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Inside Politics

Trump Tells Former Aides To Defy Jan. 6 Panel Subpoenas; Schwarzenegger Talks 2003 Recall, Relationship With Kennedys; President Biden Speaks Following Disappointing Jobs Report. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 12:30   ET




SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): It 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 because of the evidence that you might present.


JOHN KING, CNN HOST: We are in -- we could talk about the drama of January 6th and the horror of January 6th. And you can talk about all the drama Trump stirs up. But it's a pretty dangerous point when you can disagree with the Committee if you want.

But we have rules. We have rules. The Committee issued a subpoena. Congress has the power to issue a subpoena to just flip them the bird because Trump told me to, that's a dangerous place for society.

PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: It is John. But we've watched this over and over in the previous five years. The game plan is always to sort of delay, delay, delay.

And if they delay long enough, if they throw this into the courts, and it goes from a district court, to a circuit court to the full circuit court this and that, by January 2023 House Republicans could be in the majority and they'll just dissolve the Committee and the subpoenas are going to disappear. That's the long game play here by Trump and his allies.

KING: And it comes in a week where we've seen in the Senate report and in some CNN review of court documents, more and more evidence of just how far Trump went just how close Trump came actually to getting nine direct conversations with the Justice Department about find a way to ignore the election results, find a way and yet and yet listen to Chuck Grassley, who's the ranking Republican, I believe still in the Judiciary Committee, a former chairman of that Committee, a man who has a distinguished record over years in Congress of protecting whistleblowers and demanding transparency and government. You learn all these things about Trump. Chuck Grassley says --


SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): The President rejected it. The President did the right thing. How does that create any sort of problem? In fact if he had made another decision, you would have a problem?


KING: It's a total bastardization of the facts. The reporting is that the President's attorney at the White House, Pat Cipollone, turned to him and said, Sir, we will all resign, there will be mass resignation. The President didn't say, oh, OK, now I get it.

I'm not going to do it. The President stopped only because they convinced him of the cliff they were on. But Chuck Grassley is going to go to a rally this weekend in Iowa. The Republican governor of Iowa is going to be at that rally, the chairman of the Republican Party in Iowa was going to be at that rally.

One of the Republican Congress members is going to be at that rally. Republicans are saying we are the party of Trump, which means we are the party of lying, trying to steal the election, and telling Congress go to hell.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And the Des Moines Register came out with a poll this week that has Trump at 53 percent in Iowa. And that's just generally speaking, nevermind among Republicans. And Chuck Grassley, even though he's one of the oldest senators, wants to be senator again for another term.

That is, let's just be clear, a large part of what that's all about why the Chuck Grassley that we have covered for years, decades, is not that guy. And it's because of the realities of the Republican Party. And more broadly, how it's, it's the end of shame, there is no, the law is to be followed, because you're worried about repercussions. But it's also kind of the basic norms, that society follows.

It's like when you get to a red light, and no one's there, you still stop at the red light, because that's what you're supposed to do. When you get a subpoena, you respond to the subpoena, because that's what you're supposed to do. They don't care anymore because Donald Trump has shattered those norms, not just as a disrupter. But as somebody who has really just -- it's, the institutions have disintegrated far beyond just be --

KING: And they don't care anymore, because so many people now live in their silo, right? And so when the Trump spokesman for the Save America PAC says executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation.

You know, strike up the band, right, strike up the band, it is horse manure as Kerry just said, that's my term. That's not a legal term that such a privilege exists. But they talk to their people in their silo, and they convince them Trump is the truth teller here. Forget it. BRITTANY SHEPHERD, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Oh, yes. Well, this is a clear Rumpelstiltskin thing of taking things that are less gold and trying to spin them into gold. I mean, that was like Trump Mad Libs, essentially. And it's about what, Dana, was saying, President shattering.

And that's what the Trump, the Biden White House is trying to reestablish slowly over time, which is why this executive privilege conversation is so tricky for them because they know that if things switch in a few years, and they say, you know, no executive privilege, no Republican House Senate can be like, well, we have some questions for you.

To why this testimony someone like Mark Meadows is very important because if someone like Ron Klain can equally gum in front of Congress and have to divulge lots of, you know, secrets, privileged conversations.

It creates this very, very temperate glass situation over at the White House, they want to do the right thing. They want to be the D.C. guys. But they also don't want to put their fate in the hands of Republicans who are not playing any facts in reality.

KING: So what happens now in the sense that if you have defiance of Congress, and Congress wants to turn that into contempt of Congress, one of the strategies here is run off the clock, right? The American people will lose focus. Maybe even the Committee will just give up after time. If you have a court hearing, after court hearing, after court hearing, what's the process and how clean and clear is it?


CARRIE CORDERO, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, it's not very clean and clear. So first of all, it's up to the Committee to decide how hard they're going to play on this and whether they are really going to go after the enforcement of these so they can make criminal referrals to the Justice Department for contempt. If there's one of these individuals or more who is actually evading service of them, there even potentially could be a referral for obstruction.

But you know, these individuals, it's -- on one hand, Dana, you're absolutely right. It has to do with the fact that this is a lawful process. This is a legitimate congressional investigation. It's an independent branch of government that is serving a subpoena and they should comply with it, but they also don't comply at their own personal peril. I mean, this potentially if Congress makes criminal referrals, then these individuals are potentially subject to prosecution by the Justice Department.

KING: Oh, it's fascinating, legally and politically, but legally to see what the Committee does and what follows out from there. Appreciate you coming and Carrie as well, everybody else.

Up next, the COVID numbers are finally improving. But there are some regional red flags including a brand new CNN analysis of lagging vaccination rates among adolescents. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


KING: The COVID trend lines are in a word, better. Let's take a look. Some of them getting almost encouraging. If you look here a month ago, 150,000 new COVID infections a day, yesterday below 100,000 for the first time in two months, 99.8 right there down 33.5 percent from one month ago, that the rate of new COVID infections. When cases come down, hospitalizations come down, down 32.5 percent from one month ago, the lowest hospitalization rate since early August.

You see a month ago, 102,000 Americans hospitalized yesterday shy of 69,000 Americans. And it lags a couple of weeks behind but deaths now finally coming down as well. It is still horrific. Yesterday more than 1,600 Americans dying of the coronavirus, but two weeks ago, it was above 2,000.

It is down 17.5 percent from two weeks ago. So the trend lines are better. Let's get an assessment with us to share our expertise and our insights, Dr. Megan Ranney. She's associate dean of public health at Brown University. Dr. Ranney, my colleague, Sanjay Gupta, our chief medical correspondent last night diagnosed it this way.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I've been thought about the country as my own patient. I think that's just how I think about things. And I think if I was talking to the family of the patient, I'd say the patient is still in the intensive care unit. But we are getting ready to maybe move the patient out of the ICU onto the general care floor.


KING: Is that right? Do you agree with that?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, BROWN UNIVERSITY: I do agree with that with the additional point that we're ready to move the patient almost out of the ICU, but with the caution that they might have to come back, right? We are heading into colder months, so much of our country is still not vaccinated.

And there may be other variants on the way from across the globe. So this is good news. You know what goes up must come down. We're seeing the slowing of yet another surge. But that doesn't mean that we're not in for more trouble in some states and as the season gets colder over the months to come.

KING: Right. The -- some states part is critical. So we watched this during the summer. We watched this. The surge was more in southern states or states with lower vaccination rates. I just want to bring up a map right now that shows you this is a CNN analysis. In nine states, nine states less than one-third of eligible adolescents are fully vaccinated. You see the nine states on the screen here. We are, we hope weeks away from even younger children, ages five to 11 being eligible for vaccines. But when you see in some states yet again, lagging this in the subset of adolescents, listen to Dr. Peter Hotez who says, guess what? Yes, things are getting better. But even as younger children are relatively vaccinated, in many places, their parents will say, no.


DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Only 33 percent of the 12 to 17-year-olds, were given the COVID-19 vaccine here in the south as most of the southern states compared to 80 percent in the northeast. So once again, you have this geographic divide, where parents are holding back on vaccinating their adolescence, and given all the defiance in the south in the Mountain West that is going to hold us back.


KING: How important is it to break through that hesitancy among parents, whether it's adolescence or hopefully soon five to 11, if we're going to get to a better, stronger place.

RANNEY: You know, it's so important, John, for a couple of reasons. The first is, as we've seen this summer, kids can and do get sick. They are less likely to get sick from COVID than older folks. But it's not an impossible scenario.

And we've seen our pediatric hospitals filled with children and adolescents who've been really ill with COVID. These vaccines prevent that the kids and the teens also serve as vectors of this disease. You know, we've seen many of these surges, pre staged, by bumps in the number of infections among young adults and teenagers.

So getting these kids vaccinated will help to protect all of us, not just the kids. And those differences that Dr. Hotez was talking about between one state and another. We also see it within states. In my own home state of Rhode Island, we have some communities where up to 90 percent of the teens are vaccinated others where their percent is lower to closer to around 40 percent. And we're watching differences in spread and COVID within schools, even within a single state as a result.

So we've got to get parents comfortable with this vaccine. Understand that it's safe and understand how important it is not just for the kid, but also for their family and the larger community.


KING: Dr. Ranney as always, grateful for your time and your important insights.

Just ahead for us, we're waiting the President of the United States to speak momentarily on a jobs report that was actually quite disappointing, the President's take just moments away.


KING: Again, to remind you, we're waiting for the President of the United States to comment on last month's disappointing jobs report. We'll take you at the White House live momentarily when that happens.


In the meantime, the California recall campaign is behind us now and Governor Gavin Newsom huge win is being studied for any lessons that might apply to other campaigns. The results mean Arnold Schwarzenegger keeps his unique place as the state's only governor first elected in a recall election. In this year's battle, Newsom hammered away at policy contrast with the leading Republican on issues ranging from COVID to abortion rights.

Back 18 years ago, Schwarzenegger says he deliberately went out of his way to avoid policy specifics. He ran remember as a Republican, but in the latest episode of her podcast, Total Recall, California's political circus, Schwarzenegger, tell CNN's Dana Bash, that that light on detail strategy was born of advice from the liberal lion, most famous from America's most famous political family, Senator Edward Kennedy.

And so let's listen to that. Let's listen. You're having this conversation with the Governor later, about 18 years ago. Remember at the time he was married to Maria Shriver, so he was in the Kennedy family. He says, I'm running for office. Let's get some advice.


ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, FORMER GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA: First of all, Teddy Kennedy, what a jewel. Eunice said to me, my mother in law, Eunice, she said to me, you should talk to Teddy. I know you just announced but you should probably include Teddy in this whole thing.

You should talk to him. I said OK, I totally agree with you. He's very experienced. And I remember always what Teddy Kennedy said, don't get into details Arnold. And I listened to him very carefully. And that's exactly what we did. And then later on, when I was in office, we broke down the details.


KING: Fascinating, just on the personal connection with the Kennedys, but also on in Congress in the Senate, Teddy Kennedy was Mr. Details, but don't do it in a campaign.

BASH: Yes. No, exactly. And he said, the more you give the voters and the media, the more they're going to want. And he listened. It also kind of dovetailed into the kind of campaign that he ran. But sitting down with him 18 years later and listening to the stories what really was going on behind the scenes when he went from this huge action star to the governor of California during a recall only the second successful recall in American history of the governor was really, really fascinating. KANE: Well, I think what Ted Kennedy was probably saying in a different form, is that old line of, you campaign in poetry and you govern in prose. You know, Ted Kennedy wouldn't get into a Senate race with Mitt Romney or somebody and fight in the most weeds of weeds of weeds. Instead, it was about the values and, you know, Kennedy lore. And then when it came down to writing healthcare bill, it's stacks of volumes of things to go through and negotiate and haggle with.

KING: And it is interesting, you know, Gray Davis was a prominent Democrat at the time, Teddy Kennedy liberal icon, giving Arnold Schwarzenegger advice to essentially stick to what Arnold did most of the time, clean house, clean house, don't get into policy, we just say it's time to clean house in Sacramento. Gray Davis probably, I appreciate that.

BASH: No. And another interesting footnote that he talks about Gray Davis talks about, they became very close talk about the difference between politics and then now. They became very close almost immediately, because Gray Davis when he made the concession call said let me know if I can help you, Schwarzenegger took him up on that, and they met pretty regularly.

So it worked together professionally, politically, but also became good friends, personally, which again, got me an imagine that today.

KING: Another thing Arnold talks about in a podcast is frustration from people when he couldn't deliver. People saying you were the action hero who promised us things we're going to hear momentarily from our President who's starting to sense that frustration. If you look at the polling right now, about the economy and about other things. Here's the President of the United States at the White House.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, for the first time since March of 2020, the American unemployment rate is below 5 percent. In just eight months since I became President, in the midst of a grave public health and economic crisis, the unemployment rate is now down below 5 percent, at 4.8 percent.

Let me just repeat that, today's report has the unemployment rate down to 4.8 percent, a significant improvement from when I took office and a sign that our recovery is moving forward even in the face of a COVID pandemic.

That improvement was widespread. Unemployment for Hispanic workers was down, and the unemployment rate for African Americans fell almost a full percent, and it's now below 8 percent for the first time in 17 months. A drop of 496,000 in long-term unemployment is the second- largest single-month drop since we started keeping records. The largest was in July.

So, in the past three months, we've seen a drop of 1.3 million long- term unemployed. That's the largest three-month fall in long-term unemployment since we started keeping records in 1948, more to do, but great progress. And working Americans are seeing their paychecks go up as well. In September, we saw one of the largest increases in average wages paid to workers on -- of working Americans on record. [12:55:06]

Today's report comes one day after the Labor Department found, in the third quarter of this year, the number of layoffs and job reductions was the lowest in this country since 1997.

Overall, the unemployment report shows that almost 200,000 jobs were created last month, over 300,000 in the private sector and 26,000 in manufacturing, offset by some seasonal adjustments in education hiring.

The monthly totals bounce around, but if you take a look at the trend, it's solid. On average, 600,000 new jobs created every month since I took office. And in three months before I got there, that was one- tenth of what was being created. It's 60 to 60,000, as opposed to 600,000 jobs a month.

In total, the job creation in the first eight months of my administration is nearly 5 million jobs. Jobs up, wages up, unemployment down, that's progress. And it's a tribute to the hard work and resilience of the American people who are battling through this pandemic, working to keep their businesses afloat.

Remember, today's report is based on a survey that was taken during the week of September the 13th not today, September the 13th, when COVID cases were averaging more than 150,000 per day. Since then, we've seen the daily cases fall by more than one-third, and they're continuing to trend down. We're continuing to make progress.

Right now, things in Washington, as you all know, are awfully noisy. Turn on the news and every conversation is a confrontation, every disagreement is a crisis. But when you take a step back and look at what's happening, we're actually making real progress.

Maybe it doesn't seem fast enough. I'd like to see it faster, and we're going to make it faster. But, maybe it doesn't appear dramatic enough. But I too would like to, as I said, move it faster. We're making consistent, steady progress, though.

And thanks to bipartisan agreements, we're making progress on funding the government and raising the debt limit so people continue to get their Social Security checks, the military, you know, continues to get paid, and so much more.

We're making real progress on COVID-19 as well. More than 186 million Americans are now fully vaccinated. More than 75 percent of eligible Americans have gotten at least one shot. And COVID cases are down 40 percent in the past month. Hospitalizations are down over 25 percent.

In July, when I announced the first vaccination requirement, about 95 million eligible Americans still had not been vaccinated. Today, we've reduced that from 95 to 67 million eligible Americans that haven't been vaccinated. That's still much too much. There's more work to do, including getting more people vaccinated, but we continue to make progress, progress. And the American Rescue Plan, which we passed shortly after I was elected, we've made progress providing rent and mortgage relief to help keep roofs over people's heads. We've provided checks in pockets and other benefits so families can put food on the table for their families. Hundreds of thousands of loans to help small businesses stay open and keep employments -- employees on the job getting paid.

Today, towns and cities and states that were at risk of losing hundreds of thousands of jobs before because they didn't have the budget to pay - we helped make their payroll for them, so they could keep teachers, police officers, firefighters, essential workers on the job.

Helping schools stay open with the equipment and resources needed to keep students and educators safe. And we finally gave a tax break, I've been looking at this for a long time, to families with children, which, as I speak, is providing monthly checks for more than -- more families with -- for 60 million children, $300 per month for every child under the age of 7, $250 a month for every child under the age of 17, keeping the tax cut, it's a tax cut for these people and cutting child poverty nearly in half over 40 percent.

We're making progress protecting our air and water as well and our natural lands. There's much more to do. And I have more -- I'll have more to say about that later today. The jobs numbers also remind us that we have important work ahead of us and important investments we need to make. America is still the largest economy in the world. We still have the most productive workers and the most innovative minds in the world, but we risk losing our edge as a nation if we don't move.


Our infrastructure used to be the best in the world. Today, according to the World Economic Forum, the United States of America ranks 13th in the world, 13th on infrastructure, roads, bridges, ports, et cetera. We were among the first in the world to guarantee access to universal education back at the turn of the 20th century.