Return to Transcripts main page
Secret Service To Brief Congress On Cocaine In White House; Giuliani And Election Fraud Promoters Didn't Vet Claims; Go Your Own Way, Or Follow the Pack?; What Happened To The Recession?; U.S. Faces Fires, Floods, And Heatwaves; Jake Tapper Releases New Novel. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired July 12, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST AND SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: All right, so before we go, we've seen all these objects being thrown at artists on stages recently. And now, it seems one fan has actually thrown himself on to Bryan Adam's stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: John Berman, as I hand it up to you, you know that Mr. Adams did not miss a beat, just treated it like a little bit of karaoke moment and then went right back in. You've got to applaud that.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: At least the dude did the words, right?
Thanks so much, Laura. Appreciate it.
So, Rudy Giuliani texting his way into trouble, Donald Trump singing no, no, no like "Destiny's Child," and the Secret Service driving that train will brief on cocaine.
I'm John Berman, and this is "CNN Tonight or as I like to call it, CNN very nearly tomorrow because there is news tonight on new legal jeopardy for Rudy Giuliani and new campaign drama surrounding Donald Trump. But before what just happened, what will happen? Tomorrow, pretty early, in fact, the Secret Service is expected to say what it knows about the cocaine found in the White House.
Not since Willie Nelson smoked the joint on the White House roof have drugs inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue raised so many questions. By the way, the Willie Nelson thing really happened. Jimmy Carter confirmed it. The cocaine situation has been way more mysterious than the source of way more wild and baseless speculation and led to way too many bad punts, many of which crossed the line. Sorry.
This is what we know. About 10 days ago, what law enforcement described as a dime-sized bag of cocaine was found in the West Wing. Perhaps, they meant to say dime bag. It was found in a cubby near the ground floor entrance where staff-guided tourists pass through. Visitors are asked to leave their phones in those cubbies but they can also be used by staff who cannot bring their phones into a SCIF where classified materials are handled.
And that is all we know. Republicans in Congress want to know more. The Secret Service has been investigating and will brief them in a few hours.
Joining me now is CNN law enforcement analyst Jonathan Wackrow who is a former Secret Service agent, and Tyler Pager, White House reporter for "The Washington Post."
Jonathan, let me start with you because I think for the lay persons, they look at this and say, we're talking about the White House, this is the most secure monitored place on earth, how can it be so hard to figure out whose dime-sized bag of cocaine this actually is? What do you say to that?
JONATHAN WACKROW, FORMER SECRET SERVICE AGENT: Well, you know, it's not just the lay person, it is actually members of Congress that are asking the exact same question, and that's why the House Oversight Committee is really in the right here to actually hold this and ask for this briefing from the director of the Secret Service. Right?
You have arguably one of the most secure locations in the United States having, you know, the substance brought in. Now, this is a criminal act, bringing this contraband in, but it wasn't when it was discovered. When it was first discovered, the Secret Service reacted as a threat, that there was white powder, not knowing whether or not this was, you know, anthrax or ricin, and took those immediate actions.
Now, we know it was confirmed that it is cocaine and they are leading that investigation now to make attribution as to who did it. However, John Berman, I know, you know, after all of this time, we still don't know whether or not the investigators have figured out who actually brought the substance into the White House.
BERMAN: Any sense of why it's so hard to figure this out?
WACKROW: Well, actually, there's a few reasons. Right? One is that you have to think about where this substance was found. It was on the ground floor of the West Wing of the White House over the weekend. Now, this specific location is what I referred to as the crossroads of the White House.
You have White House staff members, West Wing staff members, military, Secret Service, senior leaders of the administration all passing through this one location, whether it is to do business in the West Wing or access the White House Situation Room, which was just feet away from these cubbies. The reason why those cubbies exist is because you can't bring cellphones into that secure facility.
Now, complicating matters, you also had West Wing tours. These are like the VIP tours that are held off hours and on weekends. So, there was a lot of people that could be potential suspects in this. Making matters worse, there is no real cameras inside of this location for a variety of security reasons.
So, absent of forensic evidence, which is latent fingerprints on this -- the plastic or the bag, DNA evidence or video evidence, it is going to be really hard to make direct attribution as to who brought this in.
BERMAN: Tyler, give us a sense, if you have any, of how much the Secret Service is likely to reveal to Congress tomorrow and how satisfied that will make these Republican members of Congress, largely Republican members.
TYLER PAGER, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yeah, based on conversations I've had with White House sources and people in the Secret Service, they have been downplaying their ability to find the suspect or whoever brought in this cocaine to the White House, saying, for all the reasons just laid out, that it is difficult for them to exactly pinpoint whose cocaine this was.
And so, I think that is going to frustrate Republicans. We have already seen top Republicans in the Senate and the House sent letters to the Secret Service, demanding more answers, and also asking questions about how the substance in the first place was able to pass security into the White House.
Every person that goes into the White House at any given point has to pass through airport-like security, (INAUDIBLE) down by Secret Service, and put bags through a security check. So, there are questions not only about who brought the cocaine in but what are the protocols in place and how they may need to change to prevent this from happening again.
BERMAN: Yeah. It's actually more difficult to get in than an airport. I mean, the security is a little tighter than just airport security. So, it does raise the questions, you know, of how it got there. Tyler, any sense of how seriously the White House itself is taking this? How much of an issue did they see it at this point?
PAGER: Look, the White House is being very differential to the Secret Service here in this investigation, saying they have full confidence the Secret Service will do and is doing a thorough investigation while downplaying any national security concerns.
It is correct that the Situation Room is normally located on the ground floor of the White House. It is currently under renovation. So, it has been moved to the office building across the street from the White House, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
So, White House aides are saying, well, they are not pleased that someone was able to bring in an illicit drug. The president and his family were at Camp David the weekend it has happened, and they have full confidence in the Secret Service ability to continue to protect the president and his family.
And so, it does not seem that this has raised the threat level at the White House, but I think there are general concerns about the ability for people to bring in any sort of illicit substance into the White House.
BERMAN: Jonathan, the Secret Service, it's their job to protect the president of the United States. How do you think that they perceive this issue? And if you don't mind me asking, you know, how do you think they look back on Willie Nelson smoking pot on the roof? I mean, is that the type of thing that the Secret Service is like, oh, you know, it happens?
WACKROW: No. Actually, it's not something they are -- they are taking this very seriously. And the reason is it's a crime. This was a criminal act, you brought contraband, illegal substance, into a secure facility.
Now -- but that's a big point. That's a criminal act. It's not a threat. So, when you look at what this substance was, it was not a chemical biological agent that could impact the complex. It could not harm the president. So, the Secret Service has to explain tomorrow in the hearing the difference between investigating a criminal act and actually addressing and mitigating a threat.
And I think that people are associating, just because it is a small white bag, they say, well, if I can get this contraband in, then I can bring an anthrax or other types of substances. That is incorrect because the Secret Service actually from a threat perspective has a very comprehensive program of monitoring for those types of threats.
From the criminal acts -- now, listen, I think at the end of the day, the director is going to have to tell Congress what they are going to do in terms of protocol and process for screening to look for these criminal elements. But from a threat perspective, Secret Service did everything right. All the protocols worked. They just don't work in relation to this type of contraband.
BERMAN: Gentlemen, thank you so much. We may learn more in just a few hours.
WACKROW: Thank you.
BERMAN: In the meantime, this is not a good night to be Rudy Giuliani. New court filings in the defamation lawsuit brought by two Georgia election workers who say Giuliani smear them after the election showed that the Trump team failed to do even the most basic vetting of the election fraud claims they were touting and did not even see that as necessary. This was a text that Giuliani received and it was revealed as evidence in the case. It came from Trump lawyer Boris Epstein on December 7th, 2020. It reads, need best examples of election fraud that we've alleged that's super easy to explain. Doesn't necessarily have to be proven, but does need to be easy to understand.
Doesn't need to be proven. Now, Giuliani responded about his poll worker theory. You will remember what former deputy White House press secretary Sarah Matthews told us a few nights ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I mean, personally, I did not have any interactions with Giuliani, but I think that myself and some of my other colleagues found him to be a bit of a joke.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Now, however you do view him, he is smack in the middle of multiple legal messes.
So, let's bring in CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig. Counselor, great to see you. That exchange with Boris Epstein doesn't necessarily need to be proven. How problematic is that not just for this case but maybe in many of the cases that are surrounding Giuliani?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's a big problem for Rudy Giuliani on two levels. First of all, in the defamation case being brought by these two Georgia poll workers, Ms. Freeman and Ms. Moss, they are alleging that he defamed them.
You have to prove two things. One, he lied about them which he clearly did. He accused them of election fraud. They did no such thing. And second, what we call actual malice, meaning he knew he was lying or he was reckless.
And that text right there where someone tells him, these things that you're talking about, we don't need proof, we just need to say it, that to me is the definition of recklessness. So, that text is going to hurt him in that case.
Bigger picture, let's remember, he's under a criminal investigation potentially by DOJ. We know by the Fulton County D.A., they've notified Rudy Giuliani, he's a target.
One of the things he's under investigation for is allegedly lying to the Georgia State legislature about election fraud claims. Here he is being told, there is no proof of these things. He doesn't care. He plows ahead, anyway. It's damaging to him on that level, too.
BERMAN: So, it could have a bigger impact beyond just this. Now, in this defamation case, there is something fairly new about this filing. What it was really about were these election workers claiming, you know what, Giuliani hasn't provided everything he's supposed to in discovery, in the process here. Giuliani has got like a skew, like tons of electronic devices.
BERMAN: All kinds of messages back and forth. But he was supposed to turn all the communications over. He didn't. Why is that a problem?
HONIG: He has nine devices, according to the briefings. Any party in the lawsuit has an obligation to turn over discovery, meaning relevant information that the other side request. Here are the plaintiffs. Ask for everything relating to your election fraud claims. They didn't get this from Rudy, though. Rudy's team failed to turn this over, which is a big problem. They got it from somewhere else, the plaintiffs.
And so, what the plaintiffs are asking the judge to do here is, first of all, they say, you should call this case. We win because this is a serious violation. He's hiding from us. That's a long shot. But they're also asking the judge for what we call an adverse inference. Judge, you should rule as a matter of law that he is hiding these on purpose, so we get to argue that to a jury.
BERMAN: All right, this is just one thing hanging over Rudy Giuliani's head. He testified for eight hours, answered questions --
BERMAN: -- for eight hours to lawyers from the special counsel's office. How do you explain eight hours of testimony?
HONIG: This one is tying my brain in a bit of a knot, and I'll tell you why. Ordinarily, as DOJ, you would not bring someone in for a voluntary interview if you saw that person as a target.
That would be bad faith by the prosecutors, nor would Rudy Giuliani, a former prosecutor himself, or his lawyer, Bob Costello, also a former federal prosecutor. No way on earth they bring him in for that kind of interview unless if they believe there's any chance he's a target. Bob Castello would ask them. I'm not going to bring Rudy in if you might charge him. So, start with that.
But I also don't think there is any way Rudy Giuliani will become a cooperator in the proper sense of the term. I cannot see a scenario where a federal prosecutor for the United States stands up in court and says, our next witness, your honor, is Rudolph Giuliani. Can you imagine that? I mean, you know, whatever people may think of him, he has zero credibility.
So, if they don't see him as a target and they don't see him as a witness, what is it? The best I can do is this. They're doing their diligence. They're talking to everybody. See what he has to say. There is no harm in doing it from prosecutors' point of view. If he said something useful, great. If he is not useful, let him go on his way.
BERMAN: We could find out very, very soon. Elie Honig, great to see you tonight. Thank you so much. HONIG: Thanks.
BERMAN: I appreciate it.
HONIG: All right.
BERMAN: So, Donald Trump saying no, no, no on the campaign trail. Is he leading in the polls A, because of that, B, in spite of it, C, rules don't apply, D, ask Destiny's Child?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Welcome back to "CNN Tonight" or CNN very nearly tomorrow. And tomorrow, Republicans will be talking about what Donald Trump is not doing as a presidential candidate.
He is not going to a big conservative event later this week. He is not planning on showing up for the first republican presidential debate. He is not even (INAUDIBLE) any kind of (INAUDIBLE) for the popular governor of Iowa, a kingmaker there. In the immortal words of Destiny's Child, he keeps saying no, no, no.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, no, no, no to traditional campaigning. But he will like this part, yes, yes, yes, yes to leading in all the polls. Just a bit more on the no, no, no part, he is skipping the family leadership summit on Friday moderated by Twitter performer Tucker Carlson. Mike Pence is going. Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, and yes, Ron DeSantis will be there. But Trump is a hard no, no, no, no.
Likewise, it seems, for the first Republican presidential debate. And most notably, Trump is saying no to any of the traditional political courtesies towards the popular Iowa governor, Kim Reynolds, who is staying official neutral in the caucuses.
Trump wrote -- quote -- "I opened up the governor position for Kim Reynolds, and when she fell behind, I endorsed her, did big rallies, and she won. Now, she wants to remain neutral" -- all caps. "I don't invite her to events." Again, Destiny's Child.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (MUSIC PLAYING)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, how is it that Donald Trump can get away with the Destiny's Child's strategy? Well, to quote the Greek historian Thucydides, by the way, and the very same sentence as Destiny's Child -- quote -- "The strong do as they will, and the weak suffer as they must."
Trump does this because he can. But here's the question. Is he leading in the polls because of this or in spite of this?
Joining me now, Scott Jennings, CNN senior political commentator and former special assistant to President George W. Bush. Also, here with us is Coleman Hugh, host of "The Conversations with Coleman" podcast and a contributing writer at "The Free Press."
Gentlemen, great to see you tonight. Let me put that question to you in the form of a multiple choice. Donald Trump's no, no, no strategy. Is he winning A, because of it, B, in spite of it, C, campaign rules don't apply to him, D, I hate your stupid multiple-choice game? Don't pick that one. Scott?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Campaign rules don't apply to him. He's trying to act like an incumbent in this race. Frankly, just the way Joe Biden is in the democratic primary. He's not participating in any sort of a primary campaign either.
And Trump wants Republican voters to see him as a de facto incumbent. And guess what? A lot of Republican voters do see him that way because they don't accept that he lost the last elections.
So, I don't expect him to want to go to events where he is going to be put on a playing field of people that he believes are lesser or that are beneath him. Because that's just not the strategy he's running, it's not hurting him. And, you know, Donald Trump is like a peanut butter in jelly sandwich. You're not going to change your opinion about it. At this point, you either like it or you don't.
BERMAN: I'm glad you say because he got stuck on the roof of your mouth.
BERMAN: What about you?
COLEMAN HUGHES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, PODCAST HOST: Look, it could be B. It could be -- it could be that Donald Trump thinks he has this (inaudible) grip on the Republican Party and he's banking on that.
But we saw in the midterms in 2022, a lot of Trump-endorsed candidates did not do as well as they thought they would. We have seen governors of various states from Virginia to New Hampshire that actually won more of the vote than Donald Trump did in those same dates in 2020.
So, there should be a certain degree of complacency that is setting where he thinks he's invincible, he thinks he can just skip out on Iowa, but this leaves an opening for other candidates.
BERMAN: Does a candidate would take advantage of?
JENNINGS: Well, he doesn't have to get %100 of the vote. He doesn't even have to get 50% of the vote. You know, he won the republican primary in 2016 and the mid-40s. The fragmentation in this field is his best defense against what you're talking about.
So, as long as you have all of these candidates out there fighting amongst themselves and he's floating around between -- even if he were in the mid-40s, it would still be plenty to win the race.
And what someone, probably Ron DeSantis, maybe Tim Scott, somebody is trying to do is get close enough in Iowa to keep this a multi-person race. I think if Trump somehow win Iowa even by a little, it might actually collapse the thing around him immediately. If he loses Iowa, all bets are off. But I think right now, you know, he is way ahead in Iowa.
BERMAN: All right, let's talk about Governor Chris Christie because a short time ago, news just came in right here about Christie on "AC360." Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: I'm glad to be able to tell people tonight, Anderson, that last night, we went passed 40,000 unique donors in just 35 days. The good news, I think, for the Republican Party is that means I'm going to be on the debate stage on August 23rd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, the Republican candidates need to meet this fundraising threshold to get on the debate stage. Christie is apparently there. Other candidates are doing some pretty interesting stuff to get there. Doug Burgum, North Dakota governor, is offering a 20-dollar gift card for $1 donation trying to get more people to donate.
Vivek Ramaswamy is offering people a cut of the money they raise. So, Coleman, my question, multiple choice again, these tactics are A, evil genius, B, benevolent genius, C, completely bonkers, D, who cares, these people are going nowhere.
HUGHES: I'd say B, benevolent genius, because look, what we have learned from Trump's appeal, to some extent Bernie Sanders's appeal, RFK, Jr.'s appeal, is voters really want a candidate that can credibly say, I am not taking money from lobbyists, big pharma, big oil, and I cannot be bought by the industry.
So, what these candidates are trying to do is to come up with other clever ways of coming up with the money. In Ramaswamy's case, Burgum's case, they're both independently wealthy. I think a lot of voters are going to look at this and they're going to think, what is worse, voting for a candidate that takes money from big pharma or voting for a candidate who comes up with a clever scheme that isn't really hurting anyone and raises money that way? They're going to say, I'll take the latter.
JENNINGS: E, degrading but necessary because they're trying to respond to these rules that get them on the debate stage. And if you're Burgum who is literally spending, you know, $19 per donor to reach the threshold, it's a drop in the bucket. He is a wealthy man, by the way. I think I read it was going to cost him around 800 grands to pull this off. So, the calculation has been made.
It is worth that much money to get on the debate stage where you could possibly have a breakout moment. We've seen in previous cycles, people have moments in debates and they take off for a little bit. I hate this. I do think it's degrading for these candidates. I don't love these rules, frankly. And it has forced them to do things that in my opinion are sort if beneath the office they're running for.
BERMAN: All right, FBI Director Christopher Wray was on Capitol Hill today testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, and it was -- it was tense. It was tense. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Are you protecting the Bidens?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Absolutely not. The FBI does not --
GAETZ: You won't answer the question. Hold on, you won't answer the question about whether or not --
WRAY: The idea that I'm biased against conservatives seems somewhat insane to me given my own personal background. The FBI is not in the business of moderating content or causing any social media company to suppress or censor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, this hearing, Coleman, this was about A, heat, the detention is the point, B, light, exposing something for the American people, C, government reform really changing something, or D, all of the above.
HUGHES: I would say D, all of the above. I mean, this was a multi-hour testimony. You saw every angle. You saw certain people that were really just concerned about the civil liberties aspect and the, you know, illegal FISA warrants, NDA, and concern with the reforms that Christopher Wray put in on the FISA warrant. Search systems actually worked. Right? And then you had other people who are trying to get their sort of 10 seconds of fame and hammer him over issues that really he had nothing to do with. You've got to understand that he's running an agency with tens of thousands of people. And if one field office sends a memo attacking Catholic parents on their own accord and he thinks it's crazy, somehow now he has to respond to that in Congress. So, some of it was clearly bad faith and some of it was really concerned about real civil liberty issues.
JENNINGS: Agree, all of the above. Some of the stuff is serious and it's seriously on the minds of Republican voters. You saw the Republican congressman going after some of those issues. By the way, being a registered Republican or having been appointed by a Republican is not a defense to illegitimate government oversight. I thought a lot of this was legitimate oversight.
Republicans, of course, go all the way back to the Russia collusion investigation, which he said should have never been launched. The school board stuff is important to them, the idea of censorship, collusion with big tech. There are some serious issues. I suspect that when we get to the republican presidential debate, a lot of this is going to be discussed among the campaigns.
BERMAN: All right, Scott, Coleman, great to see you. Thank you so much. Thanks for playing, I have to say.
HUGHES: Yeah. It is fun.
BERMAN: Really appreciate it.
All right, as Paul Krugman wrote in "The New York Times" today, dude, where is my recession? So, what is wrong with this economy anyway that it won't actually be as bad as it was supposed to be?
BERMAN: Tonight, this just in, a recession is coming. Someday, there absolutely unequivocally will be a recession on earth eventually. I can sit here with my vast experience in economics, which consists of a full six-month college course, and guarantee an economic downturn. And I will be right, as right as Sally Albright in "When Harry Met Sally."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNKNOWN: I'm going to be 40.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I mean, someday, Sally will be 40. And someday, there will be a recession. But that is really not the issue for Sally or the economy. It turns out I would've been wrong any time in the last few years if I had said a recession is imminent. And that is what people were seeing, economists and politicians.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA PETERSON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, THE CONFERENCE BOARD: Part of that is to get businesses to shift gears and to yes, prepare for a recession.
MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: It's going to be a tough year. We have high inflation and the Federal Reserve is raising rates as fast as they are. Recession risks are higher.
MEGAN GREENE, GLOBAL CHIEF ECONOMIST, KROLL INSTITUTE: There are bunch of economic indicators suggesting that we are not only slowing down, we are heading towards a recession.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: So, that's what people are saying. And it is what people were feeling and still are. Polls show that most Americans think the economy is in bad shape. And by the way, they blame President Biden. But lately, the reality has been anything but bad. The economic data just keeps being pretty darn good.
Just today, we learned that inflation rose by only 3%, the lowest pay since March of 2021. The latest jobs report shows the economy added some 209,000 new jobs. There have been 13.2 million jobs created since Biden took office.
So, inflation is slowing, jobs are increasing, and the economy is still growing. So why are things so good and why did everyone get it so wrong?
For that, we are joined by a man who knows business and the economy, William Cohan, founding partner at Puck News. Great to see you.
WILLIAM COHAN, FOUNDING PARTNER, PUCK NEWS: Great to see you, John.
BERMAN: Look, you talk to a lot of people. Why do they think things are good right now?
COHAN: Well, things are actually really good if you're objective about it. Unemployment, as you said, is as lowest as it has been ever, 3.7%. Inflation is coming down rapidly. The number today, I think, really surprised economists, surprised government officials, surprised the market. The market was up today as well.
In fact, since the fed has been raising interest rates over a year ago, the S&P 500 is actually up 3%. So, I mean, what more do we need to decide whether the economy is good? It's remarkable, though, given that for 13 years, the fed was manipulating interest rates down to zero and asset values were getting crazy, and people were taking all kinds of risk that they shouldn't take.
So that's why people thought there was going to be recession and we're thinking and predicting that there's going to be a recession. But objectively speaking, you know, the fed may have pulled off the so- called elusive soft landing.
BERMAN: They really may have thread a needle. I did sort of conflate economic growth and inflation. Sometimes, they actually work in opposing things. But the fact of the matter is that both are doing okay right now. So, we have been reading some threats on the show. Why? Because no other show does it. I thought it was kind of cool.
BERMAN: But we did get a thread question from Professor Peacock. He goes, I'd like to see you explore why people think the economy is bad when the economic data says otherwise. You saw those poll numbers. People think it's bad.
COHAN: I don't have an explanation for what people think is bad because objectively, it is good. It's hard to imagine that it could be much better. It truly is. I mean, yes, inflation could be lower, but unemployment could hardly be lower. The economy, our economy is growing. Our GDP is growing.
Interest rates, you know, ratcheted up quickly beginning in March of 2021 -- in 2022. I would've thought, frankly, that that would slow the economy down a lot faster and further than it has, which just goes to prove that it takes a long time for higher interest rates to work their way into the economy. But, you know, bankruptcies are not exploding left and right. The economy is still growing. I don't know. It looks pretty good to me.
BERMAN: Do you think there's an element -- you know, people just like being unhappy.
COHAN: People like being unhappy about a lot of things in America right now, unfortunately.
And I think, you know, when say -- Mitch McConnell says his goal is to make sure Barack Obama doesn't have a second term, when he says, I'm not going to allow a Supreme Court justice to be nominated that should've been nominated by Barack Obama, when Donald Trump says, you know, he won the election when he lost the election, I mean, I think people are just in the foul mood.
So, nobody wants to give Joe Biden credit for what is really a remarkable situation with the economy.
BERMAN: You think he deserves credit?
COHAN: Absolutely. He deserves credit.
BERMAN: Why don't people give him credit? COHAN: I don't know. That's the American psyche right now. We are in a
bad sort of mood about everything, about our leaders, about our institutions. But objectively speaking, I can't imagine -- I would've thought the economy -- I wasn't predicting it but I can understand why people were predicting that the economy would be troubled right now.
Again, you can't have zero interest rates for 13 years and then rachet up interest rates as quickly as the fed has done. By the way, the fed should now pause based on the latest number today. I don't know if they will. But, look, you could not have asked for a better situation that exists right now.
BERMAN: You rub shoulders and exchange texts with people in the upper stratosphere of the business world. Are they -- have they unleashed the animal instinct? Are they as happy as the data says they should be?
COHAN: Well, look, you know, Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, gave a blockbuster of a speech last week when he said, you know, America is in pretty darn good shape, all things considered, you know, given all the concerns that we have as Americans. He may or may not be running for president. You know, Wall Street isn't that great. You know, there aren't a lot of deals now. So, you know, the investment bankers are probably not that happy. But, look, in real America, the economy is strong.
BERMAN: Let me ask you this. Because the White House is trying to make -- what is it? Bidenomics? I'm not even sure I'm saying it right.
COHAN: That's a tough one.
BERMAN: Well, that is part of the problem. Right? Maybe they can't make that happen here. Do you think that the more they say it, that maybe people will start to believe it?
COHAN: They could probably do a better job at communicating their successes. You know, Joe is not out there stomping -- excuse me, President Biden is not out there stomping about his successes. He is fairly modest about actually what he has accomplished both in the economy and legislatively. I mean, he has got -- he has been (INAUDIBLE) successful a president in the first two years of his term as you could possibly imagine.
BERMAN: It's an interesting phenomenon. I mean, the pandemic and inflation are two things that do, I think, mess with people's psyche when they look at things, and that may be part of the reason people are --
COHAN: People are cranky.
BERMAN: Yeah, people are. I'm not. You're not. You seemed very happy.
COHAN: I'm happy.
BERMAN: Thank you for coming on and sharing your joy with me. William Cohan, great to see you in person.
COHAN: Appreciate it.
BERMAN: This will cheer you up. Catastrophic floods in the north, scorching heat in the south, and weather experts warn it could get worst in the coming days.
BERMAN: Tonight, record heat in Miami, record flooding in the northeast, record water temperatures in the Gulf. Sounds kind of like a broken record. Forgive me, but something really is broken.
Just look at the headlines. One-in-1000-year weather event as extreme rain and floods ravage northeast. In April, which for the record is less than 1000 years ago, there was this --
BERMAN: -- a 1-in-1000-year rainfall event, sparking a flash flood emergency in Broward County. July 4th was the earth's hottest day in over 100,000 years, breaking record for second day in a row.
This is the perfect time to bring in one of the premiere graduates of the Penn State Weather Camps --
BERMAN: -- CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten. By the way, really is a graduate of the Penn State Weather Camps.
HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: True.
BERMAN: An you were into weather before you were into polling. Look, Phoenix is hot. It is scorching. What is going on there? Is there any relief in sight?
ENTEN: Yeah. I mean, look, the number of days, the consecutive days in which the high temperature has been at least 110 degrees, you have to go all the way back to June to find a day in which the high temperature wasn't at least 110 degrees there.
And in fact, what we are expecting with high pressure system settling in on the southwest is we are expecting those high temperatures of reaching 110 or greater to continue not just into this weekend but to continue through the end of next week. If that, in fact, does occur, it will break the record for most consecutive days of where the high temperature was at least 110 degrees in Phoenix, Arizona.
But I will note, John, it is not just the high temperatures that have me worried, it is the fact that the low temperatures now are exceeding 90 degrees. That to me suggests there is just no relief. If you are in Phoenix, there is just no escaping the heat.
The fact is it is a sign of something called urban heat island, and what that essentially is, I know it is a big term, but as the cities get built up and built up and built up, right, the infrastructure in there as well as the concrete, they hold on to the heat that you gain during the daytime and it cannot escape during the nighttime.
BERMAN: Urban heat island.
BERMAN: By the way, people say Phoenix, oh, it is dry heat.
BERMAN: That does not apply here. I mean, you are talking about temperatures that are changing the way people live there. I want to go to Florida now, not as hot in Phoenix, but there is something happening in the ocean, Harry.
ENTEN: Yeah. The fac, is if you look off the Gulf Coast, right, you look in the Florida Keys, what have we seen? We have seen that the temperature in the Florida Keys in the ocean exceeding 90 degrees. It is the highest temperature for the surface in the Florida Keys since at least 1985.
So, those waters are very, very hot and what is going on is it is damaging the coral reef down there, and that, of course, is a big part of the biodiversity down there and could, in fact, lead to things that we really don't want to be talking about.
BERNSTEIN: All right, all this is a trend, right? We are seeing this around the globe.
ENTEN: We are seeing this around the globe. You know, over the last nine days, the temperature over the last nine days globally has exceeded all of those temperatures dating back since at least the early 1980s. That is just how far back we have the records for.
In fact, if you talk with some people who study this type of stuff, it could be the warmest nine days, the hottest nine days that we have basically ever seen.
So, what we are seeing in the states is representative of something we are seeing globally, and that is very high temperatures, and I think a lot of people are saying that it is partially what we are seeing in terms of the change in climate. But it is also el nino. The fact is that also leads to warmer temperatures as we have seen in the ocean temperatures in Florida.
BERMAN: More heat in Phoenix on the way. They have more rain in Vermont of all places. Some of these problems are not going away in the next few days. Harry Enten, great to have you here.
ENTEN: Thank you, sir.
BERMAN: Weather Camp, you served it well.
ENTEN: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right, here's a burning question, what was Jake Tapper like in the 1970s and how much valore did he really wear? That, when we come back.
BERMAN: So, imagine the 1970s as a cocktail, a weirdly, intoxicating mix of Colts, celebrities, tabloid journalism, serial killers, disco, and UFOs. That is how I remember the 70s.
No one serves that up better than our very own Jake Tapper in his terrific new Charlie and Margaret Marder mystery entitled "All the Demons Are Here." The demons are here and so, too, is Jake Tapper.
Jake, I'm holding a copy of your book now, which I love. I was just looking at the cover itself and the kind of the sepia tones here. And to me, this is what the book encapsulates so well, the 1970s, just that 70s vibe. What did that mean to you?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, as a kid, it did not mean much other than being in grade school. I remember, you know, gas lines and Elvis dying. I did not really remember much.
But when I researched the 70s to write this book because the two previous books, as you know, are about the 50s and the 60s, I found that I was missing a whole lot of incredibly weird things that were going on at the time that really seemed even stranger from the vantage of 2023.
As you know, UFO sightings and cults and the rise of tabloid journalists, journalism in the United States, all of it, very strange. Evel Knievel was not somebody I paid much attention to when I was that age.
But looking back now, this larger than life stuntman who did these bizarre acts that would be on the ABC wide world of sports, he was almost -- he is quintessentially American archetype of this salesman showman type, kind of almost like Donald Trump, not in a pejorative way but just somebody, who is really good at capturing media attention.
It became a way to dive into -- I became excited about diving into this era to put a mystery in here because it just seems so right for drama.
BERMAN: So, you have now followed the Marders from the 50s to the 60s to the 70s. You know, what is that like for you as an author to get to know these people better? And I have to ask, which of the Marders do you like the least? (LAUGHTER)
TAPPER: Well, I love them all.
BERMAN: They are not real. You are not going to upset any of them. You're not going to upset them. You can say something. They won't be offended.
TAPPER: They are real to me, John. They are real to me. Charlie Marder, World War II hero, turned Republican congressman, turned Republican senator who is an alcoholic and battle demons from World War II, I love him. His wife, Margaret, is a zoologist, her brilliance and the strongest one in the family, I love her.
This book, as you know, is about their kids. Lucy, who is a journalist, who gets enticed into a Murdoch-esque tabloid newspaper, and Ike, the 20-year-old son, he is an AWOL marine.
I would say that I love Charlie the most because he is the one who has been at the forefront of this whole writing experience for me. But I probably identify the most with Lucy, the aspiring journalist. In fact, I gave a lot of my most annoying traits to her journalist to journalist.
BERMAN: I love that. The correct answer is Lucy is the best and Charles is the worst. But I appreciate you played -- I appreciate you played the game.
Who is most unlikable? Look, the book is wonderful. I like them all. It is "All the Demons Are Here," a thriller. Go out and get it right now. Congratulations to you, Jake.
TAPPER: Thank you so much, John. I appreciate it.
BERMAN: Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.