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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Announces He Won't Run For Reelection; IDF: Israel Extends Today's Humanitarian Pause To Six Hours; Congress Has Seven Days To Avoid A Government Shutdown. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired November 10, 2023 - 05:30   ET





SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I have made one of the toughest decisions of my life and decided that I will not be running for reelection to the United States Senate.


KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Kasie Hunt.

That was West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin dropping a bombshell on Democrats just one day after they shellacked Republicans in the general election. Good news can evaporate pretty fast here in Washington.

Manchin's retirement from the Senate complicates things for Democrats in so many ways. They can afford to lose just one seat in the narrowly divided Senate and holding onto Manchin's is going to be basically impossible in deep-red West Virginia.

As a centrist in a closely divided Senate, Manchin has been pretty obstructionist of President Biden's agenda -- at least that's how the White House views it -- and he has extracted plenty of concessions along the way. But that did not stop the president from crediting Manchin with helping him make real progress.

President Biden said in a statement, quote, "For more than 40 years -- as a state legislator, a Secretary of State, a governor, and a senator -- Joe Manchin has dedicated himself to serving the people of his beloved West Virginia."

But Sen. Manchin may still complicate the president's reelection bid. And I will say that very nice statement -- let's just say I think they're trying not to antagonize him because Manchin has not ruled out a third-party run for the White House. He wants to talk to centrist voters.

Joining us now is Julia Manchester. She's a national political reporter for The Hill. Julia, good morning. So, Manchin did this No Labels event, right, in July. They want to put somebody on the ballot on a -- on a third party in the general election. Manchin has said that he's never going to run as a spoiler.

And we were sort of interested to see what Mark Warner, one of his Senate colleagues, said about it. Take a look at what he -- what he said to us.


SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): I'd give him his space to advocate process in bipartisanship. I think that's a positive thing. But I can't imagine any world he which he does anything that would help Donald Trump get reelected.


HUNT: Mark Warner says, right now, he can't imagine it. Could you imagine it?

JULIA MANCHESTER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE HILL: I could imagine Joe Manchin potentially running for president. Now, whether that helps Donald Trump or not, it seems like -- you know, some polling data would suggest that.

But look, Kasie, watching that video yesterday, it seemed abundantly clear that this is something that Joe Manchin wants to explore. He wants to explore this idea of a moderate base in the United States that feels unheard or silenced by the partisan bickering coming out of here in Washington in a -- in a lot of partisan congressional districts.

Now, this obviously comes just hours -- or it came hours after Jill Stein jumped into the race for the Green Party on the Democratic side. Joe Biden's already grappling with Dean Phillips jumping into the race as a primary challenger. And then, of course, you have Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who could potentially take votes from Biden and Trump. We'll see which one he damages more.

But this is definitely a problem for the White House. It's a problem. We saw CNN polling and New York Times-Siena College polling earlier this week that showed there was very low enthusiasm for Joe Biden right now and Trump is essentially tied or leading him in many swing states as well as nationally.

The White House is very much claiming credit for the election wins on Tuesday for Democrats, but I would say this has been otherwise a pretty rough week for the Biden campaign.

HUNT: Yeah. How much thinking do we think the White House is doing around the third-party stuff that you mentioned? Because my reporting has been that there are definitely people that are worried about it.


HUNT: There are people that have been trying to raise flags about this to them.

Do you get the sense they're taking it seriously?

MANCHESTER: You know, I think they are taking it seriously right now. And I think part of that has to do with the fact that there is just this fatigue and exhaustion with this idea of a Trump-Biden matchup. And maybe some internal disapproval for Joe Biden within the Democratic Party, particularly among progressives.

I mean, we are into over a month of the Israel-Hamas war and we've seen progressives, in particular -- younger voters -- start to sour on Joe Biden. Arab-American voters in states like Michigan, which could be pivotal in deciding the presidential election.

So, a third-party bid or some sort of primary challenger, in the case of Dean Phillips, could really make a difference in what could be a very razor-tight election.

HUNT: All right, Julia Manchester with The Hill. Thank you very much for being with us. I hope you'll come back soon.

MANCHESTER: Thanks, Kasie.

HUNT: All right.

The White House said on Thursday that Israel has agreed to move forward with daily four-hour pauses in military operations in Northern Gaza. This appears to have formalized what's been happening on the ground over the past few days allowing humanitarian aid to flow in and civilians to flee the fighting. Just a short time ago, Israel announced today's pause will actually be six hours long.


This was Secretary of State Antony Blinken just a few hours ago.


ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think, first, what Israel announced yesterday will help. It will help in enabling people to get out of harm's way. It will help in enabling people to get greater access to humanitarian assistance.

There are other steps that we've discussed with Israel -- that I discussed a week ago. I'm not going to detail them here. I can simply say that there is more that can and should be done to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians.


HUNT: All right, CNN Gustavo Valdes is live for us in Tel Aviv. Gustavo, good morning. It's great to see you again.

Netanyahu and other Israeli officials made clear that this is not a ceasefire. What more can you tell us about these pauses?


HUNT: All right, it looks like we don't have audio there on Gustavo Valdes. Our apologies for that and our thanks to him.

For more analysis, though, on what's going on in Israel, I want to bring in Shawn Turner, the former director of communication for U.S. national intelligence. Shawn, good morning. It's always good to see you.


HUNT: So, let's talk about the pauses that are kind of playing out here. Israel's defense minister underscores that this does not amount to a ceasefire. The reality -- I mean the political reality in Israel is that would be an untenable situation for them.

What's your understanding of why they have agreed to them and how Hamas may or may not take advantage of them? What are the dynamics?

TURNER: Yeah. Well, first of all, thanks for having me on this morning.

This is a classic case of words matter. When we think about this -- what's being called a tactical pause in Israel and Gaza -- this really is a good start from the administration's perspective. I've talked with some of my former colleagues who are still in the administration. And when you get to this issue of why this is happening, this is really the result of immense pressure from the United States and from others around the world to put measures in place to create a window of opportunity for some people to get out -- to flee to safety.

Now, I think as Tony Blinken said, this is a start. And I think that he was sort of downplaying the frustration of the administration with regard to the need for more to be done to allow for people to get out.

But again, I think that from the Israeli perspective, calling this a tactical pause and very clear that this is not a ceasefire, and even not calling this a humanitarian pause certainly speaks to their desire to make sure that Hamas knows that they're keeping the pressure up while also trying to work with the United States partners and allies to create some way for people to get out.

HUNT: Yeah.

So, the defense minister also said Israeli Forces have been using new methods to try and destroy this tunnel system as they continue this war. And I'm just curious -- I mean, they wouldn't say what they were.

Do you have a sense of what they are? And is there a sense that it's actually possible to destroy the entire network, or is that a fruitless mission?

TURNER: Yeah, I don't think it's a fruitless mission. Look, you can certainly -- if you can identify areas of this network that will sort of neutralize sort of some of the wings or the branches of this tunnel network, then you can make some progress here.

The United States has a number of different munitions that would allow for Israel to be able to have some progress in taking this tunnel network out. We talk about things like bunker-buster bombs and things along those lines.

But I think people really -- it's hard to fathom just how complex and vast this network of tunnels under Gaza is. I mean, it literally is an underground city. And when we think about sort of how deep these go and fortified they are, it's very difficult to think about how you completely neutralize what Hamas can do from this tunnel system.

It's also -- you know, Kasie, the dynamic is also one in which we have to think about where these hostages are. We know that as Israel continues the fight that these hostages are probably on the move and Hamas is trying to at least keep them safe because they see them as a bargaining chip. But it's going to be very difficult to completely neutralize this tunnel system. It is what allows Hamas to continue to take the fight to Israel.

HUNT: I'm glad you mentioned the hostages because we did hear from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They say they're prepared to release two Israeli hostages -- a 13-year-old and a 77-year-old woman. They say that this is on humanitarian grounds. There was a video released of them. CNN has decided we're not going to show it.


What do you think this signals -- anything -- in the kind of greater back and forth?

TURNER: You know, we haven't heard a lot from Palestinian Islamic Jihad since the start of this conflict, and so I was really interested to see this move on their part with this video. And by the way, I think it's the right call for CNN not to show that video.

What I think this suggests as I look at this and sort of think about the relationship between Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas, it's really unclear at this point just how influence -- how much influence and how involved the Palestinian Islamic Jihad is. But we do know that there is a desire on the part of the smaller terrorist organization to exert influence among the Palestinian population.

And so, when I -- when I think about what this -- what this video does, it is an attempt to indicate that they have some power, some sway. And then by suggesting that they may release these hostages if -- and the language is very vague -- if certain circumstances are met, what they're doing is trying to make the Palestinians think that they are working on their behalf.

But what's unclear from an intelligence perspective is just how much sway they actually have and what they really can do.

So I think that the United States and partners and allies are sort of looking at this and taking this with a grain of salt, and cautiously -- are cautiously optimistic that it's possible but not putting a lot of stock in what the Palestinian Islamic Jihad can do to sort of help --

HUNT: Yeah.

TURNER: -- with the larger hostage releases.

HUNT: Yeah -- no -- got it, OK.

Sir, while I have you, it is Veterans Day weekend and I know you served for 21 years in the Marine Corps. And at the top of the hour, we learned that President Biden is going to mark Veterans Day with new actions aimed at expanding health care for veterans.

What else --


HUNT: -- does the veterans community need right now?

TURNER: Yeah. Well, first of all, I've had an opportunity to take a look at some of those new measures and I think it's important to say that I think that many of the things that have been done for veterans in the past couple of years are the right thing to do. I think that Sec. McDonough at the -- at the Department of Veterans Affairs has been a staunch advocate for veterans.

When I think about the universe of things that veterans need right now, especially on Veterans Day, and as we look at some of the things that are happening around the world, it really does come down to recognizing that these are people who served their country. Left their families, their homes to protect and defend democracy.

And oftentimes, when you come back and you sort of settle back into society there are all sorts of things that are necessary for you to be able to get a good footing as a citizen and start your life. And so, I think when we think about mental health care -- mental health support -- removing that stigma and making sure the resources for veterans are there. It's extremely important and there's been some good progress in that area.

I also think that with regard to the sort of long-term health issues that we've seen as a result of serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Vietnam -- I think that there's some good progress there and I'm glad the president is accelerating some of that work.

And then, the last thing I think is really important is there's a lot going on around the world right now. And on Veterans Day, veterans are oftentimes thinking about not ourselves but those servicemembers who are still on active duty in the military --

HUNT: Yeah.

TURNER: -- and what their life is going to be like as decisions are made about where they go and what they do.

And so I think that we need to be thinking about people making mature and reasonable decisions about where those young people who are still serving in uniform. And that's what I'll be thinking about today as a veteran of the Marine Corps.

HUNT: It is. I'm so, so glad that you mentioned all of them. And I know -- and we've got so many deployed in the Middle East around what's going on, and also, of course, across -- many who have been there for a very, very long time already -- thinking of them.

Shawn Turner, thank you and thank you very much for your service. I really appreciate it.

TURNER: Thank you. My pleasure.

HUNT: All right. Just ahead, what Kevin McCarthy is now saying about the people who ousted him from the speaker's job.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't believe she wins reelection.

He doesn't have a conservative bent in his philosophy.




HUNT: Welcome back.

We are just a week out from another possible government shutdown -- surprise, surprise. If you feel like it's deja vu all over again you would be right. Look, we have a shutdown clock. Did it really ever go away?

New Speaker Mike Johnson might not have to worry about job security during his honeymoon period, but this is going to be a major challenge for the rookie speaker.

And this is from CNN's Manu Raju last night, asked by a senior GOP congressman about Speaker Johnson's CR strategy -- that's the funding part -- to avoid a shutdown.

"The House is a mess. Nothing surprises me anymore. Speaker Johnson will have to thread a difficult needle while walking a high wire in gale-force winds. That's us right now."


Let's bring in senior CNN -- CNN senior political commentator Scott Jennings. Scott, good morning.


HUNT: Thank you for coming to the apocalypse again. It's good -- it's good to see you. Do you think that Speaker Johnson can navigate this? I will say there

doesn't seem to be an appetite for a shutdown here, which has been a key part. Sometimes people have wanted shutdowns and that's what's led to them. I do get the sense they're actively trying to avoid it. But it's definitely not clear to me that they can.

JENNINGS: Well, I guess a lot of it depends on whether he's going to be allowed to make a deal that a lot of conservatives may not like, but will his conference mates that just put him in this chair -- you know, give him a pass on it essentially. And -- and I -- and I -- you know, they've given a lot of leverage to the Senate here because the House is such a mess.

For Johnson, I think he has started already to do the things that he needs to do to show the House Republican conservatives, especially, that hey, I'm going to uphold your values.


But there is a dose of realism coming and that is Democrats control the Senate, Democrats control the White House. He's but one leg of the stool. And hopefully, they just -- they don't make his life miserable if what happens -- if what is likely to happen happens, which is something that some conservatives are going to be really unhappy with as it relates to, say, Ukraine funding or other issues.

HUNT: Right.

Well -- and, of course, the person who has been at the mercy of these dynamics of which we speak is Kevin McCarthy. He did an interview with my colleague Manu Raju where -- I would really describe it as an airing of the grievances. I want to show you a little bit of it. He's talking in this sound bite first, about Matt Gaetz, who is really the chief antagonist, and then about Nancy Mace -- watch.


MCCARTHY: People have to earn the right to be here. And I just think from -- I mean, he'll admit to you personally he doesn't have a conservative bent in his philosophy. And just the nature of what he focuses on.

And if you've watched, just her philosophy and the flip-flopping. Yeah, I don't believe she wins reelection. I don't think she'll probably have earned the right to get reelected.


HUNT: Scott, there's a lot going on on his face -- like, kind of that demeanor shows that he's -- he came across to me as really beaten down. But he also -- I mean, that's kind of the worst thing you can say about someone in politics -- ah, they don't deserve to win.

JENNINGS: Yeah. Well, I mean, he has every right to be upset with Nancy Mace. I mean, he and his operation did a tremendous amount to get her elected in the first place, and reelected. And honestly, her explanations for her actions all during the speaker

debacle were really strange. I mean, she voted to take McCarthy out of the speakership, and then she started tweeting every day about how crazy it was they couldn't get back to work. I mean, you caused this. You're the one who smashed it with a hammer and now you're worried about why all the pieces are on the floor.

And so, I totally understand why Kevin McCarthy is upset.

I think what was shocking to everyone is everybody sort of expects that behavior out of Gaetz or people like that, but Mace was such a stunning turn on him that is suspect -- I suspect he'll be talking about this for the rest of his life and will likely never get over it.

HUNT: Quite possibly working behind the scenes to make sure that prediction he just made came true.

Speaking of what's going on behind the scenes, we've been talking all morning about Joe Manchin's decision not to run for reelection. Your former boss, Mitch McConnell -- can you help us understand the role he played in how this all came to be because he stands to benefit probably more than anyone from Manchin stepping down?

JENNINGS: Well, I think his principal move here was to recruit the best possible candidate. Some months ago, he did go over to West Virginia and recruited Jim Justice. And that -- getting the best possible candidate -- someone who everyone in West Virginia seems to like -- to get into that race and then file for that race I think was really one of the principal reasons Manchin decided not to run again.

So, McConnell has done a lot of recruiting of candidates over the years and I've heard him say that maybe this was his best job ever -- his most strategic job ever. And now, for Republicans, they're going to pick up a Senate seat. That goes to at least 50-50. And with a good chance to win in Ohio, a good chance to win in Montana, and a couple of other states out there.

And for Democrats, with no good pickup opportunities, they've got to hold some tough incumbents and then win the White House.

So right now, if you're Mitch McConnell and you want to get the Senate majority back, this was -- you know, getting this one in the bank early and knowing you don't have to spend resources on it --

HUNT: Yeah.

JENNINGS: -- was a total coup. So, a great day for the Republicans if you -- if you want to get back to a majority in the Senate.

HUNT: Well -- and, you know, Manchin might have an 'aw shucks' personality in public but he is one of the most shrewd political thinkers and he clearly looked at Jim Justice in this race and said no, no way -- I'm out.

Scott Jennings, thank you very much, sir. I really appreciate you being with us this morning. JENNINGS: Thanks, Kasie.

HUNT: All right. Coming up next on "CNN THIS MORNING" new details on who may be called to testify in Donald Trump's classified documents trial.



HUNT: Welcome back.

Apollo astronaut Frank Borman has died. Borman commanded Apollo 8, the first mission to orbit the moon, in 1968. Administrator -- NASA administrator Bill Nelson called Borman one of NASA's best -- a true American hero.

Borman, later the CEO of Eastern Airlines. He was 95 years old.

And I will just way to Col. Borman, God bless you from all of us on the good Earth.

All right, now this -- sports. The Bears beating the Panthers on "THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL."

Andy Scholes joins us now with this morning's Bleacher Report.


HUNT: Andy, this was not, I am told, the best primetime matchup of the year. I will admit to not staying awake for most primetime matchups, but fill us in.

SCHOLES: Yeah, Kasie, it certainly was not one of the best, right? I'm sure Al Michaels wasn't super-excited to get to call the 1-7 Panthers going up against the 2-7 Bears.

But this game was a win-win for the Bears because either way they own Carolina's first-round pick due to the Bryce Young trade. So, you know, good news for them despite whatever the outcome would be.

Now, D'Onta Foreman -- a touchdown here in the third quarter gave the Bears the lead. Not a lot of points in this one. Bears win 16-13.

The Panthers, at 1-8 now, are tied with the Cardinals for the worst record in the NFL.

All right, college hoops. Iowa's Caitlin Clark putting on a show against 8th-ranked Virginia Tech last night. The AP Women's Player of the Year unstoppable, pouring in 44 points and grabbed eight rebounds. The number-three Hawkeyes win 80-76 in a battle of last season's Final Four teams. Clark finished just two points shy of her career best, which was 46 points.

All right, to the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo was dominant against the Pacers. He poured in an NBA season-high 54 points. But he did have two costly turnovers late as Milwaukee blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Pacers beat Giannis and the Bucks in that one 126-124.

Hawks and Magic, meanwhile -- they were playing in Mexico City last night. Trae Young putting on a show for the fans there, scoring 33 points in the first half. He finished with 41.

And he also made the play of the game late. Under a minute to go, Hawks down two, Trae going to make the pass over to Dejounte Murray, who knocks down the three. The Hawks win that one 120-119.

Now, Murray and Trae both taking to social media yesterday to comment on the Hawks' interesting promo for the in-season tournament.


HAWKS IN-SEASON PROMO VIDEO: Only Hawks fans know where the real action is. Only Hawks fans know what they really want to see. And only Hawks fans know just where to get it.



SCHOLES: Yeah. So that's Harry the Hawk spoofing an Only Fans ad.

Murray -- he tweeted, "Man, delete this S-word," Kasie. Then Trae said, "I had no part in this."

I guess interesting marketing choice there for the in-season tournament by the Hawks?

HUNT: Uh, I don't really know what to say except that I'm with them. I don't get it. That's an interesting way to start our weekend, isn't it, Andy?

SCHOLES: Yeah, not one for the kids there, I guess, right?

HUNT: Thank you very much for that --

SCHOLES: All right.

HUNT: -- and do enjoy your weekend. I'll see you on Monday.

SCHOLES: All right.

HUNT: Thank you all for joining us. I'm Kasie Hunt. Don't go anywhere. "CNN THIS MORNING" starts right now.