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Denver Riggleman is Interviewed about the January 6th Committee; May Jobs Report; Reagan's Legacy on Gun Safety Laws; Harini Logan is Interviewed about the Scripps Spelling Bee. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 03, 2022 - 08:30   ET



DENVER RIGGLEMAN, FORMER SENIOR TECHNICAL ADVISER, JANUARY 6TH COMMITTEE: Very sad for people to attack the investigators that are behind the door that are not asking for any fame. They're just doing this, you know, because they're Americans. I see them as heroes. Some of the most brilliant people I've met have been behind the door doing the work on the committee.

And when you see the attacks that happened against Liz or Adam or some of the attacks that happened against me, we're actually just chasing the facts. But, again, how do we -- John, how do we fight the narrative of, you know, this is a witch-hunt, or things of that nature, which is the words that are already used? How do you fight that narrative when there's such a huge ecosystem that can push out any type of information they want and people except that. You know, they self-select, you know, their echo chamber.

So, the fact that you have really good people -- and if you look at Liz and Adam, incredible people. I don't think I'm really that bad of a guy. But when you look at the people behind the door, they're the real heroes. And working with them, what an honor. And I think when you look at the individuals who are going to be doing the questions during the committee hearing, think about the fact you might not have never heard any of these individuals' names, and they're the ones out there that have been putting months behind the door, sometimes 15, 17, 18-hour days to try to make this happen.

So, working with the committee has been one of the biggest challenges that I've had. It's been difficult, but it's also been one of the best things I've ever done. But I think - I think we really need to embrace those amazing individuals behind the door doing the work.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: This hearing next week, if they achieve what they're trying to, is going to piece together this story that they've been investigating. Nearly a thousand interviews that they have done.

You know all the technical work, obviously, as the technical adviser.


KEILAR: You've seen Kevin McCarthy, I mean for lack of a better term, he has sucked up to President Trump mostly since the January 6th insurrection. And I wonder what you think the findings of this investigation are going to make that look like.

RIGGLEMAN: I think it's going to be incredibly compelling. And I think what it looks like, sadly, oh, goodness, sadly on the baseline is that only fund-raising and polling dictate politician's messages, not necessarily what's always right, not always what's facts-based.

And me, being in Congress, the fact I am a former congressman and I can speak to this, the fact that I've done some of those things, made some of those mistakes, is that you look at polling and fund-raising over what's right first. If you continually do that, I think you start to lose the big picture on why you're serving in the first place. And that's something that's been bothering me.

And even as we do this interview, there --

KEILAR: Has Kevin McCarthy lost that?

RIGGLEMAN: I think when you say the truth, the truth is usually directly after something, right? And I've seen the truth in the text messages. I've seen the truth in other types of information. I think when you say the truth directly after something that this individual is responsible and then a few days later you retract that, there's only one reason, and that's because either polling or fund-raising or your position is threatened. And that's politics, though. It's not like this is - I think it should be a surprise to anybody, I just despise that ecosystem. I despised always having to do that.

And I think that's what's difficult for people in positions of power right now. I would say that out of the 147 people that voted not to certify the election, I bet 70 percent of them thought it was hog wash. And that's what -- that's the problem that we have because they're controlled by a specific ecosystem or fund-raising or polling, or the base, and instead of going out there and saying, hey, this is BS, right, this is just BS. It is going to be up to the voters. The criminal charges, great, and all that. So what. They're going to be painted as, you know, they're going to be painted as martyrs or pariahs or they're going to be painted as political prisoners, whatever type of hyperbolic outrageous language.

The issue is, do the voters want a fact-based or they want something that's not, you know, sort of apocalyptic. Do they want facts-based policymakers or do they want that excitement of things that are probably fantasy and that's what gets them going? That is really a decision that the voters have to make when they see this.

I don't - I don't think the most important thing is actually criminal charges or things like that. It's, can we isolate and identify those individuals who pushed this type of garbage out there and people react to it sometimes in a violent way, like January 6th.

KEILAR: Congressman, we really appreciate you being with us. Thank you so much. Former Congressman Denver Riggleman. Thank you.

RIGGLEMAN: Thank you. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, the Labor Department just released

the May jobs report. You will want to hear what these numbers show, next.



BERMAN: Just in, the May jobs report just released.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here. What does it say?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It says 390,000 jobs added back into the economy in the month of May. For the year now you've got 2.4 - more than 2.4 million jobs added back. There were some slight revisions that didn't really change the overall number very much, but 390,000. As you know, John, in normal times this would be a blockbuster report, but this is cooling from some of those very big numbers we've seen over the past year or so. This is actually the lightest job creation since last April, but still stronger than many on Wall Street had been expecting.

The jobless rate, 3.6 percent. And 3.6 percent, very close to that pre-pandemic low of 3.5 percent that was set back in February 2019.

Wages, 5.2 percent. Cooling off just a little bit. You think that might be something the Federal Reserve would like to see. They want to see a downshift in the American job market so that it isn't too inflationary as they try to tap the brakes on what has been a roaring recovery overall.

Where I see the job creation, John, I see it in offices. I see it in bars and restaurants. You can see it in hotels, warehouses, construction sites. Pretty broad-based hiring. A lot of hiring. The big leader, of course, leisure and hospitality. We know that a lot of folks have really, really been spending their money on travel and leisure, going out to dinner, getting on airplanes after two years basically hunkered down because of Covid.

BERMAN: The doing thing part of the economy right there.


BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans, thank you very much. We'll let you walk over here.

In the meantime, joining us, CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon and CNN White House correspondent John Harwood.

Rahal, what do you make of this?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Look, I mean, I think futures didn't react much to this. The pre-market. So no big surprises there, right, which is a good thing. But to Christine's point, in terms of what the Fed wants to see, it

wants to see some slight cooling. And so we're starting to see numbers now being added in the 3s, in terms of 300,000, which is a positive sign when you consider for the last year the number was at least 400,000 per month.


And so, you know, Fed Powell has spoken -- Fed Chairman Powell has spoken out earlier this month, in fact, saying that he wanted to sort of see more of a balance in the supply and demand of workers. There are about two open jobs for every unemployed person. And so I think there are no big surprises in this report. Wages not necessarily going up much more. So that's perhaps a good sign for inflation as the Fed, of course, tries to tackle the 40 year high inflation.

BERMAN: No big surprise just seems like a low bar, but given where we've been the last few months, maybe welcomed.

SOLOMON: Yes, I mean, the economy has been very strong to say the least. I mean I was just looking at the last 12 months. I mean we've seen certain months where we've seen 700,000, 800,000 being added back. And that, of course, is because demand, the consumer came back so strong. But when you have so many job openings, and not as many people looking for jobs, that sometimes keeps wages inflated. And so, of course, the Fed has been trying to sort of get that number to sort of reach an equilibrium.

BERMAN: And 3.6 unemployment, Christine Romans.

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: I'm old enough to remember when people would be jumping up and down, celebrating that number.

ROMANS: I know.

BERMAN: Just in and of itself.

ROMANS: Even a couple of years ago. I mean we were really worried when we saw that unemployment rate spike so high in the Covid -- in the beginnings of this Covid cash when millions of people were losing their job every single month, right? So this is - I think these numbers are consistent with what -- you've heard soft landing, soft landing. You know, we've got such a strong economy. You want to see a downshift in the labor market. That is a good thing. You also want to see people coming off the sidelines, 330,000 people entering the labor force. That's also a sign that they're hearing from their friends and neighbors that they're getting wage increases.

We spoke about this a couple weeks ago, but people in the first quarter who left their job and then, in the same industry, got another job, saw an 18 percent pay hike. They're hearing that, and they're looking at their - there's also an argument to be made, these numbers could even be higher in terms of overall job creation if you had more people looking for work. Companies are not laying off. They're not letting go of their workers. They need to find more workers. So there is maybe some distortion there where these numbers could even be stronger if you had more workers available to take these jobs.

BERMAN: Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, we'll bring John Harwood into the conversation because the hiring may be cooling off, but guess who told us this week that that would happen, John Harwood? No coincidence, right?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. And, you know, from a White House --

KEILAR: The president, I will say, yes.

HARWOOD: The president of the United States.

Look, the -- Wall Street might have wanted an even lower number to show more cooling off, as Christine was saying a moment ago. But from a White House point of view, this is not bad. You -- if you're concerned about recession, and a significant number of people have been expressing concern about recession, this does not indicate that a recession is on the horizon. And 390,000 is a lot.

On the other hand, it is cooling a bit. You do have some more people entering the labor force, so more prospect of some slack in the labor force, which may reduce wage pressures. The idea of a cooling economy, cooling demand a little bit, will cool inflationary pressures. And what the White House, of course, is hoping is a glide path for lower inflation toward the end of the year, not a sudden halt because - that tips the economy into the recession as a result of Fed interest rate hikes. They're wanting a gradual slide down. And this may be the beginning of that slide down.

KEILAR: He has to sell people on this economy. How does this change any of that?

HARWOOD: Doesn't change it. It does suggest that - of the possibility that inflation will have peaked and be declining. The question is how rapidly does it decline? The administration would be delighted if it's down to 4 percent by say the end of the year. That's still over the Fed target, still too high, and they'll try to bring it down further. But at least if it gets pointed in the right direction, that will make it easier for the administration to make political arguments that have been very hard for them to breakthrough with so far.

BERMAN: And 390,000 new jobs, 3.6 percent unemployment,

John Harwood, Rahel Solomon, Christine Romans, thank you all very much.

So, what can Republican lawmakers learn from President Ronald Reagan's support of the Second Amendment and advocacy for some gun safety measures? A "Reality Check," next.

KEILAR: And the queen is going to miss out on some of this weekend's platinum jubilee celebrations. What the palace is revealing about her health.



KEILAR: While lawmakers remain gridlocked on gun reform, it's important to remember the nation wasn't always so divided on this issue.

John Avlon with our "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What would Ronald Reagan do? For a long time that was the question conservatives always asked themselves. President Reagan, of course, was a rock-ribbed conservative with a reassuring smile. So broadly popular that he won 49 states in his landslide re-election. He was ideological, but not an absolutist. That was particularly true when it came to gun safety policies, which is where Republicans could take a note today.

Now, to be clear, Reagan was a lifetime member of the NRA. He believed strongly in the constitutional right to bear arms. And even signed a bill rolling back many gun restrictions in 1986.

But Reagan understood that this was not an unlimited right, like Justice Scalia. And in at least three occasions in his long career, Reagan advocated for common sense gun reforms and helped get them signed into law.

For example, as the governor of California in the late 1960s, Reagan signed a bill that banned carrying a loaded firearm in public without a permit. Its passage spurred by the presence of armed Black Panther protests at the state capitol.

Listen to his logic.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There is absolutely no reason why, out on the street, civilians should be carrying a loaded weapon.


AVLON: Sounds pretty common sense when he says it, right? But in recent years, we've seen laws passed in more than 20 states allowing people to carry a loaded weapon in public without a permit.


And later this month, the Supreme Court will decide on a case that could strike down restrictions against conceal carry.

Now, another big issue right now is closing the so-called gun show loophole on background checks, a policy that was supported by 70 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats just last year, and called for by President Biden in his speech to the nation last night. Well, Reagan was an OG supporter of background checks in the form of

the Brady Bill, named after his former press secretary who was paralyzed in the assassination attempt against Reagan in 1981. That's when a mentally ill young man by the name of John Hinckley Jr., fired off several rounds from a .22 caliber revolver. After the attack, Brady and his wife dedicated themselves to the passage of a bill that would create a waiting period before handgun sales while a background check was done.

Since many handguns are acquired in the heat of passion, Reagan wrote, or at times of depression brought on by potential suicide, the Brady Bill would provide a cooling off period that would certainly have the effect of reducing the number of handgun deaths.

Now, Reagan's support was key to martialing bipartisan support. And the Brady Bill was signed into law by President Clinton in 1993. But the NRA mobilized against the law. Five years later, a waiting period was replaced by a computerized background check.

But, finally, Reagan joined with former presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter to support the passage of the assault weapons ban in '94, which was co-authored by then Senator Joe Biden. This trifecta of ex- presidents cited in 1993 a CNN Gallup poll which found that 77 percent of Americans support a ban on the manufacture, sale or possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47, while noting that during the past five years more than 40 law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded in the line of duty by an assault weapon.

Reagan's support was considered pivotal in the bill's passage, by a two-vote margin. The assault weapons ban was allowed to sunset in 2004, but now President Biden is calling for its reinstatement, or at least a ban on people under the age of 21 from being able to purchase such weapons.

Look, any hope of gun safety reforms runs through the Republican Party, which will need to provide at least ten Senate votes in favor of gun safety to not be doomed by a filibuster. That's exactly why the memory of Ronald Reagan's support for targeted and relevant gun reforms is a bit of a historic perspective we could use in our polarized times.

Now, there's a lot of rewriting of history when it comes to people like Reagan and sometimes activists just attribute false quotes to him, like this chef's kiss of a fail, which attributes a quote from communist Karl Marx for that proudly anti-communist man Reagan.

In fact, Reagan's real legacy on gun safety shows how common sense can help us lead to common ground.

And that's your "Reality Check."

KEILAR: And yet why does it all feel like a dream, right?

AVLON: It is not a fevered dream. It is, in fact, what happened. You can look it up.

KEILAR: All right. I don't have to. I have you, John Avlon, with your react check.

Thank you so much for that, by the way.

AVLON: Thanks, Bri.

KEILAR: So next we're going to be joined by the new queen bee, the new Scripps National Spelling Bee champ who will be with us here on NEW DAY after an incredibly impressive and historic spell-off.





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ornithorhynchus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: O-r-n-i-t-h-o-r-h-y-n-c-h-u-s.






BERMAN: Harini Logan is the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee champ after the competition's first ever spell-off. The format tested the final two contestants on how many words they could correctly spell in 90 seconds. Harini had 21 out of 26 correct words to win the title.

And joining us now is the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, Harini Logan.

Congratulations. Not only could I not spell any one of those words, I have never heard any one of those words.

So, I'm just dying to know, the spell-off sounds like cruel and unusual punishment. Going into it, how did you feel?

HARINI LOGAN, 2022 SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE CHAMPION: Of course, since this is the first time the Bee had ever used the spell-off, and, of course, the first time I've ever done a spell-off at Scripps, I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but I decided to just take a deep breath and just focus on the word and just try to plow through them.

KEILAR: So, what was -- you got 21 out of 26 words right. What was your favorite word, say a challenging word but that you succeeded on, and what was a tough word that stumped you?

LOGAN: During the spell-off? KEILAR: Yes, or anywhere in the entire competition. Do you have a

favorite and a least favorite word?

LOGAN: We were -- during the competition, I think I liked all the words that I was asked during the spell-offs. Those would all sort of be my favorite words. And my least favorite words were probably the ones I missed near the end of the competition.

BERMAN: You're going to make a great parent one day. You know, I love all my kids equally. I love -- I love all words equally.


BERMAN: Let me tell you something, it's not true. It is not true.


BERMAN: Harini, it was amazing to watch you. This was your fourth spelling bee. What do you think made the difference this time?

LOGAN: Personally, I think the fact that it's my last spelling bee holds that sort of gravity that the previous three times didn't. But I think the thing about Scripps is that no matter how many times you come back, it always has, like, the experience you just look at it with, like, awe, no matter how many times you're coming back.

So I think there's definitely that weight that it held. This is my last year and my fourth time. So I'm glad that it ended like this.

BERMAN: Me too.

KEILAR: How did - how did you prepare for it?

LOGAN: My preparation for the bee, of course is my fourth time here, and I've been working towards this for almost like five to six years. And it definitely requires a lot of commitment, hard work, dedication, and passion for not only words, but for the bee itself.

BERMAN: Now, what are you going to do with the rest of your life in terms of spelling? Do you look forward to a period of time where you just don't care how words are spelled and all your papers are going to be filled with typos and you're going to say, you know what, I did this already?

LOGAN: Well, first of all, I hope not. I hope that never happens.

But, in my opinion, once a speller, always a speller. Like, no matter how many bees you do, np matter if it's a school bee or the national level bee, I think once you develop that work ethic, that passion for words, that commitment, and that ability to spell, I think you never really lose it.


I think it sticks with you for a while. So, personally, I don't think -- I know I'll definitely never stop

caring about words or the way words are spelled, but I'm definitely looking forward to giving back to the spelling community and playing an active role in it. And, again, I want to really be an advocate, not only for the bee, but also for literacy as a whole and really work to help provide opportunities for students who would love to participate in the bee and have the potential to, but aren't able to.

BERMAN: What a great cause. Congratulations. Love seeing the joy you take in it.

Harini Logan, thank you.

CNN's coverage continues right now.