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The Situation Room

Key Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Warns He May Vote Against Spending Plan; Biden Urges Global Action on Climate, Apologizes for Trump Policy; National Archives Reveals New Details About January 6th Documents Trump Wants Kept Secret; One Day Left in Tight Race for Virginia Governor. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 01, 2021 - 18:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Be sure to join CNN tomorrow for election night coverage. I'll lead coverage to the key governor's races in Virginia, New Jersey. Live special coverage starts tomorrow at 6:00 P.M. Eastern. Our coverage right now continues.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, President Biden's agenda has thrown a curveball again while he's attending a pivotal Climate Summit here in Scotland and trying to reassert American leadership.

Key Democratic Senator Joe Manchin is warning he may vote against the president's spending plan as he accuses House progressives of political games. What does this mean for the deal that divided Democrats seemed so close to clinching at last?

And we're also following the substance of the Climate Summit, President Biden delivering a call to action and apologizing for U.S. policy under former President Trump.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer reporting live from Scotland and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

It's 10:00 P.M. here in Scotland. President Biden is ending a very busy day of global diplomacy on the climate crisis that he's working to navigate the way forward on his domestic agenda after yet another surprise twist from Senator Joe Manchin.

Our Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly is here with me in Scotland covering all of this. Phil, walk us through what is going on today because it looked like they were very close to a deal maybe this week, but now, maybe not.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Up in the air. Talk about having a lot on your plate. The president, just about 45 miles away, in Glasgow, trying to convince hundreds of world leaders that the U.S. is not only back and serious about climate policy but then it can leverage that leadership to get the most ambitious commitments in history to address the climate crisis. All the while, his domestic agenda back home still not fully on track.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Let this be the moment that we answer history's call.

MATTINGLY (voice over): Tonight, a call to action from a president looking to rally the world.

BIDEN: We'll demonstrate to the world the United States is not only back at the table, but hopefully leading by the power of our example.

MATTINGLY: As he continues to face challenges back home.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): What I see are shell games, budget gimmicks. Holding this bill hostage is not going to work in getting my support for the reconciliation bill.

MATTINGLY: President Biden arriving in Glasgow for the U.N. Climate Summit at an urgent moment.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: It's one minute to midnight on that doomsday clock and we need to act now.

MATTINGLY: The dire warnings underscored, the increasingly calamitous reality, the effort to limit temperature rise by the end of this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius falling far short based on current projections that show an increase of 2.7 degrees Celsius.

Speaker after speaker at the Climate Summit warning of the stakes, Biden, at one point, appearing to feel the fatigue of the fifth day of his foreign trip before taking the stage to declare a U.S. ready to meet and exceed the challenge.

BIDEN: My administration is working overtime to show that our climate commitment is action, not words.

MATTINGLY: Biden keenly aware of global skepticism about U.S. ambitions.

BIDEN: I guess I shouldn't apologize, but I do apologize for the fact the United States, the last administration pulled out of the Paris Accords and put us behind the eight-ball.

MATTINGLY: With this as the U.S. posture just one year ago.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I withdrew the United States from the unfair and one-sided Paris Climate Accord.

MATTINGLY: And the reality of that push for collective ambition in question as critical world leaders failed to even show up, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

BIDEN: There's a reason why people should be disappointed in that. I found it disappointing myself.

MATTINGLY: And with Biden seeking to leverage U.S. leadership abroad, this growing optimism at home --

BIDEN: I believe we will pass my Build Back Better plan. I believe we will pass the infrastructure bill.

MATTINGLY: Now running headlong into centrist Democratic senator, Joe Manchin.

MANCHIN: I'm open to supporting a final bill that helps moves our country forward but I'm equally open to voting against the bill that hurts our country.

MATTINGLY: As Democratic leaders continue urging and high stakes negotiations critical to unlock his dual-pronged $3 trillion domestic agenda. The progressives largely shrugging off Manchin's statement and backing off the need for his explicit endorsement.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): We will trust the president that he is going to get 51 votes for this bill.

MATTINGLY: Putting the onus on a president who has made clear he's pressing forward.

BIDEN: I ran didn't run to determine how well I'm going doing the polls.


I ran to make sure that I followed through what I said I would do as president of the United States.


MATTINGLY (on camera): And, Wolf, that statement you heard from Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is important because she putting the onus on President Biden underscores the point that the president has made both publicly and privately to his top advisers, I'm told. He believes after months and months of discussions over hours and hours with Senator Joe Manchin, that he can get them there eventually. However, it's clear at least at this moment he's not there yet.

BLITZER: Yes. Because at his news conference in Rome yesterday, he said he thought both bills would be passed as early as this week.

MATTINGLY: Yes. That seems to be a little bit in question right now. Look, the reality is Democratic leaders are absolutely pushing forward. House Democratic leaders want to have the votes as soon as this week and progressives seem open to that reality. But it's not just where Senator Manchin is. There's also moderates in the House, Democratic caucuses who I'm told have some concerns about the process. There's also the policy. There're still negotiations ongoing about prescription drugs, about Medicare expansion, the drafting of the language. This takes time.

However, it's very clear Democratic leaders still want this done as quickly as possible. The question right now is when.

BLITZER: A good question indeed. All right, Phil Mattingly, thank you very much for that report.

Joining us now to discuss what's going on, the deputy whip of the House Progressive Caucus, Congressman Ro Khanna. Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

And to be precise, is the House Progressive Caucus willing to go ahead and vote on the infrastructure bill without any clear commitment from Senator Manchin on the other spending bill?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): What our caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal has said is we're prepared to move forward on both. Most progressives I've talked to will be a yes on both votes. We trust the president's framework, we're behind the president's framework and we want to get it done as soon as possible.

BLITZER: This sounds to me like a major concession from the progressive caucus because, originally, you guys said you're not going to take up the infrastructure bill until you pass both, the Senate passes both of these bills at the same time, but now you're willing to go ahead and take up and consider both of these bills without a firm commitment from the Senate. Is that right?

KHANNA: Wolf, we are willing to compromise and the difference has been the president. He has sat down with many lawmakers for hours on end and he has said that based on his conversations on this framework, he is confident he can deliver the Senate and we take him at his word. I believe he has the experience to deliver that. We want to be part of the president's success and we want to deliver for the American people.

BLITZER: So, I just want to be clear, regardless of what Senator Joe Manchin says or does this week, progressives like you in the House are going to vote yes on the infrastructure bill and the other bill this week. The infrastructure bill, as you know, will immediately then go to the president's desk because the Senate already passed it with 69 votes and he will sign it into law. The question is what's going to happen in the Senate to the other broader social agenda bill. What do you say about that? Is that your plan?

KHANNA: Yes, Wolf. We will vote on both bills and it's going the make a huge difference. It will be the largest climate investment in the history of this country. It's going to actually tackle inflation by increasing our productive supply. Right now, we need more money for ports, for supply chains. It's going to make sure that women and men can get back into the workforce by finding childcare. These are good policies. Progressives are behind both of them. And then it's up to the Senate to make good on their word.

BLITZER: So, no matter what Senator Manchin says or does in the coming days, you're going to vote on both of these bills this week. Do I understand you correctly?

KHANNA: That is what we want. Obviously, it's the speaker who has to schedule the vote, but we're prepared to do that. And Senator Manchin's position hasn't really changed. I mean, he's been saying some of these things. I'm confident that the president believes that $1.75 trillion and with these provisions of the frame works framework, he can get it through. I believe he will get it through when you have the whole House vote for it, when you have the president, the speaker, the majority leader when it actually comes for a vote, I believe all 50 Senators will be there.

BLITZER: Do you believe Senator Manchin is acting in good faith right now?

KHANNA: He is representing his constituency, Wolf. He has always been straight with me. My view is that we're going to get there and I believe that he has been negotiating with the president. The president believes he can get him to a yes.

Well, the president could have come to us many times before and said, I have the 51 votes. He could have come months before. He never did that. He was very cautious. He never wanted to give his word on something that he couldn't deliver.

President Biden has been in politics for over 40 years. He doesn't just give his word easily. He came and he said, I finally believe we have a framework we can get behind. We have to trust him. In this country, we have to start trusting people to get something done for the American people.


The progressives are willing to take that leap of faith. We're putting the party first, the country first.

BLITZER: Well, if you do that, the infrastructure bill, the traditional infrastructure bill presumably will pass the House. It's already passed the Senate. It will become the law of the land when the president signs it into law. The question is what happens to the other bill. And that's going to be up on the air right now.

Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you so much for joining us on this very, very important day. We appreciate it.

KHANNA: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, President Biden apologizes for former President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Do other world leaders trust President Biden when he promises to lead on the climate crisis? We're coming to you live from Scotland. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: We're in Scotland for the U.N. Climate Summit where President Biden today urge action and declared the United States is, quote, back at the table to fight the crisis.

And joining us now here in Scotland, Christiane Amanpour, our Chief International Anchor. Christiane, thanks very much for joining us.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: It's good to be with you. Spent all day at the conference center in Glasgow go and had some amazing conversations.

BLITZER: Well, let's talk about that, because the U.N. secretary general, as you know, I'm going to quote him, he put it very starkly today, either we stop climate change, he said, or it stops us. How much of a threat is there right now?

AMANPOUR: You know what, there's a big threat. He also said we must stop digging our own grave, because that's what we are doing right now. So, there's a big threat. And it's again a situation where there's a lot of promises but nobody really has a clear roadmap for the actual execution of these promises.

And if they want to keep this famous number, 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, they've got to work seriously hard. It won't happen here but they have to keep it as a target for eventualities because they won't be able to save our planet -- actually, our civilization. The planet will survive.


It's just we won't.

BLITZER: There was a dramatic moment today when President Biden actually apologized for the decision by the former president, Donald Trump, to actually withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords and, of course, Biden immediately re-entered the Paris Climate Accords. But is President Biden's credibility now in danger here at this international summit because of the domestic problems he's going through at home?

AMANPOUR: Well, as you've been reporting, and we have, he's facing a lot of problems from his own party, not just the opposition Republicans. And because he's state his Build Back Better program on such a massive climate piece, you know, it's a big deal particularly at this summit and particularly, you know, from the European leaders and others.

And they, though, are really pleased that he's back. They know he has political problems, but as I spoke to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, she couldn't be happier that America is now led by somebody who believes there's climate change and has to do what it takes to mitigate it. Listen to what she told me.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: I must say that the United States are amazing in President Biden and his leadership really to push the topics of we, the European Union, are very happy about, you know, having this alliance for a topic that is paramount for our survival on the planet.


AMANPOUR: So, because the truth is that, you know, since 2015 and the last big serious American involvement, which was the Paris Climate Accords, the curve of emissions has gradually bent in the right direction and it's shown us that actually they can get this horrible forecasted catastrophe down by at least one degree, but it has to happen by a little bit more and a little bit faster, so that's what they're trying to do here.

They're really annoyed, and so is President Biden, that the Chinese president isn't here, that the Russian president isn't here and that they're not sure really whether the Indian prime minister, who is here, is serious about the kind of change that he needs to make.

BLITZER: Yes, Prime Minister Modi.

So what are you hearing from leaders here at this Climate Summit? All the words that are being uttered are beautiful, but in truth, the capability of delivering on those words, how serious of a problem is that?

AMANPOUR: Well, it's a problem because it's a problem of political will. It's not a problem of technology. It's not a problem of innovation. We have the tools. This is a man made, a human made problem and we humans can't fix it. That's what they all say and that's what they have to prove.

Renewables are now really affordable, really out there and people just need to be able to get their act together and take the hard decisions. They are hard, but as (INAUDIBLE) alliances, we in Europe, we have done these decisions and we have had a boost in our economy. That's the story that needs to be told, and so the fact that it is economically worthwhile to take these measures.

And I think the last thing I'd say is that they are hoping that at least they'll come to a conclusion that they can hold these kind of conferences, not really this conferences but these accountability sessions, not every five years, but every one or two, because they've only got a decade to sort this out, say the scientists.

BLITZER: the clock is clearly ticking right now.

AMANPOUR: Yes. And the science has caught up with us now because 1.5 is now agreed by the scientists. That's where we need to stop.

BLITZER: All right. Christiane, thank you very much, Christiane Amanpour joining us, always good to have you.

AMANPOUR: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up, we have new details about documents former President Trump is trying to keep hidden from the January 6th committee. We're live here in Scotland where President Biden's trip to the Climate Summit and you're in The Situation Room.



BLITZER: We're reporting live from Scotland, as President Biden is gearing up for a second day of a major summit on the climate crisis.

We're also digging into new information about former President Trump's attempts to stonewall the January 6th select committee.

Our Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid has details for us. Paula, what have we learned about the secrets the former president wants to keep secret?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, for the first time, the National Archives has laid out exactly what Trump is fighting to keep secret from lawmakers investigating the deadly January 6th insurrection.

Now, Trump has sued to block the release of hundreds of documents, including phone logs and handwritten notes, which could reveal some of the most closely guarded facts of what happened at the White House on January 6th.


REID (voice over): Former President Trump is seeking to stop Congress from gaining access to a wide range of documents related to the January 6th attack on the Capitol. According to a court filing from the National Archives, Trump has asserted privilege over 770 pages of documents from his time in the White House, including handwritten memos from his chief of staff about January 6th, 30 pages of his daily schedules, call logs for Trump and Pence, White House records and other handwritten notes.

Trump sued to block congressional investigators from obtaining the documents after President Biden refused to assert privilege saying it would not be in the best interest of the United States to keep them secret.

The House select committee argues that Trump has no right to keep these records confidential, citing the committee's need to reconstruct Trump's efforts to undermine the 2020 election and his actions on January 6th.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We want to document a complete record of everything that was going on really minute by minute during the day of the insurrection.


REID: The committee is expected to subpoena additional witnesses this week, but Representative Jamie Raskin would not confirm whether one would be going to Conservative Law Professor John Eastman, who worked with Trump's legal team to pressure Pence to overturn the election results with fringe legal theories.

RASKIN: He was the architect of the legal strategy to claim for the first time in American history that the vice president had the unilateral authority to reject Electoral College votes that were the results of popular elections in Arizona, in Pennsylvania, in Georgia.

REID: Eastman has recently tried to distance himself from that plan but CNN uncovered a radio interview just days before the insurrection where Eastman claimed Pence did have the power to throw out the Electoral College votes if he had the spine.

JOHN EASTMAN, LAW PROFESSOR WHO WORKED WITH TRUMP LEGAL TEAM: Well I think a lot of that depends on the courage and the spine of the individuals involved.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL ADVISER: That would be a nice way to say a guy named Vice President Mike Pence?


REID: This comes as The Washington Post published a series on the attack revealing that Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, suggested locking down the city, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller feared a bloody Boston massacre-type altercation and that the FBI hindered its own ability to track threats by switching its social media monitoring service a week before the attack.


REID (on camera): On Thursday, a judge will hear arguments on Trump's claim of executive privilege. Now, the questions raised here are really untested by the courts and even if Trump does not ultimately win this case, if he can just get the court to hold off on handing these documents off to lawmakers until the case is decided, just that delay could really hinder parts of the January 6th investigation. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Paula. Thank you very much, Paula Reid reporting for us.

Let's get some more on all of this. Joining us, our CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, he's the Author of True Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Investigation of Donald Trump. Also with us, CNN Senior Legal Analyst and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bahrara.

Preet, this new court filing shows the breadth of documents the former president is trying to keep secret. How necessary is it that the January 6th select committee gets access to these logs and memos?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's absolutely necessary. It's fundamental to our ongoing con continuation as a democracy. I think it's clear that it needs to be made public. The committee needs to review it. Questions need to be asks about these materials first so we can make sure it never happens again, second, so we can make sure that we hold accountable those people who should be held accountable. And it's also necessary as the body has been arguing to figure out what laws might need to be changed and what new laws might need to be passed.

So in every way, shape and form for accountability, for transparency, for fundamental democratic values and for future law making, I think there's nothing more important than getting everything together over these false claims and scandalous claims of privilege, which I don't think will hold up in court. BLITZER: You know, Jeffrey, the pace with which Donald Trump is trying to cover up the assault on democracy is clearly quickening right now. Is he acting like someone who is trying to hide a constitutional potential crime?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, what he's acting like is someone who has learned the lesson of the Trump presidency, which is that stonewalling Congress worked. It's that if you can get any dispute over congressional access, to witnesses, to testimony, to documents into the courts, where it is now, it goes on a slow boat to nowhere.

And he understands that Congress is dealing with a very tight schedule here. We're almost at Thanksgiving. We're almost at Christmas. Next year is an election year. If he can keep these in front of the judges for a few months, which I think he can, he will succeed in defeating the oversight even if, as I believe is the case, his legal arguments have basically no merit on any of these.

BLITZER: In comments, Preet, unearthed by CNN's K-File, the conservative lawyer, John Eastman, implied that during a January 2nd interview that if then-Vice President Pence had enough, quote, courage and spine, he could overthrow the election. Does this further underscore the need for Eastman to testify?

BHARARA: Yes. I think Eastman's testimony is incredibly important. He's emerged as a central figure in this. And only in the last few weeks, even though it's been ten months since the insurrection, have we come to understand reporting from other information how important he was.

And not just the thing you just mentioned with respect to the conversation on January 2nd. It's come to light that as the insurrection was already taking place, as violence was already happening and as all these people worried about massively increased violence in the city, locking down the city potentially, John Eastman was apparently communicating with the lawyer for Mike Pence while Mike Pence was being protected in a safe zone in the Capitol, emailing Mike Pence and his lawyer to say, even though this is all happening, he should still decertify some of those states and turn the election to Donald Trump.


So I think everyone has a right to hear what John Eastman has to say and I hope we get his testimony, absolutely.

BLITZER: You know, Jeffrey, our new reporting, plus the extensive reporting by The Washington Post in recent days, prove we are really only just beginning to understand how close we came to losing our democracy on January 6th. Has the need for a thorough investigation of that event ever been more clear?

TOOBIN: It's never been more clear, and it is worth knowing -- it is worth pointing out, given the fact that we've seen so much video, is how much we don't know about January 6th. Who organized this? Who paid for it? Who knew about it in advance? These are questions that are incredibly important to both the resolution of this crisis and trying to deter one in the future and we don't know Congress is trying to investigate but the obstruction from the former guy, as President Biden calls him, has so far been successful and may yet continue to be.

BLITZER: Yes. And very quickly, Preet, where do you see all this heading?

BHARARA: It's heading for court. It's heading for a battle. I think Jeffrey is absolutely right, that we're on a clock because we have only a few months until -- a year until the next election. But I think we will get more and more coming to light through reporting, through the testimony in the house committee. And I'm fairly optimistic that we'll get a lot of information in the coming weeks.

BLITZER: We shall see. All right, Preet, thank you very much. Jeffrey, thanks to you as well.

Just ahead, we're following President Biden's trip to the Global Climate Summit here in Scotland. Up next, I'll speak with a key Trump -- a key official I should say in the fight against the climate crisis, the USAID administrator, Samantha Power. She's standing by.

The Situation Room live from Scotland continues in just a moment.



BLITZER: We're live tonight here in Scotland where President Biden is urging action as he and other world leaders huddle on the climate crisis. The president saying, I'm quoting now, the eyes of history are upon us.

Let's get more from the USAID administrator, Samantha Power. She's the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us.

As you know, President Biden says the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement are still within reach, but in reality, the world right now seems to be off track. So how will you judge the success of this Climate Summit?

SAMANTHA POWER, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Well, I think, first of all, what we have at this summit is 65 percent of the world's economies coming on board to this goal of holding warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Is that enough? No. It has to be 100 percent. But out of this summit, you will see pressure on those countries that are remaining outside of that goal. And I think that this is the launch of a decade of ambitious climate action that goes well beyond what we've seen over the course of the last five years.

BLITZER: Because as you say, the goal President Biden has set is to cut these greenhouse gas emissions by about 50 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels and to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Will he be able to keep those promises given how much his climate plan, for example, back in Washington has been watered down in Congress and given that its passage right now is in real jeopardy?

POWER: Well, what that legislation does is it enshrines $555 billion of substantial domestic climate action, which would produce countless, well-paying, good union jobs for working people. It's incredibly important. It's also the foundation for the leadership that he's showing globally.

I think that, I'm hopeful that legislators across the country have seen the polling that shows that 60 percent of Americans believe that federal government action on climate change is very or extremely important. That polling has changed a lot over the course of the last five years since the Paris climate negotiations. So you see independent voters, you see, of course, Democratic voters and many Republican voters seeing the effects of climate change domestically.

And if you think it's bad here in terms of subways and infrastructure, and drought, and farming and wildfire, and everything that we know is hurting Americans here at home, imagine if you started with way less, which is how most of the developing world is living right now as these climate shocks are hitting more and more.

BLITZER: And I know you're dealing with that. I want to get to it at the moment. But as you know, President Biden admitted that both China and Russia, quote -- and I'm quoting him now, basically didn't show up in terms of any commitments. How do you address a global threat like this to the whole planet when some of the world's biggest polluters aren't on board?

POWER: Well, China accounts for a quarter, more than a quarter of the world's emissions, so it's absolutely critical that they get back to the table, that they take the commitments that they've already made and accelerate the timetables, get to this 1.5 degree goal target that 65 percent of the world's economies have signed on to here at this incredibly important COP conference. And it's challenging.

But the way to do it, Wolf, you asked, it's the way we try to do everything diplomatically and multilaterally, which is you start by building a coalition of countries.


And that increases the pressure on those who remain outside valuable frameworks like this one. And so this is going to increase the pressure on China and on Russia to get with the program.

BLITZER: You're the USAID administrator. So, what sort of obligation does the United States have to helping countries that are already facing life or death situations from climate change? I know you're involved in a new Biden initiative right now.

POWER: Yes. The president just today announced something called the Prepare Initiative, and this is the president's emergency response for resilience and adaptation. This is to focus on making countries able to withstand the effects of climate change, which are already upon them. And that is everything from helping them forecast climate hazards, to ensuring that they have the right seeds.

There are now more and more drought resistance and heat resistance seeds that can be planted in the ground if you're reliant on agriculture. It's about helping them Build Back Better after a hurricane strikes to ensure the next one is less fatal to their population. It's helping people and partnering with people as they think about how to adjust in terms of migratory patterns so that they live in areas that are less vulnerable to climate shocks.

So, this is an incredibly important initiative and we're going to use it to mobilize also financing from the private sector because adaptation so far has not drawn the kind of private sector investment that mitigation has in helping countries bring down emissions by having them transition to clean energy. So, we have a lot of work to do on adaptation and countries are hurting, Wolf. And developing, vulnerable populations in the most vulnerable places are hurting the most and we do have an obligation to stand with them.

BLITZER: Yes. The president said that today and you've just repeated it. Samantha Power, thanks, as usual, for joining us. We will stay in close touch with you.

Coming up, can Democrats hold on to the governor's mansion in Virginia, a state President Biden won by ten points? We're going to have a closer look at major test for both parties now just one day away.

Stay with us. You're watching THE SITUATION ROOM. We're live from Scotland.



BLITZER: We're live here in Scotland where President Biden is attending the U.N. climate summit.

We're also watching developments in Virginia where there's only one day left in a very tight, closely watched race for governor.

Polls show the Republican Glenn Youngkin locked in a dead heat with Democrat, Terry McAuliffe, in a state that Joe Biden won by ten points.

Let's dig deeper right now with our chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny and CNN national politics reporter, Eva McKend.

Jeff, this is a very tight race. What is Terry McAuliffe doing these final hours?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one of the things he's doing is trying to drive out the vote here in northern Virginia. Of course, President Biden did carry the commonwealth last year by ten points. But it was in these counties outside of Washington, D.C. that he won by so much more. In this county, he won about 68 or 69 percent of the vote.

So what McAuliffe is trying to do is reach out to all of those voters who voted for Joe Biden last year and they may not be following this race. They may not be enthused about his candidacy, but they're trying to make the case to them, to all the Democrats here, that they need to get out and vote tomorrow.

Well, this is not where McAuliffe thought this race would be ending. He thought he would be in a much stronger position. The energy is clearly more on the Republican side, Democrats acknowledge that, but they do believe because of the 45-day period of early voting, they may have banked up enough support to outweigh any deficits tomorrow.

But, Wolf, I can tell you, stopping here in northern Virginia in Fairfax, he's trying to reach out to Democrats to simply urge them to go to the polls.

BLITZER: Yeah, that's what he needs to do, obviously.

Eva, what is the Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin's strategy going into this final push?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL REPORTER: Well, Wolf, tonight, he will hold a parents matter rally and perhaps that message may resonate more here in this county than anywhere else across the state because here, we have seen some of the most raucous school board meetings of anywhere in the country, and Glenn Youngkin leaning into this cultural battle over how the history of racism and its impact should be taught in public schools and he seems to be gaining momentum in this message. That's why he's doubling down on it.

I've been to several of his rallies. You speak to people there. They say this issue, that's what they care about.

BLITZER: Yeah, that's a good point.

Jeff, McAuliffe has been outspoken about the head winds he's getting from Washington, D.C. how much is that factoring into this race?

ZELENY: Wolf, there's no doubt that President Biden's lower approval rating here now in the commonwealth and indeed elsewhere is contributing to this sense of malaise among Democrats. They've seen a Democratic divide in Washington. Unable to pass an infrastructure bill. Unable to pass a broader reconciliation bill of those social safety net programs.

So, it definitely has contributed to really a lack of positivity about the direction of the country. But beyond that, we should all point out the history here, Wolf. Every election in Virginia, they hold their governor's races a year after the presidential race, is often a referendum on the president, on the White House. Only one time in the last more than 40 years has someone defied that history.


That was Terry McAuliffe in 2013 when he won the year after Barack Obama did. So, usually, it is an election that favors the party who is not in the White House. We will see if history holds tomorrow. But there is no question, there is a -- a sense of a Republican resurgence here.

Interesting, former-president Donald Trump's been hanging over this race. He will be calling into a rally later tonight for Glenn Youngkin.

BLITZER: Well, you know, Eva, on that point, Youngkin is obviously being backed by former President Trump, who told his supporters to get out and vote for Youngkin tomorrow. How is Youngkin navigating Trump's support?

MCKEND: Well, because Youngkin's supporters don't seem all that concerned about this, you know, Youngkin doesn't really mention Trump at all on the campaign trail. And they are fine with that.

You know, a Republican has not won in this state in 12 years, and so that's what they are animated by, excited for the potential of a conservative to be in the highest office in this state. But this, you know, it doesn't appear to really be an issue here. That is why Glenn Youngkin can sort of -- he can run on the core tenets of the MAGA movement but not be all that concerned with embracing Trump directly.

BLITZER: Eva McKend, thank you. Jeff Zeleny, thanks to you, as well.

To our viewers, stay with CNN for full coverage of the Virginia governor's race, and other big contest. Election coverage begins tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, a coded slur against President Biden is going viral in some conservative circles. And now, a Southwest Airlines pilot is in hot water for using it over the PA system.

We are live from Scotland and we'll be back after a quick break.



BLITZER: We are live here in Scotland for the U.N. climate summit. President Biden among the world leaders attending.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, a misheard chant has now become a viral slur against President Biden in some circles.

CNN's Brian Todd is working the story for us.

Brian, some critics of President Biden are using this coded slur publicly, and in some rather unlikely places. What's going on?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Unlikely places, Wolf, like the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and on the PA system of a Southwest Airlines flight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TODD (voice-over): America's bitter political divide again rears its head on a commercial airline flight, this time in the cockpit. On a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque last Friday, a pilot went on to the public address system and after discussing visibility and the weather, ended his greeting to passengers with the phrase, "let's go Brandon". That's according to "The Associated Press," which coincidentally, had a reporter on board.

"Let's go Brandon" is a tongue in cheek reference to the phrase "F Joe Biden". And one recently retired pilot tells us political statements from pilots on the PA system were frowned upon when he flew.

LES ABEND, RETIRED PILOT, AMERICAN AIRLINES: Unprofessional. I mean, it's -- that's just the bottom line. Any sort of, you know, openly opinionated statement over the public-address system was just -- would just kind of foreboden.

TODD: It all started when a reporter at a recent NASCAR race misunderstood a chant from the crowd.



TODD: Instead, she thought it was let's go Brandon, in support of the driver who just won the race.

Since that moment, the phrase "Let's go Brandon" has been openly used by Republican politicians.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, Brandon.

TODD: Texas Senator Ted Cruz posed with a "Let's go Brandon" sign at a baseball game.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say it, say it.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Let's go, Brandon.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's go, Brandon!

TODD: South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan wore a face mask on the House floor with the phrase.

TIA MITCHELL, THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: This is just another example of memes and coded language being used to signal alignment with conservative values.

TODD: Southwest Airlines issued a statement on the pilot's reported comment saying: Southwest does not condone employees sharing their personal-political opinions on the job. Southwest is conducting an internal investigation into the recently reported event.

But this isn't the only incident of its kind on a commercial airline recently. The United Airlines Pilot Union sent a memo to all its pilots last week telling them not to use the emergency frequency which pilots communicate on as their personal pulpit. A spokesman for the union says the memo was in reference to the phrase "Let's go Brandon."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we don't stand up, it's only going to get worse!

TODD: Tensions on commercial flights, political and otherwise, may never have been higher. Recently, an American Airlines flight attendant was hospitalized with broken bones in her face following an attack from a passenger. On this recent, American Airlines flight, this man chewed on his mask and growled at the flight crew.

With the FAA reporting more than 4,9 00 incidents of unruly passengers just this year, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was asked about the idea of a no-fly list for violent passengers.

PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: I think that should be on the table. Look, it is completely unacceptable to mistreat, abuse, or even disrespect flight crews.


TODD: Now, regarding that Southwest Airline pilot's "Let's go Brandon" comment, "The Associated Press" reporter who was on that flight tweeted that she tried to get comment from the pilot and was almost removed from the plane but she did say that she was asking them to open up a locked cockpit door in doing so.

Now, contacted by CNN, a spokesperson for the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said the union would have no comment on the incident because it is under investigation -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Brian Todd, reporting for us. Brian, thank you very, very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer live here in Scotland. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WolfBlitzer. You can tweet the show @CNNSitRoom.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.