Return to Transcripts main page
CNN This Morning
More Jews In U.S. Buying Guns, Getting Training; Trump Wraps Combative Testimony In Civil Fraud Trial; Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) On The Growing Concern Among Democrats Over Biden's 2024 Chances. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired November 07, 2023 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, it's an important message -- I think one we're following, too. When we have the information we will report it.
And separate from that, at least at the moment, we have been documenting just quite often the rise of antisemitism in America since the war began.
You've been speaking with Jewish people who are starting to take action. What are you finding?
DAVID CULVER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is really surprising. This really speaks to the uneasiness that folks of all ages and all generations are feeling right now but particularly, within the Jewish community. And we're noting that from gun shop owners and firearm instructors. They're seeing this surge of interest from folks within the community who really just feel the need at this hour to arm themselves.
CULVER (voice-over): This is not Shanni Suissa usual L.A. hangout.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two months ago, I never would have really thought about owning a gun.
CULVER (voice-over): The 31-year-old podcaster organized this group firearms training --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and pick up your gun in your dominant hand.
CULVER (voice-over): -- inviting others from her Southern California Jewish community, including her childhood schoolmate, Dani.
CULVER (on camera): Would your friends say oh, yeah, Dani's the type to always want to carry a gun and go shooting it?
DANI, ATTENDED FIREARMS TRAINING COURSE: No. Definitely not my vibe. Definitely not how I was raised. CULVER (voice-over): This course, as these women see it, a last resort in self-defense.
DANI: I don't think I hit anything.
The reality is people don't seem to want us around and it's hard.
CULVER (on camera): And do you feel that now more than ever?
DANI: Now more than ever. It's suffocating, actually.
CULVER (voice-over): Amidst the ongoing turmoil in Israel and Gaza, law enforcement here in the U.S. warning of increased antisemitic incidents targeting Jewish people, homes, and businesses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a threat that is reaching, in some ways, sort of historic levels.
CULVER (voice-over): And gun shops, along with firearm instructors around the country reporting a surge in interest, particularly from Jewish groups.
RABBI YOSSI EILFORT, MAGEN AM USA: When I'm doing our messaging it is a message of light and peace and --
CULVER (voice-over): Rabbi Yossi Eilfort believes that light and peace should be safeguarded through vigilance and preparation. That's why he started Magen Am, a private security firm tasked with keeping the local Jewish community safe.
CULVER (on camera): Did you ever think that you would end up also teaching people how to carry and fire a gun?
EILFORT: It's sad that it's necessary but it definitely is. It's really important that we start educating our community.
CULVER (voice-over): We went to one of his weekday firearm classes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What can I do to protect my family, and what can I do to protect myself?
CULVER (voice-over): Roughly two dozen Jewish women here on this night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can tell you as a mom and as a teacher --
CULVER (voice-over): You can sense anxiety, fear, and unease.
EILFORT: We want people to live and be able to practice in peace. That's the whole goal. And so, if they want to pursue the ownership training with a firearm and that's going to help them feel at peace, then let's do that.
CULVER (voice-over): California has some of the toughest gun laws in the U.S. and some here simply do not feel comfortable around guns.
EILFORT: It's not for everybody.
CULVER (voice-over): Back at the range --
DANI: I cannot believe I did that.
CULVER (voice-over): -- Shanni and Dani --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whoa.
CULVER (voice-over): -- feeling more confident after their four-hour training.
DANI: No way.
CULVER (voice-over): And in case you didn't recognize their teacher, that's Rabbi Yossi.
EILFORT: Those were about three to four shots per second as I accelerated.
DANI: What we did here today will make me feel safer in the future as long as I keep practicing.
CULVER (on camera): Are you going to continue the instruction?
DANI: I will come back, 100 percent.
SUISSA: We need to be prepared. And the best defense is a good offense and I think that's really important to understand.
CULVER: Not just in California, Phil. This is also playing out in states like New York as well as Florida. And it's interesting talking to those young women. I mean, they started out that course having no clue what to do with a gun and by the end they were increasingly comfortable, even saying that they're willing to wait what's an estimated year and a half to get their concealed carry here in California. A lot of time and money invested but it shows you where anxiety and fear is right now.
MATTINGLY: Yeah, no question about it.
David Culver, great piece. Thank you.
Well, Donald Trump combative on the stand in his New York civil fraud trial. At one point, the judge told Trump's lawyers to control their client. We're going to ask a retired federal judge how she would have handled it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it went very well. I think you were there and you listened, and you see what a scam this is. The fraud was on behalf of the court. The court was the fraudster in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: Well, Donald Trump clashed multiple times with the judge as he testified yesterday in the civil fraud case against him and his business.
Judge Arthur Engoron, at one point, asking Trump's lawyer to control his client, warning that it wasn't a political rally. Saying, quote, "Mr. Kise, that was a simple yes or no question. We got another speech. I beseech you to control him if you can. If you can't, I will. I will excuse him and draw every negative inference that I can. Do you understand that?"
At one point, Trump leaned into the microphone saying, quote, "This is a very unfair trial -- very, very -- and I hope the public is watching."
Joining us now, retired U.S. district judge in the Southern District of New York, Shira Scheindlin.
The public was not watching because there are not cameras in the courtroom much to my frustration. We'll get to that in a minute. But to start, in terms of how the judge in this case operated knowing the spectacle it was almost certain to become, would you have done anything different?
SHIRA A. SCHEINDLIN, RETIRED U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, FELLOW, COLLEGE OF COMMERCIAL ARBITRATORS: I think the answer is yes but I'm not entirely sure, meaning there's a big difference between a jury trial and a non-jury trial.
On a jury trial, he had to do what he did. He would have had to cut off any irrelevant, immaterial speechmaking answers. But in a non-jury trial, he's going to be the finder of fact at the end. He's going to decide this case. So it really doesn't matter how long Donald Trump went on because the longer he talks the more likely he was to make admissions -- to sink himself -- and that's eventually what happened.
So in the morning, before that break at 11:00, it seemed like the judge was engaging more than I would have. He was fighting with the witness. He was angry. He showed his anger.
But he backed off in the afternoon and he sort of said to himself, I think, let it go the way it's going. Let it go the way the lawyer questioning him seems to be happy with. The more he talks the more he's going to make admissions, and that's exactly what happened.
And in a civil trial it just doesn't matter -- doesn't matter what this witness says because at the end of the day, it's Judge Engoron who is going to decide credibility. And he's just going to say that stuff is not credible. It wasn't important. It's irrelevant.
And as you said, the public wasn't watching. And we all know who Donald Trump is and the way he would handle being a witness. He is going to talk. He is going to say what he wants. You can't stop him. That's the way he is and the judge knew that.
So I would have -- I would have taken it a little easier in the morning and not engaged.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: I was also struck by one thing that our colleague Paula Reid reported on from outside the courtroom was that at one point, Trump's legal team said to the judge -- look, there are -- there's another motion for a mistrial that we want to present. Some motions we want to put forward regarding the gag order. And her reporting is that the judge then encouraged them not to even file the motions, then he walked that back later.
And the reason I bring this up is if you couple that with some of the statements that this judge made at the beginning, do you think that just opens the window more on appeal for Trump's team?
SCHEINDLIN: Sure. There's always a risk that when a judge loses his or her temper -- and I'm not saying the judge did that, but I'm saying the judge did engage probably a little more than I would have wanted to -- there's always a risk you're going to say something in the record -- one line that they will quote on appeal that can really get you in trouble. You didn't mean to say it but we're all human. We say things that we don't plan.
HARLOW: Can I read the line that --
HARLOW: Quote, "I am not here to hear what he [Trump] has to say." But there is a second part of that sentence. "We are here to hear him answer questions and most of the time he's not."
SCHEINDLIN: Yeah. Well, the answer is, of course, we are here to hear what he has to say. And the more he said the more he sunk himself and made some really important admissions.
But it's a bad statement to say we're not here to hear what he has to say. But, of course, you're here -- you're present to hear what a witness has to say. So that wasn't a great line.
But things come out. We all do it as we're talking now, I'll look back and say there were four words I shouldn't have said. It's natural. So I understand the pressure the judge was under.
And I don't know if you do want to turn to the fact that the public wasn't able to watch.
MATTINGLY: I do -- very much so.
SCHEINDLIN: Good, good -- OK.
MATTINGLY: Because I'm -- I mean, I think we're all very unified on this that it's a huge problem, particularly when there are so many different cases and so many different issues, and it's difficult for a normal human being who has a life and kids and a job to sit there and differentiate between --
MATTINGLY: -- federal charges, a civil case, who's testifying, when they are they testifying, and now they can't see anything. They just read or see what he says in a press conference afterwards.
SCHEINDLIN: Right. So the problem with cameras in the courtroom with a witness like Donald Trump is he will play to that camera and he will know that there's an audience of millions watching the -- watching the trial. And he'll turn it even more into a chance to have a rally -- a campaign speech. I mean, he'll use that time. He used it anyway.
So I'm not so sure in the civil non-jury trial that we needed that camera yesterday. I'm sort of glad we didn't have it because he would have gone even more off the rails and not answered the questions.
But I have a different view on the criminal trials. I wish the public could see the process. That's a jury trial and there, the judge is going to have to rein him in and he's going to have to answer the questions. And I would be much tougher there. I would be much tougher in a jury trial.
HARLOW: And media organizations, including CNN, have been fighting to get that access --
SCHEINDLIN: I know.
HARLOW: -- but the special counsel has been very clear that Jack Smith doesn't want it.
SCHEINDLIN: Yeah. Federal courts have not allowed cameras in the courtroom yet.
MATTINGLY: It's very frustrating.
We're very happy to have you on our side. Shira Scheindlin, we appreciate you as always. Thank you very much.
SCHEINDLIN: Thank you.
MATTINGLY: More Democrats are worried about President Biden's reelection chances, especially after new polling has him trailing Donald Trump in key swing states, including Michigan -- the state Debbie Dingell, the congresswoman, represents. We'll ask her. She shares those concerns. That's coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIM RYAN, (D) FORMER OHIO CONGRESSMAN: The whole country wants to move on. And I think that it would be the right thing to do for the president to not run. For him to focus on what's going on in the Middle East. Focus on what's going on in Ukraine. He's doing a good job. Focus on the inequality. Focus on the inflation. But spend the next 14 months focusing on that and let new candidates emerge in the Democratic Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: That was Tim Ryan, the former Ohio congressman and 2020 presidential candidate. He's one of a growing number of Democrats, at least on the periphery, expressing concern about President Biden's reelection changes in 2024. It's a concern that has intensified since a recent New York Times/Siena College poll found Biden trailing Donald Trump in several key swing states in a potential 2024 matchup.
Joining us now, Democratic Congresswoman from one of the battlegrounds, Debbie Dingell, of Michigan. Congresswoman, I appreciate your time.
The reason why I think it's so valuable to get your perspective here is because I vividly remember a conversation we had in the fall of 2016 where you were raising major alarms about what was about to happen in your state. Do you feel the same way now?
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): So, I'm going to be very candid. I have been saying for months that Michigan is a purple state. Everybody wants to look at my dear friend, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Democrats that are up and down the ticket and say it's a blue state. It's not, and we like to flip. And I've run many campaigns there.
But I have been saying this for months. The good news is that people like you and the Biden campaign are taking me seriously -- they're listening.
I know what we have to do to win. We've got to do a better job of talking about what we have gotten done during this first term. What's been delivered to the people of Michigan. Get into those union halls and talk to the guys and do a comparison of what happened when Donald Trump was president before and what's happened now as Joe Biden has been president.
And we have -- we have to put the resources in. We have to do it. And ask me in six months where I think we are. I know -- we are a purple state and it -- we've got to take it very seriously.
MATTINGLY: Do you think the outcome from the UAW negotiations -- the strikes and then the agreements -- the tentative -- the tentative agreements that were reached will have a tangible effect on President Biden's numbers?
DINGELL: I want to say more about that later as I start to go into union halls. I was in them this weekend and I'll be in them next weekend.
I think that Joe Biden's coming and walking the picket line, paying attention to what happened in negotiations. The workers still have to ratify these contracts. But I think that has given him credibility with many workers, although I still say we've got to get in those union halls. I take them seriously, as you know.
MATTINGLY: Do you think -- and, you know, to Tim Ryan's point, it's easy to say things when you're no longer a member of Congress to some degree -- but that the current president is the best messenger here? That he is the one that connects the clear legislative record that he has to the people of your state. To the people in the union halls.
DINGELL: This is -- well, Joe Biden in a union hall, there's nobody better, quite frankly. I think too many of my Democrats -- Democratic colleagues have -- you know, need to get back in them and just talk to working men and women every single day which is, as you know, I try to do every weekend.
MATTINGLY: But isn't that odd though? Like, that's always been the disconnect for me is there is no president -- sitting president that has probably cared more or spent more time when it comes to the labor movement, to union workers, and union shops than Joe Biden. And yet, if you look at the numbers it's -- there still seems to be -- at least on a rank-and-file basis, there are some problems there.
DINGELL: Look, I'm not going to lie to you. I'm the one that said to everybody six months ago we've got a problem. I'm the one that told everybody there's going to be a UAW strike. But I'm also going to tell you that you need to get in the halls.
And I -- you know where my gut comes from -- where I tell you all where we are? It's because before the pandemic and I'm back to where I was, I go in union halls every single weekend. I talk to those men and women that are doing those everyday jobs that keep this country going.
And Joe Biden does talk to them. He knows how to talk to them. He lives -- unfortunately, he's, at times, kept in a bubble. But I think that the people that are around him are understanding that they need to get to him.
Look, I think it's great he goes to Delaware and Pennsylvania, but I want to see him get into a lot more of these Midwest states. When you see Joe Biden and when you talk to Joe Biden you really do know who he is.
MATTINGLY: Why do you think --
DINGELL: But I want to say something -- go ahead.
MATTINGLY: I was just going to ask why do you think that, to your point, being kept in a bubble -- why do you think that is? DINGELL: Well, we're coming out of a pandemic. There have been a lot of -- now we've got major, major world crises that, quite frankly, are going to be one of the issues in Michigan. I'm not going to lie about that either. We've got very intense feelings on all sides.
And it's hard to be the President of the United States because you do have to worry about security. I think his people need to get out into the field more and be talking about these issues. But we have to do a better job.
I want to tell you something else. I met with my state legislators. We're not -- they love to take credit for all the money that we've brought into the states. And I said to them you know what, you've got a tricky election next year. If Joe Biden doesn't run well you're not going to run well. So let's start giving him credit for what he has done.
And you know what? They're sending me the clips. They're talking about it. We all have to do a better job of talking about what has gotten done because of Joe Biden's leadership. MATTINGLY: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, always learn something
talking to you. Thank you very much for your time. Thank you.
DINGELL: Thank you.
MATTINGLY: Well, at its peak, the shared workspace company WeWork was privately valued at $47 billion. Now it's filing for bankruptcy. The details on that sudden fall next.
And it's Election Day in America. We're going to break down what voters are deciding in 2023 and what it could mean for 2024. Stay with us.
HARLOW: Well, new this morning, coworking startup WeWork has filed for bankruptcy. This comes after years of financial trouble and turmoil. The company once promised revolutionized work by providing coworking hubs and now will restructure and reduce its portfolio of all that commercial office space.
It was just 2019 when WeWork was one of the nation's most valuable startups at a peak valuation of $47 billion. That plummeted after a botched attempt to go public in September of that year. And that failed, in part, because paperwork from the public offering showed the company was losing money.
There were also reports about conflicts of interest surrounding WeWork's eccentric cofounder and then-CEO, Adam Neumann. He resigned during that fallout.
WeWork was finally able to go public in 2021 at a much-reduced value of $9 billion. Here is the company's executive chairman then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARCELO CLAURE, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, WEWORK: The future is bright. That tells you that people want a flexible workspace. People are using our all access cards to go. I visited WeWork in Brazil this week full of people just testing different WeWorks, so we feel extremely good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: That feeling that the future is bright did not last long. Pandemic work-from-home policies decimated the commercial real estate market leaving WeWork to pay rent for empty offices. According to The New York Times, in June of this year, the company had about 20 million square feet of office space in this country. That's more than any other company since the start of this year.
Shares of the company have plunged 98 percent on Friday as news of an imminent bankruptcy filing started to spread. The company, once worth nearly $50 billion, was valued at less than $45 million.