Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

President Biden Calls For An End To Brinksmanship In Congress; Kevin McCarthy Faces Right-Wing Revolt Over Spending Deal; Trump Set To Appear In Person At Civil Fraud Trial In New York Monday; Former President Jimmy Carter Turns 99 Today; Rise In Retail Theft Prompts Stores To Close Nationwide; Inside The FBI's Push To Solve Violent Crime On Tribal Lands. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired October 01, 2023 - 18:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: Biden delivering a message to Republicans up on Capitol Hill. The brinksmanship has to end. The president's remarks come after Congress prepped within just a few hours of a funding deadline. But the crisis could cost House Speaker Kevin McCarthy his leadership post for relying on Democrats to pass the spending bill. GOP hardliners want to hold a vote this week to strip McCarthy of his gavel.

CNN's Arlette Saenz is over at the White House for us.

Arlette, what else did the president say this afternoon?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, President Biden said it is time for Congress to get to work to avoid repeating this down-to-the-wire talks that happened and ended yesterday as the House and Senate both passed a bill to avert a government funding shutdown. But what the president has been pushing for them to do over the past few weeks and going forward is for House Republicans to adhere to the agreement that the White House had reached with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy back in the spring during the debt ceiling fight.

During that time, they had reached some agreements about what spending and budget levels should be in place and they had hoped that this was to avert a shutdown. But you had heard some House Republicans, the hardliners in the House really push for further spending cuts. And that is where the House speaker ran into some issues between these two sides. But the president also lamented, the brinksmanship that is occurring between lawmakers up on Capitol Hill saying that American people are sick and tired of it. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The truth is we shouldn't be here in the first place. We shouldn't have gotten here in the first place. It's time to end governing by crisis and keep your word when you give it in the Congress. You know where I come from, when you make a deal and you give your word, you keep it and I expect the Republican speaker and Republican Congress to honor their word, and keep the deal they made months ago when they tried to threaten to -- with almost international bankruptcy by not paying our debts.


SAENZ: Now while the bill the president signed yesterday averts a government shutdown at least for another 45 days, one thing that was not included in this bill was funding for Ukraine. That is something President Biden had been pushing for for months but there had been some opposition amongst hardline Republicans in the House and ultimately it was decided to drop that from the bill.

The president said it is time for Congress to stop playing games, for Republicans -- House Republicans to agree to pass this kind of funding, and both the president and Democratic leadership has indicated that they expect House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to put up a separate vote on Ukraine aid at some time in the coming weeks. But this all comes at a challenging time as the president is also trying to assure allies of the U.S. and Ukraine that enduring support for Ukraine will continue to be there.

But they're running up against these -- this resistance that you've seen from some members up in Congress as there is some skepticism about whether more aid should be provided to Ukraine.

ACOSTA: All right. Arlette Saenz over at the White House for us. Thank you very much.

And CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona joins me now.

Melanie, Matt Gaetz has said that he is going to force this vote on Kevin McCarthy this week. Might this be the end of Kevin McCarthy as speaker?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Well, listen, in order for that effort to succeed, they need a majority of the entire chamber. So that would be presumably 218 votes. And let's say Gaetz has 18 members with him, right, on the Republican side which is still probably a large number, we're not sure what number is. But then he would still need 200 Democrats to back him, and that's where Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic leader, comes into play.

Right now there are a couple of different viewpoints in the Democratic caucus. They don't have a unified position. There is a lot of Democrats who say we should not bail out Kevin McCarthy, we cannot trust him, why would we do that. But you do have a small sector of moderate Democrats who say, we don't want to throw the House into chaos, and perhaps we could get some concessions out of Speaker McCarthy.

But they have not made any decisions. They're probably going to talk about it this week. In fact Democratic leaders just put out a letter today to their members saying, we're aware of this issue, let's talk about it as a caucus before we move forward. So that is something we are going to be watching this week.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. ZANONA: But there are some ideas being batted around between

Republicans and Democrats about what potential concessions from Speaker Kevin McCarthy could look like. Maybe power sharing agreements, more committee assignments. One thing that Democratic leaders did say in a statement yesterday after the vote to fund the government was we expect Kevin McCarthy to put a Ukraine aid bill on the floor. And then President Biden spoke today and suggested there was some deal with Kevin McCarthy there.

Now I reached out to McCarthy's office and they just said, when I asked what assurances were made to the White House, they just said Kevin McCarthy has said time and time again he's committed to Ukraine aid if there is also border security provisions. But you get the sense that he is in a difficult spot, and this is why Democrats, by the way, don't trust him because just today Marjorie Taylor Greene, one of those rebel rousing members, also McCarthy ally, put out a tweet saying Kevin McCarthy cannot put this bill on the floor because it does not have the majority, and that would be a violation as his term as speaker.


And so Kevin McCarthy once again caught in between all these different competing factions but ultimately his fate may rest in the hand of Democrats if you can imagine that.

ACOSTA: Yes. And when I talk to Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the previous hour, she didn't want to make a firm commitment as to what she is going to do at this point, and so it sounds as though Democrats are in a little bit of a bind. They're going to have to hash this out over the coming days as to how they want to play this because they could end up with a speaker of the House who is far more extreme than Kevin McCarthy.

But at the same time, when I talk to Bob Good, a very hardline Republican from Virginia in the Freedom Caucus after talking to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Good was essentially noncommittal. I mean, I asked him like five or six different ways.


ACOSTA: Is it time for Kevin McCarthy to go.

ZANONA: Yes, you did a great job. And he still doesn't answer. Yes.

ACOSTA: And he did not want to answer that question.

ZANONA: Well, listen, it was Good, he actually was --

ACOSTA: I would have put him down as one of those votes. Yes.

ZANONA: So Good actually, though, was a House GOP version of a stopgap funding bill that they tried and failed to pass on Friday. Good was supportive of that. So he might be in one of those camps. He doesn't love Kevin McCarthy but maybe not ready to oust him. But there is a group of at least maybe a dozen or so who we are looking at, those who did vote against that CR on Friday.

But you're right, at this point, actually, Jim, with two Republicans who have come out and said they are for this effort. That's Matt Gaetz and Eli Crane, a freshman, one of those anti-McCarthy people during the speaker's race. So it's going to be a whip count on both the Democratic side and the Republican side in these next few days.

ACOSTA: All right. I feel bad for you. Out of the frying pan and into the fryer.


ACOSTA: All right, Melanie Zanona, thank you very much.

Joining me now Charlie Dent, former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, and Joe Walsh, former Republican congressman from Illinois.

And I'm guessing right now you're probably happy that you're both former Republican congressmen given what took place over this weekend and what might be taking place this week.

Charlie, how does this end?

CHARLIE DENT (R), FORMER PENNSYLVANIA REPRESENTATIVE: Well, it appears that Matt Gaetz is going to offer a motion to vacate the chair, remove the speaker, and so really the big question that comes, you know, how many votes does Matt Gaetz have? So maybe he has five to 15 votes. We don't know. So that makes Hakeem Jeffries very powerful. And if I'm Hakeem Jeffries, I guess I'd go to Speaker McCarthy and say, hey, we want to share power. What are we going to get if we rescue you?

That's a fair question to ask. I mean, the Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries rescued McCarthy on the debt ceiling budget agreement back in the end of May, early June, just as they did yesterday on the continuing resolution to fund the government. So I really think that's where this is. The Democrats have to figure out, do they want to see the House go back into chaos, and they might see some political benefit from that, or do they want to just maintain the status quo and realize that maybe they get somebody worse than McCarthy from their standpoint.

So right now it's all on the Democrats' hands because we're going to have to also play with this again for another 45 or so days because, you know, we just set up another cliff, November 17th. We do have to finish funding the government, all the appropriations bills, and the Ukraine funding issue, so we have to deal with this issue of vacating the chair and removing McCarthy while also dealing with long-term funding issue of the government.

ACOSTA: Yes, Joe, I mean, what do you think? I mean, for all the sound and fury that you hear coming out of the House Freedom Caucus, I mean, I went back and forth with Bob Good of Virginia over and over again in the previous hour. He would not answer the question as to whether Kevin McCarthy should lose his job.

JOE WALSH (R), FORMER ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE: And Jim, that interview with Good, great job, by the way. That was really, really telling.

Look, I could be dead wrong. But I still don't believe Gaetz will move to remove Kevin McCarthy. Gaetz and the other hardliners had enormous power over McCarthy by just threatening to remove him. I mean, they've made life absolutely miserable for him the last year and a half. They want to continue to do that.

And Jim, the other thing about Gaetz is Gaetz is all about Gaetz. This is all about individual branding for Matt Gaetz. Matt Gaetz is really not very well-liked inside that caucus among damn near everybody within that caucus. Matt Gaetz has probably already got one foot out the door running for governor of Florida. So I still believe Gaetz is just threatening McCarthy here. But I'd still be surprised if anything happens.

ACOSTA: Fascinating. And let's just talk about what took place over the last, you know, 48 hours on Saturday. The "Wall Street Journal" editorial board referred to this GOP brinksmanship as a, quote, "government shutdown for dummies," writing, "The real goal of the malcontent seems to be to topple Mr. McCarthy for personal spite. It's also pointlessly stupid with failure for ordained. Their constituents want conservative policies but the Gaetz Republicans are playing personal gains."

Charlie, when you've lost the "Wall Street Journal" editorial board, that's not good.

DENT: Well, yes, look, McCarthy is dealing with, and frankly about 200 or so House GOP members is that they're dealing with a nihilistic group of members.


It's a small group. But these guys, just as I think McCarthy said it himself, they just want to burn it all down. They have no interest in governing. They think those who actually govern do things like fund the government and stop the country from defaulting, that they're committing acts of capitulation or surrender. That's how those guys think. And I've said for a long time that, you know, McCarthy needs to stop appeasing that bunch because by appeasing them, he has empowered them and emboldened them.

And so whenever he runs them over like he did yesterday, with a bipartisan agreement, he marginalizes them. He needs to keep doing that and just ignore their threats. They're not going to go away. They're going to continue to drive him crazy if he lets them. So, again, it gets back to McCarthy, figuring out whether or not -- how much he is going to need Democrats going forward.

He's going to need them again on the next funding bill, on November 17th. He's going to need them to fund the government on a long-term basis when they pass all the appropriations bills. He'll need them on Ukraine funding. So they're going to have to continue to work together and that group, that nihilistic group is never going to be there to help. So they might as well just throw the gauntlet down, have the fight, let the chips fall where they may. We don't know how this is going to play out. There is still some time.

But let's at least go down swinging.

ACOSTA: Yes, I mean, Joe, what do you think? I mean, has Kevin McCarthy kind of figured out the numbers here and made a determination, do you think, that while he's just going to go and do this without the Freedom Caucus, he'll let them do some performative things right up until the last minute and then when the middle of November rolls around or maybe they'll push it to Thanksgiving, they'll pass another turkey?

WALSH: Well, first off, Jim, the context here is no tears for Kevin McCarthy. Let's remember he sold every inch of his body to become speaker. So no tears for McCarthy. He put himself in this position. I disagree with my friend and colleague Charlie. This was a bad fight. Most of the Republican caucus is MAGA. But even most of the MAGA wing or caucus here, they didn't want to fight over this government shutdown.

They'd rather talk about Hunter Biden and impeachment inquiries, you know, bogus impeachment inquiries into Joe Biden. Most of the Republicans in the House want to pursue an impeachment inquiry. Those are the bones that McCarthy has to throw at his caucus. But Charlie is right. When it comes to actual policy and keeping the government funded, McCarthy is going to have to lean on Democrats and keep throwing his MAGA folks, all the impeachment inquiry BS.

ACOSTA: All right. Well, a lot to get through there but appreciate both of you for joining us to do it.

Charlie Dent, Joe Walsh, it's going to be an interesting week, guys. We'll be back in touch. Thanks a lot.

DENT: It will be.

ACOSTA: Yes, it will. It will be many things. Probably more than interesting. All right. Thanks a lot, guys. Appreciate it.

Donald Trump returns to Iowa. We'll take you live to the campaign trail in just a few moments. Plus a look at how smash-and-grab robberies and looting are taking a toll on some communities. And it's Jimmy Carter's 99th birthday. A look at his life and legacy, and the birthday wishes he's getting from people all around the world including Willie Nelson.


WILLIE NELSON, MUSICIAN: Happy birthday, President Carter. I'm thinking about you. I love you. We miss you. And I hope you have a real good one.



[18:17:35] ACOSTA: The Iowa caucuses are less than four months away. Donald Trump, the current Republican frontrunner, is ramping up campaign efforts in the Hawkeye State.

CNN's Alayna Treene is there and joins us with more.

Alayna, I understand you're hearing that Donald Trump will be back in court tomorrow. This time in New York. What can you tell us?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Jim. So we've learned that the former president is expected to travel to New York City tonight. He's wrapping up his Iowa events. He just finished his rally here in Ottumwa. He's also going to be traveling to a farm also in this state. And then he's going to head to New York City and is expected to appear at the courthouse tomorrow in a civil fraud case.

Now this case was brought by the New York Attorney General Letitia James last September and it's relating to Donald Trump, his sons, some of their companies and their senior executives, accusing them of fraud. Now Donald Trump is not expected to speak in this case tomorrow. He also hasn't confirmed that he's actually going to appear in court. But multiple sources are telling me and my colleague Kristen Holmes that he is expected to be in New York and show up at the courthouse tomorrow.

ACOSTA: And Alayna, what has the former president been saying out on the campaign trail this weekend and why is he focusing in on Iowa?

TREENE: Well, I think the Iowa speech is very important. I also think just noting how many stops that the former president is going to be making in this state is also very interesting. So far Donald Trump has not spent a lot of time in Iowa. Even though of course it is the first primary state. The Iowa caucus is on January 15th. And he's starting to ramping up his attention on this.

And I've spoken with many of Donald Trump's advisers about the importance of both Iowa but also many of the other early states and they tell me, look, even though he's doing very well in the polls, he's trying to make this look like a Trump versus Biden rematch, and trying to look like he's bypassing his primary challengers, they still recognize that at the end of the day they have to win in the primary states in order to win eventually in 2024 if he were to get the nomination.

And they really are hoping that if they can win big in Iowa, in New Hampshire, in South Carolina, that momentum could carry over to the general election. So he is not taking his foot off the gas when it comes to campaigning in these early states even though he's polling so well beyond his challengers -- Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Alayna Treene, the campaign and courtroom calendar is getting filled up quickly.


Thank you, Alayna, very much. We appreciate that. TREENE: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Here to discuss this and more is editor-in chief of Mediaite, Aidan McLaughlin.

Aidan, let me just jump very quickly into this Trump news that he's going to be at this civil fraud trial in New York tomorrow. It sounds as though this is a continuation of Trump wanting to fight this out in the media.

AIDAN MCLAUGHLIN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, MEDIAITE: Right. I think it's the strategy that we saw from when he launched his political campaign first in 2015 which is that if you turn everything into the Trump show, you're going to get a ton of free media coverage. You're also going to look like you're fighting against these institutions that are seeking to keep you down. His supporters really, really love that. And it also sucks up all the oxygen for the other candidates that he's facing in the Republican primary.

It keeps the cameras on him. So I think that's a really important part of his strategy and it has been to be honest throughout his entire career.

ACOSTA: Yes. No, I mean, that's what he did back in 2016 and in 2020, and now he's going to do it again. I wanted to talk to you, Aidan, about the most recent Republican debate at the Reagan Library. You know, one of the things that we're seeing is a 538-"Washington Post" poll taken after the debate found Trump is still the favorite. Polling also found one in three Republican primary voters tuned in to watch. Are these debates doing anything for Trump's challengers?

MCLAUGHLIN: No, not that we've seen in the polls. I mean, I think it remains the case that Donald Trump is up 40 points on his closest Republican challenger in most of these polls that we're seeing. So I think they certainly realized when you look at how Ron DeSantis handled that debate, he went on the attack against Trump for ducking the debates early on. So I think he's realizing and some of his other contenders are realizing that the only way that they're ever going to have a chance of competing against Trump is just take the attack to him.

So they're definitely trying that. But the fact remains that Trump is not on that stage. So I don't think the Republican base is particularly interested in watching these debates because they don't really mean much given that Trump is polling so far ahead of everyone else. So I don't think he needs to really be there and certainly I don't think it's helping his contenders really chip away at his base of support.

ACOSTA: Right. And I mean, I would hazard to say that it hasn't been very good television either. I mean, one of the things, Aidan, is that they're skipping a lot of topics that would be, I guess damaging to the former president. They're not really talking about Trump's indictments. They're not -- they didn't talk about Trump basically threatening to execute General Milley. No questions on his business fraud. What do you think? FOX, these debate, I guess, organizers, are they giving Trump a free pass?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, you know, that's a good point. I think, you know, the first two debates, the first one was run by FOX News, the second was run by FOX Business. There were two hosts at the second debate that were either for FOX Business or FOX News. They certainly are not asking about Trump. They're asking more policy focused questions. I don't know that that's necessarily making a difference because the candidates are really turning the questions into a referendum on Trump anyway.

Ron DeSantis and Chris Christie came out hard against Trump. Obviously the other candidates on the stage that are a little bit more supportive of Trump are probably pretty happy to not have to answer questions about his indictments or his attacks on General Mark Milley. So it's an interesting way to handle these debates. At the end of the day, I don't think it matters. It's not particularly interesting.

It's a lot of candidates on stage vying to be potentially vice presidential picks. And so until we see any sort of shake-up in the numbers here or any sort of erosion to Trump's base of support which I don't really see happening in the next coming months unless there's a big change somewhere, these debates don't really matter.

ACOSTA: Right.

MCLAUGHLIN: And you can actually see that in the ratings. The audience for these debates is much, much smaller than the audience we saw in 2016 and I think that's just because voters don't necessarily care to see a bunch of candidates on stage who are nowhere near competing against former President Trump.

ACOSTA: Yes. And, Aidan, before we wrap up the segment, I did want to ask you about Trump going back to referring to the press, referring to news organizations as the enemy of the people. Trump just sat down with NBC, sat down with "Meet the Press," and within days was referring to NBC, MSNBC and so on as the enemy of the people. It just seems like we're going back in time. We're seeing a repeat of what he's done in the past.

He's going to demonize the press and you and I both know because we've covered this for some time now, this isn't just rhetoric on his part. This leads to threats, this leads to incitement, and potentially violence.

MCLAUGHLIN: Right. I think that's the most important point here. Like I think it's also worth remembering that this is all a show. This is basically WWE. As you pointed out, he was on "Meet the Press" in recent weeks and then levels this attack against NBC. But I think it's important to be clear about what we're dealing with here, Jim, because Trump says so many crazy things particularly on Truth Social that it's hard -- it's easy to lose sight of what's at stake.

This is an explicit threat to use government power against the media and make them pay in his words a big price once he's back in the White House.


Now there is only so much a president can do to crack down on a media organization. He accused NBC of treason, that's sort of meaningless and it's unclear that he would ever be able to wield power against NBC in a way that would be particularly damaging. But as you know and as you mentioned, this sort of violent rhetoric and extremist rhetoric has huge consequences. You know, the "Wall Street Journal" editorial board which, as you know, has been defensive of Trump pretty regularly, called out the attacks on Mark Milley on NBC and said whether or not Trump is serious about any of these threats, his supporters take this stuff seriously.

And we can well see, you know, we've certainly seen violent threats uptick against the FBI after the raid at Mar-a-Lago. I'm sure Mark Milley is fielding his fair share of violent threats. Somebody could actually take action on this stuff, and that's when we really have a problem. Whether it's, you know, taking action against someone like Mark Milley or sending pipe bombs to a news organization as we know a Trump supporter did against CNN a couple of years ago.

ACOSTA: Right.

MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, this stuff has serious consequences and we have to take it seriously.

ACOSTA: Right. I mean, I don't think he's going to act out on the threat and try to shut down a news organization. That sort of thing.


ACOSTA: And as you were saying, he wouldn't be able to do it because of the First Amendment. But sometimes it feels as though the purpose of what he's doing when he engages in that kind of rhetoric, uses those kinds of incendiary comments is he knows he is directing his supporters to -- you know, make threats and engage in that kind of dangerous rhetoric.

Aidan, always great to have you on. Really appreciate it. Aidan McLaughlin, from Mediaite, thanks a lot for your time. Good to talk to you.

MCLAUGHLIN: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Thank you.

It's a momentous weekend for former President Jimmy Carter. He's turning 99 years old today. Happy birthday, President Carter. A look at his remarkable legacy in and out of office. That's next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: America's 39th president is turning 99 years old today. Birthday celebrations for former President Jimmy Carter have been underway this weekend at the Carter Center in Atlanta, and well-wishes are coming in from all over the world including from President Biden.


BIDEN: Mr. President, happy birthday, pal. I've known a lot of presidents as you have, but I admire you because you have such incredible integrity, character, and determination. I consider it a great honor to know you and to have worked with you. And I just hope I could be one half the president you've been. God love you.


ACOSTA: Let's bring in Tim Naftali, he is a CNN presidential historian. He joins me now.

Tim, great to see you as always. Jimmy Carter, he's a living legend. He's a national treasure. He's also the nation's oldest living former president. It's incredible that he is now 99 years old. Just amazing.

TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, he has shown in the last few months that determination that has defined his entire career, Jim. When the Carter Center announced that he was going into hospice in February, many worried and apparently there are reports that many even in his family worried that he had only a few days left on this earth and he's still with us to celebrate or to mark his 99th birthday.

By the way, he's the oldest -- not only the oldest former president, or the oldest to -- former president, he's also the oldest of either member of the ticket. He surpassed John Nance Karner a few weeks ago who lived to almost 99, and he was FDR's first vice president.

ACOSTA: Right.

NAFTALI: Jimmy Carter not only has also -- has the record for the longest post-presidency, but let's not forget that he probably has the record and may always hold the record for having the best post- presidency. So there is a lot to discuss on this birthday for Jimmy Carter.

ACOSTA: And we saw the country almost go into another government shutdown, Tim. I mean, and I was talking about this last night with David Gergen a little bit. You know, the thought during Jimmy Carter's time or Ronald Reagan's time that we'd have government shutdown after government -- this constant state of brinksmanship just would not have -- that would not have existed back in those days.

Not everything was great back in those days. I don't want to just, you know, wax poetic about how times were better back then. But this one particular thing didn't happen so much back then. Why is that? Was it because of Jimmy Carter's leadership style to some extent? Was it the way Congress got along with one another back then? What are your thoughts?

NAFTALI: Well, Jim, I'm going to share with you some speculation and I'm not sure how I would be able to prove it, but in thinking deeply about this problem, I'm not the only one, a lot of us are.


NAFTALI: I think there's something to the fact that so many members of Congress had served together in World War II, had served together in our armed forces, and there was a limit to the animosity that they could have given this shared searing experience. I think also the shared experience of the Great Depression was also a reason why in their quiver they had the capacity to compromise.

And I think there is one other point that is worth mentioning, which is that there was, if you will, a Washington culture. Members of Congress would come to Washington and they would -- they would share rooms, apartments, what have you, and get to know one another. And get to know one another across the aisle and they would drink together. There was a certain camaraderie.

Yes, that produced some very unpleasant and unfortunate group think, if you will. But it also meant that they knew each other as human beings, and when you know someone as a human being, you can compromise with them.


There is a contempt amongst members of Congress now that would have been hard to expect or imagine 30 years ago.

ACOSTA: And there was a similar time to I guess some of the divisiveness that we see today in the post-Watergate era, and Jimmy Carter helped the country turned the page from the Watergate era. He was a different kind of president. He wore sweaters in the Oval Office. I mean, stylistically he tried to take some of Nixon's hard edges off of the Office of the Presidency.

NAFTALI: I think Jimmy Carter will be remembered in part for helping move the country after Gerald Ford, by the way, who deserves enormous credit. You know, if it weren't for the timing of the pardon, Gerald Ford might very well have been reelected, but he would certainly have had a spotless time as a healer for our country. But with Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter is responsible for putting in place the new checks and balances following Vietnam and following the abuses of the Nixon period.

So a number of those private -- those laws that were there to protect our privacy, which sadly the Georgia W. Bush administration overlooked for a period.

ACOSTA: Right.

NAFTALI: Those laws -- our privacy. The end of warrantless wiretapping, for example, those were a product of the Carter -- of the Ford-Carter years. And so we have to think of -- and by the way, it was so natural that the two men should become so close as former presidents. They didn't quite like each other in 1981, sorry in 1977, but they certainly did about 10 years later.


NAFTALI: In any case, the Carter years were a time to actually strengthen our institutions. Now as a president, Jimmy Carter (INAUDIBLE) challenges, he lacked some of the -- he didn't like the personal side of politics. Unlike Joe Biden studied the Carter presidency I think very carefully. But he believed in it and we needed that at the time.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. Great reflection on the Carter presidency.

Tim Naftali, we knew you were the perfect person to go to for this. Thanks so much, and happy birthday, President Carter. Thanks very much, Tim. Appreciate your time.

NAFTALI: Thank you, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. In other news, a rash of looting and smash-and-grab robberies now prompting some retailers to say enough is enough. The fallout from all the theft. That's next.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: Target says it's planning to close nine stores in major cities including San Francisco and New York because theft and violence had been on the rise in those establishments. Many stores are struggling to cope with the growing wave of crime, sometimes petty shoplifting, sometimes violence in the store, and sometimes organized crime running out of shipping docks in the back.

CNN's Veronica Miracle has more.


VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Retail crime is again front and center as major brands close stores.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're locking up the toothpaste.

MIRACLE: The latest, Target closing nine stores citing theft and organized retail crime threatening the safety of our team and guests, and hurting business. At this San Francisco Target, soon to close, even general merchandise is behind plexiglass.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It doesn't surprise me.

MIRACLE: Regulars say they've seen the crime firsthand.

(On-camera): You live across the street. Tell me what you see here on a daily basis happening at this Target?

HARVEY ZEPEDA, LIVES NEAR TARGET: At least once, twice a day, I would see the homeless come in here, they steal stuff, they take off running. Majority of them get caught but there is quite a few that do get away.

MIRACLE (voice-over): This Target joins two others in Oakland closing on October 21st along with three in Portland, Oregon, two in Seattle, Washington, and another in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We take officers and we put them either in garage or out here.

MIRACLE: The NYPD says Target was paying for increased patrols at the East Harlem store but thefts continued.

Target is just the latest to take drastic action. Starbucks closed 16 stores last year citing safety concerns.

We spotted grocery stores in San Francisco locking up coffee, another cable-locked frozen foods. In the 30 minutes CNN spent at this San Francisco Walgreens in July, we saw three people including this man steal.

(On-camera): Did that guy pay? Did that guy pay?


MIRACLE (voice-over): New data from the National Retail Federation says 28 percent of retailers reported closing stores due to crime. $112 billion in losses last year is an $18 billion jump over the year before. From Nordstrom in Los Angeles, to Lululemon near Atlanta. And now an Apple Store in Philadelphia. Dozens of high-profile smash-and- grabs have business owners calling for tougher laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want everybody to know this will not be our last protest.

MIRACLE: This week Oakland's small businesses went on strike closing their doors for hours. Standing in front of a shuttered restaurant, they demanded public officials do more.

GREG MCCONNELL, ADVOCATE AND OWNER, THE MCCONNELL GROUP: This restaurant survived Occupy Oakland and the riots. This restaurant survived the pandemic. But this restaurant can't survive crime.

MIRACLE (on-camera): The morning after Target made the announcement there was a line of cars here. People were being turned away from getting into the San Francisco Target that's closing. It turns out this store and one in New York, they've abruptly changed their store hours. They're going to be now opening later. So already communities are feeling an impact. The stores across the country are not officially supposed to close until October 21st.

Veronica Miracle, CNN, San Francisco.


ACOSTA: Meantime, in Philadelphia, dozens of people have been arrested after looting at several stores in the city this past week. Lootings compared to flash mobs with masks and hoodies and organized on social media.


Joining me to discuss is CNN senior law enforcement analyst Charles Ramsey.

Charles, you were the police commissioner in Philadelphia. You also had the top cop job in D.C. You know about this stuff. I'm sure when you were watching this unfold in Philadelphia, you had some thoughts about this. What could be done? Because I know people who live in D.C., they're tearing their hair out over what's happening in D.C. And I have to think that's happening in Philadelphia, too.

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you know, it's difficult to handle these flash mobs, are organized on social media. Sometimes you get a tip when you're able to get ahead of it. I know a few years ago when I was the police commissioner, we had a problem with flash mobs. It was basically teenagers after they got out of school, they'd come together, they go through center city and hit Macy's or one of the other stores.

And we actually got some help from parents that were aware of what was about to take place so we could deploy people in advance, but sometimes that's just not possible. This is serious. And there is no question about it. People have been emboldened to a large extent in terms of this kind of activity. There had not been real strong prosecution against many people for shoplifting and various other thefts that have been taking place. And now we're dealing with this problem not just in Philly but around the country.

ACOSTA: Yes, and we're looking at the video of what took place at the Apple Store in Philadelphia. And I just wonder, you know, I've seen here in Washington, Chief, you know, some of these high-end retail stores, they have rope lines outside the stores, security guards, basically bouncers, and it's sort of like being led into a nightclub. You've got to wait your turn to go into these high value, high-end retail stores.

Is that one of the solutions here? That you just can't let as many people into the store. You can't let, you know, 50 people in an Apple Store any more.

RAMSEY: Well, it's one of the solutions. But it's a shame that we have to do that sort of thing.


RAMSEY: I mean, you know, I go to the mall and you see, you know, especially the high-end stores, they've got the rope line and 10 people in at a time and that sort of thing. Going to CVS, even in my neighborhood, and you've got body wash that's actually locked up.

ACOSTA: It's crazy.

RAMSEY: I mean, come on. You know.


RAMSEY: It's absolutely insane. It's going to cause a lot of these brick-and-mortar stores to close. Who gets hurt by that? People in the community that really rely on it. People will lose jobs.

ACOSTA: That's right.

RAMSEY: Stores like Target if they go solely online, you lose tax revenue as a result of that. I mean, this thing is something very serious. Those folks get arrested, those here in Philadelphia, over 60 have been arrested and charged. They need to go to jail. There needs to be some jail time. There's got to be accountability for folks that commit this kind of crime. These aren't minor crimes.

ACOSTA: Yes. There is no question about it. I mean, it's just so frustrating. You go into these stores and everything is behind the cases now in cities like D.C. and Philadelphia, and it just drives you nuts. What about, there's also the surge in violence in Washington, D.C. where you were also the police chief, Chief Ramsey? The nation's capital just surpassed 200 homicides before October this year. I was reading about this in "The Washington Post" the other day.

That is the earliest point since 1997, and we all know what was taking place in D.C. back in those days. That was when law enforcement was dealing with crack epidemic, and all of the violent crime that was caused by that. What's the biggest driver here? Why is this happening again in Washington?

RAMSEY: Yes, '97 is the year before I came to D.C. and we had over 300 murders that year. And so crime in the district is a problem. It's concentrated crime. Although I'm not in the district anymore, I can pretty much tell you exactly where most of the violent crime is taking place. Again, it's the people who are committing these crimes. The gun violence and things like that. You know, we talk about hot spots. It's really about hot people. Who are the ones that are actually carrying the guns illegally that are causing the problems?

These are the ones that you have to identify, you've got to target, you've got to get them off the streets because they will continue to do what they do. And if they don't become the offender, they're going to be next victim because of street justice. That's what happens. Somebody from group A shoots somebody from group B, you know that B is going to retaliate against A, and it just goes on and on and on.

So you have to be relentless in going after these guys. You can't take holidays off, weekends off and all that sort of thing. Criminals don't do that. They work every single day. And you have to work every day and be just relentless. But they got to go to jail once they're caught and once they're tried and convicted. This slap on the wrist and oh, we can't put anybody else in jail, that's part of the problem. Some of these guys need to be locked up.

ACOSTA: All right. Chief Ramsey, I know we're going to bring you back on this. It's something that's a real source of frustration for a lot of folks out there.


Chief, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

In the meantime, a member of the House Democratic leadership is stepping down because he does not support President Biden's re- election campaign. We'll explain that just ahead here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


ACOSTA: An FBI project called "Operation Not Forgotten" has dozen of federal agents working on Native American tribal lands. They're working cold cases in cases of violence and sex crimes.

And CNN's Josh Campbell investigates.



JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The FBI announcing the results of a months' long surge of personnel to help solve violent crimes and cold cases impacting Native Americans. The bureau said "Operation Not Forgotten" focused on crimes occurring on tribal lands across 10 FBI divisions with dozens of FBI personnel conducting victim and witness interviews and launching more than 40 arrests and search operations.

Now I spoke exclusively with an FBI agent overseeing the operation.


JONATHAN TAPP, FBI SECTION CHIEF: The main focus of our cases were death investigations and sexual abuse crimes. Those agents respond to scenes. They process evidence. They arrest subjects and interview witnesses. Simultaneously, our intelligence personnel are locating information, processing leads and determining locations of additional victims.


CAMPBELL: The agency said that list of personnel surging to tribal lands also included FBI victim specialists working to care for those impacted by violent crime.

Now prior to the launch of "Operation Not Forgotten," CNN went inside the FBI's efforts to locate missing Native Americans in New Mexico and Arizona. Seeing firsthand the difficult nature of this work.


UNIDENTIFIED FBI AGENT: You've got to be able to learn the land, you've got to be able to learn the cultural norms. And our number one challenge is access. For certain crimes out here, it will be some sort of family-on-family crime and they may not want the individual to go to jail. CAMPBELL: But to you, this is more than just data.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is more than just data. These are individuals and these are individuals that are either in pain or missing or in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people you know don't know an FBI agent but we're out here and we're working. We've all joined the FBI to kind of answer that call and I would say that call comes in a lot more frequently out here.


CAMPBELL: Now to help investigators solve the numerous unresolved cases of missing and murdered indigenous persons on tribal lands, the FBI is appealing to the public to visit Scan the faces of the missing and contact law enforcement if you have any information on the whereabouts of these victims.

Josh Campbell, CNN, Los Angeles.


ACOSTA: Kevin McCarthy's days as House speaker could be numbered and the plan to oust him could start taking shape tomorrow. The latest coming up next.

You're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Stay with us.