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Dem Leader Hoyer Won't Seek Reelection To Leadership; Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) Discusses About The Future Of Democratic Caucus Next Congress; Twitter Employees Deciding Between Working "Hardcore" And Leaving. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired November 17, 2022 - 15:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: It's top of the hour on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Alisyn Camerota.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.

From homemaker to House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi reflects on her pioneering career on Capitol Hill after she says that she will not run for Democratic leadership next year.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Never would I have thought that someday I would go from homemaker to House Speaker. In fact, I never - and with great confidence in our caucus, I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress. For me, the hour has come for new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.


BLACKWELL: Pelosi has spent two decades at the top of her party helping to pass major legislation that impacts all of us.

CAMEROTA: I mean, just some of her work spans from Obamacare to the Fair Pay Act to the American Rescue Plan, to the bipartisan infrastructure bill and, of course, many more. She was the first woman to become Speaker of the House and second in line to the president. She was first elected to lead the caucus in 2007.


PELOSI: It's an historic moment for the Congress. It's an historic moment for the women of America. It is a moment for which we have waited over 200 years.


CAMEROTA: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also announcing that he will not run for elected leadership position in the next Congress.

Let's bring in CNN Congressional Correspondent Jessica Dean, she joins us now. So Jessica, who is expected to be the next Democratic leader?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, all eyes are on Hakeem Jeffries who just told my colleague Daniella Diaz just moments ago, he really wants this day to be about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He's not talking about what his future plans are right now. He really wants the focus to be on Pelosi.

And Victor and Alisyn, I'll tell you, it was clearly a historic moment. It had that feeling that heft to it outside the chamber, inside the chamber today, as House members watched Nancy Pelosi deliver the speech earlier today. All we knew was that she would be talking about the future that she'd taken two versions of that speech home with her according to a source and now we know what her future plans will be. She will remain in the House but not in leadership, which really paves the way for a brand new next generation of talent to come up within the Democratic Party and lead them.

And you mentioned, Hoyer also not running, Jim Clyburn will likely step aside. So this is quite a sea change in terms of Democratic leadership, some 20 years that she's been the head of House Democrats. So for some of these members, that's certainly all they've ever known, even those who've been here a pretty long time and she talked about just how much has changed while she's been in that position, listen.


PELOSI: When I came to the Congress in 1987, there were 12 Democratic women. Now they're over 90 and we want more.


DEAN: And you'll notice she's wearing her white suit. She often wears white in big moments, of course, the color of suffragettes that they wore to get the votes many years ago and so again, not surprising to see her in that color today as she really ended this historic run. Victor and Alisyn, as you mentioned, the eyes now turn to what happens next, that's Hakeem Jeffries, and likely a leadership team also including Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar. But all of them really today trying to keep the focus on Pelosi on what she's accomplished.

BLACKWELL: All right. Jessica Dean there on Capitol Hill. Thank you, Jessica.

House GOP leaders have already vowed to investigate President Biden, his son Hunter Biden, the family's business dealings now that they have control of the House or at least they will in the next Congress.

CAMEROTA: CNN's Melanie Zanona has more on what to expect. So Melanie is the word gridlock?


MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: (Inaudible) to multiple lawmakers about what they're expecting in the new Congress and they've used words like government shutdown, hazard pay, chaos, mayhem, herding cats, just to name a few. I mean, the reality is in a razor thin House Republican majority, any few members can have power. They can derail the legislative process, they can hold things up, they can take bills down, not vote for them.

And so even messaging bills in a Republican-led house are going to be challenging, let alone the basic functions of government like funding the government or lifting the debt ceiling. And so that is why you're likely to see investigations really take center stage, Republicans had already promised to conduct rigorous oversight into the Biden administration. And today, we saw their opening salvo in that fight two leading Republicans, Jim Jordan and James Comer hold a joint press conference to outline what they say are the business dealings involving Hunter Biden, they're going to try to link it to President Joe Biden, but that is just one investigative target.

They also want to investigate the pull out of Afghanistan, the origins of COVID-19, the border, the DOJ's investigation into Donald Trump, so just a whole litany of things. But guys, one other thing to look out for here is that not every Republican in the party has a huge appetite for all of these probes. Some of them yes, but not all of them.

They're worried about overreach. They're worried about turning off moderates and independents. They say we should use our newfound majority to get things done to show that this place can work to address the priorities that we ran on. So that is going to be a key challenge for whoever is Speaker of the House next year.

CAMEROTA: Melanie Zanona, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Joining us now is Democratic congressman, Ami Bera of California. Congressman, good to have you. I've got a lot to get to, but let me just give you a few seconds here, your thoughts on this announcement, this decision from outgoing speaker, Nancy Pelosi.

REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): Yes, it's a bittersweet day today. She certainly deserves all the accolades and time with her family and so forth. But she's been a remarkable leader, that was one of the best speeches that I've ever heard and we all have our own personal Nancy Pelosi stories. But I am most thankful that she is going to still stick around and we will have her knowledge.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's look ahead now to the future of leadership in the caucus. Hakeem Jeffries expected to run, Steny Hoyer says he's not going to run for minority leader. He's a member of the House Progressive Caucus, you are not, would you support Hakeem Jeffries for Minority Leader.

BERA: A hundred percent. I think Hakeem will be a strong and unifying leader and I've said that publicly for a long time if this time came. He's the person for the job.

BLACKWELL: All right. Let's talk about your effort to join leadership as head of the DCCC. You led the frontline program to get some vulnerable Democrats reelected. They're in competitive districts, certainly. Your win rate here, 34 wins, four losses, Katie Porter's race still not called yet. You are now running for Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to get back into the majority in 2024. Why should your colleagues choose you instead of Rep. Cardenas who's also running?

BERA: That's pretty good track record to run on it and I think Katie Porter will win. We're slow in California, sometimes counting votes, but out of 39 toughest races, I won 35 of them. And that really goes to the members and the campaigns they ran, but we were there - right there with them.

So now's not the time to tear down the DCCC and try to rebuild it. It's to look at what worked build on that. We've got talented staff at the DCCC. Let's try to retain some of that talent. And then we did miss some things, right? Nobody had Lauren Boebert see Colorado (inaudible) on our radar screen. We've got our butt kicked in South Florida, we've got to understand that. And we underperformed in New York State. If we've done what we normally do in New York, we'd be talking about the majority and speaker Hakeem Jeffries.

BLACKWELL: Republicans today telegraphed at least one of their investigations that's coming into Hunter Biden. You are on a House Foreign Affairs, we know there will be an investigation into the chaotic U.S. pullout from Afghanistan. Do you support that that there should be more oversight and investigation into the U.S.' decision to pull out and how it was executed, 13 Americans were killed.

BERA: Certainly we should try to understand what happened with the withdrawal out of Afghanistan and what we could do better next time. But if this - this is political circus to try to smear the President, that doesn't actually solve the answers. That's what we saw with Benghazi.

We understood that there were mishaps at Benghazi and we took steps to protect our Foreign Service officers, ambassadors, et cetera. If we want to do that, yes, that's perfectly acceptable. If this is all political and showmanship, that's a circus.


BLACKWELL: So you entered the Congress when John Boehner was still speaker and you remember, this is pre-Freedom Caucus, the Tea Party then was on the right of the party pulling him in one direction in 2015, eventually, because of the push and pull, he resigned. So what are you expecting from this new Republican majority with such a slim majority that we're going to see over the next Congress?

BERA: So look, I respect John Boehner and he was an institutionalist. He would walk around super frustrated with the Tea Party back in those days and he use colorful language, so I'm not going to repeat his language, but he was frustrated with them. Ultimately, he left.

Paul Ryan, an institutionalist, wanted to do policy, got ground down by the - if Kevin McCarthy can get 218 votes, is he going to be the ringleader of that circus? I don't know that. But they're not talking about lowering gas prices. They're not talking about making the price of milk more accessible and addressing inflation. They're talking about investigations. That's not what the American public wants.

There's a reason why we did very well, in this election cycle. We didn't quite get to the majority, but if they don't address those things and it's just a circus in town, we will do very well in 2024. And think about the lead clown and Donald Trump just announced that he's going to run for president. He is going to hold them hostage or at least tear them apart as a caucus and demand loyalty.

BLACKWELL: All right. Congressman Ami Bera, thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Let's bring in CNN Senior Political Correspondent, Abby Phillip, anchor of INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. Abby, great to see you.

About the question of whether or not Congress - I hear people say, oh, so now the Congress is divided. Is it just going to be gridlock? Yes, of course it is. That's the whole point. I mean, that's what Republicans, they're proud that they're going to serve as impediments, right? Isn't that the plan?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think you're probably right. It is going to be gridlock that is typically what happens in a divided Congress. But I do think that there are at times - well, first of all, there are some things that they have to do, one of them is fund the government.

So there are some things that they're going to have to figure out a bipartisan way forward on and that's going to really come to a head in the next couple of months, very soon after this midterm election cycle. And Republicans in the House, especially are going to face a choice, how much do they want to just resist or do they want to come to the table in some way, extract concessions, but get a deal done.

I think Republicans if you think back to even the Trump years, when Republicans held the cards, but they still shut the government down over Trump's demands for a border wall, I think the American people did not look on that very kindly. It was not something that served them very well and I think that there is a risk here and being so - in being solely a roadblock and solely just the - nothing moves forward caucus, that I think the American people want to see something done, especially now given that we're perhaps on the verge of an economic recession and I think people are just frustrated with what's going on in Washington.

BLACKWELL: Abby, I wonder this is something I'm trying to think through and I don't know if you have, what is next for Nancy Pelosi. She's not going to be the speaker, but she still will be a member of Congress. Does she go to join the committee? Is she - like how do you offer the guidance that maybe the new leadership will leave but this dominant figure for decades, not overshadow or undermine?

PHILLIP: Yes, it is a really interesting position for her to be in. But in some ways, it feels to me like a compromise. Like she decided - looking at the picture that she faced that she wanted to hand the reins over to this new generation, but was not going to leave them hanging because there were a lot of Democrats on the Hill, who simply felt like they still need Nancy Pelosi, they still need her experience, they still need her skill, they still need her gravitas, her understanding of how to maneuver and how to legislate her ability that has been proven to bring the parts of the caucus together, the progressives and moderates and the like.

And so that's not going to go away, but she is taking a step back from being at the front of it all. Do I think that we are going to stop hearing from Nancy Pelosi? Probably not. And I think that if she really wanted to take a step back fully and leave Congress, she simply would have done that. But I think this to me felt like a compromised position. And frankly, there are so many Democrats who two years ago and four years ago were eager to push Pelosi out. Those same Democrats today, they want generational change, but they respect her. They've seen what she's done.


And I think that they value what she brings to the table by just simply being still a part of the House of Representatives.

CAMEROTA: Abby, while we have you, I just wanted to quickly ask you about Congresswoman Karen Bass, now mayor-elect of Los Angeles. It's so interesting to watch how she won there, because homelessness was on the ballot, crime as in all big cities and those were things that Republicans really hit hard, and yet she is a Democrat, won in that big city.

Now, I know that California is generally blue, but do you think that - what do you think that says about those big issues and that a Democrat won?

PHILLIP: Yes. I think that that is so fascinating that this mayor's race really seemed to revolve around whether the city wanted to kind of stick with a kind of long tradition of Democratic leadership, and also the crime issue being used against Democrat, sort of, if you will, establishment figures. I think you could start - you could characterize Karen Bass in that way. It just didn't work.

And it's - if it were an outlier, I would say it's - it has something to do, specifically, with Los Angeles. But when you think about the landscape of the Midterm Election cycle, Republicans all over the country were running on crime, were running on this idea of kind of lawlessness in American cities and Democratic run - and places in New York as well and that just didn't work.

There were other things, I think, apparently on voter's minds and I just think it just goes to show there are limitations to how that argument can work. There is no more well worn tool in politics than fear mongering around crime. And it was utilized really to a great degree by Republicans in this last Midterm Election cycle.

I think it was perhaps the second most - they spent on that issue than anything else other than the economy and inflation, but it just did not have the legs that they thought that it did. It just shows that there has to be more to the message other than things are really terrible and need to kick Democrats out as a result of that.

BLACKWELL: All right. Abby Phillip, thank you.

Well, Twitter staffers have just a few hours left before the hardcore deadline that Elon Musk gave them. Some are telling CNN if they will stay or go.

CAMEROTA: And mass layoffs at Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Roku, why is the tech industry in such turmoil, ahead.



BLACKWELL: Twitter employees have 90 minutes to decide if they want to work hardcore or leave the company.

CAMEROTA: They have a 5 pm hardcore deadline. If they leave, they'll be thrust into a tech industry landscape seeing more layoffs today. CNN's Oliver Darcy and Matt Egan join us now.

So Oliver, let's start with what's happening at Twitter. I know you've spoken with some of the employees, what are they telling you?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: They don't seem very excited about working hardcore. The people that I've been speaking to just are not amped about staying at Twitter. Some of them feel cursed that they weren't laid off with the initial layoff a couple of weeks ago when Elon executed mass cuts at the company.

And so they're seemingly ready to just take the three months of severance and find a job elsewhere if they can. I will say everyone I spoke to basically plans on leaving, but one person told me that they will stay because change comes from the inside, they explained, not the outside, so.

BLACKWELL: There's this call for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Twitter, what's that about?

DARCY: Yes. Sen. Blumenthal and a number of other senators are asking the FTC to look at Twitter to make sure that they're not in violation of consumer protection laws, which they're concerned that Twitter might be right now. And they point too that the Twitter blue rollout where people could impersonate other individuals on the platform pretty easily.

I'll read part of what they said. They write: "We urge the Commission to vigorously oversee its consent decree with Twitter and to bring enforcement actions against any breaches or business practices that are unfair or deceptive, including bringing civil penalties and imposing liability on individual Twitter executives where appropriate."

I should note the FTC said earlier last week, I believe, that they were deeply concerned with some of the changes that Twitter has made, so we'll see what happens here. BLACKWELL: Okay.

CAMEROTA: So Matt, what's happening in the rest of the tech industry?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, we've seen this wave of pink slips get handed out not just with Twitter all over the place, the latest Roku announcing 200 job cuts. The specifically stated: "Current economic conditions that's on top of Lyft cutting 13 percent of its workforce, Facebook owner meddling of 11,000 employees, Amazon reportedly cutting 10,000 jobs."

So far in November alone, tech companies have announced more than 31,000 job cuts. For context, that is more than double the total announced all year prior to November. It is alarming, it's creating a lot of anxiety. But it may not be a reason really to get overly concerned about the broader economy.

Goldman Sachs put out a report saying basically, this may not be a sign of an impending recession. For a few reasons, one, tech is not a major employer. They said that in the inconceivable event that all the tech jobs went away, the unemployment rate would only go up by 0.3 percentage points.

To check - tech job openings are actually still above pre-COVID levels. So that suggests that some of the people at Twitter and elsewhere, they may be able to find a job elsewhere. And also tech layoffs in the past have not been an early warning sign of broader turmoil in the jobs market.

And when you look out and you kind of zoom out of the broader economy, the jobs market still looks pretty strong here. New numbers out today show that jobless claims unexpectedly fell to 222,000 in the latest week, context that is historically low. It's basically right where claims were averaging before COVID turn the world upside down in 2019.


So despite the turmoil in the tech world, the overall jobs market still looks pretty solid.

BLACKWELL: Yes. The CEO of Airbnb was on CNN this morning and compare this moment to when the club lights are turned on.

EGAN: I love that analogy.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you're enjoying your dancing and then you got to face reality.



CAMEROTA: And it's not pretty ...

BLACKWELL: No it is not. CAMEROTA: ... when that happens.

BLACKWELL: It's called the ugly lights.


BLACKWELL: All right. Oliver, Matt, thank you.

EGAN: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: All right. This just in, the lawyers for Brittney Griner say she is now at a penal colony in Russia. Details on that and how she is doing next.