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New Day

President Biden Meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican; Democrats Scramble to Reach Budget Deal with Biden in Europe; Biden Travels to Europe Without Securing Legislative Win on Agenda. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired October 29, 2021 - 07:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Nothing that I can say.


There's no joke that can be made that wasn't made better on social media in the last 24 hours.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Do you think it was successful though in distracting from the real, serious conversation about Facebook or did you just draw a laser on the criticism?

BERMAN: If the goal and distraction was ridicule, if he would prefer ridicule over the focus on other things, then maybe it worked, but I'm not sure.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: I think it just compounds the problem. I don't think it distracts from it.

ROMANS: I think, in general, a lot of people who cover these companies found it tone deaf at this time. When you are being on at least two continents, potential real regulation to your business, this seems sort of out of the virtual blue.

KEILAR: Yes. How about you deal with your problem by addressing your problem? Just a thought. I don't know.

BERMAN: Throwing that out there.

KEILAR: I'm just throwing it out there. Christine Romans, thanks so much.

New Day continues right now.

Good morning to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Friday, October 29th. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman here. And Chris Cuomo is standing by in Rome, where President Biden is meeting with Pope Francis nearby at the Vatican, the second catholic president in U.S. history arriving at the Vatican last hour. He and the pope discussing a range of issues, including the pandemic, poverty and the climate crisis. BERMAN: So, the climate crisis is at the heart of the Biden agenda. It's where the biggest chunk of money in the $1.75 trillion plan is actually allocated now. There's no question the president and the White House still focused on getting that plan passed after a whirlwind and probably somewhat unfulfilling 24 hours of negotiations.

This morning, that deal still hangs in the balance, but that's not where the president is right now. He's in with the pope in this historic meeting. So, let's get right to Chris Cuomo just outside St. Peter's Square. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Even though, John, we don't know exactly what's happening, I have to believe the pope is not going to give advice to President Biden to change the name of his spending bill. I don't that that's going to come up.

We are with CNN Chief National Correspondent and Anchor Jim Sciutto. I also have Father Dwyer with me who is going to help us understand this situation.

It already happened, right? We saw this huge footprint of the American president. Delia Gallagher was saying nobody shows force the way the United States leaders do. It is thing second catholic U.S. president to meet with a sitting pope. First one, as Father Dwyer told me earlier, since diplomatic relations were created in 1984, established between the U.S. and Vatican. But why do you think he wanted to meet with the pontiff first when arriving in Rome for the G20?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: It is deeply personal to him, frankly, because of his faith, his Catholicism. He goes to church every Sunday. He's spoken very openly about how much of a role it plays in his life. But their personal relationship also is deep and it has some history. He met him a number of times as vice president, including on the pope's visit to the U.S. in 2015. You remember that. You and I both covered that. And the relationship goes even deeper. Pope Francis consoled Biden and his family after the loss of his son, Beau.

Biden notably has a special picture right behind in the Oval Office of his meeting with Pope Francis. And he's described a special rapport. I think the word he used was that this pope is electric, the feeling that he had about Pope Francis and his leadership of the church. And they both have similar messages, you might say. They're in institutions where they have liberal leanings, right? And on that as well they see a lot of overlap. So, it's a relationship about his faith but it's also about a relationship between two men.

CUOMO: Broader G20, economic crises abound all over the place. That's why the G20 was created in 1999, because of dissatisfaction with the G7 in solving these problems. What boxes does Biden have to check here?

SCIUTTO: They have some real work to do. One, and, by the way, this is an issue that may very well come up with the pope, vaccine distribution to the developing countries. There was a target to have about 40 percent of these countries vaccinated by the end of this year. That's not going to happen. You might hear the pope press Joe Biden on that. But there is a hope that the G20 nations make a plan to get this outside of the developed country.

Also, they got work to do on the global supply chain crisis. We're all affected by it. All of our packages are coming late. This is a real issue and it's affecting all these countries and then climate. Do they come out of the G20 with some sort of climate pledge that they could then bring to Scotland for the U.N. Climate Summit. Will they pledge greater commitment to renewable energy, et cetera, to provide momentum as they go in there? By the way, of course, one thing Biden does not have as he walks in there is an agreement on the climate provisions in the infrastructure plan. There's a lot of money in there in the framework and the budget plan but he doesn't yet have that in writing

CUOMO: Father Dwyer, while we are waiting for readouts of what happened here -- a better reporter than we are, by the way.


He told us that a footage of the pontiff meeting with President Moon obviously of South Korea just came out. So there is a couple hour lag. Maybe they will make it a little bit faster for the U.S. president. We'll see. But what does that look and sound like for Pope Francis to want to talk climate with an American president?

FATHER DAVE DWYER, CSP, HOST, THE BUSTED HALOW SHOW, SIRIUSXM: Yes. I think it's been clear that Pope Francis want to talk climate with a lot of these leaders about 24 hours. He is meeting with three of them. You just mentioned President Moon of Korea, who is also the second catholic president of that country, similarly to President Biden. But also tomorrow, he's meeting with Prime Minister Modi of India. All of them will be going on to the climate summit in Glasgow after this. Pope Francis was -- there was original talk that he would go. But, largely, we believe, because of his sciatica that bothers him, not even necessarily other health concerns that he's had lately, that he is going to stay here. But I think he wants to plant his message that he sent to us in cyclical. But now that he's speaking in the ears of these leaders, he wants to send that along to Scotland.

CUOMO: So, Father Dwyer is obviously of Busted Halo. It's his thing, not mine, but you can hear him on SiriusXM. He has a whole ministry,

I also want to bring in Father Thomas Reese with me and Jim. He's a Senior Analyst at Religion News Services.

So, you've been writing a lot about what this means and why. How do you believe it stack up in terms of significant between meetings of president and pontiff? FATHER THOMAS REESE, SENIOR ANALYST, RELIGION NEWS SERVICE: I think

this is a very significant meeting. The pope is really concerned about global warming. And, frankly, I think the Vatican will be disappointed that the president has not been able to get the full backing of the Congress on his climate change agenda and therefore weaken the president for the COP26 meeting in Scotland. The pope feels strongly about this and has written a whole and cyclical on the environmental crisis and global warming. And this is at the top of the agenda. And my guess is that most of the time in the meeting was speaking about this.

CUOMO: Father Reese, I appreciate you very much. Look, we're going to know soon. We will start to get some readouts from this. We have Father Thomas Reese, Father Dave Dwyer and, of course, Jimmy Sciutto, who is going to be covering this in your own show coming up after this. We will get the implications.

But, Brianna, I'll tell you something. You know Joe Biden as a man and as a leader. He is very emotional and he's very tied to his faith. It is something, if Pope Francis drops the hammer on him about how -- are you going to be able to show up there and really be an advocate for this stuff, it will be interesting what that means to Biden when he goes back to his constituents in the Democratic Party if he has a different sense of urgency of getting something done if the pope kind of shames him a little bit about it

KEILAR: Yes. Maybe the Congress should visit the Vatican. We'll see if that is the case. Chris, thank you so much.

CUOMO: They all would light on fire when they enter in there.

KEILAR: We will see. Chris, thank you so much for that. We will continue our coverage as well on this very important day from Rome.

Back here at home, the president's legislative agenda, potentially his legacy. They are really in a state of limbo. House Democrats have delayed a vote on the trillion dollar infrastructure bill, and CNN's Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill with the latest. The latest, what is it?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest is that this whole negotiation is going to continue for another week, potentially another month, Brianna. Yesterday, very significant, the House of Representatives voting on a short-term transportation bill to get them to December 3rd. That gives them a lot more time to have these discussions. It's possible that they could move more quickly than December 3rd, but that sets up the next big date, the next big deadline, the next big showdown maybe between moderates and progressives. That was the fight yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Unequivocally, progressives in one place, moderates in the other, progressives arguing that they cannot trust their Democratic colleagues in the Senate, namely, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, arguing that they needed clearer assurances that those two senators were going to be behind the $1.75 trillion framework the president laid out yesterday morning to the House Democratic Caucus. But, obviously, this has major repercussions for the president's agenda.

And the president said so himself yesterday in the private meeting with Democrats. He said, quote, I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens in the next weeks. And I think that that statement really speaks for the fact that the president knew what was on the line yesterday.


Moderates knew what was on the line yesterday. Progressives knew. Democratic leadership knew. And yet they were still unable to find a consensus.

Now, Brianna, what changes in the next couple of days, in the next couple of weeks? Progressives said yesterday they did support the framework that the president laid out. That is significant. That is progress. However, they also are still arguing they want to have votes on both that bigger social safety net bill and the infrastructure bill in tandem. That is their key sticking point. And so far, they are arguing they are not coming off of that and nothing is changing yet on Capitol Hill. Brianna?

KEILAR: Yes. The mistrust between Democrats is -- I haven't seen it to this degree before, Lauren. So, we will see how that is going to play into the evolution of this process. Lauren Fox live for us on the Hill, thank you.

So, what is Senator Joe Biden thinking here, and can progressives trust that they are going to have his vote? We will ask one of his former aides.

Plus, for the first time since the fatal shooting on the set of Rust, we are hearing from the film's armorer. Why she's saying that the fatal accident was not her fault.

BERMAN: And we are live in Rome where the president and the pope are discussing a whole range of issues. We're expecting some readout from inside that meeting shortly. We will bring you the details as they come in.



BERMAN: Democratic stalemate denying President Biden the legislative victory he had hoped to reach ahead of his trip abroad. House Democrats scrapped plans to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal with several progressive lawmakers casting doubt that moderate Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema would ultimately agree to a larger social spending bill. So, that's the glass half empty interpretation.

The glass half full view is that Democrats are closer than ever to reaching deal, the framework is in place for historic legislation and that it will all happen fairly soon.

Joining us is former Senior Adviser to Joe Manchin Jonathan Kott and Chief Media Adviser to George W. Bush and also worked on the John McCain campaign, as well as co-Host of the Circus on Showtime, Mark McKinnon.

Mark, I'll give you the glass half empty, the glass half full version of this. You tell me, what's in the glass this morning, as far as you can tell?

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER CHIEF MEDIA ADVISER, GEORGE W. BUSH AND MCCAIN CAMPAIGNS: Well, the big thing that's in the glass is this is definitely a good news, bad news situation, John. The good news is that they got a framework. And that's a really big deal. The progressive caucus has now agreed in principle to the larger bill. And that was the big hang-up. And so it's pretty clear now that a deal is in place. It's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when.

The bad news for Joe Biden was he didn't get a vote last night, which he wanted to have a W and wanted to have a feather in his cap as he went to Europe, and went to Scotland to bring his climate change elements of that bill that he could proclaim it in Scotland.

But the good news, again, is that, ultimately, it looks like the bill is going to get done now. There are obviously details to be worked out but it will get done. And the problem for Democrats is that they just had huge expectations both on what would be in the bill and on the timing. It's not going to be as fast as they thought, nor was might be in it as the thought.

BERMAN: So, Jonathan, it seemed like progressives were practically begging Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, just tell us you this framework, just tell us that you are a yes vote here. Just say yes. And Joe Manchin would, at least not really, not directly. The statement he put out said President Biden's framework is a product of months of negotiations and input from all members of the Democratic Party who share a common goal to deliver for the American people. As we work through the text of the legislation, I would hope all of us will continue to deal in good faith and do what's right for the future of the American people. Why couldn't he just say yes?

JONATHAN KOTT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO SEN. JOE MANCHIN: Because I think he needs to see the detail. He has worked in good faith. He has worked with the president. He will tell you he came up $2 trillion. He's compromised. Not as much as Bernie Sanders, who went from 10 trillion to 2 trillion, but Joe Manchin needs to see the details.

This isn't a quick bill that's going to only impact 100 people for three months, this is a transformative bill. And he wants to make sure we get it right. So, before he sees the details, he's not going to commit to voting for something, he and Kyrsten Sinema, I talked to her team, she's been negotiating in good faith the entire time. They both have.

I think it's time that the progressives took a win that 98 percent of the party supports. Pass the infrastructure bill. Let's get that bill in motion. Let's get that bill working for the American people and continue to work on a bigger bill that everybody wants to get done and everybody is working towards getting done. I don't see why he should be expected to vote for a bill that he hasn't seen the final details of. That to me seems like a bad move.

BERMAN: So, Mark, the Biden team, this iteration of the Biden team, has basically said, you know what, we have always been patient about everything. We were in the primaries, we were during the pandemic, we were during -- after the election, and it's all paid off for Joe Biden, ultimately. And in this case, they sort of say this will all blow over. This will get done. And people won't remember the sausage- making. How true?

MCKINNON: Listen, they are veteran hands and they know you need to tune out the noise and stay focused on the signal. And also tune out the bed-wetters. But I think they are waking up this morning going, the bed is awfully wet actually. And the problem is that, at a certain point, veteran administrations come in and say, listen, if we just do good policy, the politics will take care of itself.


But you get to a sort point where the politics sort of overwhelms your ability to get the policy done. I think that's what we are seeing now.

BERMAN: What do you think, Jonathan? Part of me has wondered all along how Joe Manchin wants the elements of the build back better plan. What is it do you think that he's most excited for? What do you think that Joe Manchin will get out there and trumpet that's part of this?

KOTT: I think he will get out there and trumpet stuff that helps West Virginia. I mean, that's all he's cared about from the start. He's started this process, remember, back in March working on an infrastructure bill. He went through what was needed. He sat down and started looking at what was in the reconciliation bill. And there are things that he supports in there. He supports taking care of children. He supports taking care of the elderly. He is talking about ways that we can help the climate.

But he wants to do it in a more targeted approach so that, again, after we pass a massive $2 trillion spending bill, we know where all the money is going, we know exactly the people that are getting it and those are the people that need it most. And I'm sure when this bill is done, he will go back to West Virginia, he will talk to people, he will explain the good things that he liked in the bill and some of the things that he probably didn't want in the bill, but as part of negotiations, you have to accept.

I think he's just looking for ways that we can move on. We're coming out of a huge recession. We're coming out of the pandemic hopefully. The Biden administration is doing a great job of getting shots in arms. But he is looking to make sure that the next five, ten years that this bill actually benefits the people that need most.

BERMAN: Mark McKinnon, there's an election, actually several elections on Tuesday, just days from now. The most contested is in Virginia for the governor's mansion there. And Terry McAuliffe, what is his thought bubble this morning?

MCKINNON: I think his thought bubble has kind of burst, John. I mean, if he's looking at reality, it is pretty clear that he is facing enormous headwinds right now. The Youngkin campaign is on fire. They have done a very good job of keeping Trump out of the race, keeping him at a distance, keeping him focused, very localized race about schools and parents and what parents should be able to do in terms of interacting with their schools and the curriculum.

It's really going to be -- I think that Youngkin is going to win, John. And I think it's going to be a playbook for Republicans for 2022. And, obviously, McAuliffe had hoped that this infrastructure bill would pass and he could use that to help him but I'm not sure that would have been enough at this point.

BERMAN: Mark McKinnon, Jonathan Kott, I appreciate you both being with us this morning.

MCKINNON: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: So, President Obama is about to return to the world stage. What he is expected to tell the U.N. Climate Summit the differences between a Biden presidency and a Trump presidency.

KEILAR: And a CNN exclusive, Don Lemon's fascinating interview with jurors in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. They will take us inside the jury room, next.



KEILAR: Welcome back now to our special coverage of President Biden's trip to Europe. You're looking there at live pictures of the Vatican where President Biden has been meeting with Pope Francis for well over an hour now. We are told they were to discuss a range of issues, everything from the pandemic, to global poverty, to climate change.

BERMAN: Here he was arriving in Vatican City just about 90 minutes ago. Of course, Biden is only the second catholic U.S. president in history.

Let's go right to Chris Cuomo who is live there. The meetings still going on, Chris.

CUOMO: It is. And he is the first president catholic to meet with a sitting pope since diplomatic relations were created in 1984.

Now, it's interesting that here we are in the eternal city, Rome, the G20, tons of problems, but President Biden's first real stop is here to meet with the pontiff. Why and that do we think this is about? And that does this motivate in the American president?

Let's bring in Father Thomas Reese. He's a Senior Analyst at the Religion News Service. It's good to have you, Father. And the mother tongue here, the question is, hey -- what's going on in there? How are they talking to each other? What do you think?

REESE: Well, I think it is significant how long the meeting is taking place. You know, for the pope to spend over an hour with a head of state, a president, is very unusual. Usually, these meetings are shorter than that. So, I think they are getting into a lot issues that are of concern to both the president and the pope. CUOMO: Now, when we say that, uniformity of interest, with a side dish of what can you do for me, not to cheapen it, but this pope is very pushing for action, right? So, now Biden comes here. The Democrats are all over the place. He has a lot that will be possible when delivered within these really historic spending programs but not yet.

Now, does that play into it, in your estimation? Do you think Pope Francis has the political acumen to talk about whether or not President Biden will get this done and what that means going into the climate summit next week?

REESE: Yes. I think you're absolutely right, Chris. I would not be surprised if there were a couple of people in the White House who would love to have the pope give Joe Manchin a phone call and give him a lesson in global warming. But, of course, that's not going to happen. The pope doesn't lobby members of Congress.

But the pope is very concerned about strengthening the position of the president as he goes to the COP26 climate meeting.