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Republicans Focus Midterm Message On Crime And Policing; Former Officer In Custody And Charged In Shooting Of Teen; Israel And Lebanon Reach Historic Agreement On Gas Exploration. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 12, 2022 - 05:30   ET




LINSEY DAVIS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Did you ever have a conversation with this woman at any time about an abortion?


DAVIS: Did you ever, to your knowledge, give money to pay for the cost of an abortion?


DAVIS: Is she lying?

WALKER: Yes, she's lying. Yes, she's lying. Yes, she's lying


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Walker, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, is set to debate Georgia's incumbent Democratic senator Raphael Warnock on Friday.

A month out from the critical midterm elections, Republicans are focusing on crime and policing in their attacks against Democratic opponents. As CNN's Jeff Zeleny tells us, the GOP sees this as a winning issue in some key races.


JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One month before Election Day, Republicans are using crime as a campaign weapon.

POLITICAL AD: Catherine Cortez Masto -- so weak on crime it's dangerous.

POLITICAL AD: Mandela Barnes -- not just a Democrat, a dangerous Democrat.

ZELENY (voice-over): And Democrats are trying to find their footing, pushing back against a barrage of familiar attacks in a new way. REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), CANDIDATE FOR U.S. SENATOR: Can you imagine one

guy saying out of one side of his mouth that he's pro-cop and out of the other side of his mouth he's raising money for the insurrectionists who were beating up the Capitol police?

ZELENY (voice-over): The age-old GOP argument that Democrats are soft on crime, a critique often accompanied with racially-charged undertones, is facing a new test with images from the assault on the Capitol still seared into the minds of Americans. But it's an open question whether this message from Democrats --

POLITICAL AD: Everyone can see you're not pro-cop, Kevin McCarthy. You're pro-coup.

ZELENY (voice-over): -- will overtake an onslaught of advertising from Republicans who spent $40 million last month alone airing 150 unique ads on crime in races across the country.

It's become one of the loudest Republican soundtracks of the fall, particularly in top Senate races like Pennsylvania --

POLITICAL AD: John Fetterman wants ruthless killers, muggers, and rapists back on our streets, and he wants them back now.

ZELENY (voice-over): -- and Wisconsin.

POLITICAL AD: What kind of Democrat is Mandela Barnes? He's a defund the police Democrat.

ZELENY (voice-over): John Fetterman and Mandela Barnes have spent weeks rebutting the arguments from Republicans Mehmet Oz and Sen. Ron Johnson, but Democratic strategists worry the pointed messages have taken a toll.

Since the Willie Horton ad shook the 1988 presidential race with George H.W. Bush blasting Michael Dukakis --

POLITICAL AD: Weekend prison passes. Dukakis on crime.

ZELENY (voice-over): -- such spots have been a staple of Republican campaigns.

In the North Carolina Senate race, Democratic hopeful Cheri Beasley is pushing back on a slogan that became a rallying cry for some progressives two years ago that she never backed.

CHERI BEASLEY, (D), NORTH CAROLINA SENATE CANDIDATE: The first thing we absolutely must do is fund the police. I do not support defunding the police.

ZELENY (voice-over): A former chief justice of the state Supreme Court, she's now running against Congressman Ted Budd, but facing the full weight of the Republican Party.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A left-wing extremist named Cheri Beasley. ZELENY (voice-over): Durham County Sheriff Clarence Birkhead, who is running for a second term as a Democrat, supports Beasley and said she's hardly extreme. But he acknowledged challenges in how some voters view their party.

ZELENY (on camera): Do you think that was a mistake for some Democrats to use those words "defund the police?"

SHERIFF CLARENCE BIRKHEAD, (D) DURHAM COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: I think "defund the police" -- the phrase, itself, did more damage to law enforcement in communities than anyone ever imagined and unfortunately, we're seeing the effects of that now. Reforming the criminal justice system, absolutely. That's the conversation we should be having.

ZELENY (voice-over): But that conversation is in short supply amid a wave of campaign ads up and down the ballot featuring frightening messages --

POLITICAL AD: On November 8, vote like your life depends on it. It just might.

ZELENY (voice-over): -- with far less discussion devoted to finding solutions to crime in America.

Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Raleigh, North Carolina.


ROMANS: All right, a message that will resonate in some places -- all right.

New developments in a story we've been following here. Authorities in Texas have charged a now-former police officer in the shooting of an unarmed teen.

Police body camera footage shows then-Officer James Brennand walked up to this car, opened the driver's side door, and ordered 17-year-old Erik Cantu out. Erik Cantu sitting there eating a hamburger. The visibly startled teen put the car in reverse and started backing out when Brennand opened fire.

His family says Cantu has been in critical condition and is on life support ever since.

The San Antonio police chief called the incident horrific.


CHIEF WILLIAM MCMANUS, SAN ANTONIO POLICE DEPARTMENT: Someone questioned our training and our -- and our policies, and my response was that this was a -- was a failure for one individual police officer. It had nothing to do with our policies. Our policies did not allow that. Our training did not -- does not teach that. So this was a fail for one particular police officer and here we are as a result of that fail. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: James Brennand is now in custody. He is facing two counts of aggravated assault -- one charge for each person who was in the car.


Victory for Adnan Syed. Prosecutors in Baltimore dropping all charges against the man who spent more than two decades in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. The case received national attention on the Serial podcast that questioned whether Syed was the real killer. New DNA testing ruled out Syed as a suspect.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For 23 years, the family has been in prison, you know. A lot of people -- they don't understand that it wasn't just Adnan that was affected. We were all affected. And now, my mom is happy and I'm happy, too, just that this is done.


ROMANS: Syed's conviction was overturned last month and he was on home detention until now.

All right, it's the nation's number-one killer. Coming up, an inexpensive pill that could be the best way to combat heart disease.

And Israel and Lebanon, two long-time enemies, cut a deal that could make both countries rich.



ROMANS: Israel and Lebanon have reached a historic agreement, settling a long-running maritime border dispute involving major oil and gas fields in the Mediterranean.

CNN's Hadas Gold live for us this morning in Jerusalem. Good morning, Hadas. Explain this deal to us and why it took so long to make it.

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, such an amazing agreement, especially when you think about the fact Lebanon and Israel are technically still at war and have no formal relations between them.

But it seems, though, the potential for the $3 billion worth of oil and gas in this part of the Mediterranean Sea at a time when Europe is so desperate for alternatives to Russian gas -- well, that seems to be a pretty good motivator.


GOLD (voice-over): It looks like a Mediterranean paradise but this is one of the most tense and dangerous places in the world -- the Israel- Lebanon border. This stretch of sea has long been disputed between the two enemies -- technically still at war -- even more so over the past decade with lucrative gas deposits at play.

On Tuesday, after years of start-and-stop negotiations, a breakthrough. Lebanon and Israel have agreed to a compromise mediated by the United States -- the first of its kind in decades. Israel will now be able to develop the Karish oil and gas field, and Lebanon, the Qana field.

BENNY GANTZ, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): I commend the announcement by the Lebanese president accepting the agreement.

ELIAS BOU SAAB, LEBANON'S DEPUTY PARLIAMENT SPEAKER AND NEGOTIATOR: What more can secure stability on this border than having both countries, at the same time, producing gas.

GOLD (voice-over): With Russia's war in Ukraine disrupting natural gas supplies for Europe, there were enormous incentives and pressures to reach a deal and drill.

And the strain wasn't just economic. Hezbollah, the powerful Lebanese militia backed by Iran, released this video over the summer threatening to target gas facilities Israel had already put into place if they began pumping before an agreement was reached.

The Israel Defense Forces said in July that they shot down three Hezbollah drones headed toward Israeli installations. Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, is likely to take the agreement as proof that his threat worked.

Lebanon, led by a caretaker administration, is beset by years of extreme inflation, corruption, and political instability. Its president, Michel Aoun, will welcome the desperately needed cash that the gas will bring, although it will take years to see a cent.

It's a political boon to the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who faces an election in just three weeks. His chief opponent, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has tried to use the gas deal as a political bludgeon, accusing Lapid of surrendering to Hezbollah.

U.S. President Joe Biden will likely take a victory lap, as it was the U.S. mediator, Amos Hochstein, who got the deal over the line when others couldn't.

Officials now believe those gas rigs and this new border will make for a much quieter neighborhood.


GOLD: And President Joe Biden speaking on the phone with both the Lebanese president and the Israeli prime minister yesterday, congratulating them and calling it history being made. There are still a few more steps that need to be taken before this deal is formally ratified, but all signs are pointing to it potentially being signed formally before the end of the month -- Christine. ROMANS: All right, Hadas Gold. Thank you so much for that.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this Wednesday morning.

Looking at markets around the world, Asian markets have closed mixed amid new COVID-19 lockdowns across China. European markets up slightly. Euro zone industry output rose in August faster than expected. And on Wall Street, stock index futures leaning positive today.

Fallout from the U.K.'s fiscal crisis hit Wall Street yesterday. The Dow erased early, very big gains after the Bank of England said its pension fund rescue would end Friday. The S&P 500 posted its fifth- straight decline. And the Nasdaq slid into its second bear market this year.

The main event on the calendar today, the September report on factory- level inflation, the Producer Price Index, and the minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest meeting. That's due out later this afternoon.

Gas prices holding steady overnight -- same as yesterday -- $3.92 a gallon.

Let's bring in Lori Bettinger, president of BancAlliance, a network of community banks, and the former director of TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Nice to see you, Lori.

So, let's talk first about September's Producer Price Index. I'm going to show you August figures and there were some kernels of optimism in there because month-over-month, producer prices fell 0.1 percent last month. It looks like that trend turning a little bit.

What do you expect to see today?

LORI BETTINGER, PRESIDENT, BANCALLIANCE, FORMER DIRECTOR, TROUBLED ASSET RELIEF PROGRAM (TARP) (via Skype): You know, I'm optimistic that we're going to see a little bit of improvement -- you know, a little bit of inflation. I know all these -- everyone is waiting for the Producer Price Index coming out today and the CPI -- the Consumer Price Index coming out tomorrow.


But I think we're hoping to see some improvement. The question is how much and in what parts of the economy. And I think that's the big question that I guess will be answered in a couple of hours here.

ROMANS: Yes, totally. And it's so interesting. I think there's something like 30 data points this week that are -- investors are really zeroing in on. A lot happening here because the Fed has raised interest rates five times -- three gigantic rate hikes --


ROMANS: -- in a row. I mean, this is the end of the zero-interest rate environment and moving into kind of a new normal for people, and that's causing some dislocations.

What should investors be considering as we go forward here with higher interest rates?

BETTINGER: You're absolutely right. And I think it's easy to use words like unprecedented without thinking about it, but this really is, right? The speed of the rate hikes is not something we've seen before. These levels of inflation haven't been with us in like 40 years.

And to have all of this on the inflation front while having such a strong job market, I think it's hard for anyone, even investors that are spending all day on this, to know exactly what to think.

So everyone's looking for like a little bit of good news here but I think you have to sort of take it all in stride. And as you said, there's lots of news releases on the calendar this week. I feel like every week it's like hey, this is the big week. This release is going to tell us something.

To me, the big issue is like don't overreact, right? Every piece of information -- you have to take it in context. You want to digest it. Because we're going to just keep getting pieces of information that tell us how the economy is doing and how the Fed's actions are being interpreted.

ROMANS: Yes. I mean, you run a network of community banks. I mean, I think for --


ROMANS: -- real people, the most important thing here, pay down your high-interest credit card debt, right? Make sure you have an emergency fund or a flexibility fund, or whatever you want to call it. Make sure you're not paying a lot of fees for banking. I mean, these are the kinds of things that people could control, not Fed rate hikes.

BETTINGER: Exactly. I mean, one of the wonderful things about working with community banks is they're sort of hearing the day-to-day of how people are living and how their businesses are doing, which can be very different -- you know, how your own community feels. And you're always reading the national news, which can sometimes sound more alarming.

So I think you're absolutely right. For every person, you have to say hey, look at your own housing situation. Do you have a fixed-rate mortgage? Are you planning -- are you not planning to move? Then these rising interest rates probably don't affect you as much.

Are you carrying credit card debt, which tends to move with interest rates? Is there ways to address that?

So you really have to stop and say hey, how does the situation affect me and my family, and my household, and what can I do to mitigate that?

ROMANS: Yes. And we know that the consumer balance sheets are -- consumer finances are in a much better place today --


ROMANS: -- than they were -- than the last time we were in trouble --


ROMANS: -- in 2008-2009. So that's the silver lining.

I want you to listen to what the IMF chief economist said about the global recession risks. I think this is super important here. Let's listen to -- let's listen to this.


PIERRE-OLIVIER GOURINCHAS, IMF ECONOMIC COUNSELOR AND DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH: The three largest economies -- the United States, China, and the Euro area -- will continue to stall. In short, the worst is yet to come and for many people, 2023 will feel like a recession.


ROMANS: That's that IMF recession warning, saying the U.S. will stall, though. So I guess the best the U.S. can hope for is just standing still?

BETTINGER: You know, I think that's what we're hearing a lot. We heard from the president, I think last night, that he's hoping that if there is a recession it's relatively brief.

But so much of this is going to depend on consumer confidence and consumer spending and again, how the job market does throughout this.

But we keep hearing the Federal Reserve say over and over we're going to take the steps that we need to control inflation, and some of those are definitely going to be painful, particularly for the job markets. But the question is how painful, how long?

So, stall feels like probably a fair word. I don't think right now we're looking at anything that falls off the cliff --


BETTINGER: -- and that's certainly my hope.

ROMANS: Yes, me, too.

All right, Lori Bettinger of BancAlliance. Thank you so much. Nice to see you this morning.

BETTINGER: Thanks for having me.

ROMANS: All right, a potential game-changer for millions of gig workers. The Biden administration proposing a new rule that would reclassify millions of them as company employees. The new rule could have wide-ranging impact on profits at Uber, Lyft,

DoorDash, and other companies that rely on contractors. With that employee label, workers would be eligible for protections like a minimum hourly wage, overtime pay, jobless benefits, and workers comp.

The rule will take at least several months to finalize.

And the White House is getting closer to canceling up to $20,000 in student loan debt. The Biden administration shared a preview of its highly anticipated student loan forgiveness application website with reporters Tuesday. It says the site is short and simple and applications will be open through December 2023. It's expected to launch this month.

An exclusive interview with President Biden. What he says about Russian President Vladimir Putin's nuclear threat. And could the Rock run for president?


DWAYNE "THE ROCK" JOHNSON, ACTOR: This idea and the question continues to pop up on whether or not I would run for president. Would I seriously consider it? And I have seriously considered it. You have to.




ROMANS: All right. The Statue of Liberty's crown is now open to the public for the first time in more than 2 1/2 years. While portions of the landmark gradually reopened during the pandemic, the crown remained off-limits until yesterday. And people are clearly eager to get into Lady Liberty's head. Tickets to climb up into the crown are nearly sold out for the rest of this month.

If you get a chance someday to come to New York and do that, you should. It is really, really amazing.

All right, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been a college football player, a professional wrestler, and a movie star. Could he one day run for president?


Here is what he told CNN's Jake Tapper.


JOHNSON: This idea and the question continues to pop up on whether or not I would run for president. Would I seriously consider it? And I have seriously considered it. You have to when you start looking at some of these polls and these numbers creep up into the 46 percent, 50 percent of the country would vote for me should I run. And I've been really moved by that. I mean, truly it sat me down.

I'm just really grounded and humbled by the interest on both sides, but the number-one job and my number-one title that I love right now is daddy.


ROMANS: Johnson also told Jake "I don't know anything about politics."

The Astros started the American League Division Series with a bang, taking down the Mariners with a walk-off home run.

Coy Wire has this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Coy.


What a win for Astros fans. What a gut punch, though, for the Mariners. They had game one against Houston in the palm of their hands, but like Yogi Berra said, it ain't over till it's over.

The Astros were down 7-5 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and Yordan Alvarez does this.


ANNOUNCER: The 0-1. And Alvarez belts it into right field. Kiss it goodbye! Unbelievable! The Astros with a walk-off win. Yordan Alvarez -- a walk-off 3-run homer. And the Astros stun the Mariners in game one of the division series.


WIRE: Whoo -- can you feel it? The 3-run shot off Robbie Ray is the first walk-off home run in playoff history when the team was trailing by multiple runs.

The Astros win 8-7.

Alex Bregman says Alvarez's homer was awesome.


ALEX BREGMAN, HOUSTON ASTROS THIRD BASEMAN: I just went nuts. I lost my voice, honestly, out there. I was screaming. I wanted to go give him a hug, like, right after he hit it, but he still had to go run the bases.


WIRE: All right, Christine, when is a homer not a homer? Ask Yankees' Josh Donaldson. He's sauntering around the bases because he thought he hit this home run, breaking the tie in the fifth, but the ball hit the wall. And once he realized it, he was caught in no man's land. He ends up getting tagged out.

Yes, can't believe it. Going to want that one back.

Anthony Rizzo, though -- he hit what they call a no-doubter in the very next inning. His 2-run homer put an exclamation point on a 4-1 win over the Guardians. New York has now won six straight playoff games against Cleveland, dating back to 2017.

The Dodgers dominated the Padres during the season, winning 14 of 19 games, eight out of 10 at home. Game one of the playoffs more of the same thanks in large part to Trea Turner hitting his second career post-season home run. He said he's been tweaking and adjusting the timing of his swing even in just his last six at-bats.

L.A. jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and they end up winning this thing 5-3.

The Phillies -- first time in 11 years they find themselves frolicking in the playoffs, and it's going well. The only team to win there on the road in game one yesterday, beating the defending champs Atlanta. Nick Castellanos drove in three runs and then maybe saved the day in the ninth with that sliding catch there robbing William Contreras. Seven to six is your final. Game two is in Atlanta this afternoon.

And finally, Draymond Green returns to the Warriors tomorrow, one week after punching teammate Jordan Poole in practice. He'll be fined, not suspended. Head coach Steve Kerr's decision came after consulting several players, including Steph Curry. And he's hoping that he and general manager Bob Myers made the right call.


STEVE KERR, GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS HEAD COACH: This is the biggest crisis that we've ever had since I've been coach here. It's really serious stuff. We're not perfect. Our team isn't perfect. Bob and I have definitely made our share of mistakes over the years. But we're going to lean on the experience that we have together over the last nine years and trust that this is the best decision for our team.


WIRE: All right, Coach Kerr expects Green to play in the preseason finale, Christine, on Friday, and the start of the regular season Tuesday against the Lakers.

ROMANS: All right. Nice to see you, Coy.

WIRE: You, too.

ROMANS: Have a great day.

All right, thanks for joining me. I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" picks it up right now.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, I have no intention of meeting with him. But, for example, if he came to me at the G20 and said I want to talk about the release of Griner, I'd meet with him. I mean, it would depend. He's acted brutally. I think he's committed war crimes. And so, I don't -- I don't see any rationale to meet with him now.