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Disappointment Report: U.S. adds just 194,000 Jobs in September; Debt Ceiling Extension Temporarily Averts Economic Disaster; Jan. 6 Committee Issues 2 New Subpoenas for "Stop the Steal" Organizers. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 09:00   ET


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Friday morning to you. I'm Erica Hill.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto. We begin with breaking news on jobs. It's a second straight, disappointing month for the Biden administration on jobs growth, 194,000 new jobs created in September, that monthly growth, the lowest of the year.

HILL: Yeah, certainly not what people were hoping for. Let's get straight says Chief Business correspondent Christine Roman. So, Christine, when we look at this number, what should we actually be seeing?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'd like to see it a lot bigger than this, 194,000 is way less than anybody thought. What we're seeing I think, is a big summer hiring boom, completely fizzled in September. There was a hurricane, don't forget. There's a Delta Variant that really was picking up speed. And people were going back to schools, trying to get their kids back to school all at the same time.

So, you have an unemployment rate that fell to 4.8%, which is in a normal time would be almost full employment. So that's the number on a surface that looks good. But you don't see the mass of hiring, you need to go along with that a couple of things happening here, people are still leaving the labor market, especially women. And we've gotten the participation rate fell, meaning fewer Americans are actually considered themselves in the labor market. And we've also seen a lot of new business creation. So, it could also be that the government surveyors are calling households and saying, are you employed? And they say yes, but when they call companies, companies aren't necessarily adding the big job. So that could be what's going on here. It's a real brain teaser. And frankly, I mean, we've been saying this morning, journalists like me, COVID broke the jobs market. And we're trying to figure out how it's being repaired. We're still down 5 million jobs since the pandemic began, and you want to see a brisker pace than this for sure.

SCIUTTO: So, it's the second big forecast miss in a row as well?


SCIUTTO: But by big margin, is that an indicator that folks are just having trouble measuring what's actually going on in the job market?

ROMANS: I don't think it would. 100% speaks to how terrible the crash was, and how unprecedented this landscape is. COVID isn't just losing jobs and adding jobs back. It's healthcare, it's childcare. It's your job satisfaction, the government gave people stimulus checks. So, for the first time, maybe some people have a little bit of savings, they can choose how they want to retrain, or they want to sit this one out. There's a lot going on here now.

And I think that hurricane might have had a factor here. The government did not specifically say whether the hurricane held back hiring. But we -- I mean, all of us, especially here in the northeast, right? We knew that there were several days of major disruption from that. And certainly, in the south as well.

HILL: Absolutely. It's such a wide swath of the country that was affected for so many days. I think it's a great point.

Stay with us, Christine.

SCIUTTO: Arlette Saenz, she's at the White House. And Arlette, I mean it's a familiar kind of pattern here, right? You have these numbers, big expectations, you have the White House schedule, a Biden press conference or comment on it. Clearly, they want to talk about good stuff. This is not a good number for them. What's the White House reaction this morning?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, this morning, so far, we have not received reaction from the White House. But we are expecting to hear President Biden speak about this jobs report at 11:30 this morning. But it is certainly a disappointing number for this White House, a second month in a row.

And in last month, the President acknowledged that that number was much lower than he had hoped for. We're likely to hear him say that again today. But he's often tied the state of the economic recovery to also the state of the pandemic. And one thing that I would expect the President to also argue in his remarks today is that this jobs number is further evidence that the country needs his economic agenda, which of course is currently stalled up on Capitol Hill.

There are also concerns relating to the economy when it comes to that debt limit. Yes, the Senate reached a deal on that yesterday, but that is really just punting it down to December when they are going to face this issue once again. But these jobs numbers today just highlight the long road that remains ahead for this White House as they are trying to promote the economic recovery of this country.

Yesterday you had the president out in Chicago talking about how vaccine mandates are helping Americans stave off some of the coronavirus cases. But right now, this White House certainly is drilling into these numbers and trying to see what the path forward is for this economy.

HILL: Arlette Saenz, latest for us at the White House. Arlette, thank you. Also, with us now, Catherine Rampell, CNN Economics and Political Commentator, also Columnist for The Washington Post. So, Catherine, as you look at this, it's interesting, it's, you know, we haven't heard from the White House as our lead just pointed out. They're digging through it right now. Lately trying to find something positive that they can point to in that report, to Jim's point. When we look at this, what is the message from the administration on numbers like this?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the message needs to be as it has been that Delta COVID that's what's in control of the economy. And the only route to getting out of this is higher vaccination rates. And probably Biden will emphasize his efforts to get employers to require vaccination or encouraged it at the very least depending on, you know, where the rule ends up, and that's the way out of this because, as Christine pointed out, there had been high expectations that the numbers that the numbers would be better in September because expanded unemployment insurance had ended, schools were reopening, there were a lot of conditions that seemed conducive to strong growth and yet COVID took over.


SCIUTTO: There's a bigger issue going on here than the cyclical one. So, the rises and falls in the job market. There appears to be a mismatch between the jobs that are available, and the jobs that people want, right? In that some of this is in the data that folks don't want to go back to low paying, say fast food jobs, right? Or jobs and one reason the restaurant industry seems to be having an issue hiring people. What -- how big a deal is that right now, right? And what is the solution to that?

RAMPELL: Well, the easy solution, the glib solution, I guess, is to say, well just raise wages. And I think employers are doing that. And in fact, in these recent numbers, we did see further wage growth, whether that's, you know, wage growth, after inflation will remains to be seen. But employers are raising wages, they're trying their best to get back workers.

SCIUTTO: You hear about bonuses?

RAMPELL: Bonuses, they are -- you know, other kinds of goodies, and we'll pay for your, you know --

HILL: Some more schooling incentives, right?

RAMPELL: Schooling incentives, or various other kinds of bonuses, you'll get a free knife set, you know, if you're chef, that kind of thing. The problem is that there are constraints on how much employers can actually raise wages, right? Because take restaurants, their margins are very thin as it is, many of them are still suffering because of the losses from the past year of temporary closures, that sort of thing. And so, they don't have a huge cash reserve available to pay more bonuses, or to pay higher wages. They're doing what they can, but what happens is they end up having to pass along some of those higher prices to customers. And at some point, customers will balk and say I'm not paying that for that dinner out.

HILL: In terms of to the jobs that are available, the jobs that people walk, we're seeing you and I have talked about this a lot. It's the shift that we saw, you know, over the last year, people had a little bit of a cushion to maybe they could think about going back to school because they didn't want to have to piece together an income with two or three part time jobs or try to work around a difficult childcare schedule. The reality is a lot of those challenges are still there.

ROMANS: Yeah. And COVID revealed to us that the American economy, especially the American consumer experience is built on millions of low wage workers who cobbled together two part time jobs and have somebody else taking care of their kids because they can't afford childcare. That was all blown apart. We can't go back to that. And I think that might be one of the things that you hear the Biden ministration talk about today, the elements of build back better, that can help people while we're getting through this healing in the labor market.

The White House, by the way, saw these numbers yesterday. So, they will have a finely crafted response to what's happening here. And the White House has also pointed out two pieces of data that we don't usually report that I think are really interesting, you guys, restaurant reservations in areas that are highly vaccinated, way higher than low vaccination areas and the hours available for workers for small businesses of small business hours, workers hours are higher in places that are highly vaccinated, that low vaccinated, so that shows you that where there are higher vaccination rates, the economy is doing better. And that really is the key. I agree with Catherine.

SCIUTTO: The trouble is, right? I mean, like the health data was COVID. All of that stuff has been so partisanized.


SCIUTTO: Right? Even when you see the proof that that's the truth, if that -- you kind of can't break through that bubble, but anyway.

HILL: We'll keep trying.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, we will.

HILL: Chris and Catherine, thank you both. Well, all of this, of course, coming just hours after a debt crisis was narrowly averted, 11 GOP senators breaking ranks in that late night vote, joining Democrats to raise the debt ceiling through early December and avoid the nation's first ever government default. But look, that moment of bipartisanship quickly dashed after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sharply criticized Republicans for the partisan stalemate.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans insisted they wanted a solution to the debt ceiling but said Democrats must raise it alone by going through a drawn out convoluted and risky reconciliation process. That was simply unacceptable to my caucus. And yesterday, Senate Republicans finally realized that their obstruction was not going to work.


SCIUTTO: West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin seen, well, there he is, sitting behind Schumer during the speech, didn't apparently love those lines. His head -- his face in his hands. Republican Senator Mike Rounds, who actually was one of those 11 Republicans who voted along with Democrats, called the remarks classless.

CNN Congressional Correspondent Lauren Fox joins us now from Capitol Hill. So, Republicans are now bound next time they won't help raise the debt limit. Do Democrats need that, right? Because you do have the reconciliation path. I guess the question now is, what happens next? Do they have enough time to get through their larger budget come to agreement on the larger budget deal and come up with a solution by December?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are the key questions walking out of the Capitol last night I was with Mitt Romney. And he basically said there's a time for grace. And there is a time for being combative in the U.S. Senate. This was a time for grace for the Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer. He was not pleased about that speech.


And you heard that from Senator Rounds, and others as well. I know Senator Portman approached Schumer to talk about it with him. That has been part of why there's so much rancor on Capitol Hill right now. I mean, this could have been a moment where you could say, the parties came together to avoid this calamity. Republicans provided votes to make sure that this bill didn't get stuck in the Senate, to make sure there wasn't a default. Yes, McConnell blinked. Yes, there was a change in strategy on his side of the aisle. But perhaps that's all something to celebrate. Instead, you did hear from Schumer that, you know, he viewed this moment as Republicans blinking and he kind of rubbed it in. Here's what Senator Joe Manchin who you did see there, kind of rubbing his eyes, putting his head in his hands.

Here's what he said last night, walking out of the Capitol about that.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D-WV): I just think that basically what we got to do is find the best way forward to make sure that we do weaponize. We have to do weaponize. You can't be playing politics. None of us can on both sides, OK. And both sides have been very guilty of this, and the frustration was built up. I'm sure Chuck's frustration was built but that was not a way to take it out. We just disagree. I've done it differently.


FOX: So, what happens now, Democrats are going to have about two months to go ahead and move ahead with their agenda both on infrastructure and on that bigger social safety net plan. But you see there that Manchin is one of the members that Schumer needs to come on board for that bigger social safety net plan and he needs Manchin to go ahead and make some concessions. That speech last night may not have really helped try to build that relationship back with Manchin or Sinema, the other moderate who he needs on that larger package.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, forget about disagreements with Publicans, you know, you got the big one within your own party, your own caucus there. Lauren Fox on the Hill, thanks very much.

Coming up next, former President Trump is now instructing his allies to invoke executive privilege to avoid cooperating with the January 6 committee. The lawmakers conducting that investigation just issued two new subpoenas. We're going to explain who those are for? Plus, Florida's Education Board just voted to sanction eight school districts who have defied the governor's ban on mask mandates.

HILL: Also ahead, I'll speak with the CEO and founder of a group of Texas women's clinics. She says despite the legal risks and threats to their safety, they are moving ahead this morning, providing abortions after judge block the state's restrictive new law.



HILL: That midnight deadline come and gone at this point as for Trump allies clearly it seems defying the subpoenas from the January 6 Committee. CNN has learned an attorney for former President Trump actually instructed them not to cooperate, indicating he'll try to assert executive privilege to prevent investigators from gathering evidence on the insurrection.

SCIUTTO: The House Committee is pressing forward issuing two new subpoenas or subpoenas for two leaders of the Stop the Steal group as it's called. CNN's Law Enforcement Correspondent, Whitney Wild joins us now. So, Whitney, who are the committee calling on next?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, there are two people and then also there's a subpoena for the actual Stop the Steal organization in totality. So, it's Ali Alexander name that, you know, many people who've been watching Trump world are familiar with, and then another person named Nathan Martin, and the subpoenas indicate that there was an event that they were involved with it had a permit on Capitol Complex grounds for January 6.

The subpoena also points out that these two people were involved with the Stop the Steal rally. However, the subpoena says that there was no indication on the permit that this event that was supposed to happen on the Capitol Complex grounds in the Stop the Steal movement, were connected. Further, the subpoena points out that Ali Alexander had been claiming to work with multiple members of Congress such as a representative Andy Biggs, Representative Mo Brooks, Representative Paul Gosar.

So, I think what they're trying to drill down on here is in what way, were these members communicating with these organizers of the Stop the Steal rally? What did they know? What did they intend to do with the Stop the Steal movement, and then subsequently, what connection that may have had to the events that eventually played out on Capitol Complex grounds, back to you.

HILL: Search for answers continues. Whitney Wild, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Let's bring in now former FBI Special Agent, Asha Rangappa. Asha, as we look at, I want to go back to this, you know, just renewed discussion, I should say, of executive privilege, since we're having it a lot. In this specific instance, right, because the former president is no longer in office, Joe Biden is now when we talk about executive privilege. I mean, does that work here?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So, the exact parameters of executive privilege aren't completely clear, but it's generally accepted that the privilege is held by the sitting president. So, you know, Trump is on very weak ground as a former president trying to invoke this and there's actually a lot of precedent for sitting administrations to hand over documents or get permission for prior administration officials to testify. So going back to the Church hearings in the 1970s, with Ford and Nixon, after 9/11, the Bush administration gave over documents from the Clinton administration, and then the Obama administration, of course, cooperating with Congress about torture.

So, there's a lot of precedent here. But, you know, normally these are negotiated between Congress and the executive branch. These instances didn't go to litigation.

SCIUTTO: Trump has claimed executive privilege for everything under the sun. So, I suppose we shouldn't be surprised but on the issue of potential criminal activity, it does not cover that, does it?

RANGAPPA: It does not.



RANGAPPA: It does not. So, if he were to take this to litigation, as I mentioned, he's already on shaky ground. This is a separation of powers principle. This is the tug of war between Congress and the executive branch. So, what a court would look at is what are the needs being balanced here, and Congress's need for oversight in this particular instance, is great.

Also, these concern things that the Justice Department has at least decided was Trump acting in his personal capacity regarding his campaign, these are not official acts. And then, as Jim pointed out, you know, as we learn from U.S. v. Nixon, you can't use the privilege to shield criminal conduct. So, it's very risky to go to a court and then have a court look at, you know, the scope of what's being asserted and say, well, I think there might be criminal conduct afoot.

SCIUTTO: Yeah. HILL: Well, and also just trying to pull an executive privilege here, we already saw Jeffrey Rosen, right, actually testified for the Senate Judiciary Committee, already spoke to them. And so, if executive privilege wasn't used in that moment, but now, Trump is saying, I want to try using this again, I mean, does that come into play as sort of an example or no?

RANGAPPA: Well, again, it's the sitting administration that can assert it. So, the Biden administration, or the Biden Justice Department has said, we think this is a compelling issue for Congress to investigate, we're going to work with them. And we think that this was a personal, you know, that Trump was acting in his personal capacity. So, they actually gave permission for these officials to testify.

HILL: Right. So, what Trump is trying to do is get some of these other, you know, presumably, Rosen was not going to stop, you know, from talking even if Trump told him to, but here Trump is trying to say that he's going to, you know, test this former -- I'm a former President, I can assert this. And I'll just add, you know, I think some people have said, is this obstruction of Congress? I don't think so. Because he's claimed -- I mean, I think because there's a litigation strategy here, I think it would be hard to say that this is obstruction of justice in some criminal sense or prove it in that way.

SCIUTTO: Can I ask a big picture question, we're not in what's out from January 6, and setting that aside for a moment, all the evidence of the weeks of efforts to overturn an election, right, by President many allies and trying to use the Justice Department et cetera. No one's been charged with anything.


SCIUTTO: Nine months in, 500 people have been charged or more with assaulting the Capitol, none of the ringleaders have faced any sort of legal consequences, will they? Where is most likely, and when?

RANGAPPA: It's a great question, Jim. So, I'll give the Department of Justice, the benefit of the doubt and then also a critique. The benefit of the doubt is to charge those peoples at the highest level would involve thing, you know, something -- having to charge a conspiracy. And that will take a long time to investigate and, you know, put together that case, because obviously, if you were going to go to Trump or his inner circle, you want that to be an airtight case before you charge it. Precisely because this is so sensitive and involves, you know, a political minefield.

I am very confused why Attorney General Garland hasn't Appointed Special Counsel, because this is precisely the kind of thing because simply in appointing the special counsel and stating the scope of, you know, what is to be investigated, gives the public some reassurance that, OK, it is being investigated, because right now it's a black box. We don't know where they're going if there's an act of criminal investigation that they're even pursuing, let alone whether someone's going to be charged. And I think that that can be undermining both, you know, our, the idea of the rule of law if people don't think that, you know, that's going to happen. SCIUTTO: Yeah, we had Richard Painter on air earlier in the week, who suggested the same thing was troubles that could be gamed out as well. We've seen special counsel investigations go on for a while, and yeah.

HILL: This is true.

SCIUTTO: Asha Rangappa, thank you so much.

RANGAPPA: Thank you.

HILL: Up next, the Surgeon General says he does expect more schools and mandate vaccines once the FDA authorizes those shots for five- to 11-year-olds. So, what is the timeline looking like this morning?



SCIUTTO: More vaccine mandates for children to come. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says that he believes more states will likely require COVID-19 vaccinations for children once it is authorized that vaccine for younger children, those between the ages of five and 11. The FDA is set to hold a meeting on October 26 to review the data. Pfizer just submitted for that vaccine and how it affects young children.

HILL: The Delta Variant, of course, is the most common form of COVID in the U.S. There are signs of that the Delta surge we've been following so closely, maybe slowing. The good news here all these numbers that we regularly look at, new COVID-19 cases. And most importantly, the number of people getting sick enough to be hospitalized. Those in ICU beds are down from their September highs.

Joining us now is Michael Osterholm. He's Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Good to have you with us. When we look at those numbers, and we talk a lot about you know, Jim, I really tried to focus really on the hospitalizations and the deaths here, the fact that those numbers are trending down, we've heard a lot of optimism from officials and experts over the last week or two saying, we are on the downward slope of this surge. Do you share some of that optimism?

DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: Well, clearly on a national level, we are in the downward slope. Unfortunately, if you live in the upper Midwest or the far northeast, you're not in that position. Today, Minnesota happens to lead the country in terms of increasing cases we've had 36% increase in cases in just the last two weeks. So, those are the last areas I think that will be made, have a major impact from the surge but generally speaking in the next three to four weeks, I think you'll see this surge having outlived its life.


SCIUTTO: Is it your view, you've heard this from, for instance, Scott Gottlieb, right?