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Biden Tuts New Infrastructure Law in New Hampshire; Top Democrats Wait or CBO Estimate on Biden's Spending Bill; Biden Says He Made Progress on Taiwan with Xi Jinping; House Committee Plans to Issue More Subpoenas; Parts of Europe Imposing New Restrictions as Cases Spike; Supply Chain Chaos is Impacting Holiday Shopping. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired November 17, 2021 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top stories this hour.

Jurors will resume deliberating in the criminal trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. A verdict could be reached within the coming hours but strict instructions to consider and the flooding could delay a decision.

And the flooding in the U.S. Pacific Northwest has forced thousands of people to evacuate. The severe weather also caused mudslides in British Columbia, Canada. Authorities say several people are still missing.

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to travel to Michigan later today where he'll discuss the benefits of the new infrastructure bill just signed into law this week. But he still faces other hurdles on Capitol Hill. The White House and top Democrats are expected an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office to show their sweeping plan to expand the social safety net will fail to meet the president's promise not to add to the federal deficit. Phil Mattingly has the details on that.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden wasted no time getting out into the country trying to sell that $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal he signed into law just 24 hours prior. He was in New Hampshire, standing on an 80-year-old bridge that is sorely in need are repairs, trying to underscore, trying to hammer home the tangible benefits he and his administration see in that bipartisan proposal.

Flanking him, the New Hampshire Democratic Congressional delegation, several of whom are considered top targets by Republicans in the midterm elections. Underscoring the idea that this isn't just a policy win for the administration, they see it as a potential political boon as well.

However, it is not the end of the president's legislative efforts. There is a second piece of his $3 trillion domestic agenda and that piece saw a number of hurdles ahead, and the president and House Democrats trying to at least get it through that chamber by the end of this week and the president seems optimistic.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm confident the House is going to pass this bill, and when it pass, it will go to the Senate. I think we will get it passed within a week. And it is fully paid for and reduce the deficit over the long term as I said.

MATTINGLY: Now one of the outstanding issues has been whether or not that bill will be paid for and that is why it has been delayed up to this point. A group of House moderates making clear they want to see the full Congressional Budget Office score before they're willing to vote for that proposal and the assumption that it will line up with what White House officials have been estimating on that front over the course of the last several of weeks.

There is expected to be some divergence, but to this point, moderates seem pretty comfortable that is going to land where they expected to and that means that the expectations of the president that the bill will pass the House by the end of this week, most Democrats are increasingly comfortable that will be the case. However, there's another chamber involved here and in the U.S. Senate the White House still does not have a clear pathway of all 50 Democrats signing on. Most notably Senator Joe Manchin the centrist Senator from West Virginia still raising concerns about that roughly $2 trillion proposal. Still raising concerns about inflation, that's it's at three decade high at this point in time. Still making clear there is a lot of work left to go.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader however saying the Senate wants it done by Christmas. Obviously, a lot of work in the coming weeks.

Phil Mattingly, CNN, the White House.


FOSTER: The U.S. and China have agreed to ease visa restrictions on journalists from each other's countries, an issue that's a source of contention between the two sides. This development comes after the high stakes summit between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.


Now tensions over Taiwan dominated those talks with Mr. Biden citing some progress on the issue. He also made clear the U.S. is not changing its policy on Taiwan and clarified an earlier comment when it came to its independence.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I said that they have to decide, they, Taiwan, not us, and we are not encouraging independence, we're encouraging that they do exactly what the Taiwan actions requires.


FOSTER: CNN's Will Ripley joins us now from Taipei. And the language is so sensitive around this issue, and it does cause concerns, doesn't it, when there is a slight slipping in that language?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that's why the ministry of foreign affairs here in Taipei blasted Beijing and particularly Chinese state media for mischaracterizing in their view what President Biden said. Yes, he said he supports the one China policy the United States has had for decades. But what Chinese state media didn't mentioned is the Taiwan Relations Act that you just heard President Biden mentioned.

That act compels the United States to sell Taiwan defensive weapons. Taiwan bought $5 billion in weapons from the U.S. just last year. But it's being vastly outspent, 15 to one by Beijing which is building more weapons, more missiles, more ships, more planes, and some fear that if this regional arms race doesn't get under control, it could escalate and perhaps even tip over.

FOSTER: OK, and in terms of how this moves forward, what's the talk in Taiwan, for example, about the future of the relationship between the U.S. and China, and how Taiwan falls in between? Because you know, a lot of people there feel quite insecure about their future, don't they?

RIPLEY: Taiwan is a small island, 23 1/2 or so million people, a self- governing democracy that has a behemoth of a neighbor, 1.5 billion people. An authoritarian government, massive military, and it claims the island as its own territory. It has ever since the end of China's civil war more than 70 years ago even though Beijing communist rulers has never controlled the island. It's had its own government and military for the last 70 years.

But within the last 40 years, what Beijing has done is essentially tried to diplomatically isolate the leadership here. And so, a lot of countries, including the U.S., cut off formal diplomatic ties around, you know, more than 40 years ago. And now have these friendships with Taiwan, friendships that Taiwan is counting on to keep Beijing at bay even as President Xi Jinping consistently says that if Taiwan were to try to formally declare its independence, Beijing would forcefully reunify this island if necessary.

And so, we know that there are discussions happening at the lower level between U.S. officials, Taiwanese officials about the Biden/Xi summit because here in Taiwan they want to know where the U.S. stands now. And they put out a statement saying that they were reassured that the United States policy on Taiwan hasn't changed, that President Biden made very clear he supports the status quo which is a self- governing Taiwan that continues to bolster its self-defense capabilities as well as continuing to have this one China policy with the government in Beijing.

But from the Beijing point of view, the U.S. has been calling for a bigger voice for Taiwan at the United Nations, much to Beijing's chagrin. And of course, Beijing doesn't like to see all of those American made weapons being purchased and utilized. And also, they don't like to see hundreds of military personnel here in Taiwan, over the last, you know, couple of years, training Taiwanese troops.

So, it's certainly a situation where the two sides need to talk, and with all of the regional arms race that is unfolding here, it's a good thing, analysts say, that they're talking about this, and couldn't come soon enough.

FOSTER: OK, Will, in Taiwan, thank you.

Now the sudden disappearance of a Chinese tennis player is raising concerns amongst the sporting world. Earlier this month Peng Shuai took to social media to accuse a retired Chinese state leader of sexually assaulted her. The post was quickly removed and Peng hasn't been seen in public since. Tennis authorities have called on the Chinese government to investigator allegations saying she should be heard, not censored.

Now the tennis star Naomi Osaka is adding her voice, tweeting censorship is never OK at any cost. I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and OK. I'm in shock of the current situation, and I'm sending love and light her way.

Other stars like Novak Djokovic, Billy Jean King and Martina Navratilova have also voiced their support.

Attorneys for Donald Trump are taking a new approach to try to keep presidential secrets from Congress. They say releasing documents requested by the January 6 committee would give the legislative branch too much power. More now on the committee's investigation from CNN's Jessica Schneider.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The January 6th committee is plowing forward planning to issue even more subpoenas this week, that's according to the Chairman Bennie Thompson. So far, the committee has issued 35 including the key former Trump officials like Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, top advisor Steven Miller.


But the committee has also faced fierce resistance. Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, of course, has been indicted for contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with his subpoena. The committee also now considering referring Mark Meadows for criminal contempt, after he refused to fully comply.

But the committee is being hampered here by time, members are only in DC until Friday. That's when they'll head back to their districts for the Thanksgiving holiday and there's really no way to play out a criminal contempt referral that fast. So, any decision on Meadows will likely not play out until the last week of November. Plus, we've learned that the chairman of the committee is going to be

sending out one more letter to Meadows to give him another chance to comply. The committee also has a looming legal fight. It will go to court to argue against Trump's attorneys claims of executive privilege, that will be on November 30th. In fact, the former president's attorneys filed their brief on Tuesday arguing that if the court does not stop the Select Committee from accessing these presidential records, it could forever change the dynamic between the political branches, even warning that Congress could use its power as a weapon to harass political rivals.

The appeals court though likely won't decide that case until early December, and at that point, it would be likely appealed to the Supreme Court. Meaning any turnover of documents to the committee could maybe not even be until 2022.

Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Now from mask mandates to restrictions on movement. Countries here in Europe are using a varieties of tough new measures to fight growing coronavirus outbreaks. We're live in Paris for you with the latest next.


FOSTER: The World Health Organization warns new COVID infections are on the rise around the world. Up at least 6 percent from last week. In its weekly report published Tuesday, the W.H.O. recognized Europe, the Americas, and the Western Pacific as regions showing a 6 percent or higher increase in new cases.


More Americans could be eligible for a COVID booster shots within a matter of days. The CDC advisers are set to meet Friday to discuss expanding eligibility for Pfizer's vaccine booster to all adults. The panel typically meets only after the FDA has given the green light, so Friday's meeting is a sign that FDA approval could come at any time.

But some states aren't waiting on official approval. These five states have now expanded booster shot eligibility to anyone 18 and older. Meanwhile, New York is encouraging any adults who feel at risk to get the booster.

Parts of Asia are also taking precautions to slow the new infections. Beijing is now limiting all flights from medium and high-risk areas to just one per day due to outbreaks of the delta variant. Anyone entering the city must test negative for COVID.

And Hong Kong Disneyland, closed its gates on Wednesday, after park guests tested positive for COVID-19. All park workers are now being tested and the government is requiring testing for any guests who were present at the time. Countries in Europe are also doubling down on restriction. In Germany,

more states are putting restrictions on the unvaccinated by requiring both shots or proof that they recovered from the virus in the last six months to enter some public venues.

And two regions in France are now requiring masks outdoors to slow the spread of new infections. The French government says the country is in a state of alert over rising cases but still faring better than some neighbors.

Cyril Vanier joins us from Paris with more. Interesting to be wearing masks outside. It is a real indication of how seriously the authorities are taking the risk here.

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, absolutely. Authorities have said here in France that we're in a state of alert. Now, this country has a high vaccination uptake, 75 percent of the French population is fully vaccinated, and if you condense that number, Max, 90 percent, I think it is actually the number that matters a bit more, 90 percent of the eligible population, that's to say people here age 12 and up, are fully vaccinated.

So, France can take its time relative to neighbors like Germany or countries like Austria, which you're seeing high or record high infection numbers. France can take a little bit more time before it imposing more drastic measure. But certainly, this appears to be only the beginning of the measure that you raised, Max, the idea that now, in certain parts of France, two administrative regions have reimposed a mask mandate outdoors in multiple towns. It's something that the French, you know, nationwide had to abide by for many months, and certainly everyone here was very happy when they were able to go out on the street without wearing a mask. It is starting to come back. And the likelihood is it's only a start -- Max.

FOSTER: And with, you know, just basically, a mild winter so far, going into winter, it doesn't look as though, you know, from the outside, that Europe is locking down this winter?

VANIER: Well, right now, you have several factors converging. You have the low temperatures of winter that is going to be gradually more and more driving people indoors, where they have more opportunities to infect one another. It's also the fact that waning immunity. If you think about all of the people who got vaccinated in the early stages say from February to May, just do the math, we're six months later, and we now understand that immunity wanes after six months.

So, you have tens of millions of people in France, and across the continent who are -- have lost their immunity or are losing their immunity. Those two factors combined are why so many European countries are worried. Both those that are currently experiencing high infection numbers and those that think they will relatively shortly like France.

FOSTER: OK, Cyril in Paris. Thank you.

Still to come, supply chain problems, may make holiday shopping more challenging this year. We'll show you which items might be the hardest to find.



FOSTER: Congress is facing a big deadline. The U.S. federal government is expected to run out of money on December 15th. That's the new estimate hitting the debt ceiling from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. The previous estimate was December 3rd. It's not clear how lawmakers will manage the issue. No action taken the U.S. could default for the first time in history and not be able to pay its bills.

Speaking of money, retail experts say it is time for holiday shoppers to reach for their wallets. Supply chain disruptions have left companies scrambling to keep inventory in stock. Experts advise you should start shopping now. As CNN's Tom Foreman explains.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over 2 billion times, that's how often the words "out of stock" came up as researchers tracked just 18 different product categories online in October. That's worse than last year and much worse than two years ago.

Among the hardest hit items, according to Adobe Analytics, electronics, jewelry, clothing, home wares and pet supplies.

The trend has been driven in large part by months of people sitting at home shopping online in the pandemic and the holidays are amping it up.

JONATHAN GOLD, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: These demand for the products as well as the materials to make those products is just far outpacing the available supply of those products and materials as well as what's needed to move those products through the supply chain to the consumer.

FOREMAN (voice-over) him: Imported goods are especially vulnerable. Not only are manufacturers and shippers navigating a maze of periodic shutdowns but even when their cargos arrives, they are piling up in ports waiting to unload. Rosemary Coats is a supply chain expert.

ROSEMARY COATES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RESHORING INSTITUTE: There is a shortage of truck drivers. There's a shortage of warehouse space and workers all along that supply chain. So, this is not, you know, a snap your fingers and organize a solution.


FOREMAN (voice-over): That means for consumers, the day after Thanksgiving could be more like bleak Friday with some products hard to find and prices rising.

Best tips? Shop early. If you see what you want --

GOLD: Buy it now.

COATES: Buy it. Definitely. Buy it now.

FOREMAN (voice-over): And have faith, just like many retailers, that the holidays will wind up happy anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, are you ready to fly to grandma's?


FOREMAN: Retailers met at the White House recently trying to corral the grinchy-ness of this supply chain problem but experts say it's unlikely they'll see anything like normal until after the holidays, maybe in time for Christmas 2022.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Meanwhile, the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will be back in full swing next week in New York, with 60 floats making their debut this year. The usual crowds will also be allowed to line the parade route once again. Last year's parade was for TV only in the route was shortened due to the pandemic.

Actually, more than two years since Spider-Man has appeared on the big screen but fans don't have to wait much longer. Here is a look at "Spider-Man, No Way Home."


TOM HOLLAND, ACTOR: Ever since I got bit by the spider, but only had one week when my life has felt normal. That is when you found out.


FOSTER: Actor Tom Holland appears in the third film as Spider-Man, racing to fix the universe whilst fighting off his worst enemies and villains. From previous Spider-Man movies stretching back to the early 2000s, fans will have to wait until December 17th though when the film swings into theaters to see the Spidey saves the day.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Max Foster in London. "EARLY START" with Laura Jarrett up next. You're watching CNN.