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Georgia Election Subversion Case Moves Forward; House Republican Infighting?; Countdown to Autoworkers Strike. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired September 14, 2023 - 13:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Countdown to a strike. At midnight, 150,000 autoworkers could walk off the job and hit the picket lines if they don't have a deal. But the workers and the Big Three automakers are still far apart on negotiations, and that gap could cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: Hope you didn't save the date. The judge at the center of the Georgia election subversion case says Donald Trump's trial will not begin next month.

It is a setback for the DA, Fani Willis, and a win for Trump's legal team, which is trying to delay, delay, delay.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: "Move the effing motion," a quote there from a fired-up Speaker Kevin McCarthy responding to threats against his leadership as he plans the next steps in the Biden impeachment inquiry.

We're following these major developing stories and many more all coming in right here to CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

SANCHEZ: No deal yet, and not a lot of time left. We're just hours away from a potentially United Auto Workers strike that could cripple the industry and cause serious pain to the American and even global economy.

Just a 10-day strike could cost the economy $5.6 billion. It could also send the state of Michigan into a recession and drive up inflation. So what does the union want? Mainly, the restoration of benefits lost during the 2008 financial crisis, but its biggest demand, pay hikes that could add up to a 40 percent raise over four years.

CNN business and politics correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich is live in Detroit outside General Motors for us.

So, Vanessa, bring us up to speed. Where do things stand right now?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: We just got word that General Motors has submitted a new offer to the UAW, a new economic proposal. Their previous proposal was an 18 percent pay increase over four

years. So one would assume that this would be more than that. And just to update folks on where Ford and Stellantis stand, Ford submitted an offer of a 20 percent wage increase over four years.

On Tuesday, Ford saying they're still waiting for a counteroffer from the UAW. And Stellantis submitted an offer of 17.5 percent. But that is not close to the 40 percent in wage increases that the union has been asking for since the very beginning.

Shawn Fain, the president of the UAW, spoke last night about where he feels like they are in the state of negotiations. I want you to listen to him, but then I also want you to listen to the CEO of Ford, Jim Farley, on how he feels negotiations have been going.


SHAWN FAIN, PRESIDENT, UNITED AUTO WORKERS: They nickel-and-dime our members every day. They price-gouge the American consumer, and they squeeze the U.S. taxpayer for every dime they can get. The Big Three can afford to immediately give us our fair share.

JIM FARLEY, CEO, FORD MOTOR COMPANY: We made our first offer almost two weeks ago to the UAW. We have made three offers since then, and we have had no genuine counteroffer on any of those.

We're here. We're ready to negotiate, but it's sure hard to negotiate a contract when there's no one to negotiate with.


YURKEVICH: Now, the negotiations were previously happening at the automakers, but those negotiations have now moved just a couple blocks away to UAW's headquarters, as the lead negotiators are now taking over, trying to hammer out some sort of deal before this 11:59 deadline tonight -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: So, Vanessa, if the clock strikes midnight and there's no deal in place, what happens?

YURKEVICH: The president of the UAW, Shawn Fain, announced a targeted strike approach. This is very unique. The union has not done this since the late 1990s.

Essentially, the national union would call on select local unions to strike at different locations through different states at different times. The goal, the union says, is to keep the companies guessing, but that would leave some workers on strike and some workers still working in these plants under no contract.


It's unclear how the company would approach that. But, Boris, for consumers who are watching at home, how does this affect all of us? Well, the Big Three have less inventory than they did in 2019. But, according to one analyst, there is enough inventory to get folks through the end of September, if you're looking for a vehicle.

But, Boris, if this drags out weeks and months, that's when the U.S. consumer will likely feel this impact -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, a potential cost of more than $5 billion if it goes for just 10 days.

Vanessa Yurkevich, thanks so much for keeping an eye on that -- Brianna.

KEILAR: With a debilitating auto strike potentially hours away, President Biden is talking about the economy. Next hour, he is intending to contrast his agenda with what he calls Republican MAGAnomics.

And he is making the pitch in the face of some serious headwinds, also some mixed economic data, including some lackluster new inflation data, a looming government shutdown, and, of course, that impeachment push by Republicans.

We have CNN's Kayla Tausche, who is at the White House.

There has been some good economic news, Kayla. There is also a lot of economic fatigue that Americans are experiencing, and it is making Biden's economic agenda a tough sell. Is this going to be some adjustment that we're seeing here today?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, aides say that the president is going to be sharpening his message, but not changing it materially today, and that voters simply need more time for the president's message to sink in, and for the economic reality that things are good underpinning it all to sink in as well.

Now, there is expected to be more of a direct contrast with Republican economic policies, and specifically some of the policies that remain deeply unpopular among the American electorate, like corporate tax cuts and cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

And we should expect the president to lay squarely at the feet of Republicans the possibility of a government shutdown over the budget later this month in just a few weeks' time. But, in the immediate term, that potential auto strike is proving to be a political headache for President Biden.

Sources tell me that this particular negotiation poses some very unique challenges, the fact that they're not negotiating with one automaker over one issue, there are still several, if not all issues outstanding, that the president of the UAW is a new commodity to them, despite meetings directly with the president and his top staff, and the fact that the administration doesn't have clear legislative or legal authority to intervene to stop the strike.

So they're simply taking a middleman or a bystander position. They do hope that the workers get a deal that is commensurate in terms of salary, but there's not much that they can do to ensure that that's the case -- Brianna. KEILAR: Kayla, we also got the president's first reaction to Speaker McCarthy telling Republican committees to launch an impeachment inquiry of President Biden. How is he handling this?

TAUSCHE: Well, President Biden, at a fund-raiser in Virginia last night, made those first comments, and he described the impeachment inquiry essentially as a diversion from the other task at hand, which is funding the government, suggesting that Republicans are pursuing that inquiry because they cannot reach a budget deal.

But the president went on to say this to donors: "Look, I got a job to do. Everybody always asks about impeachment. I get up every day, not a joke, not focused on impeachment. I have got a job to do. I have got to deal with the issues affecting the American people every single solitary day" -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Kayla Tausche live for us at the White House, thank you -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: On the other side of the aisle, things are getting ugly. The F-word is out.

House Republicans held a meeting behind closed doors today, and Speaker Kevin McCarthy dared hard-liners threatening to oust him to walk the walk, saying -- quote -- "Move the effing motion." That's according to sources from inside that room.

So, Congressman Matt Gaetz, who's a vocal McCarthy critic, responded with similar language.

CNN's Lauren Fox is at the Capitol.

Lauren, it's not the first time we have seen this infighting before. And, by the way, there's been this infighting and they have come to a resolution. I mean, McCarthy, as speaker, folks didn't think he'd be able to get over this wing at certain points along this. But is it breaking out into an even more volatile form right now as we see reports from inside a meeting like this?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, it certainly is coming at a time where it would be critical and helpful for Republicans to be more united, given the fact that they are just 17 days away from a government shutdown.

What transpired in that meeting is, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was deeply frustrated with the fact that his conference is so divided when it comes to how to move forward on spending that they couldn't even pass a single defense spending bill this week on the floor. They couldn't even pass a procedural piece of that, in part because of the divisions among his members, including coming from people like Representative Matt Gaetz.


And, earlier this week, Gaetz went to the floor and put McCarthy on notice, saying there were several places where Kevin McCarthy was not holding up his end of the bargain, referring to an agreement that conservatives came to with the House speaker as part of the agreement to get McCarthy the gavel back in January.

So, there are so many moving pieces here. And, as you noted, this is infighting that we have seen before. But, in some ways, it is just coming at a moment when a lot of other Republicans who are watching this are arguing, let's do the work.

You have Senate Republicans who are very concerned that a government shutdown may be inevitable if we cannot find some kind of agreement, they say, with House Republicans. So you're starting to see all of these different corners of the party really fracturing.

Meanwhile, Kevin McCarthy defending himself, saying this 9to reporters after that meeting:


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Threats don't matter. And, sometimes, people do those things because of personal things. And that's all fine.

I focus, just like anything else. If you watched, most people get to speaker on the first round. It took me 15. I'm a little Irish, OK? So I don't walk away from a battle. I knew changing Washington would not be easy. I knew people would fight or try to hold leverage for other things.

I'm going to continue to just to focus on what's the right thing to do for the American people. And you know what? If it takes a fight, I will have a fight.


FOX: And I talked to several McCarthy allies after the meeting this morning who were really cheering the speaker on, saying that it's time for him to draw a line in the sand, to make it clear he's not going to be scared of a fight.

And, obviously, that is exactly what he did this morning.

SCIUTTO: And some of that rhetoric is for public consumption too from both McCarthy and Gaetz to their own supporters.

Lauren Fox on the Hill, thanks so much.

Let's bring it CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp.

S.E., so we are hurtling once again as a country towards a government shutdown. I wonder, might Republicans want that outcome? I mean, they have got to run against this president next year. They wouldn't mind the economic costs, I imagine, of a government shutdown. Do they see some benefit in going off that cliff?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think, for people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz, they probably do. They're not really here to govern. They didn't come to Congress to be

good stewards, good public servants. They want to be famous. They're here for the chaos. And I think they think this is what people want. They want them to stick it to Biden and Democrats, even if that ends up hurting Americans.

And Kevin McCarthy is trying to pretend like he's just fighting the good fight here and that he won't pay attention to this nonsense. He courted this nonsense. He is in this situation because he negotiated with the terrorists in Congress in Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz.

And, well, when you do that, don't be surprised if they end up not being good-faith actors. They don't take what you give them. They want more. They want other things. They want to mess your life up. And I think that's what they're here for.

SCIUTTO: So, it's not clear that he, or at least yet, has the votes to proceed with an impeachment inquiry.

Does that matter to him in a way? Because there's certainly a messaging aspect to this, because to blunt the investigations and the trials of Trump here, see some benefit in the 2024 race. Is it politically beneficial or damaging for Republicans to pursue this?

CUPP: Yes, I mean, I think he's doing this, as you say, as a message, but also, again, because he's negotiating with terrorists. And he felt like he had to. Otherwise, Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene were going to throw their fits.

But I think there is a political riskiness. We just saw Joe Biden -- right before I came on here, you guys played a clip of him sounding very Clintonian. I'm old enough to remember Clinton's impeachment.


CUPP: And every time he was asked about it, he would say, I'm just doing my job. I have got a job to do, and I'm just going to do it.

That worked really well for Bill Clinton. And I can hear that messaging coming from the Biden administration too, and maybe they're hoping that this will actually galvanize some turnout and get some Democrats excited to vote for him in 2024.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you just a big picture question, because it's a question so many folks ask me, and I'm sure they ask you. Is Trump the nominee?

CUPP: Yes, I get that -- I get asked this daily on this network and just on the street by someone.

But, yes, until I see most of the candidates really taking him on, I don't see any of them really denting his popularity still among the base. He's running for the cult of MAGA. Every other candidate who actually wants to be president should run for everyone else.


And, instead, they're trying to run for independents. They wink and nod at moderates occasionally.


CUPP: They say things that might appeal to some disaffected Republicans and Democrats, but they also want to win the cult of MAGA.

Those two things are mutually exclusive. You can't do them both at the same time. And so as long as they're all trying to please everybody, I think it's going to be tough to knock him down. I will say, Chris Christie has been swinging at him. Asa Hutchinson takes him on, but the bulk of the candidates are really just not going after him in that way.

SCIUTTO: Yes, the polling shows it hasn't worked for them.

S.E. Cupp, thanks so much.

CUPP: Yes.


SANCHEZ: A judge rejecting an October trial date for Donald Trump and most of his co-defendants in the election subversion case. We're following all the latest developments out of Fulton County, Georgia.

Also, a major blow to the Biden administration, a judge ruling that the Obama era DACA program is illegal. What that means for the future of dreamers in this country.

And they say the truth is out there, but NASA says it needs more time to find it. The space agency taking its first concrete actions looking into the objects formerly known as UFOs.

We will have more details when CNN NEWS CENTRAL returns.



SCIUTTO: Today, a major development in the Georgia election racketeering case.

Fulton County Judge Scott McAfee rejected the district attorney's effort to have all 19 co-defendants, including Donald Trump, tried together next month. Jury selection for just two co-defendants, pro- Trump lawyer Kenneth Chesebro and former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell, will begin on October 23.

The judge says he hopes to have the jury sworn in by November 5. The judge also ordering prosecutors to give the names of the 30 unindicted co-conspirators to Chesebro's and Powell's attorneys. He also said he plans to give the defendants access to some witness transcripts from the special grand jury that recommended the indictments. Nick -- CNN's Nick Valencia is outside the courthouse in Fulton


Nick, the judge laid out an ambitious timeline for Chesebro and Powell. Did he give any indication about the alternate timeline for the other defendants, including Trump?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. The short answer is no, but at least one of the defense attorneys is effectively saying, bring it on.

Scott Grubman, the attorney for Ken Chesebro, the pro-Trump attorney, is saying that a trial cannot come fast enough. But there's a lot to get through between now and then, which is why the presiding judge, Scott McAfee, has set aside every week to meet with these attorneys, if necessary, leading up to that October 23 trial date.

In fact, he set aside next Wednesday for any emergency motions filed, to take those up. Look, the district attorney's office has been clear. They say, at minimum, this will take up to four months, four months, and 150 witnesses, and that's not including jury selection.

But listen to what the presiding judge, Scott McAfee, had to say about the hard deadline he wants for the jury selection process.


JUDGE SCOTT MCAFEE, SUPERIOR COURT OF FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: My initial review of the speedy trial case law is that it's somewhat uncertain of when a trial commenced -- commences.

And so we're going to be making the attempt to have this jury sworn by the deadline of November 5. Maybe that means a weekend or two is involved.


VALENCIA: So there were some fireworks inside court, mostly coming in the form of animated defense attorneys seemingly annoyed, they say, at the lack of transparency by the district attorney's office when it comes to handing over discovery.

By the end of the hearing, they were handed over eight terabytes of discovery. But, really, the main headline came just minutes before this hearing started when the judge handed down a ruling to sever the former president and 16 other co-dependents from this trial date on October 23.

Jim, this is not where the district attorney here in Fulton County wanted -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Nick Valencia, we will see when it all happens then. Thanks so much -- Boris.

SANCHEZ: Let's dig deeper now with CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers. She's a former federal prosecutor.

Jen, great to see you, as always. One of the things that stood out to me about today's hearing was that the defense attorneys for Chesebro and Powell wanted to speak directly to members of the grand jury. How rare is that? Have you seen that before and what kind of issues could that cause for the case?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes that's really unusual, Boris. I have never seen it happen before certainly in my federal practice. Grand jury matters are secret.

Every once in a while, there will be some piece of evidence -- perhaps a grand jury -- a juror member spoke out publicly about some irregularity -- that will cause the prosecutors to have to reveal information or perhaps the judge will have to interview a grand juror him or her self.

I have never seen defense lawyers be allowed to speak to a grand juror without any actual evidence of wrongdoing and certainly not without the participation of the court or prosecutors. So I think this request will be denied. I was actually surprised at how seriously the judge seemed to be taking it.

I think maybe, in an excess of caution, he wants to hear the defense lawyers out and be shown to really be deliberating about all of their requests. But, ultimately, I find it hard to believe he would allow that to happen.

SANCHEZ: So would you say that they would likely need to have some kind of evidence that there was wrongdoing in order to ask for this? Like, what are they trying to accomplish?

RODGERS: Yes, it's a little bit circular, because you say, well, how can we find out if anything was improperly done if we can't talk to them?

But the grand jury is supposed to be secret. So there is a cone of silence around that. Usually, you have to have some suggestion that something was improperly done. And then, usually, as I said, like, the judge would inquire. The judge would ask questions of the grand jurors to get to the bottom of it, not the defense lawyers.


So they will have to put some more details on it before the judge will do anything, I think.


So what about the broader implications of the decision to sever Powell and Chesebro from the other 17 co-defendants? Does this potentially help them, including former President Trump, to sort of see the strategy from the prosecution?

RODGERS: Oh, 100 percent. I mean, there's no question this was going to happen.

The judge was never going to force these 17 defendants to have a trial in October, if they didn't want that. So this was 100 percent always going to be the case. But it does. It gives them a preview of the government's case. They will see all of the witnesses, all pieces of evidence.

They will really get to tailor their defense to what the evidence is and not just kind of on the fly in their own trial, but a long time in advance. So it is a big advantage.

SANCHEZ: And lastly, Jen, quickly, there was a ruling in U.S. district court on Mark Meadows, essentially laying out that the judge doesn't believe that the appeals process and the decision to move his case from state court to federal court is going to interfere with the timing of the state case.

Walk us through that. It's a bit complicated for someone who isn't an attorney.


So, they -- he -- Mark Meadows has appealed this ruling of the district court judge and then basically says that the state court proceeding shouldn't be allowed to go on while the appeal is pending. The district court judge in federal court, of course, is the one who ruled that the case should be in state court.

So he's unlikely to agree that an appeal will be granted and his own ruling will be overturned. So it's no surprise that the district court judge said, listen, I don't think you're going to get what you're looking for here. The state court proceeding should go ahead.

But in any case, it's a jurisdictional issue. I mean, jurisdiction is now, per the district court judge ruling, back in the hands of the state court. And so it can proceed. There's really no way to stop it, until and unless the federal court says that that decision was wrong. So we will see what happens.

SANCHEZ: Jennifer Rodgers, appreciate you walking us through all of that. Thanks so much.

RODGERS: Thanks.

SANCHEZ: Brianna.

KEILAR: A federal judge ruled against a program protecting undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. When we come back, I will speak to a dreamer who now works in immigration justice about what this means for the future of the program.

Stay with us.