Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Biden Stumping in New York; Twitter Asking Fired Employees to Return; Rep. Tom Malinowski is Interviewed about his Race; Aired 6:30- 7a ET

Aired November 07, 2022 - 06:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Democratic governor, Kathy Hochul, who wants to remain governor and is in a very tight race against Lee Zeldin, said this over the weekend.

Let's play it.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): You know, a lot of you are saying, why does President Biden come to New York so much?

He's here tonight because he knows there's no place better in the entire United States of America than New York. Who doesn't want to come to New York?


HARLOW: I - I don't -- it is. I agree that it is a nice place.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm not sure that's why.

HARLOW: I don't think that's why.

What -- why did she bring it up even?

AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, because you're asking, you know what I mean. The question is out there and I think it's good to acknowledge things that are out there. And Democrats have had to defend some places and some seats they didn't expect to with vigor that they didn't expect to.

And it's interesting because we've talked so much about candidate quality on the Republican side, sort of like, hey, is this person a problem, is this person a problem.


CORNISH: But the Democrats have their own candidate quality issue. And some of that is charisma. Some of that is message delivery. Some is that - is not being able to be on defense and offense the way that some of their voters would like. So, I think some of that is surfacing in this particular story. Those

are the themes people (INAUDIBLE).

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: There's also money too. If you look at all the dark money and the money from billionaires that are coming into these campaigns and the --

CORNISH: Yes, but Democrats raised a lot of money.


CORNISH: I mean they did well. And for a while we were running stories saying like, whoa, you know, they're doing so much better than Republicans, what does this mean? So, some of it does have to do with - with messengers and how do you defend both the accomplishments and achievements of an administration. And I'm not sure in every place people were able to do that the way the Democrats would like.

COLLINS: Yes. And one big question I have for tomorrow is whether or not Governor Hochul's standing, even if she wins re-election, if she hurts other Democrats on the ballots in these key House races.

I do want to ask you, though, about Melanie's interview with Kevin McCarthy.


COLLINS: Really interesting there because if he does become House speaker, which right now he is poised to do if they take control of the House, you know, he's going to be facing issues like what assignments Marjorie Taylor Greene is going to -- what committee assignments. Those are really powerful positions. He's on the steering committee. That's really powerful in deciding who gets which assignment. And, of course, she was kicked off and stripped of her assignments by a Democratic majority house. He's going to be dealing - and he says she's going to get on a committee. It's not clear which one. But I wonder what you make of what lies ahead for Kevin McCarthy.

CORNISH: Yes, I mean, big picture, he's seen this movie not once but three times before, right, under Newt Gingrich, with his contract with America. McCarthy's out with his commitment to America. He's watched Paul Ryan and John Boehner completely fall apart under scrutiny from kind of more far right elements of the party. He's seen this with the Tea Party. And now he's got his chance to try and lead a caucus that has disparate voices and voices that are singularly powerful because of their influence in the media. So, he does understand what he's up against.

And, you know, in the line of questioning there it was sort of like, why would you put her on this. You know, oversight is a very powerful position for Congress. And it's been - it's been weaponized in a lot of ways. So, do expect, if there is a Republican-led House, many investigations. Do expect attempts at impeachments that we know will not go anywhere because the Senate does not often convict. There's a lot of this we have experienced in the last four or five years. And the commitment to America, most of the policy details could fit on a card in his suit pocket. So, I think he - you know, he's going to have to flesh out more what it means to have Republican leadership. But Democrats, right now, are - not Democrats, voters right now are in that kind of throw at the bones kind of attitude and energy.

LEMON: A couple things I want to talk to you about here. You're right. I was speaking to a Democrat who's actually on the ballot in New York on Tuesday and that - and the Democrat said, I believe -- referring to Hochul - I believe she wins, but the question is a margin is going to impact the race for the ticket.


LEMON: Like down - for down ticket.

CORNISH: Are there are a bunch of just like sad emojis after that?

LEMON: No, no, no, there's not a sad emoji at the end.

COLLINS: Stressed emojis.

LEMON: We were talking about Kevin McCarthy.


LEMON: And Kevin McCarthy, smart man, really slippery (ph). Of course, you know, one day, you know, after the insurrection he said one thing and then went down and did another thing.

But just on the interview that Melanie did with him, when he talks about fentanyl being the number one cause of death, it's not. Heart disease, cancer, Covid outrank fentanyl.


LEMON: Fentanyl is a big problem.

But also when it comes to -

CORNISH: And also fentanyl comes in through ports of entry. That's where a lot of the security issues have been. There was a lot going on there, right? Like, Republicans also raised the debt ceiling multiple times under Trump.

HARLOW: Which Melanie pointed out.

CORNISH: Right. Exactly. The funding for customs and border control has remained relatively stable from Trump to Biden. And, in fact, Democrats have been - had had a lot of criticism for Biden for holding on to certain policies that Trump did.


CORNISH: None of that matters, you know what I mean, in the messaging going to the election if your singular focus is, there's a lot of crime, be afraid of the crime and know who's the problem and who caused the problems. That's what McCarthy's trying to do. LEMON: And immigrants commit crime far less than American -- actual American citizens commit crime.


And also when it comes to catching people who are bringing fentanyl across the border, those seizures are up.


LEMON: It doesn't mean the use is up. It means the seizures are up. And it says -- that doesn't exclude them from being added to what it's meant to be. It's a scary sound and because of people who bring the fentanyl over, the people who are bringing the fentanyl over the border are U.S. citizens for the most part who are bringing it over and not necessarily immigrants.

CORNISH: Yes. You know, the most important part of the interview actually is the difference in language around Latino voters.


CORNISH: So, after past elections there was this sense that like, hey, if you're bashing immigrants too much, if you're talking about the southern border too much, you're really going to annoy this Latino electorate, Hispanic electorate. And Democrats, who are enjoying, you know, the demography is destiny kind of argument, are going to prevail. Now, in Nevada, you have a Democrat senator, the first Latina in the Senate, who it's not totally clear she's going to capture the majority of the Latino vote. And what you heard in McCarthy, interestingly enough, was a little bit of that like energy Republicans are having around like, hey, we might be able to appeal to Latino men and - specifically and we may not have to compromise our own principles on security at the border in order to do it.

COLLINS: That's why he's in Texas for this interview.

CORNISH: Exactly. Exactly.

HARLOW: He's stumping (ph) where the interview was.

COLLINS: He's (INAUDIBLE) those House races that are happening there.

CORNISH: Yes. Yes, So, there's not this idea -- I think Democrats thought it would be -- you could just say, look at these bad policies that hurt immigrants, particularly immigrants of color, Latino immigrants, and that would be enough to say to voters, this is not good for America. And that's not the case.

LEMON: Always love having you here. Appreciate your perspective.

CORNISH: Yes, thanks for having me.

LEMON: Thank you, Audie.

HARLOW: Thanks, Audie. Good to have you. LEMON: Thank you. Good seeing you.

And be sure to tune in on Election Day, starting tomorrow, 4:00 a.m. That's us. We're on for five hours. Followed by special coverage picking up at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Up next, the chaos continues. We're talking about Elon Musk reportedly rethinking his termination of some Twitter employees. Why he is now inviting them back to work. Interesting, huh.



HARLOW: All right. So, you'll remember it was just a few days ago that Elon Musk's Twitter laid off thousands of employees by email. But now Elon Musk is asking some of them to come back to work. This is according to a new report from "Bloomberg News." Will those employees return after, needless to say, a chaotic week since the Musk takeover?

Let's bring in CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon.

This is so fascinating. Is this for real that he's saying, wait, we can't operate without some of you, come back?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, that's what we're chasing, right, I mean, and that's what we're trying to figure out because chaotic, I think, is a pretty decent way to explain just this last week at Twitter.

So, to restate it, on Friday, right, is when we learned that Elon Musk and Twitter was letting go of about half of their staff. This is 48 hours later. It is Monday morning and we are now talking about the fact that they are potentially saying, oh, wait a minute, we actually need some of you to come back.

So, what we're chasing and what we're trying to figure out is, who is being asked to return? Were they meant to be laid off to begin with, or is this just sort of a, woops, we actually do really need you, come back.

And so I should say that we here at CNN have reached out to Twitter, the communications team, people that we have talked to before. The emails are bouncing back, implying -

HARLOW: Really?


SOLOMON: Yes, implying that they're not with the company anymore. So, presumably, so these layoffs also impacted the communications department.

So, look, I mean it is really a fast-moving story. A lot of people impacted. I should say, Elon Musk, for his part, tweeted out that, unfortunately, there's no choice in terms of these cost reductions, these job losses. Unfortunately, there's no choice when the company is losing over $4 million a day. Everyone exited was offered three months of severance, which is more (ph).

LEMON: Isn't - isn't it all easy, don't you think, like - it's easy when people even to sit here, when people say, oh, why didn't you do this and then you actually it in this chair and you're like, holy you know what, this is harder than I thought. Or when you become president you - people criticize --

HARLOW: Yes. Right. Every -- these are people's lives, livelihoods, providing for their families. I mean that's every single one of those layoffs.

LEMON: It's - yes. But don't you think it's harder then -- for Elon Musk that -- when he's actually sitting in the chair, that he's like, wait a minute, this isn't exactly what I thought.

COLLINS: Yes, it's always tougher when you actually have the job.


HARLOW: (INAUDIBLE) results (ph).

COLLINS: The thing I'm obsessed with is the verification thing. You know there's the talk of they're going to charge you to be verified. You can basically be whoever you - you can say you are whoever you want on Twitter.

This became an issue actually over the weekend because people were mocking Elon Muck by this and impersonating him, including Kathy Griffin.


COLLINS: And he tweeted, you know, going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying parody will be permanently suspended.

But where this matters is that they're now delaying it until after the midterms because it could cause issues with people impersonating lawmakers. President Biden. All of these people pretending to be them on Twitter.


SOLOMON: Journalists. News organizations. Absolutely. I mean this is, I think, yet another example of something being rolled out at Twitter within the last week, perhaps prematurely. Critics would certainly say prematurely.

And, you're right, so celebrities were trying to make a point over the weekend that, hey, wait a minute, this could certainly have unintended consequences. And so, to make that point, they started to impersonate Elon Musk, some of whom have already been suspended, like Kathy Griffin. Will it be permanent? Unclear because now Elon is saying, oh, well, she can have her account back if she wants. It's just really fluid I think is one way to put it.

HARLOW: We didn't get -

COLLINS: The wild, wild west.

HARLOW: We didn't even get to the fact that big companies are pulling their advertising off Twitter because of what's going on.


COLLINS: United. Audi (ph).

HARLOW: That hits the bottom line in a major way.

SOLOMON: Yes, because people are scratching their heads like - not just us but so many people are scratching their heads, like, what is Twitter -- what's going on?

HARLOW: What is this platform? What are the rules?

Rahel, thank you very, very much.


LEMON: Interesting. Not as easy as you thought.

HARLOW: We - it is not.

It's also interesting that all the other companies he's run he's founded.


HARLOW: Which I think is really interesting. This is a company he's coming into, right?

COLLINS: He's taking over.

HARLOW: All right, so two big CNN THIS MORNING interviews. First, New Jersey Democrat Tom Malinowski is here.


He doesn't think his party can hold the House if he doesn't win his race.

COLLINS: We also have Michael Lawler, the Republican who may be poised to defeat Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney in New York. That is, of course, critical given he is in charge of a lot of - making sure that Democrats stay in the House. We'll tell you where that race stands ahead.

LEMON: I would just say like everything that people complain about, a lot of it, Elon Musk is now facing himself.

HARLOW: That is so true. LEMON: And now it's like, oh -


COLLINS: In the 2018 midterms, New Jersey Democrats flipped four congressional seats blue. Now Republicans are trying to turn the tables. And one of the seats that they're targeting is in the Seventh Congressional District. That's a crucial seat currently held by Tom Malinowski, who is now locked in a tight re-match with the former state senator that he beat just barely in 2020.

So, joining us now is Congressman Tom Malinowski.

Thank you for joining us.

And, you know, you recently told our colleague, Manu Raju, that you don't think Democrats can hold on to the House if they don't hold on to your seat.


If tomorrow comes and you do not ultimately win, who is responsible for your loss?

REP. TOM MALINOWSKI (D-NJ): Well, I think I'm going to win tomorrow. We have an incredibly energetic campaign. over close to 1,500 volunteers this weekend going out, knocking on doors, which is more than any other Democratic campaign for the House in the country. We've got a very strong message. I think a fairly weak opponent. And I think - I think we are going to hold this seat, and, therefore, we do have a chance to hold the House tomorrow.

COLLINS: Do you like how Democrats nationally have been spending their money, where they've been spending it? Do you think it's been effective when it comes to what we look at, the numbers tomorrow night?

MALINOWSKI: We have less money across the board in the big Democratic super PACs than the Republicans do. There are not as many billionaires writing multi-million-dollar checks as the Republicans have. We're actually outraising Republicans significantly in terms of contributions from grassroots donors, individual donors. So, in my race, we're pretty much even, except that, you know, the difference is my opponent is getting his money from these big super PACs and I'm actually financing my campaign from real people who support me.

LEMON: Can you - can you talk to me about that, just since you mentioned it. You talked about this, billionaires. That is an issue from Democrats but not much has been talked about. And they - we are calling it dark money. If you look at these races in New York and New Jersey, you have these billionaires that are giving tens of millions of dollars to Republican candidates.

Do you think that has propped them up and do you think it's hurt Democrats and does it hurt politics overall how people are elected? Does it drown out the people so to speak? MALINOWSKI: I think it's a terrible system. It's absolutely terrible.

And the fact that you can't even trace a lot of this money some of the time is something that is very disturbing to a lot of voters in my district. I -- look, one of my selling points over the last four years, since I was elected, is that I don't take money from corporate PACs. I only take money from individuals. And I think a lot of people support me, even - even if they don't necessarily agree with me on every policy issue because they see me as independent from dark money, from corporate special interest money. We, obviously, need to reform the system. It's tough because of the Supreme Court's decision a few years ago but we've been trying.

HARLOW: Congressman, you're right, Citizens United is not in jeopardy at all in the court. Or the system is what it is.

But on the issues, I mean outside of the money here, I wonder if you agree with some of your fellow Democrats in very tight races across the country, like Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, who we had on just last week, who really thinks that many Democrats have blown it when it comes to the economy and inflation, and actually addressing it. I mean she said to "The New York Times," the truth is Democrats have done a poor job of communicating our approach to economy. If you can't speak to people directly, she says, and their pocketbook, you're just having half the conversation.

Do you agree with her?

MALINOWSKI: I agree -- I agree that that is what we have to be talking about. And I think candidates -- members like Elissa Slotkin, like myself, who represent closely divided districts, have been doing a good job talking about those issues, which is why I think we are going to be re-elected.


MALINOWSKI: Again, these races are not - they're not just a national referendum. Voters are voting for and against individual candidates in individual districts. And from the very beginning, I've been talking about inflation, about the economy, about jobs, about fixing supply chains. I've also been talking about a woman's right to choose and about protecting our democracy. And most of the voters I speak to are not single-issue voters. They care about the price of groceries. They also don't want to lose their rights. And what I've tried to argue is Democrats actually have a plan to protect you on both of those issues. Republicans do not.

HARLOW: What would you -- on the issue of inflation, what would you do, if you do get another term, specifically in Congress to lower inflation? The Fed aside, what would you do differently than the Biden administration right now on inflation?

MALINOWSKI: Well, we've done a lot. The Chips and Science Act, for example, the first step in bringing our supply chain back to America so that we are not as dependent on China, countries that are unstable, hostile to us. I would do much more than that. I -- we do have legislation that would invest tens of billions of dollars in reshoring manufacturing of all kinds of critical industries in America that will make cars less expensive, that will make all kinds of consumer products less expensive.

One issue I've had with President Biden on gas prices, on oil, is that I think he made a bit of a mistake going to Saudi Arabia this summer and trying the nice approach with a so-called ally that's trying to deliberate hurt the United States right now.


And I think we - we and he learned a lesson when Saudi Arabia acted to raise gas prices to help Russia to hurt us a couple of months ago. I have legislation in the House to require withdrawing our troops from Saudi Arabia as a consequence of that decision.

COLLINS: Congressman Malinowski, quickly before we let you go, I know you are on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. And on that front you have said you would like to see the Biden administration punish Saudi Arabia. They have said they're re-evaluating the relationship, but what are those consequences actually going to look like and are you confident that President Biden will actually punish Saudi Arabia for this move?

MALINOWSKI: Well, I -- I don't think he should wait for Congress. He has said the right words. Congress, we're all campaigning, obviously, for the election tomorrow. I think he should have acted much more quickly to start withdrawing military equipment. We've got patriot missiles in Saudi Arabia, for example. I know of another country that needs patriot air defense systems, and that's Ukraine. I would have acted right away if I were President Biden to indicate that we don't tolerate a country that pretends to be an ally like Saudi Arabia but, in fact, is helping our adversaries.

By the way, you know, I want us to do more to help Ukraine. And it may not be the number one issue in this election, but it is really important to understand that a Republican House, if Kevin McCarthy is speaker, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, and the dozen other Marjorie Taylor Greene's that are getting elected across the country have the majority, we are going to have to fight over aid to Ukraine. And I am very worried about that.

HARLOW: We will talk to that in the next hour with a Republican candidate for the House on exactly that point.

We appreciate your time. Thank you, sir.


COLLINS: Thanks, Congressman.

LEMON: And we see you wearing the Ukraine -- Ukrainian flag there.

HARLOW: Very much.

LEMON: Thank you. We appreciate it. Good luck.

MALINOWSKI: Thank you.

LEMON: Let us know what happens. Come back and talk to us regardless of what happens. Appreciate it.

COLLINS: Ahead on CNN, we are going to speak -- CNN speaks with an election denier who is now in charge of his county's voting tomorrow.

LEMON: Plus this, suspicious white powder found at the campaign office of Republican Kari Lake. We're live in Arizona with that story straight ahead.