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Trump Ally Steve Bannon Indicted For Contempt Of Congress; Biden Says Inflation A Big Problem, Working To Address It; GOP Lawmakers Receive Death Threats After Infrastructure Vote; Trials In Wisconsin And Georgia Put Race In The Spotlight; Police Reform, Voting Rights Bill Stall In Congress. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired November 14, 2021 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST (voice-over): In contempt, Steve Bannon indicted for ignoring a subpoena from Congress. Will other ex-Trump aides thinks twice about following his lead?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It sends a real message to all the others who have been subpoenaed, they've got to come and tell the truth.
COLLINS: Plus, the president set to sign his bipartisan infrastructure bill into law.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The American people sent us here to make the government work. They sent us here to make a difference in their lives. I believe we're doing that.
COLLINS: But voters say they're focused on a different problem -- inflation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No more Starbucks. No, I have to get to work and have to have gas.
COLLINS: And new threats of violence against members of Congress. It's coming from angry constituents and from each other.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): It is never acceptable. It can't be acceptable. I don't care if it's a Republican or Democrat.
COLLINS: "INSIDE POLITICS", the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.
COLLINS (on camera): And welcome to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. I'm Kaitlan Collins, in for Abby Phillip.
A legal earthquake here in Washington with former Trump adviser Steve Bannon under indictment this morning by a federal grand jury, charged with two counts of criminal contempt of Congress after he openly defied a subpoena from the committee investigating January 6th.
Bannon is expected to turn himself tomorrow and faces up to two years behind bars. The charges putting others who are considering snubbing the committee on notice. Justice Department really brings contempt charges against government officials for refusing to comply with subpoenas. And Bannon is the first in decades.
But he's not the only witness who has attempted to stonewall the probe.
Ex-chief of staff Mark Meadows missed a Friday deadline to turn over documents and appear for a deposition.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): This is an important step for the rule of law and that's what the Department of Justice upheld here. Decisions that Steve Bannon made have consequences. He chose to defy a lawful subpoena and anyone else should take note, including Mr. Meadows, of the tools that we have at our disposable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Meadows could be the next facing charges.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK MEADOWS, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: These are complex legal matters, quite frankly you got a number of different opinions, kind of got me in the middle of it. We work hard to reach an accommodation with the committee and yet it's basically their way or the highway. And so, they took a very aggressive move today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: He certainly is in the middle of it. And so, joining us now with their reporting and their insights, CNN's Paula Reid, Jackie Kucinich with "The Daily Beast", Tarini Parti of "The Wall Street Journal", and "The Washington Post's" Paul Kane.
Paula, I want to start with you because, of course, this landed like a bomb in Washington on Friday and everyone's first question is, how is this going to affect all of the other people? Because we have seen the subpoenas for these former Trump staffers, a lot of them had not responded yet. Just hours before these charges came down, of course, Mark Meadows defied his subpoena, what kind of message does this send to others.
PAUL REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I know speakers from sources, some of these potential witnesses, they were all watching to see what was going to happen with Bannon. And look, without any consequences for Bannon's just outright defiance, this investigation arguably would have been crippled.
I do think that a lot of these witnesses may not necessarily want the reputational impact of going through a criminal process. But there's also the cost. Not everyone has the kind of resources that Steve Bannon has to take on the Justice Department in this kind of proceeding.
So, do you think we're going to see more engagement and efforts to maybe negotiate terms to Cooperate, we shouldn't necessarily extent that everyone is going to show up and give community everything it wants.
COLLINS: Yeah, some of these aides don't have the funds and the legal power to really fight back on these, some of these people are in their 20s and their 30s. And so, of course, the question, what effect does this have on the rest? The former press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, is predicting that they could continue to stonewall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: My prediction is that the former president is going to tell everyone to continue to stall. They're going to fund-raise off of this. Bannon I think absolutely wear this as a badge of honor and martyr himself almost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: So, there is a way to do this, right? With Bannon and with meadows arguably they're playing to an audience of one, if they wanted to undermine the committee they would have shown up and they would have taken the Fifth on certain questions, makes try to raise privilege on a few more.
It makes it really difficult to proceed with a contempt referral, if you show up and you plead the fight. You invoke privilege. That would have been more sophisticated way to really undermine this committee. That's still an option for many people who want to engage, show up, not completely defy a subpoena and risk a criminal contempt.
COLLINS: Yeah. So, we know Bannon is expected to turn himself in tomorrow, he has a court appearance, first big politically charged or politically tinged decision that we're seeing from the Justice Department. They're in this awkward position of prosecuting a former top official from the former White House of a different party. So, what did you think of the attorney general's decision, Tarini?
TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Yeah. I think Merrick Garland has been under a lot of pressure on January 6 and a number of other issues the president has repeatedly said the Justice Department is going to be independent, make their own decisions, it also shows the subpoena power of Congress that had been eroding over the last several decades, this added more teeth to their subpoena powers and, you know, everyone as Paula was saying is going to make their own decisions, people who have received subpoenas, but the lower, mid-level staffers could see this and decide to sort of move forward and engage at least a little bit with the committee.
COLLINS: Yeah. What do you think about this means for Congress? Because we have been in this Washington where you have seen Trump aide after Trump aide say, you know, Congress doesn't matter, their subpoenas aren't enforceable. We saw that a lot with impeachment trials.
What did this decision on Friday mean for Congress?
PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: I'm focused on the Mark Meadows decision. Mark Meadows was a member of the House of Representatives who served on the House Oversight Committee, which focused on investigations and subpoenas. At one point, he was the ranking Republican on the Oversight Committee, so anyone who knows subpoena laws from Congress, you know, Meadows is among the top five.
So his idea of flouting this is so fabulous in a very generic way of fabulous. They're trying to run out the clock. They're like, you know, Bannon got off of his previous indictment because of a Trump pardon, the pardon, quote/unquote, for these folks is the Republicans taking the majority a year from now and they want to try to run out the clock as much as possible because if the Republicans take the majority on January 3rd, 2023, this committee is going to cease to exist, the Republicans will not continue it and they'll extinguish and then they won't have to testify.
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And Meadows is used to take exception when he wasn't given the documents that he asked for with various administrations.
COLLINS: He's on camera complaining about people not complying with congressional subpoenas, which he just did not do on Friday.
KUCINICH: I'm sure the hypocrisy really just crushes into his core. But the other thing with Meadows and maybe Paula knows the answer to this, he was actually a White House official when January 6 happened. Bannon was not. So I'm curious how that plays into what happens to him next, if in fact it starts going down the Bannon road.
REID: Yeah, he certainly has the strongest claim to privilege. The thinking from Trump world has throughout this investigation, anyone who got privileged protection the chief of staff and potentially if it came to it, White House counsel.
Now, clearly, the Biden administration, they're taking a pretty hard line here. They're saying, look, we get in some circumstances the chief of staff might have privilege protection, with this, an insurrection, this is not the kind of thing that privilege was meant to shield. And they continue to tell me, I'm sure you've heard this as well, this was an extraordinary circumstance.
And they believe that will shield them in a year or so if Republicans take the House, from them turning that around on them and saying, you created a new precedence. Chief of staff's documents are not fair game.
COLLINS: But do we have any sense, we've seen how elections have played out lately for Democrats, this conventional wisdom they're not going to do well in the midterms, we'll see if that plays out? Is there any sign that the committee is speeding up its work because they know they've got a deadline essentially here?
REID: So, I haven't seen that. We know they're trying to do things maybe in the spring being mindful of the November deadline, but I know in talking to some of these witnesses, even the people who are willing to play ball, all right, let's negotiate some terms and let's see what happens with Bannon, that cooperation hypothetically wouldn't happen until the end of this year, beginning of next year. So, it's just -- even if they have the will and desire to move faster, I mean, they are up against a lot of resistance.
COLLINS: So, while this all is going on, the former president is weighing in on what happened that day, namely what happened to his vice president at the time, of course. One of his most loyal deputies throughout his entire presidency, of course, when people, rioters chanting "hang Mike Pence."
And the former president seem to think that that wasn't really an issue.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JON KARL, ABC NEWS: They were saying hang Mike Pence.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESDIENT: Because it's common sense, Jon, it's common sense that you're supposed to protect. How can you if you know a vote is fraudulent, right -- how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COLLINS: Does that comment from the former president surprise you at all, Jackie?
KUCINICH: It's shocking. It should surprise people. But it doesn't, because it's all about Trump. It's always been all about Trump and that's how he sees the world. I think one of the more striking parts of this, though, is how loyal Mike Pence continues to be, how loyal everyone who's thinking about running for president in 2024 who's a Republican continue to be former President Trump and the grip he still ha. He was fund-raising with Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader just last week.
So there's no move to push this person away. He's very much front and center to this day, despite the fact that he thought it was okay to kill the vice president apparently.
COLLINS: Yeah, I think that speaks to why the committee and the White House is taking the strategy that they have and saying this is an extraordinary circumstance and clearly the former president seems to -- still thinks what happened that day wasn't significant.
Up next, the penalty will sign the infrastructure bill into law tomorrow, as voters want to know what he's doing about inflation.
COLLINS: It's a big day tomorrow for President Biden, he'll sign the historic infrastructure bill into law, repairing roads and bridges is pretty popular with voters, but they're also concerned about the rising cost of everything from gas to groceries. The president has a new message, I feel your pain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more. It's worrisome even though wage are going up. We're facing disruptions in the supplies that make those goods. This is a recipe for delays and for higher prices and people are feeling it. They're feeling it. Did you ever think you'd be paying this much for a gallon of gas?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Biden's approval rating is now the lowest of his presidency and a big reason why 6 in 10 Americans say he's not paying enough attention to the country's most important problems.
Astead Herndon of "The New York Times" joins our conversation.
Tarini, this change in tune from the president is pretty stark what we saw this week at the port of Baltimore, I was there, compared to what we have heard from the president over the summer repeatedly down playing the threat of inflation?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Talk about inflation, the overwhelming consensus is going to pop up a little bit and they go back down.
As our economy has come roaring back, we have seen price increases. Some folks have raised worries that could be a sign of persistent inflation. But that's not our view.
The vast majority of the experts including Wall Street are suggesting that it's highly unlikely long-term inflation that's going to get out of hand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Obviously, we are now still seeing it. So, what are you hearing from sources about why the White House has changed the way they're messaging around this?
PARTI: So, the White House officials keep saying the thrust of the message that inflation is going to be they stopped using the term transitory. They talked more about in relation how people are experience rising cost, trying to connect with people more, they see it more of a messaging issue at this point because they do think that inflation will go down and in terms of that messaging they're trying to connect with people, but they're also now trying to push back on sort of the political attacks they're facing from Republicans.
We saw Jen Psaki say on Friday, that Republicans are using inflation as a political cudgel. So, they're starting to be a little bit more aggressive in pushing back and saying if Republicans care about inflation, they should come and talk to Democrats and pass the Build Back Better act with them. And so they're trying to sort of win the battle on messaging here, but the thrust of the message that it's temporary has still been the same. We'll if that actually, you know, is temporary.
COLLINS: Yeah. And, of course, what they would be focusing on isn't inflation but the big infrastructure bill. It's a big bipartisan win for the president. And, so, of course, you know, it was passed in the middle of the night. They're hoping the signing will get more attention.
But the polls from "The Washington Post" and ABC shows that a lot of voters don't think the president has accomplished that much. Six in 10 say ten months in office he hasn't accomplished that much. So, is this a messaging problem for the White House?
KANE: Yes, it is. Even more worrisome, 70 percent of independents the voters who are going to make or break a lot of races in the middle terms. 70 percent of independents have said he's done little or nothing. It goes to this issue, they're trying to work on build back better, massive reconciliation bill.
And the public generally sort of approves a are the of the different proposals individually but in terms of the entire massive package, $2 trillion or so, the public isn't really paying attention to that because they're worried about inflation, they see it, a few months ago it was inflation stories were about rental cars, now it's transitory. It has transition to inflation into bacon, in a loaf of bread, and milk, and real-life gas prices pushing up near $4.
So, that's where the public is. And so, the public isn't focused on their agenda right now, and that's where you see the poll results suggesting little or nothing.
COLLINS: And it's having a horrible effect on his approval rating. I mean, this new poll that says approval rating is 41 percent, disapproval's 53 percent.
For how he's handling the economy, which is, of course, this is the strong point coming into office, 39 percent approved. Coronavirus, his other big one, 47 percent.
Then this question, is the president keeping most of his campaign promises? Only 31 percent said yes.
ASTEAD HERNDON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, this is a problem for the White House particularly going into the midterms next year, there was the thought of course this administration would handle the coronavirus, would get everybody vaccinated, and then would move on to these other agenda items. That has been a struggle. The Build Back Better agenda the negotiations lasted longer than they want.
And now, they're in the position of trying to hype up the infrastructure bill and Build Back Better talking about what's been cut from these bills. You know, when we were -- when I was out in Virginia and other places talking to folks about how they're feeling right now, you know, voters, particularly marginal voters, people who are not big partisans, they really come to politics knowing a certain amount of issues.
This White House talked about things like paid family leave, tuition free college, they talked about things -- actually raising the minimum wage, have tangible effects, political issues they know. Those were largely cut from their agenda. And so, now, they're trying to motivate people on maybe things in that build back better agenda that will affect them, will be actually moving for families but they're not actually the things they have been talking about and not the things that came from the campaign promise.
So I think there is a messaging disconnect that this White House is facing but there's also a structural problem. They're up against a Senate that will not let them do the things he campaigned on. And so, that is something that Biden's going to have to square and continue to face in the next year.
KUCINICH: Making sure people know some of these things are actually affecting them, making sure -- right now people don't feel like Biden is doing anything. They don't feel like any -- like the economy is getting better, their lives are getting better. And so, that part of the messaging, it hasn't been there yet, particularly when you're talking about this highway bill that's coming down the pike. They're trying to push that right now.
But, I mean, that's not -- you can't just turn -- it's hard to spend all of that money. You can't just turn it on.
KUCINICH: So, that lag is going to be a challenge.
COLLINS: Yeah. The implementation of that is going to take time for voters to actually see roads and bridges being fixed.
PK, the question for the White House is whether these rising inflation numbers complicate their path to getting the second part of the economic agenda passed. We're seeing Joe Manchin tweeting out. Do you think this is going to throw a wrench in that or what is this going to look like when Congress is back?
KANE: It's going to throw a wrench in it because Joe Manchin is going to throw a wrench into it. It's going to be complicated. Manchin is going to make it difficult. He's very worried about inflation.
Oddly enough, the biggest Democratic critic on inflation has been Larry Summers, former Clinton Treasury secretary, Obama economic adviser. He was railing against this in the spring, when they were passing a $1.9 trillion bill. Larry Summers has said, no, this build back better thing has been mostly paid for with offsetting tax cuts. It's spread in over 10 years. This shouldn't have any impact on inflation. But I'm not sure Joe Manchin really is paying attention to Larry Summers right now.
So, it's going to become an issue. It's going to panic some Democrats, probably a few in the House also. Remember, this still has to pass the House of Representatives. They're hoping for next week but we shall see.
COLLINS: Yeah, maybe the White House should give Larry Summers Joe Manchin's phone number. We'll see.
Up next, Republican lawmakers are getting death threats because they dared vote for repairing roads and bridges.
COLLINS: Michigan Republican Fred Upton says his voicemail has been flooded with death threats like this one.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
VOICEMAIL LEFT FOR REP. FRED UPTON (R-MI): I hope you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) die. I hope your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) family dies. I hope everybody in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) staff dies, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (EXPLETIVE DELETED). Traitor!
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COLLINS: Why did he get that message? Fred Upton voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Many of the other 12 House Republicans who also voted yes said they received similar messages.
Instead of defending his members, though, House Minority Kevin McCarthy has said nothing, even if some conservatives say they should lose their committee assignments.
Meanwhile, in a now deleted tweet, Arizona Republican Paul Gosar showed a video of a cartoon version himself of himself killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It's been nearly a week and he has yet to face any rebuke from Republican leadership, though Democrats want the House to officially censure him.
PK, that voicemail from Fred Upton and the fact that other Republicans are also getting similar threats because they voted for clean water, for broadband access, for fixing roads, fixing bridges, I mean, what does that even say?
KANE: Look, the House of Representatives, Jackie and I have covered the place for a really long time. It is -- it is a cauldron. It is -- it has just never healed itself or come close to healing itself from January 6 on.
The Senate is -- the Senate still has tensions that are there. The House is still just heated.
They have magnometers (ph) set outside the chamber. And every member has to walk through to prove that they don't have a weapon on them. And It seems a little bit ridiculous at times to think, all right, these are members of congress. Come on.
But then you see what Paul Gosar tweets, that sort of violence. Marjorie Taylor Greene went with her staff and visited the D.C. prison and made them take her to what they called the patriot wing so she could see the people who were still there from January 6th crimes.
When people do those types of things it creates this atmosphere and they get messages like Fred Upton's getting. It creates the sense I think we need magnometers outside to make sure that nobody has got a gun or a knife.
KUCINICH: And there's no consequences for any of these members who are acting out. There's no -- there was a time where leadership perhaps would have punished them. Now we're at a point where there's more outrage at Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney for serving on the January 6th committee than for Paul Gosar threatening to, or you know, tweeting out something that murders a colleague. I mean it's absurd.
COLLINS: but it raises the question, where is Kevin McCarthy be he is the first one any time a member of the squad or anyone says anything, he's calling on Speaker Pelosi to condemn them or criticize them or in some way reprimand them. and he has said nothing about this. Even about his own members in defense of them against of them people, crazy people who are calling their office and leaving messages like that.
KUCINICH: It's an excellent question. And I'm sure a lot of those members that are receiving these death threats want an answer to it and they're entitled to it.
PARTI: I think what's interesting is that the members who voted for it are moderate Republicans who represents swing districts who need to re-elections.
So you would think that the Republican leadership would want them to win the re-election and would support them because they think that this is the type of issue that if they vote for it, their constituents would help re-elect them.
COLLINS: Right. And Astead, you have a great piece in the "New York Times", say -- the headline -- "Menace is a Political Tool enters the Republican mainstream".
Essentially making the argument that this is no longer just a fringe argument. Saying that, you know, according to political scientist who said he has a hard time seeing he we'd have a peaceful 2024 election after everything that has happened now he said I don't see the conflicts going away.
HERNDON: Yes. this came out of Congressman Gosar's tweet. But really it was about how when you look at the rest of the country, these threats, this violence is way more normal than it is in Washington.
This is a partisan split in the country where particularly Republican -- that grassroots wing of Republicans have embraced violent language and the view of Democrats as inherent enemies of democracy where anything is justified.
I'm moving (ph) in Arizona where a man pulled out a gun and talked about how he was going to kill Democrats if they took over -- if Trump lost the election.
I was just in Virginia where a man prayed at the beginning of the rally saying that they were in a battle against communists and atheists and that the lord needed to help them to win. Where they cheer having guns if it came to violence.
There is a lot of language on the Republican grassroots side that not only sees the country in a crossroad but that sees it in growing towards an armed conflict.
And when we were reporting that story, we heard from a member of Republican leadership who in broad general terms denounced violence, but when we asked that member -- when we asked those folks to be on the record, to put their names by it, they wouldn't do it. That is the scope of where we are at right now.
HERNDON: Where even something as broad as condemning violence from members of Congress cannot happen from the leadership partly because they understand that the grassroots is way further than where Washington is right now on this issue and that should scare us all.
COLLINS: And so do think any Republicans show up at the White House signing ceremony tomorrow? I mean this is going to be moment for the president to say here's this bipartisan deal but do Republicans who are getting these kind of death threats want to have that image also being circulated?
KANE: I think certainly on the Senate side I imagine a couple of them are retiring and don't have to worry about a Republican primary vote. So I think some of them will be there.
But three of the members in the House side who voted for this, Don Young, Chris Smith and Fred Upton have served a combined 135 years in the House of Representatives.
KANE: They're three of the five longest serving members of the House. They have survived political waves up and down. And Don Young was abandoned by House leadership in 2008 as he was facing like three different FBI investigations. COLLINS: Yes.
KANE: He survived. They -- they have their own identity and they are probably -- if they -- if their flights can get there on time, they will be there. And I think they look at all of this with a sense of I've been around. I'm going to keep doing things. I have my own brand back in my district and I will survive.
COLLINS: And of course, this raises the question, too, what do Republicans run on in 2022 ahead of the midterm elections? How are they looking at the national landscape? Because we know from that poll out today, Republicans are favored by about 10 percent to win and that's pretty strong showing for them.
And then it also comes is if you break down the poll in swing states, the president's overall job approval rating is even lower than just the average, the 43 percent. It's as low as 33 percent in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, states that of course are very critical to the president.
PARTI: Right. This is why you're going to see the president this week go out and start selling this infrastructure package as Republicans keep pushing, you know, the rising inflation. They're going to keep talking about it.
They're going to be talking about more cultural topics like, you know, critical race theory. They've tried to make this a base issue really rally their voters on this. So you're going to hear them talk about that.
On the economic side, the moderate Republicans who voted for the infrastructure package are going to try to -- kind of have to explain to their voters why they voted for this as they face attacks not only from Democrats but from their own base asking them why they voted for this because there's so much confusion about what is in this package because people like Kevin McCarthy told Republicans not to essentially vote for this.
COLLINS: Yes. The Republicans, of course, are still struggling with the Trump version of that. You know, the Chris Christie quote from this weekend stood out where he said the Glenn Youngkin win in Virginia shows that if you don't agree with Trump on everything and pledge unfettered fealty to him, you can't win because these voters quote-unquote "won't come out".
He says no candidate owns voter -- they don't. We'll see.
But next up, President Biden is trying to make sense of rising inflation. But the big question is whether or not there's anything he can actually do to quickly bring it down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because of the strength of our economic recovery, American families have been able to buy more products. With more people with money buying product and less product to buy, what happens? Prices go up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: The last time inflation was this high, that song from Vanilla Ice was topping the Billboard charts. It's a big political problem for President Biden and an even bigger one for millions of American families.
Here's why, wages are up by a healthy 5 percent from a year ago but the surge in cost of basic life necessities like gas and food are wiping out those pay gains.
Austan Goolsbee was President Obama's top economic adviser and he joins us now from a snowy Chicago.
Austan, of course, you're looking at this and you're looking at these inflation numbers. And do you think the White House was wrong to call it transitory?
AUSTAN GOOLSBEE, FORMER OBAMA ECONOMIC ADVISER: I don't think so. I still -- you know, since I believe that the main thing that's still wrong with the economy is the virus. If we get control of the virus, I think this will still prove to be transitory, but that doesn't make it any easier, you know, in this exact moment.
COLLINS: And so, of course, a big question is what can the president actually do to change this? A lot of president had to deal with this. a lot of them feel like it's out of their hands. But of course, you still have to message it.
And I think that's what the president was trying to do in Baltimore this week saying, you know, I feel your pain here that you are paying more for bacon, and eggs and chicken.
But these are ideas that have been tossed around and what President Biden can actually do. Keeping ports open 24 hours a day. Paying truck drivers more to potentially heal clear up some of the supply chain gridlock. Easing Trump era tariffs on China potentially.
Do any of those things actually workable you think when it comes to what he can do in the short term to reduce inflation?
GOOLSBEE: Well how short is short? You know, in the three-week time frame, there's nothing they can do. This isn't exclusive to the United States. You have all the leaders of all the major economies of the world dealing with this issue of what feels like runaway inflation at the same time.
And that's a big part of the problem the whole world is trying to come back -- come booming back right, simultaneously. And the supply chain's not designed to do that.
Now on an odd note, I actually think that if you can get control of the virus and start reducing the caseload, we can shift -- normally Americans spend the big majority of their money on services.
And a very strange thing happened during this COVID downturn, that we shifted to spending of most of our money on physical goods because the services shut down.
Now, if we could get control of the virus and people can go back to spending on services, I think that will ease some of the burden that's on the supply chain and causing that inflation.
On the gasoline prices, as we've seen in many cycles in the past, there's not a tremendous amount that the government can do. You can fiddle in the short run with the strategic petroleum reserve if you feel like there are interferences in the problems in the supply chain.
Immigration has actually fallen by more than 50 percent over the last three or four years. And that's contributing to the worker shortage. You could allow more immigration.
But all of those seem relatively unlikely. So we're just going to hold the fort and bear down.
COLLINS: Yes. And we know that, of course, inflation has been a global issue that we've seen playing out, not just something that's happening here in the U.S.
I do want to ask you a question because there's been this back and forth between the White House and Republicans who say that the president's policies are only going to contribute to this. And if there's more federal spending like the second part of the president's economic agenda that we know Congress is going to focus on when they're back this week, that could lead to even higher inflation even if it potentially reduces it in the long term. What is your take on that?
GOOLSBEE: Well, you know, one take on that is why is it happening everywhere in the world if it has to do with just U.S. policy? But the other take, I think the Republicans saying that feels more like a political argument than an economic argument because if you follow their economic logic, then they should stop objecting to the Biden's plan to raise taxes to pay for the spending.
GOOLSBEE: Because if you would agree to raise taxes on high income people and large corporations and not increase the deficit, you would sterilize any government action from having a stimulative effect.
COLLINS: Yes. And so of course, on this deal, a lot of this comes down to the messaging from the White House. and what we are seeing in a new poll today 70 percent of voters do not think the economy is in a good situation even though wages are up and of course, unemployment is falling. All of these things that the White House keeps highlighting. Why do
you think that is what voters are taking away from all of this?
GOOLSBEE: Yes. I saw this poll and it follows up on a number of negative polls. I think part of this, what we have seen in the past is that it takes a few months for people to register in the polling how they feel about the economy.
So when they're reporting their opinion right now, it's based on the last three or four months and we had a rocky three or four months over the summer as the delta variant resurged.
If we keep putting up jobs numbers of half a million jobs created in a single month and GDP growth and income keep going up but inflation starts to come down, I think you would probably see those polls change.
If not, if we keep having these problems with the virus and prices keep going up, I think you would be in a sour mood for months.
COLLINS: Yes. and of course, that would only create more political headaches for the White House.
Austan Goolsbee, thanks so much for joining us this morning.
GOOLSBEE: Great to see you.
COLLINS: Up next, two trials in an off year election has put race in the spotlight.
COLLINS: Two trials in the headlines this week where race is a defining issue. The men on trial for killing Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old who killed two men and have police tell him to quote, " go home in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
In the Georgia trial the defense lawyer objected to Reverend Al Sharpton's presence in the courtroom and in the Wisconsin case, the judge's take on the word "victim" raised some eyebrow.
Here's what Ben Crump who represents Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, and the Arbery family in Georgia had to say about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN CRUMP, LAWYER: It's very offensive on every level that the family of Ahmaud Arbery cannot have the people who they choose to support them be in the courtroom.
You think about just the parallels going on between the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse and the trial of the killers of Ahmaud Arbery. You think about the fact that in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial they say you can't refer to the deceased individuals as victims, you have to call them arsonists and looters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: Astead, the eyes of the nation are really on both of these trials and you heard Ben Crump there talking about the parallels between the two of them. What have you seen from watching them?
HERNDON: I think that we're going to see cases that are going to give us this national attention and specifically on an issue that has been growing and growing in terms of national prominence. This is obviously coming after the large protests last summer.
And no matter if this was going to be this trial or something else, we know that the changing demographics of this country have pushed race and the questions of racism particularly about policing and equity onto the forefront.
And so these are going to be cases that will have intense interest just like the killer of George Floyd, just like the level of intensity that we have seen historically in things like the O.J. Simpson trial and others.
I expect that when this comes out, we will have intense watching, there might be protests, there might be another round of what we have come to -- when this could become the norm in terms of the intense focus on the verdict here but that's because folks are so emotionally invested.
What it seems like is a case that showed the disparities within the legal system that we know to be true, but that is going to be tested again and I think that we're going to -- we're going to have folks who are going to frankly be, feel their personal identity is tied into these verdicts and that is going to also have political ramifications.
COLLINS: Yes. and so when it comes to these questions of disparities in the justice system, you know, there's a poll recently as we've been talking about what's playing out and not just, you know, the trials but also in national politics, Jackie, that says 75 percent of voters say they favor teaching of the history of racism. But when you ask about teaching critical race theory that falls to 43 percent. So what do you read from those numbers?
KUCINICH: You know, I think this issue of education that has come up since the -- largely since the McAuliffe race -- it really shows how much parents, I think it depends on the question. I think a lot of people don't know what critical race is at the end of day.
And I think that you know, the control over education by parents. But I think it is a lack of wanting to have a reckoning. It's a lack of wanting to you know, perhaps expose children to how the world really is.
But I think speaking in another political realm, I think this is one of the reasons that Biden is having so much trouble with his approval numbers and with promises kept because these social justice issues have completely fallen off the radar. If you're talking about voting rights. If you're talking about any of
the policing bills that have just fallen off in the House and the Senate. And it's why you're seeing so much dissatisfaction not among Independents but among Democrats with where the White House has been going.
COLLINS: and PK, where has this push gone? Because as you were saying, just last year this was a big topic. This is all lawmakers were talking about. And now it seems like really any momentum behind this has evaporated.
KANE: They've really, the Biden administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill have put so much of their political capital into the domestic policy agenda, the infrastructure bill that he's going to sign into law on Monday, and the massive $2 trillion or so, whatever the latest CBO estimate on social policy agenda. They have focused intensely on this and it's upset some liberals and some others who question whether this is really what Biden campaigned on.
Was Joe Biden's campaign to, you know, save the soul of the nation really about whether Medicare covered dental and vision for the elderly? Or was it about voting rights, police justice.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said something to reporters about ten days ago where she said, no amount of material gains that we could deliver in those bills will compensate for the denial of voting rights and these other issues.
So this focus has just been heavily on the policy agenda without the social justice movement. And these two trials are connecting -- reconnecting that.
HERNDON: Can I just say this is also why Democrats push for like kind of triangulation on race has its shortcomings. No matter how much they want to avoid that and talk about so called kitchen table issues there are going to be these trials. They are going to be in the forefront and it's going to force that issue onto candidates and on to the president.
And so for all that the Democrats have tried to -- tried to away from some of this, we saw this in somewhat Virginia. We see this on critical race theory. It's a game that doesn't actually reflect where society is at this point.
They're going to have to talk about race and structural racism because that's where society, voters and people are.
COLLINS: Yes and I think a lot of voters are asking why not put the same effort that you're behind our domestic policy agenda behind this.
We'll have to leave there. That's it for INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY.
Join us back here every Sunday at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time.
Up next is "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.
And today Jake's guests include White House economic adviser, Brian Deese, and Republican Congressman Fred Upton.
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