Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

U.S. Economy Added 353K Jobs In January, Much Stronger Than Expected; Biden To Attend Dignified Transfer For Soldiers Killed In Jordan; Soon: Prosecutors Cross-Examine Michigan School Shooter's Mom; Politico: What Biden Calls Trump Behind Closed Doors. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired February 02, 2024 - 09:00   ET



SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: A stunning first jobs report of 2024. Dropping just minutes ago, it was much better than expected. We will walk through the numbers for you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: In a first of its kind trial, the mother of the Michigan school shooter is about to be back on the stand about to face cross examination from the prosecutors who say she could have and should have done and no more to stop her son from committing those horrific crimes.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Honoring those who risked it all. This morning President Biden will attend the dignified transfer for the U.S. troops killed in Jordan.

I'm John Berman with Sara Sidner and Kate Bolduan. This is CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

SIDNER: Just in this morning, stunning jobs report shows 20 to 24 has kicked off with a bang. Three hundred fifty-three jobs were added last month. That is a much stronger gain than expected. The report comes just days after the Federal Reserve kept interest rates on hold for the fourth time in a row and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says he's encouraged about the healthy economy.

Joining me now for all of this, you always come on the good times. And I love to see Rahel.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'll take all the credit. I take all the credit.

SIDNER: Rahel Solomon is here. She's been waiting for these numbers. They just dropped. Give us an example of what we're looking at.

SOLOMON: Yes, so good to be with you, my friend. So, 353,000 jobs added in the month of January, as you said, stunning. This is twice, twice what Wall Street economists were expecting. The expectation was closer to 176,000 unemployment rate, holding steady for the third month in a row at 3.7. If this feels familiar, it's because it has been. We have been in this range. When you look over the last few years or so we've been under 4 percent for the last two years, at least two years, if you look at 4 percent or lower even longer than that.

So, when we look at sort of the industries or sort of how we compare this month, January to the prior months, December was revised up --


SOLOMON: -- in a very big way.


SOLOMON: November was revised. I know you hear John sort of like wowing over there. I mean, it is very shocking. November was revised up slightly. So, this was a -- it was a stronger year than we had even expected right.

And when you look at the industries where we added jobs in January, I thought this was sort of interesting, too. So, an area where we hadn't seen a ton of job growth in 2023, sort of those white-collar jobs, professional and business services, adding 74,000 jobs in January to put that in context. And 2023, the average per month was closer to 14,000.


SOLOMON: So that is -- that's a pretty big --

SIDNER: That's huge.

SOLOMON: -- deal. Exactly. Healthcare. Now that is a continuation of what we saw last year, adding 70,000 jobs and retail adding 45,000 jobs. And Erica Hill made a great point in the last hour that when you think about retail, you don't want people shopping.

SIDNER: That's right.

SOLOMON: Right? And so --

SIDNER: That's right.

SOLOMON: -- if people were adding to their sort of retail payrolls, it would -- it would assume --

SIDNER: The consumer was there.

SOLOMON: -- exactly.


SOLOMON: The consumer is there. So, this is all just again, another sign of a labor market that continues to show some real signs of strength. What investors may not be as happy with is this suggests that when we do see rate cuts in 2024, they may be later in the year.

SIDNER: Right.

SOLOMON: Right. We heard Jay Powell -- SIDNER: It's the inflation game, right. Trying to figure that out.

SOLOMON: Yes, exactly. We heard Jay Powell earlier this week say that March is really not their base case. They're not expecting a march rate cut. But they would look at reports like this, as they decide when is the right time. So, a report like this makes a rate cut look more likely in the summer.


SOLOMON: And so, you know, later --

SIDNER: So, people were looking at buying homes. This is what they're watching.

SOLOMON: Exactly.

SIDNER: They're watching to see if that rate comes down.

SOLOMON: Exactly. But if you're feeling hot, Sara --

SIDNER: It's getting hot in here.

SOLOMON: Yes, exactly. So right now, we want to say, yes, it's because the labor market is still showing some -- some heat.

SIDNER: OK, well, she always brings the heat everybody. Rahel Solomon.


Also, the reason why John was jumping up and down, I think he was like on his 401(k). Was that what you were doing?

BERMAN: I'm (INAUDIBLE). This is the (INAUDIBLE) economy right now.

SOLOMON: I have nothing to say to that.

SIDNER: But in a good way.

BERMAN: Consistently, consistently just exceeding expectations by a ton.


BERMAN: And we --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How hot is it, John?

BERMAN: It is so hot.

SIDNER: It is so hot.

BERMAN: It is so hot that in a brand-new CNN poll, we are starting to see these relentlessly positive job numbers have an impact, perhaps on attitudes here. Look at this. All right. We asked things going well, in the country today, 35 percent say things are going well, no, that is not a great number. When you look at it in a vacuum, however, it ties a two year high in some of the opinions over the last two years have been quite low 21 percent. So, this is a lot higher than it has been over the last two years.

You break it down by party. It's a similar story, 62 percent of Democrats things -- think things are going well, that's a big increase from the fall, 32 percent of independents. Again, not a great number, but an increase from the fall, 14 percent of Republicans think things are going well. A low number, but again, double what it was in the fall.

How is Joe Biden being given credit for this? Well, a little bit more. Again, how is Joe Biden handling the economy? Right now, 37 percent approve of the way he's handling the economy. Again, not a great number in a vacuum, but up from what it was in November. So, you're starting to see these numbers move a little bit in the direction the White House would like to see.

How have Joe Biden's policies affected U.S. economic conditions? A very similar story, worsening conditions 55 percent, a number that you're troubled the White House moving in the right direction for them since August, improved conditions 26 percent. Again, moving up from August had no effect stays the same.

Finally, again, if you are the Biden reelection campaign, you're excited that you are seeing improvement but this number right here, how is your financial situation changed in the last year still, even with all these positive numbers we are seeing, 42 percent of people say their economic condition has worsened in the last year. That is what they are saying. They feel what the White House has to hope is more positive numbers like the one Rahel and Sara were just talking about right there moves this number even lower.


BOLDUAN: All right, John, we'll get back to that. We're also following this this morning, President Biden and the First Lady they will be joining grieving families today at Dover Air Force Base to honor the three American service members who were killed in that drone attack in Jordan last week. Sergeant Kennedy Sanders, Sergeant Breonna Moffett and Sergeant William Jerome Rivers.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is at the White House for us.

Arlette, can you walk us through what we're going to see today? What the President is going to be doing today and what these families are going to be experiencing today?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, it really is one of the most somber duties a commander in chief has been on hand for these dignified transfers of these three U.S. service members. And President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will be traveling to Dover, Delaware this -- later this morning to do just that. They will arrive at Dover Air Force Base around 11:30. And then they have about an hour scheduled where they can meet one-on-one with the families who are grieving the loss of their loved ones. As you mentioned, Sergeant William Rivers as well as two Army specialists who are posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant that includes Kennedy Sanders and Breonna Moffett. The President will have some time to meet with these families, and then they will attend the dignified transfer, which is a very solemn ceremony where Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff CQ Brown will also be on hand.

Now President Biden spoke with the families of these three service members on Tuesday and in those calls, he gauged what their feelings were like about having him on hand for the dignified transfer. The White House said that all agreed that they would like to have him there. And the President also spoke by phone with the mother and father of Kennedy Sanders, we got a very rare glimpse into that phone call where he himself shared the news about posthumously promoting Sanders to the rank of sergeant.

Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: We're promoting her posthumously to Sergeant.

ONELDA OLIVER-SANDERS, MOTHER OF SGT. KENNEDY SANDERS: Oh, wow, that is the best news I've heard today. Thank you so much. You don't know how much that means to us.

BIDEN: Well, I tell you what it means a lot to talk to me. (INAUDIBLE) know that they will come. The day will come when you walk by a park used to play -- and play with Kennedy played (INAUDIBLE) open a closet, is smelling the fragrance or clothing or something like that. And you'll smile before you cry. That's when they know you're going to make it. Takes a hell of a long time to get there. But I promise you we'll get there.



SAENZ: So quite an emotional moment there, it is expected to be an emotional moment again today when President Biden meets with the families. This will be the second dignified transfer the President has attended in his role as Commander-in-Chief. You'll remember back in 2021, he was there on hand when 13 American servicemembers returned after they were killed in the line of fire on duty in Afghanistan.

This will also mark the first time that President Biden is appearing publicly with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin after his recent hospitalization, as he was receiving treatment for prostate cancer at an infection that occurred after that treatment. Austin said that he has personally apologized to President Biden for not informing him sooner and has said that the President has been quite gracious in his response.

But all of the focus for President Biden today will be on the families of these three service members as he -- is on hand for that dignified transfer later this morning.

BOLDUAN: And as they arrive a very important and very tough step in the long road home for the soldiers. And is very tough step for the families who will be there today. Thank you so much, Arlette.


SIDNER: All right. Any minute now the prosecution gets its first chance to grill Jennifer Crumbley, that is the mother of the Michigan school shooter who killed four people at his school, you're taking a live look at the courtroom, as we speak there.

Now, so far, the jury has not been called in you're looking at the judge there who's doing some sort of pre-trial discussions with the prosecutor and the defense. Crumbley, took the stand in her own defense yesterday and unusual step usually in trials like this. She said she would not have done anything differently, and that she did not know her son was having mental health issues.

CNN's Jean Casarez is following this trial very closely. Every moment of it. We're taking her away right now. But the jury is not in there yet. The prosecution won't go easy on Jennifer Crumbley at all, as they're trying to do this cross examination. What is -- what do you think they're most likely going to address after her testimony yesterday?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're right. It's going to be aggressive. And case in point which we're talking about. They're having an argument right now. I want to tell you what this is. it's substantial. And this is -- this is as your question about the cross examination. Remember, after the shooting, then they did the search of the house law enforcement and the prosecution's theory is that they fled, the couple fled from the Oxford, Michigan area. The defense is saying we were getting threats for our life on social media. We were scared. So, we went to a motel stayed there for a couple nights and then ended up at a friend's building in Detroit.

Well, yesterday on the stand, Jennifer Crumbley said, I contacted my attorney, you, we had a discussion I asked for your advice, you talk to me about as turning ourselves in prosecutor said, no, no attorney- client privilege anymore. That is pierced open now because you talked about that on the stand. We want all the text between you and your attorney about turning yourself in.

You know, attorney-client privilege --


CASAREZ: -- is sacred.


CASAREZ: And so, this is -- we'll see what the judge does. But it is something that is hold with the highest esteem. And you know that Sara, because of your involvement in the law and your family, your husband's an attorney, all right, a prosecutor. So, you know that. SIDNER: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).

CASAREZ: Now it's on the stand yesterday, she talked about many things, but it's her state of mind, her delivery, that is what the jury is looking at.

Let's take a listen.


JENNIFER CRUMBLEY, MOTHER OF SCHOOL SCHOOTER: I've asked myself if I will have done anything differently. And I wouldn't have.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you could change what happened, would you?

CRUMBLEY: Oh, absolutely. I wish he would have killed us instead.


CASAREZ: So that may be Sara, a pivotal beginning for cross. I wouldn't have changed a thing. Boom, the prosecutor can go into that on cross-examination and list all the different things that could have been changed in that household.

SIDNER: Wow. I mean, there's so many things going on with this case, unusual things. Piercing that attorney-client privilege is major. And the fact that she's taken the stand, this is sometimes why they don't want defendants to take the stand, right? There are things that you might not be expecting that they say that all of a sudden, the prosecution can jump on.

Jean Casarez, thank you so much. I know you're watching this and let us know when it starts again. We will be going to it live, we'll cover the -- the entire cross-examination throughout the morning.


BERMAN: All right. A fire is seen as a plane crashes into a mobile home park. We got new details on the investigation.

And get ready for an early spring. The big road has spoken. Punxsutawney Phil delivering.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Glad tidings on this Groundhog Day. An early spring is on the way.




BERMAN: New reporting on how President Biden really feels about Donald Trump behind closed doors. "Politico" writes, quote, the President has described Trump to longtime friends and close aides as a sick F who delights in others misfortunes according to three people who have heard the President use the profane description. According to one of the people who has spoke with the President Biden recently said of Trump, what a blanking blank hole the guy is.

I'm joined now by former National Security Adviser under then President Trump, Ambassador John Bolton who has a new foreword for his memoir, The Room Where It Happened, that for retitled The Room Where It Will Happen Again. And the first line is Donald Trump may well be reelected president this November becoming only the second person to win non-consecutive terms.


Ambassador, thank you so much for being with us. That "Politico" reporting on the choice words that President Biden uses to describe Donald Trump. how closely does that align with your view?

JOHN BOLTON, FMR TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I think in personality terms, I think the President Biden has pretty well nailed. But I would just say this, it's not the personality of Donald Trump, that's the problem. It's his lack of competence to do the job. The personality is unpleasant. But many people say, oh, we can -- we can deal with the personality. I like something else. It's not the personality. That's the problem. He doesn't understand the job, particularly in the national security space. He didn't learn much in the first four years. He certainly hasn't learned anything since then.

BERMAN: So why is it that you who worked in administration, former Attorney General Bill Barr, former Defense Secretary Mike Esper, Alyssa Farah Griffin, Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, why is it that so many people who worked for him at the White House feel that way?

BOLTON: Well, I think if -- if you're in the circumstances, people like John Kelly, as well, that the saw him every day that we were on the job, it's pretty hard to hide the problems and the deficiencies. I mean, I voted for Trump in 2016, on the theory that knowing everything that we had heard about him then on the theory that it was a better choice than Hillary Clinton. But I acknowledged that when I saw him in operation, my hope that he would be disciplined by the gravity of his responsibilities and national security simply hadn't worked. Nothing disciplines his thinking.

So, I don't -- I don't plan to vote for him. This year. I didn't vote for him in 2020. But I'm not going to vote for Biden either, because it's -- I think he is dangerous for the country. And in other ways I'm going to write in somebody.

BERMAN: It's interesting, though, and I think this is a question a lot of people have, how was what you saw behind closed doors, really that different from what you saw in public with Donald Trump?

BOLTON: Well, I think increasingly you see more of him in public that have the same behavior that he described, behind closed doors. As I say, I had met Trump before the 2016 election, had conversations with him. I had conversations with him after he was elected before I took the job as National Security Adviser. But it was my expectation, which I will fully admit turned out to be wrong, that, like every other president before him, the consequences of his decisions in the foreign and defense policy field would discipline his thinking and would lead us to coherent policies. But that turned out to be wrong. And obviously, I can't unlearn what I saw every day during 17 months there.

BERMAN: And you have this foreword to your book in which you lay out page after page about your concerns of what happened if Donald Trump gets reelected. It's so clear to you, you have such clarity. Why do you think it isn't then clear to voters for whom right now he's leading Joe Biden and head-to-head polls and latest CNN poll by four points?

BOLTON: Well, I think Trump's had a remarkable ability to turn what for any other politician would be adversity to his advantage? I think -- I think the support that he has, and I wish we Republicans were doing a better job at explaining to our fellow party members why this is potentially such a disastrous nomination is that he appeals to their feelings of alienation and abuse by what they see as the political establishment.

Again, go back to 2016. Hillary Clinton called Trump supporters deplorables. And they took it as a badge of honor that this is a mark of the divide we have in the country, which of course Trump has exacerbated for his own political purposes and made worse.

BERMAN: Yes, again, another way of asking that, I suppose is why, why is it that you are in so many others who feel like they have this clarity? Why can't you beat him?

BOLTON: Well, honestly, I -- I've tried in a lot of different ways. I thought of running myself, obviously, I didn't do that. I would hope that the message writers (ph), the image makers in the Republican Party would have found ways to go after Trump more effectively. I confess to being completely frustrated, like many other people in the party.

I don't think the nomination is completely over with it's -- it's not an easy stretch. But I think it's still important to do what we can, because I think not only would the country suffer gravely If Trump were reelected. I think the Republican Party would suffer too.

BERMAN: So, you again write about what you see as the dangers of Donald Trump winning. I want to talk about if President Biden is reelected, what happens do you think after November of 2024? What will happen in that period between his reelection and the inauguration?


BOLTON: Well, I think -- I think Biden is likely in his second term to continue the policies he's pursued in the first and where I worry about Trump being completely feckless in his approach to national security. I think the President of three years of evidence of the President's policies to date, show that his -- he pursues a very weak line to America's disadvantage. And we see the consequences with Russia's second invasion of Ukraine. And in 2022, we see Iran and its terrorist surrogates, utterly undeterred by U.S. power, we see China increasingly looking to take advantage and with respect to Taiwan and the South China Sea and elsewhere, we do not see the level of defense spending that we desperately need.

So, as I say, that's why I'm not going to vote for either one of them in both in their own ways, I think are doing grave damage to our national security.

BERMAN: If President Biden wins at the polls, do you think there will be another January 6?

BOLTON: Well, I don't know for sure, obviously, but I don't think so. And I think I think this is important to understand what the Trump threat is. I think he would do grave damage to the country maybe irreparable damage in some respects, if he were reelected. But I think when people call it an existential threat to democracy, they're overstating the case. And if they're not assessing the threat accurately, they can't deal with it. Apart from -- from driving Trump's base itself, just into further recalcitrance.

You know, Trump tried to steal the election in 2020. And he couldn't do it even though he was sitting in the Oval Office. So, I think it's going to be even harder for him if he tries to steal it this November.

BERMAN: And just one question on policy if Donald Trump is elected, again, what happens to Ukraine?

BOLTON: Well, I'm very worried about it. I don't think he has any inclination to support Ukraine. What he said is he'd get Zelensky and Putin in a room together and solve the problem, which isn't going to happen. But I think his natural inclination is that his buddy Putin certainly couldn't be the responsible party here. I think it's going to be very dangerous for Ukraine.

BERMAN: Ambassador John Bolton, thank you so much for speaking with -- speaking with us this morning. Look forward to talking to you again.

BOLTON Thank you. Thank you.


BOLDUAN: The mother of the Michigan school shooter is set to be back on the stand this morning. And now a potential delay. We're going to bring you an update that we're getting from the courtroom from this first of its kind trial.

We'll be right back.