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Biden Calls For Ban on Assault Weapons in Primetime Speech; Lawmakers Spar in Contentious Hearing on Gun Violence; 8:30 ET, May Jobs Report Expected to Show Continued Growth. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 03, 2022 - 07:00   ET



ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: The post-game conference didn't sound like they were panicking, but I don't know. So, game 1 was not a good sign.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Andy Scholes, so glad you are there. I wish I was there.

New Day continues right now.

Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world, it is Friday, June 3rd. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

Enough, that was President Biden's message to Congress and the nation in the wake of new mass shootings, enough. The rare primetime address from the president was a shift in the White House public response over the last couple of weeks and included his most specific appeal for stricter gun laws.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: His walk to the podium lined with 56 candles representing victims of gun violence from every U.S. state and territory.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, enough, enough. It's time for each of us to do our part. It's time to act, for the children we've lost, the children we can save, for the nation we love. Let's hear the call and the cry. Let's meet the moment. Let us finally do something.


KEILAR: The president laid down a marker to expected opposition from Republican lawmakers.


BIDEN: Don't tell me raising the age won't make a difference. Enough.

My God, the fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don't want any of these proposals, even to be debated or come up for a vote I find unconscionable.


BERMAN: All right. Let's talk about the specifics of what the president laid out last night. CNN's Tom Foreman is here with that.

Again, some very specific plans put forth, Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a lot of bullet points we can talk about here. I don't mean to make a pun there. The first one, to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, this was -- they want to reinstate the 1994 assault weapons ban which lasted for ten years and then was sunsetted (ph), it was not renewed. Congress should also limit how many rounds a weapon can hold.

This in the polls by far the most explosive issue out there for Republicans, they're most concerned about this. So, he offered an alternative. If you can't do that, then raise the age for purchase. Biden said, I know some folks will say 18 year olds can serve in the military and fire those weapons but that's with training and supervision by the best trained experts in the world, it's not just someone walking in off the street at 18 saying, I want to buy one of these guns. Big difference in the president's mind and mind of many voters, too.

He wants to expand background checks, a solution that the vast majority of Americans, including the majority of gun owners, agree on and polls have indeed shown consistently that Americans think this is a pretty good idea. We should have a better idea of who is buying a gun, what their background is like, do they represent some sort of threat. Currently, they are not required for gun sales and transfers by unlicensed and private sellers. He would like it to include all those people so guns aren't just moving around without us knowing who is buying them, what their background is.

Safe storage laws, this is an interesting idea. He wants gun owners to have a personal liability for not locking up your gun. You just can't leave a loaded gun sitting in your nightstand and then have it taken by somebody even in your own family who wants to go do something wrong with it. Basically, they're saying you do have to secure these in the same sense that you couldn't make it easy for someone to take your car and just run out into the street who was unable to operate it, a 12- year-old or something like that. You need to have some measures to show you are aware of the threat there.

Red flag laws would allow adults to alert authorities if someone is, quote, exhibiting violent tendencies, threatening classmates or experiencing suicidal thoughts that make them a danger to themselves or others. Simply put, they want it to be such that if you see someone who is potentially a problem, someone who's extremely despondent, extremely angry, showing signs that they really might take action that you can do something about it, alert the authorities, get them in there to stop it before it happens, not just reacting after it happens.

This is an interesting one. He wants to repeal the gun manufacturers' immunity from liability. Under a 2005 federal statute, gun manufacturers can't be held liable in almost all cases for the use of their products in crimes. This happened because in the 1990s, there were some legal actions against gun manufacturers.

And, basically, this isn't for gun manufacturers just making guns and selling them, the notion is to say if you're doing this in a way that somehow encourages or incites the idea that these guns should be used in acts of violence, in acts of crime, that, yes, you can be held responsible for this in the same sense that if a car manufacturer marketed cars by suggesting their main value is that they can outrun police and be used in crimes, this he would probably be held accountable if an accident happened as a result.


So, that's another idea.

And then, of course, the idea of more mental health help to address the mental health crisis, more school counselors, school nurses, more mental health services for students and teachers, more mentors to help young people succeed, more privacy protection keep kids from harms of social media.

Interesting, this one has a lot of resonance among Republican lawmakers, although people who are in the field of psychiatry and psychology say, yes, maybe only about 10 percent of these mass shooters actually suffer from some kind of mental illness. Raging, being angry, being vengeful, those aren't mental illness. That's just the way some people are. So, they would say this is a small part of it.

Bottom line, what he is proposing here politically is not radical. Most Republicans support most of these measures, the question is will lawmakers.

BERMAN: Yes. The question is how much traction will any of these proposals actually be able to get in Congress. Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

FOREMAN: You're welcome.

KEILAR: The president's speech coming on a night when fellow Democrats sparred with Republicans in a contentious House committee hearing. They produced a string of gun proposals that have little to no chance of getting past Republicans in the Senate.

CNN's Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill with more on this. Lauren, what can you tell us?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this hearing yesterday really revealing just how deep the schisms are between Republicans and Democrats when it goes to what they think needs to be done to stop this gun violence across the country.


REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): The Judiciary Committee will please come to order --

FOX (voice over): Lawmakers facing intense pressure to act after recent mass shootings. The House Judiciary Committee met Thursday and approved the Protecting Our Kids Act, a wide-ranging package of gun control legislation proposed by Democrats.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): What have we taught our children? This is on our own watch. Where is the outrage?

FOX: A massacre of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, last week weighing on lawmakers' minds.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): To my Republican colleagues, I ask, who are you here for? Are you here for our kids or are you here for the killers?

FOX: The committee debated the package for nearly ten hours, some Republicans accused Democrats of rushing the legislation through Congress.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Democrats never once reached out to us to seek our input on the legislation we are considering here today.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It is reflexive and it is irresponsible to consider bills while we're still trying to figure out what happened in some of these circumstances that you suggest animated the need for this hearing.

FOX: And accused them of infringing on Americans' Second Amendment rights. Provisions in the bill include raising the age to build certain semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21 years old, new federal offenses for gun trafficking and selling large capacity magazines and strengthening existing federal regulations on bump stocks and ghost guns among others.

JORDAN: Democrats blame guns, they criticize the NRA, they call Republicans names, but let's be honest, they've told us what they want to do, their real beef is with the Second Amendment.

FOX: Their entrenched positions on full display when Congressman Greg Steube of Florida pulled out his own firearm.

REP. GREG STEUBE (R-FL): Here is a gun I carry every single day to protect myself, my family, my wife, my home. This is an XL Sig Sauer P365. It comes with a 15 round magazine. Here is a seven-round magazine, which would be less than what would be lawful under this bill if this bill were to come off. It doesn't fit. So, this gun would be banned.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): I hope the gun is not loaded.

STEUBE: I'm in my house. I can do whatever I want with my guns.

FOX: While Democrats push back on the Second Amendment argument.

REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Do you know who didn't have due process? Do you know who didn't have their constitutional right to life respected, the kids at Parkland and Sandy Hook and Uvalde and Buffalo and the list goes on and on. So spare me the bull (BLEEP).

DEAN: I'm stunned by some of the words that we're hearing on the other side of the aisle. Where is their outrage over slaughter of 19 fourth graders and their two teachers? Why don't they feel an urgency to do something?

FOX: Democrats accused Republicans of a double standard on anti- abortion positions.


SWALWELL: And then they say that laws don't work but they have no problem crafting laws to take away a woman's right to make her own health care decision, that law must work.

FOX: The committee voted 25-19 along party lines, a procedural step before the full House votes on the package. But even if the legislation passes the House, it's not expected to pass the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to overcome a filibuster.

NADLER: I'm not privy to the negotiations that are going on in the Senate. I hope they do the right thing.


FOX (on camera): And all eyes are going to be on those Senate negotiations when lawmakers return from their week-long recess next week. We are told from both Republicans and Democrats working in that small group that they are making progress, that they think that they might be able to find something small that they can agree on. But, Brianna, that is a much more narrow set of items that lawmakers in the Senate are looking at than this package that the House committee passed yesterday. Brianna?

KEILAR: Yes. It's not going to be something that overcomes the chasm we just saw there. I mean, that was some hearing. Lauren Fox live for us on Capitol Hill, thanks.

BERMAN: So, a former chief of staff to late President George H.W. Bush is urging lawmakers to take action and she says her former boss left a blueprint for them to get there. She writes in part, quote, from former President George H.W. Bush I learned too much to discuss in this op-ed but among his many life lessons, be bold, be truthful, be courageous and don't be afraid to say you were wrong. More than anything he taught us by example, now it is our elected officials' turn.

Joining us now is Jean Becker, the author of The Man I Knew, the Amazing Story of George H.W. Bush's Post-Presidency. Jean, it's great to have you here.

The headline to this op-ed caught my attention. It said, George H.W. Bush quit the NRA and gave a blueprint for action. That was in 1995 when he was upset about a fundraising letter by the NRA. But, actually, what you're writing about is something much bigger, the need for politicians to make tough choices and sometimes politically risky choices. Explain.

JEAN BECKER, AUTHOR, THE MAN I KNEW, THE AMAZING STORY OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH'S POST-PRESIDENCY: Good morning, John and Brianna. Thank you so much for having me. Grateful to you and the Houston Chronicle for letting my voice be heard.

I'm tired of being the silent majority so that's why I wrote the op- ed. President Bush, I'm not objective, I was his chief of staff for 25 years, and I learned so much from him. He was an incredible leader. And perhaps one of the most important lessons he left behind for current politicians, we elected you to do your job and to do what is right for our country and not to do what is right to get you reelected or what is right for the base.

And probably the best example is the 1990 budget deal in which President Bush -- first of all, I love what he did. He sent all the people negotiating that budget deal, House, Senate, his own team at the White House, he sent them to Andrews Air Force Base and basically said don't come out until you all figure this out. And what he did is he agreed to a small tax increase in return for budget cuts from the Democrats. And they reached a budget deal and he told friends and he wrote in his diary, I probably just made myself a one-term president, but I did what was right for the country.

Does anybody on Capitol Hill say that today? And he was right. He did lose his reelection bid in 1992, but he did not have any regrets from his 1990 budget deal. That's the kind of courage we need today.

KEILAR: So what -- I mean, if you are -- and you just heard this hearing, Jean, Democrats and Republicans, what would you say? And then you also have the president, right? There's obviously a lot of players in this. But what would you say to both parties about how they need to be better about doing their jobs in this debate?

BECKER: Well, you're not going to like what one of the things I'm going to say, is I think they need to stay off television. Please don't cut me off. But one of the things I love that President Bush sent them to Andrews Air Force Base, he wanted them to hammer this out without T.V. cameras, without the sound bites and, of course, that was before social media.

I feel now a lot of what they do and say is just -- it's just for the camera and they should go behind closed doors and talk about how we're going to end this epidemic. People are just angry out here and they talk to the T.V. camera, they don't talk to each other and they don't talk to us.


And so I would just say to them you need to negotiate. And here is a controversial word right now, you might need to compromise. But this is -- this is insane what's going on and the American people are pleading for them to figure this out. And, again, I wrote the book, The Man I Knew, because I feel like President Bush left us a blueprint on how to be a good leader and how to make tough decisions. I also talk in the op-ed about a 1968 vote as Congressman George Bush, he voted for the Fair Housing Act and which would end discrimination and it was part of the civil rights, Lyndon Johnson's long civil rights battle. And he got hate mail, he got death threats, his constituents were not happy. So what did he do? He flew home to Houston and he had a town hall.

There's an idea. He had a town hall and invited everybody to come, he got booed, he got things thrown at him, and by the end of the town hall, he got a standing ovation. He convinced his constituents that he had done the right thing for them and for the country.

BERMAN: Jean Becker, it's great to hear your perspective on the way that things maybe could be and, no, we will never cut you off. Please come back and talk to us again, Jean.

BECKER: I would love to. Thank you so much.

BERMAN: Today marks 100 days since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Ukraine's president says Russia now controls one-fifth of that country. We have the latest from the battle front ahead.

And we are about to get a look at the highly anticipated May jobs report as warnings of a recession intensify.

KEILAR: And Florida on alert this morning as a tropical storm takes direct aim at the state.



BERMAN: This morning, we will get the highly anticipated May jobs report, so be here next hour the second it comes out. Economists are expected to see 350,000 jobs added by American employers last month despite worries about high inflation and a potential recession. An unemployment rate of 3.5 percent is also expected, which would be a new low for the pandemic era.

KEILAR: And a new report from the trustees of social security and Medicare is warning Americans will stop receiving their full social security benefits by 2035 without an intervention from Congress. Now, ironically, this was actually a good news report because the trust fund is better off than it was.

Here now, Chief Business Correspondent Christine Romans to walk us through this. Ironic but true.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Ironic but true, Brianna. The recovery from the COVID crash has actually helped, payroll tax receipts are strong but the program still face has shortfall in just 13 years unless Congress acts. And this is the official yearly forecast that is prepared by the trustees for Congress, right? Looking just at the fund that covers retirement for survivor's benefits and survivor's benefits, social security can only cover benefits until 2034. Payroll taxes only cover about three quarters of the benefits owed. Now, the fund for disability insurance, though, looks a lot better. There's enough money there for at least the next 75 years. Trustees now estimate fewer workers will end up on disability than they previously thought.

And we've got new estimates also for Medicare here, the fund for Medicare Part A, that covers inpatient hospital benefits, that can only pay full benefits until the year 2028. Part B and D, that covers doctors and prescription drugs, that has enough money going forward supported, of course, by premium payments.

Bottom line the cost of both social security and Medicare are projected to grow faster than the nation's economy mostly because Americans are getting older, they need more benefits. So far, Congress can't agree what to do about it. Lawmakers will either have to raise payroll taxes or cut costs and benefits or a combination of both.

These are tough choices, consistently punted by Congress but, again, this is the annual sort of like wake-up call that there is an end of the road here, it's 13 years down the road.

KEILAR: Consistently punted. I like how you put that. Christine, thank you so much.

BERMAN: There is one guy who looks like he will be comfortable in retirement. LeBron James is a billionaire, marking the first time an active NBA player has achieved that milestone. It's something he told GQ in 2014 was a long time dream of his. He said, obviously, I want to maximize my business and if I happen to get it, if I happen to be a billion dollar athlete, hip hip hooray. Oh, my God, I'm going to be excited.

Joining me now, CNN Business Correspondent Rahel Solomon. Well, he made it. He's been a businessman from the very beginning.

RAHEL, SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: He has. And so safe to say he is feeling pretty excited these days. So, he posted on his Instagram a post the profile photo from the Forbes article, very simple caption essentially saying, chess not checkers, with the king emoji.

So, how did he do it? He becomes now the first active NBA player to become a billionaire following Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan became a billionaire about ten years after he retired. So, again, LeBron becomes the first actively playing NBA player to cross this milestone.

So, how did he do it? How did he build his fortune? Well, the NBA was part of it. He made about $383 million in all of his contracts over the 19 years, of course, with the three teams. The Cavaliers, Miami Heat and the L.A. Lakers, the Spring Hill company. So, they sold a significant stake, significant minority stake last year and that put his take about $300 million. The Fenway Sports group, he is estimated to own about 1 percent of that group or about $90 million. [07:25:01]

Real estate holdings, he owns at least three mansions valued at $80 million and then cash, and then other investments, according to Forbes Magazine, a cool $500 million.

And so not only does he now become the first active NBA player to reach this status, he also joins a very select list of black billionaires in the world, now becoming the 16th black billionaire joining businessmen, like Robert F. Smith, Rihanna, Oprah, and to, I think, borrow a phrase from a fellow billionaire, Jay-Z, clearly, LeBron is not just a businessman, he is a business, man, he has built an empire.

BERMAN: He sure has. And look at those holdings. That's a pretty diverse group of holdings right there.

SOLOMON: Yes. And to be clear, I mean, the bulk of this was clearly solid investments. I mean, he has made quite a bit from the NBA but the bulk of this was solid business investments that really paid good dividends.

BERMAN: And won championships along the way. Rahel Solomon, thank you so much.

KEILAR: Record high inflation hitting gas and groceries and now your summer vacation. Many tourist spots are being forced to raise prices while also facing big staffing shortage.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is joining us with this story. What are you seeing?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, summer is in full swing and Americans are excited to get back on the road again after really intense lockdowns over the past two years. But it does cost more to take that summer vacation this year. On gas money alone, Americans are spending on average $150 more per month than they did last year. So, we traveled to Central Pennsylvania and saw a main tourist attraction there to see if travelers were still coming despite higher prices.


BRIAN KNOEBEL, CO-OWNER, KNOEBELS AMUSEMENT RESORT: We got a steam- powered carousel and a food stand and a couple of games of chance, and little by little, we're now 60 rides.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Since 1926, Knoebels Amusement Resort in rural Central Pennsylvania has been a summer tourist destination.

KNOEBEL: See the train slowing down, so there should be some squirrels over here.

YURKEVICH: Oh, little chipmunks.

The park is free to enter and rides, like the pioneer train, are pay as you go, but even prices at this family-run park surrounded by idyllic farmland aren't exempt from high inflation.

KNOEBEL: The rising cost of everything, from gasoline to chicken to rolls, electricity, we had to increase our prices.

YURKEVICH: Inflation is gripping the nation's pocketbook with prices at a four-decade high, a pain point for President Biden as most Americans are sour on the economy. Still, an estimated 39 million Americans were expected to travel Memorial Day weekend, most by car, up from last year.

TIMOTHY DOWHOWER, MARKETING DIRECTOR, SUSUEHANNA RIVER VALLEY VISITORS BUREA: When I hear inflation, that's where we're going to spend our ad dollars more locally. So, that's where we're going to be focusing on the backyard tourists, the locals. We will spend more reaching people within a two to three-hour range.

YURKEVICH: People like Rebecca Kent who usually makes a day trip from Philadelphia. She says gas prices won't cut her summer plans, they will just be scaled back.

REBECCA KENT, PARKGOER: The one year we were coming up here, I think we made it up here 26 times in the summer.

YURKEVICH: Do you think you're going to dial it back a little bit?

KENT: Not 26, but probably pretty close to a dozen or more.

YURKEVICH: Valerie Bloom says she's being mindful of higher prices elsewhere, like groceries, so she can still give her kids a great summer, meaningful after two years of COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you going to do? I mean, like you have got to live. You have got to have fun, it's summertime.

YURKEVICH: But more customers means the need for more workers. Despite rising wages, labor shortages persist with a near record 11.4 million open jobs in the U.S. And inflation is hitting employees here too, so the park is launching a cost effective shuttle to save employees gas money and ensure the park is staffed.

KNOEBEL: So, it's more money in the employees' pockets.

YURKEVICH: In smaller communities, places like this are economic drivers, supporting other businesses in town.

KIMBERLY COOPER, DOLLAR GENERAL MANAGER IN ELYSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA: For our success here in town, it's pretty critical. All of our sales will go up once they start.

YURKEVICH: And despite also having to raise prices in store, Kimberly Cooper says the crowds are still coming and buying.

COOPER: It doesn't seem to have made a difference here so far this year.

(END VIDEOTAPE) YURKEVICH (on camera): So, there's an excitement from businesses that they're seeing these crowds coming into town still but they are also dealing with these acute labor shortages. But this area that we visited, there's so many other small towns like this in America where they really rely on this summer tourism to make money.

So, this place, Elysburg that we visited, is a really good indicator that people are willing to travel again.


There's no major airport nearby, Brianna, so everyone really has to drive in.