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Johnson Pitches Plan With Four Days To Avert Shutdown; Gaza's Health System Crumbling As Fighting Rages Nearby; NYT: FBI Probing If Mayor Adams Cleared Red Tape For Turkish Consulate. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 13, 2023 - 07:30   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: We've got some breaking political news just in. Democratic congresswoman from Virginia, Abigail Spanberger, announced that she will be running for governor next year. The former CIA officer made the announcement in a video posted on social media just moments ago.


REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA): While some politicians in Richmond focus on banning abortion and books, what they're not doing is helping people. I know how to bring people together and get real things done that improve lives. That's why I'm running for governor.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, time for the countdown clock again in Washington. Only four days left to prevent a government shutdown. The new House Speaker Mike Johnson pitching a two-step plan to fund part of the government until January 19; then the second part, to fund it until February 2. Neither, I should note, include additional aid for Israel or Ukraine.

The House Rules Committee will take the first step in considering Speaker Johnson's unconventional stopgap bill today. They meet at 4:00 p.m.

Lauren Fox joins us now from the Capitol with more. Walk us through this plan a little bit more.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Poppy. Essentially, this is sort of an unprecedented approach to government funding. What the Republicans are doing here and the speaker, in particular, is he's keeping funding levels at the same place that they have been over the course of the last year. But what he's doing is having two separate deadlines for various government agencies to run out of that money. The first deadline will come on January 19. The second deadline will come on February 2.

Now, there are a number of Democrats who had been warning that this approach was complicated, that it was gimmicky. That it really didn't make sense in terms of how Congress typically handles these kinds of showdowns.

And yet, what you are hearing from a lot of Democrats is they are keeping their options open, keeping their powder dry, and really staying on the sidelines right now because the likelihood is that they probably are going to have to get behind this plan if they want to avert a shutdown by Friday. So all eyes are on what House Democrats are going to do in the next couple of days.

The House Rules Committee, like you said, is going to vote today. They're going to move forward with this proposal. Then there is going to be a critical test for Speaker Johnson because in order to pass this on the floor he's going to have to bring a procedural step -- that rule vote to the floor of the House.

Typically, it is up to the majority party to get those rules across the finish line to get on to voting on the actual underlying legislation -- in this case, the spending bill -- but it's not clear that Republicans and conservatives are going to help him out on that rule. So that opens the question of just how much help is he going to need from Democrats --

HARLOW: Um-hum.

FOX: -- in this first very critical step as speaker --

HARLOW: Right, and --

FOX: -- Poppy.

HARLOW: -- Democrats -- at least some of them -- relieved, I guess, to see that there aren't cuts to the levels that spending was at.

What about tomorrow on the floor vote?

FOX: Yeah. I mean, that is obviously the critical question. And like you said, Poppy, the red line for Democrats was that there could not be cuts on this short-term spending bill. Their argument is that this is just to continue funding and that a larger fight can happen in January or February. But obviously, this two-step approach is unique, it is unprecedented, and it is something that Democrats do feel like is going to cause multiple different showdowns once the near year begins.

And so, there's just going to be a little bit of a case where Democrats are sitting back to watch what Johnson can get in terms of votes on his own. And then I think we're going to see tomorrow what Democrats finally do on the floor of the House. But obviously, so much of this is going to depend on them -- Poppy.

HARLOW: It will for sure.

Lauren Fox at the Capitol. Thanks very much.

MATTINGLY: Well, child care providers across the country are facing a crisis after pandemic-era funding expired at the end of September. More than 70,000 child care programs could close and about 3.2 million children could lose their spots, and that's according to estimates from The Century Foundation.

The child care subsidy programs, which ended on September 30, were a Band-Aid for an industry that has long had very deep problems. Now, America's child care problem is about to get worse -- much worse.

And as our next guest writes, quote, "When these child care businesses do shut down, they can send shock waves throughout their local economies."

Joining us now is Catherine Rampell, a CNN economics and political commentator and Washington Post opinion columnist.

I liked this column so much because it was on the ground. It was showing the kind of macro effects. Part of the issue in maintaining programs like this is the ability to show the macro effects of it.

Do you feel like that data exists? Can you quantify what that looks like for people?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: It's very hard to put specific numbers on it, and that's the challenge here. It's easy to quantify the cost of spending money on a program like child care. It's harder to quantify the cost of not spending that money.

But you can see these kinds of ripple effects, right? When a child care provider shuts down that affects not just that business and the people who work for that business, it affects the families that rely on that child care provider for their care arrangements for their kids, which enable the parents in that family to work. And in turn, that affects the employers of those parents who are now losing workers or losing work hours because their parents' lives have been disrupted. And in turn, you can go a layer further from that and it affects the customers of those businesses.


So you can see these sort of cascading consequences throughout the local economy. And this will not -- this will not be a surprise to anybody who has young children, right, that it is very disruptive when your child care arrangements falls through.

But this kind of texture of what happens when a child care provider goes under I think is not within the realm of imagination of most politicians.

HARLOW: It's not. And you went to Wisconsin, outside of Milwaukee, and took a firsthand look at, just an example, someone who was a dental assistant and what happened when that -- as you frame it, which I think is really, really smart and unique, as infrastructure. When that infrastructure collapses.

RAMPELL: Right. We think of infrastructure as hard, physical things like roads, bridges, or even broadband lines. This is infrastructure, too. It's a softer form of infrastructure but it's the reason why so many parents are able to work. And if you look at the kinds of effects we've seen from that over the past few years it's been phenomenal.

So one of the bright spots of this economy -- of this economic recovery post-pandemic is the fact that women -- what's called prime working-age women's labor force participation has been around record high. And why has it been around record highs? There are a lot of factors that go into that but part of it has to do with the fact that women are able to go to work because there is this infrastructure there that enables society, in some function and some form, to help watch their children so they can go to work.

And that is a collective responsibility. Yes, the parents have to pay those child care tuition fees. But there's a gap between what child care providers are able to charge parents and what they are able to pay their workers who are already very low wage.

And that gap in the last couple of years has been filled in part by these federal funds. That has enabled the children to be looked after in high-quality programs. It's enabled their parents to work. It's enabled employers to fill some of those labor shortages that they have been struggling with.

MATTINGLY: Is cost -- and the Biden administration has asked for kind of an emergency stabilization money to fill the gap for at least the short term. Is cost the only reason why this has gone away and doesn't seem like it's going to be renewed?

RAMPELL: I think cost is the most salient factor here, right? Biden has asked for $16 billion, as you've just discussed. Congress is struggling to even keep the current level of funding going without that money -- current level of funding for other programs, that is.

But beyond that, I think that there are some -- there's some form of cultural resistance as well. Like, there are parts of society who don't like the idea that women should be working. I think it's a smaller and smaller segment of society.

There is also a part of our electorate that thinks well, this is the responsibility of families. The whole idea of it takes a village to raise a child, forget that. Families should be responsible for their own children's care arrangements. And why should taxpayers have to, again, fill that gap?

But again, that ignores the downstream consequences to the rest of communities and to the rest of the economy. And it ignores the fact that there is this fundamental wedge between what parents can afford and what the providers can afford to pay.

Already, as I said, child care workers are earning less than your typical animal caretaker, your typical parking attendant. They earn very, very little money. And yet, child care is just phenomenally expensive for families because of the structure of the business. It's just a really untenable business model if it is left to its own private devices.

MATTINGLY: The straight line from policy proposal to actual results -- like, if you had a better policy idea bring it to the -- like, debate it. Bring it to the table and debate it. Like, this is what I don't understand about any of this -- just letting it wither and not having a conversation about it, whatever side you're one -- like debate the damn thing.

RAMPELL: Especially in the context of this whole debate of what it means to be pro-life --


RAMPELL: -- what it means to be pro-family. Why is this not more central in those discussions?

MATTINGLY: It's a really great piece. Catherine Rampell, thank you as always.

HARLOW: Hospitals across Gaza running out of electricity, running out of their supplies. Look at those images. Staff are working in dire conditions.

Dr. Barbara Zind was stuck in Gaza for nearly a month and now she's with us to discuss this crisis.



HARLOW: Welcome back.

This morning, a catastrophic situation unfolding inside of Gaza's largest hospital. The director of the Al-Shifa hospital tells CNN all essential units have collapsed. That includes the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Take a look at these images. This is Sunday. Premature babies who were removed out of their incubators because the power was out. The hospital director now says they have started wrapping those babies in foil and placing them next to hot water -- a desperate attempt to try to keep them alive as critical oxygen needed to run the neonatal incubators has also run out.

Al-Shifa is not the only hospital on the brink. Hospitals across Gaza are running out of electricity and supplies. Their staff are working in dire conditions. The second-largest hospital has already ceased their operations, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

And those hospitals that are still open are overstretched. They are increasingly unsafe.

Listen to how one medic describes the challenges of treating patients.


MEDIC (through translator): There was a direct injury in the head -- internal bleeding. And we can't do surgeries -- no surgeries, no oxygen, no electricity. We work manually. We are using a manual resuscitator. It is a clear

injury. It needs an urgent surgery -- a lifesaving one. He is less than a year old.



HARLOW: Less than a year old. Somehow, remarkably, so far, that baby has survived. But his father, who was in the very same building when an Israeli airstrike hit, did not.

Joining us now, Dr. Barbara Zind. She is an American pediatrician. She was trapped in Gaza for 26 days on what was supposed to be a routine mission organized by the Palestine Children's Relief Fund. She was able to cross into Egypt earlier this month. You can see her there at the border. And she is now back home in the United States. Dr. Zind, thank you for being with us.

And I know the homecoming was very welcomed for you but at the same time, you're watching this as a pediatrician. And you look at those babies and they can't even be in their incubators, and what do you think?

DR. BARBARA ZIND, PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGIST WHO FLED GAZA (via Webex by Cisco): Well, I've had some communication with doctors down in Gaza. I know that both children's hospitals are non-functional. One of them -- the staff -- the dedicated staff, which had to leave, like, six babies in the pediatric intensive care unit and two in the newborn intensive care unit -- and they just had to leave them without any medical attendants because they feared for their safety.

And as you heard, the Shifa hospital, which is the main surgical hospital and has a huge newborn intensive care unit. I visited it last year. It's got all up-to-date equipment and well-trained oncologists, and they are just striving just to keep the babies warm. They have no oxygen, no electricity, no water, and they're just trying to keep these newborns warm.

HARLOW: So just speak about that a little bit more since you were in the Al-Shifa hospital and how advanced it is, particularly when it comes to neonatal care, without any power, without oxygen for their incubators. What does that mean for these -- for these babies?

ZIND: Well, you can't provide the medical care that you have the ability to provide. And I heard there were 46 newborns. I know it's a 30-bed unit so I know that even if everything was functional they're doubling up babies on warmers. And now, all you can do is keep them warm. I mean, babies -- newborns in the intensive care unit -- the main thing they need is some fluids, some sugar, some oxygen --

HARLOW: Um-hum.

ZIND: -- and they can't provide any of those.

HARLOW: One of the big conversations has been allowing fuel from Israel into Gaza. That was a nonstarter. But now the Israeli government has -- for example, IDF says it placed 300 liters of fuel outside of the Al-Shifa hospital.

There's this video I'll show everyone. This was provided to CNN by them. We can't independently verify the video. But the hospital's director said the staff was too afraid to go outside and even get that fuel -- that's the IDF bringing the fuel -- because of the strikes nearby.

And he also noted -- and I'd like your take on this, Doctor -- that amount of fuel, 300 liters, would only run hospital generators for about 30 minutes.

ZIND: Um, I know that they have huge generators because they're used to power outages. And before the war in Gaza, you'd have four hours on, four hours off. So in that four hours off, all the hospitals had their generators going. I'm not sure of the capacity or how much fuel it uses but I'm sure that they would use a lot.

I mean, at this point, even the rooms are not -- are not functional. All the -- because of the bombing, the glass is broken and all the patients are in corridors, which doesn't have an oxygen supply and doesn't have all the -- all that you need to care for a patient.

HARLOW: That would explain these images to us -- why we see so many of those hospital beds in the hallways and not in the rooms.

We talked to you the day after you were able to leave. Twenty-six days trapped in Gaza. You were able to leave. We talked to you the next morning when you were in Cairo on your way home.

And I know you were very happy to be safe and be able to leave, but you also really were wrestling with grief for what continues inside of Gaza and why you went there as a pediatrician to help children. How are you wrestling with this now at home?

ZIND: Well, I'm just devastated to hear this news. To know -- I mean, these -- this is not third-world medicine. They have up-to-date intensive care units that are now destroyed -- nonfunctional. And it's -- yeah, it's difficult to -- difficult to hear.

HARLOW: Dr. Barbara Zind, thank you as always. You've really, as I said last time, helped guide us through this crisis and I appreciate you checking in. Thanks very much.

ZIND: Thank you. Thanks.

MATTINGLY: Well more than 180,000 people took to the streets across France on Sunday to call out a sharp rise in antisemitic acts since the Israel-Hamas war began. The largest demonstration was in Paris with an estimated 105,000 people. You can see it there. Local media said it was the country's largest mobilization against antisemitism since a protest march against the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Southern France in 1990.

[07:50:00] HARLOW: Tim Scott suspending his presidential race. What does that mean for the state of the party, ahead.

MATTINGLY: And New York City Mayor Eric Adams says he'll cooperate with the FBI after his phones were seized and details emerged about what federal investigators are looking into. We'll have more, next.


MATTINGLY: Well, this just in. Europe's most active volcano, Mt. Etna in Italy, is erupting this morning, spewing lava 4,500 meters above sea level. A giant plume rose into the sky above Sicily and loud explosions could be heard. Now, nearby towns are covered in ash.

And in Iceland, there's a state of emergency this morning as officials warn there is a quote, "significant likelihood" of a volcanic eruption there near the world-famous Blue Lagoon. Police officials now urging residents to evacuate after around 1,000 earthquakes have been reported in the region in just 12 hours.

HARLOW: And as if traffic in Los Angeles needed to get any worse, a huge industrial fire -- look at that -- shut down parts of Interstate 10 in downtown Los Angeles. It forced the governor to issue a state of emergency. More than 160 firefighters battled that blaze that grew at a storage yard with pallets, trailers, and vehicles. L.A.'s mayor says this is a transportation crisis and is not sure when that road will be open again.



MAYOR KAREN BASS, (D) LOS ANGELES: Unfortunately, there is no reason to think that this is going to be over in a couple of days. We cannot give you an estimate of time right now.


HARLOW: Fortunately, no injuries. We'll keep you posted.

MATTINGLY: Well, tomorrow, New York City Mayor Eric Adams says he will answer questions from reporters as he faces growing scrutiny over links between the Turkish government and his campaign. Adams is cooperating with investigators, his chief counsel tells CNN, after The New York Times reported that federal authorities are investigating if he pressured city officials to allow the opening of a Manhattan skyscraper housing the Turkish government's consulate despite safety concerns.

HARLOW: And that report comes after CNN reported on Friday that FBI agents seized phones and an iPad from the mayor last week as part of their investigation into campaign fundraising. That was a major escalation of the federal probe into whether foreign money was funneled into Adams' campaign.

Here is what Adams told CNN yesterday. "As a borough president, part of my routine role was to notify government agencies of issues on behalf of constituents and constituencies. I have not been accused of wrongdoing." And that's true -- he has not been accused of wrongdoing at this point.

Chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller is here. He was deputy commissioner of the NYPD serving under Mayor Adams. Good morning.


HARLOW: Good morning.

MILLER: -- just to finish that full disclosure, Mayor Adams is one of the three mayors I worked for. We know each other well. He's a friend. But here's the story.

HARLOW: That's even as referring to a development that The New York Times reported on, which has to do with a major $300 million Turkish building in the middle -- right off Fifth Avenue in the middle of New York City that they essentially, long story short, wanted access to it. There were questions about was it safe, fire codes, et cetera.

Someone reached out to Adams. He apparently went to the FDNY and said can you look at this. And then what?

MILLER: And then they were able to get temporary permits. Now, their alarm company said we're not ready -- the smoke detectors, the alarm systems, the sprinkler systems are not all working in tandem.

What they had to do -- and this is not uncommon, by the way -- to get the building open under a temporary permit they had to get fire wardens and post them on various floors on fire watch just to get there because for the U.N. General Assembly, the president of Turkey was coming in and wanted to cut the ribbon. So they made it work.

That, as the mayor says, is kind of the normal political machinery of getting on the phone and saying to somebody can you get on with the fire department and figure out how to work this out.

But remember, in this case, there's a plot, there's a subplot, and there's a subtext to the subplot.

The main plot is the raid on the campaign finance manager's house more than a week ago where they seized records, electronic devices, and so on about bundling campaign money and getting matching funds from the city. And those are from straw donors where people were paid back. So that's the way the FBI gets into the investigation. That is still in progress.

The subplot is how much of that, if any, was the Turkish government behind using their influence through the consulate general and others here to band Turkish communities together to support the mayor and other things. That's the part we haven't seen yet and that's the subtext of the investigation. MATTINGLY: In your experience, how rare is it for federal authorities to stop a mayor in the middle of the street or sidewalk and say we're going to go ahead and take all of your electronic devices?

MILLER: That's pretty rare. And, you know, Phil, you raise an interesting question here because I was in the FBI --


MILLER: -- when we arrested the governor -- you know, Gov. Blagojevich in Illinois and other senators, congressmen. But to write that application -- that affidavit from an FBI agent to a federal judge saying I have probable cause, and to lay out what that probable cause is -- to get a federal judge to sign a piece of paper saying you can seize the mayor of the city of New York's phones and iPads and other devices -- that has to be a very convincing document, which suggests it's more than going over the campaign records, and the contributions, and the checks. Somebody had to walk in and tell them a story that they were able to verify parts of.

HARLOW: Why didn't he tell anyone? When this happened days ago -- we didn't find out about it until Friday -- but I think it was the Monday of last week. And yet, he had -- he held press conferences. He was with reporters. He was speaking to the public.

You know him. Is that odd?

MILLER: Well, that's another interesting question because frankly, in my view, had he not interrupted his meeting at the White House -- canceled it -- and turned around from Washington and run back when his campaign finance manager's house was searched, we probably wouldn't have known any of this was going on for some time. That was the tell.

Why did he cancel the trip? Was there a terrorist threat to New York City? And when all those phone calls were made it wasn't a terrorist threat. It was a public corruption investigation.