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CNN TONIGHT: Sources: Former Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo Could Meet With January 6 Committee As Early As This Week; Fed Chair On Economy: "Further Surprises Could Be In Store"; Manchin, Schumer Announce Agreement On Drug Prices, Climate. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired July 27, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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NORMAN LEAR, LEGENDARY TV PRODUCER: If there's a secret, there are two little words, I've known to give good enough attention to. Over and next.
When something is over, it is over, and we are onto next. And if there was a hammock in the middle that would be the best way, I know, of identifying, living the expression, living in the moment. So, I like to think, in the moment.
I spent the last part of the (ph) day, since I knew we were going to be talking, looking forward to this moment. And I adore living it.
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ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: He adores living, each moment. An excellent suggestion, for how to live in these complicated times. Happy birthday, Norman Lear! And thank you, for all you have done.
The news continues. Let's hand it over to Laura Coates, and CNN TONIGHT.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: It is taking all that I have, not to sing the Maude theme song, to you, right now, and Lady Godiva, in the Freedom Rider. I'm sorry, it's all in my mind, right now.
I love Norman Lear. I saw him speaking at 92nd Street Y, once, and I was just in awe on the front row. And that's - reminds me of the nostalgia, of watching all those shows, with my parents. And I still do, today.
COATES: So, Anderson, I'm jealous, I'm jealous. That's my point, jealous.
So, live in the moment. This moment, right now, I'm angry at you. Thank you though. I appreciate it.
COATES: Everyone, I am Laura Coates. And this is CNN TONIGHT.
The January 6th Select Committee isn't resting. Multiple sources, telling CNN that the former Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, could sit for deposition, as soon as this week.
The committee's shift to cabinet-level official seems to indicate that they are interested in conversations, about invoking the 25th Amendment, after the attack, on the Capitol. Now, Pompeo would join the list of several cabinet or also former cabinet level officials to meet with the committee.
And that panel isn't the only one moving forward. It's now clear the DOJ hasn't been dragging its feet. It's been, well, putting one foot in front of the other. Now where it ends up is not entirely certain. But the DOJ seems to have its marching orders in place.
Tonight, we're going to follow those footsteps, and dive into how far the DOJ has actually reached, into the Trump administration, and specifically, where federal prosecutors are now focusing their efforts.
According to "The Washington Post," quote, "There are two principal tracks of the investigation," unquote.
The first, seditious conspiracy. In other words, the same charges the Department has brought against defendants, and groups, like the Proud Boys and, of course, the Oath Keepers. The same groups, the January 6th committee attempted to connect to Trump, in prior hearings.
The second, the false electors scheme. Now, we can't give this one short shrift, either. The goal, of course? Prevent the certified and legitimate electoral votes, from being counted, on January 6th. That would have been the official proceeding.
That's important context, here, as we learn more and more, about who investigators are talking with. And we know now that includes Cassidy Hutchinson, who was apparently cooperating with the DOJ.
The former adviser to Trump's Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, testified before the Select Committee that Meadows knew that January 6th, could get bad that Trump knew the crowd was armed.
Meadows wanted to go to the so-called War Room, at the Willard Hotel. Oh, and Trump didn't want to do anything, to stop, what he saw happening, on that occasion, all of which would be of interest, in any conspiracy investigation, among other things.
We're also hearing from other Trump officials, former officials that is, that Hutchinson isn't the only one talking with federal prosecutors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I am aware of other White House officials, who have been reached out to, by DOJ, and are planning to cooperate.
I think DOJ is keeping an eye on who's coming before January 6th, and who may have helpful information.
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COATES: Well, it's not just who is talking now. It's who was talking then, and to whom. They're gathering hard evidence.
A court filing today shows the DOJ got a new search warrant, to examine what's on John Eastman's phone. Yes, that Eastman, as in the Eastman memo, the private Trump lawyer, at the center of the fake electors scheme.
Dragging their feet? No. If anything, they might just be picking up the pace. But the question is, who should be afraid, of hearing the footsteps, behind them?
Look, I've got two key guests, in studio, with me, tonight. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, from January 6th Select Committee, and D.C. Police officer, Daniel Hodges.
So glad that both of you are here. He defended the Capitol that very day. And you remember this video of him, being crushed, in a door, as he fought, valiantly, to keep the rioters out.
I want to thank both of you, for being here. And we're going to launch into the fact that Pompeo may be testifying.
But before, I want to recognize this moment, here. It was about a year ago to the date that we're in right now, where you first testified on the Hill. And the two of you were in that hearing room, and you had an opportunity to thank this officer, for helping you to go home that day.
I want to remind the public, of what that moment was like.
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REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): I have a 10-year-old son, and a 7-year- old daughter. They're the light of my life. And the reason I was able to hug them again, was because of the courage that you and your fellow officers showed that day.
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COATES: We all remember that moment. I see in your eyes, right now that it's difficult to even relive that, and to hear that, and the humility that you showed, in that moment.
What is it like, for the two of you, to be here, today, together, your first interview together, I would add? What does this moment feel like to you?
DANIEL HODGES, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE OFFICER, DEFENDED CAPITOL ON JANUARY 6: It's, we've come a long way, since the first hearing. And a lot of information has come out. And I'm very grateful to the Congresswoman, and the rest of the members of committee, their staff, for the work they've done.
And, yes, I'm looking forward to the rest of the information coming out. And sitting here, with the Congresswoman, it's great to see the lives that we managed to protect that day, continue on, and continue to thrive.
COATES: So important. I mean, as a mother, it must be just a constant reminder, to know, and watch, what happened, in this, on January 6th, just how devastatingly violent and how this could have gone.
MURPHY: Yes, for me, it's just, I'm still so grateful, for Officer Hodges, and all of the other officers, who ensured that all the members of Congress, and all of the folks, staff and otherwise, in the Capitol, were able to go home, and hug their children, and their family members.
And I think it's why the mission of the committee has been so important, is for us to start with the commitment to duty that these law enforcement officers showed, in protecting the Capitol.
And then laying out all the facts that led us up to January 6th, in our last hearing, where we highlighted the dereliction of duty, from the President of the United States, who sat by, while officers were being attacked, violently, while people were hunting down his Vice President, and other members of Congress. And he sat for 187 minutes, choosing not to do anything.
COATES: When you think about that, and just the sheer number, a 187 minutes? I mean, that is an extraordinarily painfully long amount of time. And we saw the efforts that were happening.
When you go through, and think about how you methodically have laid out the testimony, and the evidence, people are very critical, at the end of the day, comparing it to a prosecution, which it's not. It's not intended to be a prosecution. I am a prosecutor. Wasn't intended to be that.
But there is still the talking point that's out there to try to be dismissive of the work of the committee, that it's not enough for that - we should move beyond, and we should just overlook what's happened. And you heard Norman Lear make the comment of, there's the over, and then there's the next. And people want to go to that next.
But why is it so important to you to know the committee's work is helping to understand that this might not be over?
MURPHY: I think it's really important that the committee lays out the facts, for the American people, and for history.
And I also think that it's important that through the voices of the Republicans, who refused to cheat to win, for somebody, they supported, and worked for? That through them, the folks, who are supporters of the President, have permission, to support his policies while he was in office, but also recognize that his efforts to remain in office, when he had lost a free and fair election is out of bounds.
COATES: Your intention was never to be political. I mean, you were, you know, you're an officer. Your calling, you've described many times before, is being fulfilled.
And yet, I wonder, being in this situation, you have been thrown into the political spotlight? I'm not going to call it the limelight, because I know it's not. But the political spotlight.
What has it been like for you to now see that the DOJ is beginning to investigate? They have over 900 people they've already prosecuted, which is no small number. At the last hearing, we saw, or two hearings ago, we saw a man, who has been prosecuted, but not sentenced, apologized for what happened.
What has been your reaction, to these prosecutions, and the way that the hearings have actually evolved?
HODGES: It's a big relief to see progress, visible progress. Obviously, I'm not privy to the Department of Justice, and their inner workings. I don't know what they've got going on. But I just see what the American people see. And it's a big relief to see things finally come to fruition. And I'm definitely looking forward to, to the rest of it coming out, and where we can go from here.
COATES: Well, we're looking at September, right, we're understanding. And we're hearing that Pompeo might be testifying. How did that come about? Was that a live negotiation? I can't imagine he was raising his hand, as an eager beaver, to say "Please, pick me next." How did that work?
MURPHY: We don't talk about the specifics, of our interactions, with the witnesses that come before us.
But what I will say is that the committee is dogged, about having folks, who have relevant information, for our investigation, come before our committee. And we're willing to pursue that to whatever end state allows us to receive the information that is so critically necessary, for us to display, to the American people.
And I think we had a big win with the Bannon being charged for contempt. Nobody in this country should feel like they are above the law, and can defy a congressional subpoena. And, for us, we're just trying to get to the facts.
COATES: So, was Pompeo subpoenaed?
MURPHY: We are working with his counsel to engage with him. And that's pretty much what I can say. COATES: I understand. And I wonder what the parallel of happening, of the DOJ, which, the work is to be done in secret. We have a presumption of innocence in this country. Obviously, we don't want people to just have a sort of the Sword of Damocles or a Scarlet Letter, on their body, if they're only being investigated.
And yet, I wonder what you make of the fact that there seems to be a ramping up, or at least an investigation, ongoing, right now, with that particular department.
MURPHY: I think it's a very good sign that our balance of powers, our democracy, law and order, the rule of law, all of that is healthy and alive. And I take great heart in the fact that Merrick Garland has said that he will pursue justice, to wherever it leads. And, in our country, that has to be the end state.
COATES: Officer, you have seen, and probably heard, over the last several days, the former President speaking, with great reverence, towards law enforcement, in this country, and about not wanting to villainize, and protecting the officers.
It's hard to look at that, in here, without thinking about the 187 minutes, laid out, by the committee, of not doing anything, as far as we know, to stop what happened, to all of you, on Capitol Hill.
What's your reaction to what former President Trump has had to say, about respect for law enforcement?
HODGES: I haven't heard anything he's had to say. I try not to listen to him, when I can help it. But hearing you telling me that, it just seems like virtue signaling, to me, like he - him and his base like to imagine themselves as pro-law enforcement, but only when the law benefits them.
And, yes, I did not see any support, for the Police, on January 6th. I saw a lot of people defying our lawful orders, and assaulting us, and trying to make their way, into the Capitol Building, to commit acts of violence, against Congress people, and staff, and try to overturn a free and fair election.
COATES: Congresswoman, is part of the role, and the duty of this committee, to reflect the reverence that ought to be for the law enforcement, who guarded your lives that day?
MURPHY: I think it's not just to reflect the reverence that should be, but also to provide them, with the resources that they need, to be better-equipped, God forbid, this ever happened to us again.
But I think January 6th, exposed the Capitol as a soft target, not just to domestic, but also foreign enemies. And so, we have a responsibility, to provide the folks, who are charged, with keeping us safe, with the resources that they need to do so.
COATES: And responsibility, obviously, that old phrase, "A Republic, if you can keep it."
COATES: We know how it can be lost!
Thank you both. Nice speaking with you, in this very, very poignant moment, to see both of you together. We were all very touched by that moment, one year ago, today. And to see it here, thank you, both of you.
HODGES: Of course.
MURPHY: Great to be with you.
COATES: Representative Stephanie Murphy, Officer Daniel Hodges, thank you so much.
I'll ask the former Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, well, what he makes of all the news, coming from his old department, in just a moment.
And we'll talk about the Biden administration's proposal for Russia. "Give us Brittney Griner. Give us Paul Whelan. And you can have your arms dealer back."
COATES: All right. So, it's full steam ahead, in the DOJ's investigation, into the 2020 intellection - election interference, excuse me. Just today, we've learned several new details.
Former Trump White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson, is cooperating with the Feds.
They are apparently obtaining a warrant, as well, for the contents of John Eastman's cell phone. Remember, they had the phone. This is now the contents, of the cell phone, to actually be able to view what's on it.
And the DOJ has asked from the January 6th committee, for more transcripts.
So, what is all this mean for where Attorney General Merrick Garland's investigation stands? And also, where is it going? Let's talk to somebody, who's been in his very shoes. Here he is now, former U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales.
Thank you, for being here. The perfect person, to speak with, about all the chatter that's happening, about the expectations, of what an A.G., ought to be doing.
I wonder, first, primarily, what you make of the fact that everyone seems to know exactly what they should be doing. You have been the A.G. You're shaking your head. You're reminiscing. I know you are. Tell me what your thoughts are? ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, before I get into that, let me just say, express thanks, to Officer Hodges, and his colleagues, for the work that they did, on January 6th, in keeping members of Congress, their staff, the Capitol, safe. They did their job.
Now, DOJ investigators and prosecutors are doing their job. And that is to find out who was responsible, what happened, what crimes were committed, and to make decisions, as to whether or not they should move forward, with the prosecution, whether or not, you know, charging decisions now are going to be made, in the very near future.
I think it's wrong to assume that DOJ is just now ramping up. I think this investigation has been in place, for quite some time. As you know, Laura, very well, these investigations are confidential. You have grand jury proceedings that are secret that are confidential.
And so, a lot of the work, there's been a lot of work ongoing. And so, we're getting to a point now, where I think things are becoming a little bit more public. But I think it's wrong to assume that the Department has been sitting by, and watching the January 6th hearings.
I think that - I think they've been doing their work. And I think they're going to be ready to fulfill the Attorney General's pledge that those responsible are going to be held accountable.
COATES: It's an important point, the idea of what the role of the legislative committee is, having the open hearings, in public. That's not what the DOJ should be doing, with the presumption of innocence, of course, being there.
But also, the idea of people believing the timing and the clock. We know, of course, that the patience of the American electorate is not as long as ever. But we also know that there is a kind of a timeline, kind of a deadline that's in place. We're talking about close to an election.
Now, I have always thought that that included only those, who might find themselves, on a ballot. That's the thumb on the scale, the DOJ tries to avoid. In this instance, if this were to go up the chain, to the prior president, or to those, who are not currently on a ballot, should the DOJ consider that, in its investigation timeline?
GONZALES: These guidelines, with respect to announcing an investigation, or possible charges, against someone, close to an election, really are intended to provide uniformity, with respect to charging decisions, around the country, amongst U.S. attorney offices, and to ensure that the reputation of the Department, is protected, against suggestions, or bias, or unfairness.
But the notion that it would prohibit the Attorney General from making a charging decision, to me, I don't believe that that's accurate. I think when the Department is ready to make a decision, when the Attorney General has made a decision, is ready to announce charges? That's the direction he's going to go. Then that's what they're going to do.
Obviously, they're going to be mindful, of the effects, it might have, with respect to ongoing elections. But, in terms of an outright prohibition, again, the Attorney General is charged to investigate wrongdoing, and to prosecute wrongdoing.
COATES: Speaking of prosecution, the U.S. has prosecuted successfully, somebody who's known as the Merchant of Death.
We're learning today that there might be an attempt, to have a prisoner swap, as it relates to this person, with Russia, in exchange for Paul Whelan, a former U.S. Marine and, of course, the WNBA star, and two-time Olympian, Brittney Griner. Now, all three have varying and very distinct and different types of crimes allegations against them.
I wonder what you make of the thought of a prisoner swap, given the lack of parity between the charges?
GONZALES: I hesitate to be critical, or question, because I don't know all the facts, here. I don't - other than what's being reported, it appears that - there appears to be some disparity.
I'd like to think, we would have greater leverage, in order to secure the release of these two U.S. citizens. The fact that we might be suggesting trading, someone, a convicted arms dealer, someone who's very dangerous, someone that we spent a great deal of time, and effort, to capture, and to bring to justice.
But again, I'm going to hesitate - I hesitate to be overly critical. I guess, I need to get more information, to fully understand why then this makes the best sense, quite frankly, and it's in the best interest, not just of these two Americans, but also, overall, in the best interests, of this country.
COATES: Very prudent! What I would expect from a former Attorney General, sir, to make sure you had all of the facts. I'm in a different role. I'm going to dive right into all those, momentarily.
But I appreciate you. Thank you for taking the time to be a part of the program, tonight. Thank you so much.
GONZALES: Thanks, Laura.
COATES: We'll keep this conversation going, with our panel, next. And we're going to talk about whether there's a smoking gun, somewhere, in the DOJ investigation, or a few, or none at all, in just a moment.
COATES: A ton of news, tonight, on the January 6th front. We heard from a committee member, as well, tonight. We've heard from an officer, who was also there. And we just heard from a former Attorney General. So, let's hear from our experts, here, at the panel, today. Former Democratic senator, Doug Jones. Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Elliot Williams. And Editor-in-Chief of The Dispatch, Jonah Goldberg.
Glad you're all here.
There's a lot of news, in the January 6th front. I mean, the thought that Mike Pompeo might go before the committee, and they're trying to work with them, to figure out a good time? That's pretty big news, and pretty close to - I mean, it's a cabinet member, for goodness sakes. That's huge!
DOUG JONES, (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes, it's really big.
Look, I think most people thought that they would end the hearing, last week, primetime, big show, stunning testimony. But they still got work to do. And they're clearly doing it.
And I - as we've talked about before, in these kind of investigations, one hearing leads to another, because you've got more witnesses, who feel comfortable, or compelled, to come forward. And it's interesting that we may see some higher level folks coming in.
COATES: And that Bannon conviction, I think, has probably put a little bit of a fire, under people, to say, "Oh, this is real. I mean, things just got real," what's probably going to people's mind, at that moment in time, when he was convicted for contempt, you can't really sort of thumb your nose. Although Mark Meadows, right, and then Dan Scavino, they were not prosecuted, even they were referred.
What's your thought?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL AT DOJ: You know what the thing is? The interesting thing about the misdemeanor from hell is that you can actually go to jail for it, as Steve Bannon is going to find out. Look, it's got a mandatory minimum sentence.
WILLIAMS: Now, look, Mark Meadows, in a slightly different position, as a White House Chief of Staff, he would have necessarily had some privileges that are hard to get around and, I think, maybe quite hard to charge.
COATES: But Pompeo?
WILLIAMS: Pompeo? Right, no, but that's another issue that's out there, as well. And so, he has an incentive, now that we've seen a senior aide, to the President, going to jail. And so, perhaps that might encourage more witnesses to testify.
JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CO-FOUNDER & EDITOR-IN- CHIEF, THE DISPATCH: All due deference to the lawyers.
GOLDBERG: It seems to me--
COATES: There we go! I know. That's like--
GOLDBERG: No. I was--
COATES: --that's like "No disrespect, but here it comes!"
GOLDBERG: I think the most significant thing about Pompeo testifying, is he's the first person, to testify, who's clearly a potential presidential candidate, in 2024.
GOLDBERG: And this signals possibly, that they've done this sort of risk reward calculus, and he's trying to figure out, how to do his messaging, on January 6th, on this Stop the Steal stuff, about how he positions himself, vis-a-vis, Trump. We - there's a lot of people in Washington, who think Mike Pence has already started the sort of the Game of Thrones, maneuvering.
COATES: He has, really.
COATES: I mean, don't you think, for all intents and purposes, he's - he has, I think.
GOLDBERG: And so, like it, when one of the players, in one of these sort of game-theory situation, starts to go, you can't sit on the sidelines any longer.
And I think the political gamesmanship, of trying to figure out, what all of this means, for Trump, and running against Trump, particularly when Trump says he's going to be running - he's probably going to announce, before the midterms, the whole game has started earlier, about how to position in the GOP race.
COATES: Part of positioning too, you see, some Democratic campaigners, and thinking about this, to try to support those, who they think are very aligned, with Donald Trump, as extremists, and hoping that that will be an easier lift, in the general election. That's quite a get--
COATES: --that's quite a gamble, and not a good one, I can see from your face.
JONES: I have been totally opposed to that, from the very beginning. One, I just don't think it's right, for Democrats, to play in the Republican primary, any more than I think it's right, for the Republicans, to play in the Democratic. I mean, for the loyalists. In Alabama, we've got open primaries. But folks that are truly Democrats, they should let the other party rise or fall on their own. And it is a hell of a risk, I mean, to put some folks.
Now, there's some seats that are relatively safe, that you're just elevating the name, you're not going to have to spend as much money. But the fact that they would get involved, and even take the chance that this whole committee is spending so much time, and effort, to try to show this, is just, it's just wrong. It's just wrong.
WILLIAMS: It's not just the partisan point of meddling in another party's primary--
WILLIAMS: --which is their organizations, and they're having their primaries. The bigger point is there is a moral, legal and constitutional point that has been made about the conduct in January 6th--
WILLIAMS: --that Democrats are now looking the other way about, in bolstering some of these things. Some of these folks may end up - you may have, as the Governor of Pennsylvania, literally a guy, who should I say, insurrectionist? But needless to say, he might end up being Governor of Pennsylvania.
WILLIAMS: And that's happening across the country. And that some of them are going away.
JONES: Yes. Because unlike, in Maryland, when Governor Hogan denounced the nominee, in Maryland, you're not seeing a lot of that, in Pennsylvania. Maybe a little bit, Jonah. I don't know.
JONES: But you're not seeing it, right now. And, I think that, personally, I think, they rally around this guy.
GOLDBERG: Well, yes, look, I mean, my - the thing that drives me crazy is the moral component of this, is that we heard a lot of Democrats - we hear a lot of Democrats, today, praising Liz Cheney, for her heroism, and standing up, to the GOP.
We heard a lot back in the day about the 10 Republicans, who voted, for impeaching Donald Trump, and how that was a profile in courage. And now, Nancy Pelosi, and various PACs, are actually spending money, trying to destroy those guys--
GOLDBERG: --because they'll be harder to beat. They're doing it to Pete Meijer, in Michigan. They did it to Valadao, in California. And if you actually, if you're going to - I just don't want to hear from people saying how lamentable, and sad it is that there're no honorable, and principled people, in the GOP, who also are totally fine, with trying to destroy these guys, on the off chance that they'll be able to have a slightly better chance of beating some MAGA person that they consider a fascist.
If you're going to call them a fascist, you probably shouldn't be channeling millions of dollars, in support of their campaign.
WILLIAMS: One of them is going to win, yes.
COATES: Are you suggesting consistency, in Washington, D.C.? Is this news to you, consistency, in Washington, D.C.?
JONES: Well I--
COATES: No hypocrisy, can do it at all?
JONES: Yes, I've been in those cloakrooms.
JONES: It is not news, OK?
GOLDBERG: January 6th, it's one thing to play hardball politics. Afterwards, you can't say that "These people are literally a threat to democracy. But we're going to nominate them. We're going to help them get nominated, because we think they'll be easier to beat."
WILLIAMS: And someone's going to win.
WILLIAMS: One of them is - somewhere, across America--
GOLDBERG: Donald Trump did it in 2016. And he got a lot of this.
WILLIAMS: Yes, yes, what's the worst that could happen! And so, yes.
COATES: Well we don't want to answer that question. We've seen in part, on the past, the worst that can happen. We'll talk more about this in a moment.
Elliot Williams, thank you so much.
Doug and Jonah stick around as well.
Sorry, your suit's too good.
WILLIAMS: All right - oh!
COATES: They told me their - your suit's two-tailored. Forget about it, get out of the screen. Remember when President Biden said that inflation was just temporary? Well, temporary is a lot longer than it used to be, because that was more than a year ago, when he said that.
Next, we'll ask one of the President's senior advisers, what the White House is doing, to ease America's pain.
COATES: The best bad option, to combat rising prices, enacted today, make some things more expensive. The Fed has now hiked interest rates, a massive three quarters of a percentage point, twice in a row.
Even the Fed Chair warns, they don't know for sure what lies ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Inflation has obviously surprised to the upside, over the past year. And further surprises could be in store.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Well surprises are not what anyone wants, especially as we see scenes like this, cars lined up, at food banks, people relying on the kindness of strangers, just to feed their families.
Chairman Jerome Powell admits the Fed can do very little, about food and gas prices.
Let's turn to the White House. I'm joined now by a Senior Adviser, to the President, Gene Sperling.
Gene, I'm glad that you're here, today. Thank you so much.
When you see - and we're seeing images of the lines at food banks. We're seeing the prices. We're seeing the turmoil, the tension, the burdens people are feeling. And the question people have is how much longer they're asked to be patient, how much longer must they be?
GENE SPERLING, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN, WHITE HOUSE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN COORDINATOR: Well, we totally understand that even though we've had record job creation, even though unemployment is at a historically low 3.6 percent, and many people have received wages that, it is painful, for Americans, to deal with the higher prices, at the gas pump, the higher prices in the food line, even though, this is clearly a global phenomenon, caused by the aftershocks, of an unprecedented pandemic, and an unprecedented, well, unthinkable armed aggression in Ukraine that has risen gas prices, everywhere.
But we have seen some progress, recently. We've seen gas prices come down $0.72. We've seen in 15 States, it's now under $4, that 50,000 gas stations are under $4.
And we know that a significant cause of that was actions, this President took, to release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil, a million a day, and get our allies to contribute to that, that he's made E15 gas more eligible, for the summer.
SPERLING: So, we're going to do everything that we can. There's no silver bullet. But I think there's a lot of progress we can make, particularly, if we have help from Congress. And today, you saw--
COATES: Well, actually, excuse me, Gene.
COATES: I mean, it's not just help from Congress, right? I mean, consumers, they drove down the demand for gas, as well. That also helped to support what you're talking about. So, how much of it can be attributed to the Administration's being proactive when, as opposed to consumers simply reducing the demand for gas?
SPERLING: Well, actually, the Treasury Department did put out an analysis, and found that about $0.40 of the reduction was due to the President's actions, on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. As you know, the President has also suggested we could lower gas prices by another $0.50, if we did a holiday on federal and state gas taxes.
And again, you'll also see the President taking action across the board. Today, the President welcomed an agreement, by Senator Schumer, and Senator Manchin, that would lower prescription drug costs, and cap those costs, lower energy costs, lower health care premiums. The action we've taken before is going to allow internet costs, to be lower, for up to 50 (ph) million families.
So, we obviously want to do everything, we can, to bring down those gas prices. But we're also just going to do everything, we can, to help the Americans, with their pocketbook issues.
And again, there's a lot the President can do, and has done, administratively. But there's no question we can do more, when we get support from Congress.
And things like capping prescription drug costs, that you saw an agreement on, today? That can just make a huge difference, because, as you know, that is one of the major price issues, particularly for older Americans, year in, and year out.
COATES: It certainly is. And I certainly want to share your optimism, as do most Americans, on that very notion.
But we've seen, just if past is prologue, hanging one's hat, on the prospects of progress, simply on a maybe a statement by a Senator Joe Manchin, when he's been a thorn in the side of the Administration's economic agenda, for as long as President Biden has been the president? Are you skeptical about a deal that's made in principle, but not actually codified and memorialized? Should the American people have ultimate faith that that would be a litmus test and measure of progress?
SPERLING: Well, look, all I can say is that the President strongly welcomed this agreement, by Senator Schumer, and Senator Manchin.
You've seen wide agreement, even with people, who've disagreed or criticized us before, that this would reduce inflation, reduce the deficit, reduce drug costs, reduce health premiums, for 13 million Americans.
This is in addition to things like the CHIPS Act that just has passed the Senate, and now going to go to the House, in which I know you have Ro Khanna, coming on, afterwards, and he's played a major role in this.
And this is about also, as we're dealing with these immediate problems, I think, America wants us to take care of these long-term supply issues, and not put us, in a vulnerable position, in the future, and make us less dependent.
Whether it's semiconductors, or energy, we want to make sure that we have a bit of more independence, in ensuring, we have the supply chains, and the overall supply, to keep costs down, not just in reaction to this crisis, but in the long-term, as well.
COATES: Well, I don't envy your position, you're in, I mean, the idea of having long-term solutions, short-term solutions, and trying to satisfy an increasingly impatient public, is a very difficult task. But thank you for being here, tonight. I appreciate it.
SPERLING: Thank you for having us.
COATES: Still ahead, a big breakthrough, for Senate Democrats. You heard Gene reference it, just a moment ago. Joe Manchin is on board with an energy and health care bill. But does it have a chance?
COATES: Democrats are looking for a pretty big win, and Senate Leader Chuck Schumer says he's got one coming. Schumer says he's reached a deal with Senator Joe Manchin, on an economic bill that'll be ready for a vote as early as next week.
Among other things, he says that it would provide $369 billion for energy and climate programs, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions, by 40 percent by 2030. Allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, cap out-of-pocket costs for drugs, and set a 15 percent corporate minimum tax.
Schumer says it will be, quote, the "Greatest pro-climate legislation that has ever been passed by Congress." But will it actually pass? Let's ask a member of the House. Congressman Ro Khanna joins, along with former senator, Jones, and Jonah Goldberg.
I'm so glad that you're here. Thank you for staying, gentlemen.
And welcome to the program, Congressman Khanna. I wonder what you know about this deal? What should we know? And should there be some enthusiasm, optimism, behind it that it could actually be passed?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Well, we should be excited, enthusiastic. I spoke with Senator Manchin, this afternoon.
This is over $300 billion of climate investment. The estimates are that it would have 40 percent reduction of CO2 emissions. It's going to lower prescription drug prices. It's going to have a tax finally on corporations not paying tax. I haven't seen all the details. But it is significant progress.
Is it what I would have wanted? No, I would have written more. But it is much, much better than anything that has come before. And I give Senator Schumer, and Senator Manchin, credit.
COATES: Why the sort of about-face? I mean, obviously, it's a good direction, for your purposes. But why do you think his mind was changed? What was the cause?
KHANNA: I've been on the outs, with some, saying, "Let's keep negotiating with Senator Manchin." And the reason I said that is he has said from the beginning, that he would be for investments, in solar, in wind, in battery. He has been for that, since day one. And I said, "Let's engage and negotiate." And I'm glad that we continued to negotiate, and it looks like we're going to have a deal.
Look, politics, there are 435 members of Congress, there are 100 senators. Not everyone can get exactly what they want. It's the art of figuring out what moves the ball forward. This has a very good chance of making an enormous impact.
COATES: You're nodding your head. You've been one of the 100.
JONES: Yes, no, I think that this is a - I think this is a monumental moment. And I know everybody is a little skeptical, because we've seen deals in principle, and all of a sudden, they fell through.
The difference is, this has been going, clearly, this has been something that has been kept under wraps, because the same day that it came out, they released a 725-page text to it. It's down. It's in writing. This is not just in principle. This is a big deal.
And it is a big deal for the Administration, who have been pushing these things. It is a big deal, for the Senate, which has had some wins, this week, with the CHIPS bill, and other things. This gives, I think, the Administration, it gives Democrats, and it, quite frankly, gives the country, a little momentum, and a little uplift.
COATES: How about Republicans? I mean, that's obviously who has to be at the table, as well, in these, I mean. What do you feel about the idea of, is this truly the type of compromise that could actually pass, not just be written?
KHANNA: Well, on the CHIPS side, look, I give Senator Todd Young, the Republican, credit. That's a big bill. It's about inventing things here, making things here, buying things here.
You know, Taiwan is going to build 19 semiconductor fabs? China is going to build 30 fabs? And now, because of this bill, we're going to be able to build 12 factories, here, manufacturing jobs, in places, like Ohio. This is bringing production back. And there were Republicans involved, like Todd Young, like Mike Gallagher, who helped make that possible.
COATES: What do you make of it, Jonah?
GOLDBERG: Yes, I mean, I agree, the CHIPS bill, I mean, obviously, I would want to tinker with it differently. But I think it's a net good piece of legislation, and I'm glad it's going to pass.
On this, I think it's interesting, I saw somewhere that Manchin is billing this as the Inflation Reduction bill, right?
GOLDBERG: And, first of all, I'm very curious to know what Kyrsten Sinema has to say.
And second of all, I want to know if Mitch McConnell is going to have Joe Manchin's favorite horse's head, put in his bed, that Manchin is going to wake up next to it, tomorrow morning. Because I very much doubt there are any Republicans, who are really going to vote for this thing. And this--
COATES: I love a Godfather reference, by the way.
GOLDBERG: Yes, so.
COATES: So, we can do no wrong from this (ph).
GOLDBERG: Is that really Godfather?
COATES: Wasn't in the - oh, my god, I was going to say it.
GOLDBERG: But I mean--
COATES: I almost gave you credit--
GOLDBERG: I know.
COATES: --and took all of it away, in that moment.
GOLDBERG: Such a dark thing, to come up with, without it being a Godfather reference.
GOLDBERG: But anyway, I think that this is, remains to be seen. I think this is very good. This illustrates, in many ways that Joe Manchin, not Joe Biden, is in the sweet spot, of American politics, and is the decision-maker, in a lot of the politics, and it's where more voters are, than Joe Biden is.
KHANNA: But ultimately, Jonah, the President gets credit for whatever passes.
KHANNA: And here's the thing. He is--
GOLDBERG: He also gets blamed for whatever doesn't.
KHANNA: But here's why I think this is so significant, because voters are going to trust Joe Manchin, to say that this is going to lower inflation. He's been complaining about "Inflation, inflation, inflation."
KHANNA: Now he's saying, "Look, this is going to lower the deficit. This is going to increase taxes on corporations," which is anti- inflationary, this is going to lower prescription drug prices. These are actual investments, in clean energy that are going to make us more energy-independent.
KHANNA: I think this is a huge win for the country.
GOLDBERG: As a conservative, I'm more skeptical about all of that, but that's fine.
My point is simply that you're right, that more people are going to believe Joe Manchin than going to believe Joe Biden, because Joe Biden's standing right now is really, really poor and weak. And Joe Manchin is really where the majority of Americans are.
COATES: Where is Sinema?
KHANNA: Well I don't think Sinema - I mean, let's see. But I think when you have the President, and if you have Senator Schumer, and you have the Speaker, and if you get progressives, I think this is going to pass.
And I think what President Biden, were - putting the polls aside, which I grant, the polls aren't great.
But you'll look at, if these go through, and you look at the American Rescue Plan, the Infrastructure bill, CHIPS bill, to make stuff here, energy independence, in the biggest climate bill, the bill to reduce Medicare prices? That's looking like a pretty good record.
And you know, you run from office, to become president, to do stuff. And he's getting stuff done.
JONES: And Jonah is right, though. This is where America is. But Joe had to move that way. He wasn't there. He had to move there.
COATES: Which Joe? Manchin or Biden, you're talking about?
JONES: Joe Manchin had to move that way. I think Joe Biden has been there. He has let Schumer and Manchin duke this out. But Manchin had to move a little bit more to the center. I think he had to move some. The White House knew that it was going to be reduced a good bit. The Progressive Caucus knew that this was going to be reduced a bit.
And the question I've got now is not Sinema. I think that Sinema will back this. The question I've got is whether or not Bernie Sanders will, because Bernie has come out, and criticized this, to somewhat.
At the end of the day, I think, this is a reconciliation bill. So you only need 50 Democratic senators, plus the Vice President. So, I think it passes.
COATES: Is Senator Sanders on board? Do you know?
KHANNA: I haven't talked to Senator Sanders. But I'll tell you this. Senator Sanders is ultimately a pragmatist, who takes progress. And I think he's going to look at this, he's going to evaluate it. But if he sees that this is a good for the climate, and going to reduce emissions? I think he's going to be favorably inclined.
JONES: And the best that it can get.
COATES: You know what they say? "Success has a thousand fathers. Failure is an orphan." So, let's see what this child becomes, every one.
Congressman Khanna, Doug Jones, Jonah Goldberg, thank you so much.
We'll be right back.
COATES: Well, that's it for us.
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