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Biden Speaks on Importance of Vaccine Requirements; Republican Leaders Are Struggling to Find Ten Votes to Break Filibuster on Debt Ceiling Hike; New Footage Shows Minneapolis Police Talking about Hunting Protesters; Biden Speaks on Importance of Vaccine Requirements. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 07, 2021 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: In a few minutes he's expected to deliver some formal remarks about the importance of vaccine mandates. We know that according to a White House report these mandates have cut the number of unvaccinated Americans by a third from 95 million down to 67 million, the President still pushing that plan as the way to go to get people vaccinated. We'll bring you his remarks as soon as they begin.




BLACKWELL: Well, this just into CNN, we are learning that a U.S. nuclear powered submarine hit something in the South China Sea. This happened on Saturday. And you know, this is a tense time for U.S. and China relations. CNN's Oren Liebermann is at the Pentagon, Oren, what more do you know?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Victor, this all happened this past Saturday as the USS Connecticut, a Sea Wolf class nuclear powered submarine was operating in the South China Sea.

Now the Navy wouldn't specify where it was, it simply says the international waters of the Indo-Pacific region but we've learned from Defense officials that it was the contested waters of the South China Sea.

Here are the basics. It involved the USS Connecticut. Several sailors were injured, we've learned, though none are life-threatening according to a statement from U.S. Pacific fleet.

It is still unclear what the submarine hit at this point, but Pacific fleet did say that the submarine was able to make its way back to port under its own power and there was no damage to what is effectively the nuclear core, the nuclear powerplant of the submarine as it made its way back to port.

The context here is crucial that a nuclear-powered submarine was operating in the South China Sea especially with U.S. and China tensions so high.

And this happened, this accident on Saturday happened the same day that China sent 39 military aircraft into the Taiwan air defense integration zone, essentially what Taiwan sees as part of its air space and part of what it looks to defend. Just two days later China would send 56 airplanes into that same airspace, the highest number we've seen since Taiwan started putting out these numbers.

This led to an escalation of words between the U.S. and China. U.S. saying China was taking part in destabilizing activity in the region. China firing back saying the U.S. was violating or going against the One China policy. Now we say some of this alleviate only a little bit as National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met a high-ranking Chinese official setting the stage at least in principle for a meeting, a virtual meeting between President Joe Biden and President Xi Jinping.

But it did little to alleviate the tensions in the South China Sea there, especially, Victor, as there's a multinational exercise, the U.S., the U.K. and four other countries operating and exercising in the same region right now.

BLACKWELL: Yes, a lot to has been at that virtual summit, what happens sometime this year. Oren Liebermann for us there at the Pentagon, thanks so much.

All right, we're standing by to hear from President Biden. He is in Chicago expecting to speak shortly on vaccine mandates. We'll take you there when it begins.



BLACKWELL: Well, they've got a deal -- we think. The U.S. Senate is rushing to increase the country's borrowing limit as soon as today, but Republican leaders are struggling to find 10 Republican votes to break the filibuster. Here's what President Biden did when CNN's Jeremy Diamond asked if he will support a short-term deal.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, do you support the debt ceiling short-term deal.


BLACKWELL: He held up crossed fingers there. The President is waiting to see if the deal is finalized. Let's bring in now CNN senior political analyst and senior editor at "The Atlantic", Ron Brownstein. Ron, welcome back, those crossed fingers are especially important right now because we're learning that they're trying to find 10 Republican votes. Is it a surprise to you that Mitch McConnell didn't have the 10 votes when he offered the deal?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST AND SENIOR EDITOR: Look, it just has to be underscored from the outside how radical it is, the posture that Mitch McConnell is taking here.

He is saying on the one hand, that Democrats should supply all the votes to raise the debt ceiling. And on the other hand, the Republicans should maintain a veto over whether they should do so through the filibuster.

He's now backed off that at least till December. But it's worth noting that Democrats had at least five chances in this century to filibuster when a unified Republican control of government in the White House, the Senate and the House sought to raise the debt ceiling, and they never did.

So, this is a big escalation in the political conflict between the parties. Yes, Democrats have sometimes voted against raising the debt ceiling when Republicans controlled all the branches of government, but they did not make it impossible for the majority to do so. They did not filibuster it.

So, if Mitch McConnell cannot get 10 Republicans who are willing to break a filibuster on this, the message ought to be pretty clear to Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema that 10 Republicans are not coming on anything else.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and we know that they have been waiting for this moment of unity in the Senate to get things like --


BLACKWELL: -- voting reform and the rest. We know the list. But let me ask you about why you think Mitch McConnell blinked.


BLACKWELL: Because for months he said, I'm not helping and I'm not bluffing.

BROWNSTEIN: I think he blinked both because the consequences of breaching the debt ceiling are so momentous and there are a lot of business interests in the Republican Party who really don't want that to happen. And potentially because he saw that such an extreme position might be generating more willingness in the Democratic Party among those last two Senators -- it really isn't the Democratic Party at this point, it's Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, to look at a carve out from the filibuster.

I mean I think McConnell has inadvertently made the strongest point possible for reforming the filibuster through this kind of maneuver on debt ceiling. Because on the one hand, the first part of his formulation is pretty accurate to the way the Senate and Congress now operates.


That the majority party should provide the votes to do this, and the minority party is going to oppose them tooth and nail, root and branch. That reflects the reality that the Senate is now, and the House as

well, is now a quasi-parliamentary institution. But the second half of his formulation that the minority party should maintain a veto over whether they do so, captures the way the filibuster produces a system that is unmatched anywhere in the world. There is no other system in the world that has in effect a parliamentary mechanism for the legislature with a minority veto. It just doesn't work and we're seeing some of the consequences not only in the debt ceiling but in all the other things you mentioned that are kind of stacking up one after the other.

BLACKWELL: But Ron, you say that this is a strong case that Mitch McConnell has now made. Joe Manchin isn't buying it. I mean he's been clear that he's not moving on the filibuster, and that means that Congress, the country, will be right back here in December, so where does that leave us?

BROWNSTEIN: Right. I mean, look, we will be right back here in December unless Manchin -- look Manchin and Sinema are providing McConnell the leverage that he is using to hold over our head not only (INAUDIBLE) Democrats but the global economy.

And as you say, not only on this issue but on many others none more important than voting rights. And I think voting rights, perhaps, Victor, even before we get to the debt ceiling, you know, increase issue in December is going to be where this comes to a head.

Because Democrats have renegotiated their bill around -- to create a national floor of voting rights around the principles that Joe Manchin raised as his objections to the original bill, HR1, that cleared the House.

It is highly likely that every Senate Democrat and every House Democrat will support that bill, Chuck Schumer said to Manchin, go find 10 Republicans, he's probably not going to find any Republicans. Several of the most likely targets have already said they will not support any kind of federal legislation on this front, and therefore they're going to face the issue, do they give Senate Republicans a veto over whether a federal floor of voting rights is created or are Manchin and Sinema at that point willing to create a carve-out on the filibuster for voting rights.

I think that's where it's going to come to a head first, probably sometime in the next few weeks.

BLACKWELL: All right, we'll see, listen, all of this comes to a head sometime in December, including funding the government. Ron Brownstein, always good to have you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, police officers caught talking about hunting protesters after George Floyd's death. The newly released body camera footage, we've got it for you.


BLACKWELL: New today there is some sickening body camera video. More than two hours of newly released footage from police responding to demonstrations in Minneapolis. This was after the murder of George Floyd in May of 2020. Some officers are heard discussing hunting protesters.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is following the story. So, what are you learning from these tapes?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor, this body camera video was captured on May 30th five days after George Floyd was killed. Minneapolis police were responding to another night of protests.

Court documents reveal this unit was traveling along Lake Street clearing protesters who were out beyond that 8:00 p.m. curfew with 40- millimeter, nonlethal rounds. Following there was a debrief. And here is what one Minneapolis police commander said. Listen in.


COMMANDER BRUCE FOLKENS, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: It was just nice to hear, we're going to go find some more people instead of chasing people around.


FOLKENS: We're going to -- you guys were out hunting people now. It's just a nice change of tempo.


SERGEANT BITTELL, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE: All right we're rolling down Lake Street the first f**kers we see we're just -- handling them with 40s.


BITTELL: Was that a good copy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE DRIVER: What are we doing with these people?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE DRIVER: What are we doing with people on Lake Street?

BITTELL: Shooting them with 40s.


BROADDUS: And that clip is part of the two-hour video file Victor referenced at the start of the script. The video is linked to a case involving Jahlil Stallings. Stallings was acquitted on all charges after firing a gun toward Minneapolis police who first fired nonlethal rounds at him. The attorney representing Stallings said he wanted to release this video so the public could see and hear what happened. That attorney saying this body camera video contradicts initial reports made by law enforcement.

Meanwhile, Victor, CNN did reach out to Minneapolis police as well as the police union, we have not received a response -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: Hunting people is a good change of tempo one of the officers said. Adrienne Broaddus for us, thank you so much.


We are awaiting President Biden there outside of Chicago soon to deliver remarks about the importance of vaccine mandates. We'll bring it to you when he starts.


BLACKWELL: And here is the President just outside of Chicago talking about the importance of vaccine requirements.

BIDEN: ... in the greater Chicago area, there's somebody I want to steal and bring back to Washington, Gov. I've done it a couple times you know. Any rate, look, Jerry, every company needs people like you. Every single one. Someone who knows what my dad taught me and a lot of people who know me well, including the governor's sister who I worked closely with for eight years.

My dad used to have an expression. He used to say everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity. And Joey, a job is a hell of a lot more than about a paycheck. It's about your dignity. It's about your place in the community, it's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, honey, everything is going to be OK. That is the god's truth.

Ever since he lost, things went south in Scranton, Pennsylvania when I was a kid and coal shut down, my dad was not a coal miner. I had a great grandfather who was a coal miner engineer. But you know, he was a salesperson. And then we moved down to Wilmington, Delaware, a little town called Claymont, a little steel town where there is no steel anymore but right on the border of Pennsylvania.

And it was always about the dignity of work. And what you have been doing here about this pandemic is about protecting the dignity, the dignity of your fellow Americans.

You know, you stayed in an operations mode lining up protective equipment for the rest of the country, all around the country, and when the vaccine came out you all stepped up and got the shots.

As a company you're getting more shots in arms. And I want to thank auto for hosting us here, at Clayco, one of the Midwest's biggest construction companies. $3 billion a year in revenue, thousands of employees nationwide and here in Elk Grove, 100 percent union. Not labor. Union. Union.

One of the reasons I said I ran was to rebuild this country, rebuild the backbone of the country and I meant this sincerely. The backbone is to build from the bottom up and middle out.

I'm a capitalist. I think people should be able to go out and make a lot of money. That's not the problem. But everybody should have an even shot. And who built the middle class? Unions built the middle class. Not a joke. Without the unions we would not have a middle class in America.

So, everybody owes you all. You know, you're constructing buildings for some of America's biggest companies but you're also doing something bigger than that. You're helping us beat back COVID-19. So are the great leaders who are here today.

JP, governor, you've done more than about anybody I can think of in any state. I mean that sincerely. You've stepped up. You've always done what you said you were going to do, and you've been relentless in getting people vaccinated.

In the Midwest you're leading, you're leading. And it's real and it's not hyperbole. And Mayor Lightfoot who I said please go back to work, I'm going to get in trouble. She had to leave. But Mayor Lightfoot did the same thing. And Elk Grove Mayor Johnson, you've done a hell of a job as well.

You know, we have 11 members of Congress here. Raja, thank you for hosting us in your district for permission to come into the district, and I also want to thank colleagues in the House of Representatives, Mike Quigley, Robin Kelly, Bobby Rush, Danny Davis, Jan Schakowsky, an old friend, Bill Foster, Brad Schneider, Sean Casten, Lauren Underwood, and Marie Newman.

And I know, look, for them, you'd all understand it in a different context but this is a busman's holiday ...