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Bill Clinton in Hospital After Infection Hits Bloodstream; GOP Candidate Slams Pledge to January 6th Flag at Virginia Rally. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired October 15, 2021 - 07:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: And the Biden administration.


Is there -- I mean, they are trying to address a problem but it's one that Congress doesn't really want to solve, it seems.

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Immigration has vexed Democratic and Republican administrations alike. There's a politically perilous moment when it comes to this issue. And so far, they are kind of on their own. Members of Congress have not changed the system that needs an overhaul to address these different populations of people that are coming to the U.S. southern border.

So, the administration is caught in between deterring people at the U.S.-Mexico border, sometimes policies that people within their own party don't agree with, and also trying to create change in the region so that people don't come here at all. So, that is the current state of play for the administration.

KEILAR: It does seem like a giant band-aid, maybe one that won't even hold. Priscilla, thank you for your reporting.

New Day continues now.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Friday, october 15th. And I am Brianna Keilar with John Berman.

Breaking overnight, Bill Clinton recovering in an intensive care unit in California, the former president hospitalized on Tuesday for a urinary tract infection that then spread to his blood stream.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Let's get right to CNN's Sara Sidner who is live outside the University of California Irvine Medical Center where Clinton is being treated. Sara, what's the latest on his condition?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We know former President Clinton is still here in the hospital. He is in the intensive care unit. Although the doctors have said that is not because he needs to be treated in intensive care. It is because that is where he can have the most privacy and security. He is said to be on the mend, that he was joking, he was up walking and talking to folks. But they still want to keep him here and give him intravenous antibiotics as well as fluids today. We're not sure exactly when he will be released.

We do know that he started feeling fatigued, according to his aides, on Tuesday evening. He was hanging out with some friend. He is actually here in Orange County for fundraising and dinner for the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by the Clintons, when he started feeling ill. That organization had its dinner and fundraiser on Thursday. He was here in the hospital. He did have an infection in his blood stream that turned out to be from a urinary tract infection. Doctors being very clear in saying that he did not come in with any sort of COVID symptoms and he does not have COVID, that this was something that was in his blood stream that they are treating with antibiotics.

They also said that -- we know that back in 2004, he had a quadruple bypass. They said it isn't affecting his heart, it isn't affecting him in any way other than they need to deal with hi infection. They are treating that. He is doing better and is on the mend, according to his aides. John?

BERMAN: All right. Sara Sidner, please keep us posted throughout the morning.

KEILAR: And for more now on the president's condition, let's bring in CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner.

Doc, can you just explain first off what this condition is, sepsis, and how unusual or usual this is for it to come from a UTI?

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Brianna. So, sepsis, simply stated, is an infection that can be detected in the blood stream. So the infection can begin in a lot of places, in folks the age of the former president. It commonly originates in places like the kidneys or bladder or the lungs, if someone has a pneumonia. But the implication is that the infection becomes much more severe when it spreads to the blood stream. And if left unchecked, that can cause significant decreases in blood pressure, shock and organ damage.

The elderly often present with subtle symptoms. And it seems like former President Clinton is following exactly that path. Sometimes it can be simply increased fatigue or increased somnolence. These are sort of subtle clues. But it does sound like they did detect bacteria in the blood stream of the former president, prompted them to treat him with antibiotics. It seems like he is on the mend now.

KEILAR: Look, the news is good. The prognosis is now good. But it was days before we found out about this. What does this tell you about the possible significant concerns they had about the former president's health that he went into the hospital Tuesday and we're just finding out about this now?

REINER: Yes. But VIP care is sort of a special animal.

KEILAR: I'm not talking about the hospital, Doctor, to be clear. But coming from, say, for instance, the Clintons, that they could have said something about this and waited days to do so.

REINER: Right. But what we forget is that prominent folks, former presidents, current leaders, do have some right to privacy.


And they pick and choose what they want to disclose to the public and when they want to disclose it, which is why I always take sort of the initial notifications of these kinds of illnesses with a bit of a grain of salt because sometimes what they release to the public is very, very selective.

For instance, when someone presents with sepsis, it may just simply be bacteria that originated in the bladder. But sometimes there can be an underlying cause of sepsis.

So I always -- when I listen to these notifications of prominent folks who are in the hospital, I'm always thinking, is there something that they are not telling the public? There's no reason for me to suspect that there is. But information is very selectively disclosed typically in these cases.

KEIALR: Yes. And, look, we have seen that time and again. So I think you're certainly right to mention that. Dr. Jonathan Reiner, thank you.

REINER: My pleasure.

BERMAN: The Republican candidate in Virginia, Glenn Youngkin, is trying to distance himself from this moment that happened at a rally held for him earlier this week.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's carrying an American flag at the peaceful rally with Donald J. Trump on January 6th. I ask you all to rise and join us as Mark Lloyd leads us in the pledge.


BERMAN: They were pledging allegiance to a flag carried at the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th. Now, in a statement, the Republican candidate, Youngkin, called that, quote, weird and wrong and said the violence that occurred on January 6th was sickening and wrong.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, himself, a former governor of the commonwealth. Senator, thank you so much for being with this.

Glenn Youngkin aside for a moment, and I promise we'll get to him, what does it tell you that there is a political rally in the commonwealth where they allegiance to a flag from the insurrection?

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA): John, it makes me shudder. It is a chilling thing to see that tape, to see them describe January 6th as a peaceful protest. As you know, about 150 police officers were battered with flags and fence posts and were injured that day. And how you would describe that as a peaceful protest is beyond me. And one other thing that makes this very personal to anybody who is a Virginian, especially who has been or wants to be a governor, on that day, our Governor Ralph Northam dispatched Virginia State Troopers and Virginia Guards members to go quell the insurrection at the Capitol. Glenn Youngkin is running to be governor and he's cozying up to these pro-insurrection forces. If something like this would have happened again, would you want a governor who would send Virginia's best to help save the country or a governor who would turn a blind eye to it and allow that to go on without the assistance of Virginians?

If you preach the big lie, then you have to own the consequences of the big lie. And Glenn Youngkin has been saying that the election lacked integrity, that we need to do audits, et cetera, the Trump insurrectionist line, that is extremely dangerous. And I'm shocked that some Virginians, thankfully a tiny minority, but that some Virginians are giving oxygen to this big lie.

BERMAN: Now, this was a rally for Youngkin, though Youngkin wasn't there, which is interesting in and of itself because it shows a line that he was trying to walk. But he did call the pledge to the insurrection flag weird and wrong. Is that enough?

KAINE: After the fact this has been a pattern, saying different things to different people. He's been preaching the election integrity, the single largest issue facing Virginia and the country right now, repeating Donald Trump's big lie. But when he is called on it or something like this happens, then he backpedals. He has to say different things to different people/

Governor McAuliffe, on the other hand, well known to Virginians, can say the same thing to every audience. He doesn't have to straddle this bizarre line, this weird line, to use Glenn Youngkin's words, that Youngkin has to.

BERMAN: Now, you are talking about Youngkin in terms of Donald Trump and the insurrection. Terry McAuliffe, Governor McAuliffe does that quite a bit as well. The Washington Post did an article where they went out and talked to some voters who may not see it quite like that. And they quoted someone in this article, including a Democratic state delegate who was running, Joshua

Cole, who says voters that he's speaking to, they see him, Youngkin, as someone who's not as polarizing as Trump, and some of them are fatigued by the national Democrats.


What do you say to that?

KAINE: Well, look, on the fatigue question, you can go out and find somebody that at just about point of view, but let me just say, this is a close race. And one of the reasons it's close -- we're used to this in Virginia. I ran for governor in 2005, and it was close right until the end.

We have presidential elections, Virginians turn out in really high numbers, usually about 70 percent. Then the next year, we have this off-year governor's races and turnout drops into 47 or 45 or 42. This makes the governor's races always very, very close because Democrats generally like elections where the turnout is bigger.

One story to watch in this election is it's the first governor's election we've had where voters could vote beginning 45 days early, 45 days of early voting in person or absentee by mail, no excuse necessary. That proved pivotal in the Biden race last year. And I actually think it is going to prove pivotal this year because Terry McAuliffe really knows how to marshal early vote organization and the early returns are extremely strong for him. But any Virginian watching this race, let me assure you, it is close. Take nothing for granted.

BERMAN: And there is a sense that the national political environment might not be helping. President Biden's approval rating is slipping. Democrats in Congress have not been able to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. I don't have to tell you, you're in the Senate, the bipartisan infrastructure bill or the build back better agenda.

I'm going to quote one of the few founding fathers who wasn't an Virginian, at least to play about him, are Democrats throwing away their shot here by not getting this done?

KAINE: Look, I love the Hamilton reference. And, look, we need to get that infrastructure bill to president's desk. And my hope is we will do that as early as next week. So I hope the House -- the Senate passed it. It's going to do great for Virginians and, frankly, anybody in any ZIP code in the country in terms of infrastructure and jobs.

So, I hope the House will get that to President Biden's desk ASAP. It will really help here. But I also urge my Senate Democratic colleagues, no need to play coy anymore on the reconciliation bill. We have to get that done too. And as soon as Senate Democrats signal, we will get a reconciliation bill done at this general price tag with these general programs. I think the House will say, fine, you fill in the details, we will send this infrastructure bill to the president.

We will get both done. I'm confident. Obviously, the sooner we can get one done, the better for the people and the people in this race in Virginia.

BERMAN: Senator Tim Kaine, I appreciate you being with us.

KAINE: Absolutely.

KEILAR: And just in to CNN, we're getting some new insight into the Biden administration's internal struggle in responding to China's ramped up aggression against Taiwan.

CNN's Natasha Bertrand joining us now on this with her brand new reporting. Natasha, what have you learned?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. So, China and Taiwan -- obviously, Taiwan has emerged as a major flashpoint in U.S.-China relations, particularly because China ramped up its aggression to really unprecedented level against Taiwan, which is a democratically governed island which the U.S. supports in recent weeks, with more than 52 Chinese aircraft flying into Taiwan's air defense zone.

Now, the United States has always had -- well, not always but for a very long time has had this policy of strategic ambiguity, which says we're not going to say for sure whether or not we would actually come to Taiwan's defense militarily if China did, in fact, invade, because China wants to see Taiwan reunified with the mainland.

And now the question that is happening internally is, is that a good policy? Do we need to come out and be more forceful about our ability and willingness to defend Taiwan militarily in the event of a Chinese attack?

Now, there are differing opinions on this. The Pentagon is kind of viewing this with increasing concern, the Chinese build up in the region, the Chinese activities surrounding Taiwan, of course, the air incursions that we saw earlier this month. But State Department and intel officials are saying, look, we don't see any evidence as of right now that China is preparing a military invasion kind of in the near term.

One of the things that they're watching out for is the year 2027 as a potential point in which China would actually take that step to invade Taiwan because it is the 100th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army. It's a very important year for China. It is something that would be symbolically important to China's president here.

But the big picture kind of stepping back is, is what the United States has been conveying to China strong enough to get them to kind of back off of Taiwan? Now, some Democrats in Congress say it is not strong enough, that the U.S. needs to be firmer to Beijing with our intentions because this kind of ambiguity has not served us well. And, clearly, the Chinese are not getting the message.

Now, the Chinese and the United States have been kind of at an impasse the last several months of the Biden administration, public clashes between senior U.S. and Chinese officials, kind of their discussions ending in an impasse.


And the president did speak to the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, last week for the first time in seven months. They have only spoken twice since Biden took of his.

So, clearly, the relationship is at an all-time low right now. The question of Taiwan is going on continue to be a very important one moving forward.

KEILAR: That year, 2027, you said, that's not very far off, right? It's not that far off. Natasha, thank you for your new reporting.

So, how concerned should Democrats be about Trump outright winning in 2024 if he runs again? Apparently, very. We'll have the numbers ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, the rolling stones will stop playing one of their most well-known songs. And divorce never sounded better. Adele's first single in six years released overnight.



BERMAN: If the 2024 Republican primary were held today, who would win and why is this a radical departure from years past? Joining me now, as you can see, I didn't realize you were on the screen the whole time, Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten is here.

I'll let you respond with the actual numbers right now. Donald Trump not fading, the opposite.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: No, he is not fading. So, is Trump the first choice in the GOP primary? Look at this, right now, 53 percent. That is actually up from where he was in my estimate back in January of 2021, 50 percent. It's actually really not that far behind where he was in October of 2017 when he was actually the president at 62 percent. And he starts out at a much higher base than he was when he entered the race in June 2015 when he was just at 3 percent. So, Donald Trump's position basically holding, if not, getting a little better.

BERMAN: And I think one of the more interesting things is, is this is a radical departure from the position of former presidents in years past.

ENTEN: Yes. Normally, if you lose, then you ask the question who would you vote for following that on the following primary, you're not normally in first place as Donald Trump is. Look at that, George H.W. Bush was in fourth place in the 1993 for the '96 primary. Jimmy Carter was in third place for the '84 primary back in '81-'82. And even Gerald Ford, who lost in a very tight race in '76, was in second place, the eventual nominee, Ronald Reagan. So, the fact that Trump's position is holding and he is in first place, that is a real departure from the normal.

BERMAN: Very unusual. Another interesting number is the shows of strength, I think, is how Republicans are growing insensitive about criticism of him.

ENTEN: Yes. If you want to be in the Republican Party these days, you better critique. You best not critique the former president of the United States. So, should the GOP be accepting of elected officials who critique trump? Look at this, very or somewhat accepting now in September of 2021, just 36 percent. Look at this, 63 percent not too or not at all accepting. My God, you can't criticize him.

Compare that to March of 2021, right, it was at 43 percent of Republicans who were at least very or somewhat accepting. So, again, that number going in the direction which that signifies Trump's position is strengthening within the Republican Party.

BERMAN: In terms of the current administration, rising prices are becoming an issue.

ENTEN: Yes. So, look, gas prices are going up, even over the last few months. Look at that, it was 3.08 on June 14th and 3.19 on October 14th and up to 3.30 here.

I should point out, that's not anywhere near as large as, say, it was back in 2008, right?

BERMAN: $4.11 in July of 2008.

ENTEN: I was setting you up, and including inflation, it's even higher. But, look, the fact of the matter is it's not absolute numbers. It's the rise that really does matter. And this is the highest as it's been since 2014.

BERMAN: Yes. Just to point out, again, gas prices are not historically high, no matter what people say, but it's how it feels.

ENTEN: Yes, it's how it feels.

BERMAN: And, in general, you're seeing prices rise in a number of areas which really make people feel it.

ENTEN: Right. Increases are causing your family hardship. This is a Fox News poll. Look at this. 70 percent say grocery prices, they're causing hardship. Look at that, gas prices, 67 percent say increases are causing hardship. Even 53 percent on housing costs. And when you put all of that together, I'm going to jump to this final slide. John was not expecting this, but that's the beauty of live television. Look at this, do you approve of Joe Biden's job both overall and on the economy? And, again, look at this tight correlation, right, 53 percent, 51 percent in June, 50 percent in August, 49 percent on the economy in August, and look at this, 45 percent and 44 percent. So, the two are very tight together.

The economy is actually the thing most predictive of the president's job performance at this point. And the financial hardships people are feeling are clearly playing into this, which is playing into this.

BERMAN: James Carville says it's the economy.

ENTEN: It's the economy. You forgot there was one other word there. I think it was stupid. But neither of us are stupid and neither is anyone in the audience.

BERMAN: Don't call me stupid. Thank you very much, Harry Enten. Brianna?

KEILAR: Both very smart people, very smart.

Democrats are worried 2020 was just a test run for 2024, that Trump will run again, lose again, only this time his coup, it will hold. There's another scenario though that Trump could just win fair and square, David Graham is writing in The Atlantic, if Trump were to win fairly in 2024, he could and probably would subvert the rule of law just as much as if he lost and tried to steal the election, but he'd do so from a place of greater legitimacy.

Let's talk about this now with CNN Political Commentator and Host of Smerconish on CNN, Michael Smerconish.

Which one should Democrats be more worried about do you think, Michael?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Both. First of all, Donald Trump needs to remain healthy. He needs to remain solvent. He also needs to remain unindicted. If he can do those three things, and if he wants to run for president, he can't be denied the Republican nomination.


And a lot of different data, some of which Harry just referenced, evidences that.

But I saw something else, something tangible, Brianna, in that Chuck Grassley attended Trump's rally last Saturday night at the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. That was really a sign because Grassley, who's 88 and running again, had said some very harsh things about President Trump back in January. So if he now feels the needs to be standing at Donald Trump's side, that lets me know that Trump is still the guy, if he wants to be, for the nomination.

The interim report of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I think, evidenced the fact that it was not just a bunch of knuckleheads who broke into the Capitol on January 6. There was a very concerted effort to overturn, Donald Trump's words, the election results from 2020. So, the fact that he tried it once and might try it again, a very real concern, and I don't wish to minimize it.

But, wow, things are not going well for this administration. And I have said recently that it's no longer enough for Joe Biden to just not be Donald Trump. Joe Biden needs a win against the backdrop of inflation, against the backdrop of COVID not yet being under control, against the backdrop of a haphazard withdrawal from Afghanistan. Democrats need to rightfully be concerned that Trump could run again and win the thing outright.

KEILAR: Okay. So I want to ask you about the IRS, everyone's favorite topic, right? We know there is trillions and trillions of dollars in unpaid taxes and the Biden administration has proposed actually requiring banks to provide the IRS with more data on accounts that meet a small threshold of $600. What do you say about that?

SMERCONISH: I think that this is going to be perceived as a privacy violation and I don't think it will fly. I don't think they're going to be able to sell this in middle America. Right now, interest accrued is something that's already reported. Now, we're talking in simplistic terms about balance information.

And I've discussed this on radio at length. And what I most often hear from people is to say that the very wealthy can afford to lawfully, legally avoid paying taxes, and that people who will be hurt by this are not only small business owners but also because of the cost involved in order for the banks to comply, it will probably get passed onto the people who can least afford it. But in the end, I don't think they're going to be able to get this approved.

KEILAR: I also want to ask you about The Rolling Stones, because they have become the latest musical group to retire a song as this conversation about race in our society has progressed. They're actually getting rid of the song. They're not going to play the song, Brown Sugar, which if you revisit the lyrics, I mean, it's really something. I think a lot of people have bopped their head to it. I don't know if they've actually gone back and they know all of the lyrics. But the opening lines reference a woman being sold into slavery and whipped. And I wonder what you think about this decision.

SMERCONISH: So, I am embarrassed because I am a product of the liner note generation. I mean, I'm one of those guys who used to sit with headphones with the bedroom door closed and actually read the album inserts. And for all the years that I have loved this song, gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields, maybe it's the way that Mick sings it. I don't know.

But, look, Keith Richards said it is a song about the horrors of slavery. So, if it's really -- maybe it's a function of interpretation and maybe it's just become such a hot potato that now they don't want to sing it, they don't want to play it live. But if, in fact, it is really a condemnation of slavery, then I think they probably ought to keep singing it live.

Watch for this, though, Brianna, because it is now controversial for the reasons you have outlined, I wonder if some people will begin to play it more.

KEILAR: You know, I looked at what he said about that, Michael. And so I just kind of wanted to test what he was saying about that, if he is saying this is about the horrors of slavery. But if you go through the lyrics, it's from the perspective of someone who is, you know, talking about slavery and sexualizing black women and violence against black women. I think when you look at the lyrics objectively, that is sort of what it's about.

Do you really think that the horrors of slavery, he is saying that that's what it is about, do you think that that really stands up to reason?

SMERCONISH: I get nervous in these conversations. Because, in fact, there's a similar debate about Dave Chappelle, whose special I just watched. And a front page story in The Times today, is it hate, or is it art, or is it somewhere in between and much more nuanced? And I get nervous about what will be left in my album and C.D. collection if we scrutinize at this level the lyrics of every single song. I don't know that I'll have much to listen to.

KEILAR: I mean, I don't know. I think there's a ton of Stones songs and others that don't really hit this threshold. But I want to ask you the most important question of the week, which is, in light of Paul McCartney saying that The Stones are a blues cover band, what team are you on, Michael?