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Surprising Signs of Bipartisanship in the Senate; David Gergen: Biden Should Not Run Again in 2024; Passenger Lands Plane After Pilot Becomes Incapacitated. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 11, 2022 - 07:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, the House passing a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine. It is one of a number of high profile bills being voted on this week on Capitol Hill. So will the Senate push through its partisan gridlock and send these bills to President Biden or are they doomed to stall in Congress? John Avlon with our Reality Check.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: There are a million examples of just how dangerously divided our nation is right now. But I want to tell you a man bites dog story about government actually functioning, unexpected examples of bipartisanship quietly breaking out in the Senate over just the past few months.

Now, this modest trend will be put to the test this week as the Senate takes on some high profile legislation from Ukraine military aid to COVID funding to an uphill attempt to protect the abortion rights that the Supreme Court appears poised to strip away. As in all cases, the perfect is the enemy the good. Constructive compromise is the only way to get legislation through a Democrat controlled 50/50 Senate. And often even that isn't enough, but it's funny how the odds improve when the focus is on governing instead of partisan grandstanding.

But first, let's take a look at that list you might have missed over the past few months. We've seen the passage of the landmark anti- lynching bill, a victory more than a century in the making. We've seen the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act which had been allowed to expire in 2018. Or how about saving the post office because for more than a decade, folks have been warning about its looming insolvency, which Congress itself triggered. Back in March, 79 senators finally passed a plan to modernize and stabilize the U.S. Postal Service for a generation.

America also avoided another government shutdown when the Senate passed a bipartisan 1.5 trillion government spending bill with more than 13 billion in aid to Ukraine.

For all the warnings about China, you still might have missed it, the House and Senate finally passed bills to boost America's competitiveness with China, which could have massive implications for cybersecurity if the two bodies reconcile their plans.

Now, all at all, it's not bad for a few months of government work, especially in an election year when cynics say nothing ever gets done. I don't want to give the impression that everything's sweetness and light behind between the two parties behind the scenes, obviously at eight. But maybe it's because of the return of earmarks or maybe it's the effect of watching Ukraine defend itself against Russian invaders. But there seems to be a temporary will to quietly get things done, at least before the campaign season turns truly ugly.

Now, the next test will come this week is the Biden administration is warning that a new fall wave of COVID could infect 100 million Americans if the Senate doesn't act to fund updated vaccines, testings, and treatment. There's also a roughly $40 billion bill to help Ukraine that passed the House last night with only 57 Republicans voting against it.

But the biggest list will come is Democrats scrambled to pass a law securing federal abortion rights. Now, they've been backing a maximalist bill without exemptions for religious hospitals, for example. But now come reports that a small bipartisan group of senators is trying to rally others around a plan to address those concerns. That's probably not still going to have the 60 votes to get past a House, a GOP -- Senate GOP filibuster, but it could gain support from a clear majority of senators.

Now look, I get it. Compromise can be frustrating, especially at a time when one party's publicly backing the big lie. But a 50/50 Senate means that play to the base bills just aren't in the cards.

Here's the thing our country can't squander the opportunity for a few more bipartisan wins this year, like helping to secure our elections by strengthening the Electoral Count Act, stopping societal breakdown with social media reforms, maybe even a climate change initiative known as the Kigali Amendment. These actions are necessary but not sufficient. Democrats still haven't figured out how to win Senator Manchin support to salvage what's left to the Biden agenda on everything from taxes to climate change. Likewise, big picture election reform seems DOA.

But these modest examples of bipartisan success are really much needed reminders that we still can't and reason together and democracy can still deliver even in our deeply divided times. And that's the Reality Check.


KEILAR: Much needed one, John Avlon, thank you so much.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So a new book is examining the role of leadership and whether it's time for older generations to pass the torch to their younger counterparts. The challenge they would face is daunting as the book writes, not since the Civil War, have our elected officials been so deeply divided, our populace split in blind loyalty along partisan lines, often unwilling to acknowledge the opponent on the other side. Joining us now our friend, David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst, he's served as advisor in four presidential administrations, and he is the author of the new book, Hearts Touched with Fire: How Great Leaders Are Made. And David is such a wonderful read, eye opening in many ways. I mean, the subtitle here could be No Country for Old Men. I mean, you would like to see a serious passing of the torch, why?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I would. Well, I think that the -- baby boomer population in general, the people who came to are born, who were born after the war ended, they've had their time in the sandbox now and governing. And I think, frankly, that while there are some been some good things, there's generally been a sense of disappointment about, you know, how well they've governed, how badly they've governed. And very, very importantly, but we have an election coming up in 2024, in which it's very possible that we will have Donald Trump facing off against Joe Biden, if one of those people wins the presidency, he will be governing what he's -- in his 80 year of age. That is, we've never seen anything like that before. And frankly, I think it's a real risk, you know, I just turned 80. And I can just tell you, John, the -- you lose a step, your judgment is not quite as clear as it was. There are variety of other things you can't do much about. And to put somebody in that office without the kind of vulnerabilities and giving them for years, we don't know where things will go. And I just think it's a mistake for either party that put forward people who are going to be essentially trying to run the country in their 80s. So that's part of it.

But I do think -- I want to go back to what John Avlon was saying, there are sparks now, there are little indicators that maybe things can get better. And just as he saw things happening to Senate, I would tell you, in the House of Representatives, one of the things that's really encouraging is how many young veterans are coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq, and saying they want to -- they want to work here in the country, and they're running for Congress. We have a number of people now in the middle who were formed a caucus, a bipartisan Caucus in the House, people who want to work together. And I think times are, the signs are the next few years are going to be very rough. But if you look out over the horizon, things are much more promising. And that's what I think we ought to keep our eye on because there are signs of promise, and we ought to be encouraging them.

KEILAR: So to be clear here, David, you're saying that neither Trump nor Biden should run again, even Biden, the incumbent?

GERGEN: I believe it would be in the best interest of the country, for someone in their 80s to step back, when regardless of party. I just don't think that that's -- the presidency is not only the most powerful office in the world, it's also one of the most complex, it requires every day person in the presidency, making really hard judgment calls, you've got to -- you have to dip in, you've got to get into the data, you've got to get into the evidence, you got to deal with all sorts of multiple parties.

You know, and someone in the 80s, you can't assume that a person is going to be healthy, and mentally all there through the early 80s, you just can't assume that. The chances are, you're more vulnerable, and things are going to go the other way. And then what do we do, two years in if some -- if there's some attack, so I think both parties should be looking at Generation X for the next leaders, but they also want to be looking to -- the generations below that, the millennials, and the Generation Z, because they're the ones who have the young people and can forge a new culture in our country, so that leaders can actually get things done. We can't go on, we're on an unsustainable path right now, you know, is if we're driving in a car on the side of a cliff, in the middle of the night, with rain pouring down and no head life, you know, it's just dangerous to do that. And you may get through it, but the chances are pretty high, that something bad will happen. So I just, I think it's time to reassess. And yes, I do believe that President Biden and Donald Trump should both consider stepping aside and letting new people emerge, new leaders emerge.

BERMAN: You know, look, it's not just the presidency.

GERGEN: Yes, yes.

BERMAN: -- right now, you have a Speaker of the House, you have, you know, Senate Minority Leader, I mean, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, what about Supreme Court? I mean, do you think that this applies broadly to all the senior positions?


GERGEN: I do. And I think that what we've just seen with court with the leakage and the explosions that are occurring around the court, I'm really worried about the reputation of the court, and gravitas of the court. And the circumstances and we ought to be looking at something like, you know, rotating off after a certain number of years, especially when you hit your late 70s, early 80s. I do think that this, after all, is what Franklin Roosevelt considered way back when he was president, when he had a court that was that was packed against him.

KEILAR: I want to ask you, because you were pointing to Gen X, I looked Kamala Harris is actually the last year of being a baby boomer, because she was born in 1964. So if, if Biden isn't to run again, on the Democratic side, who should run? Who do you think should run? Pete Buttigieg is a millennial, who do you think should be in that field?

GERGEN: I think it should be a mix, frankly, of Generation X, which is often overlooked. And I sometimes overlooked myself. There are people there who are pretty fully developed and their leadership, and are not going to change very much in some you can make your choice about who you think ought to do it. But I think the mix of Generation X and the millennials that are coming up. I think, a lot of -- the earlier we can get the millennials into play, I think the better for the country. The millennials as a general proposition, I think are promising. They include not just the veterans that I talked about before, but their whole slew of people, you know, coming up with domestic reform, many of whom are people of color. And very importantly, there are a lot of young black women now who have taken the moral high ground and trying to change things in the country. And while they're poor, I don't share their politics, they're usually much more liberal than I am. But I do celebrate the fact that millennials are trying to get into the public arena and want to change the country and they should have a place at the table.

BERMAN: David Gergen, the book is, Hearts Touched with Fire, which is a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., a wonderful quote. Thank you for being with us. The book is wonderful, and you are eternally young, my friend.

GERGEN: You're very kind. And thank you both.

BERMAN: So Ukrainian official says Russia is "very worried about Ukrainian counter attacks near Kharkiv, the latest moves on the ground.

KEILAR: And how did a passenger with absolutely no experience flying make this incredible landing?



KEILAR: Scary moments onboard, a single engine Cessna off the coast of Florida, a pilot became incapacitated midflight, forcing the passenger to take over and make this incredible landing. And imagine this, that person right there, has never flown a plane before. CNN's Pete Muntean has flown a plane before, many times and so you can speak Pete to just how amazing this ending of this story was?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: It's incredible, Brianna, almost like something out of a movie. I've been around flying my entire life. I'm a pilot. I'm a flight instructor. I've never heard of something like this before. This flight from the Bahamas, the pilot complaint of having a headache and then passed out. I just want you to listen now to the hero air traffic controller who is also a flight instructor who essentially had a new student pilot without ever getting in the plane.


PASSENGER: I've got a serious situation here. My pilot has gone incoherent and have no idea how to fly the airplane, but maintain at 9100.

MUNTEAN: The voice you're hearing is not a pilot but a passenger radioing for help. Audio captured from live ATC details the communications between the plane, a Cessna Caravan and the control tower at Fort Pierce in Florida.

TOWER: Caravan, 333 Lima Delta, roger, what's your position?

PASSENGER: I have no idea. I see the coast of Florida in front of me and I have no idea.

MUNTEAN: Air traffic controller Robert Morgan was on break from working in the tower when his colleagues said he needed to come back fast.

ROBERT MORGAN, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER, FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: There's a passenger flying a plane that's not a pilot and the pilot incapacitated. So they said we need to try to help them land the plane.

MUNTEAN: Morgan is a 20 year veteran controller but also a certificated flight instructor with 1200 hours flying experience.

TOWER: What was the situation with the pilot?

PASSENGER: He is incoherent. He is out.

TOWER: 3 Lima Delta, Roger. Try to hold the wings level and see if he can start descending for me push forward on the controls and descend at a very slow rate.

MUNTEAN: Controller Morgan had not flown this specific airplane before. So we pulled up this photo of the layout of the instrument panel and talk the passenger through it step by step.

MORGAN: I knew the planes fly and like any other plane, I just had to keep them calm. Point them to the runway and just tell them how to reduce the power so you can descend to land.

MUNTEAN: Data from flight aware shows the flights path. The first challenge to controllers locating the flight and pointing the passenger turn pilot to the airport.

TOWER: N3LD maintain wings level and just try to follow the coast either north or southbound. We're trying to locate you.


PASSENGER: Have you guys located me yet? I can even get my nav screen to turn on. I has all the information on it. You guys have any ideas on that?

TOWER: N3LD Palm Beach, he's telling me you're about 20 miles east of Boca Raton just continue northbound over the beach and we'll try to get you some further instructions.


MUNTEAN: Morgan's instruction paid off, guiding the flight to a landing at Palm Beach. Aviation experts call it a remarkable feat that left other flights listening in stunned, including a commercial pilot waiting for takeoff.

AMERICAN 1845: Did you just say the passengers landed the airplane?

TOWER: That's correct.

AMERICAN 1845: Oh my god. Great job.

TOWER: No flying experience. We got a controller that worked them down that's a flight instructor.

MUNTEAN: After the landing, Morgan left the tower and went out to the ramp to meet his newest student pilot that he taught to land without ever getting in the plane.

MORGAN: I just feel like it was probably meant to happen.


MUNTEAN: You know, adding to the drama of all this, John and Brianna, this pilot turned passenger, passenger turn pilot says he was just trying to get home to his pregnant wife. The FAA says it's investigating. So we'll see. But this is really, really remarkable.

BERMAN: I don't even understand. I don't get it. It's amazing. But how did the guy like steer the plane in line up with the runway that seems so complicated. How long does it normally take to teach someone how to do that?

MUNTEAN: It's tough. I can tell you as a flight instructor, it takes about 20 hours to get somebody proficient and landing. That's the hardest thing really, so that they can solo an airplane on their own. Essentially, this was a first solo flight that we saw, it really typically takes a lot of work, although it's a real testament to the teamwork here, and also controller Morgan's training as a flight instructor, essentially, he had to employ that to try and get this airplane on the ground when you watch the video of the landing, the thing that I am so stunned by is that the landing was really pretty darn good. They got it right on the runway, and everything was fine. The biggest challenge, according to some of the ATC audio at one point, was just trying to turn the airplane off. So they didn't exactly know how to do that. And so they had to talk them through that even, you know, it's incredible when you think about it, just how much goes into not only getting the airplane to the airport, landing on the runway, clearing the runway taxiing off and then shutting it down. Really a lot of good work there.

KEILAR: Yeah, there's a propeller you have to watch out for Pete Muntean as you are well aware. You got to shut that thing down for people approach it. Pete, amazing, thank you.

BERMAN: It really is unbelievable. And I still have so many questions, which is why it is fortuitous, the next hour we're going to speak to the air traffic controller who talked the passenger through that landing, astounding.

All right, what the midterm election results in West Virginia and Nebraska are telling us about former President Trump's influence?

KEILAR: And soon April's inflation numbers will be released, what should we expect after inflation hit a 40 year high?



KEILAR: The death toll from a devastating explosion in Cuba is climbing. CNN has reporters around the globe bringing you the latest developments starting with Patrick Oppmann in Havana.


PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Patrick Oppmann in Havana where the death toll from an explosion that took place at a hotel here on Friday is now more than 40 people. The hotel Saratoga was closed to visitors when an apparent gas leak caused this explosion. But a number of hotel workers and people that were just in the immediate area were injured or killed. Rescue workers continue to look for victims under the mounds of rubble, while Cuba is still reopening to tourists officials say they don't believe that this accident will have long term impacts on that recovery.



STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: I am Stefano Pozzebon in Bogota and here in Colombia, authorities are leading a manhunt for the murderers who killed the anti-drug attorney of Paraguay on Tuesday morning. Marcelo Pecci was on honeymoon in the Caribbean city of Cartagena with his wife, Claudia Aguilera, when two killers arrived on jet skis and gunning down on the beach. According to the Paraguayan Interior Ministry. The wife survived and leaders of both countries condemned the murder. Pecci and his wife got married only last week and just hours before the tragedy, they had announced they were expecting a first son.



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Andy Scholes in Atlanta, the PGA Tour says its players will not be allowed to play in the first event of the breakaway tour backed by Saudi Arabia. Phil Mickelson was among the golfers who asked to play in the tour's debut June 9 in London. But in a memo obtained by CNN, the PGA Tour denied all requests saying it was on the same weekend as the Canadian Open, which is a PGA event, two time major winner Greg Norman, who is CEO of the Saudi League calls the PGA Tours actions anti-golfer, anti-fan, and anti- competitive, but he says the new league will not be stopped. Saudi Golf League has eight events planned this year, five of them in the United States.


KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Wednesday, May 11 and Brianna Keilar with John Berman.

A key test of Donald Trump's status as kingmaker in the GOP in primary races in two states. The outcome a split decision. CNN projecting West Virginia Congressman Alex Mooney who made Trump's endorsement the centerpiece of his campaign will win the Republican nomination in the state's Second Congressional District. Mooney easily defeated Congressman David McKinley who voted to certify President Biden's election win and also backed an independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. BERMAN: The story much different in Nebraska where Trump's pick went down. CNN projects Republican Jim Pillen will defeat Trump-backed candidate Trump Charles Herbster in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary. The Trump-backed Herbster, Trump did back Herbster even though he's facing allegations of sexual misconduct which he has denied.