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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) Is Interviewed about Immigration Reform; All-South World Series; Carmen Best is Interviewed about Police Vaccine Pushback; Business Park in Space. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 26, 2021 - 08:30   ET



SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): For reconciliation. We're on our third attempt at it. Why are we sticking with it? Because we have not passed an immigration reform bill in over 30 years. It goes back to President Ronald Reagan. We have 11 million undocumented people in America. As far as I'm concerned, they shouldn't leave -- live in fear that somebody's going to knock on their door early in the morning and all their family be spirited away.

Secondly, many of them are working. Some of them are being exploited. We ought to have the legal right to work and their obligation to pay their fair share of taxes.

And, third, they ought to be able to travel without fear that they're going to be stopped at some place and diverted from their goal, their destination. These are the basic things, I'd like to have more, path to citizenship, but these are the basic things that we're talking about now.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Can you tell me exactly how this will be written to pass, you know, generally speaking, and then -- and then can you get this approved by the Senate parliamentarian this week? You want this bill passed this week. Is that going to happen?

DURBIN: Well, I can -- I can tell you, get it ready this week and pass it next week is probably a realistic goal. But my fingers are crossed. The sooner we can move to it, the better. If it can be done this week, it should be done this week.

But we are working -- have been working nonstop on this immigration aspect of reconciliation for months now, it seems, and I think we're close to the final decision as to whether we can go forward. Fingers crossed.

BERMAN: Do you have Manchin on board -- just to name one -- one -- is Manchin on board with getting immigration in this?

DURBIN: Let me tell you, Joe Manchin voted for comprehensive immigration reform, as a number of Republicans did. He is committed to that happening, and I am too. I'm hoping that I can appeal to Joe to make sure reconciliation includes immigration provisions. BERMAN: The -- Pramila Jayapal, in the House Progressive Caucus, says she wants to see the text of the big social spending plan before voting for the infrastructure plan. I know this sounds processy (ph), and to an extent it is, but I'm not sure that even if you reach a broad agreement that you'll have the actual text of the broader legislation this week, will you?

DURBIN: That is a good question. I can't answer it. And I can tell you in the past that sometimes when it's time to put pen to paper in the traditional parlance, it takes some time to get it right.

I do believe that in the process of negotiating, many of these things have been prepared, at least in anticipation that we're going to have an agreement. I don't doubt that individual members, and she is one of them, one -- makes sure that what we're voting on -- everybody wants to be sure of it, but it's going to take some heroic efforts at the staff level to get this done on time. I want to see it done on time. The American people deserve that.

BERMAN: How are Democrats addressing what are growing concerns among the American people, a, about the economy, but, b, about inflation and prices, just getting out of this pandemic?

DURBIN: Well, I wish that reporting would include the fact, as the president said in his visit to New Jersey, we're paying for this. What we're doing, a trillion dollars plus whatever it happens to be, is being paid for. And we're doing it by changing the tax code and making sure that those making over $400,000 a year are paying their fair share of taxes, along with corporations, which are immensely profitable and are not paying any federal taxes. Those are the things --

BERMAN: How are you -- I'm sorry, I didn't mean -- I don't mean to interrupt, but do you know how you're paying for it at this point because that appears to be one of the sticking point.

DURBIN: I've just given you two examples, to make sure that those are in higher income categories pay their fair share, and corporations, which are extremely profitable, pay their share as well. That's what we're working on, a method to approach that, that satisfies all the principles involved in this negotiation. But when I hear Senator McConnell and others come to the floor and say, oh, this is just adding to the deficit, they ignore the fact that the deficit grew by 36 percent under the previous president, Trump, and they were voting right along with him without any question and that we are paying for what we are doing in our negotiation today.

BERMAN: Yes, concern over the deficit seems to be selective and sporadic among many politicians.

Dick Durbin, senator from Illinois, I appreciate you being with us this morning. Always nice to see you.

DURBIN: Good to be with you.

BERMAN: So, how did a loaded gun wind up in the hands of Alec Baldwin moments before he tragically shot and killed his cinematographer? New details about the crew may help explain it.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves are about to face off tonight in the World Series. A look at the history and the politics of the southern state showdown. Your "Reality Check" is next.



BERMAN: Time for "Five Things to Know for Your New Day."

New revelations about the ill-fated movie "Rust." According to "The Wrap," crew members used prop guns with live ammo, a practice called plinking, just hours before Halyna Hutchins was killed. The report says one of the guns was later handed to Alec Baldwin, who fired the shot that killed Hutchins and injured the film's director.

KEILAR: CEO Mark Zuckerberg firing back after a devastating document leak revealed how Facebook profits off the spread of false information and relies on an algorithm that promotes fake news. Zuckerberg claims there is a coordinated media effort to paint a false picture of Facebook.

BERMAN: Police in Boise, Idaho, are investigating a deadly shooting outside a shopping mall. Two people were killed, four injured, including a police officer. The suspect was also wounded. No word yet on a possible motive.


KEILAR: And first on CNN, the Biden administration expected to name Republican Kim Wyman to a key election security role in the Department of Homeland Security. Wyman is the secretary of state from Washington state and she publicly challenged former President Trump's lies about election fraud.

BERMAN: Tesla is now worth more than $1 trillion. Shares set a record high Monday triggered by news that Hertz is buying 100,000 Teslas for its rental fleet, which is really interesting. Tesla joins the elite trillion dollar stock club with Amazon, Microsoft, Google's parent company Alphabet and the most valuable company in the world, Apple.

KEILAR: "Five Things to Know for Your New Day." You can have more on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "Five Things" podcast every morning. Just go to

BERMAN: So, if you don't count St. Louis, which John Avlon has chosen not to, this is the first World Series between two southern teams. So, what does that say about the real divisions in this country? Jack Avlon back with a "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: First it says that St. Louis is not part of the south, as being part of Missouri according to the U.S. census. But, let's get to the main event. The first game of the World Series is tonight. And it's a series like none other. With the Atlanta Braves facing the Houston Astros, it is the first literally all southern World Series in American history, strange as that may seem. Teams from two conformer -- former confederate states competing for the championship of our national pastime.

But whatever red state hot takes you got, put them back in the oven because, as with most things in American life, stereotypes break down the closer you look. For example, Houston and Atlanta are two of the most diverse major cities in the nation, more than say Boston. In fact, Houston, the fourth largest city in the nation, is majority minority. So is Atlanta. So if you still cling to the idea of the Lilly-white south, consider it the overall states of Texas and Georgia are now almost evenly divided between what's awkwardly classified as the non-Hispanic white population and the non-white population, also known as everyone else. In American politics one of the most stubborn truisms is the solid south, with a region basically go to solid conservative Democrat from 1860 to the 1960s then realigning the Republicans after Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.

But those fault lines are shifting. Barack Obama flipped Virginia in 2008. And, of course, Georgia narrowly voted for Joe Biden. In Texas, Trump won just 52 percent of the vote, while Biden swept all four of the lone star state's major metro areas. Which is to say that the red state/blue state divisions of our politics are way too simplistic.

Dig an inch beneath the surface and you'll see that the real differences aren't north versus south as much as urban versus rural. That's not a huge surprise to find that the counties that house Houston and Atlanta voted for Biden over Trump. But it might surprise you to learn that 15 of the largest 16 cities in the south voted for Biden over Trump, with Oklahoma City being the sole exception. And some of these were big wins, like two to one margins for Biden in cities like Nashville and Charlotte.

Not only that, counties that contain iconic smaller cities in the south, like Charleston, Savannah, Birmingham and New Orleans all went for Biden big time. In fact, all these cities actually went for Hillary Clinton as well, albeit by smaller margins, which the exception of Jacksonville, Florida, which Biden flipped while still losing the state.

Which helps bust up another stereotype, that southern cities are increasingly voting Democrat just because of their diversity. Now, too much can be made of this demographic or destiny view of politics. For example, Republicans won Florida in 2020, while winning Hispanic congressional seats in the Miami area. And Republicans also made gains in the Hispanic heavy Rio Grande Valley. In fact, the biggest mover for Biden in 2020 were the suburbs, where college educated white voters defected to Democrats in droves leading to his flip of Georgia.

So what's the point of pointing this all out? Well, the red state/blue state stereotypes of our politics can give the impression that American culture changes when you cross a state line, particularly the Mason Dixon Line. Well, that's BS. In a time when our differences are violently exaggerated by social media platforms, as well as politicians, all trying to profit from our polarization, even provoking some sick talk about a second civil war, it's really important to remember that there is still far more that unites us than divides us.

And that's where baseball comes in. It remains one of the great uniters in our nation. It connects the generations, combining individual and collective achievement, captured in statistics that allow the direct comparisons of players from different eras. It provokes intense competition and conversation, respect for the rules amid the good natured ribbing of rivalries, rooted in joy and disappointment that ripens over time into shared memory, livened (ph) by a shared love of the game.

That's a reflection of the best of America. A transcending of tribe and tribalism and time. A lesson from sports that we need to relearn in the political arena right now.


And that's your "Reality Check."

BERMAN: Baseball does unite us because everyone hates the Yankees.

AVLON: Except me and most New Yorkers, John Berman.

BERMAN: Baseball, a uniting factor.

Thank you so much.

KEILAR: I feel so torn here at this moment.

BERMAN: There's only one --

AVLON: Just go with the Yankees. You'll have a better (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: There's one right answer.

KEILAR: There's only one right answer says Berman.

BERMAN: Yes, I know. Thank you very much.


BERMAN: So, coronavirus is now the leading cause of death among law enforcement officers in the United States. So why are so many of them reluctant to get vaccinated?

KEILAR: And President Biden tripling down against former President Trump, refusing again to block documents related to the Capitol insurrection. We'll have the latest on this showdown ahead.


KEILAR: In big cities across America, police unions are pushing back on vaccine mandates leading to showdowns with elected officials. And this is coming as COVID-19 has become the leading cause of death among law enforcement.

Joining me now is former Seattle police chief Carmen Best. She retired last year after the city council voted to cut the police budget by nearly $4 million, and she's also the author of the new book "Black and Blue: Lessons on Leadership, Breaking Barriers and Racial Reconciliation."

Carmen, thank you so much for being with us.

CARMEN BEST, RETIRED SEATTLE POLICE CHIEF: Thank you, Brianna. Glad to be here.

KEILAR: So, Chief, you know, so many unions are resisting the vaccine mandate. What's surprising about police is that they have suffered so much when it comes to coronavirus. It's the leading cause of death for them, despite the fact that they were eligible early for the vaccine.


What's going on here?

BEST: Yes, and we're experiencing what everyone across the nation is experiencing in some ways, a real hesitancy among some to get the vaccination. It is surprising and disappointing in many ways that so many people are refusing to be vaccinated. You know, officers put on a bulletproof vest and they wear body armor and cameras and they do -- put on a lot of equipment to protect themselves and to protect others. And so -- and many of them have risked their lives on many occasions to help other people. So it is perplexing in many ways that this one thing that they can do to help save many, many lives, we have people refusing to do so. But, you know, policing is just a microcosm of society. So there are going to be people who have hesitancy.

KEILAR: They take on a charge that many Americans don't though, which is to protect and serve.

BEST: Exactly.

KEILAR: Are they putting their fellow officers and members of their community at potentially great risk by doing this?

BEST: Well, certainly, potentially, there's risk if people don't get the vaccination, which is why the mandate is here. So, in many agencies, they're already letting people go at a time when we really need officers. You know, crime is up. Shot fired, they're up right now. And so we need law enforcement. And it's unfortunate that, you know, this is a time when many of them are leaving their profession because they don't want to be vaccinated.

KEILAR: I really wanted to get your perspective on something that is happening in one city in Georgia, La Grange, Georgia, where the police chief is starting a program that would have police officers shooting really to injure instead of at the center mass to kill, right, in the case of certain risks. Maybe it's someone holding a weapon that is not a gun. And this has caused a lot of controversy. There are many police organizations that think this is a really bad idea. What do you think? BEST: Well, I've got to tell you, traditional thought to that, if you

pull out a weapon and you feel like there's a deadly force situation, that's what it's for, a deadly force situation. If it's not a deadly force situation, then use a less lethal option that's available to you. Using a deadly force, you know, mechanism or a tool for a nonlethal situation does go against the grain of traditional thought. So, I mean, obviously, there will be more research on this, but it certainly seems like there are other alternatives to pulling out a weapon if you don't -- or if you're not faced with deadly force.

KEILAR: Do you think it's good to challenge traditional thought, though? Is it important now to be thinking outside the box on these things (ph)?

BEST: Absolutely important, especially as, you know, we're at the crosshairs of so many issues in policing, from race, to training, to equipment. You know, you name it, there's a discussion about it. So it should always be challenged.

But, I -- you know, just logical thinking of that, if it's a deadly force situation, that's what your handgun is there for. And if it's not a deadly force situation, why would you pull out a deadly force tool?

KEILAR: So, tell me a little bit about your book. What is the message that you have after your long-storied career in policing and leaving at such a pivotal time in policing?

BEST: Yes, well, the book just goes through a lot -- so just like the title says, you know, lessons on leadership, you know, all of the issues around the riots and the demonstrations and the murder of George Floyd, and what that meant, especially for a person like me, a person of color, who really, you know, feels very connected to those issues, but also the support of law enforcement.

It's like I called it a big dichotomy. But I think there is a way to move together, to pull together, actually a book of hope, not of tragedy, but it takes you through a lot of the different scenarios we were dealing with. We had the pandemic. We had, you know, the CHOP in Seattle, the Capitol Hill Organized Protest Zone. Then we had the series of demonstrations. And then we had the defund police movement.

And so there was a lot of issues where your leadership -- my leadership was certainly challenged. And these issues were prevalent across the nation in many agencies.

You know, we've lost almost 40 major city police chiefs since that time.

KEILAR: Including you.

BEST: Including me.

KEILAR: Right. It's a huge trend that we're seeing. It's so important. And I think your book gives some ideas as to why.

Carmen, thank you so much. Chief, really appreciate it.

BEST: Thank you. I appreciate it.

KEILAR: So look out young people. Mark Zuckerberg says you're about to become Facebook's north star. The company's plan to win back its younger users.

BERMAN: I believe children are the future.

And beam me up for business. The big plans for an interstellar office park.



BERMAN: So, first came space tourists, now space cubicles? Blue Origin, from Jeff Bezos, teaming up with other U.S. companies to build a commercial replacement for NASA's aging International Space Station. Think of it like a business park in space.

CNN's Kristin Fisher joins us live now.

Just what we all need is another business park.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey, it's a standard real estate practice here on earth. This is a natural evolution. Business parks in space. This is being built as the very first one. It is called Orbital Reef. And the idea is to have companies from all over the world come together to conduct microgravity research, manufacturing, and, yes, of course, some space tourism in there as well.

Now, there are other commercial space station proposals out there. But, John, what really sets this one apart is it's a partnership of four big American space companies. It's led by Blue Origin and Sierra Space, Red Wire Space is also a teammate, and Boeing, the aerospace giant, which had a hand in almost every NASA project, including the International Space Station.

And that's why this is really so important right now. The International Space Station is old. It's been up there for about 20 years now. And it is going to be decommissioned, likely in 2030, if not sooner. In fact, there was a hearing on Capitol Hill last week in which -- in which the witnesses expressed alarm that there was going to be this gap between when the space station had to be retired and when this commercial replacement was going to be ready.

So that's what this Orbital Reef, as you can see there, is going to be all about. They're hoping to have it ready by the time the space station, the International Space Station, is retired. They say it could be ready by the latter half of this decade.

And, John, big picture here, this is also so important because China now has a brand-new space station, fully operational, up and running. And so NASA and the U.S. really want these commercial companies to provide the replacement for the government.

John and Brianna.

BERMAN: All I can do is envision Dwight Schrute like from "The Office" up in space working up there in the office park in the sky. But it has huge --

FISHER: Hey --

BERMAN: Go ahead.

FISHER: There was a movie in space. Now there should be, you know, "The Office" in space, right, the TV show.


BERMAN: No question about it. Huge commercial implications.

KEILAR: And instead of saying you're WFH, you would say you're WFS.

BERMAN: Right?