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New Day

David Petraeus is Interviewed about al-Zawahiri, Russia and Ukraine; NASA Releases New Webb Images; Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) is Interviewed about the Manchin Deal. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 03, 2022 - 08:30   ET



DAVID PETRAEUS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: For international extremists. And here you have the leader of al Qaeda, whom we'd been pursuing for over 20 years, right downtown, in a house that reportedly was controlled by the number two in the Taliban Haqqani regime, Sirajuddin Haqqani, who, by the way, has a $10 million bounty on his head as well.

So, we are going to have to continue to focus on Afghanistan to ensure that further situations like this are not allowed. And keep in mind that the group in Afghanistan that is most concerning right now actually was not al Qaeda. It's actually the Islamic State Khorasan Group, an affiliate of the Islamic State that we remember from northern Iraq and northeastern Syria, that is the group that has been carrying out the most horrific of attacks trying to spark a sectarian civil war in Afghanistan. And that bears very, very careful and close watching. And, of course, we'll have to do all of that from over the horizon.

This shows that we can do that. None of us ever doubted that. Even those of us who questioned the withdrawal. But it takes a great deal of additional effort, obviously, if you don't have bases on the ground in Afghanistan. And it also, of course, means that we don't have those bases for actions elsewhere in the region, noting that, of course, the operation that brought Osama bin Laden to justice was launched from Afghanistan, went into Abbottabad, Pakistan, and then came back to Afghanistan.


But let's move on to Ukraine and Russia. We want to get your perspective on all the global hot spots.

What's your assessment of the state of the war there right now?

PETRAEUS: Well, the Russian offensive seems to be grinding to a halt. They may make some big -- additional gains, but they will not be substantial. And what this war of attrition is turning into really is a competition over who can generate capable forces the fastest. Ukraine has not just the arsenal of democracy on its side, it has the arsenals of democracy. The U.S. and all of our partners and allies in Europe and around the world, they are demonstrating enormous capability now that they have the multiple launch rockets system, the enormous additional amount of heavy artillery, and other capabilities. And they're putting those to very good use, picking off ammo storage sites, fuel depos, headquarters of the Russians and then forcing those to be pulled back farther from the front lines so that it's more difficult to support the Russian troops on the front.

And we're waiting for what appears to be, and President Zelenskyy has announced, will be a very substantial counteroffensive in the south to liberate the first large city seized by the Russians, Kherson, that's k-h-e-r-s-o-n. And then the Russians are repositioning forces, it appears, to provide and defense in (ph) there. So, I think the weeks -- the few months that lie ahead will show us whether or not the Ukrainians can really employ these capabilities with enormous effect and start to roll back the Russians in the south at least and perhaps take advantage of other locations where the Russians have had to thin their forces to reposition defenders down to the south as well.

AVLON: A critical window with huge implications.

Want to move on, though, to Taiwan and China. Now you say there will be repercussions for Pelosi's visit. We're already seeing a blockade of sorts around Taiwan. What do you think we'll see?

PETRAEUS: Well, I don't think that President Xi, at the end of the day, really wants to provoke conflict here. His words seem to indicate that he's not out to pick a fight in response to this action that has taken place, which has been awkward to say the least, particularly in Washington, where you have the president, the national security, military reportedly discouraging this. The speaker going ahead, others saying it's the speaker's right, and it is.

But, again, the timing of this is very difficult in particular because President Xi, let's remember, he is in election season as well. He's three months away from the gathering of the communist - Chinese Community Party, which will presumably re-elect him for an unprecedented third term as party leader. That will be followed by his re-election as the president and the head of the military commission.

He wanted a smooth path to this. This particular trip, at this time and in this way, really does force him to be an ultra-nationalist. He has to show that he's tougher than all the rest. So, you will see these live fire exercises all around the island of Taiwan. You'll see aircraft back into the air space and so forth. All of this, I think, we will see.

And I would suspect this may play out over some time as well. This will not just be, you know, a spasm of activity right now. There could be further repercussions down the line. There are also some economic sanctions that have been posed on Taiwan as a result of this as well.

So this will take some time to play out. I don't see conflict right now. I don't think that's in his or China's interest. But we clearly have positioned our forces and our capabilities so that we can do what is necessary if it comes to that.


AVLON: General David Petraeus, thank you for your insight on all the hot spots. We appreciate it.

PETRAEUS: Thank you.

AV: Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are seen huddling on the Senate floor, but is she on board with the Democrats' landmark climate and tax bill? Well, we'll speak to one of their Senate colleagues ahead.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And it's called the Cartwheel Galaxy and it's only about 400 million years old, or young I guess you could say. An incredible never before seen look, next.


KEILAR: Just in, two new CNN projections from big primaries last night in Arizona. CNN has projected Trump-backed Blake Masters is going to win the Republican nomination for Arizona Senate. He has 39 percent of the vote. You see, considerable margin there. He embraced the former president's lies about the 2020 election. He's going to face incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly in November.


And then prominent election denier Mark Finchem is projected to win Arizona's GOP secretary of state primary. Finchem, who was also endorsed by former President Donald Trump, wins with 41 percent of the vote, beating out businessman Beau Lane and State Representative Shawnna Bolick, another 2020 election denier. But keeping in mind, you've got to look at Mark Finchem there because he is an election denier who now is someone who, if he were to go on and win, would be in that position of secretary of state in control of the elections.

AVLON: That is really the -- in some ways the key takeaway because sometimes folks don't pay attention to who's on the secretary of state line. But if you have an election denier overseeing elections in a state like Arizona, that could have massive applications in 2024.

Now, look, Blake Masters' winning is considerable. In some ways he's the most far right candidate backed by Peter Thiel, also an election denier. Mark Kelly's camp probably getting a matchup that they feel good about. But nothing's for sure in a midterm where traditionally the out party's passion is highest. But it's really that secretary of state race.

Also interesting, the fact that Kari Lake, running the top of the ticket, also a Trump-backed election denier, we have not called that race for her yet. That race is much narrower than these other two, traditionally down ticket items.

KEILAR: Yes, we're still waiting for that one.

AVLON: Fascinating. More to come.

KEILAR: So, the James Webb Telescope has captured an amazing new detail. Look at this thing. Isn't it beautiful? The clearest image of the so-called Cartwheel Galaxy. This ring created more than 440 million years ago giving astronomers new insights into this rare type of galaxy.

So, let's bring in CNN's space correspondent Kristin Fisher.

All right, Kristin, this might be my favorite picture so far.


AVLON: Now, that's saying something.

KEILAR: I do. Well, everyone -- each one is better than the last.

FISHER: I know.

KEILAR: These are gorgeous.

FISHER: And this is just -- I think it's like the fifth or sixth of many that we're going to be getting from Webb over its, you know, roughly 20-year life span.

What you're looking at in that image is a galaxy more than 500 million light-years away. And it got its name because of how it was formed, the Cartwheel Galaxy. It was essentially a spiral galaxy, just like our galaxy, the Milky Way, but it collided with a much smaller galaxy. And when it did, we got what's called a ring galaxy, which is what you see there. And so inside that bright core, that is hot dust, early young baby star clusters essentially, then then that outer ring is where you will see star formation and star deaths. Supernovas, as they're called.

Now, what really stands out to me, though, in this image, John and Brianna, is the fact that this is a galaxy that the Hubbell Space Telescope, Webb's predecessor, looked at extensively. And if we can pop up a comparison, you can see just how much better the Webb Space Telescope is.

So, this is the new image right there, the Webb Space Telescope's image, and there's the Hubbell image. And you can - I mean is there any comparison?

AVLON: Night and day.

FISHER: I mean that right there is NASA and the European Space Agency proving why this telescope was worth all of that money, all of that time. And that red there, the big difference, that's hot dust. And the reason that is so exciting to astronomers and scientists is because that's really kind of where the secrets to the universe lie. It's where those very first stars were formed. And so that's what you're seeing there. And, you know, it's just a teaser of what we're going to get to come.

AVLON: It's so incredible. It's so beautiful. That is creative destruction. And the fact we're looking that far back into the past, absolutely boggles my mind.

FISHER: Yes. Unbelievable. KEILAR: Kristin Fisher, our secrets to the universe correspondent.

AVLON: Correspondent. New title.

KEILAR: Thank you so much.

Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema actually seen huddling on the Senate floor. We're going to speak to one of their Senate colleagues about whether she is on board with this Democratic deal.



AVLON: The clock is ticking for the Senate to pass the Democrats' major healthcare and climate bill known as the Inflation Reduction Act. And after a nearly 10-minute chat on the Senate floor Tuesday, as you can see right there, Senator Joe Manchin says he had a good conversation with Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who has yet to sign off on the bill.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We had a nice talk.

She'll make her decision based on the facts. We're exchanging -- we'll be exchanging texts back and forth. And she's always been that. She's extremely bright. She works hard. She makes a good decision based on facts. And I'm relying on that.

And our staffs will be working together very closely with all of the senators.


AVLON: Joining us now to discuss is Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado.

Senator Bennet, what are you and your colleagues hearing right now? Are you confident that Senator Sinema is going to get on board?

SEN. MICHAEL BENNET (D-CO): Well, John, I hope very much she will. She's, obviously, going to have to make that judgment for herself. And I don't want to -- I don't want to add any more pressure to her.

But what I will say is, it really is an amazing moment in the United States Senate. We're finally, finally doing the work the American people sent us to do. We think about the Chips Act that we passed last week that's going to bring back the semiconductor industry of the United States. You think about the PACT Act we passed last night on veterans healthcare and then the Inflation Reduction Act that's going to dramatically reduce healthcare costs for the American people and put us on the path to energy independence, strengthen our national security.

There have been a lot of nights here where I felt pretty grim about where this place looked like it was headed. And going into this weekend, I'm feeling pretty good about where we are.

AVLON: Well, look, it is a very impressive list of bipartisan legislation, but this is truly major. If it doesn't get done now, whether it ever gets done, that's a major question.

So, what do you think that Senator Sinema might want? Do you have a clear sense? In the past she's opposed - closing the carried interest loophole. Do you think that will be the thing to sink this bill? What kind of compromise is possible with that (ph)?

BENNET: I don't think we're - yes, I don't think we're going to sink this bill.


And I think that the tax provisions in the bill, I mean one is the carried interest loophole that you mentioned that takes away a loophole that applies only to the very wealthiest hedge fund managers in the country. The other, finally, a corporate minimum tax. People in Colorado have been asking for this for a long time because they know some of the largest corporations in America don't pay any taxes. And they don't think that's fair.

So, I don't know where she's going to come down on the specifics of that. But I hope -- you know, this is a negotiated deal. There's been a lot of compromise over the last 18 months to get where we are. Important elements of this bill are capping drug costs for seniors at $2,000. Extending the Obamacare healthcare subsidies for another three years to keep costs lower. So, there's a lot in this bill to like and I think we're going to get it done this weekend.

AVLON: Well, and that's what I want to ask you, right. So you think that we're going to -- you're going to get it done this weekend. That's your benchmark. You think this will get done before the August recess. Is that right?

BENNET: That's what I think.

AVLON: All right. Well, you heard it here first.

Senator Bennet, thank you very much for enlightening us on this high stakes legislation right now.

BENNET: Thank you for having me.

AVLON: All right. A big development overnight. Former Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone subpoenaed by a federal grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the election.


KEILAR: Time now for "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

Kansas voters overwhelmingly rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed lawmakers to ban abortion in the state. It's the first big test on the issue since Roe v. Wade was overturned. AVLON: And a federal grand jury has subpoenaed former Trump White House Council Pat Cipollone, part of the Justice Department investigation into the effort to overturn the 2020 election. Cipollone has already told the January 6th select committee that he thinks Trump should have conceded defeat.


KEILAR: Prices at the pump continuing to drop. The national average for regular gas dropped to $4.16 a gallon overnight. That marks the 50th consecutive day of falling prices.

AVLON: A bipartisan bill expanding health care for us to $3.5 million U.S. veterans exposed to toxic burn pits is heading to President Biden's desk. Republicans who had blocked the bill earlier finally allowed it to pass after trying unsuccessfully to limit funding for treatments.


VIN SCULLY, LEGENDRY DODGERS BROADCASTER: Hi, everybody, a very pleasant Thursday evening to you wherever you may be.


KEILAR: And the legendary voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers has died. Vin Scully called games for a record 67 years, starting when the team was in Brooklyn. He was 94 years old.

AVLON: Those are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." Don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning. Go to You can also find it wherever you get your podcasts.

KEILAR: So, one of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump loses his seat. More of last night's big primary election highlights right after this.