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Today: Johnson Faces Speakership Test With Vote To Avert Shutdown; Impacts Of Climate Change Expected To Worsen Over Next Decade; Trump Campaign Pushes Back On Reports About Plans For Second Term. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 14, 2023 - 07:30   ET



DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And no matter who you are, if you're getting tens of thousands of tweets like these Americans are getting, that is going to have an effect on you. That is scary.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: And on U.S. soil, too.


Donie O'Sullivan, great piece. Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW: Thank you.

It is crunch time on Capitol Hill. Just three days left to avoid a government shutdown. Where things stand ahead of today's critical vote.

MATTINGLY: And Wall Street, today, bracing for a critical new gauge of where inflation stands. What the report is expected to reveal and what it will mean for the Fed's rate hikes. Stay with us.


MATTINGLY: House Speaker Mike Johnson facing the first major test of his leadership with only three days left to avoid a government shutdown. Today, the House is set to vote on Johnson's two-step plan as GOP hardliners warn him against working with Democrats. But at least eight Republicans are against the plan and going to vote against it. Eight have announced it publicly.

They're known as continuing resolutions, meaning he can't rely on a simple majority in a procedural vote. This effectively forces him to work with Democrats -- and lots of Democrats -- to push the bill through with a two-thirds majority -- just like his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, at least when it comes to a clean continuing resolution, was trying to do before he was removed.

CNN's Lauren Fox joins us now. Lauren, to that point, there are no spending cuts. I'm trying to figure out what's so different about this other than their staggered dates than what Kevin McCarthy repeatedly did and got lambasted and eventually kicked out of the chair for. LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Phil, this sounds familiar because this plan looks a lot like what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy had to do just a little over a month ago. But House Republicans finding themselves in, really, the exact same place they were in.


And privately, the argument that Speaker Johnson has been making to his conference is that we did waste significant time on a speaker's race trying to replace former speaker Kevin McCarthy and that really ate away at our ability to try to pass more and more individual spending bills to put us at a place where we could have a broader debate about spending with Democrats at this moment.

So the argument coming from the speaker is let's sort of live to fight another day in January and again in February when these staggered dates come to pass. Let's not have this fight now.

But as you noted, there are at least House -- eight House Republicans who are opposed to this plan. We expect that there are likely even more than that. And that is why Johnson is going to have to go forward with his plan or he, like you noted, is not going to just need a handful of Democrats -- he's going to need a lot of Democrats.

And we're going to get a sense today as Democrats are huddling behind closed doors as to whether or not Democrats are going to be prepared to give him that support. In some ways, they've held back a little bit. They wanted to see what Johnson could do on his own. So it's going to be really important to see what kind of consensus Democrats can get out of their private caucus meeting that will happen at 9:00 a.m. today on Capitol Hill.

But look, the reality is no one wants a shutdown. So while a lot of Democrats are a little frustrated -- a little annoyed at this idea of having to have staff to dates for a potential nother shutdown showdown in January and February, they also realize they had a big victory in the fact that there are no spending cuts that are included here. They also got an extension of farm bill policies that were passed under the Democratic president and Democratic leadership in the House.

So this is a victory for Democrats. It just doesn't look exactly like a perfect victory for them on paper -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: I'm pretty -- I'm pretty sure everybody up there is pretty cognizant that next week is Thanksgiving as well and that might have something to do with the amenable nature of folks. We'll have to see.

Lauren Fox, keep us posted. Thank you.

HARLOW: Phil, you're so cynical. No one wants to go home --


HARLOW: -- for Thanksgiving. All right, take a look at the economy here. Stock futures pretty flat this morning just ahead of the release of the monthly Consumer Price Index. That's, of course, a key inflation measure.

The October report will come out before the opening bell in less than an hour. It's expected to show a headline inflation rate of 3.3 percent. That is down from 3.7 percent in September, according to Bloomberg.

Americans did pay less for gas last month but underlying pressures remain very heavy. The Fed has not yet said it will end its historic interest rate increases. Bank of America anticipates a 1.8 percent month-over-month drop in energy prices driven by lower gas. It did fall pretty sharply last month.

MATTINGLY: Well, over a dozen federal agencies sounding the alarm on the impacts of climate change in America. The dire new details from their report just out this morning.

HARLOW: Despite the bleak outlook, one city known for extreme weather may have some answers on climate change. Our Bill Weir has the latest. Bill, good morning.


That's right -- climate change is affecting everybody everywhere -- in some places more than others, as you can see. But there are climate havens, science tells us, and I'll give you a hint on the biggest one closest to where we are right now. I'll talk to you in just a few.



MATTINGLY: Well, new this morning, a stark new report from more than a dozen federal agencies shows that the impacts of global warming are being felt in every corner of the U.S., and things are projected to get worse over the next decade.

CNN's Bill Weir joins us now from Niagara Falls. Bill, on this report -- there's never a ton of good news in this space, but what stood out to you in this congressionally mandated report?

WEIR: Well, this is the first time Phil that they've really looked at the economics -- the costs of this phenomenon right now -- and it is knee-buckling when it comes to the expense.

We're at $25 billion storms just this year. They're projecting a 25 percent decrease in worker productivity for anybody who works outside in future summers. It is expensive. It is unfair. The people with the smallest carbon footprints are suffering the most.

But there is so much hope given the fact that we have all the tools for our survival right here, and they're the most expensive -- or inexpensive options in human history. Onshore wind and solar panels with batteries are the cheapest forms of energy now humanity has ever known. But the sluggish shift away from the fuels that burn -- oil, gas, and coal -- means it's only happening at about one percent a year when it needs to happen at six percent a year to avoid the maximum pain.


WEIR (voice-over): There's an old joke that tells us there are only two seasons in Buffalo -- winter and the Fourth of July. But in the age of global warming the city wants you to know that now their weather is going from punchline to lifeline. Thanks to its Goldilocks location amid the Great Lakes, Buffalo has never reached 100 degrees.

STEPHEN VERMETTE, PROFESSOR AND CLIMATE SCIENTIST, BUFFALO STATE UNIVERSITY: We get -- you know, on average, about three days in the summer get to be 90 degrees or higher.

WEIR: Yeah.

VERMETTE: I mean, if you're in -- if you're in Phoenix, you're looking at that and saying what the heck --

WEIR: Yeah.

VERMETTE: -- are you calling that a heat wave?

WEIR: That's mild.

WEIR (voice-over): And when Professor Stephen Vermette did a deep dive of the records the Buffalo state climatologist was shocked to find no increase in droughts or floods.

WEIR: There was this epic snowstorm last winter --


WIER: -- really deadly and destructive.

VERMETTE: Yeah, the blizzard of '22.

WEIR: But that's not an indication that those are going to get worse?

VERMETTE: No, because we had the blizzard of '77, the blizzard of '85, '81, the blizzard of '36. I'm not saying that our severe weather is going to disappear -- it's still there.

WEIR: Yeah.

VERMETTE: In fact, snow amounts have remained steady in all of this. It doesn't seem to be getting worse --

WEIR: Um-hum.

VERMETTE: -- and that's the key here. We're still going to have severe weather --

[07:45:00] WEIR: Right.

VERMETTE: -- like the wind and everything else --

WEIR: Right.

VERMETTE: -- but we're -- it's not going to get worse.

WEIR: I've got to say it's pretty ironic and telling about the world we now live in that a place sort of associated with cold jokes --


WEIR: -- and Super Bowl losses could be a huge winner relative on a hotter planet.

BROWN: That's -- you know, that's the way we look at it as well. There was a professor from Harvard that was talking about the effects of climate change and listed some cities that would be considered climate refuges --

WEIR: Yeah.

BROWN: -- in the future, and Buffalo was one of the cities on the list. And so, we just leaned into it. We are going to not only call ourselves a climate refuge city but do the kinds of things that are required to be welcoming with migration, with new Americans coming here, with seeing the first population growth in the city since the 1950 census.

WEIR (voice-over): After Hurricane Maria, 3,000 Puerto Ricans became permanent Buffalonians --

ANTHONY MATTE, TEACHER'S AIDE: It was hard because when the hurricanes start -- what do we do? We move from the second floor and we move through the first floor.

WEIR (voice-over): -- including Anthony Matte, who is now a teacher's assistant.

MATTE: I remember when I moved here people told me oh, you know where you're going because in Puerto Rico it's always warm. It's hot. And I said no. And I moved here like in winter. But I like it -- it's good.

WEIR: Did you consider other spots or what was it about this place that appealed to you the most?

HOLLY JEAN BUCK, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF BUFFALO: The Great Lakes, the freshwater, the projections of climate change looked like Buffalo might have a climate more like New York, Philadelphia toward the end of the century.

WEIR (voice-over): Wildfire smoke helped drive Holly Jean Buck and her family out of Southern California. And as a climate scientist, she says she was welcomed with open arms and employment. BUCK: But really, it's the energy of the people. People are really forward-thinking in western New York and New York State about what opportunities there might be in clean energy and clean tech, and how to build those solutions in ways that are good for communities.

WEIR: So it's not just the latitude, it's the attitude --

BUCK: Yeah, exactly.

WEIR: -- right --

BUCK: Yeah.

WEIR: -- and the welcoming spirit of the place, I suppose.

BUCK: The city of good neighbors, they call it.

WEIR: Oh, nice.

BUCK: Yeah.

WEIR: Nice, nice. And you found that to be the case?

BUCK: I have, totally.

WEIR: Yeah?

BUCK: Yeah.


WEIR (on camera): They're a little depressed in Buffalo after last night's loss to Denver.

But in 2019, the mayor of Buffalo declared that city an official climate refuge. And as you saw there, some people are taking them up on that offer there. The population is growing.

As the belly of the planet around the equator warms up, the southern latitudes in the United States will become increasingly harder to live in, and so the upper tier is looking like it's more advantageous. Much better to be on a defrost setting than on a broil -- Phil, Poppy.

HARLOW: No question about it. That is so fascinating. I also hope, Bill, that Wolf Blitzer was not there to hear your criticism of the Buffalo Bills' record thus far this season.

Thank you, Bill. Great reporting.

WEIR: You bet. You bet.

HARLOW: All right. Ahead for us, new statements on camera from Donald Trump's former co-defendants in the Georgia case. What their remarks could mean for that trial ahead for the president.

And also, news organizations around the globe asking for more of their journalists to be allowed on the ground to report in Gaza. It is key for transparency. We'll bring you the latest on that and the toll the war is having on our journalists and colleagues in the field.



HARLOW: This morning, the civil fraud trial against former President Trump and the Trump Organization resumes in Lower Manhattan. Trump's defense team expected to call a tax attorney for the Trump Org. to the stand today.

MATTINGLY: Meanwhile a deposition from one of Donald Trump's criminal trials is garnering a lot of attention this morning. ABC News and The Washington Post got video of former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis talking to Georgia prosecutors in their election interference case. In that video, Ellis describes a conversation she had with top Trump aid, then and now, Dan Scavino, in late 2020.


JENNA ELLIS, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: He said to me in a kind of an excited tone well, we don't care and we're not going to leave. And I said what do you mean? And he said well, the boss, meaning President Trump -- and everyone understood the boss -- that's what we all called him. He said the boss is not going to leave under any circumstances. We are just going to stay in power. And I said to him well, it doesn't quite work that way, you realize. And he said we don't care.

MATTINGLY: Joining us now to discuss is CNN political commentator, Alyssa Farah Griffin. Writer of the "Very Serious" newsletter and podcast host, Josh Barro. And CNN political analyst and New York Times national political reporter Astead Herndon.

Alyssa, I want to start with you because can you describe who Dan Scavino is? Like, this isn't some random guy.


MATTINGLY: He is literally everywhere always with the president since the campaign of '15.

GRIFFIN: Yes. He is one of his right-hand men. He was actually deputy chief of staff in the final stretch of the Trump administration. His office was right outside -- it was in the outer Oval Office because he was the person that Trump would say get me Dan. He'd help him craft tweets. Very, very close and still very much in the inner circle.

What stood out to me is I think Jenna Ellis is going to prove to be a very formidable witness on -- in Georgia, which I'm not sure we kind of knew where she would flush out in this.

But what she says echoes almost directly what Mark Meadows, the then- White House chief of staff, said to me on December 3. I'd gone into his office and said I'm planning to resign. And he said, with another aide present, what if I told you we weren't going to leave office? And I tendered my resignation the next day. So I've shared that with federal prosecutors and with the congressional committee.

But I think you're going to find that at the highest tier of the Trump White House there was a plan to try to stay in power at any cost.

HARLOW: You know, this, Astead, really tracks Trump's comments about vermin over the weekend.


HARLOW: It really tracks the great reporting that's been done by CNN, by The Washington Post --


HARLOW: -- and by The New York Times about what a second Trump term would look like, according to Trump and those around him. The Trump team is pushing back on that. They're calling that essentially speculative and theoretical. But Phil made the great point just look on the website --


HARLOW: -- and just look at where they actually stand.


And let's not forget what Trump said in this Univision interview. This was just last week. Here it is.


DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ...something that allows the next party. I mean, if somebody -- if I happen to be president and I see somebody who is doing well and beating me very badly, I say go down and indict them. Mostly, that would be -- you know, they would be out of business. They'd be out. They'd be out of the election.



HARLOW: When someone tells you who are, believe them kind of thing?

HERNDON: Yeah, exactly. I mean, I think the reason why this stuff is kind of landing is because Trump has laid out his own stakes of 20 -- what his next term would look like. And it is the more authoritarian. It is escalated rhetoric. It is using the levers of the federal government to target political opponents.

And we know that this was a hallmark of the Trump administration the first time, but I think we are seeing someone who frankly has said that I'm not going to spend those first couple of years maybe playing nice with Washington like I did last time. I'm going to use this as the kind of premise of my administration.

When he talked about retribution in that speech, that's really the undergirding theme of what we've seen kind of the Trump campaign lay out in this kind of GOP primary, and I think it's starting to set in for folks. The reason you see the Nikki Haleys or some other people kind of rising is because there is a real recognition that this version of Donald Trump, although it's the same character from last time, does have a kind of clear-eyed rhetoric that I think promises an authoritarian bend to this next version of himself, and I don't think that should be ignored.

MATTINGLY: He has a record and he has proposals going forward, plus all the rhetoric, Josh. I'm sorry I'm not going to ask about reciprocal tariffs. I know you and I want to have that discussion very badly.


MATTINGLY: But to that point, there is -- the Biden folks always complain we're not focused on policy. You're not covering what we're doing that's having an effect on the economy or on health care, or on drug pricing.

There is a comparative --

BARRO: Um-hum.

MATTINGLY: -- in terms of policy that the Trump team has up on their website. He talks about it.

Is that something that will break through at some point, or is it going to be just talking about what he says all the time?

BARRO: Well, I mean, I assume that abortion is eventually going to a more central part of the campaign than it has been right now. I'm sort of surprised that we seem to be setting up for an election that is a referendum election on Joe Biden, which I just find to be a shocking thing when Donald Trump --

HARLOW: You mean because it's not on Trump?

BARRO: Right. You know, how can you possibly have something that involves Donald Trump that is not primarily about Donald Trump? Like a theme of our politics for the last eight years has been Donald Trump blocking out the sun. And for whatever reason, this campaign is really about Joe Biden --

MATTINGLY: Why, then?

BARRO: -- and Donald Trump --

MATTINGLY: To that point -- it's a great point.

BARRO: Yeah.


BARRO: I -- you know, I think a substantial part of it is that he's not on Twitter. Donald Trump -- whether this is a conscious choice on his part or not -- and I think it is -- is really not trying to drive the news cycle in the way that he did day after day for years.

HERNDON: I think this is true now, but I think this is kind of turning to the point about people laying out where the reality of the next Trump administration will look like as the primary starts happening and he gets closer to the nomination, and as the legal calendar really puts that attention back on him next year. I think that we can see this.

I think right now it is really about Joe Biden and the Democrats won't like that. They would want this to be about the kind of stakes and the alternative.

GRIFFIN: And I think the more -- you know, this New York Times reporting was incredible about what they want to do in terms of locking up illegal immigrants and mass deportations which, by the way, the Trump team directed those reporters to Stephen Miller --


GRIFFIN: -- who gave those quotes. Then the campaign realized this is radioactive in a general election. You're going to lose Independents, moderates, and Republicans. They then tried to walk it back. Get ready for that to be a common theme.

Susie Wiles knows what she's doing when he puts out there some of his most dangerous rhetoric and ideas. The campaign is going to be like oh, no -- look no further.

HERNDON: Yeah, yeah.

GRIFFIN: But in a second term, he's not constrained by running for reelection.

HARLOW: Right.

GRIFFIN: And the thing that kept guardrails when he had the craziest ideas is people like myself ran to him and would be like you've got to win an election again. You can't do this. That was like the only way you could communicate something. He will not have that in a second term.

HARLOW: Nikki Haley, who has seen sort of a steady rise -- it's nowhere near where Trump is in the polls -- but her language about Trump has remained pretty subdued, pretty muted in terms of criticism of him. She went there a bit in the debate but not that much.

Now, Tim Scott drops out. Many people look at does that help Nikki Haley?

Do you think that her language and how she talks about Trump and these policies changes going forward as she tries to be the one who can take him on?

BARRO: I mean, the difficulty that has faced Haley and all the non- Trump candidates is that the usual set of criticisms you might lodge against Donald Trump are completely unimpressive to the voters in the Republican primary.

And so, I think that it's not that they're stupid in that they forgot to attack the frontrunner, it's that it's legitimately very difficult to come up with a strategy for doing that that will actually cause you to pick up votes in this campaign.

And, I mean, Tim Scott is -- has dropped out. The Des Moines Register- NBC poll in Iowa found his support splitting in exact thirds --


BARRO: -- among Ron DeSantis --


BARRO: -- Nikki Haley, and Donald Trump. So I think that the problem of consolidating remains very serious.

But the problem is that DeSantis and Haley have a very different pitch for being --


BARRO: -- a non-Trump candidate. It's very similar to where Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio were positioned in the 2016 campaign. And a lot of people who are for Ron DeSantis are not there because they desperately want anything other than Trump. And if they're forced to choose between Trump and Haley, they're going to choose Trump.