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White House Calls for Short-Term Spending Bill; Unemployment Rate Increases; Georgia Trial will be Televised; New Hollywood Strike Polling. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 01, 2023 - 08:30   ET




AUDIE CORNISH, CNN ANCHOR: The White House is asking Congress for another $4 billion in emergency disaster relief. The ask comes as Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas face what's expected to be a lengthy and costly recovery from Hurricane Idalia. Plus, Maui's residents are just beginning to piece back together after the devastation caused by the wildfire. It also comes just a few weeks after an initial $12 billion in emergency funding was requested by the White House as FEMA's disaster relief fund moves into dire straits. It's been strained by wildfires and floods and, of course, now hurricane season. President Biden, in a visit to FEMA headquarters on Thursday, stressed the urgency.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But we need this money done. We need this disaster relief request met. And we need to do it in September. We can't wait.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: But here's the thing, emergency funding isn't the only thing the White House has called on Congress to get done this month. He's also asked for -- Biden has also asked for a short-term extension of government funding. There's a deadline after all at the end of this month.

So, what does this all mean? Well, this was what one House Republican told me earlier this week when I asked about it. It's, quote, "a nightmare." Why? I'm going to walk you through it.

So, obviously, U.S. Capitol, Congress, needs to be passing appropriations bills, spending bills to actually fund the government, or, we've seen it a number of times over the course of the last several years, a government shutdown. Three numbers that really underscore why this is a big problem right now. So, there are 30 days until Congress runs out of time to fund the government. A government shutdown would happen the end of this month.

There are 12 spending bills that comprise the kind of full scale of government funding. The House has to pass them, the Senate has to pass them, they need to reconcile, then the president signs them. Zero of those spending bills have actually been signed into law at this point.


Tell me the last time Congress passed 12 bills, through both chambers, and got to the president's desk in 30 days. I'll wait. It's going to take you a while.

So, added to that, not just the normal funding of the federal government, the emergency spending that Audie was just talking about. You have the disaster relief funds that were asked for on an emergency basis. First, $12 billion. Then an additional $4 billion just this morning, you also, in that emergency request, the initial one, included significant amount of money for Ukraine on an emergency basis. So now you have fund the government and also more than $40 billion in emergency spending.

So, what's the solution? Well, based on precedent, there's actually a pretty easy one. And, on the top line, the president, the House speaker, the Senate minority leader, the House minority leader and the Senate majority leader, Democrats and Republicans all agree, there will need to be a short-term extension of funding. A continuing resolution it's called. It basically frees the funding levels as they are, get them to another point in time. Kick the can down the road to some degree.

Easy, right? Maybe tie in, tack on the energy funding to it, move forward, problem solved. Thirty days to do that. You can do that.

Here's the reality. That is going to be extremely difficult. In fact, there's no real sense right now of how it's actually going to get done, or if it's going to get done. Why? House Republicans just took the majority this Congress. They have made very clear throughout the course of this Congress they want the trajectory of spending, the of shape of spending, to be shifted dramatically.

Chip Roy, already on a continuing resolution, saying, "under no circumstances." Bob Good saying, "business as usual in Washington." It's something he didn't want. Ronny Jackson, another congressman from Texas, "I will not vote for any continuing resolution that doesn't smash Biden's DOJ into a million pieces." Let me be real with you right now, there is no continuing resolution that will defund entirely the Justice Department.

And that's another issue. As the Trump investigations and indictments have come forward, Republicans on the House side, conservatives and Trump loyalists, have pushed to defund those investigations. The investigations from the Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, Fani Willis in Fulton County, Jack Smith, the special counsel. The legality, particularly on Jack Smith, very questionable, but it is now a serious issue that they're trying to resolve.

And, you know, just in case you were wondering what else is going on. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a very real ally to Speaker Kevin McCarthy, tweeted last night, "I will not vote to fund the government if Congress doesn't do this, impeachment inquiry vote on Joe Biden, defund Biden's weaponization of government," no real indication what that actually is, "eliminate all Covid vaccine and mandates, no funding for the war in Ukraine." None of that will happen in a continuing resolution or before the end of this month.

So, that's a pretty big problem for this guy. That's Kevin McCarthy, hitting the gavel, 15 votes got him to this point. Spending cuts critical and spending cuts were critical to getting to that point. They were critical to the debt ceiling deal just a couple months ago. And, well, now, all eyes are, once again, on Kevin McCarthy. The best way to describe the next four weeks on Capitol Hill, well, Mitch McConnell, in a pretty concise manner.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Yes, honestly, it's a - it's a pretty big mess.


MATTINGLY: So, moving from McConnell back to McCarthy. I'm going to go to the person who I go to always when I want to know what's happening behind closed doors, behind the scenes with the House Republican conference but also with McCarthy and his leadership team on Capitol Hill, Melanie Zanona.

Mel, August is a quiet month. We don't see lawmakers. But there have been a lot of discussions about what happens next. Tell me how lawmakers get out of the jam they're currently in.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITAL HILL REPORTER: A great question, Phil. And, first of all, I have to say, it's great seeing you in your happy place right now, doing magic wall and appropriations. I think we just need like an Ohio sports reference to complete the trifecta.

But I am happy to indulge you here because this is really an important issue and one that people should be paying attention to because this is a real problem for Kevin McCarthy.

And he has been strategizing behind the scenes about how they're going to get out of this mess. And two of the big questions right now is, how long is the CR, the short-term spending bill, going to be. We're hearing likely until maybe early December, potentially a little bit less than that.

And then the other question is what gets attached, if anything, and hitches a ride on this short-term spending bill. The problem right now is that while many Republicans support disaster aid, right now that request is attached to Ukraine funding, which many conservatives are against. So, they want to delink those two issues or they want to have offsets.

And then you have a number of conservatives, like Chip Roy, who are now demanding that border issues be attached to as well. So, Kevin McCarthy has to figure out the sweet spot here. He doesn't need hard line conservatives necessarily to get this over the finish line because presumably it will have Democratic support. Then he risks enraging those same conservatives who could force a vote to oust him at any given moment, Phil.

MATTINGLY: That's a great point, the votes are there for a continuing resolution if he just put it on the floor.

ZANONA: Right.

MATTINGLY: The politics, though, at least at this moment, and his conference, are not.

Great reporting, as always.

Ohio State plays Indiana at noon tomorrow, if you were talking about a college football reference to our resident Chicago native and Chicago sports fan.


Melanie Zanona, thanks so much.

ZANONA: Thanks.

CORNISH: Just into CNN, the Labor Department released the August jobs report. It shows the economy added 187,000 new jobs last month. Unemployment numbers ticked up a bit to 3.8 percent.

We're going to go to CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon to help us understand what we are looking at.

So, as we always ask, good news, bad news, hard to tell with the jobs numbers?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is still a good report. This is sort of right in the middle, just exactly what I think the Fed wants to see and perhaps Biden wants to see.

So, 187,000, as you said, Audie. To put that in context, that is slightly higher than most economists were expecting. The expectation had been closer to 170. And 3.8 percent for unemployment, as you point out. So, we've been in this range for unemployment of about 3.4 to 3.8 percent in the last year and a half I want to say. That's still pretty low, 3.8 on the higher end of that, but still in really healthy territory.

CORNISH: And even compared to other world economies that also dealt with post-pandemic.

SOLOMON: Absolutely. So, still in strong territory here.

I want to show you the sectors and where we're seeing job growth because I think this really tells the story. So, take a look at where we saw job growth. A continuation of what we have been seeing. Health care is still adding jobs, 70,000. Leisure and hospitality, as we all continue to spend on traveling and going out and services, the services part of the economy - CORNISH: Like this weekend.

SOLOMON: Yes. That's adding 40,000.

But here's something interesting. And so there had been lot of concern about whether what we're seeing outside of -- what we're seeing on the news would impact the labor report. And we are, right? I mean you think about Yellow trucking filing for bankruptcy earlier this month. That is reported here. So, transportation and warehousing, that sector lost 34,000 jobs, reflecting the bankruptcy of Yellow. But also the Hollywood actors and the writers, that also being reflected in this report as well.

Some good news for the Fed. Wages moderated. So, good news for the Fed. Not as much for Americans who were looking for a pay bump.

CORNISH: When you say good news, we mean that they want to cool down the economy, right? Not so much spending to bring down prices.


CORNISH: Rahel, thank you so much for explaining it.


MATTINGLY: Well, the judge overseeing the Georgia election subversion case will allow all proceedings in the courtroom to be live-streamed and televised. How could this impact the case? We're going to dig in, next.



CORNISH: The judge overseeing the 2020 election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his 18 co-defendants is giving the green light for all proceedings in his courtroom to be live-streamed and televised. Judge Scott McAfee says he is following the precedent that was already set by the judge who handled preliminary matters in the case. But a reminder, federal cases in Florida and D.C. do not allow cameras inside the courtroom as a rule.

So, how big of a deal is it for this ruling? Joining us now with the analysis, CNN's senior legal analyst Elie Honig, and CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy.

Welcome back.

So, Trump, who's like in a deposition or Trump, who's in a legal proceeding, I feel like is a little different from the person people see in public as a candidate, as the former president. How significant is this?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's a big deal to see these proceedings live. And I think it's very important that Georgia has said that they will show it live. The problem is, that trial is very likely to be well after the election. The two that are most likely to be before the election are the two federal cases where, of course, federal courts have long had this rule that they don't allow cameras in the courtroom.

Now, I've been objecting to and sort of ranting about this rule. And here's why. If you ask the federal courts why they can't have cameras they'll say, well, we have a rule. Who made that rule? The federal judges themselves who can change that rule. The federal judges. It's not as if hostile alien overlords came down and demanded that --

CORNISH: It is a very -- it's a thing judges are -- often chafe against, right?


CORNISH: It's not something that they wanted. The Supreme Court took forever to embrace this.


CORNISH: Can you talk about why? Like how -- once we have something in the public view like this, how does it change things?

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: I think it's an antiquated view. I mean the big argument is that they don't want these courtrooms to become reality television sets. But I think we can all agree that's probably not going to happen. And I'd point to the Alex Jones trials. Those were streamed live. And if anything is going to become unhinged and just go off the rails, it's going to be Alex Jones' trial. And we managed, as a country, to get through those trials streamed live on YouTube.

And I think it was actually good for the public -

CORNISH: But did we care about it the same way we care about the former president?

DARCY: Sure. Well, probably not the same level. I think the Trump trial will be the most watched trial of all time. And if any others are streamed, it will be, you know, highly rated. People will pay attention.

But I do think, at the end of the day, that those trials showed you can stream this on YouTube, online, allow public to see it and see the evidence before these people for their own eyes -- with their own eyes. And I think it was beneficial. I think in the absence of this you have a void of information that allows conspiracy theories, misinformation to thrive. And with the former president, obviously, that's always a factor. So, streaming it live let's the public see it, opens it up.

HONIG: If I can second that. The Derek Chauvin trial, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd. We watched all of that live. A perfectly dignified, fair proceeding. The Kyle Rittenhouse trial, same thing. The trial of the man who murdered Ahmaud Arbery. Same. All in state courts. We watched those live. Nothing wrong. All these fears that judges have, oh, oh my, decorum shall be compromised, did not come to pass.

MATTINGLY: As a lawyer, does it change how you operate?

HONIG: I wouldn't for me. You know, I would be a little weary of it as a prosecutor.

MATTINGLY: Or have you seen - OK, so for you, no.


MATTINGLY: But have you seen it? Could you see that? Would you see it?

HONIG: So, I've had I guess maybe the fortune of never having to try a case in a televised proceeding. I think the -

MATTINGLY: Yes, because television would be foreign for you.

HONIG: I know, I wouldn't know what to do. I wouldn't know what to do. I'd be helpless.

Here's - here's a little insider tip. Lawyers grand stand whether or not there is a TV camera in the courtroom. I mean there were certain defense lawyers - because prosecutors are taught to sort of keep it on the straight and narrow. But there were certain defense lawyers who you knew during their closing argument were going to cry on command.


I mean granted you're performing already for a more important audience, which is the jury. So, I don't buy into this fear that cameras are going to throw this thing into chaos and turn a trial into a circus.

CORNISH: The founder of Court TV wrote in "The New York Times" in an op-ed that Trump's trial should be televised so people see the truth. Basically, Americans will believe the Trump verdict only if they can see it.

Does that even make a difference to a community that already believes that these are in some ways show trials?

DARCY: I think it does. I mean I -- at the end of the day, I haven't actually seen anyone put forth a good argument that these trials should not be televised. I think most of what you're hearing from people like Elie and others is that it should be televised for obvious reasons. Again, this is -- these are going to be historic trials. They're going to go down in history. And not allowing the public to have any real visibility in there outside, you know, a few reporters being in the courtroom and an overflow room, I really think that does a disservice.

HONIG: We've got an example of this, by the way, sorry, a few days ago with the Mark Meadows hearing where that was happening in federal court, we couldn't see it, but we were getting snippets, we were getting -- people were slacking out to reporters and we were just getting bits and pieces. At the end of the day you'll get a transcript, but it's going to be 6:00, 7:00 you're going to get 300 pages dropped off. If we have to cover the Trump trial that way, that's going to be a disservice to the American public.

MATTINGLY: Yes, well, it will be fascinating to watch. (INAUDIBLE) Supreme Court. This kind of applies to you as well.

Elie, Oliver, thanks, guys. Appreciate it.

CORNISH: It's been months of back and forth between Hollywood unions and studios. But as summer comes to a close, they're no closer to reaching a deal. So, what do Americans think of the strike as some of their favorite TV shows are on pause. Harry Enten is here with this morning's number, next.



MATTINGLY: That is a live look right outside of LAX. Bumper to bumper traffic as travelers are trying to leave the city. It is heading into Labor Day weekend after all. The only thing slower than that traffic in L.A., negotiations it seems between Hollywood studios, actors and writers. Now, it's been months of no late night, no red carpets and big shakeups to movie and TV schedules.

CORNISH: And there's been little progress as the strike continues. But a new poll shows that despite the disruptions their picket lines have brought an overwhelming majority of Americans still support the workers on strike.

Harry Enten is here with this morning. So, what's the morning's number, Harry?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: All right, so this morning's number is -- I love this animation so much - give it a second, here we go.

MATTINGLY: It takes a little bit.

ENTEN: Today - yes, it take a little bit, but it's like a movie, right? It's developing.

CORNISH: A film, yes.

MATTINGLY: Yes, No, no, I understand. I got it. I got it. OK. OK.

ENTEN: Yes. Today is day 50 of the actor's strike. I'll note that, of course, the writers have been on strike for over 100 days now, but it's day 50 of the actors' strike. And I will note, you know, we were saying, OK, the public opinion in the labor dispute, look at this, writers versus the studios, look at the writers, 72 percent versus the studios at just 19 percent. You look at the actors versus the studios, you have a slightly tighter margin there. But, still, overwhelming support for the actors, 67 percent, to the studios 24 percent. Overall on this one, the studios are not favored, the writers and the actors are overwhelmingly favored. MATTINGLY: I hesitate to ask this question, but this is also your area

of expertise, does this break down along partisan lines in any way?

ENTEN: Yes. Yes, I know, right? Who would have ever thought that I might have some interest in the politics of this all?


ENTEN: So, favor in their strikes. And I think this is kind of interesting, right. So, if you look at the writers right here you see 89 percent of Democrats favor the writers, 58 percent of Republicans favor the writers. A majority of both, which perhaps is something you might not necessarily expect given that, you know, Republicans, historically speaking, haven't been that favorable to unions.

But take a look at the actors. You see Democrats, 89 percent to 88 percent. Very little drop off. But look at Republicans, writers to actors, look at this drop off among actors, just 43 percent of Republicans favor the actors. Maybe it's something, oh, we don't like those Hollywood elites, we don't like those actors out there. Something perhaps is going on out there. Democrats very consistent in their support. Republicans see this drop off.

The other little nugget that I think is really interesting here is compare this to what we saw about 15 years ago when the writers, of course, were on strike. And what do we see here? From 2007 to 2023, this is the public overall, look at this jump in support in favor of writers, 12 points more favorable towards the writers this time around than last time around. And the no opinion, look at this, dropped off from 16 percent to 3 percent. So, it's not just that Americans are favoring the writers more, it's also that they care more. Those without an opinion have dropped off. And I think that is largely in line with what we've seen nationally, which is, we've see more support for labor unions now than we saw 15 years ago. We're at basically our highest level dating back over the last 50 years.

MATTINGLY: That's a fascinating dynamic. Stick around, we're going to talk baseball for a few seconds, in a few seconds. But, also, be sure to tune into Audie's CNN podcast "The Assignment." In this week's episode, we didn't plan this, it just happened, because we're brilliant, she sat down with Franklin Leonard, a movie and TV producer, an industry insider, about the state of the Hollywood strikes. Listen to it. Listen to all of them. Audie's podcast is a must listen.

Now, before we go, it's pretty safe to say that no one had a better day yesterday than Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna. The 25-year-old is one of the favorites to win the national league MVP. And, in the second inning against the Dodgers, Acuna broke a 1-1 tie with Harry Enten like power, a grand slam home run. But this wasn't just any homer. It was his 30th of the season. It makes him the first player in major league history to hit 30 dingers, steal 60 bases in a single season. It's only September 1st.

Here's the funny thing. It might not be the most memorable part of the day. He'd actually married his longtime girlfriend Maria in a small ceremony at House in the Mountains about 45 minutes from the team's hotel. It's a pretty wild week for Acuna.


He got knocked down by fans who wanted a hug. He handled that very well on Coors Field. More importantly, he got married.

Harry, we've got like ten seconds left. Give me your wit. Or just look at the awesome pictures.

ENTEN: I would just say, he is my hero. Something to live to up, right? I don't think I'd marry my girlfriend on television, but maybe that will be the thing that could blow this completely out of the water.

MATTINGLY: Oh, I wish we had more than six seconds. I want to go down this path and get you in a lot of trouble in a relationship.

ENTEN: Sorry, show's running out of time.