Return to Transcripts main page


Facebook Oversight Board Defends Decision to Uphold Trump Ban, Defer on Whether It Should Be Permanent; DeSantis Signs Restrictive Voting Bill on FOX after Banning News Outlets from Covering the Event; Tucker Carlson's Colleagues Slam His Anti-Vaccine Rhetoric; Giuliani Allies Plead for Trump to Help with Legal Bills; Secret Service Chief: Agency Wasn't Prepared for Civil Unrest; Grandparent's Gossip, Bragging Lead to New Insurrection Arrests; Jared Bernstein, Member, White House Council of Economic Advisers, Discusses Weekly Jobs Claims Hitting New Pandemic Low & Restaurants, Hotels Struggling to Fill Job Openings & Biden Pushing Agenda, McConnell Pushing Back. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 6, 2021 - 13:30   ET



BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": So now they have to put these rules in place.

And in the meantime, Trump can use it to his advantage and stoke grievances about what he calls conservative censorship of speech. Of course, companies say they're not doing that. They're just trying to apply rules.

And none of us would be talking about this if the former president hadn't promoted the big lie and incited a riot.

In the meantime, like I said, he can use this, hopefully, he thinks, to his political advantage.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: And that big lie has also, you know, led to a number of states passing election reform that just didn't need to happen and in many places, restricts voting.

Brian, your reaction to what happened in Florida this morning as Governor Ron DeSantis signed this new bill in that state that restricts voting?

He did it on "FOX & Friends."


CABRERA: Local news outlets say they weren't allowed to cover it.

What are you learning about this?

STELTER: Reporters were perplexed by this because they were told it was a FOX exclusive for a bill signing. It makes no sense.

But actually, if you view it through the lens of the shadow 2024 primary, it makes all the sense in the world.

DeSantis and other GOP hopefuls are positioning for their possible runs for president. DeSantis doing that on FOX as often as he can.

So the FOX News channel officially says they didn't have a deal to have exclusive access to the bill signing. They just booked him for an interview.

But it's clear what's happening here. Governors like DeSantis, other GOP hopefuls, they are all trying to play to the "FOX & Friends" base.

And that's what he was doing today, but of course by shutting out other reporters who wanted to cover the news.

CABRERA: Speaking of FOX, some of Tucker Carlson's colleagues at that network are speaking out against his reckless anti-vaccination rhetoric.

What are they saying?

STELTER: Oh, yeah. This is impressive to see. However, these colleagues, they're not on the air doing it. They're only doing it on Twitter.

I think Carlson delivered his most disgraceful anti-vaccine commentary yet last night after Sanjay Gupta has been on air saying this is setting back America's vaccination progress.

So here's what some of Carlson's colleagues said.

Dr. Nicole Saphier, on Twitter, saying the folks who were saying COVID deaths were over inflated are now saying people who die after getting the vaccine are dying from the vaccine and not because we vaccinated the most elderly, frail, sick individuals first.

Here's another FOX News commentator. These people are paid by FOX. Here's Jonah Goldberg saying -- making fun of Carlson, saying that every person who blinks died before they blinked - blinked before they died.

Here's what's going on. Carlson is claiming that if you die after getting the vaccine, there's something suspicious going on. It might be part of a conspiracy.

That's what he was insinuating last night, even though tens of millions of Americans have been vaccinated.

And obviously, unfortunately, that means a small number have died of various reasons of various ailments in the months thereafter.

Carlson is trying to create this conspiracy. And even some of his own colleagues are fighting back against it.

But here's the problem, Ana. They're not being allowed on the air to do it. They're not fact checking him to his face. They're not providing these debunkings on TV. Here we are, reading their tweets, but it's not happening where it needs to happen, which is on Carlson's show.

CABRERA: I don't know why he's doing it. Why is he trying to stoke this conspiracy that clearly could have a dangerous effect and really lead to people dying?

I'm just asking that question, you know, not to you directly, Brian --


STELTER: You're right. I wish I knew.

CABRERA: Just, you know, a question to throw out to the universe.

STELTER: That's right.

CABRERA: Thank you --

STELTER: Thanks.

CABRERA: -- for being with us.

Two grandmas gossip. Now two more people are charged in the January 6th riot. We explain.



CABRERA: As Rudy Giuliani is squeezed by federal authorities, he's also feeling the financial squeeze. And he's looking for help from his former client, former President Trump.

Giuliani's allies have directly informed Trump of the lawyer's mounting debts and they're asking for him to pay up for Giuliani's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which all failed.

CNN's senior legal affairs correspondent, Paula Reid, is following this for us.

Paula, what have we learned about these legal bills and where Trump factors in all of this?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: We've learned that several Giuliani associates are pressing the RNC and former President Trump to compensate Giuliani for the work he did to challenge the election results.

They want him to get this money to help subsidize the current legal bills he's facing.

One of his associates told me it's going to cost him a few million dollars, at least, to defend himself in the ongoing criminal investigation in New York. Now, the Trump campaign operation raised a still amount of money in

the weeks following the election to challenge the results. And these associates are calling for Giuliani to be paid out of the funds.

One of the most vocal advocates for this move is Giuliani's son, Andrew. He actually worked in the Trump White House.

Andrew told CNN he believes, once the former president is aware of this issue, that he will, quote, "indemnify Giuliani."

But CNN has learned the former president is aware of these debts. He's aware of the issue. An associate has informed him.

We also have learned that Giuliani's personal attorney, Robert Costello, has addressed the issue of Giuliani getting paid with the Trump legal team.

But this isn't the only thing that the Giuliani legal team is seeking from the former president. They also want him to get involved in the legal fight to protect the materials that were seized last week.


CABRERA: We'll see what happens. But so far, loyalty only goes one way.

Thank you, Paula Reid.

This morning, the head of the Secret Service, the very agency tasked with protecting the country's political leaders and families, testifies for the first time since the insurrection. And he says his agency was not prepared.


JAMES MURRAY, DIRECTOR, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: We found that we did not have enough of our folks trained in civil disturbance. We did not have enough equipment in that regard.

So we're always looking to capitalize on lessoned learned. And obviously, what happened on January 6th was abhorrent. It was an attack on our democracy. And we, in law enforcement and public safety, can't let it happen again.


CABRERA: CNN law enforcement correspondent, Whitney Wild, is with us.

Whitney, what more are you learning?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Director Murray is, again, going up to the Hill for the first time speaking in public about the lessons learned from January 6th.

Although he was questioned many times about what they learned from that horrific incident, he stopped short of giving real substantive detail about changes that the agency is making.

He did say they're doing an after-action report. He also said that they're putting more investment into assessing open social media type intelligence to try to get a better handle on what the real threats are to their protectees.

Ana, one thing he did say, which didn't happen, was that this could have possibly been a national special security event. That is a specific designation, happens at the Super Bowl, happens at the joint session, State of the Union.

And what it means is that the Secret Service takes over the security and the planning of that event. It also means, by nature, many more resources.

And he said that if that event, January 6th, the certification of the Electoral College votes had been an NSSE, you would have seen much more security there.

Which suggests, perhaps, that if it had been an NSSE, maybe we wouldn't have seen and most likely would not have seen the absolute atrocity that was the riot on January 6th. So that was a very big moment.

He also said that there are going to be ongoing discussions about possibly reevaluating when an NSSE is necessary -- Ana?

CABRERA: I also want to ask you, Whitney, about a couple of recent arrests stemming from that capitol attack.

One arrested prompted after two old friends gossip about family. The other arrest coming after a wife brags on Facebook about her husband allegedly taking part in the riot.

What can you tell us about this?

WILD: There have been a ton of these, actually. My colleagues, Kaitlan Collins and Marshall Cohen, and many others at CNN, have been poring through hundreds of these cases.

And what they found is, quite often, the gossip train pulls right into station FBI. They hear about these gossip -- people talking about these crimes.

And so in both of these cases, like you said, one woman posted on Facebook about her husband being there. Another case was a family friend's grandchild who alerted the FBI.

So talk gets back to the FBI, which, when you're trying to bring justice forward, is a good thing, I guess -- Ana?

CABRERA: Gossip never ends well.

Whitney Wild, thank you.

So much for a chance of bipartisanship. At the same time President Biden is pushing his jobs plan in the red state of Louisiana, minority leader, Mitch McConnell, says he's 100 percent focused on blocking Biden's agenda.



CABRERA: Today, another promising sign that the labor market recovery continues. Weekly jobless claims have again hit a pandemic-era low.

And 498,000 Americans filed initial claims last week. That is down nearly 100,000 from the week before. But almost four million Americans are still out of work.

In the next hour, President Biden will speak about his jobs plan. And he is expected to criticize prior tax cuts for the wealthy.

We're joined by a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Jared Bernstein.

Good to have you with us. Thanks for being here.

Jobless claims are trending this the right direction. Certainly, income and consumer spending went up in March. Biden's first 100 days saw the strongest stock market performance for a new president since JFK.

Give us your best argument for why America needs to make a huge multi- trillion-dollar investment right now.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Because President Biden does not judge the well-being of middle-class and lower-income Americans or communities of color by looking at a week or two in the stock market, or even a year or two.

Nor do we judge this by even looking at a good quarter of GDP growth, or a tick down in the unemployment claims.

Obviously, we're very happy to see that. And the job growth has been truly impressive.

And I think is a very much -- a reason to recognize how well the American Rescue Plan is both getting checks in pockets and shots in arms.

But the difference between that and a 10-year investment program, to invest in broad band, a safer grid, which the people of Texas will know what I'm talking about, water that's safe for children to drink, modernizing schools, and childcare buildings, making sure our ports, our airports, our rail are up to 21st century competitive status, that's a whole different set of objectives.

CABRERA: Yet, there are critics who say this could all lead to unintended consequences.

Larry Summers, the former treasury secretary, is one of many raising red flags about inflation. He is worried about pumping a bunch more money into the economy as it's booming right now.

What's your response?

BERNSTEIN: Well, first of all, I think you really have to make a -- you have to distinguish between the kinds of rescue plan relief measures that are already in the economy and the Family and Jobs Plan, which, as I mentioned, spend out over a decade.


And there's just no way a coherent economic analysis would argue that helping to boost our childcare sector, helping to invest in innovation, advanced manufacturing, helping to take lead out of pipes so kids in schools and childcare centers can safely drink water, that that has anything to do with monthly inflation reports we're looking at now.

Now, in the near term, we expect some price pressures. But both we, and more importantly the Federal Reserve has classified them as transitory.

As some more the misalignments between demand, which, as you correctly pointed out, is coming back strongly in no small part thanks to some of the rescue plan measures getting into the economy, and supply, which has to sort of realign with the demand as it comes back online.

CABRERA: I want to ask you more about this supply-demand issue because we're seeing a labor shortage right now in restaurants and hotels.

Last week, I spoke to the operator of 50 TGI Friday's and some other restaurants. Here was his take.


DANIEL HALPERN, CEO, JACKMONT HOSPITALITY: So, right now, obviously, we're having a shortage. Some of it's certainly being driven by the stimulus and the opportunity for people to stay at home and make comparable wages to what they would make if they were at work in our restaurants, not quite as much but certainly close.


CABRERA: Now, he is a member of the DNC Executive Committee. So this isn't an undercover conservative saying that.

I know the $28 billion Restaurant Revitalization Fund was just launched. But if people don't want to fill jobs because they make more on unemployment and stimulus, how do you counter that?

BERNSTEIN: Well, let me just first underscore your point that this administration is doing everything it can to help not just small business restaurant owners but all small business mom-and-pop owners, both across all sectors of the economy.

Now, look, I take these anecdotes very seriously. And I listen to them as much as I can. Because many of these folks are talking about, you know, very much the labor market that they see, and I get that.

Right now, we have to appreciate, though, that along with unemployment insurance, it's still the fact that our schools are far from completely open.

The virus is still upon the land. There's still hot spots out there.

And we've yet to stand up the kind of childcare sector that I was just talking about as an aspirational goal of the American jobs and family plans.

So, there are --


CABRERA: So, you think -- but you think that's the reason why people aren't going back to work and aren't filling those restaurant jobs, or is it something more?

Is it the fact that they -- it pays more to not work at those places because wages are low and they --


CABRERA: -- have this beautiful benefit that the Biden administration and Congress has provided?

BERNSTEIN: So, we have looked carefully at which one of these factors, the virus, the difficulty getting care, unemployment insurance is responsible for this.

And at least from the data that we have, which I must say is the first quarter of the year through April, perhaps, doesn't show that the unemployment insurance benefits are an obvious constraint here.

However, it is something we're hearing from lots of different corners. We're going to have to listen to it very carefully. And trust me, we will do so.

CABRERA: Let's talk more about bipartisanship. Because the plans that Biden is out there touting today need some buy-in not just from Democrats but Republicans as well.

And for all claims from Republicans that they want bipartisanship, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, might have just said the quiet part out loud. Watch.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): One hundred percent of our focus is on stopping this new administration.


CABRERA: What's your reaction to that?

BERNSTEIN: That's a very unsettling thing for me to hear.

I guess because 100 percent of this president's focus, and the focus that he has assigned to his economics team, of which I am a member, is to put this virus behind us, to get the American people to the other side of this crisis.

And to set up an economic expansion that Builds Back Better and provides opportunities and high-quality union jobs for middle- and low-income families. That's what we're focused on, 100 percent of the time.

And while others may be focusing on stopping us for reasons that, I must say, sound purely partisan politics, if you look at where the American people are, almost 60 percent support universal pre-K.

Almost 60 percent support healthcare subsidies for low- and middle- income Americans to buy health insurance.

And 73 percent, including 60 percent of Republicans, support access to childcare.

And 86 percent of Americans, plus 84 percent of Republicans, support increased IRS enforcement so that we can have fairness in our tax code --


BERNSTEIN: -- that affects nobody below $400,000.

CABRERA: But even if those are popular --


BERNSTEIN: -- one hundred percent of our time.


CABRERA: Sure. Even if they're popular, though, there has to be a will in Congress to make it happen.

So is this going to change the White House's approach for getting President Biden's new plans through, if that's the message and the goal --

BERNSTEIN: The approach --

CABRERA: -- of the minority leader we just heard?

BERNSTEIN: I mean, Ana, look, the approach is what you see the president doing today.

Which is going across America and Louisiana today, explaining to the American people why it's so important that they have four free years -- more free years of education --

CABRERA: OK. BERNSTEIN: -- including universal pre-K and community college.

They have access to healthcare, that they're safe from lead in their water, and THAT they have a clean energy environment in which they can flourish.


BERNSTEIN: That's what we're about. That's what we're about, 100 percent of our energy.

CABRERA: Jared Bernstein, good to see you. Thank you for taking the time.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you all for joining me. I'll see you back here tomorrow. You can follow me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.

NEWSROOM continues with Alisyn and Victor next.