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Manchin Says Expanding Medicare Is Not Fiscally Responsible Right Now; Biden Pitches Agenda Ahead of Key Week for Hill Negotiations; Georgia Police Department Orders Officers to Aim for Legs, Pelvis, Abdomen; Military Coup Underway in Sudan, Prime Minister Arrested. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 25, 2021 - 15:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Democrats say they may be on the cusp of a deal on President Biden's sweeping economic and social agenda. They say they may be able to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure package in the next day or two or three. To do that, they hope to reach agreement on a framework on that trimmed down social safety net package. And just last hour, the president made a personal pitch to the public to get this deal done.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill for us and Kaitlan Collins is at the White House. So, Manu, the president, we understand, spent yesterday with moderate Senator Joe Manchin, and it sounds like President Biden's succeeded in getting Manchin to conceptually agree to this spending bill. But what are the sticking points still?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's still several of them. In fact, Chuck Schumer, who is also part of that meeting, the majority leader just told reporters there are still three or four outstanding issues, and they're big issues.

Medicare expansion being one of them. How to deal with paid leave, they've come down to 4 weeks of paid leave, coming down from 12 weeks. Joe Manchin is still resisting that. How to deal with climate change, a key issue, there have been a lot of discussions about how that will be structured.

And how to pay for the program, after the separate moderate Senator Kyrsten Sinema raised concerns about corporate and individual tax rate hikes. Now they are looking for a whole suite of other measures, including a new billionaire's tax to help finance this program.

And now Joe Manchin while he has privately indicated he's open to going as high as $1.75 trillion in this plan, down from 3.5 trillion, that the White House had initially wanted, now is saying that he's still at $1.5 trillion at his number. And he made it clear to me earlier today that he is opposed to expanding Medicare which is a red line for a number of the progressives who are demanding that be part of the package.


RAJU: Are you open to expanding Medicare at this point?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): You know, my big concern right now is the 2026 deadline, that we have insolvency. And if no one is concerned about that, and I've got people who that's a lifeline, Medicare and Social Security is a lifeline to people back in West Virginia. Most people around the country, and you got to stabilize that first before you look at basically expansions.

RAJU: Some are adding dental, vision, hearing could make Medicare insolvent. That's what you're concerned with.

MANCHIN: Well, right now, it's not fiscally responsible, I don't think.

RAJU: Do you think there will be a framework agreement that's --

MANCHIN: I think a framework, should be. Really should be.

RAJU: Is 1.75 too much for a topline? 1.75 too much?

MANCHIN: I'm still 1.5 guys.


RAJU: So, on Medicare Bernie Sanders and other liberals have said that an expansion to include dental, vision, and hearing must be included in the final package, but when you heard right there, Joe Manchin is just not going for it. So, how does that get resolved? Still uncertain. Even as Manchin believes a larger agreement could be reached on the outlines and that could pave the way for that separate infrastructure bill to be approved by the House this week. There are still some key questions in a key moment here as they to race to cut a deal by the middle of this week.

CAMEROTA: You got a lot of good information out of him there, Manu.


Kaitlan, last hour, we heard President Biden saying let's get this done, and it sounded like a pep talk to his party. So, what is the president's plan to try to close the deal this week?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, his challenge right now is trying to sell this bill on the road while they are still trying to figure -- out as Manu laid out -- what's actually going to be in it? And of course, part of that includes trying to get these key centrist hold outs still on board with this. And so, the president was in New Jersey earlier today, he's on his way back here to the White House now. But he's selling this bill on the road while still trying to get those lawmakers here in Washington on board with it, so they can actually get an agreement, and potentially get that infrastructure plan passed before he does leave for Europe later this week.

And so, this is how the president is framing it. Especially, in light of what you heard Senator Manchin there tell Manu when it comes to what he thinks the price tag on this should be.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These bills are not about left versus right or moderate versus progressive or anything that pits one American against another. These bills are about competitiveness versus complacency. You hear these numbers, 3.5 trillion or 1.75 trillion, we pay for it all. It doesn't increase the deficit one single cent.


COLLINS: Now, obviously that is what the White House has been pushing. They're also still trying to figure out how they are going to pay for this after, of course, after Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema said she was still opposed to raising taxes on corporations and high earners.

But Alisyn, we should note the White House is making no secret of the fact that they do want to have an agreement conceptually -- as Senator Manchin put it earlier, at least -- by the time the president does get on Air Force One on Thursday and head to Europe. Because he's meeting with several world leaders. He's also got that major climate summit, and he would like to have the provisions of the climate agreement and the portion of this bill secured by then, so it is something he can tout at that summit. Of course, whether or not that happens remains to be seen.

CAMEROTA: OK, we'll stand by for more information, Kaitlan and Manu, thank you both.

OK, here's an interesting debate. Rather than shoot to kill, should police shoot to incapacitate? This is the new policy for one Georgia police department, but not everyone is on board, and we'll discuss it next.



CAMEROTA: After many deadly police encounters a common question emerges, do police have to shoot to kill? Most officers are, in fact, trained to aim for center mass, the middle of the torso.

Now, one police department in Georgia is taking a different approach. The police chief in La Grange is training his officers to aim for the legs, pelvis or abdomen arguing this tactic could help reduce the number of deadly police shootings every year.

So, let's get both sides. With Terrance Gainer, the former Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police and Bobby Chacon former FBI special agent. Great to have both of you here. OK, Chief Gainer, you first, so you think that this is maybe even a good idea, tell us that side of the argument?

TERRANCE GAINER, FORMER CHIEF, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Well, Alisyn, I don't think it's an either/or. Number one, police don't shoot to kill. They do shoot to incapacitate. So, I applaud the chief looking at other ways to minimize deadly force depending on the circumstances and depending on the training.

CAMEROTA: But chief, aren't police trained to shoot to kill? I mean, when we, you know, when there were all of those news stories that we all watched unfortunately so vividly because of some cell phone video or bodycam video, we kept hearing police are trained to shoot to kill.

GAINER: Well, again, Alisyn, that may be the consequence of getting shot in the chest, the place they are aiming, but it's not a shoot to kill. The police departments have for the longest time, and especially in the past year, year and a half, have been concentrating on time and distance, and seeing how you could end something without using deadly force.

So, this would only work, the incapacitation, shooting the gun out of someone's hand or shooting them in the arm if there was an awful lot of training, and we're talking the little bit I know about the FBI (INAUDIBLE) as a boy spent some 25 years there, those agents generally will pump 50 to 100,000 rounds a year. On a good year, on a regular police department, they might not be practicing for more than 200 rounds and they're shooting at a static target.

So, when you're in a moving target situation, a moving situation with all that's going on, hitting someone square in the chest is difficult let alone to try to, like I say, shoot the gun out of their hand or wing them someplace.

But if they're working on that, and they are comfortable with a number of shots their officers get, and their qualifications, maybe it will work.

CAMEROTA: OK, so Bobby, do you think that's the big problem with this plan, is that it's just much harder to shoot somebody in the leg?

BOBBY CHACON, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: I absolutely do, and I agree with the chief. A couple of years ago the terminology was changed to we shoot to stop the threat, usually that means to incapacitate. And because a gun is a deadly weapon, that often results in the death of person being shot. But you're right, I mean the limbs, they're the smaller part of the body, they move obviously more than the torso. The trunk is the widest part, it's also the most stationary part.

So, if you're going to require a level of marksmanship to shoot a gun out of someone's hand or to shoot them in a very specific part of their body, you're going to have to train those officers and the chief is right, most small departments do not have the budget. Ammunition has gone skyrocketed in prices in recent decades and the cost of giving your officers that many rounds to practice with is prohibitive from many departments, many smaller departments.


And so, I always favor, and I do favor -- I'm strongly a proponent of less than lethal -- other less than lethal methods. I wish we saw more of them. But a firearm shooting a real bullet is a deadly weapon and to require the level of marksmanship that a policy like this might require is going to take a lot of ammunition, a lot of practice, and that's going to be a very costly endeavor for a lot of small departments.

CAMEROTA: I hear what you're saying, though I mean it's hard to equate, you know, the cost for small departments and the cost of someone's life that didn't have a gun. We've seen this time and again, the suspect doesn't have a gun, maybe they have a weapon, maybe they have a screwdriver or something, but they're killed by the police. And the public says, why couldn't they just have shot them in the leg to stop them, but Bobby, when you say that less lethal methods, what else is there?

CHACON: Well, the only less lethal weapon that most people will know about is a taser, right, and even that, the taser that most offices carry now, that technology is decades old, even now. So I am a proponent that with the technology we have in smartphones in recent years, I am always curious about why there hasn't been more research and development into ways and technologies and things that police can use to incapacitate people without taking their lives. I'm not an expert in those devices, but I think that more research, and more should be done to explore those type of devices.

CAMEROTA: Well, it sounds like what this chief is doing -- yes, go ahead, chief, quickly.

GAINER: Alisyn, I was going to say, it's very fair to ask the question. And it's not necessarily just the money for the ammunition, but he is correct. Again, people on SWAT teams or hostage rescue teams or the specialty work that Bobby has done requires a lot of training, a lot of hours, and a lot of practice. But I want to emphasize target shooting is very different from moving while the offender is moving or you're moving and all the other pressure on that.

And right now, and this question seems to be concentrating on someone with a firearm, the police department's now, there's a program called ICAT run by the Police Executive Research Forum that hundreds of police departments are using across the United States to concentrate on the response. So, you have well-trained officers with good information, and time and distance may be on your side for any one of those incidents, and we want to explore those.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it will be very interesting to see what happens in La Grange since they're starting this training process, and if they're able to pull it off. Terrence Gainer, Bobby Chacon, thank you both very much the thoughts.

GAINER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, we do have some breaking news, gunfire and protests in the streets of Sudan after the military takes control of the government there, so how the White House is now responding.


[15:50:00] CAMEROTA: The U.S. is now pausing $700 million in emergency assistance to Sudan following the military coup that began this morning. There have been a series of protests in the country. People blocking bridges and burning tires in the capitol city. The military is arresting political leaders, including the nation's interim Prime Minister.

A White House spokesperson said that President Biden and the administration is deeply alarmed by this military takeover. CNN's senior international correspondent Nima Elbagir has extensively covered the developments in Sudan. So Nima, what happens next?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have already, as you pointed out, heard from the White House. But not just the White House. Close Biden ally Senator Chris Coons has spoken out today saying that he as the chair of the panel that controls the allocation of foreign assistance has no intention of giving U.S. assistance to any government in Sudan that doesn't contain a civilian component.

And what's been interesting is to see how quickly both Biden and his allies are responding, given that in other coups such as that in Mali or even in Tunisia, we haven't seen that response, and that speaks to how important the whole calculus is in the Horn of Africa where Sudan is at the moment.

You have the instability in Ethiopia. You have the instability in Somalia, concerns about the coming Kenyan elections. This really is incredibly worrying within that context.

And within the context that people almost three years ago were genuinely excited about what seems like this incredible story of pro- democracy protesters actually winning against a dictatorship -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: And the demonstrators are saying that they'll stay on the streets until the civilian leaders are brought back. And last time they stayed out there for months. So, what's the sense of how long this could last?

ELBAGIR: The sense really is that with the comments we're hearing from the White House and other global leaders and what we're hearing from the demonstrators themselves, which is we are not going home. We do not trust these soldiers. We didn't trust them before so we stayed on the streets for months and we don't trust them now.

There is really the sense of the standoff that Sudan's erstwhile military leaders are playing chicken, not just with the world but with their own populous.


And we've had real difficulty in getting hold of people in Sudan. It's been really heartbreaking to hear numbers that we had dialed in the past of leaders who were excited about their country's future ring out and people are genuinely concerned about the fate of the Prime Minister and his wife, who are currently being held in an unknown location.

But the demonstrators say that they believe in themselves and their ability to stay on the streets -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: And they have a history of it. Nima Elbagir, thank you for the reporting.

And "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after this very quick break.