Return to Transcripts main page
The Situation Room
Biden Suggest It's "The Peak" Of U.S. Inflation Crisis As A Key Measure Of Consumer Prices Hits 39-Year High; Key U.S. Inflation Measure Hits 39-Year High In November; New Supreme Court Ruling Leaves Narrow Path For Clinics To Challenge Nation's Most Restrictive Abortion Law; N.Y. Attorney General Sets January 7 Deadline For Trump Deposition In Civil Fraud Investigation Of Trump Org; January 6 Committee Issues Six New Subpoenas, Including To A Former Trump Aide Now Running For Congress; Trump Accuses Of Netanyahu Of Disloyalty For Congratulating Biden After 2020 Win: "F**k Him." Michigan Sets Hospitalization Record, Leads Nation In New Coronavirus Cases Per Capita; Jury Sees New Police Bodycam Video In Trial Of Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired December 10, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: We'll be sure to tune in to the State of the Union Sunday and among the guests, Senator Amy Klobuchar, plus Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will debate the best COVID policies. That's at 9:00 and noon Eastern.
I'm Pamela Brown. And for Jake Tapper, our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, President Biden argues that America's inflation crisis has peaked as a key measure of consumer prices hits a 39-year high. We're going to break down the economic and the political fallout.
Also tonight, abortions in Texas remain at risk as the United States Supreme Court upholds the nation's most restrictive abortion law, but allows clinics to challenge it. What might that mean for the future of Roe vs. Wade?
And former President Trump angrily turns on a one-time ally. He's now accusing the former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of disloyalty. I'll speak with a journalist who revealed Trump wrote off his pal with two words, F.M.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in The Situation Room.
Tonight, the White House is facing a double threat from soaring inflation. It's adding a new challenge to his agenda and appears to be taking a toll on his poll numbers. Our Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins is joining us right now. Kaitlan, inflation is not what, a 39-year high here in the United States. And that's posing a real problem for the President. KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And Wolf, these are numbers that the White House was bracing for. They tried to get out ahead of them yesterday saying that they don't think it paints the full picture of where the U.S. economy stands right now. But they have to balance that with also acknowledging that, yes, prices are up and consumers are concerned.
COLLINS (voice-over): With prices at their highest point in nearly 40 years, President Biden is predicting it's, quote, the peak of the crisis.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Inflation is affecting people's lives.
COLLINS (voice-over): Inflation reached its highest point in November since 1982, when Ronald Reagan was in office and Joe Biden was a senator from Delaware. Tonight, President Biden is pointing to other signs, the economy is recovering.
BIDEN: Every other aspect of the economy is racing ahead. It's doing incredibly well. We've never had this kind of growth in 60 years.
COLLINS (voice-over): That message complicated after the Consumer Price Index, which measures what you're paying for services and goods climbed 6.8 percent in November compared to a year ago.
BIDEN: It's a real bump in the road. It does affect families.
COLLINS (voice-over): Rising costs are also challenging the path ahead for Biden's legislative agenda. The President sounding uncertain when asked if he can get Senator Joe Manchin to vote yes on his expansive economic bill, with inflation numbers this high.
BIDEN: I don't know the answer to that. I'm going to be talking to him beginning of the week.
COLLINS (voice-over): Manchin says he's concerned that more federal spending now will make inflation worse, but the President is pushing back.
BIDEN: Economists think is going to, in fact, diminish the impact on inflation is because it's reducing costs for ordinary people. Reducing costs for ordinary people.
COLLINS (voice-over): Manchin is also concerned by the cost of the bill overall.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), RANKING MEMBER, BUDGET COMMITTEE: I talked to him this morning, he was stunned.
COLLINS (voice-over): And a new report requested by Republicans found that at the temporary spending boost and tax cuts are made permanent, it could add trillions to the price tag. JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: What this fake CBO score was about was extending all of the programs that would expire without paying for them. The President would pay for them. There's no bill that exists on this front.
COLLINS (voice-over): Inflation also a top concern for voters who are paying more for food, gas, rent and used cars. But some of the biggest drivers of inflation are retreating as gas prices have dropped and natural gas prices are also down.
PSAKI: This, obviously, isn't -- is not captured in the data since the data was through the course of November.
COLLINS: Now, Wolf, the situation that the White House finds themselves in is trying to tout this growth and these job gains while also being sensitive to the fact that people are seeing that their bills are costing more, their grocery bills, certainly, balancing that. And also President Biden saying that he does think this is the peak of the inflation crisis and that prices are going to start to go down sooner than he believes most people predict that they will. And that's certainly an argument, Wolf, that he is going to have to make to Senator Manchin when he speaks to him next week.
BLITZER: Yes, that'll be a critically important meeting indeed. Kaitlan, thanks very much. We'll get back to you later. Kaitlan Collins at the White House.
I want to bring in CNN Business Reporter Matt Egan right now. Matt, are American consumers going to see inflation relief anytime soon?
MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, Wolf, the good news is that many economists do think inflation could cool off in 2022 and that maybe we are at or near a peak. The bad news is that inflation could actually get worse in the coming months and the last few months have shown how hard it is to predict anything in the COVID economy. Very few people thought inflation would be this hot for this long and yet here we are.
Here's what we do know. Consumer prices up by 6.8 percent from a year ago, biggest jumps since 1982. Inflation is accelerating month over month. We did see inflation decelerate just a bit, but it is still at elevated levels.
What's really striking is how inflation is really an issue across the board. We are seeing price spikes on everything from coffee, and eggs to used cars. We also saw in November record price spikes on full- service meals, tools and hardware, new cars and trucks.
Now, it's also important to understand why this is happening. And it's really all about supply and demand and COVID. Demand is surging right now as the economy bounces back from COVID. But there's all of these supply chain bottlenecks that are related to COVID. And so supply can't keep up with demand and that has sent prices up.
Now the administration does point out that they are trying to make progress on supply chains, that energy prices have started to come down. And that's true. Those numbers are not reflected in this new report. But it remains to be seen whether or not that's really going to make a dent in inflation.
Now, despite all of this sticker shock, there are some bright spots in the economy. Jobless claims at a 52-year low. Workers are quitting at a pace that we've never seen before because they feel so confident about their ability to get a better job. But all of that is being overshadowed right now by the high cost of living.
Wolf, I think the real question is whether or not inflation cools off enough to allow all these bright spots to shine through.
BLITZER: Good point. Matt Egan reporting from New York. Matt, thank you.
Let's get some more in all of this. Joining us now CNN Contributor Evan Osnos. He's a staff writer over at The New Yorker, also the author of the important new book entitled, "Wildland: The Making of America's Fury." Also with us, CNN Senior Political Analyst, Kirsten Powers, her new book, by the way, which is terrific, I highly recommend it is entitled, "Saving Grace: Speak Your Truth, Stay Centered, And Learn To Coexist With People Who Drive You Nuts." Also with us, our Senior Political Analyst and former Presidential Adviser, David Gergen.
You know, Kirsten, let's talk a little bit about President Biden, he's admitting now that inflation is a, in his words, a real bump in the road. But his administration is clearly frustrated that Americans aren't feeling some of the bright spots in the economy right now. How challenging does this make for their messaging?
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's extremely challenging, because one thing you don't want to do when you're president is to tell people that they're imagining things. So I think it's good to acknowledge that this is a problem that this is something that's happening. And unfortunately, for the Biden administration, it's a somewhat complex situation. And so yes, there are a lot of great things that are happening in the economy.
But as long as people are feeling like my money doesn't go as far as I want it to go, and suddenly, they're getting sticker shock, especially around this time of year, when people are spending a lot of money around the holidays. It's a hard sell to say, but look at all these other great things that are going on in terms of, you know, people being able, you know, there's plenty of jobs, and you know, unemployment is low, and all these other things when people are saying, yes, but everything is so expensive. And it has a complex explanation about supply and demand and about how COVID is, you know, we're still feeling the impacts of what happened with COVID. And I think a lot of people are just ready to move on.
BLITZER: You know, Evan, President Biden's a great strength and you know, this better than anyone. You've written his biography as his empathy. But is he struggling right now to hit the right tones, while also trying to argue the country is on the rebound?
EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, it's -- I'm reminded of a -- one of his favorite expressions in politics comes out of the Bible, he talks about the fact that for everything, there is a season. And this is unfortunately, a very bad season to be having this kind of inflation. As Kirsten mention, you got people that are shopping a lot, they're going to the gas pump a lot, they're traveling a lot. He knows that.
He's been doing this a long time. And he recognizes that you have to recognize that. You he said today it's a bump in the road. It feels to people like it may be more than that. It's the cumulative effect.
Look, the statistics show today, people have elevated blood pressure from the effects of the last two years. That's not metaphor, that's fact. They are feeling strange. What the White House is trying to do now is to say we get it. And we're connecting this to real policy changes.
Give you one example, one of the things they've taken on is anti- competitive behavior. They check (ph) our policies are designed to prevent the kind of exploitative practices that make prices go up. So bear with us, but they -- it's going to be a long season before they begin to see those results.
BLITZER: You're absolutely right. You know, David, President Biden only has so much control, though, over the impact that the pandemic, the COVID 19 pandemic is having on the U.S. and, in fact, the global economy. Inflation is nowhere, near as bad as it was back in the late 70s as you and I well remember. But do you see a parallel to what really helped defeat President -- then-President Jimmy Carter's bid for re-election in 1980?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Wolf, it's a very clear parallel. You know, we haven't faced inflation. We thought we've had inflation under control for the past 40 years, as because in the early 80s, it was so bad that Jimmy Carter, you know, got Paul Volcker to come in and run the Fed. And he cracked down on inflation. It was enormous cost to the -- a lot of American workers lost their jobs.
But he got it under control. And it hasn't been a problem for 40 years since Paul Volcker was there at the Fed. But now we have it and we have 90 percent of Americans have deeply concerned now, according to polls, about inflation. It goes across the board.
This is not a partisan issue. It's everybody who is having to pay higher prices, you know, at the gas pump, and the other -- at food counters and that sort of thing. So you're -- and with Carter, when it grew that big, and he had to take it on, it killed his presidency. He went on to a bad defeat, as you will remember. But right now, what we're hear -- what we're seeing is that President Biden has to get this thing under control soon, and get credibility on it. 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the way he's handling the economy. Only 35 percent, only 35 percent approve the way he's handling the economy.
BLITZER: You know, Kirsten, if you could advise the White House right now on their economic message, what would you say?
POWERS: Well, I think it's -- like I said, it's hard because it's complicated. And anytime you have to have a complicated message with people, you're, you know, you're swimming upstream. Because -- and so I think, to an extent that they could simplify it and get that message through to people that, you know, that relief is coming, that actually, you know, Joe Manchin's opposition to the President's agenda actually is misguided because it's paid for, a bill that is paid for is not going to be inflationary.
And I think that that's something that a lot of people don't entirely understand. This CBO score does not account for, you know, revenues that would come in from tax enforcement. So these are complicated messages. And people do want quick solutions. But I think people do need to be reminded that this, you know, this problem wasn't created overnight, and it's not going to be solved overnight.
BLITZER: You're right. And that, you know, Evan, as you're heard, President Biden seems to be right now at least lowering expectations when it comes to his ability to sway Senator Joe Manchin on his social spending bill, but President Biden ran on the idea of making Congress work. So will he be patient on this? What do you see?
OSNOS: Well, in a weird way, the inflation moment here presents also evidence of what exactly they're trying to do with this legislation. A really interesting report out today from the House Oversight Committee, Democrats composed a report that showed that drug prices have grown at four times the rate of inflation between 2016 and 2019, highlighted by Axios. That just shows you the underlying reasons, the kind of structural reasons that they're trying to address.
The Build Back Better bill has a provision in there that would allow Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices. So if you're Joe Biden, you go to Joe Manchin, you say, look, if you really care about lowering prices for people, not just tomorrow, but over the months and years ahead, it's in the bill, and you need to back me on it.
BLITZER: We'll see what happens. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.
Coming up, the United States Supreme Court upholds a controversial abortion law in Texas. But does clear a path potentially for providers to challenge us? And what does it mean for the future of Roe versus Wade? We'll be right back.
[17:18:14] BLITZER: The United States Supreme Court is now clear the way for abortion providers to challenge the controversial Texas law banning the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy. But the justices are letting the law stand while the cases work their way up.
Let's dig deeper with CNN Supreme Court Reporter Ariane de Vogue and CNN Legal Analyst Joan Biskupic. Joan, first of all, break this ruling today down for us.
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Most important thing, this ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy is still in effect. It's been in effect since September 1st. It means that women throughout Texas have had to go to neighboring states if they wanted to end a pregnancy.
It directly conflicts with Roe v. Wade, and the abortion providers tried to get some sort of relief from this law in which Texas has tried to shield any of its officials from being sued. Today by an eight to one vote, the justices said that some state officials could be sued so the women's clinics can get some relief. But by a 5-4 a more important vote, the justices said only this limited number.
Chief Justice John Roberts broke off from the conservatives. The opinion was written by Neil Gorsuch, President Trump's first appointee, joined by the two other Trump appointees and two other far- right conservatives said there's only a limited ability for the clinics to go back and sue and try to get some relief. The Chief said this Texas law has essentially nullified abortion rights precedent in America. And he dissented vigorously as did the liberals.
BLITZER: That's -- and for the time being, at least, continuing until there's more judicial rulings. Abortion after six weeks in Texas is going to be ruled out.
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. You know, the clinics aren't entirely happy at all with what they got today because this law that bans abortion before most people even know they're pregnant is still in effect, right? That means women are still scrambling, over state lines trying to get the abortion.
And it means that these people that are sometimes referred to as bounty hunters can continue to bring these lawsuits about -- against anyone who they think might be helping or aiding someone get an abortion. That's all going to continue. The court did allow, as Joan said, some limited challenges. But the clinics wanted to be able to sue a much wider group of officials.
The state attorney general they wanted to sue, maybe state judges, state clerks, and the Supreme Court limited that. And then maybe most importantly, is the doctors in the state might look at what the Supreme Court did today. And the fact that straight out, it didn't block the law and they might be cautious about continuing to or starting up these procedures again. BLITZER: As you know, Joan, the Supreme Court is now considering a separate Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. How's that going to play out as far as this Texas law is concerned -- two separate laws?
BISKUPIC: Two separate laws, but the second case, the Mississippi one that you just mentioned, is far more important, because that involves a nationwide challenge to Roe v. Wade, whereas, Texas as significant as it is only involves the right within Texas. And I think this definitely does not bode well for abortion rights advocates because there seems to be real momentum to let -- to undercut Roe v. Wade, just generally given what the Court wrote today.
And then secondly, Chief Justice John Roberts had been looking for some sort of compromise in the Mississippi case, rollback abortion rights, but not totally in the right. Today, as he dissented, it showed the limits of his persuasive power with his newfound conservatives.
BLITZER: It's interesting, very interesting indeed. All right, Joan, Ariane, guys, thank you very much. We'll stay on top of this story.
Up next, a brand new batch of January 6 subpoenas issued today, including a former Trump aide now running for the U.S. Congress. Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.
BLITZER: New York State's Attorney General Letitia James now wants the former President Donald Trump to talk under oath as part of an investigation into his properties. And his lawyers are already pushing back big time.
Let's bring in CNN's Brian Todd, he's working the story for us. It's not only this, but Trump faces a whole bunch of legal -- potential legal jeopardy?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. Between lawsuits and criminal cases, there are really too many legal issues the former president is facing to even go through at this point. But we do have new information tonight on the latest developments and the most serious cases.
TODD (voice-over): The former president finds himself in a seemingly endless stream of legal entanglements tonight.
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: I really think he's going to be in serious litigation for the rest of his life.
TODD (voice-over): Donald Trump's latest challenge, a subpoena from New York State Attorney General Letitia James, sources tell CNN. She wants to depose Trump by January 7th for a potential civil lawsuit, according to Trump's lawyer. James's office looking into whether Trump's company manipulated the value of its properties, including its golf courses, hotels and condos by possibly low balling the values of those properties to tax officers while inflating the values of those same properties to get tax breaks or to curry favor with lenders.
MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, AUTHOR, "THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMP": This is a thing he's always done. I think that he planned on never being caught.
TODD (voice-over): A lawyer for the former president says his legal team is fighting the subpoena from Letitia James. So it will be up to a judge to decide whether Trump will have to give a deposition. One expert says if he is made to do that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to make a much worse witness than he used to make, which is already pretty bad.
TODD (on-camera): Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because he's gone through four years where basically no one tries to control and everyone's afraid to tell him not to say things. So he'll be a complete wildcard during a deposition.
TODD (voice-over): There's a separate criminal investigation of the Trump Organization by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, looking into the same issues of property value manipulation. Donald Trump himself has not been personally accused of wrongdoing in those cases. But there are other legal moves afoot to examine his alleged role in the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
Washington D.C.'s Attorney General this year announced a criminal probe into whether Trump incited protesters to act violently on January 6th. No charges have yet been filed. U.S. Capitol police officers have filed civil lawsuits against Trump connected to January 6th.
In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is engaged in an ongoing criminal investigation into Trump's efforts to upend the 2020 election results. One legal analyst believes that's the most serious case for Trump out of all of them.
LITMAN: It's a clean case. It's got the same facts as we've heard already in Georgia involving his shakedown of the Georgia Secretary of State to find some votes that never existed. That is a crime under Georgia law.
TODD (voice-over): Could these ongoing investigations hurt Donald Trump's potential political comeback?
D'ANTONIO: I would have to say no. There's almost nothing that could happen to him, including going to prison that would separate him from his loyal followers.
TODD: In all these instances, the Georgia case, the lawsuits, the New York cases looking into his property values, either Donald Trump or his representatives have denied wrongdoing, often accusing those bringing those cases of engaging in political witch hunts. In the latest denial, they accused New York Attorney General Letitia James of trying to further her own political ambitions in a run for Governor of New York.
Well James then announce she's ending her bid for Governor, Wolf. These legal entanglements for the president seemingly won't end.
BLITZER: Yes. She's not going to seek re-election as Attorney General --
BLITZER: -- in New York. Brian Todd reporting for us. Brian, thank you very much.
Meanwhile, there's breaking news coming into The Situation Room. CNN is learning one of Donald Trump's campaign lawyers wrote multiple memos, multiple memos outlining how she believed that then-Vice President Mike Pence could reject Electoral College votes and overturn the 2020 presidential election.
Let's get some more right now. Our Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is joining us. So update our viewers, Paula, what are you learning?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. We've learned that Jenna Ellis, Trump attorney, outlines several, in several different memos how she believed that former Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the election. It was previously been reported that one of these memos was published in December, learning that there was also a subsequent memo published in January.
But she's denying, Wolf, they did choose in any way advocating or believe that the Vice President could overturn the election results. She says she was just laying out legal theories. And we've learned that she handed over these memos to another Trump attorney, Jay Sekulow, who has insisted that he never believed that the former Vice President had the power to overturn the election.
BLITZER: You know, Paula, the committee has also issued yet another, a new round of subpoenas today. Who are they targeting now?
REID: Well, this round of subpoenas targets people involved in planning the rallies on January 5th and 6th, leading up to the violent attack on the Capitol. And for the first time, the committee is drawing a direct connection between rally organizers and Trump.
Committee Chairperson Bennie Thompson says one of these witnesses appears to have had direct communication with Trump about the January 6th rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol. Now former Trump aide and current Ohio congressional candidate Max Miller, allegedly met with the former president in his private dining room on January 4th to discuss the rally. Also at that meeting was Robert "Bobby" Peede Jr. who's also subpoenaed today. And look, Wolf, most of these people on this list, they're not household names, but they're all required to turn over documents to the committee on December 23rd with depositions scheduled throughout the beginning of the next year. Now Miller has tweeted saying he will accept the subpoena, but he's also railed against the investigation itself.
BLITZER: All right, Paula, thank you very much for that update. Paula Reid reporting.
Just ahead, former President Trump souring on his one-time ally, the former Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu. What did the former Prime Minister do to get under Trump's skin? Standby.
BLITZER: Former President Trump drastically changing his tune on his one-time ally Benjamin Netanyahu, telling Axios he was furious, furious with the former Israeli Prime Minister because Netanyahu congratulated President Biden after winning the election. Trump saying, and I'm quoting now, "He was very early like earlier than most. I haven't spoken to him since. F him.
That revealed in a 90-minute interview for a new book. Joining us now, the author of the new book, Barak Ravid, he's joining us live from Tel Aviv. The book is entitled, and here's the cover, "Trump's Peace: The Abraham Accords and the Reshaping of the Middle East." Lots of new information in this book. So far only available in Hebrew, but it's being translated, we're told.
Barak, thanks very much for the excellent reporting. Thanks for joining us.
BARAK RAVID, DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, WALLA NEWS: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: The former president didn't mince any words reacting to Netanyahu's congratulatory phone call to President Biden. How surprised were you? You spent 90 minutes speaking with him, how surprised were you, Barak, to hear the words F him come out of Trump's mouth, especially when these leaders so publicly played up their so called bromance?
RAVID: Exactly. I was, you know, to say that I was shocked is the understatement of the century. I mean, during the interview, Trump was building it up. Because he had several grievances about Netanyahu, he said that he wasn't really -- he discovered that he didn't really want peace with the Palestinians and several other grievances. And then he got this issue of the phone call that Netanyahu -- of the -- of Netanyahu congratulating Biden after him winning the elections.
And when Trump was going on and on and on about how Netanyahu was the first to congratulate, then I told Trump, look, he wasn't the first to congratulate, there were quite a lot of people. Actually in Israel, Netanyahu was criticized that it took him 12 hours to congratulate Biden. But Trump didn't see it that way. For him, it was Netanyahu betraying him after he did so many things for him.
And actually something very interesting that Trump said that his decision to recognize the Golan Heights, that Israel occupied in 1967, to recognize it as Israeli territory was done partially in order to boost Netanyahu in the April 2019 elections. Which is quite amazing when you think about it that the former president just admits that. And he said, if I hadn't done this, Netanyahu would have lost the elections. I took this decision, and he was tied (ph) and he didn't lose the elections.
And Trump, I think, saw that Netanyahu do the same for him when the U.S. election will take place. And then he saw that Netanyahu didn't do anything. And I think that for him, this was maybe the last nail or what, groped camel's back when it comes to his relationship with Netanyahu.
RAVID: And that what lead him eventually to give the effort.
BLITZER: Yes, it was pretty blunt. The former president hit Netanyahu among other things, and in your interview, saying the leaders of Russia, Brazil and Mexico all waited before congratulating President Biden for his election win. How revealing is it, Barak, that Trump includes Netanyahu in that group?
RAVID: Well, I don't think it's a compliment for Netanyahu. And by the way, Netanyahu, you know, you can criticize him about a lot of things, but he's not Putin. But I think it shows that, again, Trump saw Netanyahu has a main political ally. And when I say political ally, it's not about foreign policy, it's about both men's domestic politics.
Because you have to remember, Netanyahu used his relationship with Trump as his calling card. He used it in the election campaigns. He put up billboards all over Israel with him standing next to Trump with the headline from a different league. And this was his election campaign.
And Trump did the same when he was describing his relationship with Netanyahu as their relationship with low daylight, and it was very important for him with his evangelical base. And I think that at the end of the day, when the presidential election came, this all fell apart.
BLITZER: Yes. And really amazing stuff you have in this book. The former president, as you know, Barak, already is teasing a 2024 potential presidential run here in the United States. Netanyahu, he's often described as a politician in Israel with nine lives. Do you expect them to continue potentially to try and use each other to chart their own potential political comebacks? In other words, can they repair this relationship?
RAVID: I don't know if they can repair it. But I know that Netanyahu started trying. Meaning, Netanyahu issued a statement tonight, that basically, if you read between the lines, if I can translate it from political spin into how real people talk, he was basically saying, listen, I had no choice. I had to, you know, I like you. You did a lot for Israel. I appreciate you, but I had no choice.
You know, Biden was elected. I'm still the Prime Minister of Israel. I had to do it. Don't be mad at me. That was -- that's basically Netanyahu's message tonight. And I think that it will be very interesting to see because Trump said that he did not speak to Netanyahu since the November election. And I think it will be very interesting to see if after this interview was published, Netanyahu will try now to reach out to Trump directly in order to try and mend the relations.
BLITZER: You've been doing excellent reporting for Axios. Barak Ravid, thank you so much for joining us. We'll continue this conversation.
RAVID: Thank you.
BLITZER: Fascinating information, indeed.
Coming up, police body camera footage reveals new insight into the moments before and after Daunte Wright was killed during a chaotic traffic stop.
BLITZER: Tonight, Michigan is the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic leading the nation in the number of new cases and setting a new record for hospitalizations. As CNN's Senior National Correspondent Miguel Marquez reports, almost all of these patients are unvaccinated.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Clive Ellis, one of thousands of patients suffering with COVID-19 here stretching Michigan hospitals to the breaking point.
(on-camera): When did you know you had to come to the hospital? What were you experiencing?
CLIVE ELLIS, UNVACCINATED COVID-19 PATIENT: My oxygen. Numbers were down in the upper 60s or 70s.
MARQUEZ (on-camera): Oh dear. That's very low.
MARQUEZ (on-camera): What does it feel like?
ELLIS: It feels like a wreck.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Unvaccinated. This is the 66-year-old second bout of COVID-19. Whatever natural immunity he had.
ELLIS: Suppose second row this way worse.
MARQUEZ (on-camera): And this was worse than the first?
ELLIS: Yes. And the first one was bad.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Didn't help. His message now?
(on-camera): Would you encourage others to get vaccinated now though?
MARQUEZ (on-camera): How important is it? I mean, how bad is COVID?
ELLIS: It's terrible. You don't want it.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Still, there are those like 62-year-old Deborah LaRoche in the COVID unit for a week now who says vaccination just isn't for her.
DEBORAH LAROCHE, UNVACCINATED COVID-19 PATIENT: I didn't want to be vaccinated.
MARQUEZ (on-camera): You did not want to be vaccinated?
MARQUEZ (on-camera): Do you think you'll get vaccinated after this?
MARQUEZ (on-camera): Why?
LAROCHE: I should be OK now.
MARQUEZ (on-camera): You think?
BLITZER: Let's discuss what we just saw and heard with Dr. Ashish Jha, the Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Dr. Jha, thanks for joining us. What goes through your mind watching those patients knowing that suffering was avoidable with vaccines?
DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Wolf, thanks for having me back. It makes me incredibly sad and frustrated. There's so much misinformation poisoning people's minds, and that's what we're seeing the effects of. The people who spread that misinformation are causing real harm. And it's being measured in the thousands of Americans dying every single day, almost all of whom are unvaccinated. So it's tragic, it's preventable, frustrating and also just sad. BLITZER: Yes, so sad indeed. As you know, the U.S. is now averaging nearly 120,000 new COVID cases every day. That's more than 50 percent higher than just a month or so ago. What's behind this, Dr. Jha? Has everyone just exhausted and letting down their guard?
JHA: Yes, I think it's a combination of things, Wolf. I mean, I think what you describe is certainly a major part of it. We're almost two years into this pandemic. People are tired. I know a lot of people have been very careful who are starting to let down their guard. That's one.
Obviously, the other fact that we have so much of the country still unvaccinated, not fully vaccinated, and with Delta not boosted yet. And that combination is really harming us. And in the northern half of the country where it's cold, it's a real challenge.
BLITZER: We've just received the first CDC report on the Omicron variant here in the United States. Of the 43 people known to be infected, most had, what are described as mild symptoms. But most of these people were, in fact, vaccinated. So Dr. Jha, what do you make of that?
JHA: Yes, it doesn't tell us that much about the severity of this disease. We expect the people who were having breakthrough infections have mild disease. That's not surprising. My suspicion is that there probably many more cases, we just haven't identified them. So as we do, I think we will learn more about whether unvaccinated people are getting infected. Whether they're also having mild disease, obviously, we all hope it does.
My expectation right now is for the unvaccinated, it'll be like Delta. But for the vaccinated, what breakthrough is they'll do better.
BLITZER: Dr. Fauci says that based off of tests, so far, at least, it looks like there's very good vaccine efficacy against this variant. But what will you be looking for to see if the path forward is boosters, or possibly a vaccine specifically designed to combat the Omicron variant?
JHA: Yes. So what we know right now, and again, it's all based on laboratory's data. We don't have a lot of clinical data, just starting to get some clinical data, is that two shots is clearly not enough for Omicron. We're going to see a lot of breakthrough infections.
But, thankfully, Wolf -- and this has been a real pleasant surprise -- people have gotten a booster, their antibody levels are such that it really does seem to neutralize the variant. Well, they will need an Omicron specific vaccine, really will depend on how well boosters hold up. If boosters hold up for an extended period of time, we won't need it. Obviously, if they wane, then we may need such a vaccine.
BLITZER: I know they're already studying it and working on it. We'll see if it's necessary. All right, Dr. Ashish Jha, thank you very much for joining us. Also tonight, we're following the trial of the white police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus reports today, the jury watched previously unseen police body cam video.
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the first time we're seeing a different view of Daunte Wright's deadly encounter with police.
KIM POTTER, OFFICER WHO KILLED DAUNTE WRIGHT: I shot him. Oh my God!
BROADDUS (voice-over): New police body camera video shows right initially cooperating with officers.
SGT. MYCHAL JOHNSON: You're under arrest, Daunte.
BROADDUS (voice-over): Sergeant Mychal Johnson then enters Wright's car from the passenger side, testifying he struggled with Wright for the gearshift.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he appears to have been trying to move the shift knob?
BROADDUS (voice-over):After the shot was fired in the car crash down the road, Johnson tried to reassure Officer Kim Potter who had pulled the trigger.
JOHNSON: Kim, that guy was trying to take off with me in the car.
BROADDUS (voice-over): Next, a concerning moment for the officer.
POTTER: Just let me kill myself, Mike.
JOHNSON: No. That's not happening, Kim. I'm giving you my gun, OK? I'm just going to hold on to yours.
BROADDUS (voice-over): The weapon swap Johnson says was to preserve evidence.
JOHNSON: Kim, can I see my gun real quick?
BROADDUS (voice-over): He later removed the rounds from the gun, fearing Potter may harm herself.
EARL GRAY, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did Daunte Wright, at any time, show any sign of stopping going up saying, OK, I'm done?
BROADDUS (voice-over): But it was the potential harm Wright could have done that the defense narrowed in on me.
GRAY: And if he had taken off with you in that car halfway, what would have happened to you?
JOHNSON: Probably dragged.
BROADDUS (voice-over): Arguing Potter was protecting Johnson.
GRAY: Dragged and what?
GRAY: Seriously injured and maybe even dead, right?
BROADDUS (voice-over): The state push back trying to show Potter's actions were reckless. The linchpin of a manslaughter conviction.
MATTHEW FRANK, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL OF MINNESOTA: Could Officer Potter, in using a firearm, have shot you?
BROADDUS (voice-over): The defense quick to step in again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The objection is sustained.
FRANK: And when you use deadly force, you have to consider ceramics?
FRANK: And when you --
BROADDUS (voice-over): And again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No leading questions please.
BROADDUS: And Sergeant Johnson, who was then Potter supervisor at the time of the shooting was one of three people who took the stand today. He said and he believes Potter was justified in using deadly force, citing the state statute. Meanwhile, court was adjourned early today by the judge due to weather here in Minnesota. Wolf, they're back on Monday.
BLITZER: All right, we'll watch it together with you. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus reporting. Thank you, Adrienne.
Now more news straight ahead. An inflation crisis here in the United States. How President Biden is trying to calm consumer fears as Americans face the highest price jump in decades.
[17:59:37] BLITZER: Happening now, an alarming new measure of consumer paid as inflation here in the United States hits the highest level since 1982. But President Biden says the crisis has peaked and numbers don't tell the whole story.
Also, tonight, breaking news on memos from a Trump campaign lawyer outlining her theories on how former Vice President Mike Pence could overturn the presidential election. This, as the January 6 committee issues a slew of new subpoenas including one for a former Trump aide running for Congress.