Return to Transcripts main page

CNN This Morning

Lawmakers Praise The Projects They Voted Against; U.S. Economy Kicks of 2024 With A Bang, 35K Jobs Added; Lewis Hamilton Leaving Mercedes for Ferrari. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired February 02, 2024 - 08:30   ET



REP. ROB MENENDEZ (D-NJ): I would like to see the text. And the Hispanic caucuses put out a set of principles that we'd like to see as part of our immigration policy. That includes addressing the border. It's not just about how we bring people out of the shadows, how we protect dreamers. It's a more comprehensive approach.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: In terms of the approach, a new CNN poll out this morning, 31 percent of Americans support prioritizing mass deportations of all people living in this country illegally. That's up from 15 percent in 2019. The language is tougher, from President Biden all the way on down. Is that more about polling in politics or do you believe it's actually language about policy?

MENENDEZ: I think it's a lot of the politics that have gone on the last several years. People see the situation at the border and they're responding to the Republican narrative around what's happening at the border.

Listen, there is a global migration challenge between global climate change, between failed governments in our hemisphere. There's a challenge that we have to address at the root cause and also how it's appearing at our border.

But when you look at what Republicans talk about, when you talk about a mass invasion, like you hear Texas Republicans talking about, when you talk about things like replacement theory, these are things that have gained hold in our electorate because that's what Republicans are talking about.

Because they think it's, if they can come up with a conspiracy theory that's dangerous enough, that Americans will trust them. So when you see the rise in support for mass deportations, it's in response to a dangerous Republican narrative.

HILL: OK, so we're after that, because I do want to get your take on your father. As we know, Senator Bob Menendez, who is facing bribery and corruption charges for allegedly taking steps to benefit the governments of Egypt and Qatar in exchange for bribes, he's denied those charges.

You are not, you know, involved in any of this. There have been, as you know, multiple calls for him to step down. He hasn't yet said whether he is running. There are challenges, right? His trial would begin just before the primary. Should your father run again?

MENENDEZ: That's going to be a decision he'll make. You know, for us, we're focused on our reelection. We're focused on what we can do for the 8th Congressional District, and that's where our focus will remain, because that's what we can control. He'll make his decision about what he wants to do next while he defends himself against his allegations.

HILL: Should he be in classified briefings right now?

MENENDEZ: I don't see a reason why not. You know, he's been -- he's -- the charges are what they are. But he has the right to the presumption of innocence and the right to continue to do his job, which he does every single day for the residents of New Jersey.

HILL: You mentioned you have a race coming up, obviously, as well. You have a primary challenge. Do you believe these allegations against your father are overshadowing your campaign at all?

MENENDEZ: There are reasons for people to be politically motivated and see an opportunity for their own political advancement, but the people of the 8th Congressional District know the work that we've done in our first year. We've solved over 1,200 cases for families across the district, including helping people get out of Afghanistan.

We've brought over $11 billion back to the district for the Gateway Program, for the Northeast Corridor, grants for environmental justice. We've done an incredible amount of work that I'm proud of. That's the work that people are responding to. That's the work that's going to get us reelected.

HILL: Congressman Menendez good to have you in the studio this morning.

MENENDEZ: It's a pleasure. Thank you so much.

HILL: Thank you.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Republican politicians across the country are praising infrastructure projects and economic investments. Just don't ask them how they voted on those issues. How lawmakers and Donald Trump are going to take credit for legislation that actually refused to support. That's next.




JIM DEFEDE, REPORTER: But you voted against the bill that gave the money that you then signed a check for and handed and had a photo-op that consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, right? You voted against that bill.

REP. MARIA SALAZAR, (R-FL): I -- right now you have to give me more details but I do know that every time I have an opportunity to bring money to my constituents, I do so.

DEFEDE: Well, you remember --

SALAZAR: I just said $400,000. But look --

DEFEDE: Well, you voted against -- you voted against -- you voted against the CHIPS and Science Act, right?

SALAZAR: Listen, right now I need to -- I need to ask my staff.


MATTINGLY: That clip of Republican Congressman Maria Elvira Salazar went viral this week, and it may have left you wondering how a lawmaker could take credit for an accomplishment tied to a law they voted against.

Here's the thing, Salazar is hardly the first Republican to try and have it both ways the last few years. In fact, she was putting a company in the -- we'll call it, criticize and vote against and then turn around and seek credit way to do things when it comes to two of President Biden's cornerstone legislative achievements.

It turns out the more than $1.2 billion authorized between Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill and the semi-conductor manufacturing law creates a lot of funding and a lot of funding opportunities for districts and states.

It's not even actually the first time we've seen Salazar praise it. She praised the quote, "impressive facilities" at the renovated Miami Airport, renovations financed with the $85 million investment from Biden's infrastructure law.

And just last week, Minnesota Congressman Pete Stauber praised a billion-dollar investment to replace a bridge in his district. As for the legislation, I don't think you guessed it, Stauber voted against the bill that allotted those funds.

Now, as you'd expect, White House officials have noticed too. One advisor told me, while those in the West Wing are exactly shocked, the quote, "unmitigated gall" is not lost on us. That goes a long way in explaining why the White House last week targeted Stauber.

Quote, "POV, you voted against President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure law, but you are taking credit for it." Biden's done it on the trail as well. And in a visit to the district last week, Biden made sure voters should know who to thank.


JOE BIDEN, (D) U.S. PRESIDENT: For decades, people talked about replacing this bridge, but it never got done until today. Until today.


MATTINGLY: There's also Idaho, GOP Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, they were quick to congratulate a local manufacturing center on securing a critical tech hub designation designed to bolster manufacturing and production in the state. Both voted against the legislation that created those very tech hubs.

South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan, very excited to announce the investment in the state's energy sector, made a point of noting he was the only representative from the state who served on the committee responsible for negotiating the CHIPS Act. He did not mention that he voted against it.

Texas GOP Congresswoman Kay Granger said it was a, quote, "great day for Fort Worth" when the Army Corps announced funding for a project in her district. From the infrastructure bill, she once labeled a, quote, "liberal wish list."

Now, this is just a sample of what has kind of become regular practice over the course of the last couple of years. And of course, there's former President Trump. He's not necessarily touting specific laws, but he has no qualms about taking credit for a very robust U.S. stock market, which he says is actually doing well because of his poll numbers.

Look, hypocrisy in politics, this is not breaking news. And to be clear, lawmakers pursuing money for their districts or states, that's part of the job.

Here's a bigger picture. It's an election year, and while President Biden spends nearly every day trying to talk up those major legislative wing -- wins in an economy that had Fed Chair Jerome Powell saying this, this week.



JEROME POWELL, FED CHAIR: Let's be honest, this is a good economy.


MATTINGLY: That message and poll after poll simply hasn't sunk in seemingly with voters. New CNN polling shows an overwhelming majority of Americans still don't think the country is doing well. And Biden's approval on the economy it's slowly ticking up but it still hangs in about the high 30s which raises a question that could very well determine whether voters will give Biden a second term. Will they find a way to sell his accomplishments turn around those approval numbers of Republicans somehow already beaten him to the political punch. Erica?

HILL: Oh, Phil. Thank you. This is CNN breaking news with the latest jobs report shows the economy added 353,000 jobs last month. The unemployment rate remaining steady at 3.7 percent.

Joining us to break down those numbers, CNN Anchor and Business Correspondent Rahel Solomon. This isn't just good. This is really good and beating expectations. RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, this is a stunningly

good report, a hot report. So expectations, Erica, we're closer to $176,000 -- 176,500, let's call it. So this is twice what Wall Street was expecting. As you pointed out, the unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent, third month in a row.

We've been in this really tight range of unemployment under 4 percent for at least two years now. When you look at the industries where we added jobs in January, this was what was really interesting to me. So professional and business services really, I think the bulk of it here, adding 74,000 jobs in January.

If you compare that to 2023, we added about 14,000 jobs per month. So you think professional and business services, think sort of white- collar jobs, accounting, for example, healthcare, that's a continuation of what we saw last year, healthcare adding 70,000, retail adding 45,000.

As Phil laid out quite nicely there, this is a really important year, both politically and economically. And so this is the first jobs report. So a lot of eyes are going to be watching this both on Wall Street, both on Main Street and Washington.

And what it shows is that it's an economy that continues to hump when expectations were that we would be in a recession in 2023, or the labor market would start to cool in a significant way, it hasn't happened yet.

One thing that I also thought was really interesting is the last I checked futures were actually down on this news. Futures actually turned down on this news, at least the Dow. And the reason why perhaps is because earlier this week when we heard from Fed Chair Jay Powell, he said in determining when the right point is to start cutting rates, they're going to be looking really closely at reports like this, the labor report.

And so a report which still shows some strength there, well that indicates that maybe they can wait a little bit longer in 2024 to start cutting rates, cutting rates and so on.

MATTINGLY: Which exactly we don't ask you.


MATTINGLY: And we all watched the Fed Chair's press conference after the meeting. First off, I missed the top because I was walking over here and saw the number on the screen and just went, wow.

HILL: Wow, yeah.

MATTINGLY: Again. Wow. To that point, though, does this immediately take the possibility of a March cut off the table that we didn't get much commitment on that front? This is hot. You said it. It's hot.

SOLOMON: I mean, I feel like what I heard is Jay Powell pretty much took it off the table, right? MATTINGLY: Yeah.

SOLOMON: I mean, he basically said March is not the base case. That is not what their expectations are. They don't think that there's anything that's going to change in the data over the next six weeks that would sort of suggest that a March rate cut is appropriate, at least according to them.

As you know, there are certainly some in Washington who believe that they should already be cutting rates, but that's a different conversation. It's not the only report that they'll look at. Certainly, they'll look at GDP. Obviously, they'll look at CPI, the inflation report. So there's sort of a lot of indicators. But again, it is a sign that there is strength in the labor market. The Dow's still off -- I need to get my eyesight checked.

HILL: It's just a tiny, yeah.

SOLOMON: It's just a tiny bit about 40 points, NASDAQ and S&P up right now. So it's a strong labor market when rate cuts will come after a report like this. It's looking like practice your patience.

HILL: Also, we've got 45,000 jobs added in retail. That says a lot about the economy, too, right?

SOLOMON: That people are spending.

HILL: Given that we are a consumer-based economy.

SOLOMON: Great point. Yeah.

HILL: Well, thanks.

MATTINGLY: It is an election year, and month after month after month this administration's economy has defied expectations.

SOLOMON: Yeah, we'll see.

MATTINGLY: That is an objective fact.


MATTINGLY: We'll see if people feel it as you report on a lot.

SOLOMON: That's another point. Yeah.

MATTINGLY: Rahel Solomon, thank you so much.

HILL: Music's biggest night happens on Sunday. Just ahead, music icon Clive Davis, hours before his famous pre-Grammy party, a man who helped discover Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, and many more opens up about his life and legacy.


MATTINGLY: And this is my favorite story of the week. Tracy Chapman will return to the Grammy stage for a rare performance of her Grammy- winning song, Fast Car. She's going to sing it with country singer Luke Combs, who is nominated for Best Country Solo Performance for his version of the song.


We'll be right back.



HILL: Music's biggest night is Sunday. It's the Grammy Awards, but the biggest party actually happens the night before. Music mogul Clive Davis' pre-Grammy Bash. Oddly enough, Phil and I still haven't gotten invited.

MATTINGLY: It's coming.

HILL: Yeah.

MATTINGLY: I know it's coming. Now, CNN sat down with Davis ahead of tomorrow night to discuss his famous ear production skills that played a major role in the careers of some of the biggest music stars in the world. Here's CNN's Elizabeth Wagmeister.


CLIVE DAVIS, MUSIC MOGUL: I never thought in a million years that I would discover all of these. I don't read music. I don't play music. It's just in the gut.

ELIZABETH WAGMEISTER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: That legendary gut discovered Janis Joplin in 1967. Since then, music producer Clive Davis has nurtured the careers of some of the biggest stars on the planet.

From Aretha Franklin to Billy Joel. Bruce Springsteen to Whitney Houston.


WAGMEISTER: That song convinced Davis, Houston was a superstar.

DAVIS: Well, that's a song I commissioned for the life of Muhammad Ali eight years earlier. And there's this young teenager singing, the greatest love of all, like I never heard it before.

WAGMEISTER: Houston was one of the stars Davis introduced to the industry at his famed pre-Grammy gala which is always held the night before the ceremony. And it was Barry Manilow who urged him to start in 1976.

DAVIS: Heads of networks, motion pictures studios, directors, actors like Tom Hanks, (inaudible), Jay-Z and Beyonce, Chris Rock, Nancy Pelosi. WAGMEISTER: It was hours before that party in 2012 that Whitney

Houston drowned in the bathtub of her hotel room. Cocaine use and heart disease were contributing factors.

(On camera): And how tough was that for you?

DAVIS: Oh, it was painful. First of all, it was shocking. I had been with her 48 hours earlier.

WAGMEISTER: Davis said Houston was planning to record new music with him before she died.

DAVIS: She was vital, optimistic, looking forward to the future. That's the lethal power of drugs. I called her family. I said, look, this was her favorite party. We have to celebrate her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn't want us to be somber.

DAVIS: But also provide a peaceful haven for the mourners to be together and not feel alone.

WAGMEISTER: Through the years, Davis says he's always tried to link the past with the present.

(On camera): What really stands out to you?

DAVIS: Look, Taylor.

WAGMEISTER: Recalling the time he introduced Taylor Swift to Johnny Mathis.

DAVIS: So he said, Taylor, you're going to see someone I don't think you've ever seen publicly before. An album of his greatest hits was on Billboard's Top 200 for 10 consecutive years. And Taylor did a trademark covering of her mass gasping.

WAGMEISTER: What do you want people to remember you by? What is your legacy?

DAVIS: My legacy is that I discovered or nurtured an unusual array of the most gifted artists of all time and that they felt safe. But to see that there was still headlining, arenas all over the world, and were not one hit, one it is, was such a great feeling.


WAGMEISTER: Pretty amazing to sit across from Clive Davis at 91 years old and he is still going. Also amazing that nearly 50 years later this truly is the biggest party of Grammy's weekend. I will be there so I will try to find Jay-Z and Beyonce for you.

MATTINGLY: We don't rub that in at all. That was an awesome interview. Elizabeth Wagmeister, thanks so much.

Well, it's possibly the biggest shakeup in sports since LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.

HILL: It's also my favorite story of the day, Phil Mattingly. Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton switching teams. Why has moved to Ferrari is such a big deal and will it pay off?


HILL: The end of an era in Formula 1 racing. Lewis Hamilton, who is considered to be one of the greatest drivers in F1 history, announcing he is leaving Mercedes after 11 years moving over to, of course, one of its biggest rivals, Ferrari.

The 39-year-old shares the record with Michael Schumacher for the most world titles ever. Hamilton broke multiple other records during his decade, plus time at Mercedes, cementing his place in racing history. He joins Ferrari, not this season though, starting in 2025.

Joining us from Hamilton's whole country of England, F1 Correspondent with the Press Association, Philip Duncan. Philip, good to have you with us this morning.

This is -- OK, full disclosure, I am a massive drive to survive fan with my son, Sawyer. We love this. This was huge yesterday morning. Phil is getting on board with me.

MATTINGLY: I'm drafting.

HILL: You're drafting. See, he's already with us. Put into perspective why this is such a big deal that Lewis Hamilton is going to Ferrari?

PHILIP DUNCAN, ENGLAND, F1 CORRESPONDENT, PRESS ASSOCIATION: That's everything that the scriptwriters, drivers of -- sorry, drivers to survive could have made this one up, hey, Lewis Hamilton leaving Mercedes to join their rivals, Ferrari. You know, Lewis Hamilton's always spoken about the dream of racing it for the red scene and now it's actually coming to fruition.

So it's a remarkable story because no one really expected it to happen. Obviously it's been spoken about, but Lewis Hamilton signed a two-year deal with Mercedes only in September. And now four or five months later, he's joining their rivals Ferrari in 2025. You know, the biggest and most well-known driver joining the biggest team, it's a great story.

MATTINGLY: Do we know why?

DUNCAN: He wants to win and I think he sees Ferrari as offering him the better chance of winning that elusive eighth world title, the world championship that will make him a record breaker. No one else has won eight world titles.

And I don't think he thinks he can do that with Mercedes. And also it's the lure of driving for Ferrari, you know. He's -- as I said before, he's always dreamt about racing for them. Now he thinks it is the time to happen. He's friendly with John Elkann, the Ferrari Chairman, who's been instrumental in making sure this move has happened and now it's coming to fruition. It's just a shame we've got to wait one year before it all comes together.

HILL: Yeah. I -- there, maybe this will add to the drama. Last year was sort of drama free. Max Verstappen wins sort of almost everything. He's with Red Bull. So this may add some drama this year. Can't put this in perspective for sports fans at home. Is this the equivalent of, you know, a LeBron move, is this Tom Brady going to Tampa?

DUNCAN: Yeah, totally, because as I said, Lewis Hamilton, he's the guy that transcends Formula I. He's the driver that everyone knows of or is at least heard of. Because he is, you know, quite different than many of the others before and so successful as well.


And he has won so many world championships, seven -- he wants this eighth world title. And Ferrari is obviously such an iconic brand, isn't it. Everyone's aware of Ferrari. Not to say people aren't aware of Mercedes.


DUNCAN: But Ferrari are just so -- Ferrari are just so -- you know, they've competed in every year since Formula 1's existed, in 1950. You know, they've been there every year. Such a great history.

And now the driver Hamilton, the guy we all know, is going to join them. It's such a great story and a boost that F1 really needed after two years of Max Verstappen winning pretty much every race. So hopefully, Hamilton, at least in a Ferrari can take the challenge to him.

MATTINGLY: Philip Duncan, you made Erica's day. It's a great story. Thanks so much. We appreciate it.

Have a great weekend, everyone. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts right now.