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President Joe Biden To Address United Nations Assembly In New York; Prepare For A Long War Says NATO Chief; Donald Trump Does Not Consider U.S. Have Much Democracy Right Now; Biden And Trump Dead Heat At The Polls. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired September 17, 2023 - 17:00   ET




JANE CONNORS, VICTIM RIGHTS ADVOCATE FOR THE UNITED NATION: -- it is -- it remains his imperative and I think as I say, more is to be done.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What needs to be done this woman say is simple. No strings attached financial support. They say that will restore their dignity and allow their children a measure of accountability that the U.N. has so far failed to provide. Paula Newton, CNN, Port Salut, Haiti.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Thanks so much, Paula. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Thanks for being with me this weekend. The "CNN Newsroom" continues with Jim Acosta right now.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. Good evening. We begin the hour with a big week ahead for President Biden. He is about to leave for New York to meet with leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week. He will also sit down with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy as Ukraine seeks more support from its allies in the midst of a challenging counteroffensive against Russia.

However, Biden's focus on the international stage comes as he's facing a looming government shutdown, potentially an impeachment inquiry from House Republicans and scrutiny over his son's indictment on felony gun charges. CNN's Arlette Saenz is at the White House for us right now as President Biden heads off for his trip to New York. We'll be keeping an eye on the president's movements over the next couple of hours.

But Arlette, what more do we know about this meeting with President Zelenskyy and other world leaders this week? This is a big week not just for the president of the United States, but for the president of Ukraine.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it certainly is. And really any moment now, President Biden will be departing the White House as he is heading to New York for those meetings around the U.N. General Assembly, an opportunity for the president to stress the alliances that he has tried to build during his time in office.

Officials here say that the marquee moment will be his speech before the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, when he'll talk about his vision for America's leadership on the world stage and also stress the need for countries to work together to solve some of the problems of the world's biggest problems.

Now, he will have a series of meetings with various world leaders while he is in New York City. And that includes a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Wednesday. There had been a lot of questions about whether a meeting between the two leaders would, in fact, happen as the administration had expressed some disapproval for his efforts to overhaul the judicial system in Israel. But the two will be meeting at Anga, not here at the White House.

But then, really, at the end of the week, as the president returns back here to Washington on Thursday, he's set to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy here at the White House. They will talk about that counteroffensive that's being waged against Russia in Ukraine, but it also comes at a delicate moment, as the president has been trying to ask Congress to provide additional aid to Ukraine, but Republicans up in the House have expressed opposition to that.

They want to have a stand-alone vote on that, instead of including it in his supplemental funding request. But this is all shaping up to be a very big week for the president on the world stage, also, as he is trying to make his case for re-election, one of the things that he consistently tries to tout is this alliance building that he has cultivated during his time in office. So, he will be in New York City from starting this evening all the way through Wednesday for those series of meetings with the world leaders.

ACOSTA: And Arlette, he still though has to keep an eye on what's happening back here in Washington. The threat of a government shutdown is growing. Are there any signs of progress?

SAENZ: So far, they really haven't signaled that they are anywhere closer to getting a spending bill passed by September 30th. Now, earlier today, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did say that he plans on putting a defense spending bill up for a vote in the House after it had reached some setbacks within his own caucus. Take a listen to what he had to say earlier today.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, HOUSE SPEAKER: Unfortunately, I had a handful of members last week that literally the Republicans stopped the Department of Defense appropriations from coming forward. We will do that this week. I gave them an opportunity this weekend to try to work through this and we'll bring it to the floor, win or lose, and show the American public who's for the Department of Defense.


SAENZ: Now, McCarthy also in that interview warned Republicans against a government shutdown, saying that no one wins in the event of a government shutdown and that this would be giving a leg up to the administration. There are still a number of issues that need to be worked out, both in the House and the Senate, especially with Republicans, since they seem to have different approaches in the two chambers. But right now, the country is still barreling towards that September 30 deadline.

Of course, Biden is also confronting other domestic issues while he's abroad as well. That UAW strike that's still ongoing. He's dispatching some of his top officials to Detroit later this week. So, it's all a series of domestic issues that the president will still have to focus on as he is in New York for those world leader meetings.

ACOSTA: That's right. Those, the problems don't stay in Washington when the president travels outside of the nation's capital.


Arlette Saenz, thank you very much. Joining me now is retired U.S. Army Colonel Eugene Vindman. He just returned from a visit to Ukraine, which we'll discuss in just a moment. But first, Colonel Vindman, great to see you as always. We appreciate it. Let me ask you this, this just crossed our wires in the last several minutes. The NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warning that the war in Ukraine will not be over anytime soon. He says we must prepare ourselves for a long war in Ukraine. What are your thoughts on that?

YEVGENY VINDMAN, FORMER DEPUTY LEGAL ADVISER: Well, first, Jim, thanks for having me back. You're right. I just returned from Ukraine, my 13th trip since last year, and frankly, I've come to the same conclusion during the course of this trip. I think that this is now a long war. The chances that this war would end this year or in the short term are past.

I think we're looking at the earliest 2024, 2025, and we have to plan accordingly. This is a matter of national security, our own self- interest. And in a long-worse scenario, there are a number of things that need to be planned, logistics training, support for the Ukrainians.

ACOSTA: And Colonel Vindman, you know, Zelenskyy is set to speak before the United Nations General Assembly this week before heading to Washington. As we were just talking about with Arlette a few moments ago, it's a big week for Biden, it's a big week for Zelenskyy. What do you expect the Ukrainian leader will ask of the president and ask of the Congress? What are his big asks right now?

VINDMAN: Sure. Well, what I hope they discuss is those things that are necessary in order to sustain a long war. That includes long-range weapons like ATACAMS, and I'm almost certain that the United States will end up providing ATACAMS like they have M1s and F-16s. Unfortunately, I think it will mean that Ukraine will have to endure more pain. It'll include more material, more artillery.

They have an immense need for artillery ammunition. As Zelenskyy said in the first days of the war, he doesn't need a ride, he needs ammunition that has held true. And the unwavering support of the United States and the West as a matter of our own self-interest, frankly.

ACOSTA: And do you expect the White House to sign off on these -- on these ATACAMS, on that missile system? And what kind of an impact would it have on the battlefield? I mean, we were just showing some video a few moments ago. We were showing it yesterday with Colonel Leighton, some of the apocalyptic scenes that Ukrainian soldiers are seeing on the ground in Ukraine. I mean, it's just extraordinary. Is that the kind of weapon system that could turn the tide or does it just sustain them in this what could be a long war?

VINDMAN: Well, there's no one silver bullet, frankly, that'll turn the tide of the war. ATACAMS, along with the other systems that we are providing and will continue to provide, all together combine to give the Ukrainians an advantage. And war is won by adaptation and slight advantages. So, ATACAMS will certainly help. If we look at the landscape that you're showing now, it is apocalyptic. It looks like a World War I scenario.

That's because artillery -- heavy artillery is used. Thousands of rounds are being fired. Every living thing in the landscape is destroyed. And it's a grinding war of attrition. The Ukrainians have an advantage. They're frankly making progress. I anticipate they'll make more progress. But not enough to win this war. There will be no knockout punch from either side.

ACOSTA: And you just visited Ukraine as part of your role on the U.S. and UN's Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group. What are you finding? Are we seeing more evidence -- are you seeing more evidence of war crimes committed by the Russians? I know that's something that we've talked about before. Is the case being made, do you think?

VINDMAN: Sure. So, it's not a U.N. program. Actually, it's taken a place of what would normally be a U.N. program because the U.N. is not functional in this particular situation. Russia wields a veto and has prevented any real action from the U.N., but this is a multinational program between the U.S., the U.K. and E.U.

And just recently I traveled to Chernihiv actually the same day that Secretary Blinken was there and I visited the theater that was blown up by a Russian cruise missile.


Many people died in that theater and it's one of a series of war crimes that I've seen. There are stories or cases of POWs being executed by senior Russian officers in Chernihiv, which is significant, a Russian battalion commander. There are cases last year, if you recall, Chernihiv was almost completely surrounded, bread lines being shelled. So, this is just one of one small city or one medium sized city amongst dozens of cities and not even in the occupied zone. I think what we'll see in the occupied zone once it's liberated will be truly horrific.

ACOSTA: And I mean, the way you're describing how we could be, I guess, seeing a long war ahead for the Ukrainians. I suppose that does mean that at some point, the president, Zelenskyy, members of Congress, folks who want to continue to provide aid to Ukraine are going to have to have the conversation about how much assistance, what more assistance should be provided to the Ukrainians in the event that we get past the U.S. election next year and there is a shift in the balance of power in Washington in a way that is not beneficial to the Ukrainians.

I think you can catch my drift here. What happens if Donald Trump gets back into the White House? What if Republicans take control of both houses of Congress and you don't see as much aid going to Ukraine? Does the President and members of Congress who want to see more aid to Ukraine, do they need to head that off at the pass essentially and start taking that into account?

VINDMAN: So, that's a complicated question, Jim, but the bottom line is that the U.S. is not the only decision-maker here. The Ukrainians have agency. If we've seen nothing in the last few weeks, we've seen Ukrainians use their own systems, some developed over the course of the last year and change, as far as drones, others missiles that they've had in development for some time, taking out a Russian sub in dry dock, a Russian large landing ship, a billion-dollar air defense system, actually two have been destroyed in the last couple of months.

And so, the Ukrainians are not going to give up the fight. We are helping them enormously. We're saving from even more horrific casualties, although I think along both sides, the casualties are probably close to a million now. That's including wounded POWs and killed in 18 months of war, but the Ukrainians are not going to give up this fight. And so, making them self-sufficient, providing them what is necessary will prevent more casualties and benefit us frankly in the long run.

When I think about helping the Ukrainians, I think about what kind of world do I want to live in? What kind of world do I want my children to live in? Is it a world where the might makes right? Or is it a world where people and countries follow a rules-based international order? So, this is very much in our interest. We're interconnected in this world, just like climate change affects us. So does defending democracy around the world and in Ukraine.

ACOSTA: All right, Colonel Vindman, always great to talk to you. Thanks very much for your time. We appreciate it.

VINDMAN: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Still ahead, what Donald Trump has to say about democracy in his first broadcast network interview since the January 6th attack.

Plus, new polling on a hypothetical Trump-Biden rematch and how voters feel about it. And the latest on whether the big three automakers and the UAW are any closer to a deal. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."


[17:17:42] ACOSTA: Today, a new interview with former President Donald Trump is certainly making some headlines in his discussion with "Meet the Press." The likely Republican nominee for president was asked about the state of democracy here in the U.S.


KRISTEN WELKER, MEET THE PRESS: As you think about the possibility of a second term, do you still think that democracy is the most effective form of government?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I do. I do. But it has to be a democracy that's fair. This democracy is, I don't consider us to have much of a democracy right now.


ACOSTA: Here to discuss "Vanity Fair" special correspondent Molly Jong-Fast and CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp. S.E., what do you think of Trump saying the U.S. doesn't have much of a democracy right now? Last time I checked, we do.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We do and it's, you know, it's in a precarious position. That's mostly because of Donald Trump. And, you know, no one thinks of Donald Trump as being introspective. But, you know, looking back at all of the ways in which he has tried to de- mantle democracy from our checks and balances, separation of powers, you know, freedoms of the press, freedoms to protest, I mean, voting access, all -- all the things that make up a democracy, all the most important things anyway, he has tried to undermine, he has tried to puncture. And he wants to do more of it. So, it's an ironic answer, but I wouldn't have expected much different.

ACOSTA: Right. Molly, I mean, he tried to overturn democracy is what he did. We wouldn't have much of a democracy right now had he succeeded in 2021. But he went on to say during that interview that it was his decision to make the claim that the 2020 election was rigged. He sounded like he was admitting he was the driving force behind the effort to overturn the election results. What did you think of that?

MOLLY JONG-FAST, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, VANITY FAIR: You know, the thing about Donald Trump and Trumpism as a whole is that since he has tried to overturn the 2020 election, he does this thing now where he says, well, I'm the one who likes democracy and Joe Biden is the one who doesn't believe in democracy, right? This is the idea is that everything you have sort of accused him of, which clearly has happened on Earth One, is no longer true in Trump world.

And this is effective with his base, and that is why there's a large percentage of this Republican base that believes the 2020 election was unfair, despite the fact that there's mountains and mountains of evidence to prove that Donald Trump is wrong. And I think that, you know, all of his answers, Donald Trump's answers, can be taken as either lies or projection. And so even what, you know, I mean, I'm not surprised by anything he says. I'm often surprised when it isn't a complete and utter fabrication. [17:20:32]

ACOSTA: Right. And, S.E., let's talk about the latest polling, the race to the White House, it's still tied and this latest polling from CBS News and YouGov, it shows that likely voters are going 49 percent for Biden, 50 percent for Trump. It's a statistical dead heat. It just seems like the race is frozen right now, no matter what poll you look at. What do you make of these numbers?

CUPP: It's shocking. And if I -- listen, on the right, you know, the fact that other Republicans not named Trump have not really dared to take him on a regular basis, that's fine, that's obvious. But over on the left, if I'm Democrats, I am seriously asking myself why the incumbent, the sitting president, is polling tied with a former president who tried to overturn the last election, incited an insurrection, was twice impeached, and is now facing 91 criminal charges?

That would deserve some introspection as well and maybe prompt, I don't know, with someone on the left to say it might be time for Joe Biden to step down. He was meant to be a transitional president. He transitioned. Now someone else should come in and be a transformational president. If I'm Democrats, I'm flabbergasted that they have not made that decision yet.

ACOSTA: Molly, what do you think of that? And we should note that we have live picture that I will going to show everybody of the president. He's on his way to the U.N. General Assembly in New York. And, you know, Molly, this poll also finds that a lot of likely voters are concerned about whether Joe Biden, if re-elected, would finish out a second term. This is a question that the people at CBS polling asked. Just 34 percent think he would. Not much better for Trump, 55 percent. What do you think of what S.E. was saying, Molly? I guess the other question is, if not Biden, who?

JONG-FAST: I love SC and we're friends, but I think she's completely wrong here. And I would say this. First of all, national polls are meaningless. We're 414 days till this election. If you look back in 1995, you had Dole, right, crushing Clinton. I mean, national polls are meaningless. Democrats love to (inaudible). The guy is old, but he's two and a half years older than Trump.

The whole narrative has been Biden is too old. People are being asked in polls, do you find Biden old? Trump is a man who was during his presidency bragging about passing a cognitive test. Man, woman, person, camera, television. I mean, this is wild stuff. Biden just got back from a five-day European trip. The guy has been doing a great job. Every time he speaks, he's fine.

Remember, in 2015, Trump world told us that Hillary Clinton was too sick to serve, that she had passed out, that she had pneumonia. Like, this is what they do. This is their playbook. And again, a matchup is a rematch of the same candidates is not much fun. But I think it's really important that the mainstream media does not cover Donald Trump like a normal candidate, because we know from his twice impeachment, multiple civil and criminal charges, and you know, and his various other, you know, and leading an armed insurrection, that this guy is not a normal democratic candidate -- a normal candidate who believes in democracy.

ACOSTA: Right, and I wanted to ask both of you about, well, S.E., you were shaking your head there. Let me -- I'll get you one more response to that, S.E., since Molly disagreed with you.

CUPP: Well, and I love Molly too. Obviously, friends can disagree civilly like this, but I think this is total denialism, and the fear of Trump getting back in the White House should be so great that you consider all the options. And if we're saying that it is not an option to look at a president with as low approval numbers as Joe Biden, when a majority of the country feels as though the economy is not doing well, I think you are ushering in the potential for real disaster.

And this isn't a fabrication. This isn't Donald Trump's Trumpy Republicans saying this about Joe Biden. This is a Republican who voted for Joe Biden saying this. And I just think it's too precarious not to consider that possibility.


ACOSTA: Well, speaking of ushering, let me talk to both of you about Colorado Congressman Lauren Boebert. She was booted from "Beetle Juice." And you saw what took place, that live theater performance in Denver. She was doing a bunch of stuff in the audience there, including vaping. But she's now explained herself and we have a bit of that, we'll play it and get your reaction to that, Molly.


REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): I was a little too eccentric. I am very known for having an animated personality, maybe overtly animated personality. I was laughing, I was singing, having a fantastic time, was told to kind of settle it down a little bit.


ACOSTA: Yeah, Molly, you were saying that the theater in Denver was tougher on Boebert than Congress. And I guess she was being animated in multiple ways there.

JONG-FAST: I mean, look, I am not a person who is going to sex shame someone, especially not a middle-aged woman. Good for her. But I would say this is a woman who has gone around for the last, you know, since she's been in Congress, claiming that everyone who's LBGTQ is a groomer. And then she's in a family theater doing, you know, what is really not appropriate in a family theater. And also vaping your children and pregnant people. So, in my mind, this is a no brainer. It's not the sex, it's the hypocrisy.

ACOSTA: All right, Molly Jong-Fast, S.E. Cupp, we're going to usher ourselves out of this segment at this very moment before we go further. Thanks to both of you for your time this afternoon. We appreciate it. All right, still ahead -- thanks so much. Former President Trump says

it was, quote, "my decision," my decision he says, to keep falsely claiming the election was rigged. Colorado Congressman Adam Schiff joins us next to talk about it. There he is right there. He's a member of the January 6th committee.

And in just a few moments, we'll also show you the latest of President Biden on his way to New York for the U.N. General Assembly. All of that next. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."



ACOSTA: Donald Trump speaking out today on his efforts to subvert the results of the 2020 election, claiming the idea was all his.


KRISTEN WELKER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You called some of your outside lawyers. You said they had crazy theories. Why were you listening to them? Were you listening to them because they were telling you what you wanted to hear?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know who I listened to myself. I saw what happened. I watched that election, and I thought the election was over at 10 o'clock in the evening.

WELKER: Were you calling the shots though, Mr. President, ultimately?

TRUMP: As to whether or not I believed it was rigged, sure.


TRUMP: It was my decision.


ACOSTA: It was my decision, he says. Let's discuss more now with Democratic congressman of California, Adam Schiff. He's a former member of the January 6th Select Committee, and he currently serves on the House Judiciary Committee. I hope I have all that right. Congressman Schiff, great to see you as always. We appreciate it.

First, your reaction to what you heard the former president say just a little while ago on "Meet the Press." It was his decision to try to overturn the 2020 election results. It sounds like he's taking full ownership here.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It sounds like he is. I think this is probably, you know, music to the ears of the special prosecutor watching these interviews, compiling further evidence to present against the president.

It's probably also good news for the prosecutors in Georgia. Here he is taking responsibility, saying it was his decision, essentially, that he was ignoring the lawyers who were saying -- the respected lawyers who were saying things that he didn't want to hear and going with the crazies because it affirmed what he wanted to believe.

ACOSTA: And his taking responsibility for his actions, I guess it stops there with that previous comment. Let's listen to what he had to say about how he responded to what took place on January 6th.


WELKER: I want to know who you called --

TRUMP: By the way --

WELKER: -- on that day.

TRUMP: -- Nancy Pelosi -- I don't have -- why would I tell you that? Listen --

WELKER: Don't want to talk about that?

TRUMP: -- Nancy Pelosi was in charge of security. She turned down 10,000 soldiers. If she didn't turn down the soldiers, you wouldn't have had January 6th.

WELKER: Did you call military or law enforcement?

TRUMP: What?

WELKER: Did you call military or law enforcement at the moment the Capitol was under attack?

TRUMP: I'm not going to tell you anything. Let me put it this way. I behaved so well. I did such a good job.


ACOSTA: Congressman, you were on the January 6th Committee. What do you make of Trump blaming former Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the insurrection at the Capitol? Your thoughts?

SCHIFF: Well, I thought that was one of the most telling exchanges of the interview because he won't say who he called because he called no one to put an end to this. That's the painful reality of it.

And he sat there for hours. watching the Capitol be attacked. He sat there in the comfort and security of the White House dining room and watched that mayhem unfold. People came in to urge him to do something, to say something, and he rebuffed them. No wonder he doesn't want to answer the question.

But the proof speaks louder than his lack of words. And for him to try to blame Nancy Pelosi, blame someone who was the target of that mob violence, is also typical of Trump. He does nothing but project onto others his own lack of action, lack of morality.

But it doesn't fool anyone, and I think the dereliction of duty by Donald Trump during those hours is an indictment itself of the former president.


ACOSTA: Let's talk about the impeachment inquiry up in the House of Representatives that just got launched this past week. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy caved to the hardliners of the House Freedom Caucus. He announced this impeachment inquiry into President Biden.

You served on Trump's first impeachment, if I have that right. What are House Democrats going to do to respond to that? And should Democrats be putting together a kind of war room to sort of respond tit for tat to allegations that may be coming out of this inquiry?

SCHIFF: Well, I'm sure that we will respond. At this point, there's very little to respond to because there's no evidence to respond to. This is an impeachment essentially to do with the budget shutdown. It is an evidence-free proceeding.

Kevin McCarthy, in an effort to try to coax the more right-wing elements of his conference into not shutting down the government, basically said, I will give you impeachment. I will give you an impeachment investigation in the complete absence of evidence, if that will placate you.

But, you know, it did placate them. It's never enough. He offered them a censure of me earlier. That wasn't enough. He's offering an impeachment of Joe Biden. That won't be enough. Basically, this is a conference that is completely out of control.

You know, we will, of course, respond to whatever they do and to, in particular, the false claims made by the former president and others. But at this point, this is unprecedented to begin an inquiry in the total absence of evidence in the hope of something that might show up. But more than that, as a chip in a bargaining over the budget, that's completely unprecedented and completely unwarranted.

ACOSTA: Do you think the speaker survives until the end of the year in his position?

SCHIFF: You know, I think the one thing that Kevin McCarthy has going for him is they don't seem to have much of an alternative. The reason why McCarthy has had such difficulty is, the Republicans know, just as the Democrats know, that Kevin McCarthy doesn't stand for anything.

There's no conviction behind his actions. There's no strong ideological framework. There's no sense of purpose or mission. The only mission is for him to stay speaker. And that's not much of a unifying theme for the Republicans.

And so, I'm not surprised he's having the difficulty. He is what has yet to emerge as an alternative, someone that both the more responsible, although there are few in number Republicans, and the crazies can agree upon as an alternative. Otherwise, they will vote him down, and then they won't be sure where to go.

ACOSTA: And this week, we saw Hunter Biden become the first child of a sitting U.S. president to be indicted. He was charged with making false statements on a federal firearms form, lying to a federally- licensed gun dealer, among other charges.

Let me ask you your thoughts on this, and do you think that these charges harm the president's reelection chances to have this continue to hang out there as an issue?

SCHIFF: You know, I don't think they harm his reelection but, you know, I think that they take a personal toll. The president loves his son. The president realizes his son has had challenges. The president lost one of his other sons. And so, it can help but take a personal toll.

But I think the president will be judged based on his record of extraordinary accomplishment. He has been one of the most successful presidents in terms of his domestic policy agenda since Franklin Roosevelt.

And I think his ability to bring down inflation while not sending us into recession, his passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the Chips and Science Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and more, have done more to try to strengthen middle-class families and lift up working families than anyone since Roosevelt. I think that's what he'll be judged on.

But I have to think personally, it's difficult, and I think he would acknowledge that. But --

ACOSTA: Why do you think --

SCHIFF: -- I think, you know, Americans -- yeah.

ACOSTA: No, I was just going to -- if you don't mind me asking, given what you're saying, why is it that all of these recent polls show he's basically in a dead heat with the former president, the guy he beat in 2020?

The latest CBS poll out today shows 49% for President Biden, 50% for former President Donald Trump. How concerned are you at this point with these kinds of numbers? Should the White House and the president be more concerned?

SCHIFF: You know, I think the president of the White House are going to need to be more vocal about what they have been able to achieve. And I think, as these bills go more into effect, as these projects are rolled out, as these jobs are created, I think the case just becomes stronger and stronger, and the president of the White House will be out making that case.


So, I think his numbers will go up. I'm not particularly concerned at this moment in time. I think, whenever you test an incumbent president, you're going to see numbers like this because there is an opposition media now. I don't think a Democratic president, even if they walked on water, given the presence of propaganda outfits like Fox and Newsmax and OAN and a lot of conservative radio, is ever going to do more than, you know, 55% approval on a very good day.

So, I'm not surprised, but I feel very confident that when voters see his record, when they see the alternative, that he will be reelected.

ACOSTA: All right. Congressman Adam Schiff of California, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

ACOSTA: All right. Still ahead, a manhunt in Los Angeles. Police searching for the suspect who shot and killed a sheriff's deputy who was sitting in his patrol car. Talk about that next. You're live in "CNN Newsroom."



ACOSTA: There's a manhunt underway tonight in the Los Angeles area after a deputy was shot and killed in his patrol car. Officials say 30-year-old Ryan Clinkunbroomer was killed in an ambush as the deputy's body was transported from the scene. First responders held a procession in his honor.

CNN's Camila Bernal joins us now. Camila, what can you tell us? What's the latest?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, they're still looking for the person responsible here, Jim, and authorities are giving us an update in about an hour. So, we will see if they any more to this. But at the moment, all of the resources of the Sheriff's Department are in finding the person or persons responsible for this killing.

It happened last night at around 6 o'clock. And according to the sheriff here, he was in his car, he was driving and at some point, was shot. And what the sheriff said was that this was an ambush. That's the way that the sheriff described it.

And this happened about 60 miles north of Los Angeles. It was actually a good Samaritan that found the officer unconscious. He was taken to the hospital and later pronounced dead. But again, the focus is in finding the person responsible. Here's Sheriff Robert Luna.


ROBERT LUNA, SHERIFF, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT: We really need your help. We need to get this guy off the street, guy or guys. He's a public safety threat. He ambushed and killed, murdered one of our deputies. We need your help to get him off the street.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERNAL: And the sheriff is saying this does appear to be targeted and saying it could have been -- it could have just been because he was wearing the uniform here.

And so, I do want to take a moment to point out that he was just 30 years old. He had gotten engaged just four days ago. Everybody is saying positive things about this deputy. This is not just him. It's a family job. His father, his grandfather also serving at the sheriff's department here in Los Angeles. So, it is a community grieving and a family and really just the entire department here who is focused on finding the person responsible, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Camila Bernal, thank you very much for that update. Very tough situation underway, that manhunt now underway in the L.A. area. Thank you so much, Camila. We appreciate it.

Still ahead, two of the big three automakers meeting with the Auto Workers Union today as the strike hits day three. We're out near one of the picket lines next. You're live in the "CNN Newsroom."



ACOSTA: Negotiations with the big three automakers are ongoing amid a historic auto workers' strike. General Motors and the union sat at the bargaining table today, and we know those talks have now ended for the day.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joins us now. Vanessa, I guess this is just going to continue on here. No resolution as of yet. Where do the negotiations stand? What can you tell us?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the negotiations are always ongoing behind the scenes between the big three automakers and the union. But today, General Motors had their day at the main bargaining table with the union. Those talks have concluded.

We did not sort of hear from the union the same tone that we heard yesterday when the union met with Ford at the bargaining table saying that they had reasonably productive negotiations. Stellantis is scheduled to be up at the main table tomorrow.

I am here with Isaiah Goddard. He is actually a third generation Ford worker. Your grandfather started with the company. You know the list of demands from the union.


YURKEVICH: Forty percent increase in wages, four-day work week, protection against EV transition. For you, what is the number one priority in this contract?

ISAIAH GODDARD, FORD EMPLOYEE, THIRD GENERATION AUTO WORKER: I think it's important. I think I can speak for everybody here in the same way and the whole entire UAW as a whole, is we want our fair share. We want fair wages.

You know, we're sick of the corporate greed, and that's what we want. We want our fair wages. We want it all. We want our COLI back, we want pensions, and the companies can give it to us. They choose not to, but they can give it to us. So, we want fair wages, we want COLI back, and we want a lot. Yeah, we want it back. We want our fair share.

YURKEVICH: I think a lot of people at home might not know what it is really like to work inside one of these plants. Describe to people what it is like to produce these cars every day.

GODDARD: Well, I believe it's a beautiful thing, right? I go in the plant -- I mean, look at my hands right now. I got off work a little while ago, okay? We're pushing parts. And we work hard. And I take pride in what I do. I believe we all take pride in what we do. So, it's a beautiful thing to work inside of a plant. And it's not -- it's not the easiest thing in the world, but I work hard and I take pride, and I love what I do. So --

YURKEVICH: Thank you so much, Isaiah. I appreciate your time.

So, Jim, we know that two officials from the Biden administration are scheduled to come into town at some point this week, Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su and also Gene Sperling, senior White House adviser.

We have heard from the union that they're not really interested in having the Biden administration involved in these negotiations, but they are still planning to come to try to move these negotiations forward and try to get both sides to come to some sort of a deal before the union escalates their targeted plant strikes.

Right now, there are three plants that are striking. However, the UAW has made it clear, if negotiations do not move forward, they're going to strike more plants throughout the country. Jim?

ACOSTA: All right. It sounds like things could be escalating.


All right, Vanessa Yurkevich, outside of Ford plant in Michigan for us, thank you so much.

Today on CNN, we're kicking off our special "Champions for Change" series, stories that spotlight everyday people who don't always make headlines but smash barriers and inspire others to do the same. Later tonight, watch the story of my champion who looks to revolutionize the way shelter animals are treated and adopted. And there's more coming all this week. Here's a preview.


UNKNOWN: Here we go. Here we go. Here we go. Come on, let's go.


UNKNOWN (voice-over): It was about how many people came and helped. UNKNOWN (voice-over): Join us for "Champions for Change."

UNKNOWN (voice-over): I feel a source of inspiration and pride just coming together. I want you guys to truly forget the word "can't."

UNKNOWN (voice-over): As CNN journalists spotlight the changemakers who inspire them.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She teaches you to break through that fear to get to where you need to be.

UNKNOWN: Turns out that one human being can do a lot.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): She's opening a door for people that are desperate for freedom.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): These aren't throwaway animals. These are precious beings.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): See how these community champions use creativity, heart, and grit to lift society up.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): When the music starts, something happens.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): I surround myself with positive people. They help me be that inspiration.

UNKNOWN (voice-over): Champions for Change, all this week on CNN.