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CNN This Morning

Op-ed: Biden Should Not Seek Re-Election in 2024; McCarthy Launched an Impeachment Investigation Against Biden; Moroccan earthquake Killed Over 2,900 People and Injured Over 5,500; More Than 5,300 People are Presumed Dead in Libya Following Devastating Floods; Today: Top Tech Execs to Attend Senate A.I. Forum; Interview with "On with Kara Swisher" and "Pivot" Podcasts Host Kara Swisher; DOJ Accuses Google of Sweeping Antitrust Violations; Justice Department Claims Elon Musk Must Testify in FTC's Privacy Investigation; Due to Torn Achilles, Aaron Rodgers Will Miss the Rest of the Season. Aired 6:30- 7a ET

Aired September 13, 2023 - 06:30   ET



JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR AND SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: At this point. But no. This op-ed is going to be a gut punch to the Biden White House exactly for the reasons you said it. Biden respects Ignatius. He is one of the mandarins of the D.C., sort of, policy journalistic foreign policy establishment. And the fact that this is not coming from a reflexive critic, but someone who says in the op-ed that Biden has been a successful consequential president and yet, he doesn't think he should run for reelection for reasons of age, vigor, and crucially his vice president. It's a pretty devastating op-ed.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN THIS MORNING CO-ANCHOR: Yes. Right. And he is critical of Harris saying Harris has many laudable qualities but the simple fact is that she's failed to gain traction in the country or even within her own party. And he goes on to argue time is running out. He says, in a month or so, this thing is going to be baked in stone.

The issue is, Democrats may not want it to be Biden, but they also don't know who they would want it to be. This is the issue in the CNN polling, right?


HARLOW: Who would you want to see run instead of Biden? This is a question to Democrats. 82 percent, just someone besides Biden. And then you get specific names, it's like three percent for Bernie Sanders, three percent for Buttigieg. So, what does that -- what does Biden do with that?

AVLON: Well, there's not a coronation process. This is part of the reason that the primaries exist, right? To test talent. To give people a chance to make their case. Now, there's an old story about Abraham Lincoln being told he's got to replace a top general. And the person says, well -- and Lincoln says, who would you have me replace him?

HARLOW: Right.

AVLON: And he says, anybody. And Lincoln says, well, I must have somebody.


AVLON: And this is the problem the Democratic Party is in right now. It's not too late as a functional matter. But this is a very tough op- ed. It is rooted in reality. Rooted in polling. It shows that there's deep dissatisfaction not with Biden as a person, not with Biden as a president, but the prospects of a second term with Kamala Harris being his backup.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm interested, you know, -- let's switch over to impeachment, because I think impeachment it (INAUDIBLE) have a rallying effect for Democrats, it certainly did for Trump. The historical context here, which I know you want to talk about.


MATTINGLY: What is it?

AVLON: Well, look, you know, I love nerding out on the history behind the headlines, but you got to understand that impeachment in American history is very rare. The fevered season we've had the last few years is hugely unusual. The late 1860s is the first time, Andrew Johnson. This is about the direction of reconstruction, a partisan impeachment.

Then you got to fast forward to Richard Nixon in the early 1970s. When really this gains real traction for reasons that have been established in newspapers. Woodward and Bernstein reporting, and the inquiry brings new details to light. Then Bill Clinton about lying about an affair. And then Donald Trump twice.

To move forward with this impeachment inquiry right now without a vote is really about the tail wagging the dog inside the Republican conference. This is Kevin McCarthy trying to keep his far right in line, but it's totally inconsistent with the historical standard of impeachments we've seen in the past. It's really just a revenge fantasy. Designed to blur the distinctions between Trump and Biden heading into a presidential election.

HARLOW: This was a colorful response from Democratic Senator John Fetterman.

AVLON: Ah, yes.

HARLOW: Let's play it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can we ask you about this news that Speaker McCarthy has formally launched an impeachment and -- or has said he's going to run -- Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA): Oh, my God. Really? Oh, my gosh. You

know, oh, it is devastating. Oh, don't do it. Please, don't do it. Oh, no. Oh, no.


AVLON: More, sort of, you know, worldwide wrestling than senatorial decorum. But he makes, I think, the point that expresses that the Democrat are saying which is don't throw me into that briar patch. I mean, this is not a serious inquiry at this date. Now, look, is the questions that are being investigated, are they worthy of investigation? Questions about, you know, whether President Biden benefited from his family's monetary --

HARLOW: I think.

AVLON: -- you know, fundraising and other things? Sure.

HARLOW: And Democrats have indicated they do have concerns about it in the latest CNN polling.

AVLON: Yes, but not remotely the level -- there is no evidence to suggest we're at the place where an impeachment inquiry could begin. And so, what Fetterman is saying there by doing the performative, oh, this is so scary is this is a little ridiculous. This is a bit of a farce. And it's likely to have political blowback that hurts Republicans.

Now, again, depending on what emerges. More information can, you know, can come out. But Democrats are looking at this and saying this is baseless, this is a sign of weakness by Kevin McCarthy because he's got to corral his far right, and he's doing disservice to the constitution in the process. Defining impeachment down.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Great context. As always, John Avlon, appreciate it.

AVLON: Thanks, guys.

HARLOW: Thank you, John.

All right. There is video that shows aid being dropped from a military helicopter into a Moroccan community just left devastated by Friday's earthquake. Our Sam Kiley joins us live from the ground. Sam.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll be joining you later on to discuss why it is so necessary to use aircraft such as helicopters to remote -- reach these remote areas. More on that on "CNN This Morning."




NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Zena says that a lot of her friends died in this earthquake. She can still see her school at the top of the mountains, but she is still afraid of the potential aftershocks that could happen. Of course, the memories of her friends who have passed away is something she thinks about constantly.


HARLOW: Wow. That is our Nada Bashir on the ground in the disaster zone speaking with a young survivor in a tiny village high up in Morocco's Atlas Mountains. And this morning, officials there say the death has increased to nearly 3,000 people as rescue teams race against time to try to find any potential survivors.

Five days after the earthquake devastated the Marrakesh region, entire towns and villages wiped out, and the quakes aftershocks reducing busy marketplaces and homes to rubble. Moroccan armed forces are now providing relief efforts to earthquake victims. UNICEF reports nearly 100,000 children have been affected. On, Tuesday, Morocco's king visited this hospital, meeting with injured survivors and donating blood.

Our Sam Kiley joins us again this morning. He is live in central Morocco, just about 40 miles to the southeast of Marrakesh. Sam, thank you for being there. Can you talk to us about, not only what you're seeing five later but also the efforts from the air to bring aid?


KILEY: Well, here in Amizmiz, you can see -- and this is a medium size town, the devastation in this otherwise urban area. We got quite used to seeing the destruction in the villages, but is this an urban area. Here there's a shop still managing to keep going because the Moroccans are showing the most unbelievable levels of resilience even in the face of a dangerous amount of masonry that threatens them indeed. That entire building is badly cracked up on one wall, it could come down onto their heads to the people beneath it at any time.

But the communities are also pulling together to try to survive and helping each other out because they are getting aid from donors, private donors across the country. These tents, some of them supplied by the government, but most of them coming from private donors. And that is something that has been a serious problem for these Moroccan victims of this earthquake, the biggest earthquake in 120 years.

But up in those mountains, up in the Atlas Mountains up there, that is where the problems are most acute. That is why the Moroccans have been having to dump aid out of the back of aircraft very often because some of these villages are so isolated and on such precipitous slopes that they can't even land a military aircraft to get aid out to people. So, the military have been throwing aid out of the backs of Chinook and Puma helicopters to try to get to people there.

And of course, many, many of those villages have been utterly destroyed, totally and utterly flattened. I was at one yesterday where 88 people were killed in a community of 500 houses, and just as almost as many injured. And that is the problem across these mountains. It's as if a giant went leaping down the hillside, smashing with its feet these villages as it went. And that's why these numbers are climbing, already now 2,900 dead.

HARLOW: Sam Kiley, thank you very much again for all your reporting since this disaster on the ground.

Phil, back to you.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, Poppy.

We're going to take you east in North Africa over to Libya. The Libyan government says, the death toll from the catastrophic flooding there now stands at more than 5,000, with another 10,000 people still missing. About 30,000 displaced. One official in the eastern city of Derna says, the entire residential buildings have been completely swept away, and about a quarter of the town has simply disappeared.

People are searching for their families and loved ones. And cellphone towers have been knocked down making communication almost nonexistent. We'd like to warn our viewers that these next images of the disaster zone are graphic. Officials say some neighborhoods are resorting to mass burials due to the sheer numbers of the dead. This video shows bodies lined up on the sidewalk as hospitals at capacity are no longer functioning, all the morgues are full.

HARLOW: In just a couple of hours on Capitol Hill, there will be a meeting with top tech executives. They're meeting about artificial intelligence, A.I. We'll tell you the big names attending, but also the criticism that this is all happening behind closed doors.

MATTINGLY: And an FDA panel just found that a popular over the counter medicine for cold and allergies doesn't actually work. What you need to know, that's ahead.



HARLOW: Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg will not be squaring off in a cage fight anytime soon. Remember when that was going to happen? But the two tech titans will be in the same room today, they're among a number of high-profile tech CEOs who will attend the long-awaited artificial intelligence summit, this is happening on Capitol Hill. It is bipartisan and it is close to the public.

MATTINGLY: now, only senators will be involved in this closed-door summit. We're told it will focus on the issues facing A.I. regulation, including how to protect workers, national security, copyright concerns, and how to defend against, "Doomsday scenarios."

Joining us now, the host of "On with Kara Swisher." Kara, not that I don't have faith in our legislative bodies and system and lawmakers, what are the odds that the folks in the U.S. Capitol, whether from this group or writ large can actually regulate this in a successful manner?

KARA SWISHER, HOST, "ON WITH KARA SWISHER" AND "PIVOT" PODCASTS: Well, the bar is low since they haven't passed any legislation of significance or with any teeth. But maybe --I mean, at least they are talking about it early. At least they have the right people in the room. They seem to be quite serious and there are some bills that should be passing around all kinds of issues. And so, there's more movement than before, so I guess that's a positive. So, I am --

HARLOW: What should --

SWISHER: -- I have hopes, as you like to say.

HARLOW: I really wish Kara Swisher were in the room because she tends to ask intelligent well-informed questions, no holds barred. But what would you ask? What should they be asking?

SWISHER: Oh, you know, the difficulty. They've brought so many people together. It's a bit of a stunt, you know, when you bring all these people together in one place. They do visit the White House. They do other things. And so, it's going to be a lot of probably pontificating, et cetera, not really a working session. My hope would be that it would be a working session and what exactly should happen.

They also really -- having it in public, it seems to be important so people understand the issues and also bringing in critics and things like that. This looks like, you know, you'd bring in oil company executives to talk about how we should save the environment or something like that. It's a little bit problematic in that way.

But in general, it's always good to talk and I do think the people doing this, the senators are quite up to speed on what's happening. I don't think they're ignorant and they, of course, they've displayed that before in past years but I do think they understand the major issues around copyright, around danger, around power. And at the meantime, nearby, there's a trial going on with Google about that. About the size and danger and markets. And so, that's interesting.

HARLOW: Can we ask you about that? I'm fascinated by this case because it's been more than 20 years --


HARLOW: -- since we've seen something like this. I mean, U.S. V Microsoft was similar but so different.


Yes, Google has, what, 91 percent of the market share globally on search, but there are so many more competitors than Microsoft had. And the government in presenting this case yesterday has put out there already that the evidence are going to present against Google. It just isn't the same the way they were able to fight Microsoft. Where do you think this goes and why does it matter for everyone waking up to this news?

SWISHER: Well, I think narrowing it is quite a smart idea because Microsoft -- if you don't remember, but it was more powerful than all of them put together. All the current ones put together. There's a lot of very powerful tech firms. But the number 91 percent says a lot to me. It's 91 percent, that's a lot. And I think they have a good case in terms of these deals and ways that you default into Google. Google is, of course, arguing they're a better product and, of course, they don't have any advantages here but this is a size game.

And so, as you see all its competitors just fall off, it shows what happens when you get to some -- when someone gets to that percentage of the market. And I think, you know, I think narrowing it is a really smart thing on -- by John Cantor (ph) who's running that effort. And it's important to really point it out. To point it out over and over again across the globe and other countries have done things about this. It's not that hard to understand that one company shouldn't dominate anything.

MATTINGLY: Kara, you have some familiarity with a guy by the name Elon Musk. There is a book coming out by Walter Issacson.


MATTINGLY: He just writes everybody's --

SWISHER: He's staying with me tonight.

MATTINGLY: Is he? I would actually pay to watch that dinner table conversation. Walter Isaacson has a new book out. Everybody's kind of talking about it right now. I want to play something that he said to Jake Tapper. Take a listen.


WALTER ISAACSON, AUTHOR, "ELON MUSK": He's had an addiction to Twitter and a pugnaciousness and an impulsiveness that sometimes immature and juvenile, sometimes just mean and cruel. And I think, you know, Twitter is like a flamethrower for him. And you're right, sometimes he not only allows people with fringe views back on, but he amplifies them. He engages with them and he's changed Twitter.


MATTINGLY: What's your read on what Walter is kind of detailing there?

SWISHER: Well, it's a nice version of saying he behaves badly and is somewhat heinous in the things he says on Twitter. You know, I mean, it's this, oh, he's pugnacious. It's not pugnaciousness. It's real cruelty. And, you know, he's a very powerful guy. And I think what gets lost in it is how much power and control he has over a lot of things, not limited to Twitter. Twitter just gives him a bull horn to spew a lot of this nonsense.

And so, you know, it's very typical to be like, oh, you know, that's him. Oh, well. But at the same time, you really have to understand the power that a single person has over so many aspects of our society. And, you know, to brush it off as like a difficult boy is typical, I think.

HARLOW: Well, it's also -- I mean, interesting in the context of the DOJ saying that Musk should have to come before the FTC on all of this, right?

SWISHER: Yes -- well, it's more about privacy, and of course he decimated the trust and safety which had a very hard time at Twitter with the size it was. And he decimated it and made all these orders that violated a consent decree. He doesn't like following rules and he is trying to push the boundaries to see if he can get out of it.

Just like the sign that he hung off the side of the building in which he thought was hysterical, and probably, you know, didn't kill anyone, but it could have. He just like to push the boundaries and see what he can get away with. And that's what he's doing here. And again, it's not -- treating him like a toddler and, oh, that's Elon again. To me, you know, he's an adult man of 52, and probably shouldn't be tweeting these heinous things. But, you know, is he.

MATTINGLY: All right. Kara Swisher, do listen to her podcast. Latest with Conan O'Brien, which is great and fascinating. Appreciate your time as always.

HARLOW: Thanks, Kara.

MATTINGLY: Well, new reaction this morning after fans learn that Aaron Rodgers sadly will not be returning to the field after just one drive with the New York Jets.

HARLOW: We'll also take you back live to Russia where Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jung Un just wrapped up four hours of negotiations. That's next.



MATTINGLY: Jets fans. The New York's Jets worst fears they were realized yesterday an MRI confirmed that Aaron Rodgers will miss the entire season with a torn Achilles.

HARLOW: Andy Scholes joins us now with more. The worst-case scenario, I guess.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, Poppy and Phil. You know, if you are a Jets fan in your life or in the studio there today, maybe just give them a --

HARLOW: Lots of them.

SCHOLES: -- just give them a hug. Give them a hug because they need it right now. You got to feel so bad for them. You know, them, Rodgers, and the Jets. You know, they were just so much hype around this team, guys. You know, we got to see it all unfold on HBO "Hard Knocks." It showed us how committed Rodgers was to trying to make the Jets into a Super Bowl team but, you know, that's all over now. The Jets are going to have to try to win without him. The team placing Rodgers on injured reserve yesterday, which means he's going to be out for the year. Head Coach Robert Saleh, he spoke yesterday, And he said he just hurts for Rodgers. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT SALEH, NEW YORK JETS HEAD COACH: I feel more for Aaron than anyone. I -- you know, he is -- he's invested so much into this organization. So much into this journey that he's embarked on and wanting to be a part of what we've got going here. And how much he is invested in not only this organization but his teammates, himself, this fan base, this city, you know. So, I have a lot of emotions for him.


SCHOLES: And so, now, Milwaukee bar had a promotion Monday night for Packers fans that were bitter about their former quarterback leaving for New York. Your entire tab was free if Aaron Rodgers started the game and the Jets lost.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think if the Bills are winning early, we'll just stay steady. But if the Jets have a big lead, I'll probably tone it down.


SCHOLES: Well, once Rodgers went out on the fourth play, people thought well the Bills would win and their tabs are going to be free. They started, you know, getting after it.