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New Day

Biden Making Calls to Round Up Votes on Economic Agenda; Florida, Other States to Sue Biden Today over Vaccine Mandate; Witness Says, First Man Killed by Rittenhouse Lunged Before Shots. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired November 05, 2021 - 07:00   ET




GREGORY ZUCKERMAN, AUTHOR, A SHOT TO SAVE THE WORLD: Well, the fact that Moderna almost didn't have money to pull off this -- make these vaccines. Even as recently as May of 2020, they went to the government, they went to Merck, they went to charities, nonprofits and said, we don't have the money and no one helped them, and they had to enter the Wall Street. But had they not, we wouldn't had all these Moderna vaccines.

Pfizer itself was a little skeptical of getting involved. BioNTech had the executives, Ugur Sahin had to convince Pfizer, well, yes, after this is going to be a pandemic and then they got on board. So, we have to be appreciative of these modern miracles, as you say.

BERMAN: We have to be appreciative of it. It's interesting compared to polio, and this was done more quickly and in some ways impressively than polio.

One big difference also, with the speed, is that when they got the polio vaccine, everyone rejoiced. This one, the country has been handed a miracle and a lot of people are basically saying, no thanks.

ZUCKERMAN: It is sad to me. It's also sad for the people that worked on them. I've talked to the researchers, the scientists, the people who labored for years on these approaches. And they are sad and frustrated and exasperated even that the world has -- not everyone. A lot of our country and elsewhere have embraced the vaccines but not everyone has. Hopefully, they will still come around because we need them to get on board so we can end this pandemic.

BERMAN: I want to circle back to the breaking news for moments ago. Again, and you write about extensively in the book, the development of the vaccine itself, people still need to get vaccinated. Vaccinations can prevent you from getting it to begin with and really reduce your risk of hospitalization on its own. But the idea of a pill for once you do get it, the treatment, how is that important in stabilizing the future and helping us move forward? I know you think, for instance, that COVID is not going to go away but become endemic. ZUCKERMAN: That is exactly my view. I think that the bad news is we're stuck with this thing. It's not going away. We've got these pills coming, I believe, coming. We have the vaccines already. But long-term, I think it's going to be endemic, meaning that there are going to be people in parts of the country, parts of the world that hadn't been vaccinated, is going to crop up. But we are working on second and third generation vaccines. I'm really excited about maybe going to your doctor's office, I think, in the next couple of years, and you get a combined COVID with flu and maybe something else into one vaccine.

So, what these guys are doing that have produced the vaccines are doing remarkable stuff. Still, in the labs, they're taking on cancer, malaria, all kinds of new things.

BERMAN: And if you do get it, even if you're vaccinated, these anti- virals, in theory, in a world where it's endemic, where it's possible it pops up, could really help reduce serious consequences.

ZUCKERMAN: Yes. One should start getting a little more optimistic about our future. So, my book and my view is that we've got better times ahead.

BERMAN: Gregory Zuckerman, as I said you when you came on, I think your book is going to be something that decades from now people look back on and ask, how did they manage to do this, and this book explains it. So, I thank you for the word you've done. I appreciate you being with us this morning.

ZUCKERMAN: Great to be here.

BERMAN: Coming up, I should note, we're going to speak to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla about the news of this new anti-viral, the results they're announcing. That's coming up.

New Day continues right now.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar. It's Friday, November 5th.

And this time they mean it, maybe. It is definitely decision day for House Democrats on the president's agenda, probably. Will today finally be the day the party can get enough votes to pass President Biden's sweeping Build Back Better plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill? It is 100 percent certainly up in the air.

What we're watching for all the new twists and turns, Brianna Keilar smiling like she has heard dad jokes before.

After months of infighting between moderates and progressives, next hour, House Democrats will reconvene on the floor to debate and vote on both pieces of legislation. That's the plan at least from House leadership.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: So, House leadership says that they feel confident. Mostly, they probably just feel anxious, right, about how passing this agenda is going to impact the midterm elections coming up when control of both chambers will be on the line. President Biden is calling House members. He was calling them overnight in an effort to help rally some support.

Let's talk about of these going on with our CNN Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins and Kevin O'Leary, who is an investor, venture capitalist and star, of course, of Shark Tank and Money Court.

Okay. Kaitlan, to you first. Just what is going to happen today? And is it going to happen today actually?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We think so. And I think we're probably closer than we've ever seen Democrats get to a vote on this. And so what is notable, though, is it's a delay, again, which we have seen time and time again when it comes to the House and voting on this. But they were wanting to vote last night, according to what House Speaker Pelosi was telling her caucus yesterday. Of course, that did not ultimately happen.

She was working her members yesterday. President Biden was working on the phone. Members of the cabinet were working the phones. They were kind of engaged in this all-out effort to try to get this done yesterday. Of course, that didn't happen. Now, they are meeting even earlier than normal, this meeting. And what they are hoping to do is to vote on that bipartisan infrastructure plan that has already passed the Senate and would the House, which is notable, because it is a massive plan.


And at this point, all the focus is on the other bigger social spending and climate change plan. This is kind of -- it almost seems just like a second thought when you look at what the White House's priorities and Democrats' priorities are right now. But it's still significant if that does pass today because it is obviously a critical part of President Biden's agenda.

The other thing, though, that's going to happen if they go as planned, as what they are saying right now, is they would then vote on the plan to expand the social safety net, has hundreds of billions of dollars on climate change. The House would vote. Then it's going to the Senate though. So, what you see passed in the House today is not anywhere near close to likely what the final version of this is going to look like.

We know there are a lot of people in the Senate who want to change what's ultimately going to be in this. Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema, several others who have key priorities that may not look as they would like them to look on what the House is going to pass today.

KEILAR: Okay. So, Kevin, as you were watching all of this, what do you think about what today is from the economic perspective?

KEVIN O'LEARY, STAR OF SHARK TANK AND MONEY COURT: The trouble that we're having as a country regarding the second social spend packages, this is an experiment that's never been done to any nation. Most nations, when they deal with tax increases, either do it at the corporate level or they do it at the personal level. But no nation has ever done both, and so if you're -- at the same time. So if you're in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts or California and the Biden plan was put in place, including the tax increases, you would be, as an individual, the highest taxed individual on Earth. And the companies inside your state would be the highest taxed companies on Earth.

That's probably not a good outcome for the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, and that's why it's having such a hard time getting through. Even more middle of the road conservatives look at this and say it's just too aggressive. It takes us from the middle of the G20 in terms of taxation. And if you're a Democrat, you're telling the country, we're going to take you from the middle of the pack to the highest taxed country on Earth.

That probably isn't good for the economy. It's going to have the same effect it had last time we were at those rates where companies leave America jobs, leave America, they go to other more competitive regions. The globe is a very competitive place. And so I think that's why by the end of this struggle, what you are seeing here being proposed is not going to happen. Maybe infrastructure does. But Build Back Better, making the Americans the highest taxed people on Earth, and their companies the same, highest taxed companies on Earth, I don't see it happening.

BERMAN: To be clear, the Build Back Better plan, and we don't know exactly what it's going to end up being, doesn't actually raise the corporate tax rates definitionally. What it does is it sets a corporate tax minimum, or tries to, so the corporations that aren't paying or don't have to pay corporate taxes because of various write- offs do have to pay something. That's the goal. I'm not arguing about the amount of revenue it will generate because, obviously, that's important to pay for what they needed to pay for.

Hey, Kevin, on infrastructure, though, I know companies have been waiting a long time. Businesspeople have been waiting a long time for a lot of the things that are part of this. How excited, how big of a difference will this $1.2 trillion bill law make when it becomes law? And I want to make clear, if the House passes this today, President Biden could sign it today. This could be a law within the next 24 hours.

O'LEARY: The infrastructure package is welcomed by all sectors of the economy. It's been a long time since we've built the things we need to be competitive globally. I keep using the word, competition, because you go to countries like Singapore, or even China, they are far more modern in terms of airports, their ports, their rail systems, et cetera. We need to compete with that.

But the point there is it benefits all 11 sectors of the economy and creates a lot of jobs in every sector of the economy. That's why that bill is having an easy time being contemplated. Not so for social spending. It's not clear how that money gets used.

And so taxes are cash. The way to look at it is no matter what semantics are, whatever you call it, you're taking money from the economy, giving it to the government to make decisions about how to allocate. Traditionally, they have been far less effective in doing that. And some people estimate that a third of money that goes to the government meat grinder gets wasted.

So, maybe you are better to leave it in the economy with the American entrepreneur for 200 years has done such a great job building up our economy to the largest on Earth and create jobs there. Two-thirds of jobs are created by small business in America. When you take and tax from them, you're actually stalling that process.

So, I'd argue that second bill is not good for job creation. It's good for social spending. But that's not the same as keeping people employed. One of the reasons we can't get people back to work is we have given away too much free money over the last 18 months. Businesses in America, including the ones I invest in, are competing with the government to get people back to work. The government keeps sending them free money, and they sit on the sofa saying, why should I work?


BERMAN: Well, we're going to talk about that later in the show. We're going to get new jobs numbers today.

I will say that as the data comes back, people are finding the hard data that the extended unemployment benefits, which have all expired, by the way, may not have impacted the job market as much as you say. It may be a psychological thing, Kevin, and we'll talk about this again later.

The psychological aspects of how people address work have changed. The pandemic made people reassess what they want out of life. And that might be hard to address with any government measures.

O'LEARY: You're right. I can give you some really interesting data. We made the assumption last December that 15 percent of our staff within our portfolio, companies we invest in, this around 10,000 people, so it is a good subset, including the supply chains. We thought 15 percent wouldn't return to the office in the areas of accounting, compliance and logistics. They traditionally worked in cubicles.

Now, here we are at the end of the year, in Q4, 55 percent of our employees have no intention of ever returning to headquarters, more than half. So, you are absolutely correct, this completely changes the fundamentals of work flow. And we have a new economy based on technology that allows you to work remotely. And I think we all have to get used to it.

And the ramifications of that are really interesting. It's probably not good for tax revenue inside of giant cities because people are going to live far away in smaller, rural areas. So we're going to have a fundamental shift. And I think we all have to deal with that. But it does give us a snapshot of the new digital economy, which looks promising. Most consumers have changed their purchase behaviors and want to get products shipped directly to their homes, no matter what it is, food, drugs, common goods and consumer services. And so our economy has to change. And we need that infrastructure bill just for all of the ways that we move goods and services and access to the internet. So, hopefully that will pass.

But the rest of this is going to be a fight tooth and nail because there's such a partisan disagreement on how the direction of the country should go. And I think you guys measure that very well every day.

KEILAR: I wonder, Kaitlan, what the White House, what President Biden would say to some of those criticisms and concerns that Kevin has of the Build Back Better plan.

COLLINS: Well, it's actually interesting because we were talking about this at the White House briefing yesterday because even a democrat in Virginia was saying Biden was not elected to be FDR. He was elected to be normal and stop the chaos. That is from Abigail Spanberger, who is up re-election, we should note, next year. And that came after what happened on election night, Tuesday night, which is obviously not good news for Democrats and has a lot of them to blame others, finger-pointing, reassess what exactly are they going to be running on next year in the midterm elections.

And so we talked to the White House about this and they were saying this Build Back Better agenda, yes, it's very broad and expansive. And right now, this framework of 1.75 trillion, which is much less than what Biden had proposed but still really big.

And when we were talking about this, the White House was saying, this is something he's been running on since he was a candidate. What he is not running is not a surprise. It is actually pared back from some of the things that he ran on, including those free years of community college, of course, raising the corporate tax rate, which is not in there right now, and several other provisions. But they were saying, we don't understand this criticism from Democrats because the president has been clear this is what he has wanted to run on.

I think the counterargument to that would be, well, we're in a different climate right now and people are worried about inflation and the supply chain and labor shortages, like what Kevin was talking about there. And so I think that's the measure for the White House and whether or not what happened on Tuesday night strengthened Senator Manchin's hand, who wants obviously a scaled-back version of this bill. And he's not happy with some of the provisions.

One of those that will remain to be seen -- Kevin is right, this will continue to be a fight tooth and nail over this fight because House Democrats, they are putting four weeks of paid leave in this bill that they are hoping to pass today. Senator Manchin has said, I cannot support that in this bill. I don't think it belongs in this legislation. We should do it separately. Speaker Pelosi said, no, I do think it belongs here. That is one example of the things that they are going to be arguing and discussing over in the next several weeks when it comes to what this bill is actually going to look like. And we know Senator Schumer has set a deadline. He hopes to get it passed through the Senate by the end of the month, by Thanksgiving. Whether or not that happens, of course, remains to be seen.

KEILAR: Yes. And, look, it looks like Joe Manchin has more leverage. And that is just the truth whether you are liking what he's doing or not liking what he's doing. Kaitlan, thank you so much. Kevin, great to have you on, Kevin O'Leary, thank you so much for being with us. And we're going to see you back next hour, Kaitlan.

BERMAN: So, Florida has now joined several other states that are suing to block the new federal requirements to test weekly or have your employees be vaccinated. Bosses with 100 workers or more now have until January 4th to get their workers vaccinated or institute a weekly testing program or they could be fined.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): At the end of the day, individuals should make informed choices about their own health care.


They shouldn't be coerced into getting a jab. In this situation, you're going to have people that are going to have to make that decision, do you get fired from your job or do you do this and this may be something that you don't think is something that you want to do?


BERMAN: So, President Biden, in a statement yesterday, said there have been no mass firings or worker shortages because of vaccination requirements.

CNN's Laura Jarrett, Anchor of Early Start, joins us now. Laura, what is the legal argument being made about these testing and/or vaccine requirements?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: So, the best argument that the states have is one that they are not making. The best argument is, Biden administration, if you think you have the legal authority to do this, what took you so long? If you think you have a strong legal case, why did you make months to do this?

Now, that is not an argument that DeSantis and other states are making, but they should. And I think we should be precise here. There are two different arguments with different tracks going on here. And I do think the strengths (ph) matter.

So, on the one hand, you have the federal contractor mandate. That's what a lot of states are suing over and I think is the easy case. They don't have a strong argument there. The federal government absolutely has say over what federal contractors do.

The much harder and more interesting case is what's happening with those private businesses, with 100 or more employees with OSHA, with this little division within the labor department, right? And they are using an emergency rule to try to mandate the vaccine. And that's what DeSantis is taking aim at there, saying it's coercive.

The thing about it is it's not coercive. There is an opt-out. I call it mandate light because it is not even a mandate. It is really just a requirement that they have an opt-out. You can do testing. They have an opt-out for religious exemptions. They have an opt-out for health exemptions. So, there is a carve-out there.

The problem for the federal government is this is really untested. The Supreme Court has not weighed in on whether the federal government can do this in the way that the Biden administration has tried to do. The Supreme Court has said states who have tons of leeway when it comes to protecting people, they haven't said that with the federal government and that's what remains to be seen.

BERMAN: It is really interesting. As you say, the OSHA standard is grave danger. So, your point, why haven't you done it before? It was a grave danger, what took you so long?

JARRETT: Sure. And, certainly, there's a response to that. The Biden administration can say, look, this virus has killed 750,000 people, right? This is clearly a dangerous virus. But whether it's still in that way when the virus is on the decline, it just remains to be seen.

But bottom line here, I just want to make the point, these mandates work. We know it, because on the local level, if you look at big cities, like Chicago, New York, L.A., where they have had local mandates in place, the vaccination rates have shot up since those mandates have come in place. They didn't come in when we were just sort of playing Mr. Nice guy and we said it would be nice if you got the vaccine. They come in, they vaccination rates have shot up once the mandates are in place.

So, it's something that actually from an economic perspective, maybe it gets people back in the office. Maybe all the people who have been at home worried about the virus might actually be more willing to go back into the office if they know they're going to be around other people who are vaccinated.

BERMAN: Laura Jarrett, you raise some really interesting points, both legal and economic. I appreciate you being with us this morning.

JARRETT: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: All right. Just ahead, what a juror did to get kicked off the Kyle Rittenhouse case.

KEILAR: Plus, some more breaking details on Pfizer's experimental anti-COVID pill. The company's CEO will be joining us live.

And Will Smith talking about a decision that he might have made in his past that would have certainly changed the trajectory of his life.



KEILAR: An eyewitness in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial telling jurors that the first man he killed appeared to lunge for Rittenhouse's gun just moments before the shooting.

Shimon Prokupecz is live in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Shimon, this is the same witness who also recorded an interview with Rittenhouse on the night of the shootings, right?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Brianna. And that video that he recorded and his testimony now playing a pivotal role in this case is really scoring points for both the prosecution and defense. He even got emotional at one point as he recounted witnessing one of the victims being shot.


PROKUPECZ (voice over): Two witnesses who were with Kyle Rittenhouse the night he shot three men, killing two of them, testifying in his murder trial Thursday. Richard McGinnis telling jurors Joseph Rosenbaum, who was the first man killed, was unarmed.



BINGER: You never saw a gun on Mr. Rosenbaum?

MCGINNIS: I did not.

BINGER: You never saw him have a knife?


BINGER: You never saw a club or a bat or a chain or anything like that?

MCGINNIS: I just saw the bag that was thrown. That was it.

PROKUPECZ: The chief video director for the website, The Daily Caller, taking this video, interviewing Rittenhouse prior to the shooting.

KYLE RITTENHOUSE, DEFENDANT: That's why I have my rifle because I need to protect myself.

PROKUPECZ: McGinnis describing what happened right before the gunfire started.

MCGINNIS: My eyes at that moment were -- like in this exact moment, were fixated on the barrel of the weapon because I didn't want to end up on the receiving end of that.

PROKUPECZ: And testifying Rosenbaum appeared to lunge toward Rittenhouse at the same time Rittenhouse shot him.

MCGINNIS: The shots were fired when his momentum was going forward and that continued until Mr. Rosenbaum landed on the ground.

PROKUPECZ: McGinnis seemingly emotional and sometimes looking away as the prosecution played a video showing the first shooting and him helping Rosenbaum afterward.

BINGER: Is it hard for you to see that?


MCGINNIS: I certainly don't like to watch it.

PROKUPECZ: During cross-examination, the defense making the case Rittenhouse was protecting himself from Rosenbaum.

MARK RICHARDS, LEAD DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And you know, as you sit here today, that he yelled the words, F-U, but the whole words, correct?


RICHARDS: Okay. What was the tone of his voice as he yelled that?

MCGINNIS: Very angry.

PROKUPECZ: Ryan Balch also taking the stand, testifying he was with Rittenhouse. As seen in this video also carrying an AR-15 style rifle and describing how viewed Rosenbaum.

RYAN BLACH, WITNESS: Every time I encountered Joseph Rosenbaum, he was hyper-aggressive and acting out in a violent manner.

PROKUPECZ: But Balch also telling prosecutors this.

BINGER: Did you ever actually see Mr. Rosenbaum physically injure anyone that night?


PROKUPECZ: Before Thursday's testimony, Judge Bruce Schroeder telling the court a juror was dismissed for telling a joke to a deputy about Jacob Blake, who was shot by police seven times last August. That incident fueling the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Rittenhouse shot the three men. He has pleaded not guilty on all counts.

JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: It is clear that the appearance of bias is present. And it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case. So, that in itself would be sufficient cause for discharge.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BERMAN: Our thanks to Shimon for that report. Joining us now is someone who has been in the courthouse covering this story from day one, New York Times Chicago Bureau Chief Julie Bosman. Julie, thanks so much for being with us.

I should note, you grew up in Kenosha. You know Kenosha really well, so this is close to your heart. You also note this isn't a whodunit, right? This isn't a whodunit case. People know who pulled the trigger here. The question is, why and was it justified? And you have really seen that play out from the prosecution and the defense so far.

JULIE BOSMAN, CHICAGO BUREAU CHIEF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: That's right. We've heard that over and over in pretrial hearings and in the trial this week, the lawyers have said this is not a whodunit, we are not arguing over the basic facts of this case. What they are debating is what Kyle Rittenhouse saw and whether his actions were justified when he killed two people and wounded another.

BERMAN: To what extent has it seemed, because as the prosecution is putting its case on now, that the defense has been able to score points with some of the prosecution witnesses?

BOSMAN: Well, I think what's been happening here is a couple of things. I mean, you saw that extraordinary moment when the judge in this case started the trial yesterday morning by bringing in a juror and excusing that juror, which was really a moment that showed how much this judge wants to avoid any kind of appearance of bias. The judge is very determined to show Kenosha and to show the whole country that this is a fair trial. And he wants people to have confidence in the outcome.

BERMAN: What's Kenosha been like the last few days and weeks?

BOSMAN: You know, as you said, I grew up in Kenosha. It's my hometown. I stood at this very spot 14 months ago when there were thousands of protesters demonstrating, when those demonstrations turned into violence, when they turned into rioting.

And it was really unclear what we are going to see when we arrived in town this week. But it's been very sedate in Kenosha. The people I spoke to said, look, we are trying to avoid the whole area. In the courtroom every day, sometimes it's only been half full. And there have been very few protesters who have come out on the steps of the courthouse here.

So, I think that what people in Kenosha really want is for the trial to proceed quickly. And I think they're hoping that there will be a verdict quickly as well.

BERMAN: It sounds like you might be about to miss your train. Julie Bosman, thank you for being with us today. We appreciate it. Really interesting observations about what's been going on. Thank you.

BOSMAN: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: All right. Breaking this morning, brand-new data on an experimental pill that could be just a huge development in the battle against COVID. Pfizer's CEO is standing by to speak to us live.

KEILAR: A Capitol rioter who bragged that she wouldn't go to prison because she's white hears from the judge.