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Inside Politics

Biden Speaks On Latest Jobs Report; ABC News: Trump Allegedly Shared Nuclear Submarine Secrets With Australian Billionaire At Mar-a- Lago In 2021; Biden Says Border Wall Doesn't Work As Construction Moves Forward; Biden Admin To Directly Deport Venezuelans Back To Their Country. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired October 06, 2023 - 12:30   ET


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Shutdown would mean troops don't get paid. Air traffic controllers wouldn't get paid. There'd be all kinds of problems at airports. Loans of small businesses would be delayed and closing some of them.

It's time to stop fooling around. House Republicans, it's time for you to do your job. Continue our progress, growing the economy, investing in America, investing the American people. So let's get to work for the American people. They're waiting and they're watching. We got to get to work.

Thank you all very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, what are the prospects for a meeting between you and President Xi of China in San Francisco next month?

BIDEN: There has been no such meeting setup, but it is a possibility.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, former President Trump endorsed Congressman Jim Jordan for House speaker, could you see yourself working with Congressman Jordan if he is the next speaker? And do you have any concerns about who might fill that position?

BIDEN: Look, whomever the House speakers, I'm going to try to work with. They control half the Congress and I'm going to try to work with them. There's some people I imagine it's going to be easier to work with than others. But whoever the speaker is, I'll try to work with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can you be specific about what you did to try to reappropriate those border funds that's controlled both chambers of Congress?

BIDEN: Only the wall thing? Is that what you're talking about?


BIDEN: Yes, they pass -- well, I was told that I had no choice, that, you know, Congress passes legislation to build something, whether it's an aircraft carrier wall or provide for a tax cut. I can't say I don't like it, I'm not going to do it. If it hadn't been vetoed. If it's a law.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You said yesterday that you tried to reappropriate the fund, so --

BIDEN: Yes, we tried to ask the Congress to consider changing the law to reappropriate, say, don't use it for other purposes. Give me more border agents. Give me more technical capabilities to detect fentanyl and the like. That's what I wanted to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, you started your remarks here today by saying it was good news today with the economic report. Why do you think most people still don't feel positive or feel good news about the economy?

BIDEN: Well, first of all, you just heard the news today, too. They haven't heard it. I think the people of 300,000 plus people who got jobs feel better about the economy. Look, I got to choose my words here. You all are not the happiest people in the world, what you report. And I mean it sincerely.

You get some more little -- you more legs when you're reporting something that's negative. I don't mean you're picking on me or I'm just the nature of things. You turn on the television and there's not a whole lot about boy saves dog as he swims in the lake, you know, to say, you know, it's about, you know, somebody pushed a dog in the lake.

I mean, I get it. But if you just listen to what's going on around the world, there's reason for people to be concerned. There's reason for people to be concerned what's going on with -- in Russia, be concerned about what's going on in other parts of the world.

I think that the American people are smart as hell and knowing what their interests are. I think they know they're better off financially than they were before. It's a fact. And all that data -- all that polling stuff shows they think they're more positive about the economy than they've been more positive about their jobs, et cetera.

I just think if you -- let me put it this way. If you just watch what happened last week in the Congress, how excited are you going to be about much of anything? Anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, why do you not legally try to challenge border wall construction?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to wait until there's a speaker to make a speech on Ukraine, sir?

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: You've been listening to President Biden come out to make a statement about the economy, about the -- as we said many times at the beginning of the show, the blockbuster jobs report. And he made the case for why the economy is getting better, the things that he believes that his administration did and tried to stop in order to keep these numbers growing.

And then he got several questions. Let's just start with that last question, because it's what we were talking about around the table before the President started, which is the disconnect between what he's saying and the very real statistics that are out there, the data, showing a good economy and the way people feel.


And that was really interesting to hear. We don't hear from him very much on things like this. And that you don't -- you, the press, don't report on the dog saving -- saving the dog in the --



BASH: The boy saving the dog.


BASH: You report on the boy pushing the dog in. I would argue that if that were the story, we would report the boy push the dog in and then guess what? The boy saved the dog. And I think that's what we tried to do here. The economic numbers are fantastic, for the most part, and yet people feel bad.

His answer also the way it wound up, which is if you look at what happened last week in Congress, how can you feel good about what's happening in Washington? To me, maybe that was one of the most resonant things that he said.

CHALIAN: About anything --

HENDERSON: Right. Yes.

CHALIAN: I mean, it was -- you know, it speaks to a sense of discontent of tuning out of disenchantment with political leadership in general, and the state of affairs in America. That's what he thinks the chaos that we saw in the House would cause most people to think and, you know, it -- you can hardly blame him for making that particular case.

But I just found it intriguing that on this fundamental question of the disconnect, he said he had to choose his words wisely and took a very substantial amount of time to get to an answer. There is what I sort of sense (ph) that he doesn't have an easy answer to that question.


ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And look, I think, what was really telling to me even before you get to the question and answer part of that event, he gave this sort of meandering low key accounting of this moment in the economy, where the digression about the importance of unionization, a swerve into attacking Republicans for proposing it for driving the government towards a shutdown, it would withhold pay from service members. There was no proactive effort to address what we know voters' concerns to be about the economy, right? That there was no, listen --

BASH: Inflation.

BURNS: -- I hear that people are frustrated with the price of consumer goods, I hear that people are having a crushingly difficult time with the cost of housing, and this is what I'm going to do about it. So there definitely is a disconnect here and there's a disconnect, you know, first and foremost between what he is talking about on the economy, and what voters are looking for answers on.

BASH: Well, let's just give you some data to back up what you just said. And Jeanna, I want to hear what you have to say about this. This is a poll from Marquette Law School last month, the question of who is better on inflation economy creating jobs. You see in a hypothetical matchup with Donald Trump, who wins on all of those.

And then the question of, if you'd look inside the electorate Republicans, Independents and Democrats, nobody's really feeling that great, including -- and especially Independents, but even Democrats say not so good, almost six and 10.

SMIALEK: You know, I think the dirty little secret of politics is that inflation matters enormously to voters. There is very little the president can do about it, extremely little. And so, when you get this disconnect, where he's not talking about these things, where he's not getting credit for the fact that inflation has come down, it's because he really can't take credit for it. He can't talk about it that much, because there's not that much he can do.

The second dirty little secret of inflation, in particular, is that the way we bring it down, the way we slow it down is by working against exactly the progress he's bragging about. And so, the way you get this inflation under control, as you slow the economy, slow the job market, you bring back these big gains. And so, you know, for him, I think it's really difficult to square that with him one speech to say, I hear you on inflation, but look at the job market --

BASH: Yes.

SMIALEK: -- because those goals are working --

BASH: And that's the Fed, which he has absolutely no control over.

HENDERSON: Yes. And listen, you know, I don't like to think he is getting at something, though, a kind of generalized anxiety that Americans have about everything, right? It's not just the economy. You know, obviously, the economy is what it is. Prices are high on everything from health care, to child care, to gas prices, to the prices of eggs.

But people just came through a pandemic which was very traumatic for the world, and there is still a sense of unease about what lies ahead. Are your kids' lives going to be better than your lives? Are they going to go to school and is a kid going to have a gun if somebody going to shoot up the school? So there is lots of I think bad news, obviously, the press reports on some of that.

But listen that falls to people who are living their lives daily looking at their neighborhoods, looking at the education system --

BASH: Yes.


HENDERSON: And again, it's not a lot that we've seen from politicians to address these issues that Americans experience every day.

BASH: It's such a good conversation. Really interesting to hear from the President, particularly there at the end, but I had you all here with me to unpack it.

Don't go anywhere because coming up, did Donald Trump reveal sensitive nuclear secrets to a foreign billionaire? We're going to talk about a new report coming up.



BASH: Former President Donald Trump is facing familiar allegations. ABC News is reporting that Trump shared military and intelligence secrets with someone he admired, Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt. CNN has confirmed that Pratt has been questioned by the Special Counsel Jack Smith in connection with his classified documents probe.

Trump spoke publicly about his admiration for Pratt while still in office back in 2019.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A lot of people don't tell you about Anthony, but I'll tell you about Anthony. He is the most successful man in Australia. He's a great man. And he's my friend and I appreciate it.


BASH: A spokesperson for Trump denied any wrongdoing saying in part that ABC's reporting lacked proper context and relevant information and urged the DOJ to investigate leaks behind the story.

U.S. Army Retired Major General James "Spider" Marks joins the conversation along with our great reporters back at the table. General Marks, I'll start with you. And as I do, I just want to put up on the screen for our viewers, the people, according to ABC, that Pratt allegedly told. It's 45 plus people, including six journalists, 11 employees, 10 Australian PMs. What if you did this?

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: My first question would be, if I go to jail, can I choose my cellmate? That would be the first thing that crossed my mind. It's totally illegal. But most importantly, it really talks about a Cavalier approach toward the absolute necessity to control this level of classified information.

Look, this is about our nuclear national security. This is the foundational program that we have, the nuclear triad, you know, the aircraft, the subs, and the ground based silos. We don't share that with anybody. And look, we also have a five eyes agreement where we share among five nations, the United States, Australia, U.K., New Zealand, and Canada, secrets of all levels. And we do that appropriately through procedures.

But you don't have a conversation with an Australian businessman simply because he's a buddy of yours. I mean, this is illegal behavior. It needs to be addressed of court to look at the sourcing of the report as well.

BASH: Yes, I mean, or says through a spokesman that it's not in proper context, we're not really sure what the proper context would be. But to your point, General, the Aussies put out a statement, this is according to the former Australian ambassador to the U.S., so it's not an official statement. But it basically says that if he spoke to this billionaire, Pratt, there is nothing that we all did not know, meaning, the government of Australia might have known that because they are part of the Five Eyes that you talked about.

But I just want to underscore a point that you made, which is, it's one thing for governments to know. It's another thing for a former president to allegedly tell such, such sensitive information to a private citizen, a billionaire, who then apparently told a lot of other people.

MARKS: Correct. I mean, this is the nature of any type of sharing and you have to assume there's a element of risk, right? And so you want to bound that risk and so you establish levels of classifications and the president United States has every level of clearance and all the caveats that protect all those very special programs.

And the president and if he wants to share that information, there's a process by which you can do that with the president, kind of like that, and it works in the world that I grew up in, certainly not at that level. If I wanted to share classified information, which I did, I had to go through a process where I'd go to the originator of that intelligence and ask permission, and it would come back, well, this is what you can say and this is how much of it you can share.

It's incredibly dangerous to simply mention that we have a Five Eyes program and say us no, it's no big deal --

BASH: Yes.

MARKS: -- because he's an Aussie and we have routine sharing with the Aussies. That's an official government program that takes place in a very controlled environment. And we do have partnerships. We have Aussies on our ships, we have -- we get on their ship. We share this stuff all the time. Absolutely not the right approach in any legal approach to very cavalierly share this with a civilian.

BASH: Such important context. And Alex, and for all of you, the other important part of this context is that this allegation is not in a vacuum. I mean, if you go back in time to when the former president was the sitting president, and you just give examples of when he apparently shared classified information with the Russian Foreign Minister inside the White House, the Oval Office, I believe.


If you go back to another example where he told the Filipino strong man Duterte about U.S. subs in North Korean waters.

BURNS: Right. You know, there's this pattern of treating this incredibly sensitive information as though it's just sort of interesting gossip, to share with your friends, or in this case, somebody who's paying money to your private cloud, right, which is another layer of, you know, what's problematic about this.

It's just reading the report. It's really quite vivid. And I think we should all obviously look under the hood at the sourcing, but it does sound like Donald Trump, right that he's sitting down with his wealthy friend of his, in this mode of -- it's almost a car salesman kind of pitch, right?

What can I do to get you in this sub today? This is how many warheads it can carry. This is how close you can get to a Russian submarine. And it just -- it underlines, you know, persistent concerns that had been across Washington across the world for years that he's just fundamentally doesn't take this stuff seriously.

BASH: And then we can play the -- what if Hillary Clinton did this game? I mean --

CHALIAN: Listen, it's unthinkable behavior, except for it's totally thinkable in the context of Donald Trump. So like, this is, you know, when you hear Chris Christie make the argument, or one of Trump's opponents make the argument about him not being qualified to serve as commander-in-chief, it is this kind of thing.

And you can't find -- we don't know of a comparable example to this kind of behavior in presidential history. It's what makes him unique. It makes him a threat to the way in which this is all supposed to function. And again, it's not surprising, because we're -- we have become so used to this behavior, but it is still --

BASH: Yes.

CHALIAN: -- rather troubling.

HENDERSON: And in some ways, he's been excused, you know, by Republicans, because of course, Republicans -- they came out in May of 2017 --

BASH: Yes.

HENDERSON: -- about revealing classified information to Russian, so here we are again.

BASH: Thanks, everybody.

Coming up. President Biden is facing fire from some of his fellow Democrats for new efforts to curb the record of illegal crossings at the southern border. We're going to take you inside that battle after a quick break.



BASH: The Biden administration is in damage control mode after announcing it will build more border -- of the border wall. The President is defending the move saying he tried and failed to redirect the funds appropriated by Congress, making one thing clear. No, he says, border walls do not work. His Homeland Security Secretary also is trying to defend the move.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: There is no new administration policy with respect to the border wall. From day one, this administration has made clear that a border wall is not the answer. That remains our position, and our position has never wavered.


BASH: If you're home scratching your head saying, I don't get it, you're not alone. Luckily, Priscilla Alvarez is here to try to help explain. Priscilla?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: The resounding message from the administration has been that they had to do this. And when I talked to sources, what they say is essentially these were funds appropriated by Congress in 2019 for specifically border barriers. They were running up against the deadline by the end of fiscal year 2023 to use them and they had to and they chose to do so in the Rio Grande Valley sector.

But, of course, this is one of those scenarios where the President's campaign message is really running into the realities of governing, which in this case, meant having to use these funds to build barriers, even if he thinks they don't work and doing so along the Texas-Mexico border. And so the Homeland Security Secretary just making very clear there in that stern statement that the policy hasn't changed so much as they were cornered and had to do it.

BASH: And Priscilla, you also have new reporting about a big shift in policy for the Biden administration when it comes to Venezuelan migrants.

ALVAREZ: This is a major breakthrough, Dana, for years, the U.S. has not been able to carry out regular deportation flights to Venezuela. Now they can and this is important because currently there are more than 7 million Venezuelans who have fled that country. To give you some context, that's more people that have left Ukraine during an active war. BASH: Wow.

ALVAREZ: And so, they are moving across the western hemisphere, and many of them are heading north. And up until this point, the U.S. have very limited tools to levee consequences against these migrants because they couldn't really deport them. So now, administration officials hope that by being able to show that level of consequence, it would deter people from coming.

Now, if you talk to experts, there really is -- deterrence doesn't usually work. U.S. history has shown that. But the hope here is at the very least, they can show providing lawful pathways to Venezuelans will try to discourage them from coming to the U.S.-Mexico border.

BASH: And real quick, we're hearing from some of the President's fellow Democrats who are not happy with this move.

ALVAREZ: They're not because the situation in Venezuela is so dire, it's economic turmoil, political turmoil, and you're sending people back. It's the similar thing that we heard from Democrats when we were deporting Haitians back to Haiti. But the reality for the administration is that they just can't sustain the number of border crossings right now.

BASH: Thank you so much for that. Appreciate it, Priscilla.

And now to something Donald Trump said on this topic this week. In an interview, the former president borrowed from white nationalists when he said this to National Pulse, a right-wing news outlet.


TRUMP: Nobody has ever seen anything like we're witnessing right now. It is a very sad thing for our country. It's poisoning the blood of our country. It's so bad. And people are coming in with disease. People are coming in with every possible thing that you can have.


BASH: Here's what we heard from the Anti-Defamation League which released a scathing statement saying, in part, "Insinuating that immigrants are, quote, "poisoning the blood of our country", echoes Nativist talking points and has the potential to cause real danger and violence".

We're going to have to leave it there. Thank you so much for joining Inside Politics. CNN's NEWS CENTRAL starts right now.