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Fed Likely to Raise Rates; Inflation Not Hurting Democrats; Susan Glasser is Interviewed about Her New Book on Trump; Preventable Pregnancy-Related Deaths. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 20, 2022 - 06:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Today, the Federal Reserve kicks off a two-day meeting where many expect another significant interest rate hike. The reason for the increase are these stubbornly high U.S. inflation indicators, but now President Biden trying to temper concerns.


SCOTT PELLEY, HOST, "60 MINUTES": People are shocked by their grocery bills. What can you do better and faster?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, first of all, let's put this in perspective. Inflation rate month to month was just up - just an inch. Hardly at all.

PELLEY: You're not arguing that 8.3 is good news?

BIDEN: No, I'm not saying it is good news, but it was 8.2 - or 8.2 before. I mean it's not - you're - I can make it sound like all of a sudden. My God, it went to 8.2 percent. It's been -

PELLEY: It's the highest inflation rate, Mr. President, in 40 years.

BIDEN: I got that. But guess where we are? We're in a position where for the last several months it hasn't spiked.


KEILAR: Joining us now, CNN "EARLY START" anchor and chief business correspondent Christine Romans.



Another gigantic interest rate hike is expected. And what the Fed does and signals for the future will coarse through every corner of this economy. All indications point to a whopping 75 basis point hike. Three quarters of a percentage point. The third big one in a row and the fifth rate hike this year.

This is a Fed resolutely slamming the brakes on the economy and inflation. Higher interest rates mean higher borrowing costs for all Americans, right, on their homes, where mortgage rates have already topped 6 percent, on their cars, credit cards, student loans and also a hit to retirement savings.

The Fed's quest to crush this inflation has already rattled the stock market. This year the Dow is down more than 15 percent, the S&P 500 down 18 percent, the Nasdaq even worse.

The Fed has jacked up its benchmark rate to the highest since 2018, trying to wrestle inflation back toward a 2 percent goal. It's a long way from consumer inflation that was 8.3 percent in August.

Now, gas prices are falling, but annual food prices, surging the most since 1979. It is the Fed's job to fight inflation, but Republicans blame the White House.

Here is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): You might think the Biden administration couldn't possibly get any more out of touch.

Last night on "60 Minutes," President Biden gave an almost comically out of touch interview on the inflation crisis. The president argued, with a straight face, that the American people ought to be grateful for last month's charitable inflation report because it could have been even worse.


ROMANS: All right, politics aside, the key here is what the Fed says about future rate hikes. How many more are coming? And we expect guidance from the Fed on how deep the pain will be for the economy and how long it will last. Some new forecasts may be going all the way into the year 2025, Brianna.

KEILAR: We'll be looking for that.


KEILAR: Christine, thank you.


ROMANS: You're welcome.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, what is the impact of inflation on the mid-terms so far? With me now, CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten, who's been crunching these numbers so hard the last few days, no time to shave.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: No time to shave. It's just time to do work, John.

BERMAN: But the answer, Harry, to how much of an impact this is having, it may surprise people, right?

ENTEN: I think it may surprise people. So, Gallup has been asking this question for a while, what's the most important problem facing the country? You can name more than one. You'll see here, look, all the economic problems, inflation, gas price, what have you. Whatever the Americans say total up to 37 percent. Now that's on the top of the list compared to individual issues you can see right here. The government poor leadership at 20 percent, in second place. But here's the key nugget down here, 66 percent say something other than the economy is the most important issue. So, the economy right now is -- number one is an individual issue but it's only a plurality. It's not a majority.

BERMAN: Put that in some historical context now.

ENTEN: Yes, so let's put that in some historical context, right? How many say the economy is the most important issue? This is comparing the final - to the final poll proceeding midterm and presidential elections since 1988. Right now we're at about 37 percent, right? The average, from 1988 through 2020 was 39 percent. So, in fact, we're, if anything, slightly below average for the percentage of Americans who say the economy is the top problem. It's not anywhere close to where we were in 2012. It is above where we were in 2018, but it's really just about average over the last 35 years.

BERMAN: That's astounding to me. It's actually slightly below average there, though within the margin.

When was the last time inflation was so high.

ENTEN: So, compared to the last time inflation was so high. So, the nation's top problem midterm cycle, so this is the last time it was this high at this point in a midterm cycle was 1974. Back in 1974, about 80 percent of Americans said the economy was, in fact, the top problem. Now it's just 37 percent.

So, this is a very different picture than you might be expecting to see when inflation was this high at the now percentage of Americans who say the economy is the top problem just isn't matching up at all.

BERMAN: You know why, Harry?

ENTEN: Why? Why, John, with that wonderful leading question? Well, inflation has been higher since '74. But here's the whole thing. If you look at different portions of the economy, it gives you a different picture. This is the lowest unemployment rate at this point in a midterm cycle since 1954 and it is the biggest drop in the unemployment rate in a midterm cycle since 1954. So, inflation bad, but unemployment, pretty good.

BERMAN: Interesting to see the different cross currents in the economy here may be canceling each other out.

In terms of where - if you rank the economy as an important issue versus other issues, where is your vote going?

ENTEN: Yes, so, look, if you think -- if you want to hear more about economic issues right from the congressional candidates, among them, the Republicans hold a 35 point lead on the generic congressional ballot. But, remember, there are all those voters, all those voters who say, in fact, the economy is not the thing that they want to hear most about. And among those voters, look at this, Democrats hold a 37 point lead.

So, very clear. A very different picture.

BERMAN: Harry Enten, I'd say this was worth the lack of sleep, you know, for you this weekend putting together this presentation.

ENTEN: Plus the Bills also, obviously, kept me awake a little bit.

BERMAN: Up late watching the Bills. I know. They won.

Thank you so much, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, a new book reveals how concerning to some that former President Trump's erratic behavior was.

Plus, a judge tossing the murder conviction of the serial podcast subject after 23 years in prison. What's next for him ahead?

KEILAR: That is rapper Post Malone taking a scary fall on stage, dropping to the ground, screaming in pain. And country music artist Tim McGraw loses his balance and falls off stage. We'll have the latest on their conditions ahead.



KEILAR: A revealing new book out today gives an inside look into former President Trump's time in the White House. "The Divider: Trump in the White House 2017-2021" by journalists Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, contains dozens of exclusive scoops and stories obtained from hundreds of interviews with key players, including President Trump himself. Among the revelations are concerns that Trump would ignite a conflict with Iran in the waning days of his presidency. This is from the book here. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Milley grew even more nervous when an administration official before the election explicitly told Trump that if he lost he should strike Iran's nuclear program. Milley, at the time, told his staff it was a what the f are these guys talking about moment.

Joining us now is the book's co-author and CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser.

Susan, great to have you on the new book to talk about this here.

They -- this is really a description of coming closer to a very alarming military conflict than we knew.

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, that's right. I mean that is really a through line, Brianna, from the very beginning of the Trump presidency, which is to say testing of institutions being willing or perhaps even -- not even understanding the potential national security implications of many of the things he demanded to do. And again and again there was a theme for some of the most senior national security officials at the end of the Trump presidency was this idea of doing something to strike Iran. Trump didn't want a full- scale war, he wanted a missile strike. Constantly he would bring it up with is advisers and they would say, listen, if you do that, you are headed toward a full-scale war.

It lasted all the way up until January of 2021, these debates over whether to attack Iran.

BERMAN: You also talk about concern inside the administration, particularly H.R. McMaster, who was one of Donald Trump's national security advisers.


The concern that McMaster had about Rudy Giuliani, who was a constant presence throughout the four years and was directly involved with two impeachments. You write, H.R. McMaster told others he was so concerned about Trump's friend, Rudy Giuliani, acting as an influence agent on behalf of Turkish or other interests, that he had a policy of making sure he was in the Oval Office whenever the former New York mayor visited.

An influence agent. What did he mean exactly and what are the implications of this?

GLASSER: Well, John, I'm glad you guys noticed that because it is another through line from the very beginning was concerns inside Trump's own White House with his own advisers about the role that Rudy Giuliani played in influencing the president. In fact, you know, some in the White House referred to him as the man who got Donald Trump impeached twice.

But even at the very beginning, this is, you know, back in 2017 and 2018 when H.R. McMaster was the national security adviser, he was concerned about Giuliani's lack of transparency. Giuliani, of course, never served officially in the government because even Trump wouldn't appoint him to be secretary of state. That's the job that Giuliani wanted at the beginning of the thing. So, he never had to disclose his clients. There was a concern that he didn't know -- that McMaster didn't know who -- on whose behalf Giuliani would be speaking when he entered the Oval Office.

And, of course, that was one of the questions when it came to the Ukraine issue, which was after McMaster was fired by Trump. You know, the question was always, was Giuliani working on behalf of people in Ukraine, as well as on Trump's behalf when he was engaging in, you know, telling Trump the conspiracy theories that, in some ways, led to Trump's first impeachment. KEILAR: It's also been well-documented that the former president has

been highly critical of the appearance of people, but especially women. I think back to Carly Fiorina on the campaign trail. You talk about how he was critical of Nancy Pelosi's appearance and that he actually rejected Nikki Haley as a running mate. Tell us why.

GLASSER: You know, it's hard. Some of these stories are so unbelievable, you know, it's amazing that they happened. But, you know, again, that's why it's so important to do this reporting.

At one point Trump apparently, you know, really did speak to John Kelly, his then White House chief of staff, and insist that Nikki Haley, the former governor and at the time his U.N. ambassador had a quote/unquote complexion problem that he didn't like. He said, quote, this doesn't look good for me, which was, by the way, something that Donald Trump said very often, not just in regards to women's looks, but to many other kinds of issues. He actually also said this doesn't look good to me when insisting that he didn't want to have veterans with disabilities appear in the big military parade that he wanted to have in Washington. Again, that was in another conversation with John Kelly, who, of course, was incredulous.

Trump was very motivated and talked often about appearances and looks, and in particular had a habit of making derogatory remarks about women.

KEILAR: Well, Susan, thank you so much for coming on to share a little bit about the book, out now, "The Divider," that you and your husband, Peter Baker, have out. We appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

GLASSER: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: So, up next, a dangerous, new trend. Why the FDA is now warning young people against cooking chicken with Nyquil.

BERMAN: A new CDC report shows four out of five pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable. Dr. Tara Narula is standing by with the details.



BERMAN: So a new CDC report finds four out of five pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. are preventable.

CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula joins us now with this.

Four out of five. Talk to me about these numbers.

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, I mean this is supposed to be the most beautiful time in a family's life. And when you think about the fact that 700 women die each year from pregnancy or pregnancy-related complications, that's heartbreaking. And then add to that that 80 percent of these deaths are preventable. And so with this new study they kind of broke it down in terms of when these deaths are happening. About 20 percent are happening during pregnancy. Twenty percent in that first week after delivery. And then over 50 percent are happening from one week to one year postpartum.

And when they broke it down by the types of deaths, you can see that overwhelmingly it's cardiovascular disease. And we, as cardiologists, educate about that a lot, that that is one of the leading cause of maternal mortality, followed by mental health, infection and hemorrhage.

But really important to have that relationship between the OBs and the cardiologists because there is such an overlap.

BERMAN: That is really interesting. Heart health by far the major issue.

So, what can be done about this?

NARULA: Right. Well, that's the important thing.

So, I think the first thing is that a healthy pregnancy starts before conception. And so it's really important to educate women to have a healthy lifestyle, diet, weight, exercise, avoid substances. Then, during pregnancy, you want to have them really plugged in so they're screened closely for things that might cause hemorrhage, like placenta accreta delivery, or infection.

And then the CDC has a campaign called Hear Her, where they actually educate women about warning signs. So often it's just about getting to something quickly. If you start to feel chest pain or shortness of breath, for example, to take it seriously and get evaluated.

And then, finally, ACOG, the American College of OBGYNs, have been great about talking about how that postpartum period should really be the fourth trimester where we don't have this kind of fragmented care where a woman has one postpartum checkup at four to six weeks, but it's really tailored to a woman. It's ongoing, it's supportive, and it looks at all of the aspects of their health. Unfortunately, a lot of women are really lost to follow-up after they leave the hospital and they never get that care they need.

BERMAN: Yes, there's a whole lot of, OK, see ya.

NARULA: Exactly.

BERMAN: Thank for playing at that point.

NARULA: Exactly.

BERMAN: All right, I want to read this to make sure I get it right because it's that strange, right? There is -- the FDA has issued a warning about what I guess is a social media trend about kids cooking chicken in Nyquil, using over the counter drugs for funky stuff.

[06:55:13] What on earth is going on here?

NARULA: Yes, I mean, that's hard to believe that this is even a thing. And a couple of years ago it was taking too much Benadryl to hallucinate. So, you know, it just seems like one social media trend after another keeps popping up. And I think parents really need to understand that this is going on, first and foremost. They need to keep their medicines, whether it's over the counter or prescription out of reach or locked from kids in the home. They need to sit down and have conversations about how to take medications safely and also in a nonjudgmental way about the dangers of things like this.

BERMAN: All right, Tara Narula, one more thing to worry about.

NARULA: One more thing.

BERMAN: Thanks, Doctor, I really appreciate it.

All right, Hurricane Fiona devastating Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Now taking aim at Turks and Caicos.


BERMAN: Hurricane Fiona growing stronger overnight.

I'm John Berman, with Brianna Keilar.

The storm now very much headed to Turks and Caicos. It is a major category three hurricane. This after its devastating path through Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.


Much of Puerto Rico is in the dark this morning. It could be days before power is restored there.