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Biden Lays out Ambitious Economic Agenda to Lift Forgotten Americans; FBI Raids Giuliani's Home and Office, Escalating Criminal Probe; CNN on Streets of India During Apocalyptic Explosion of COVID Cases. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired April 29, 2021 - 10:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: A very good Thursday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.


In just minutes, President Biden will kick off a nationwide tour to mark his 100th day in office. The president said to take a brief victory lap in Georgia where he will meet former President Jimmy Carter. The milestone follows the president's first speech before a joint session of Congress where he laid out his agenda for the future of America and also highlighted accomplishments in the first 100 days.

SCIUTTO: Yes, good to see those fist bumps in the age of COVID-19.

Ahead of the president's address, major news from the Justice Department. Rudy Giuliani's apartment and law offices searched by federal prosecutors following a two year investigation into the former mayor's political activities, including those in the aide of Donald Trump in Ukraine.

And more pain, disappointment and, sadly, frustration in North Carolina, this is a judge blocks the release of body camera video in the police shooting of a black man while serving an arrest warrant. We're going to have more on that decision momentarily.

Let's begin though with CNN's John Harwood, he's at the White House. Where is the president going? What does he hope to do and sell on this trip?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he is headed to Georgia, as you guys indicated. It's part victory lap. It's talk about as did he last night the successes that the country has experienced against the pandemic in the first 100 days, 200 million shots in arms, a whole lot of relief checks have gone out, higher vaccination rates, but also to pivot to making this sales pitch for this big transformative economic plan that he's got, both the jobs plan and the American families plan. $4 trillion in spending, significant tax increases on business and the wealthy, and you've got to make the case to hold all those votes in the Senate among Democrats if that's the way you go or to track Republican votes if that's the approach they end up taking, at least in part on infrastructure. Georgia, of course, has two Democratic senators, one of whom, Raphael Warnock, has got to run for re-election again in 2022.

In addition to the drive-in rally that he's going to have, the president is also going to visit former President Jimmy Carter, 96 years old, somebody who served as president early in Joe Biden's Senate career, was not a popular president, was defeated for re- election, but has become much more popular and beloved as a humanitarian since leaving the presidency.

Joe Biden consistently tried to show respect to some of his peers or older colleagues over the years. He visited Bob Dole not long ago. Bob Dole has been ill and Jimmy Carter at 96, he's going to see him. But mostly this is about trying to generate momentum for this economic plan, not a lot of time for new president to get the top items on his agenda through. He is trying to maximize it.

HARLOW: John, thank you.

Let's bring in Jim Messina, former 2012 Obama campaign manager, former White House deputy chief of staff, now CEO of the Messina Group. Good morning, Jim.


HARLOW: I remember you talking about working so hard in 2009 in the Obama-Biden White House to get Republicans onboard with what was then that stimulus legislation. And you said it was actually a mistake. So has that mistake been learned by Biden? Did you hear that last night sense of we can't -- when he said, doing nothing is not an option, basically, we can't wait, and Republicans were going to go with or without you?

MESSINA: Yes, Poppy, you're exactly. Joe Biden was there for all of those things and helped negotiate to get the three Republican members who supported that package and it took too long wasn't enough. And so he's not going to make that mistake again. He's doing what I think he absolutely should do, which is say, look, I want bipartisanship, I want to do this together. But if I can't, I'm going to move, because, as John just said, he has a very short window here to get some big things done and he can't wait.


That said, there is good negotiations of Republicans going on right now about the infrastructure bill and we'll see how that goes. And he'll find ways to work together but he's got to get some of the stuff done. What you realize about the presidency is every day is one less day you have political sort of power to get some very big things done at the beginning of your term. HARLOW: I wonder what you make of this critique of President Biden from Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney who, after the speech last night, said the policies he endorsed were not standard liberal ideas but reflected the fact that the far left is now in control of the Democratic Party. What do you think? Is this the moderate that --

MESSINA: I think it's garbage. Look (INAUDIBLE) from the past.

Here is the truth, Poppy. You look at the stuff he proposed last night, they're wildly popular ideas. Pre-K --

HARLOW: But they cost $6 trillion.

MESSINA: Yes. And then there are some things that we absolutely have to do to make sure that this economic recovery, A, continues and, B, takes everyone with it. Your analogy earlier about making sure all the boats rise, not just the yachts, is exactly what we have to do as a country. And these are investments. These are things we that know will actually help the economic numbers long-term and grow the economy because we're investing in things like health care, like jobs that are incredibly important.

HARLOW: Do you have any concern that this may not all be fully funded? I mean, if they're able to get the tax increases through that they're banking on to pay for these both, the corporate tax increase, the big capital gains, tax increase and the tax increase on individuals or married couples making over $400,000 a year. If they get all of that through to pay for this stuff, they're betting that those tax increases will stay exactly as they are for 15 years to fund eight years of spending. With the new Congress, new administration, that's anything but a guarantee, no?

MESSINA: Well, look, that's what administrations do, right? I mean, President Trump passed his tax cuts last time. Those weren't paid for.

HARLOW: Totally. I mean, Republicans are not blameless in this. Just both parties in the American people are left with the check.

MESSINA: Right. But the theory of the case, which I believe, is if you grow the economy, the numbers in the end will -- you have more tax revenues because you're going to grow the economy and because it's going to be faster. This morning's numbers were much better than people thought. And that likely will be a boom to the revenue and we'll have a little bit more money to spend.

But you're on to the right question, Poppy, which is, eventually, we're going to have to pay for some of this stuff. And that's why I think it's very appropriate that the president laid out exactly how he would pay for this and not just say, hey, we'll figure it out later.

HARLOW: Jim, thank you. Sorry to cut it a little short today. We'll have you back soon.

MESSINA: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: Jim? SCIUTTO: Well, the Biden White House says it did not receive advance notice of real bombshell move by the DOJ, former Trump attorney and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's home and office raided as federal officials investigate his political activities in Ukraine.

Joining me now to discuss, Paula Reid, CNN Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent, and Norm Eisen, he's a CNN Legal Analyst, former White House Ethics Czar. You may remember, he served as counsel for Democrats in Trump's first impeachment trial. Thanks to both of you.

Paula, let's begin with you. What exactly did investigators seize in Giuliani's apartment and office and what specific crime do we believe there or crimes that they're investigating here, potential crimes?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, I've been speaking with Mr. Giuliani's attorney, and he told me that on the search warrant, it specifically says that yesterday's search was related to an investigation into possible illegal foreign lobbying. If you are working on behalf of a foreign government, you need to disclose that to the Justice Department.

But yesterday's move, as you said, it was a very sudden bombshell. We have learned that seven federal agents showed up at Giuliani's New York home early yesterday morning and more agents showed up at his Park Avenue office. We've learned that electronic devices were seized from both locations and Giuliani's lawyer tells me that according to the search warrant, investigators are especially interested in his communications with several individuals, including right-wing columnist John Sullivan.

Now, we've also learned that at Giuliani's office, investigators seized a computer belonging to his executive assistant. She also received a to subpoena to appear before a grand jury next month.

SCIUTTO: Norm Eisen, a question for you here, because there is a seedy business side to this, right? Was he, in effect, lobbying for foreign officials, lobbying his own government without registering as a foreign agent, which is required by the law? But the other thread in here, right, was that he met with, you know, Ukrainians. One of them known to be tied to Russian intelligence who seemed to be feeding him this information to help attack Biden in the 2020 election.


I mean , are there legal consequences here potentially just for the foreign lobbying or could there be something bigger?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Jim, thanks for having me back on the program. I do think that the prosecutors are putting together the court case around the Foreign Agents' Registration Act. It is significant that that was mentioned in this subpoena. And, Jim, it's not a very complicated case. When we did the impeachment, we saw this evidence. Basically, Mr. Giuliani appeared to be doing the bidding of Ukrainians who wanted to oust an American ambassador, Marsha Yovanovich, to Ukraine. And that is right in the heartland of what FARA, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, forbids. Yes, there could be other crimes that end up being alleged but that seems to be the core of it. That's a very -- there have been over a dozen of those cases prosecuted. There has been an acceleration lately in looking at those, and that is a very serious offense if it is established.

SCIUTTO: Can that investigation, Norm Eisen, potentially bring the former president, Trump, in, given this, of course, was his former personal attorney, and some of these activities were on behalf of or at least in the interest of the former president?

EISEN: I think it's significant for the liability of the former president in multiple ways, Jim. First of all, Mr. Giuliani will come under intense pressure if there is strong proof of this. And, remember, to get these search warrants, you have to persuade a judge that there is probable cause to believe you'll find evidence of a crime and it has to be approved at the highest levels of DOJ. That puts pressure on Giuliani.

But the other indicator is that this Department of Justice, without talking to the White House, which is the right way to do it, Jim, no political interference, this Department of Justice is showing that no one is above the law. So I think it augurs potential trouble for the ex-president.

SCIUTTO: Paula Reid, next steps now do we have any sense of the timeline that follows this?

REID: Well, it's very interesting that Giuliani's assistant received a subpoena to appear before a grand jury next month. That suggests this is far from over. But there was clearly an emphasis yesterday on obtaining electronic devices, clearly, a focus on electronic communication.

And the question right now is does this extend beyond just foreign lobbying violations? And early morning execution of search warrants on two attorneys for former president seems unusual for a case if it's just about foreign lobbying violations. That's the question we're asking our sources today. Is there more?

SCIUTTO: Electronic communication, where are those emails? We heard that before. Paula Reid and Norm Eisen, thanks very much to both of you.

EISEN: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: And still to come this hour, a judge's ruling in the police body cam video of Andrew Brown Jr.'s shooting death. The family will get to see it but the public will not, at least not yet. We'll explain why.

HARLOW: And as President Biden makes the case for his American families plan, which includes paid family leave, we're going to be joined by someone that's been pushing Congress for years on paid family leave. That's right, the co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, also the proud husband of tennis great Serena Williams and father of their baby girl, Olympia. Stay with us.



HARLOW: A global tragedy getting worse by the hour in India. More than 3,600 people across the country died alone yesterday from COVID- 19.

SCIUTTO: CNN's Sam Kiley is in New Delhi where the streets, as a consequence of this, are lined with makeshift crematoriums.

Sam, it's a staggering, staggering demonstration of the loss of life there, the extent of it. Tell us what you're seeing and on what scale.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, it's not only a demonstration of the loss of life but arguable a catastrophic failure of public health management. This is though the extension to crematorium that I've been at most of the day. They -- at the beginning of the day, they were probably processed, to use no more romantic word than that, it feels like a process, 150 deceased victims, mostly almost 100 percent of them victims of COVID.

I think that figure has been surpassed, not least because they've now restarted, Jim. They moved from this open area, which has been an improvised extension back in it to the more traditional areas and have continued to burn into the night time. That is a breach of what is normally traditionally continues in the Hindu tradition.

They don't tend to have cremations at night but they're keeping going through the night. Because, frankly, the dead here have had to join a queue, like you would in a bank or a post office. You take a ticket, or the relatives, obviously, or loved ones take a ticket and then the dead have to wait their turn to end up in one of these pyres, so that turn has been taking many, many hours of people.


And one individual I spoke to here was saying farewell to his friend. He was the only representative, the only mourner there because his friend's family, the entire family, he said, had gone down with COVID- 19 and some were very, very ill and some not expected to make it.

And I think the death toll here has been much higher, not necessarily and the scientists still coming on this, Jim, because the virus is more virulent but because arguably there simply hasn't been enough oxygen to keep people alive, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Not enough oxygen to keep people alive, goodness, just heartbreaking.

HARLOW: Sam Kiley, we appreciate you and your team very much on the ground there. Let's bring in our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, good morning.

Why did this happen in a country that is the biggest vaccine producer in the world yet a net exporter of COVID-19 vaccine right now? How much of this was bad leadership, not enough vaccine? Why?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, there's a lot of reasons here. I mean, you know, this is a country -- I'd been following what is happening in India closely. I have friends and family on the ground over there. They were declaring this to be the endgame a month ago. They thought they were out of this.

And, you know, there is a significant, you know, impact because of that. People started letting their guard down. They had the gigantic gatherings of people together without masks on as part of these political rallies. And, you know, this is a country of 1.4 billion people, very high population density. You start to mix in all these factors and I think that that's a prescription for real problem.

You know, it's interesting, a lot of people are focusing on the vaccines and it's a worthy area of discussion because they do make a lot of vaccines. There is now vaccines that are going to be sent to India. But in the context of what is happening now, if this was a patient in the hospital, they're sort in acute distress. They're in the ICU.

Vaccines will help eventually sort of curb this problem. But right now, as Sam Kiley was sort of talking about, there is more immediate needs in forms of oxygen are things like that that really are going to be what helps people the most in the short run.

We're going to be talking about this for weeks now to come. As you guys well know, you see the case numbers go up. A couple weeks after that, hospitalizations, as high as they are now, they'll still go up, and, sadly, these death rates will go up because it's always these lagging indicators. So this is going to be an ongoing situation now for a week. That die is sort of cast.

It is really a question of what impact can you make in the weeks to come. And it's going to be these short term measures. Delhi is in lockdown until May 3rd. Some of the southern cities in India in lockdown even a week beyond that, you know, making sure people are wearing high filtration masks if they do have to be outside their homes, all the same things we talked about here a year ago.

SCIUTTO: Sanjay, in this country, things, thankfully, going in the opposite direction, right, a very positive direction. New infections down, new hospitalizations down remarkably from where we were in January. And just that comparison there, you showed 1.8 percent of the Indian population fully vaccinated, you know, almost 30 percent of the U.S. population, well above 50 now that have had at least one shot.

We've asked you about so much bad news over the course of the last 15 months or so. Is this a happy moment in this country? Are we out of the woods, close to out of the woods?

GUPTA: I -- well, I think it's a happy moment, for sure. I think I'm humble. I think everyone has to be humble here in terms of saying, out of the woods, or saying things like endgame. Again, just given what we're seeing in India there, I think it should just serve as a cautionary tale in the back of our minds. I don't think it needs to paralyze us but it's a cautionary tale.

I mean, look at the graphics. We'll show you the numbers of people who now have received at least one dose of the vaccine, getting close to 55 percent of the country and you're seeing the impact, as you point out, death rates lowest since July of last year, hospitalizations down, we were talking about hospitals becoming overwhelmed. And also the new cases coming down as well. The people who need to be vaccinated because they're the most vulnerable are the ones that are most likely to have been vaccinated. So this has gone really well and we're seeing the positive impact of this.

We still have work to do. My biggest now concern is the fall, frankly, of this year. I hope we don't see resurgences, because the summer is going to be good. I think it's really going to be quite good. We're talking about taking masks off.

People were asking me a few weeks ago, will we always wear masks. And now the CDC is saying, you don't need to wear them if you're outside, basically. So There is a lot of positive movement here.


HARLOW: Sanjay, as you reflect on the good news, which I'm glad that Jim always brings out, do you agree with Dr. Wen that given like the good news of vaccinations that the CDC should not be being so or what is your response to, not your opinion, but the CDC being very cautious still even with fully vaccinated people?


GUPTA: Well, this has been their sort of approach the entire time, right? Talking about underpromising, overdelivering. I think Andy Slavitt came out and said, look, we're not going to want to ever backpedal our recommendations, which means we have to be very careful about how much we loosen guidelines as we go along. And, yes, I think these are cautious guidelines.

These vaccines work. They prevent you from getting sick and now there is real world data in how effective they are at preventing you from transmitting the virus as well. It can still happen. So there is a population of people out there that are still vulnerable. And you'd hate to be in a position where you get sick or even die now that we have such good news.

But, yes, they're cautious, but I think it's going to loosen even more over the next few weeks.

HARLOW: Okay. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you.

Well, ahead, a judge in North Carolina made that ruling yesterday that the video of police killing Andrew Brown Jr. cannot be released to the public. Up next, what the state's attorney general is now saying about it.