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New Day

Today: Fed To Raise Interest Rates Again Amid Inflation; Justice Department Looking At Trump's Actions In Criminal Probe; New Studies: COVID Likely Stemmed From Wuhan Wet Market. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired July 27, 2022 - 07:30   ET





NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Duron is not the only one trying new things to make ends meet.

The CEO of Feeding America's Riverside-San Bernardino branch, which supplies most of this food, knows that high prices may affect donors' ability to give over the next year. So the organization has moved up the start of its gleaning project --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, we are picking beets, onions, carrots.

CHEN (voice-over): -- to pick produce from a local urban farm and from neighbors' back yards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And then there are some babies.

ANNISSA FITCH, COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR, FEEDING AMERICA: Gleaning does provide a relief for our organization and for recipients that do depend on just receiving access to produce.

CHEN (voice-over): Shoppers are also finding new ways to get deals in the grocery store. Riverside resident Lily Yu is a brand ambassador for Flashfood, an app that lists discounted grocery items nearing their sell-by date.

LILY YU, BRAND AMBASSADOR, FLASHFOOD (sign language interpreter).

CHEN (on camera): Hummus.

CHEN (voice-over): With a sign language interpreter, Yu showed us how much she saves.

CHEN (on camera) (through sign language interpreter): We've got some mangos, an apple. And all of this fruit was $5.00.

Well, it also helps reduce food waste. So I'm able to help, like, with the climate, which is wonderful, as well as save money.

CHEN (voice-over): For now, Yu has to drive an hour to certain Vallarta Supermarkets where Flashfood is available. But the CEO says they are aggressively trying to reach more parts of California. While Yu is happy to drive her hybrid car, Duron has to stay close to Riverside because of fuel costs. She's applying for jobs that don't require a long commute and that would allow her to still look after her 82-year-old mother at home.

ANA DURON, STRUGGLING TO PAY BILLS: I still have to be strong enough for my mom, my girls, and the person that I take care of.


CHEN: Through the last couple of years we've covered a lot of food distribution lines and some of those lines got shorter when people were able to go back to work in person but they seem to be getting longer again. That site that we showed you in Riverside at that church -- the folks who run that food distribution told me that they've seen about 25% more families in the past few months compared to the same time last year -- John and Brianna.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And no question, inflation is a trend that just hits everyone.

Natasha Chen, thank you very much.

CHEN: Thanks.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: So today, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by another 3/4 of a point. This, as rates have already increased at a historically -- at a historic pace this year.

Joining us now, we have CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans, CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon, and business journalist Marc Stewart with us.

Christine, what are you watching for today?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, EARLY START: You know, watching for what the Fed says, of course, about the path forward. But this is a big rate hike if we get this 3/4 point, guys. We had one in June. That was the biggest we'd seen since 1994. So I really want to be clear, this is a big move and it will affect everything.

It's the Fed trying to tamp down inflation but you will feel it in higher borrowing costs, higher mortgage rates, higher costs for carrying -- for carrying debt. So this is something that will reverberate through the entire economy.

BERMAN: Your debt will cost more.

ROMANS: It will cost more. The same house last year, imagine -- you get that same house this year at these new mortgage rates that have doubled -- you're talking about hundreds of dollars more for a payment for a typical mid-priced home. So that's real money that will affect family budgets. And, of course, the Fed is trying to tamp down inflation and tap the brakes -- actually, slam the brakes on an economy, last year, that was the strongest since the Reagan administration. And that strong economy was spinning off all kinds of uncomfortable inflation.

KEILAR: So it means you're going to get less home, is what happens.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I mean, you can afford less home for sure. I mean, your monthly payments, of course, now are much higher for a home that's coming down. We should say that prices are starting to cool just a tad -- not so much, but just a tad. And we know that mortgage demand has really fallen off a cliff because of higher mortgage rates.

BERMAN: On that note -- prices have started to cool off maybe just a little bit -- today, with the Fed, people are generally expecting the 3/4 of a point hike and there's broad agreement on that. What you're looking for, Rahel, is any hints about what they do next. Why?

SOLOMON: Yes, because -- I mean, short of any surprises in terms of the rate hike, I think all eyes turn to what we might see in September because it gives us a sense of well, how aggressive does the Fed feel like it needs to continue to be. So do we sort of return to 1/4 of a percent, which is more traditional in more traditional times -- we know this is not a traditional time -- or do we continue to see aggressive hikes of 1/2 a percent or 3/4 of a percent?

But it really gives you a sense in terms of their guidance and their messaging of how they feel like they will need to continue to behave in the months to come, and that's really important.

KEILAR: Marc, what are the challenges here for the Fed?

MARC STEWART, BUSINESS JOURNALIST: Well, the challenge is this balance between doing too much and then too little. The Fed certainly doesn't want to make things worse and that's a big challenge that it faces.

You know, originally, we had heard discussion that perhaps the Fed would raise interest rates by a full point -- perhaps even more. But then we saw some encouraging economic data and that's kind of -- it's kind of tempered those expectations.


I should also point out it is not just individuals who are feeling this, it's also small businesses. One recent survey said more than half of small businesses are feeling that these inflationary pressures are substantial.

And it's important that these businesses do well because small businesses fuel about 44% of our economy. They are also responsible for job creation. As much as 2/3 of new jobs come from small businesses. So that's why they need to thrive in addition to our families. BERMAN: And it might be that instead of giving us the hints that we

want from the Fed they hold back. Because Jerome Powell wants to see some of the reports --


BERMAN: -- that we're all waiting on also.

ROMANS: Yes, and look -- I mean, the economy right now is baffling. I mean, there are so many crosscurrents happening here. The Fed needs to carefully take each piece of data and calculate based on the most recent information.

I think it's very hard to forecast what they're going to be doing a month from now since we don't know if the job market is going to start to slow. We don't know if that maybe cooling in the house market gets to be a little more substantial.

All of the crosscurrents here -- we've talked about this so many times. For every indicator that says we're headed for a recession there are two more that say we aren't. And we just don't know what's around the corner.


KEILAR: So, Marc, how should consumers be approaching this because it is confusing? It can almost be paralyzing as you're looking at a week like this.

STEWART: These are day-by-day decisions. And I think that there is a real fear among consumers and families if things get worse how will that impact me? So that turns to the job market.

Now, if things do get worse, which is a possibility, it doesn't necessarily mean that people are going to lose their jobs tomorrow or that salaries will be slashed. But it does mean for some people in some occupations there is some vulnerability.

At the same time, you may actually find some security. If you are, perhaps, in a profession where you are in demand, like an airline pilot, it's pretty likely that you won't be cut. But other people in your organization who maybe work in reservations or a different department -- they could be vulnerable.

Hiring people, firing people -- it costs a lot of money. So that's an extra strain corporations and businesses do not want to take on.

ROMANS: Off your high-interest debt. I mean, the thing you can do today is pay off high-interest debt. If you want to lock in a mortgage rate, lock in your mortgage rate because these rates are going to continue to go higher.

So the practical advice for people is you've got to insulate yourself from these higher borrowing costs as much as you can.

SOLOMON: Also, on one thing, Mark Zandi has told me in the past -- the chief economist at Moody's Analytics -- is that look, the job market is going to be changing, right? Hopefully, we don't see massive layoffs but the labor market will be changing. So keep your head up at work, pay attention. Continue to do a good job because the job market will be shifting to a different phase. We won't see this amount of growth far in the future.

KEILAR: Keep your head up.

Everyone, thank you so much for that.

There are new studies revealing what likely caused the coronavirus pandemic after two years of mystery.

BERMAN: And we are going to speak to one of the impeachment managers for one of the impeachments of the former President of the United States. His reaction to the Department of Justice looking into Donald Trump's actions around January 6.



KEILAR: We are continuing to follow the new developments in the Justice Department's insurrection investigation. CNN reporting that the DOJ is looking at the actions of former President Donald Trump in its criminal probe.

Joining us now to discuss is former House impeachment manager for the second impeachment of Donald Trump, Democratic Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado. Sir, thank you so much for being with us.

What is your reaction to this that the DOJ now is getting closer to Trump and his inner circle?

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): Well, good morning. It's good to be with you.

It's a significant development. Clearly, we don't necessarily know the full scope of the investigation that the Department of Justice is engaged in. We've had some reporting, as you know, about a federal grand jury but also, again, don't necessarily know the scope of that investigation either.

But clearly, based on the reporting that came out last night, it's an important development and I think one that is consistent with the compelling evidence that the January 6 committee has presented to the American public over the course of the last several months regarding former President Trump's culpability in the events of January 6.

Obviously, as you know, we had a trial in the United States Senate a year and a half ago where we presented compelling evidence of the president's -- former president's, rather, culpability regarding the constitutional crime that he was charged with. And ultimately, a bipartisan vote for a conviction that fell short of the sufficient two-thirds under our constitution but nonetheless, was the most bipartisan conviction vote in the history of presidential impeachments. I --

KEILAR: Do you --

NEGUSE: Yes. No, go ahead.

KEILAR: Do you have concerns about Merrick Garland taking this long to get to this point?

NEGUSE: I don't. Look, I think the determination as to whether or not the former president or anyone else, for that matter, committed any federal crimes as it relates to the events of January 6 -- that's a determination that will be made by impartial, objective, career prosecutors and the attorney general of the United States consistent with the law and the facts, as it should be.

And unlike the Department of Justice under the former president and led by Attorney General Bill Barr, it's clear to me that this particular Department of Justice is insulated from any kind of political influence, which is exactly as it should be. It's important for the rule of law that the Department of Justice make these decisions free from any kind of political influence.

And so, I don't -- you know, I wouldn't opine on it any further. I think the department will make the judgment that they believe is in the best interest of the country consistent with a faithful application of the law, and I trust the attorney general's judgment to do that.

KEILAR: We're coming up on Trump likely throwing his -- you know, hit hat into the ring, right, to run for reelection here. Are you worried he could go sooner in light of what we've learned about where DOJ is? Do you worry that endangers a potential indictment?


NEGUSE: Look, I think there was a lot of reporting with respect to the memo the Department of Justice issued earlier this year as it relates to charging decisions and potential candidacies. And obviously, that was -- underscores kind of consistent Department of Justice policy over many years.

I'm not concerned. I think, again, the department is going to make decisions that they believe are in the best interest of the country consistent with the faithful application of the law. And I don't think that political considerations should play any role in it.

And, you know, the attorney general -- Attorney General Garland is an ethical, decent man. No one can contest his integrity. He's a former federal judge. And I think that he'll make sure that in this instance, as in all others, that the law is faithfully applied and that it's free from any kind of political influence.

KEILAR: The DCCC and other Democratic groups have been actually backing election deniers -- so far, right candidates -- in GOP primaries with the hope that it will be easier to defeat them in the general election.

I spoke with Republican Adam Kinzinger yesterday about this and here's what he said.


REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Don't come to me after having spent money supporting an election denier in a primary and then come to me and say where are all the good Republicans? You're worried about democracy.


KEILAR: You know, in one of these cases, Democrats are working against Rep. Peter Meijer, who is a Republican. As you are well aware, he voted to impeach Donald Trump.

Do you agree with this strategy?

NEGUSE: Well, first, let me say, as you know, having been one of the managers during the impeachment trial in February of 2021, I have great respect for every member that chose country over party and that ultimately followed their conscience in my view -- doing the right thing and voting for impeachment in the House and for conviction in the Senate. And that includes my colleague from Michigan that you referenced.

I'm not going to comment on behalf of anybody else in the DCCC and so forth. I would just simply say I think it's dangerous for any election deniers -- for people who would undermine the rule of law and our democratic principles that have governed our country for the better part of the last 232 years to be elevated to the United States House of Representatives. And so, I think that's probably the extent of my comments on that strategy that I'd offer.

KEILAR: OK. I do want to ask you -- we're watching this fire burning near Yosemite out of control. You certainly are no stranger to the peril that wildfires pose in your state. Tell us about this wildfire bill of yours that you are proposing.

NEGUSE: Sure. Well, first, our hearts and our thoughts go out to all the families in Yosemite and the firefighters who are working so hard to protect those communities from the devastating flames.

Wildfire has become all the more pervasive in the Rocky Mountain West and the western United States. In Colorado, we had three of the largest wildfires in recorded history all happened in the last two years in my congressional district.

And it's clear that we need a whole of government approach to take on the dual crises of both drought and wildfires that have become so pervasive across our country.

So, we're taking up a bill this week, as you referenced -- the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act. It does a number of things but it includes a provision that I'm very passionate about, which is increasing firefighter pay. Our wildland firefighter -- firefighters, rather, are woefully

undercompensated, literally making $15.00 an hour, in some cases, across the country. I believe that they should be fairly compensated. This bill significantly increases the compensation for these brave firefighters who are risking their lives each and every day.

I hope it's a bill that all of my colleagues can get behind as we consider it this week.

KEILAR: Yes, their jobs get tougher and tougher by the year. We're watching it before our eyes.

Congressman, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

NEGUSE: Thank you.

KEILAR: Happening now, WNBA star Brittney Griner heading back to a Moscow courtroom where she's expected to testify and to face cross- examination.

BERMAN: And what new studies are revealing about the possible origins of the COVID-19 virus.



BERMAN: While it has been the source of debate and controversy, now there are new studies that suggest the COVID-19 pandemic most likely started at a market in China.

Let's bring in CNN's Beijing bureau chief, Steve Jiang. Steve, what do these studies say?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN BEIJING BUREAU CHIEF: Well, John, with the publication of these findings, we've almost come to a full circle. Remember back in early 2020 when the pandemic first began, this market in Wuhan was the global focus in the origin tracing effort.

We have all seen images of wild animals being crammed into cages there, living in very unhygienic conditions before being slaughtered and sold to consumers. So, almost the perfect condition for zoonotic events to occur. That is when viruses jump from animals to humans.

And that's exactly what two groups of scientists have concluded using very different methodologies. The first group used mapping tools and social media reports to conduct a spatial and an environmental analysis. The second group took a molecular approach. But they both concluded the earliest human cases all had a direct connection to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan.

So this is not entirely shocking. Remember, the WHO actually sent a team to Wuhan in early 2021 and they said something similar afterwards that this was the most likely scenario in terms of zoonotic jump.

But that trip, of course, was mired in controversy because of the experts' lack of access of any raw Chinese data and their inability to conduct any independent interviews on the ground which, in a way, has given further rise to the Wuhan lab leak theory. And that, of course, is something even the WHO itself said needs further investigation.

So, as authoritative and convincing these latest findings are to the authors, John, they are very unlikely to stop all the controversies and debates on the origins of the virus, especially given how much politics is riding on it as well -- John and Brianna.


BERMAN: I think that's exactly right. Interesting, but I don't think it will stop the controversy.

Steve Jiang, thank you very much.

New this morning, what Kevin McCarthy told Donald Trump to do about his 2024 possible presidential announcement. John King will join us live.

KEILAR: Plus, remnants of a centuries-old shipwreck believed to have inspired "The Goonies" have actually been discovered. It's real.



JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": All right, everyone's talking about this. Tonight's Mega Millions jackpot is one of the biggest ever at nearly $1 billion. If you forgot to buy a ticket, congrats. You just won $2.00.

TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": Wow, Russia is officially pulling out of the International Space Station, which nobody asked them to do. We said pull out of Ukraine, not the Space Station. Is this a Google translate issue? What's going on here?

And you might not realize this but this is actually bad news because Russia helps to operate the Space Station.