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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Biden Gains Momentum For Agenda After Last Week's Big Wins; Parts Of Europe Reshape Land To Live Safely With Extreme Rain; SNL's James Austin Johnson Channels Trump. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 08, 2021 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The United States reopening its borders this morning to vaccinated foreign travelers. Anyone 18 or older who is vaccinated and tests negative for COVID within three days of departure can now enter the U.S. All while Europe is now the epicenter of the pandemic and approaching record case levels.

JARRETT: Suspected foreign hackers breaching nine organizations in key industries, including defense, energy, and healthcare. At least one of those organizations is in the U.S. No idea on the hackers but the pattern fits a group based in China.

ROMANS: Today, jurors in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial are expected to hear from one of the people he shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year. The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case as early as tomorrow.

JARRETT: Three ivy league schools targeted with bomb threats on Sunday. Officials are trying to determine if there's a link between these threats. Brown, Cornell, and Columbia were all forced to evacuate campus buildings. The threats, though, turned out to be unfounded.

ROMANS: The reigning NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks will visit the White House today. President Biden will honor the team's first NBA title in 50 years.

All right. This Monday morning, big picture on the economy -- it's strong. The jobs report may be even strong months ahead for jobs growth. Wages are rising. Maybe five percent is the number we're looking at here.

Record-high home prices, record-high stock market values. Look at this. Since the crash in 2020, stocks have doubled in some cases. And there's more savings in the bank than ever before.

But the Biden White House confronts a big contradiction. Americans are souring on the economy.

Neil Irwin of "The New York Times" captures it well, politically, economically, and psychologically, writing this. Quote, "Americans are, by many measures, in a better financial

position than they have been in many years. They also believe the economy is in terrible shape. The reasons seem to be tied to the psychology of inflation and the ways people assess their economic well-being -- as well as the uneven effects that rising prices and shortages have on different families. It may well be shaped by the psychological scars of the pandemic -- one manifestation of this being an era of exhaustion," Laura.

And it's so interesting. Late last week there was an A.P. poll that showed a majority of Americans thought the economy was not doing well, and then we continue to get this good news about the economic recovery.

I think inflation is a big part of that story because when you pay more for gas every week, you notice --

JARRETT: Yes -- you see it right there.

ROMANS: -- that you're paying higher prices.

And I think that the challenge for the White House is to make it clear that both things can be trued. The economy can be recovering but there is a worry that economic growth goes to the top five percent of families and that you need to still be making investments in your working-class so that everybody -- you know, that everyone --


ROMANS: -- benefits when the economy recovers.

JARRETT: Yes, and that's why the goods and the -- and the feeling of it may not be evenly --

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: -- distributed.

Well, and all this and more ahead. President Biden has momentum now and vindication after a much-needed political win. His infrastructure package passed with bipartisan support -- a rare thing in Congress in this bitterly divided House. It's a historic federal effort to repair roads, airports, bridges, and railroads with more funding set for broadband in rural areas.

The bill's passage, along with some good news on the pandemic and the economy, could give Biden a push for the next phase of his agenda.

ROMANS: Yes, a big life-changing social spending bill, an overhaul of the tax system, even more dollars for climate initiatives all taking place in the runup to midterm elections that will seriously threaten Democratic control of the House and Senate.

Biden badly needed a win after months battered by the pandemic and his own mismanaged withdrawal from Afghanistan, all leading up to last week's elections that left doubt over whether Democrats' message is fit -- is a fit with the country's wants and needs.

JARRETT: Time for three questions in three minutes. Let's bring in CNN White House correspondent John Harwood. John, good Monday morning to you.

So, the president got a win. He got one bill passed but he's got more in the queue here. What does this mean for the social spending plan -- this larger remake of the economy from cradle to grave, as we say?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They've still got to put that over the finish line. And the issues remain, which is a handful of moderates in the House and a couple in the Senate have resisted certain elements -- the price tag, the contours, in some ways.

But it does appear that they've achieved a significant amount of momentum in bringing those talks to a close. And that's what allowed those progressives who have been eager to get both parts of Biden's agenda, just like Joe Biden is, decided that we're not going to hold up that infrastructure bill. Ninety out of 96 of them voted to pass it. They did get some Republicans to put it over the finish line.

But now there's going to be an intense focus over the next couple of weeks on getting that social -- climate and social spending package across the finish line.

And as you guys were just talking about a minute ago, at a time when people are fatigued on the pandemic and are concerned that in some ways their own lives have not improved as much as those at the top, economically, as we -- as the economy recovers -- that's going to potentially have a couple of effects for them.


One is some of the direct spending -- child tax credits, childcare subsidies, healthcare subsidies that are in that bigger bill. But also, once you get that done the administration can full-throttle focus on the pandemic. Of course, they've been doing that all along. But getting the pandemic under control is the key to getting some of that supply chain issues worked out and dealing with some of the inflationary effects, which are hurting people and souring their mood.

ROMANS: You know, you mention that infrastructure bill passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support.

This is Republican Congressman Don Bacon of Nebraska -- listen.


REP. DON BACON (R-NE): I believe infrastructure should be a Republican issue and we should have capitalized on that. And I think this bill is a perfect bill but it did pass the Senate with 19 Republicans. Senator Fischer is my senator. We had Sen. Grassley. It shouldn't have been this toxic or this divisive.


ROMANS: You know, there wasn't a lot of GOP support but enough to get it across the finish line.

After those results in Virginia, John, is this a sign that moderation can succeed or is something else at play here?

HARWOOD: No, I don't think it's so much that. There are very narrow issues on which you can get Republican support. This bill got 19 Republican votes in the Senate, including Mitch McConnell's.

But infrastructure is something that's been on the agenda for a long time. Donald Trump tried to move it and couldn't do it.

Roads, bridges, broadband internet are all things that are extremely popular in people's districts, so it's not easy for Republicans to oppose them.

And some of the Republicans thought that if they did support that bill, that would ebb away energy for the second part of the bill the Democrats are trying to enact now. That's why progressives tried to hold up the infrastructure bill -- to try to get it all done.

But it does look as if Biden is confident that he can get it done. He's gotten some tentative commitments from those moderates to go along and we'll see whether they can deliver on those commitments over the next couple of weeks as we head to Thanksgiving.

JARRETT: John, over the weekend you had an interesting interview with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who obviously heads the progressive wing of the party. And you wrote about how progressives have been both pushing their fellow members to go further than they might otherwise, but also working within the system in ways that perhaps factions haven't in the past. Think about the Freedom Caucus.

What else did she tell you?

HARWOOD: Well, Pramila Jayapal is somebody who has had an interesting role in this fight. Ninety-six members of the Progressive Caucus, as I indicated -- they are fully aligned with President Biden's priorities.

A lot of times we think of -- when you think of the term moderate about a member of Congress you assume that is where the center of gravity is in terms of getting an agenda through in Congress. But in a closely divided Congress of very polarized parties, you need to get the mainstream of your party and the entire party behind your agenda.


HARWOOD: They are aligned with Biden. It's the moderates who are playing that Freedom Caucus role of saying oh, we don't know if we want to spend that much money. We don't know if it's going to add to the deficit. We don't know if some of these social spending plans are good for the American economy long-term.

But Jayapal, in this instance -- there's some things that she wants a lot more -- say, single-payer healthcare system, Medicare for All -- wants more than Joe Biden. But this is not that moment. This is the moment where they are aligned with the White House. They

are working together trying to advance this agenda. And it's not easy to do when you need nearly every single person in your party to line up but they're giving it a try.

ROMANS: John, can I just ask you -- as you, quickly, how long will it take to get that transportation money flowing? To get the -- you know, this infrastructure spending flowing. When will Americans start to see it? Before midterms?

HARWOOD: Well, they'll see some of it. It's not going to have a dramatic economic effect. A lot of these are long-term projects.

But remember, in this $1.2 trillion bill, half of it's new money. Half of it's continuation of the existing highway program, so many of those projects are ongoing and what you're doing with this bill is preventing them from stopping.

If the highway bill, for example, lapsed you would have projects in midstream that would just stop -- so this keeps those going. It adds new ones. Some of those will be visible but they'll also be made more visible by members of Congress who are going to go around cutting ribbons on --


HARWOOD: -- projects and things that deal with headaches a lot of voters have. And that's something that as a matter of communication will be very helpful for both the administration and those members of Congress.

JARRETT: Yes. People want to see the effects of this right away.

All right, John Harwood. Thanks so much -- appreciate it.

ROMANS: All right. We'll be right back.



ROMANS: Former President Barack Obama addressing the U.N. climate summit in Scotland today. He's expected to point out progress made since the Paris climate accords five years ago -- an agreement, of course, Donald Trump abandoned.

The focus now shifts to enforcing some of the progress made last week on halting deforestation and curbing methane emissions.

JARRETT: And help can't come soon enough for communities around the world ravaged by this climate crisis, including in Germany and the Netherlands. CNN's Phil Black traveled there for a closer look.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Germany's Ahr Valley is striking and serene -- soaring steep slopes covered with vineyards. We see the river flowing gently, more like a stream. But everywhere there is evidence of its unpredictable power.


In July, the water here swelled suddenly, violently swallowing homes and businesses in just a few hours. Extreme rainfall devastated communities through this region of Europe, killing more than 200 people.

This video was taken from the top floor in Franziska Schnitzler's hotel and restaurant.

FRANZISKA SCHNITZLER, RESIDENT OF DERNAU, GERMANY: Here was the kitchen. The restaurant was there.

BLACK (voice-over): Today, much of that same centuries-old building is gone. The damage was so great it had to be torn down.

SCHNITZLER: A lot of people are selling their houses already. We do live with the climate change and this is the result.

BLACK (voice-over): Scientists later determined this rare flooding even was made more likely by climate change.

The waters of Ahr Valley flow north through Germany and eventually into the Netherlands, a low-lying country with centuries of experience building dikes and holding back water.

HANS BROUWER, DUTCH MINISTRY OF INFRASTRUCTURE AND WATER MANAGEMENT: We know we are a very vulnerable country. If we wouldn't protect ourself by dikes then on a daily basis about half of the country can flood.

BLACK (voice-over): Hans Brouwer says the Dutch have now also realized dikes alone aren't enough.

Huge floods in the mid-'90s, together with some of the earliest warnings about climate change, inspired what was then revolutionary thinking. What if you could just let the rivers flood? Let the water find its own space?

BROUWER: We believe that giving space to the river, which means that you can accommodate more water without the raising level -- that then the damage can be controlled much better.

BLACK (voice-over): The result is called Room for Rivers, a vast, long-term project reshaping the land to accommodate the extreme weather that comes with climate change. Dikes have been lowered so land can flood more easily. Some are not permanently open, allowing water to take over, transforming farmland into lakes and marshes.

Homes and businesses have been knocked down with only some rebuilt on huge mounds designed to sit above the worst floods.

BLACK (on camera): When the water comes it takes the rest of the land?

BROUWER: It takes the rest of the land.

BLACK (voice-over): The project has grown with greater understanding about the changing climate, but it's only possible through great selflessness. People have given up their land to absorb flooding so riverside towns and cities will be safe.

BLACK (on camera): Oh, look -- the water is -- the water is right there.


BLACK (voice-over): Anneke van Lelieveld used to live next to a neighbor's farm. That farm is now a lake and floodplain. Embracing the project and watching friends and neighbors leave hasn't been easy.

VAN LELIEVELD: It's so complex.

BLACK (on camera): Because you know other people have made --


BLACK (on camera): -- sacrifices.

VAN LELIEVELD: Yes, yes. And I saw the tears and the crying. And yes, it rocked me. Yes, it broke my heart, you know? And this makes me emotional.

It's a big impact but I do it for the future, you know? For the young people.

BLACK (voice-over): This project shows preparing in advance for climate change is hugely challenging and often painful. But there are lessons in the flooding of the Ahr Valley, too. Vulnerable communities risk even greater loss and trauma if they wait too long to adapt.

Phil Black, CNN, at Germany Ahr River Valley.


ROMANS: It's so revealing. Thank you for that, Phil.

In Spain, police are searching for a group of passengers that fled from a plane after forcing an emergency landing. State news reports says one of the passengers faked a diabetic coma. When the aircraft landed, 21 people ran from the plane, reportedly escaping over a fence. So far, 12 have been captured.

Investigators are trying to determine whether this incident was a plot to enter Spain illegally.

JARRETT: TikTok not just for cooking and dancing anymore. The site may have helped save a girl's life. A 16-year-old girl in North Carolina being held by a 61-year-old man was rescued after using sign language made popular by TikTok. The girl signaled to a driver of another car at a stoplight in Kentucky, who then followed that car until police arrived.


GILBERT ACCIARDO, LAUREL COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPUTY: There was some people behind here that she was making hand gestures that signifies for "I need help." And with them recognizing that signal, they notified 911.


JARRETT: Some quick thinking there. The man who took that girl, James Herbert Brick, now faces criminal charges.

ROMANS: All right. Josh Allen with a dominant performance against Josh Allen yesterday, helping the Jags pull of the upset of the year in the NFL.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report.


ROMANS: Hey, Andy.

SCHOLES: Yes, good morning, Christine.

So, no matter what, someone named Josh Allen was going to be happy yesterday in Jacksonville. You know, in 2018, the Bills drafted quarterback Josh Allen with the seventh pick. In 2019, The Jags drafted linebacker Josh Allen with the seventh pick.


And yesterday they squared off for the very first time and it was Allen the linebacker dominating this game. Second quarter, he sacks Allen. Then in the third quarter Allen, a little off balance here, is going to throw it and it is going to end up right in the hands of, you guessed it, Allen. Then with over five minutes left, Allen the quarterback is going to fumble the ball and it's recovered by, who else by Allen.

The first time ever players got a sack, interception, and fumble recovery on a quarterback with the same name.

The Jags shocked the world winning 9-6. Buffalo was a 15 1/2-point favorite. They've not lost two of three.

All right, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, meanwhile, continues to receive criticism for misleading everyone about his vaccination status. A sponsor, Prevea Health dropped Rodgers on Saturday. And on "FOX NFL SUNDAY," Terry Bradshaw said he was very disappointed by the quarterback's actions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TERRY BRADSHAW, 4-TIME SUPER BOWL CHAMPION: I'd give Aaron Rodgers some advice. It would've been nice if you'd have just come to the Naval Academy and learned how to be honest. Learn not to lie because that's what you did, Aaron. You lied to everyone.

We are a divided nation politically. We're a divided nation on the COVID-19 -- whether or not to take the vaccine. And unfortunately, we've got players that pretty much think only about themselves. And I'm extremely disappointed in the actions of Aaron Rodgers.


SCHOLES: Yes. So, Jordan Love making his first career start for Aaron Rodgers with the Packers. His mom and girlfriend had to watch from the very last row of the upper deck there in Kansas City.

The second-year Q.B. badly overthrowing several of his top targets early in the game. Then in the fourth, Love was trying to lead a Packers comeback but ended up throwing an interception right here.

The Chiefs beat the Packers in a low-scoring affair, 13-7.

All right, "SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL" had the Rams hosting the Titans. Big second quarter for Tennessee. They pick off Matthew Stafford deep in Rams territory. Then the very next play Ryan Tannehill is going to throw a touchdown pass to Geoff Swaim. Then the very next play after the kickoff, Stafford throws another interception, and this one's returned for a touchdown.

Titans scored two T.D.s in 11 seconds. They're victorious in their first game without Derrick Henry, beating L.A. 28-16 to improve to 7-2 on the season.

All right. Finally, around 30,000 runners competing in the New York City Marathon yesterday, a year after it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Check this out. Extra-special for Arizona runner Kristopher Glocksien. He stopped at mile 17 where his girlfriend Wendy was cheering for him, dropped down on one knee, and proposed to her. Then after a hug, guys, he just kept running, you know. He had nine miles to go so he didn't have much time to celebrate.

I'm guessing they had a good time later on in the day. But a short and sweet proposal there. He was like yeah, I've got to go. I'm not done.

JARRETT: Imagine if she hadn't said yes. Thank goodness --

SCHOLES: Oh my gosh, yes. What do you do?

JARRETT: Hopefully, it gave him a boost to keep going.

ROMANS: It was so great.

SCHOLES: That would've been a long nine miles if she didn't say yes.

ROMANS: It was so great to see the New York City Marathon back.

JARRETT: Back, yes.

ROMANS: It was just --


ROMANS: It's one of those iconic things in New York. Just nice to see that back.


ROMANS: Andy, so nice to see you. Thank you.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: Thanks, Andy.

And in case you missed it over the weekend, "SNL" has a new Donald Trump. Close your eyes for a second and see if you can tell the difference here. Here is James Austin Johnson.


JAMES AUSTIN JOHNSON, PORTRAYING DONALD TRUMP ON "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": I mean, when you look at it, he's someone who takes advice so well. I mean -- you know what? Can I get 60 seconds on the clock, please?

Because there's a lot of times when I was giving advice -- a lot of times I was giving advice and people weren't listening and it didn't work out so great for some of those people, OK?

I mean, when you look back, with "Star Wars" I said you need to do it with swords. The lasers are not enough. You got to have real swords, George. I remember talking -- I said this to George. I said if you're going to do "Star Wars" -- OK -- you have to have real swords.

And look at what they're doing with "Dune." Look at what they're doing with "Dune." I talked to Denis Villeneuve. I said look at -- you know what? Look at the success of "Dune." Look at "Shalimar." Look at all of it, OK -- real swords.

You know, frankly, with "Dune" you've got Momoa and everyone's doing flips, and it's very "GAME OF THRONES." And people were very disappointed, I think, with "GAME OF THRONES." You know, how it ended and everything.

But with "Dune" I think you've got a lot of possibility with "Dune." I see a lot of possibility -- two, three, four, 15 movies. And frankly, I see a lot of possibility with Virginia.



JARRETT: Not only does he nail the voice, but the securitize (ph) speech patterns -- everything. He's got it down.

ROMANS: He diagramed those sentences right there exactly like he diagramed the real thing. Oh my gosh. Thanks so much. That was entertaining.

OK, 54 minutes past the hour. Travis Scott was reportedly warned about crowd control concerns before those eight people -- a young person -- a ninth-grader even -- crushed to death at his concert.

JARRETT: And America's borders are back open to international travelers starting today, but COVID vaccines required. That ahead and more on "NEW DAY."


Thanks so much for joining us, everyone. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Monday, November eighth. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

Chaos, confusion, and unanswered questions about the tragedy at the --