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Cheney Talks Trump, Pence and January 6th; U.S. Economy Adds 528,000 Jobs; Russia Ready to Discuss Swap. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 05, 2022 - 08:30   ET



REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): President in our nation's history. You've had a federal judge in California say that it's more likely than not that he and John Eastman committed two crimes. So, you know, I think that we're going to continue to follow the facts. I think the Department of Justice will do that. But they have to make decisions about prosecution, understanding what it means if the facts and the evidence are there, and they decide not to prosecute, how do we then call ourselves a nation of laws? I think that's a very serious, serious balancing.

KASIE HUNT: It sounds like you think that the evidence is there and that if they don't follow that evidence, that's a dereliction of duty on their part?

CHENEY: Well, the committee has been, I think, very thorough in laying out much of what we know. There's much more that we have not yet shared in hearings and that we anticipate we will share in the fall. But -- and we will also make decisions about criminal referrals. And, ultimately, the decision about prosecution is up to the Justice Department, but I would anticipate that the committee will have an opinion on that.

HUNT: CNN is reporting that the Pentagon texts from January 6th are missing. This is, of course, after the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service seem to have lost texts.

Do you think there was malicious intent behind the Pentagon's deletion of texts related to that day?

CHENEY: I don't know that that's the case. I haven't seen evidence of malicious intent. I do think, though, that it's concerning that you have text messages, apparently, and this is based on the news reporting, but text messages apparently of some of the senior officials, people like Kash Patel, apparently not available.

Now, certainly as a committee we'll get to the bottom of that. We've been working with Secret Service in a situation that has been reported where text messages are not available or were erased off of phones. But we've received hundreds of thousands of documents from the Secret Service. And significant information from them that the committee is going through and will use in our investigation and as we conduct interviews of additional Secret Service agents. HUNT: How much would you say you have learned that was unexpected? I

mean, you, obviously, have a lot more information than the general public does in your head about what happened that day. But when you started these hearings earlier this year, did you have any idea how much you would know by this point?

CHENEY: It's been more information and more sophisticated and broader reaching effort than I understood coming into it. I think all of us on the committee have had that same reaction, which is that there's so much -- there was so much more that was happening in, you know, multiple different areas, whether it was the pressure on state officials, or the pressure on the Justice Department, or, you know, the attempt to corrupt the pressure of the vice president himself. So, I think that we just - there's - the volume of information has been more than I expected. And certainly, obviously, came into this very concerned. And the information itself has not lessened my concern at all.

HUNT: Are you in contact with the former vice president, Mike Pence, as you're learning this new information?

CHENEY: No. We've - we've had discussions with his counsel, obviously, about, you know, his interactions with the committee, but not with him personally.

HUNT: What's your assessment of how he's handling potentially running for president? Because he's out there kind of opposing the former president. But unlike you, he's not out there criticizing former President Trump.

CHENEY: You know, what I would say is that Vice President Pence was a hero on January 6th. And that it's very clear that there was tremendous pressure from a number of different places on him. And he did his duty and he didn't succumb to that pressure. And if he had succumbed to that pressure, things would have been very different. And so I think that we owe him gratitude for how he conducted himself and for his refusal to do what Donald Trump wanted him to do, which would have been illegal and unconstitutional.

HUNT: Do you think he'd be an ally in the fight to keep Trump out of the Oval Office?

CHENEY: Let me just leave it where I did. I think that his actions on January 6th are ones for which the nation should be grateful.

HUNT: There's been a lot of speculation about how the committee is or isn't making an impact with the American people, especially when it comes to this question of whether Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee and eventually potentially president of the United States again.


Do you think the committee's work is moving the needle politically?

CHENEY: I don't -- again, I don't think about it that way. I think about it more in -- because I think it's important that the committee's work not be viewed through a political lens. And that's not how I think about that. I think about it in terms of whether or not we're reaching people who understand how serious the threat was and continues to be. And I think in that regard, you know, we have done the job that I'm proud of.

HUNT: Do you think - do you think there are enough people out there in the country who share these concerns that you have, and that many people who were also at the Capitol on that day have? Are there enough Americans out there to move the needle?

CHENEY: I think that there -- the vast majority of Americans understand how important it is that we have peaceful transitions of power. And that at the -- at - sort of at the heart of who we are as Americans, and at the heart of our republic is a peaceful transition of power. And no matter what your party affiliation is, you have to have a president who will guarantee that. And Donald Trump did not.

And so I do think that as more and more facts become known, people - people are paying attention and understanding how - how serious the threat is.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And Kasie Hunt is with us now.

Fascinating interview.



KEILAR: This is only, what, the fourth sit-down that she's done here in the past year.

HUNT: Yes.

KEILAR: She's become this towering figure in this battle for democracy. Where is she in the narrative arc of that?

HUNT: Yes, because she's really the only -- one of the only Republicans that's willing to be out there criticizing Donald Trump head on. And, you know, I think it's a great question, Brianna, because this is a pivotal moment for her, right? She is more likely to lose her primary on August 16th than she is to win. And if she loses, it's going to be because she has taken this stand against Donald Trump and her party back home has essentially turned on her. She's -- the Republican Party has left her and her father, quite frankly, Dick Cheney, behind.

So, I do think, though, that - and she -- she talked to me about this in another part -- portion of the interview that while she may consider this to be the most important thing she ever does professionally, she has-she has said that out loud, but her work on the January 6th committee, I don't think she's going to consider it finished until we reach a point where we know whether or not Donald Trump will ever be in the Oval Office again. And her mission, I think, is going to remain. And she said that. She said, I want to still be part of the conversation. I'm going to be -- she wants to have a platform in it to prevent him from doing that. And we're not going to have that answer until November 2024.

KEILAR: It was a fascinating interview.

AVLON: It is.

KEILAR: And that is just part of it. She talks a lot about politics. So -

HUNT: Yes. No. And her future plans in particular. I mean I asked her whether her father, Dick Cheney, she obviously put out an ad featuring him, and I asked her if he is regularly encouraging her to run for president in 2024. He would -- she would not say no to that question.

KEILAR: Interesting, Kasie.

AVLON: Interesting. Go on.

KEILAR: Thank you so much for that.

AVLON: More to come.

HUNT: Thanks, guys. Great to be with you.

KEILAR: All right, the July jobs report just coming in here. We're going to bring you those numbers next.



AVLON: This just in, the latest highly anticipated jobs report. Joining us now to help break it all down, CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: John and Brianna, hard to believe but the U.S. economy added 528,000 jobs in July. To put that in perspective, that is twice what economists were expecting. They were expecting 250. So the labor market, still red hot. Not showing any signs of slowing down.

When we look at the unemployment rate, that actually ticked lower to 3.5 percent. That is tying a 50-year low.

When we look at sort of where we're seeing the jobs, broad based. It was widespread. Leisure and hospitality posting the highest number, 96,000 jobs added in the month of July. Professional and business services, 89,000. Healthcare, 70,000. Government, 57,000. Wages, which is something we have all been watching very closely, that increased 5.2 percent over the last year, which brings me to the Fed.

Look, it's a strong number. clearly showing no signs - showing no signs of weakness. Wages, however, the Fed has been watching very closely because when you have an imbalance of workers, like we do, you have about 1.8 open jobs for every one person looking, that keeps wages elevated. We know the Fed is trying to lower prices. When wages are elevated, that sort of trickles into prices.

So, look, not sure how the Fed is going to feel looking at numbers like this, but it certainly says a lot about the economy right now and about the labor market.

Guys, we'll send it back to you.

AVLON: All right, Rahel, thank you very much.

KEILAR: All right, let's talk more now about this with business journalist Marc Stewart and White House correspondent John Harwood to discuss with us.

OK, Mark, what are you seeing?

MARC STEWART, BUSINESS JOURNALIST: As one of my former colleagues tweeted this morning, this is bananas. And what this means is that higher prices, inflationary costs are likely going to be around for quite some time.

As Rahel was saying, when you have more people working, that means more people are able to spend money. That increases demand. In addition, companies are having to pay people more because there are still open positions, believe it or not. Those extra costs for those extra wages, those are passed on to me and you regardless of your industry. It could be at the restaurant. It could be banking fees. The list goes on and on.

This means that the Fed is likely going to continue raising interest rates. Although the Fed chair did caution, these will be moment by moment decisions. But at this moment, the economy is hot and inflation is going to still be a problem.

AVLON: All right, John Harwood, this is bizarro wood - bizarro world economics, right? Things are - things are good and that's bad. You know, wages are rising, unemployment's low, the job market's hot, and that's going to be bad for working people.

Politically, how do you make sense of that?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, politically, at this moment, this is a very good report for President Biden. First of all, we had a couple of weeks ago a silly extended debate over whether or not we were in a recession. These numbers make pretty clear, we are not in a recession. You don't add half a million jobs when in a recessionary environment. It makes it more likely that that first quarter GDP number is going to get revised up and not be negative, as it was in the initial report.

There's nothing presidents like better than adding a lot of jobs and being able to tell Americans it's a great time to go out and get a job. The flip side, of course, as Marc just referred to is, it means a hot economy. And because both President Biden and the Fed have indicated that getting inflation down is a top priority, remember, inflation has been a huge political problem for President Biden. That means the Fed is likely to have to be -- continue to be very aggressive in terms of raising interest rates.

Now, in the immediate term, the economy is in quite good shape.


But it does present the possibility that if the Fed slams on the brakes too abruptly, not skillfully enough, you could end up in a recession either late this year or in 2023. But right now this is a very strong economy, very strong labor market, and the president's going to crow about that today.

KEILAR: Marc, what do you think?

STEWART: Well, I think John is 100 percent right about all of this. I mean talking the political aspect of things, it's really hard to get people energized, especially for the midterms, when people are paying more for everyday items. I mean food, fuel, these are still very expensive costs. I want to point out that next week we'll get a really good indication of where prices are heading, or have been moving, when the Consumer Price Index is released. That's on the 10th. And that's where we'll see how - how these different prices have fared during some real challenges, like the war, like these interest rate hikes.

But, for the moment, this is not something that is going to immediately go away. These rate hikes are not -- do not impact people within weeks. It usually takes months.

KEILAR: All right, Marc Stewart and John Harwood, thank you so much for breaking that down for us.

AVLON: Thank you, guys.

KEILAR: Secretary of State Tony Blinken says the U.S. will pursue Russia's offer to discuss prisoner swaps at the presidential level. What this could mean for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.



AVLON: New this morning, Russia now saying it's ready to discuss a prisoner swap with the U.S. It comes less than 24 hours after a court near Moscow sentenced WNBA Brittney Griner to nine years in prison for having less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

With us now to discuss this, CNN senior political correspondent and anchor of "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY," Abby Phillip.

Abby, great to see you, as always.

She spoke to Brittney Griner's wife, Cherelle, back in June, and she said that her wife was being used as a political pawn. Certainly, Abby, there is every evidence that she is being used as a

political pawn. Now we've got Russia's foreign minister, Lavrov, saying that Moscow's ready to discuss an exchange of prisoners with the U.S., using diplomatic channels, not public diplomacy.

What does he mean by that and where is the leverage in this right now?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well, you know, I mean, first of all, the verdict yesterday was really, I think, devastating to the Griner family and to her friends and teammates. But, at the same time, it -- that was, frankly, one of the expectations, perhaps the worst case scenario expectation, but it was one of the expectations. And it was understood that it would be part of a process, potentially, that hopefully would end in Russia coming to the table with the United States about a prisoner swap.

Now, these conversations have been happening through diplomatic channels, you know, privately over the last several months. So not directly necessarily between, you know, Secretary of State Blinken and secretary - and Foreign Minister Lavrov. But -- and so it seems to me that that's what Lavrov was alluding to, that those - those private channels, through a Russian spy agency, would continue to have those conversations with the United States about this swap.

But it was understood, I think, at the beginning that a trial, a guilty plea, and perhaps even a guilty verdict would be required before they even got to a point where Russia was willing to say, hey, we want to make a deal with you guys about Brittney Griner, Paul Whelan, and this other individual detained in jail in the United States, Viktor Bout, who Russia clearly wants back.

KEILAR: Abby, I would imagine the pressure is going to increase here tremendously. A lot of people, they've been watching this, but there's a difference between watching Brittney Griner be in court and then knowing that she's been sentenced to nine years in prison, which includes hard labor.

PHILLIP: That's, I think, something that I - that is really important for folks to understand. I mean we're sitting here talking about the possibility of a deal, but that is not a certainty. And if a deal does not happen, which, for, frankly, for many detained Americans abroad these -- this process is not one that takes months, it sometimes takes years. Paul Whelan has been detained in Russia for years.

So, in the interim, Brittney Griner is facing a truly scary situation. She's going to be a black woman -- a black lesbian woman detained in a Russian labor camp for the potential for nine years of her life. This is a woman -- a woman who is in her early 30s, at the prime of her career. That prospect has to be taken seriously. And it can't be assumed that there's going to be a deal because given the state of U.S./Russia relations, which is probably at its worst point since the Cold War, that is not in any way a certainty for her. And I think that's the reality that you saw her face, you saw it in her eyes, and in that video yesterday. And I'm sure that her family is coping with that as well.

AVLON: No question about it. High stakes, serious situation.

Abby Phillip, thank you so much for joining us. Be well.

PHILLIP: Good to see you all.

KEILAR: One in 44 American children is believed to be on the autism spectrum. But studies have shown that black and brown children on average are diagnosed later than white children. And they're also less likely to access critical assistance due in part to racial bias and cultural stigma.

This week's CNN Hero, Deborah Vines, is working to change all that.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE), one, two three, bam.

DEBORAH VINES: Being a parent of a child with autism in the '80s and the '90s was very, very challenging. The support groups that I found, I was the only black woman there.


We had a color barrier, income barrier, equity barrier, period. It was just all types of barriers.

Good morning!

Everything that we provide is a blueprint of what I was missing as a parent. So, we have the (INAUDIBLE) support group. They -- kids go to their classes.

We are a family. And I'm very adamant about educating the community because people are afraid of what they don't understand. We want to make sure that first responders are trained in how to deal with our children.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How long has your mom been doing this kind of stuff?

VINES: Because he's smiling, it makes it a little bit easier. But what if you get ahead of somebody that's not smiling and they're running around and they're biting themselves?

Advocacy is a gift. I'm good at it. And it makes me feel so good.


KEILAR: What a difference she is making.


KEILAR: And to see Deborah's full story, just go to

Surprising numbers in the latest jobs report. I mean, wow, so much more than expected here. AVLON: Double.

KEILAR: How the White House could be responding. CNN's coverage continues after this break.