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Musk Tweets Vote Republican; U.S. Elections Signal to the World. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 08, 2022 - 06:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, Elon Musk taking to Twitter, the platform he now owns and operates, urging, quote, independent-minded voters, closed quote, to cast their ballots for Republicans in the midterm elections today. Here's what he tweeted. Quote, shared power curbs the worst excesses of both parties, therefore I recommend voting for a Republican Congress given that the presidency is Democratic. That is a contradiction, by the way, contradiction of what he tweeted just a few months ago when he wrote, quote, for Twitter to deserve public trust it must be politically neutral, which effectively means upsetting the far right and the far left equally.

Let's talk to probably the only tech journalist who has interviewed both Elon Musk on her podcast and John Fetterman recently on a number of these issues. "On with Kara Swisher" is the pod.

Kara, thank you very much.


HARLOW: Beyond the contradiction of Elon Musk, which is clear there -

SWISHER: Yes. Yes.

HARLOW: He owns this powerful platform now. And we have seen an increase in misinformation on it and hate speech just since he took over. What's the big picture here?

SWISHER: Well, he likes to tweets and he says whatever he feels like when he tweets and it doesn't have to have - he doesn't care about contradictions. He does what he feels like. If you read it, that's not the worst quote yesterday. Although, you know, that's what he believes. He actually does believe that one, in being in the middle. He thinks of himself as an independent. He said he's always voted Democrat along -- also along with those tweets. And this year he voted Republican.

I tweeted back at him. So that means - because he wants everyone to be equal, I guess. If there's a Democratic president, you know, the House and Senate -- the Senate should be Republican. And then I tweeted back, because apparently he lives in Texas, so that means he's voting for Beto, right? And so it's just - he's just playing games. He's just -- he's just - and I went, cool, cool, great.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: But that was a very smart tweet - that was very smart on your part because how is that independent?


LEMON: And, listen, it's completely inappropriate.


LEMON: And how is that even responsible when you have a platform like Twitter, which is perhaps the most influential social media platform in the world? How it --



SWISHER: Well, is it? I don't know if it is.

Now, here's the thing, he owns it, Don, that's why. He paid -

LEMON: At least for messaging. Yes.

SWISHER: Yes, he paid $44 billion for it. So, that why he can do it. And he can do whatever he wants, which he's been doing over the past couple weeks to the company, to different users or it, demanding money from people, that he's going to charge this $8 for your blue check. So, he can do it because he paid $44 billion.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Kara, does this at all make you think of, you know, when you see these moguls who, in the past, would buy newspapers and now we're seeing Elon buy Twitter. And it seems like all of these decisions he's making about verification -


COLLINS: Account suspension, now using the platform to weigh in, in a way that we really haven't seen someone do before.


COLLINS: You know, he's kind of just making these things up as he goes based on his own experiences on Twitter?

SWISHER: Yes. Yes, I think that's what he's doing. He's - he's - he's creating the Twitter he wants. And, you know, he was an active user of it, so he does know the product really well. A lot of people who buy companies don't use any of the products. But he's an avid and almost obsessive, and I might say, like myself, addictive user of the product. And, you know, so he's -- he's doing what he wants to do.

So, I don't know what to say. He bought it. It's now a private company. It's not a public company.

HARLOW: Right. SWISHER: He has no one he's beholden to. And this is what he does. A lot of media people do that.

HARLOW: But he -

SWISHER: Although, I have to say, Rupert Murdoch looks, you know, controlled in the comparison.

LEMON: Can I ask you this real quickly on this subject before we move on?


LEMON: You have someone like, you know, a celebrity like Whoopi Goldberg saying I'm done, you know, unless it improves.

SWISHER: Yes. Yes.

LEMON: Is that -- is that concerning at all? Do you think Elon Musk cares about that? And - or does -- what do you think?

SWISHER: No, he doesn't care.


SWISHER: He's - he was touting how much it's up now. He's creating chaos, and it might remind you of some other person who recently got kicked off the platform, who's probably coming back.


SWISHER: He loves chaos. He's a chaos monkey, as we say in Silicon Valley. So, that's what he's doing.

HARLOW: Let me read you this from Donald Trump Jr. This is something he said a few days ago. Quote, I believe that if you're going to be a United States senator, you should have basic cognitive function. He went on to say, it doesn't seem that unreasonable to have a working brain.


He said, we're up against a Democratic Party today that doesn't believe that a U.S. senator should not have mush for a brain, speaking about candidate - candidate for Pennsylvania Senate John Fetterman.


HARLOW: I ask you this because you not only had Fetterman on your podcast for more than an hour, you suffered a similar stroke, and recovered, to speak in the way you do today. So anything you'd like to say in response?

SWISHER: Yes. I've got that (INAUDIBLE)

HARLOW: We hope you feel better. But anything you'd like to say in response to that?

SWISHER: I really enjoy Dr. Donald Trump Jr. He's really great. He uses - he went to Dr. Google University.

It's ridiculous. It's just ridiculous. I - he doesn't - he -- there's a difference between sensory problems. I have a lot of them and I talked - I had a very hard problem sustaining small talk and things like that. Sometimes I did. Sometimes I didn't. I -- when I interviewed him, he was cognitively able to answer questions. I got a lot of flak for saying that, but he - he was. It was a long interview. You can listen to it. We didn't change - he had a lot of ums and ahs, like a lot of people, by the way, and he was able to answer questions. I just - this is such a cynical attempt to make someone look like he can't think and he obviously can think. That's just not - that's not the case.

HARLOW: Kara Swisher, we hope you feel better. You can go back to bed now.

SWISHER: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you for getting up for us.

SWISHER: Thank you.

LEMON: Thanks, Kara.

SWISHER: I need a doctor. I need an actual doctor, actually.

HARLOW: OK. We're sending one over.

COLLINS: We've got a few that we can send your way.

LEMON: Get better. By the way, I do see the backpack there. I don't think she's going back to bed. I think kids are off to school.

HARLOW: Yes, yes, yes.

LEMON: We see the pink backpack hanging on the door.

SWISHER: Yes, that's correct.

HARLOW: You've got mom duty.

LEMON: You've got kids.

SWISHER: It's an Angry Birds. That's Angry Birds. Thanks for spying on me! That's an Angry Birds.

HARLOW: Thank you, Kara.

LEMON: Thank you, Kara.

SWISHER: That's my backpack. All right.

HARLOW: Thanks, Kara. LEMON: Thanks.

HARLOW: All right, next, you'll have to see this, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sits down for her first interview since the attack on her husband. How he's doing, when she found out and why she says this will impact her political future.



HARLOW: Welcome back.

In an exclusive interview with our colleague Anderson Cooper, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is opening up for the first time about the violent attack on her husband Paul.

Watch this.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You were the intended target.


COOPER: The suspect has told police, it's in a sworn affidavit, that he wanted to take you hostage, interrogate you, break your kneecaps with a hammer if you didn't give him the answers that he wanted.

PELOSI: For me, this is really the hard part because Paul was not the target, and he's the one who's paying the price. I mean, we all are, but he's the one who's really paying the price. But it really -- it's really sad because it is a flame that was fueled by misinformation and all the rest of that, which is most unfortunate, and shouldn't -- has no place in our democracy.

COOPER: President Biden drew a line between what happened on January 6th and -

PELOSI: No (ph).

COOPER: And the attack on your husband. The president said, and I quote, "the assailant entered the home asking, where's Nancy, where's Nancy? Those were the very same words used by the mob when they stormed the United States Capitol on January 6th."

PELOSI: That's right. That's right.

COOPER: Do you draw that same line?

PELOSI: Absolutely. There's no question. It's the same - the same thing. And copycat or whatever it happen to be, enflamed by the same misrepresentation.

But the fact is, right now it's time for healing. We want the country to heal. This is not a path that we can continue on. And we want people to run for office, local, all -- in every way. And you can't say to them, you're risking the safety of your families by going forward. There are no guarantees to safety.

I'm very pleased that in August we were able to reach a place where the sergeant-at-arms informed the members of the House of an amount of money that they would have, $10,000, to -- and have the Capitol Police come and evaluate what their needs were to make their homes safer, because there was a recognition. When we're gone, our families are home, and they're - you know, that's scary. Or even if we are home.

But -- so we recognize that. We -- it was figured that that amount of money could do what it needed to do in the homes.

COOPER: But, I mean, you have a large security detail.

PELOSI: Uh-huh.

COOPER: You have great protection.


COOPER: Or around you. If - if this can happen to someone in your family, it can happen to any member of Congress' family.

PELOSI: That's right.

COOPER: How does -- no amount of security is going to stop that. How does this stop? I mean how does this not happen again?

PELOSI: Well, you would think that there would be some level of responsibility. But what - what -- you see what the reaction is on the other side to this, to make a joke of it, and -- and really that is traumatizing, too. But nonetheless, forgetting them, there has to be some healing process. And Democrats and Republicans, you know, member of Congress, anybody could be a target. And we can't -- there's no guarantee. But we can -- in our democracy, there is one party that is doubting the outcome of the election, feeding that flame, and mocking any violence that happens. That has to stop.

COOPER: The former president of the United States, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, others, have spread stories, casting doubt on what happened, fomenting conspiracy theories.

What do you have to say to them?

PELOSI: It's hard -- it's - it's really sad for the country. And it's really sad for the country that people of that high visibility would separate themselves from the facts and the truth in such a blatant way.


It's really sad and it is traumatizing to those affected by it. They don't care about that, obviously. But it is -- it's destructive to the unity that we want to have in our country. But I don't have anything to say to them. I mean, I -- we have nothing

-- there - there would be no common ground to have any conversation with them.

COOPER: Is there enough common ground as Americans to -- to try to bridge this divide?


COOPER: And the lower the temperature? Because, I mean, I - I think people on all sides would agree that it does not seem stainable.

PELOSI: No, I completely agree with you, but I wouldn't say on all sides, because the fact is, this is a one-sided assault on our democracy, an assault on our - the credibility and integrity of our elections and the rest. There has to be some adult supervision on the Republican side in order to say, enough. Enough. Why not? We need a strong Republican Party in our country. I've said that over and over again.

COOPER: You want a strong Republican Party?

PELOSI: Absolutely. GOP is a strong Republican Party, done great things for our country and they should take pride in that instead of yielding to a cult, to a thug, actually, the way I see it.

COOPER: Looked ahead and - I mean have you made a decision in your mind, whatever that decision might be?

PELOSI: Well, I have to say, my decision will be affected about what happened in the last week or two.

COOPER: Will it be a - will your decision be impacted by the attack in any way?


COOPER: It will?

PELOSI: Uh-huh. Yes.


LEMON: Hmm, that's -- look, we spoke earlier about how -- what - what happened to her, and the future, but I think what she's saying is really important. And, you know, to say this, it sounds partisan, but it's not. She said that there is -- it's destructive to the unity that we want to have in our country. She said that the Republican Party at this point needs some adult supervision. She said it's not on both sides. This is not - there's -- it's not comparable what's happening with Democrats and Republicans. And she is absolutely right, it is not. You heard Margaret Hoover say that. You heard Nia Malika Henderson say that. You've even heard members of the Republican Party on our air say that.

And she said -- she didn't say, we want to own the libs, or that liberals are this and liberals are that. What she said was, she wants a strong Republican Party. There is -- there are two different messages, and two different things happening on the Republican side and on the Democratic side. You have people who are saying, John Fetterman has a mush brain. You have people who are saying, oh, it's funny, tweeting stuff with underwear and a hammer. And very few people calling them out.

I think we're at a critical point where you have to call it what it is and stop saying, well, there are some Republicans, louder Republicans, louder leaders, stop leaning into the, hey, this is funny, because that mean, that 82-year-old man could have lost his life.

HARLOW: That's it (ph).

LEMON: And, on top of that, we don't think about it, the speaker of the House, had she been home, could have lost her life as well. I think that her message is very strong, but also she called the former president a thug. I've never heard her go that far with this.

So, here we go. Biden administration.


LEMON: Has warned that today's election will have global implications, but how is the world reacting to the midterms?

HARLOW: And stay right here with us because we have our colleagues, CNN team, with our coverage live across the country at polling stations all this morning.



COLLINS: The White House is making the case that today's elections in the United States are going to have a direct impact on people around the world.

CNN's Bianca Nobilo and Max Foster are joining us now from London to discuss.

Obviously, right off the bat, one of the big things that people talk about here is Ukraine aid, because you have seen a split in how some people in the Republican Party, in the Democratic Party, have been talking about this. It's been a legitimate question for Republican candidates on whether or not that is something they would support in this election.

What are you guys seeing from London and the -- about the impacts of the midterms?

BIANCA NOBILO, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Ukraine's definitely a big concern, in Kyiv, in Brussels, in London, not just in terms of the U.S. providing financial support and military aid, but also just as a force of leadership, that central petal (ph) kind of force that brings all the other countries together and fulfills that role. There's also been more sympathetic chatter on Russian state TV about

Republican candidates and supporters of the former president, Donald Trump. So, there's, obviously, concern building in Ukraine about the impacts that these midterms could have.

But I'd say, above all, it's being viewed as a litmus test of the continued relevance and maybe electoral viability of former President Donald Trump.

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes. There is a lot of talk about the, you know, what happens if there's one party in one house, one party in the other house, and how that would paralyzing the, you know, what should be the world's policeman. And also, to Bianca's point about Ukraine, it's not just people in Ukraine concerned about that, it's the fact that America is providing most of the support to the western effort in Ukraine so that other countries would have to pick up if they're going to pull back on that.

HARLOW: I -- we were chatting a little bit in the break and I was interested - I wanted to know how interested are people in the U.K. and across broader Europe in the midterms. And I was -- Bianca, you said it's above the fold on the, you know, front pages of the papers today.

FOSTER: Yes, there's a lot of, you know, what are the midterms, how do they matter? But as Bianca was saying, a lot of it is about Donald Trump. I mean that's the question we get asked all the time.


Does it mean he's going to get back in? Then it's the debate about whether or not Biden will run. And, you know, how that might inspire, you know, populist groups. In Europe, for example, you know, this questioning of elections. Is that something we're going to see off the back of the U.S. elections.

NOBILO: But I was surprised to see it on, you know, the front pages of the Italian newspapers, Croatian newspapers, French, Spanish. I think also there's this question of looking at the outcome of the elections as telegraphing where American values are right now because in most wealthy, liberal democracies, having no push for more legislation when there's rampant gun violence, having desire for a national abortion ban, these kinds of things that the Republican Party are pushing for, that is quite antithetical to where a lot of America's traditional allies are on all of those issues.

COLLINS: Well, Bianca and Max, I'll let you in on a little bit of political reporting when people are asking me if Trump's running, he is, and he's going to announce it on November 15th. He made that pretty clear in Ohio last night.

FOSTER: Very well.

COLLINS: Thank you both for joining us, though, because this is a big deal. It does have, you know, worldwide implications what happens tonight. HARLOW: Yes.


HARLOW: OK. We're minutes away from polls opening in 14 states. Our reporters are live there all across America.

LEMON: In like four minutes.