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Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD) is Interviewed about Congress; Barak Ravid is Interviewed about the Escalation on the Israel Border with Lebanon; Christopher Holliday is Interviewed about New Trail for Wegovy; Thousands to Rally in Washington. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 14, 2023 - 08:30   ET



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Metting in about 30 minutes, but have you gotten any signals that they will help your conference get this over the finish line today?

REP. DUSTY JOHNSON (R-SD): I think things are moving in the right direction.

One of the things I hate about Washington, D.C., is how quickly people get themselves whipped into a thick lather in opposition to everything. Nobody really wants to get to yes in this town, and that meant early Democratic reaction to Speaker Johnson's plan was pretty negative. I am grateful that they have, I think, taken a couple deep breaths, understood what we're trying to do, makes a ton of sense, and I do expect a decent number of them will support it when it hits the floor.

MATTINGLY: So, Congressman, this will set two deadlines for kind of chunks of the 12 appropriations bills separating them. My question right now, and particularly as somebody who I know is considered kind of a worker inside the conference, your leadership decided to pull two full year bills, Republican full year appropriations bills in the last week. Why are we not going to be here in mid-January and again in February?

JOHNSON: I do think it's pretty unfortunate when you've got eight or 10 or 15 hard-liners who -- on the Republican side who make it just about impossible for us to get anything done. We will put a really good conservative work product on the floor. It won't be perfect, and so they'll walk away from it.

It is frustrating. And so I -- what I think is different is an understanding that as we get closer to the end of this journey, of course it's going to require some votes on both sides of the aisle. Maybe I don't love that idea, but the reality is that the Democrats control the Senate, the Republicans control the House. To fund government, we're going to need a bipartisan vote. We're inching closer to that, which means that those hard-liners, I think, will be in less of a position to let perfect be the enemy of the good.

MATTINGLY: The proposal today is a flat continuing resolution, doesn't include aid for Israel, which I know you support. The House Republicans passed their Israel aid bill last week, I believe. And it Does not include any aid for Ukraine.

I want you to listen to what National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said yesterday.


JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Each week that passes, our ability to fully fund what we feel is necessary to give Ukraine the tools and capacities it needs to both defend its territory and to continue to make advances, that gets harder and harder. So, for us, the window is closing.


MATTINGLY: Congressman, if the window is closing, CRs, omnibuses, whether you like them or don't like them, they are the vehicles to pass things like Ukraine aid. Is there any pathway to Ukraine aid anytime soon?

JOHNSON: It doesn't have to be these big, omnibus packages that lumber into this Capitol in the dead of night and then everybody's forced to vote on it the next day. Republicans in the House, when we took control, we said we weren't going to do that type of thing. And, you know what, we've actually been pretty good at keeping our word.

I support helping Ukraine defend their country. But let's have a conversation about that. I think so much of the frustration on the Republican side has been that the administration has not laid out what is the strategic plan. Exactly what are these dollars going for? What's the accountability? How are those dollars tied to a definition of victory?

If we have a strategic conversation, and I know that may take a few days, but we should not allow the failures of the administration over the last 18 months to force Congress into making yet another bad spending decision. Let's help Israel. Let's help Ukraine. Let's do it the right way.

MATTINGLY: Before I let you go, Congressman, I want to ask you this because it is so antithetical to my observations of your approach to the job. And that's something that the former president said over the weekend.

Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT AND 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In honor of our great veterans on Veterans Day, we pledge to you that we will root out the communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country, that lie and steal and cheat on elections and will do anything possible - they're do anything, whether legally or illegally, to destroy America and to destroy the American dream. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Sir, he's the frontrunner in your party's nomination. It seems almost certain at this point he's going to be the nominee. I'm not asking you to endorse one way or the other any of the candidates that are out there, but your response to that? If he is your nominee, if he is the next president of the United States, that type of language, that type of rhetoric.

JOHNSON: No, I can't defend that rhetoric. There are clearly people within our country who don't particularly like American values. I don't think they're quite as multitudinous as the former president made them sound. But, more importantly, if we're going to beat back the internal challenges to this country, we're not going to do it through anger and through fear, we're going to do it through logic, through reason, through coalition building, through an understanding of what makes America great and how can we leverage that to be able to win the policy battles that admittedly some folks on the left have very different views about how to run the things, like the southern border and - and this government spending that I do, I want to beat them but I want to beat the with rhetoric that I think is a little bit more hopeful, positive, and helpful than what we just heard.


MATTINGLY: Congressman Dusty Johnson, we appreciate it, sir. Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: In Israel, families of hostages being held by Hamas marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem today demanding their government do everything they can to save their loved one.

MATTINGLY: This is happening as the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah intensifies at the Lebanon border. The details on that front, next.


HARLOW: Well, this just in. The Biden administration announcing a new round of sanctions on key Hamas officials. It has also officially designated the leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad's militant wing as a global terrorist.

Meanwhile, overnight, there were reports of intense shelling across the Israel/Lebanon border as continue continues to escalate between Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel along its northern border. According to reporting from "Axios," U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has expressed concern to his Israel counterpart, Yoav Gallant, about Israel's role in this escalation.

And joining us now is the journalist behind that reporting, "Axios" political and foreign policy reporter Barak Ravid.

This is so interesting. And if I could just read people a little bit of your reporting because you say, "some in the Biden administration are concerned Israel is trying to provoke Hezbollah and create a pretext for a wider war in Lebanon that could draw in the U.S. and other countries into further conflict." That's a - that's a big deal.



I think it's a very big deal because, you know, we're so focused on the war in Gaza, and rightly so because that's the main event. But over in the north, on the Lebanese/Israeli border, there is a side event that very quickly and very easily could turn into something ten times bigger than Gaza, ten times more dangerous and that could engulf the whole region. And I think that what the Biden administration is telling the Israeli government is, we're watching you and we know that there are some people inside the Israeli government, including, by the way, the minister of defense himself, Yoav Gallant, who, you know, are toying with this idea of broadening the war to - to Lebanon and the Biden administration, I think, sent a message very clear to Gallant himself that this is something that they would not see as a positive development.

MATTINGLY: Barak, the idea of toying with the idea of broadening the war, why? And I think I ask that because so much of the administration, at least the officials I have spoken to, I know you've reported a ton on this as well, why they have naval assets in the region, why they've sent missile defense systems to the region, why they have rapid reaction forces in the region are to stop exactly that. What would lead some Israeli officials to believe that that would be a good move?

RAVID: First, I totally agree with everything you just said. But what -- I think that what Gallant and others in the IDF think is twofold. First, they say, you know, we're already in a war and we're already in daily skirmishes with Hezbollah in the north. So, maybe it is an opportunity to also sort of deal with that threat, too.

And, second, and this is something that, you know, for practical reasons Israel evacuated tens of thousands of people from the villages and towns along the border with Lebanon. And those people say that they will not go back home if, on the other side of the border, the threat from Hezbollah to do exactly what Hamas did on October 7th. So, the Israelis are telling the Biden administration, if we don't take this threat away, we won't have anything to tell our own citizens.

HARLOW: But as you've said at the outset, the capability and the force that Hezbollah holds is so many times that of Hamas in Gaza. So, it would be an even more difficult and protracted fight most likely.

What about the hostages? There are these threads of reporting -- I know you have some. We heard Mike McCaul, after being in Israel, talk this weekend about considerations that the Israeli government is making to at least agree to part of what Hamas is saying it wants for the hostages back. What do we know this morning? RAVID: I think it's still a moving target. Meaning, we are every day

we are - we're betting to the point of almost, almost, almost, and then we're not there. And this is -- this has been the case, I think, for something like two weeks. There were several ideas on the table. Several proposals that were discussed. But any time when things got to the decision point, either Israel or Hamas backed off. So, I think, again, there are discussions. They are serious. But we're still, at least from everything I know, we're not there yet.

MATTINGLY: What causes either side or both sides to back off?

RAVID: I think it's the sort of relation between the number of hostages that Hamas will release and the number of days that Israel will agree to pause its military operation. And that's where the negotiations are. Each side is trying -- Israel is trying to get more hostages for less days and Hamas is trying to release less hostages for more days. And the U.S. and Qatar are trying to somehow come up with some sort of compromises. For now, again, we're still not there.

HARLOW: Barak Ravid, with the critical reporting. As always, thank you for being with us.

RAVID: Thank you very much.

MATTINGLY: Well, a landmark clinical trial on the drug Wegovy showing people taking it were less likely to develop diabetes. We're going to speak with the CDC about this new development. That's next.



HARLOW: As the world marks International Diabetes Day today, the results of a landmark clinical trial suggest people using a popular weight loss medication Wegovy were less likely to develop diabetes.

MATTINGLY: Patients enrolled in this trial were all in the overweight or obese categories but didn't have diabetes themselves. Research found that those taking Wegovy had a 73 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and a 67 percent lower risk of developing pre-diabetes than patients on placebo.

Joining us now is the director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, Dr. Chris Holliday.

Sir, we appreciate your time.

To start, you know, I feel like so much of the conversation about these types of drugs is about celebrities taking them or people taking them for weight (ph).


MATTINGLY: This study seemed to show they have a very clear effect for what they were intended for. Should that also, in your view, include those individuals with diabetes? DR. CHRISTOPHER HOLLIDAY, DIRECTOR, CDC'S DIVISION OF DIABETES

TRANSLATION: Yes. In fact, many of these drugs are for people with type 2 diabetes. And we encourage people to talk to your health care provider about whether or not these drugs are appropriate for you based on other conditions a person may have or contraindications, if you will.

What we're going to -- talking about today is really pre-diabetes, which is a serious health condition that many people don't know they have. About one in three U.S. adults has pre-diabetes. That's 98 million people. And it's largely asymptomatic. So, about 81 percent of them don't know they have it. It is a serious health condition, and it puts you at risk for other serious health conditions, like type 2 diabetes or heart attack and stroke. And so the CDC has partnered with the ad council to release the "Do I Have Prediabetes" campaign PSAs.


And they are talking about being your own hero, meaning, really taking control of your own health and knowing where you stand as far as pre- diabetes.

HARLOW: Right. These are the critical questions we all have to ask when we go to our primary care provider for your annual checkup, right? So, how would you know? Is it blood work that is done and then you ask about this? What do people need to do to find out if they're one of those?

HOLLIDAY: Yes, the key is awareness. So, first, we encourage people to go to a simple website, and take a simple, one- minute risk test. This risk test really asks you about whether you have a little bit of excess weight, whether you might be over the age of 40, whether you might have been a woman with gestational diabetes, whether you have a family member, a mother, father, brother or sister that has type 2 diabetes. And this simple test can let you know whether you have or are at risk for prediabetes. And so we just ask, if once you get a certain score on that risk test, talk to your health care provider and they can take - they can have you take a confirmatory blood test to verify whether you have prediabetes or not.

MATTINGLY: For people who are watching this, if you have prediabetes, what should you be doing? What are the things you can do to try and counter that?

HOLLIDAY: The good news is that prediabetes and type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed. And the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which is operated out of the CDC, is a lifestyle change program that encourages people with a coach to make modest lifestyle changes, like losing 5 percent to 7 percent of their body weight or eating more vegetables and getting at least 20 minutes of activity per day. These modest changes really help to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

HARLOW: Dr. Christopher Holliday, thank you for raising awareness and giving us all some tools. We appreciate your time this morning.

HOLLIDAY: Thank you for having me.

MATTINGLY: Well, Presidents Biden and Xi expected to announce a major crackdown on fentanyl at a highly anticipated meeting tomorrow in California.

HARLOW: Tens of thousands right now gathering on the National Mall in Washington in support of Israel. We'll take you there, next.



MATTINGLY: Law enforcement agencies are ramping up security in Washington as tens of thousands of people are gathering on the National Mall for a "March for Israel" rally this morning. And nearly 6,000 miles away, in Israel, families of hostages being held by Hamas are marching from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, calling on their leaders to do more to bring their loved ones home.

HARLOW: And in Washington, D.C., celebrities, members of the Jewish community and leaders expected to speak at the pro-Israel demonstration. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser says the National Guard is going to help the D.C. Metro Police Department because there are security concerns about potential counter protesters and possible lone actors.

Gabe Cohen is covering it all at the National Mall and he joins us this morning.

It's going -- expected to be quite a turnout.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy, the organizers are hoping this is going to be the largest gathering of American Jewish communities in recent memory, with tens of thousands of people expected on the National Mall in the hours ahead.

And, look, organizers were really intentional about the language, the toned down language that they used as they prepared this rally really to bring together this big tent of unity. Organizations and American Jews from across the political spectrum, they said that this rally was really about three things, combating anti-Semitism, calling for a release of the Israeli hostages still in Gaza, and calling for solidarity with Israel and the Israeli people.

Take a listen to the heads of one of the organizations that put this event together speaking a little earlier on CNN THIS MORNING.


ERIC FINGERHUT, ORGANIZER, "MARCH FOR ISRAEL" in D.C. TODAY: We're going to stand broadly and say, we will not be intimidated in our homes, in our communities, in our places of worship. We will stand on the National Mall, in the most visible place in this country, and say, America will not stand for this, and our community will not stand for this.


COHEN: And look, we expect that message of unity to be mirrored in some of the speakers we're going to be seeing. On the schedule right now, the new House speaker, Republican Mike Johnson, Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, Republican Senator Joni Ernst. So, really leaders from across the aisle.

And as you mentioned, Poppy, law enforcement is really on high alert today. We know that both local and federal law enforcement are participating, are going to be monitoring this event, looking around the mall. This long section of the mall, nearly a mile in length, is completely fenced off, blocked with the roads around it closed off, blocked by police vehicles, city dump trucks, even military vehicles.

We know that the mayor here in D.C., as you mentioned, has called in the National Guard and D.C.'s police force is fully deployed today. So they are concerned, not just about the tens of thousands of people who are going to be here, but also about potential for counterprotests, clashes between groups. And we know that there are no -- according to the intelligence so far gathered by our CNN teams, there are no clear threats of any imminent attacks or anything like that, but we know law enforcement has a joint information center they've put together. They are going to be monitoring it closely, as will we in the hours ahead.


MATTINGLY: Gabe Cohen, we appreciate it. Keep us posted. Thank you.

HARLOW: Also this just in, to the U.S. economy. U.S. consumer priced cooled a bit in October after rising for the last two months. The Consumer Price Index rose 3.2 percent. That's down from 3.7 percent in September.

There's also some positive news on the underlying inflation front. The core, that excludes food and energy, climbed 0.2 percent, bringing the annual increase to 4 percent. That's the lowest since September 2021.

MATTINGLY: And this just in, the conservative House Freedom Caucus has officially come out against Speaker Mike Johnson's spending plan, that two-tiered continuing resolution. This comes after the newly elected speaker met with the group of roughly 30 to 40 hard-liners last night. The groups wants spending cuts in addition to the two-step approach. They said in a statement, quote, "while we remain committed to working with Speaker Johnson, we need bold change. They never expected the Freedom Caucus to go along with it.

HARLOW: Do they get there, Mattingly?


MATTINGLY: They need Democrats. Democrats are meeting in 30 seconds.

Dusty Johnson says they'll get there.

HARLOW: All right.

MATTINGLY: Thanksgiving matters.

HARLOW: Fingered crossed.


HARLOW: But then you won't get your clock anymore, your countdown clock.

MATTINGLY: We will. In January and in February.

HARLOW: OK. Sad. It's true. Sad but true.

Thank you so much for starting your day with us. We'll see you right back here tomorrow. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" is now.