Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

Amos Hochstein is Interviewed about Biden in the Middle East; Peter Wehner is Interviewed about the MAGA Movement; Scott Kelly is Interviewed about Roscosmos; Memoir of Emmitt Tills' Accuser. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 19, 2022 - 08:30   ET



AMOS HOCHSTEIN, SPECIAL PRESIDENTIAL COORDINATOR FOR INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AFFAIRS: Is below $4. It's $3.99. And I think those prices, as a result of the president's actions, are going to be coming down a little bit more over the last few days and weeks. And that means domestic work - work on the domestic side, inside the United States, as well as the global leadership and the work that the president's doing overseas.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: If he were to declare a climate emergency, one of the things "The Washington Post" notes is it might be able to allow him to limit drilling in the United States. Might be able to limit petroleum exports.

How would that help lower gas prices?

HOCHSTEIN: Well, I think these are all speculations in the press about what the president is going to be doing or what he's going to be announcing. So, let's just wait and see what the president says.

I think we've been clear that we want to see the U.S. industry increase oil production. And, in fact, we've already seen us go to 12 million barrels a day. And I think that you're going to see those numbers go to a peak, to an all-time record early next year.

So it's about making a choice between what is the short-term and the medium term so that we can make sure we have enough oil and gas to support us through the transition, and what are the kind of steps that we don't want the oil and gas industry to take that would have long- term consequences when we don't want new major projects that would take 20, 30 years to become profitable. So, we have to make that differentiation, to make sure that the American consumer has what it needs to grow -- to grow our economy and the global economy, but not take steps and endanger the climate work that we're trying to do to make sure that we're in a better footing to accelerate the transition.

BERMAN: Understood.

The new CNN poll out overnight found that 75 percent of Americans say that inflation and the cost of living is their top economic problem. Obviously gas prices play a huge role in that. And when it comes to inflation, just 25 percent approve of the job that President Biden is doing on it.

Why do you think that number's so low?

HOCHSTEIN: Well, because I think that these are the kinds of things that takes time to mature. And I think we're all empathetic. We all suffer through these higher prices. And, you know, the president's very aware. And I can tell you, in every conversation, he is very focused on bringing down prices. I don't think he's too worried about popularity. I think he's worried about the prices that people pay. That's what he is concerned about.

And as inflation has risen and as prices come up, he has been very focused. I can tell you, extraordinarily focused on bringing those prices down. And I think that that's what I'm referring to.

A month ago, you know, oil prices were so high, gasoline prices, that doesn't just affect what we do at the pump, that actually affects food prices. We're not a farm to table, we're a farm to truck to table. So, when you bring down the prices of energy, that has -- got to give it a little bit of time, as you've seen these remarkable - this is the fastest decline in prices we've seen in over a decade.

So now I think we need to give it a little bit of time to mature and get into the economy because this could have an effect on food prices, has an effect on all these other things that energy has such a great impact on.

BERMAN: Look, we just reported, 35-straight days of a decline in gas prices. And it is something that is welcome there. But as you well know, the price is still well higher than last year. There's still a lot further to go.

You were part of the president's trip to Saudi Arabia where the president, you know, did fist bump the Saudi crown prince, which there are questions about, there are human rights concerns about that. But that aside, when can consumers start to see deliverables from the Saudis from this trip?

HOCHSTEIN: Well, first, I'm not going to (INAUDIBLE) the fist bump. I mean that's -- this was about substance and one human rights. I've got to tell you, I was in the room, and the president raised both Khashoggi's murder, as well as overall human rights concerns as -- and expressed it very candidly, very openly and very directly.

But as far as deliverables, the president's flight to Saudi Arabia was itself a deliverable of monumental importance. This was the first president to fly from Israel direct to Saudi Arabia, to Jeddah. The Saudis announced that they're opening the skies. We have filled a vacuum to make sure that China and Russia don't enter the Middle East.

You talk about human rights a lot over the last several days, but thousands of people died in the war in Yemen over the last seven years. And through the negotiations that preceded this trip, we've had the longest - the longest period of time with no hostilities in Yemen. And we just announced that that is going to be extended. We've talked about - so, the efforts vis-a-vis Iran. So, these are significant deliverables.

But the -- but, again, we saw the deliverable even before the trip happened. Before the trip was announced, before the president's trip was announced, OPEC Plus had moved away from its policy over the previous nine months, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the invasion that caused a lot of this spike, and announced that they were increasing production in August -- in July and August.


That is part of the reason that the prices have come down.

And, look, we met with Saudi Arabia and we met with the other Gulf countries who are major producers, but we didn't meet with OPEC. So I would - let's see what happens when OPEC meets next so that we can find out what happens over the fall. I have every expectation and I'm pretty confident that as a result of the visit, as a result of the president's conversations there that we're going to see a little bit more movement.

And we have to remember, we're in a period where there's a major war in Europe involved in -- with the third largest oil producer in the world that likes to use its oil and gas as a weapon against its neighbors and against the entire world. So, this is a - this is not just a domestic issue, it's not just an OPEC issue. We are faced with Putin, who will do anything against the rest of the world. And that's - that's part of what the president's doing in uniting the major economies around the world, uniting NATO, and now uniting the Middle East to support the U.S. efforts.

BERMAN: Amos Hochstein, thank you so much for being with us and joining us from the White House lawn.

HOCHSTEIN: Of course. A pleasure. Thank you.

BERMAN: So, are we seeing a new Trump/Pence proxy war? The Arizona governor's race, what to watch there.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And an unpublished memoir from Emmett Till's accuser is now raising new questions about the brutal murder of the 14-year-old. The new CNN reporting, ahead.



COLLINS: It's a fundraising appeal that is raising some eyebrows.

BERMAN: Raising my eyebrows. This is me raising my eyebrows.

COLLINS: Raising John's eyebrows.

The Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidate, who is backed by former President Trump, Dr. Mehmet Oz, is now warning his supporters, and I'm quoting him now, the MAGA movement is dying. At the same time, podcaster Joe Rogan, who is very popular among the MAGA base, is now slamming the former president in one of his most recent episodes.


JOE ROGAN, PODCAST HOST: If he was an existential threat to democracy and the power that he wields over his minions wasn't just so disturbing, it would be hilarious.


COLLINS: Joining us now to discuss what this means for the future of the GOP is Peter Wehner. He served in multiple Republican administrations.

And, Peter, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

And before we get to Joe Rogan, I just want to get your take on what's happening with Dr. Oz, because he has had this interesting campaign trajectory where he started out completely embracing Trump, wrapping himself in the former president, touting his endorsement everywhere he went, to being much quieter about the support he's getting from Trump now that he's actually secured the GOP nomination.

PETER WEHNER, SERVED IN REAGAN, BUSH 41 AND BUSH 43 ADMINISTRATIONS: Yes, that's because he's now in a general election rather than a primary. Because MAGA's appeal is in the Republican Party, it's not necessarily in the country at large. And that fundraising letter that he sent out about, you know, MAGA dying, it's - I mean maybe his campaign's dying. It's been outraised nine to one. And so this was a sort of panicked fundraising appeal, trying to get some jet fuel into the base of his party to get more money.

But, unfortunately, from my perspective, as a conservative, MAGA is alive and well, at least in the Republican Party. Whether it's alive and well in the rest of the country, we'll see.

BERMAN: And on the subject of eyebrow raising, there was something else Joe Rogan said that caught your attention, yes?

COLLINS: Yes. Joe Rogan, obviously, has a massive audience. And so he's never always been someone who's perfectly aligned with Trump or anything like that. Maybe that's something that people do think. But, Peter, listen to this other comment that Joe Rogan made.


TOM SEGURA, COMEDIAN: Because he would just tap out -

JOE ROGAN, PODCAST HOST: I heard that they would put his name in briefings, multiple times, to keep him interested.

SEGURA: The formula was, like, two good, one bad. So if they were going to give him bad news, they'd go, you start with some good news. So they go, this is going well, everybody's thrilled with you about this. Here's a bad thing. Also, people love you for this. Like, so that's how you -- that's how they would tell him bad news.

ROGAN: That's funny.

SEGURA: They couldn't just go, here's a bunch of bad news.

ROGAN: Of course.


ROGAN: He's a man baby.

SEGURA: He's a -


COLLINS: That's Joe Rogan there calling Trump a, quote, man baby.

Peter, I wonder, obviously, Joe Rogan is a podcast host. It's not surprising that he's just commenting on these things. But what do you read into this because he does have a pretty big Republican MAGA- leaning audience.

WEHNER: Yes, I mean, he's (INAUDIBLE) generous. You know, he's not Steve Bannon and he does have some appeal, but he's never been a Trump acolyte like a lot of other people have, and he's criticized Trump before and I assume he'll criticize him again.

Trump is not beyond criticism, and there's weakening of support for Trump. Sarah Longwell (ph) hosts focus groups for Trump supporters and she's noted a marked decline in support for Trump since the January 6th committee hearings. So, it isn't as if Trump is beyond criticism. But, on the other hand, he's still the dominant figure in the Republican Party.

The other thing I would say is that Trump's grip on the party is weakening, but the Trump-ification of the party, the MAGA-ification (ph) of the party, if you will, is actually spreading. And you see it candidates all across the country. Hershel Walker, J.D. Vance, Eric Greitens, the entire House leadership, the entire Fox lineup, primetime lineup. So it's still got a grip on the party. It doesn't mean I can't be broken, but we're a long, long way from that.

COLLINS: Well, we'll be waiting to see what happens and what the influence looks like.

Peter, thank you so much for joining us this morning with your insight.

WEHNER: You bet. Nice to be with you.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, Russian President Putin is replacing the head of Russia's space agency with a weapons guru. The retired astronaut, Scott Kelly, is going to join us live with his reaction and I promise you are going to want to see what he says.


BERMAN: This morning, opening statements expected in the federal trial of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon for his refusal to cooperate with the January 6th committee.


COLLINS: There's been a major shake-up in the Russian space agency. Dmitry Rogozin has been removed from his role after four years in the position as the head and replaced by the former head of Russia's weapons industry. Rogozin, who often threatened to leave the International Space Station, is known for his very public clashes with Elon Musk and astronaut Scott Kelly.

Kelly did not hide his feelings after Rogozin's removal, tweeting, quote, I hear that Tasty and That's It may be hiring. Tasty and That's It is Russia's rebrand of McDonald's after the fast-food giant left the country.

So, joining us now is former astronaut, retired captain, Scott Kelly.

Tell us how you really feel about his removal.

CAPT. SCOTT KELLY (RET.), FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, Kaitlin, I was happy to see him be removed. I think he has absolutely no business being the head of the agency like Roscosmos that historically has been for the peaceful exploration of space and international cooperation in space, like NASA has been.


So, I -- when I saw him get fired, I guess, I was happy to see that.

Now, having said that, you know, it's quite possible that he lands on his feet somewhere else and hopefully not in a position that would, you know, potentially be more dangerous.

COLLINS: Yes. Well, he has been willing to, you know, engage in these public clashes. Obviously that's something that Putin likes.

I do wonder, what do you read into his removal, though, of what led to this and why this is finally happening without, obviously, having all the insight into what's happening inside the Kremlin?

KELLY: You know, I don't really know. It's hard to say. I hope it's because of his performance and his bluster and his, you know, threats. You know, he threatens nuclear war. The head of the Russian space agency threatens to use nuclear weapons against, you know, other nations. And I just find that unacceptable. I find it - found it completely unacceptable that he threatened to leave an American astronaut on board the Space Station, so much so that they produced this very highly -- high-quality video demonstrating it.

You know, also the Space Station was recently used for political messaging, promoting the war and, in my view, genocide in Ukraine. So, you know, maybe it's that. I don't know, really. I hope it's not that they're just thinking of moving him, you know, promoting him up the chain.

COLLINS: And what do you know about his replacement, Yuri Borisov? KELLY: I don't know a lot, but he does come from the weapons industry,

which, to me, is not probably the best place to have a person that is responsible for the peaceful exploration of space. I understand Roscosmos is different than NASA and its, you know, charter is different. But, at the same time, I would have much rather have seen, you know, a science -- a more science-minded person than a, I guess, a war-minded person leading Roscosmos.

COLLINS: Because things got so bad between -- not that they were ever, you know, necessarily great, between you and Rogozin, that you actually blocked him on Twitter or he blocked you. Is that right?

KELLY: No, he blocked me. I've never blocked anybody. And, to be honest with you, this is the first time I've gotten -- ever gotten into any kind of a, you know, Twitter spat with anyone. But I thought it was necessary to call him out and let him know that, you know, people in the west were watching and listening to what he had to say and wasn't happy about it.

So, yes, I blocked him. I sent my medal back to Russia, to the U.S. embassy in Washington, D.C. - or the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C., a medal that was awarded to me by Dmitriy Medvedev.

You know, I think, you know, our support for anything Russian these days, I think it just shows that -- or demonstrates that we could, you know, potentially be OK with what they're doing, which is absolutely not the case.

COLLINS: Scott Kelly, thank you for joining us this morning.

KELLY: Thank you, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: We also have new CNN reporting this morning on an unpublished memoir from Emmett Till's accuser. It's now raising new questions about the teen's murder.



BERMAN: We have new CNN reporting this morning. An unpublished memoir from the woman tied to Emmett Till's murder is raising more questions about his 1955 lynching which helped galvanize the civil rights movement. This comes less than one month after an unserved 1955 arrest warrant for her and two others was found in a Mississippi courthouse basement.

CNN's Ryan Young joins us with the latest on this.

Ryan, what have you learned?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, it was just last month that we were talking to you about the family going to a courthouse in Mississippi and discovering this warrant in a box, in a damp part of that courthouse. And now, almost a month later, we're talking about this memoir that was apparently not supposed to be released until 2036. But there's some details in this that actually has everyone scratching their head. In fact, the woman at the center of this actually says in the memoir that she told her husband that Emmett Till was not the young man who whistled at her on that day. And she says in this that apparently Emmett Till, who was being questioned at the time by these men, smiled and said, yes, it was me. And, of course, the family's upset about this because this memoir was not supposed to be released until 2036. But who's going to question all these accounts that were on the inside of this memoir?

Now, look at this in terms of what she also said in this unpublished document. It says, I was very surprised when he showed it to me. She was talking about the warrant. The person that filed the kidnapping charges said there was a soft voice in the truck, but they didn't see who it was. I guess the sheriff thought it was me. I was never arrested. And I was -- or charged with anything.

John, when you put the pieces of this together, you know there are several people across this country who would like to see Carolyn Donham arrested, for this crime, and, obviously, they believe she's connected to it. There is that warrant that was inside that courthouse that was found just a month ago. But now these new details in this 99- page memoir that was put together by Timothy Tyson, a historian. People want to see what's on the inside of this.

You've had several investigations, but even 40, 50 years later, people have not gotten the answers. There has been no justice for Emmett Till, and the family is pushing for it. But with this now known, this document that exists, there are so many more questions than answers and hopefully somebody at some point will get to ask some pointed questions, John, because there's so many more mysteries that's tied to this case at this point.


BERMAN: And that's what the family of Emmett Till wants. We heard from them not so long ago.

YOUNG: Absolutely.

BERMAN: Ryan, thank you so much for that. Appreciate it.

Hope you enjoy your day here on the inside, not on the White House lawn.

COLLINS: I know. I mean I kind of feel bad. You heard those lawn mowers behind Amos earlier. That's what we deal with every day.

BERMAN: CNN's coverage continues right now.