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Voters Go to Polls on Election Day in Virginia Gubernatorial Race; President Biden Meets with World Leaders for G-20 Summit on Climate Change in Scotland; Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) Interviewed on House Progressive Caucus' Promise to Vote for Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and Build Back Better Act. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 02, 2021 - 08:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Tuesday, November 2nd, which means --


BERMAN: It is Election Day. And this morning the focus is on two high stakes races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey. The results will have enormous implications, n Not just for the candidates and the constituents, but for President Biden and Donald Trump as well. In the next 24 hours we could get a real feel for what's next for the midterms, next year. In Virginia, a state Joe Biden carried by 10 points, 10 points, the race is neck and neck. So will voters in the commonwealth respond to former governor Terry McAuliffe's efforts to tie the Republican Glenn Youngkin to Trump, or will Youngkin's focus on education make the difference.

KEILAR: And in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy is trying to become the first Democratic governor to win reelection in the state in 44 years. He's facing a stiff challenge from upset minded Republican Jack Ciattarelli who is taking part in this race. It also features a Democrat trying to link his Republican opponent to Donald Trump here.

CNN's Miguel Marquez live at a polling location in New York City where voters are also choosing a new mayor. First let's go to Sunlen Serfaty. She's in northern Virginia in Arlington. Sunlen?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, polls are open here in Virginia. Voting got started about two hours ago. And here at this polling location in Arlington, Virginia, which is a suburb just outside of D.C., we are seeing a steady stream of people coming in and out, not super long lines, but the director here tells me that they have already had 150 people in just two hours vote already. And a lot of people are also coming in and dropping their mail-in vote at this official ballot drop box over here, among the 1.1 million Virginians who have already cast votes in the early voting which ended this weekend. Today, talking to voters as they come out, it is very clear there is a

lot of passion in this race, and that likely will compel people to come out and vote today. I talked with one man just a short time ago, he is an independent, but he leans Republican. He sat out in the race in 2020, he did not want to vote for Trump. He tells me he also didn't want to vote for Biden. But he tells me he felt compelled to vote today. He said because he's talking about Youngkin, not the same guy as Donald Trump. And he did go on to vote for Glenn Youngkin, the Republican running for governor here in Virginia.

That is a complete rejection of Democrat Terry McAuliffe's strategy to tie Youngkin to Trump and certainly among the independent voters that Youngkin wants to pluck from the suburbs like this area of northern Virginia from Terry McAuliffe. Certainly just one voter's perspective, Brianna, as they came out and cast their ballot, but certainly an interesting window into the strategies, how they may be embraced or not by these voters.

KEILAR: Look, it is a nail biter. Let's go to Miguel, you're there in New York City. Maybe less of a nail biter, but this is coming at a very critical time for New York city.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, if this is a nail biter, that will be the shock of the evening. I can say that the turnout today might play some role in this election. We're at Brooklyn Borough Hall, which should be very, very busy right now. It is very, very, very not busy. These are all of the stations where one fills out their ballots and then over at the end of the room is where they actually scan them through. They've only had about three dozen ballots scanned in over the last two hours that they have been open.

This election, both candidates hitting on crime, housing, homelessness, those big issues that New Yorkers are concerned with. And it features the vegan ex-cop against the cat-loving founder of the Guardian Angels, a very colorful individual on the Republican side, Curtis Sliwa, who is running against Eric Adams, who was the former borough president here in Brooklyn.

It is expected because it is such a Democratic city, about four to one registration here, that the Democrat will prevail. But we will see. They had early voting for about a week, a lot of absentee ballots, and now today polls are open to 9:00 p.m., and we shall see. Back to you guys.


KEILAR: All right, Miguel, thank you so much.

Let's go now to CNN's Wolf Blitzer who is live for us in Scotland, where the stakes are high, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: They certainly are, Brianna. Thanks very much. The president clearly focusing in on the climate crisis in this overseas trip, his domestic agenda hitting a speed bump back home. The Democratic Senator Joe Manchin throwing a major wrench into negotiations for President Biden's economic agenda, pushing for the bipartisan infrastructure deal, yes, but saying he might not vote for the separate social safety net expansion bill. Listen to this.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D-WV): For the sake of the country, I urge the House to vote and pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Holding this bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill.

I, for one, won't support a multitrillion dollar bill without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects of inflation and debt they have on our economy and existing government programs.


BLITZER: Our chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is here in Scotland with us, watching all of this unfold. A major disappointment for the Biden folks here in Scotland. They're happy, it looks like that bipartisan infrastructure is going to go forward, it has already passed the Senate. But the bigger legislation on the social safety net and all of that, including climate money, it looks like that's in deep, deep trouble.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, I don't think the White House really appreciated the timing of this, of course, because it does come as the president is here at this global climate summit trying to convince these world leaders that the United States is serious about climate change. And of course, this very package that President Biden has proposed and what Senator Manchin was referencing there is what includes those hundreds of billions of dollars to fight climate change.

Though I do think White House officials were heartened by the idea that progressives came out and said they were not going to let this interfere with their plans to vote for the hard infrastructure bill that could potential come up for a vote this week, even though it is unclear what is going to happen with the other larger package, of course, that Manchin was referencing there.

But I do think that it comes as the president has been trying to send this message, and you saw him yesterday, apologizing for the actions of the former president when it came to exiting the Paris Climate Accords, saying that the United States is back at the table after not having been so for several years.

And I think one thing you noticed that President Biden is doing today is he is signing on to this pledge with over 100 other nations to end deforestation, which would, obviously, conserve forests around the world by 2030. He is also talking about this new rule from the EPA that is going to talk about limiting methane and heavily regulating methane, essentially rolling back a lot of the policies that you saw put in place by former president Trump, of course, big concerns about methane leaks and what that does to contribute to global warming. And so I think those actions that the president is taking as he's

trying to show there are things he can do without Congress, of course, because now Senator Manchin is threatening the things that he is trying to do with Congress.

BLITZER: Those are executive orders that he can simply make and go forward. You correctly point out, does not need congressional legislation. I thought it was really significant, the message that Manchin was sending the White House when he said, yes, this broader social safety net package, $1.75 trillion, he says, well, that's the number they put out, but it could be double that. That's what a lot of Republicans are saying. To hear that coming from Manchin, on a day like this where the president is overseas, that was significant.

COLLINS: And using the word "gimmicks" and talking about he essentially doesn't trust how it is exactly going to be paid for. And you saw his concern there, something that we have heard from Senator Manchin time and time again, which is about inflation. And the White House very quickly responded to this. I thought it was notable just how quickly they responded to this, saying that they are quoting 17 Nobel prize winning economists saying this is not going to contribute to inflation. And at the end of Jen Psaki's statement on this, she said that they look forward to getting Senator Manchin's support for this bill. But of course, they said will gain, the did not say they have gained the support yet.

So you saw President Biden earlier today meeting with the president of the European Commission. He is being asked about Senator Manchin and those statements, even while he's here meeting with hundreds of world leaders, talking about what the global effort is going to look like on climate change. Senator Manchin is still being brought up for the president.

BLITZER: Yes, he's going to wrap up his visit here to Scotland later this afternoon, around 3:30 p.m. eastern. That's the scheduled time, Biden time, 3:30 p.m. eastern with a news conference, and then heads back to Washington. We'll both be looking forward to that. We'll be back, a special SITUATION ROOM 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. eastern later today. Brianna, John, back to you.

BERMAN: All right, Wolf, Kaitlan, thank you both very much.

Joining us now is the chair of the House Progressive Caucus, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal. Congresswoman, thank you for being with us today. You're a major player in this right now. I want to understand exactly where you and the progressive caucus are as we sit here this Tuesday morning.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D-WA) CHAIR, PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: Yes, John, it's great to be with you in person. We are in the same place that we have been for weeks, which is we said give us the text of the Build Back Better act, give us a vote on the Build Back Better act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and we will pass both through the House and send them over to the Senate.

[08:10:11] Obviously, the bipartisan the bipartisan infrastructure bill has already passed the Senate, but we will send the Build Back Better Act over to the Senate.

Now, some of the members are nervous, obviously, about what the Senate is going to do. But at this point, we feel that having had conversations with Senator Sinema, having talked to the president, having had the president come, that we will trust the president that he will get 51 votes in the Senate for it.

BERMAN: I guess the part I don't understand is why you trust him today on Tuesday, but you didn't on Thursday.

JAYAPAL: Because we didn't have a bill and we didn't have a vote. We were not ready to have a vote on the Build Back Better Act. This week we will have votes on both the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act together, which is what we called for, for weeks. So we finally got what we have been saying, and we're glad people listened to us.

BERMAN: He was saying trust me on Thursday, though.

JAYAPAL: But we didn't have the bill. And he did not ask for us to vote on that day. He said I need votes on both bills. And we have been saying for months, we are not going to vote just on an idea or a promise or a framework. We're going to vote on legislation. The minute we have legislation, we can look at it, our members can decide whether it is good enough, which we feel very good about, then we will pass both bills. And I think that is what we have been saying for weeks. I don't understand why anyone is confused about it. Last week we did not have a vote on the Build Back Better Act. We did not have text. This week we have text. We're going to have a vote on both bills.

BERMAN: There is this interpretation where have less this morning than you did five days ago. Five days ago we didn't know exactly where Joe Manchin stood on this. Now Joe Manchin is letting you know he's not a definite yes.

JAYAPAL: I got to say, like, we can't worry about -- we've always said we're going to trust the president once we have the bill and the vote. And that's what we have been saying for weeks now. And we got the bill, we are going to have the vote, and we will trust the president to deliver 51 votes.

BERMAN: How much do you trust Joe Manchin? I know there are members of your caucus who don't. this is Cori Bush from Missouri who said "Joe Manchin's opposition," granted he did not say he's opposed to the Build Back Better Act, but she says "Joe Manchin's opposition to the Build Back Better Act is anti-black, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti- immigrant."

JAYAPAL: Well, look, people are frustrated. I've told everybody in the final days of a negotiation, tempers flare, people say things that they feel. And it's real. Just like Joe Manchin did a press conference, our members are frustrated. But what I am saying is we are finally at the place we have been

asking for, demanding over the last several months, which is two bills moving together in the House. And we'll get them both done.

BERMAN: So this does mean, though, that infrastructure could be done, will be done, well before Build Back Better.

JAYAPAL: Yes. Yes. My hope and belief in talking to the Senate majority leader, talking to other senators, talking to the president, is that the Senate will move this forward very quickly, hopefully we can get it done before Thanksgiving. And we will have this transformative piece of legislation that will provide childcare to everyone across the country, pre-k to every child in America. We'll actually invest housing, the biggest investment in housing, John, ever, in the history of our country. Taking on healthcare, hopefully taking on prescription drug pricing, very popular. We are looking to do that as well in the bill. And, of course, immigration, and most importantly as the president is Glasgow, $555 billion into taking on climate change.

BERMAN: All of this depends on getting Joe Manchin's signoff there. So just on immigration, do you have Joe Manchin's signoff?

JAYAPAL: On all of this, we are trusting the president to deliver 51 votes in the Senate.

BERMAN: I noted you've been a central player in these negotiations for a long time with the White House directly. Did the White House at any point tell you it's time, it's time?

JAYAPAL: The White House has been clear that they want both bills passed. And they would have loved to see whatever we could get passed, passed as quickly as possible. My job is to represent 96 members of the Progressive Caucus. So I made it clear to the White House that once we got both bills together and ready to pass, and passed both bills, that our members would vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which, by the way, nobody has covered this, but that's kind of a huge thing, because there are a lot of people who did not like the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

But what we are saying is we're part of the Democratic Party, we will vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and we expect that our colleagues across the Democratic caucus will vote for and pass the Build Back Better Act.

BERMAN: The reason I was asking you about the White House relationship is because one of the things I saw over the weekend was your colleague and member of the Progressive Caucus Ro Khanna went out and did the Sunday shows. And he said on Sunday, which is before you've announced, and now you're crystal clear. You're a yes on both bills, you want the vote right now. Congressman Khanna said Sunday, he basically said it first, and after he said it, Ron Klain, who is the White House chief of staff, who according to "Politico" and others you've been in conversations with pretty intensely for the last month, Ron Klain sends out not one, not two, not three tweets, gushing over Ro Khanna. [08:15:16]

And one of them is the retweet of Gene Sperling that said, thank you for your leadership, Ro Khanna.

And I was just -- it struck me as the White House picking members of the progressive caucus that they're more happy with there.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Well, look, I mean, people are going to do whatever they're going to do. I represent the caucus. Most of our members have stayed with not getting out in front of the caucus. But, you know if somebody wants to say they're going to vote for the bill, that's fine.

What I have to do is say whether or not we're going to deliver the votes, because remember, it wasn't like we just had a few people that weren't going to vote for the infrastructure bill. We had between 30 and 60 members of our caucus who were not going to vote for the infrastructure bill alone.

So my job is when we say yes, we say yes. When we say no, we say no. And people should learn that that -- I don't say that unless I know I have the votes.

And so, the same way, I was not on the Sunday shows as you saw because I wanted to be with my caucus, determining exactly where we were, defining what we were going to, you know, what our position was going to be and then be able to come out on Monday after we had done the whip count and say, yes, now we actually have the votes to pass both Build Back Better and the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

BERMAN: So, I know you're putting your faith in President Biden to get Joe Manchin the vote. What is your message to Manchin right now? You do acknowledge it is not -- he's not a yes today, correct?

JAYAPAL: That's what he says. But I -- my message just is this is a transformative piece of legislation, and if we want to convince voters that it is still worth voting for Democrats, then, John, the thing they're going to remember is not the road or the bridge.

And, look, that's a fine package. I'm going to vote for it. Great things in it. What they're going to remember is I got child care. I got pre-K, I got healthcare. These are the things that make people feel differently about their lives, and that ultimately get people out to the polls. Whether it is in a state election, whether it is in the midterms, whatever it is, that's the thing that people are going to remember, is did you deliver me something that changes my life today?

And that's child care, that's healthcare, that's action on climate change, that is immigration. That is housing. Those are the things that are the five priorities of the progressive caucus that will be in the Build Back Better Act.

BERMAN: Possibility exists, though, that infrastructure happens, $1.2 trillion, which isn't nothing. That's a big infrastructure package. Possibility that happens in the massive social agenda does not. JAYAPAL: It is going to happen. It is going to happen. Look, I -- I

believe that we now have a situation where it is not even the 96 percent that agreed on the $3.5 trillion package a few months ago, it is now 99.9 percent of Democrats who agree. And it is the president's agenda and his word is on the line, and I got to trust him.

BERMAN: Did you enjoy watching Joe Manchin yesterday?

JAYAPAL: I didn't watch it. I saw it in the shows later --

BERMAN: And did you enjoy it when you saw it then?

JAYAPAL: No, I just -- I'm not -- I don't need to comment on Joe Manchin. I'm going to do my job in the House and get both bills through and we're going to get the president's agenda done.

BERMAN: Quite a job it turned out to be the last couple of months. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, I appreciate you being here, also dealing with my mess. You're very gracious about the amount of stuff I have on the table here.

JAYAPAL: It looks like you're working hard.

BERMAN: It looks like. That's the point.

Thank you very much. I do appreciate it you being here.

JAYAPAL: Thank you.

BERMAN: Election night in America, the stakes are high in the races for governor and Virginia and New Jersey. Plus, who will win out in the New York city mayor's race? We have special live coverage starting tonight at 6:00 p.m. on CNN.

So major trials under way across the United States right now. Why a jury was seated within hours in the Kenosha shooting trial of Kyle Rittenhouse?

Plus, we have breaking news in to CNN, satellite images from China sparking concerns about progress toward nuclear weapons.



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: We do have some breaking news. There are satellite images and what they appear to show is rapid construction at several suspected silo fields in China that could eventually launch nuclear weapons. All of this as the country is also significantly bolstering its military capabilities.

CNN's Kylie Atwood with us on this.

Okay, tell us what these pictures are showing that have American officials so alarmed. KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so basically

we knew that there are now about three missile silo fields in China. And these missile silo fields could be used eventually to launch nuclear weapons. That's why they're so concerning, the fact that China is building these up. With these images showing us, they're commercial satellite images, they demonstrate that China is putting a tremendous amount of resources and efforts into developing them.

This isn't a slow project. This is a very rapid development. And the authors of this report from the federation of American scientists called this an unprecedented nuclear buildup by China.

And I spoke with one of the authors of the report who said what is noticeable here is the scope and scale that they are conducting this effort, right? This is not just one missile silo field. It is three of them. This is not just 100 missile silos, it is about 300 of them. And they're working on all of them in tandem.

So we should note that U.S. Strategic Commend tweeted earlier this year when one of these missile silo fields was discovered, noting that the world was just learning about, quote, this growing threat and the veil of secrecy that surrounds it, because China hasn't said a whole lot. We asked the Chinese government for comment on these new images. They haven't yet said anything.

We should note, it should take a few years for these missile silo fields to be completed. But the context here is China is continuing its military buildup across many fronts with these hypersonic missiles and the like. This is getting American officials concerned, they're noting what they are doing. And, of course, the question is how does it or will it change what the U.S. is doing on its military front?

BERMAN: You said secrecy. It is not like they're hiding it. If they try to hide it, they're not doing it well. These are commercial satellites, big, big, things. It seems like they want the world to know.

ATWOOD: That's right and they're in open spaces. There's not forests that are covering them. What they're doing is putting these structures over the actual silos themselves, so we can see what's happening, but we can't see the details of the construction.

KEILAR: Yeah, it is an incredibly important time in U.S. foreign policy when it comes to China.

Kylie, thank you so much for that.

ATWOOD: Of course.

BERMAN: All right, that aside, there is plenty to be thankful for this year. Fifty-eight percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. 80 percent of the adult population has at least one dose. Kids are on track today to find out whether they can get their shot. And Americans are shaking off a year and a half of COVID weariness in getting together in groups again.

There's a good chance that the grocery bill is going to be quite high on Thanksgiving.

Chief business correspondent Christine Romans has the breakdown -- Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: John Berman, let's talk turkey. Inflation is your uninvited guest for the holidays this year. Economists are saying grocery stores are saying they expect a run on turkeys, a run on birds, people gather again this year.

Take a look at this. We're expecting the price to top a record high of $1.36 per pound this holiday season, that's 22 bucks for a 16-pound turkey. Your sides, that's a problem too. All of those prices are rising for potato, for biscuits, for vegetables and apples. All of these are up since last Thanksgiving. Potato prices up 3-1/2 percent, biscuits up 4. That's just since last year. Mixed vegetables up almost 4. Those apples to make your signature pie, up nearly 8 percent.

And driving over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house is more expensive this year because of the surge in gas prices. The national average for a gallon of gas, $3.40 now. Look at the difference from last year. It's up some 38 percent. So why?

We have been talking about this, right? The global supply chain is still a tangled mess. More people are expected to gather this year. That means more demand. There are labor shortages, high transportation costs. Bad weather affecting -- hurting crops around the country.

The early bird in this case gets the turkey. Economists warn the risk is everyone at the same time will be trying to buy their ingredients, be flexible, shop now. If you wait, you may not get the size bird you want. Heritage birds may not be near you or not in your budget.

So, that means get shopping. The National Grocers Association says there is plenty of food in the supply chain, but consumers should secure must haves in a timely fashion to have favorites on the holiday table.

John, "The New York Times" says, plan for most expensive meal in the history of this holiday. Context, though, last Thanksgiving was the cheapest meal in a decade.

Ham or turkey, John and Brianna?

KEILAR: The problem is how do you a whole turkey in your freezer unless you have a deep freezer?

ROMANS: I'm going to do two -- I'm going to freeze two breasts. That's what I'm going to do. That's my plan, and I'm going to go shopping today.

There's no need to panic. Economists say don't panic. Don't think on Tuesday afternoon of Thanksgiving week, you're going to get exactly what you want. If you're picky about your menu, start working on it now.

BERMAN: If you get perishables, don't leave them out until Thanksgiving. Still three weeks away. You can't buy some of that stuff now.

ROMANS: Are you a pumpkin pie guy or apple pie guy?

BERMAN: Yes is the answer to that. Christine Romans, thank you very much for that.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

KEILAR: So just in to CNN, reports of multiple casualties after two explosions near the military hospital in Kabul.

BERMAN: And voters headed to the polls in Minneapolis where a controversial police initiative is on the ballot.