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Any Minute: Biden To Speak On Disappointing Jobs Report; U.S. Adds Disappointing 194,000 Jobs In September; Manchin Puts Head In Hands Listening To Schumer Attack GOP. Aired 12-12:30pET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome to Inside politics. I'm John King in Washington. And thank you for sharing this busy day with us. The week's jobs report rattles the Biden White House, only 194,000 jobs added last month. The COVID cloud again smothering predictions of a hiring boom.

Plus the Democrats' policy divide gets personal. New CNN reporting details President Biden's reaction in a private meeting to a suggestion Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders just get together and make a deal as the President jokes would be inviting homicide. And Donald Trump and those loyal to him again defy the rule of law.

Some Trump allies ignore subpoenas from Congress. And now the January 6 committee must decide how to respond. At first though, the new jobs report that makes clear, crystal clear, COVID is still calling the shots. The economy added just 194,000 jobs last month. The peak of the Delta COVID surge will be more powerful in economic models predicting a hiring boom.

Now you might cheer where the unemployment rate did fall to 4.8 percent. But again, the reason is that many Americans headed to the sidelines, stopped looking for jobs because of the Delta spike. Delta is now receding and there are signs the economy is revving more as we head into the fall. But today's sluggish numbers do not help a president, hoping to make a clear and convincing turn from a summer of struggle.

We are waiting to hear from the President's reaction to that jobs report any moment at the White House. We'll take you there live. Let's get right now to our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins, who is there, Kaitlan, the President will make the case. Be patient but this jobs report not helpful.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, it's not because john, this is also the second straight month in a row where the numbers have been far lower than what economists had been predicting, and certainly what the White House had been hoping for. And so now they are dealing with fewer than 200,000 jobs added to the U.S. economy in September.

Though, I do think you'll hear the President say what you were just talking about there, which is that that was when of course the Delta variant was still running rampant throughout the U.S. and officials, health officials are now hoping that they have kind of crossed over that or at least kind of at some point of turning point in this delta variant. That remains to be seen.

And in the meantime, the White House is going to have to deal with the headache that comes with these numbers. And I think one positive sign is the unemployment rate falling to 4.8 percent from 5.2 percent in August, but John, that could also be a sign that some people are just leaving the labor force entirely because we still have 5 million fewer people on U.S. payrolls, that were on the U.S. payrolls in February 2020 of course, before the pandemic really hit the U.S. and 2.7 million people have been out of work looking for work for six months or more.

Those are troubling numbers for any White House, of course, but it also comes as the White House is dealing with concerns about inflation, oil and gas prices are the highest that they've been since 2014. So putting it all together, though, is what is really going to have to be a tough sell for the President when he does come out to remark on these jobs report - on this jobs report to talk about these numbers and talk about where he is hoping the U.S. is headed and hopefully in the White House's eyes faster rather than later.

KING: Kaitlan Collins, kicking us off the White House. We'll be back there when the President comes out momentarily. With me here in studio to share their reporting and their insights, Dana Bash of CNN, Paul Kane of The Washington Post, Brittany Shepherd, Yahoo News, and Mark Zandi, Chief Economist at Moody's Analytics.

Mark, let me start with you. We were talking before we came on the air and you're not so alarmed by this. I just want our viewers to look if you're the President of United States jobs added this year and you look month to month on this chart right there. September is the weakest month.

Politically, the President had a tough summer, he needs that number to be higher. You look at this and you say yes, COVID is still sort of running the economy. But you're not so alarmed. Why?

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: I'm -- well, I'm alarmed. I mean, delta did a lot of damage to the economy. Its fingerprints are all over the report. Like we saw last jobs in a vehicle industry. Why? Well, because chip plants in Malaysia had to shut down because everyone was sick. They couldn't produce chips, chips go into cars, vehicle manufacturers can't produce cars, not because people don't want to buy cars.

They do, just there's just not enough cars to produce. Leisure and hospitality, direct hit from - from delta. So if that's the diagnosis is correct, if that's right, and I think it is, as the Delta wave winds down and appears to be winding down, I think the economy will rev up and we'll see more job creation, going forward.

But I'll have to admit, you know, when I open up, clicked on BLS this morning, I saw 194, I go oh, you know, that's going to be pretty hard to message around that.

KING: You go oh, let's just put up on the screen. This is the president's approval rating in recent months, he did more than go oh, in the sense that you have a Virginia governor's race in just a couple of weeks. The President's trying to negotiate with fellow Democrats to get a big spending package, the president needs leverage.

The left of your screen, that green line is the president's approval rating when he came to office, the right side of your screen, that green line is the drop into the below 40 percent of the president's approval rating. This is the Quinnipiac poll.

The disapproval in red Dana Bash, just see where the lines cross. Any president does not want that. And that now Wow.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is and if you add to the fact that people are feeling the pinch, it's not just the unemployment numbers, the job numbers that we saw today, it's inflation. It's the fact that you know, things are just very hard to buy, from their grocery bills to gasoline, and add that up - all up together, it's the thing that any politician, any elected official, incumbent fears the most.


That people are anxious, that people feel that things are not going the right way. It's the classic, you know, wrong way, right way, wrong direction, right direction. And that is absolutely not where this president wants to be. And you mentioned Virginia, it is absolutely not where anybody wants to be who's on the ballot, and that's going to happen in less than a month in Virginia.

KING: And look, presidents often get too much credit when things are going well, presidents often get too much blame when things are going bad. One president cannot in his 8-10 months in office control a pandemic, but at the White House right now they have to feel somewhat helpless about what - what can they do.

I assume the President's main message to Democrats is why don't we pass something? Why don't we get to work?

BRITTANY SHEPHERD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO NEWS: That's the century, John. I think there's already a lot of frustration in the White House of how do you take some nuance of the economy and feed it to voters. We all know they're just going to look at the headlines like we did this morning go, Oh, crap, I don't know what to do. I don't have any money. I can barely buy my groceries like Dana was saying.

When the President is looking at approval numbers, at least at Yahoo, we're seeing 40-42 bottoming out to where he's going after Afghanistan, after infrastructure. After all of this, there's lots of helplessness, because how do you take some big meat and feed it to voters who are already so angry, and so lost and trying to wonder how the world is going to open again. And we're seeing that in the frustration with what's happening on the hill. And I think what we're looking to hear from Biden today is some simplification and assurance like he was making yesterday in Chicago. So my eyes would kind of be on that.

KING: Right, that things would pick people, just want things to get better. And when you're president, again, whether it's your fault, or whether or not it's your fault, you tend to sometimes get the blame for it. Now, we'd be having a very different conversation with Mark Zandi today who is here, if Congress had not reached this deal on the debt crisis, on the debt ceiling - to raise the debt ceiling. The Republicans for weeks said nope, we're not going to help you. Then Mitch McConnell came forward with the plan to help Chuck Schumer. They passed it last night, the Senate did, the House will do it in a week or so.

Chuck Schumer as they were finished decided he wanted to score political points. Listen.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans insisted they wanted a solution to the debt ceiling, but said Democrats must raise it alone by going through a drawn out, convoluted and risky reconciliation process. That was simply unacceptable to my caucus. And yesterday, Senate Republicans finally realized that their obstruction was not going to work.


KING: I'm sure you might have noticed at home the Joe Manchin behind his leader there. Walk us through this. It's from Senator Manchin's perspective, the Republicans came forward. They gave us 11 votes, we averted a crisis, just celebrate, be partisan tomorrow, not today.

PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. As Mark can tell you, the debt ceiling is one of those things that you just do. You just fix it because if you blow it up, the whole economy gets rattled, and you just do not want to touch that button.

That moment was just not we -- Manchin wanted everybody to calm down, move on. We've got a couple bigger things in the - in the offing, we've still got the trillion dollar infrastructure bill, which would really be a nice - nice gift at this time with sagging job numbers, low approval rating, a big bipartisan infrastructure bill, that'd be nice. Why don't you do that?

Instead, Schumer delivers a partisan speech that, you know, went over a little bit poorly. Look, Republicans are great at kind of claiming this outrage at something. They did during impeachment trials and - and stuff. But Schumer could have just taken a quick high road moved on, and then tried to get to this bigger negotiation that lies ahead.

BASH: And it wasn't just Republicans who I'm hearing from I'm sure you also it was Democrats who were like, what was that, that was not appropriate. And that head in the hands moment, which I can see, it's the move that launched a 1000 memes is, it was not just about the debt ceiling. That was a culmination of a lot of frustration that he has, and frankly, you hear from progressives on the other side of the caucus with the leader about how things are going more broadly with the agenda they're supposed to pass by.

KING: And I think for a lot of Americans, can we have a five minute timeout? OK? Republicans, we can debate why they came forward, all of that, can we have a five minute timeout something, Congress did something good something responsible.

To that point, Mark Zandi, Speaker Pelosi's statement about the jobs report today. The President speech that he's about to give about the jobs report today is going to say things are getting better, everybody don't panic, things are getting better. But we should pass that infrastructure bill, we should, Democrats should come together on a bigger spending package, somewhere in the air of $2 trillion. Is he right? Or would that much spending overheated economy that does still have some troubling inflation signs?

ZANDI: Yes, I'm on board with that. I think a $2.5 trillion dollar package pay for is that - you know pay for $1.5 trillion of that over a 10-year, I think that lands the economy plane right on the tarmac. You know couple of years down the road. I think a year from now, all of the support to the economy from the fiscal support that's been put in place and the Fed is going to be taking its foot off the accelerator, the economy is going to feel soft.


And I don't think at that point, we'll be at full employment. So a little more juice, I think, it lands us right on the - on the tarmac, we get back to full employment. And I - in my view, and it's a reasonable debate, but in my view, the things we're talking about here, the infrastructure, the various social programs, the climate risk mitigation leads to a stronger economy in the longer run. So I think it's good policy.

KING: We'll see. You say it's good policy. We'll see if they can figure out the politics. Again, we're waiting for the President of United States. We'll continue to do that. Bring you there live when he does speak and next the policy divide complicated by a personal feud. Brand new CNN reporting on tensions between senators Manchin and Bernie Sanders, including what the President shared in a private meeting with House Democrats.



KING: Some fascinating new CNN reporting now on a critical Democratic challenge to reach agreement on a Biden agenda spending package, two senators with very different views are going to have to resolve some big policy differences. Now, it's no secret, Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders are the opposite ends of the Democratic spectrum.

What is increasingly worrisome to some Democrats, though, is that this divide is becoming as personal as it is about policy. CNN's Manu Raju today is first to report details of a private meeting, President Biden held with House progressives, one of those progressives, Congressman Ro Khanna suggested hey, maybe the president should just tell senator Sanders and Senator Manchin lock themselves in a room, don't come out until you make a deal.

Now President Biden, who knows both senators quite well had a colorful and a very telling response. Manu Raju now joins us to share more of those details. Manu, what did the President say?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he didn't think it would go particularly well, to put it lightly. In fact, he compared Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders sitting down together in a room together would be like 'homicide.' That is, according to multiple sources who were at that meeting. He also later went on to joke about having - going and getting it be like him getting into a boxing ring with Ro Khanna himself.

Now this underscores the reality here on Capitol Hill that these two men who represent different wings of the Democratic caucus are diametrically opposed on exactly how to move forward with the Biden agenda.

Joe Manchin wants 3.1 -- wants $1.5 trillion in economic spending package, Bernie Sanders has pushed for 3.5 trillion, but then all the details underneath that, the expansive social programs that Bernie Sanders is pushing, Joe Manchin wants to pull those back here. And, John, it sounds like they're going to ask me to toss it back to you, John.

KING: Yes, we're having some technical difficulties with your audio there, but we get the gist of it. The President jokingly, but jokingly saying that would be like homicide to put the two senators in a room. Paul, you wander the halls of Congress, you know, both of these senators well, is it that bad? Is it - has it become that personal?

KANE: It is. It's getting, it's getting really personal in a way that is unusual for the Senate. The Senate likes to be the dignified place where the gentleman from West Virginia talks about the gentleman from Vermont, but in recent days, I mean, they've been going, they've been having dueling press conferences. The other day Manchin who's got kind of tired of these roaming scrums of reporters around him, summoned reporters outside his office, in heart building, and he went on for about 15 or 20 minutes, mostly dismissing Sanders' proposals, you know, on Medicare expansion and stuff like that.

Well, then, about 20 minutes later, we got notice that Bernie Sanders would be up in the press gallery to respond specifically to Joe Manchin and they're going back and forth. It's getting personal in ways that is unusual.

KING: So let's listen to a piece of it. Because remember, if you followed Senator Sanders and his presidential campaigns, he talks about being a revolutionary. He talks about challenging the political establishment. This is a very different Senator Sanders right now, in these negotiations, listen to the point he makes here, listen closely about why he thinks Manchin is out of line.


SEN. BENIE SANDERS (I-VT): My concern with Mr. Manchin is not so much what his views are. I disagree with him. But it is that it is wrong. It is really not playing fair, that one or two people think that they should be able to stop what 48 members of the Democratic caucus want, what the American people want, what the President of the United States wants.

KING: Manu is back with us. We fixed the technical difficulty. Manu, Senator Sanders point is listen, I could hold this whole thing up, I want those Medicare reforms, I wanted single payer health care. There are a whole lot of things I campaigned on that I could say no, 50-50 senate, come my way or I won't do it. He says but I'm part of a family. I have to compromise. Come on Manchin.

RAJU: Yes. And that's exactly the point he's been making publicly and privately. And the question is, can they get together? I mean, they need every single member of the Democratic caucus because one of them can scuttle this. This is what the real concern is among Democrats because the belief is that if Manchin and Sanders can get on the same page, Kyrsten Sinema to on the Manchin wing, that could be enough to satisfy House moderates who are taking their cues in large ways from Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema.

Also the progressive wing from Bernie Sanders, and the concern among Democrats is why not get them together, have them sit down in the room. And as I was talking about the Joe- Biden anecdote from earlier, he said that having them sit down together will be like, 'homicide.' That is what he told his progressives earlier.

And I'm also told in that same meeting, John, he expressed frustration with talking to mansion and talking to Sinema. Biden himself has had these discussions directly with both of them, but he told the progressives, they have not moved so far. And he even suggested that Sinema has not returned phone calls, some phone calls from the White House itself.

So the progressives like Bernie Sanders say Joe Manchin, tell us publicly what you want, give more details because he's criticizing his 'vague phraseology' when Joe Manchin criticize things like the entitlement society that he believes this new bill will push.


So John, not just the - what the philosophical difference is but so many details too. They need to sort out and the leadership wants it to be sorted out by the end of the month. It's hard to see how they can do it. So by then John.

KING: And Dana, when you listen to this, again, you've spent years up on Capitol Hill, it's just fascinating. Number one, this is a leadership test for President Biden, not Senator Biden, now President Biden, can you referee this, but if you went back to Senator Biden's days and laid out the Democratic spectrum, he would be closer to where you find Manchin and Sinema when he was in the Senate on most issues than Bernie Sanders, and yet on this issue, he's working closely with Bernie Sanders.

He's working very productively with Bernie Sanders, even though in the campaign, they were very far apart.

BASH: The issue here is that everything that Joe Manchin is saying in terms of the numbers, is true. Everything that Bernie Sanders is saying in terms of the numbers is true. Joe Manchin didn't want anything. And he came up to $1.5 trillion. He thinks that's a pretty big step. Bernie Sanders was it $7 trillion to get everything he wanted, and he came way down to $3.5 trillion. He thinks that's a pretty, pretty good step. It's not wrong.

What you said about President Biden is the key. Manu's great reporting about his joke about it being homicide, getting him in the same room notwithstanding, this is what he campaigned on. Joe Biden said, I am the guy who can get things done. And we're not talking about across the aisle here, we're talking about inside his party.

Why not take a piece of paper, sit down in the Oval Office with Senator Sanders, with Senator Manchin and get beyond the vagaries that Manu was talking about? Talk about what are the issues that you can live with, what are the issues that you can't live without and let's put it down.

And the reason at this point, the hard truth politically is that President Biden would have full responsibility. And if he fails, that would be on him. The upside is if he wins and is successful, that would be a huge success.

KING: Well, they bought this two month timeline with the debt ceiling deal and so time to do it is now.

SHEPHERD: Right. And the thing is, there has to be interest to Bernie says right before he went on air, he had a scrub and said that he would not sit down with Sinema and Manchin because this is not a movie or an Aaron Sorkin TV show. I also think it's important to frame where the White House thoughts into all of this, of course, like you said back in the senate days, Biden would be much closer to a moderate, but frankly, his biggest ally on the hill right now is Bernie Sanders and these progressives.

Bernie Sanders is fighting on behalf of the White House. That's where they're aligned. I didn't even think I would say that in this entire presidential cycle. But like, it's important to realize, it's not the progressives gumming this up. It's Biden and the White House doing the Manchin in hand saying, Can you just please do your job for once or we're going to lose this all in two years.

KING: Well, again, there's an election next month in Virginia, the midterm election next year as the president needs to get things done. Let's see if he can somehow - White House a lot of grounds you can have Senator Sanders here, Senator Manchin there, have a space between them, maybe you can try to figure it out. Up next for us, the January 6 Committee demands evidence from leaders of that day 'Stop the Steal' rally and it must now respond to defiance from close Donald Trump allies.




KING: Just forget the rule of law party and defy the law and defy the rules is the mantra of Trump Republicans. A Trump lawyer urged four close allies of the former president to ignore subpoenas from the January 6 committee, requesting documents and to claim privilege to avoid testifying, or at least answering some questions.

Stands with Trump is how a source described Steve Bannon's response to the committee. Contempt of Congress is now on the table. Our panel is back with us now including now joining us CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero. Let's get this one out of the way. The former president, according to The Washington Post, and a letter from the Trump lawyer to these four, says you can claim immunity, you can claim privilege. Does any such immunity and privilege exist for former Trump administration officials or in Steve Bannon's case, he was long gone from the White House?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, it's made up as it pertains to the former president's ability to assert that privilege or these individuals ability to assert that privilege. Executive privilege belongs to the President. And right now that President is Joe Biden. And so if a president wanted to assert executive authority to preserve the ability of future presidents to be able to communicate freely with their advisors, it would be the current president who gets to assert that.

KING: The current president. So these are the four Trump allies who had the subpoenas we know that Mr. Meadows and Mr. Bannon have responded. We don't know the details of the two gentlemen to the right, Kash Patel and Dan Scavino. We expect them to defy the committee but who knows? These are new subpoenas issued for organizers of the 'Stop the Steal' rally. The January 6 committee wants to know a, what did the former president know? What was he doing in the days leading up to it? What did everyone around him know?

What did the organizers know about who was coming? And did they know about threats of violence? Senator Durbin who is on the Senate side, not the House Committee, but he supports the House committee investigation says people, cooperate.


SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): I don't think Mr. Trump's aides are ever going to ask me for advice. But I would suggest modestly follow the law instead of the ravings of this former president. He is - doesn't have the power to pardon you anymore. And probably I hope never will again, and be careful, follow the law, even if the President is begging you to stay away.