Sinema. She voted with them as well. But they did not have a veto-proof majority. The Supreme Court will rule on the legality of the debt relief program in the coming weeks.

Parts of Texas drenched by seven inches of rain in just two hours, leading to flash flooding. Cars swamped by the water. Crews had to make several rescues on highways. And some of those road closures and detours are still in place this morning.

The Denver Nuggets just cruise past the Mami Heat in game one of the NBA finals. Two-time MVP Nikola Jokic, who is really good, scored 27 points in the 104-93 win. He extended his record for the most triple- doubles in post season play to nine. Game two is Sunday night in Denver.


BOLDUAN: Really good. I like that. I like that analysis.

Let's turn to this in Texas. A wild confession and now a new twist coming out of Austin. Police say a man who called them and admitted to committing two murders is now under investigation in up to ten other killings. Raul Meza Jr. was arrested just this week after a five-day manhunt And here's what Austin authorities said he told them.


DET. PATRICK REED, AUSTIN POLICE: But I will let you know that Mr. Meza said he was ready and prepared to kill again, and he was looking forward to it.


BOLDUAN: And he was looking forward to it.

CNN's Ed Lavandera, he's pulling all the details together on this for us. He joins us now.

Ed, what more are you learning about this?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, on May 24th, a detective in the Austin Police Department gets a phone call. And the opening line of that phone call is someone saying, my name is Raul Meza, and I think you are looking for me.

And according to an arrest warrant affidavit, that sparked a 14-minute long phone call where Meza essentially confessed to these two murders. The first one that he talked about was a murder that happened in Austin -- in the Austin area earlier in May. It was his roommate, 80- year-old Jesse Fraga who was murdered. And then Meza, according to this arrest warrant affidavit, went on to essentially confess to murdering a neighbor named Gloria Lofton, who was 66 years old, back in 2019.

[09:25:06] And as you heard from investigators there say, based on all of this, now they're thinking that there's a possibility that Meza is connected to eight to ten other murders where the circumstances are very similar. So, they're looking into all of that as well.

And when Meza was arrested a few days ago, they found that he had a bag with duct tape, zip ties, and a gun. And as you heard the investigator there, Kate, say, they believe that he was plotting some other attack.

Now, Meza has a long criminal history. Back in 1982 he was arrested and convicted of murdering an eight-year-old girl and served about 11 years in prison before he was released on good behavior, according to reports. And he's been in and out of the prison system ever since. And in that phone call with the investigator on May 24th, said he was released from prison in 2016 and then shortly after started committing murders again. So, a really troubling story, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All the way back to 1982, and here we are in 2023 and he's now arrested. And - wow, after committing even more murders, allegedly, and then we will see what happens through this investigation.

Thank you so much, Ed. I really appreciate it.


BERMAN: So, this morning, officials in Arizona are taking drastic measures to protect the water supply. The state will no longer grant permits for new developments in Phoenix, one of the country's fastest growing cities. Groundwater there is rapidly disappearing following years of overuse and drought. The governor there, Katie Hobbs, is trying to be reassuring, saying this does not mean there is a threat to the water supply for current residents. She wrote, water supplies for homeowners and businesses are protected. And she added, we are not out of water and we will not be running out of water.

CNN's chief climate correspondent Bill Weir joins us now.

Bill, I have to say, I'm not sure I've ever heard of anything like this in a place as big as Phoenix. Just talk to me about the significance of this move.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a - it feels like a Seminole moment, John, after generations where the west was built by speculators and developers going out into raw desert and saying, I can picture 1,000 homes here. Well, these days, there's just not enough water for those 1,000 homes for the next century. That's the law in Arizona. You want to build somewhere, you better guarantee a century's worth of water for the people who are going to move into that space. And right now the governor, who ran on sort of a platform of water transparency, says it's time to shut it down.

Here's Governor Hobbs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. KATIE HOBBS (D-AZ): That's why, as required by law, we will pause approvals of new assured water supply determinations that rely on pumping groundwater, insuring that we don't add to any future deficit.


WEIR: This now forces developers to figure out this well in advance, whether that means buying rights from ranchers or native tribes nearby, maybe thinking about developing higher instead of wider in these big boom towns in the west. But it really, like you said, John, signifies a new age, especially in mega drought, climate change, and these booming populations.

BERMAN: It's the first. It may not be the last.

Bill Weir, thank you so much for your reporting this morning.


BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, for the sixth time in six days, Russia bombarding Ukraine's capital with drones and missiles. A live report from Ukraine, that is coming up next.

And there are now new questions this morning about what led to that partial building -- apartment building collapse in Davenport, Iowa. What our teams are learning about repair work that had begun just days before.

We'll be back.