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CNN NEWSROOM

Book: Top Generals Feared Trump Would Try a Coup After Election; Trump Denies Coup Attempt After Election, Calls It "Ridiculous"; Gene Sperling, Senior Adviser to President Biden, Discusses Child Tax Credit Hitting Banks Today & Inflation; Rep. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) Discusses Pandemic Hitting American Latino Communities Hard, Vaccination Skepticism & Record Heat, Addressing Climate Change. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 15, 2021 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[13:30:00]

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Reportedly telling aides, quote, "This is a Reichstag moment, the gospel of the furor."

We got some clarification today that Milley wasn't necessarily calling Trump a Nazi but was expressing concern that sentiments were being whipped up that could lead to that kind of environment.

Given all your research, what do you think?

TIMOTHY SNYDER, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, YALE UNIVERSITY & AUTHOR: I mean, I think it's a reasonable parallel. I mean, the point about historical parallels is not that every detail is exactly the same. The point is that we can recognize patterns.

Hitler assumed total power after a crisis in a parliament. It was an unexplained fire. Mr. Trump attempted a coup in connection with Americans who he encouraged to storm a parliament -- our Congress.

So in that sense, the parallel really isn't that far afield.

The basic idea is you create an artificial crisis or take advantage of a real one in order to change the nature of a regime.

That happens over and over and over in history. And the only way Americans can avoid that kind of thing is by looking at history and being sharp and being ready.

So I think I appreciate that our top military leaders are reading the history books.

CABRERA: You mentioned history, but we've seen how Republicans have tried to rewrite history when it comes to the January 6th insurrection.

How dangerous is that?

SNYDER: It's incredibly dangerous. We're dealing with a moment which is on the scale of a war, on the scale of a presidential assassination.

And the only way that you can have a democracy is to have a history that we can reflect on.

Naturally, we have different values and different commitments. But we need to have roughly the same base of historical facts.

We're doing our children and our grandchildren a disservice if we try to distort what happened on January 6th or, worse, if we don't allow the basic data to be gathered.

Regardless of where you stand politically, it's extremely important that we have the historical basis of a country.

I mean, this is what I find disturbing from Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Trump. That's all about strategy, all about tactics, all about confusion.

What we need is to lay down what actually happened. Every American should be able to agree about that.

CABRERA: Why do you think the former president has been able to maintain his grip on the Republican Party, even though he doesn't have the power of the presidency anymore?

Even though in the last election, with him at the top of the ticket, they lost the White House, they've lost the Senate, and they've lost Congress as well.

SNYDER: Yes. I mean, there are things to point out. Number one, it's inappropriate for someone in Mr. McCarthy's position to be consulting with a private citizen, which is what Mr. Trump is, about these matters.

Number two, the Republicans in Congress, unfortunately, seem to think the legislative branch is there to support the leader. That's not what it's there to do. It's there to balance the leader. It's there to check the leader.

And then, number three, thinking about the future. Unfortunately, I mean, if you were looking at another country, and you saw this pattern, and you looked at it without any kind of passion or emotion, what you would say is these guys are not planning to win the election.

They're playing to rely on the people who are most enthusiastic, most committed to their cause. If they were planning to win the election, they'd be moving on.

That's the thing I find disturbing. We have a political party which can't move on from an attempt to move onto power undemocratically and with violence and into a normal competition with policy.

That's what makes me worry about the next two years and the next four years.

CABRERA: And they keep spreading lies and misinformation, which has permeated so much of society. In fact, it's literally killing people. Look at what's happened with COVID.

In your book, "On Tyranny," you write, "To abandon facts is to abandon freedom. If nothing is true, then no one can criticize power because there's no basis on which to do so. To abandon facts is to abandon freedom."

Listen to what millions of Americans are hearing right now on FOX regarding safe-living vaccines.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX HOT, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT": The idea that you would force people to take medicine they don't want or need, is there a precedent for that?

UNIDENTIFIED FOX HOST: I feel like a vaccination in a weird way is just generally kind of going against nature. Like, I mean, if there's some disease out there, maybe there's just an ebb and flow to life where something is supposed to wipe out a certain amount of people.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX HOST, "THE INGRAHAM ANGLE": There's nothing more anti-democratic, anti-freedom than pushing an experimental drug on Americans against their will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Tim, quick answer, if you will. What goes through your mind listening to that?

SNYDER: It's something that we learned about. And if we want to have a free society, we turn what we can learn about nature to the benefit of everyone.

Freedom involves understanding what we all need together. And getting vaccinated is part of that.

CABRERA: Well, thank you so much, Tim Snyder, for being with us. It's always a pleasure to talk to you.

And in addition to his book, check out the newsletter. You can sign up at snyder.substack.com.

Again, thank you, Timothy Snyder.

[13:34:55]

America fighting back for an economic comeback. Will a cash infusion just received by millions of families be the key to recovery?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:40:02] CABRERA: Just moments ago, President Biden trumpeted his latest weapon to reduce child poverty, the expanded child tax credit. And those payments start landing this bank accounts today.

Working families will receive as much as $300 each month for a child under six years old and $250 a month for each child six years old and $250 a month for each child six to 17 years old.

Now, there's a phaseout, and an income threshold. At least 39 million homes will benefit from these payments.

Gene Sperling is a senior adviser for President Biden and oversees the COVID stimulus plan aimed at speeding up the economic recovery.

Thank you for being with us.

GENE SPERLING, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thanks for having me, Ana.

CABRERA: What impact will this expanded child tax credit have?

SPERLING: Well, you know, I wanted to make very clear, this is very much like Social Security in the following way. It is at the same time a major, major boost for middle class economic security.

And yet, as you said, this same policy is so consequential for lifting children out of poverty.

But this $3,000 per child, 6 to 17, and 3600 under six years old, this goes to virtually all working families. Every couple under $150,000 will get this full tax credit.

But it is also like Social Security, monthly. So people will be able to count on it. They're getting it today, on July 15th, and will get it on the 15th of every month.

And I will say we're proud of the execution here because this bill just passed on March 11th, The American Rescue Plan. And four months later, virtually every working family in the United States today is getting a child tax credit, the first ever monthly child tax credit.

Now, a lot -- previously lower-income working families, families working hard but making minimum wage or $20,000 or $25,000 didn't get the full tax credit. That doesn't make sense. Those are the families struggling the most.

This will make 26.5 million children in those hardworking families get the full and expanded benefit as families much more secure in the middle class at $80,000, $120,000, who still, nonetheless, can use that extra $500, $600, $700 a month to help make ends meet or do that extra thing that almost any parent wants to do for their children.

CABRERA: Minutes ago, President Biden said he would like to extend the credit indefinitely. Republicans have already labeled it welfare.

Let me quote Senator Marco Rubio, who says President Biden has, quote, "transformed the pro-worker, pro-family child tax credit into an anti- worker welfare check."

How do you respond to that?

SPERLING: Well, he could not be more dead wrong.

Let's be very clear, 97 percent, 97 percent of the families who will be receiving this child tax credit in 2021 are working families making either self-employment or wage income -- 97 percent.

Many of the other 3 percent are retired grandparents or people with serious disabilities.

Also there's actually no evidence that this does anything but improve labor force participation in Canada where this proposal was tried and other major countries, when they've had this proposal, it's increased the degree of labor force participation.

It's pro-work and family and pro-economic dignity. And, yes, it will help lift the hardest-pressed working families out of poverty.

CABRERA: Let's talk about inflation. Because as Americans are trying to rebound, prices are going up. Inflation is a growing concern.

Airfare is up almost 25 percent. Laundry machines up almost 30 percent. Gas up more than 45 percent. Even the cost of food has jumped.

The Fed says inflation is temporary. But what if they're wrong? What would that mean for the economic recovery and the Biden agenda?

SPERLING: Well, you know, I think it's very clear that most of this is just transitory. It means, when you shut down the whole economy and start it up, there's going to be places where you get a little bit of that pressure.

You mentioned airlines. Airline prices are still lower than they were before the pandemic. So this just reflects a certain return to normal.

But I think when you take out those type of exceptional things, you find that the kind of core inflation, outside of those things like the transitory issues, the car issues, that things still look pretty stable.

I think that's what the Fed is seeing. I think that's how the market is reading it.

And I think we feel very, very good that this is tremendous growth this year. It could be 6 percent to 7 percent unprecedented job growth for the first five, six months of a president.

[13:45:03]

And we think this child tax payment will only help give families more economic security. And we think this will be part of a stable pro-work economy. CABRERA: Quick, before I let you go, do you think Jerome Powell should

stay as Fed chair when his term expires? He was nominated by Trump and is a Republican. You seem to like what he was saying.

SPERLING: Well, this is my third time around in the White House. And one of the reasons you last this long is you don't speculate about what the president is going to do on Fed chairs on national TV. But.

CABRERA: Is there any reason why he shouldn't be offered a second term?

SPERLING: I think that I'm going to stay with my first answer. You know, we'll let the president make that decision.

I do think that Chairman Powell's views that the inflation that we've seen so far is largely transitory, do coincide with, I think, the views inside this administration.

But those type of personnel choices are left to one person, President Biden. And I'm not now or ever going to comment before he's ready to make those decisions.

CABRERA: Gene Sperling, I appreciate your time. Senior adviser to President Biden on economic matters.

Thanks for being with us today.

SPERLING: Thank you.

CABRERA: This pandemic has hit minority communities in a deep way. More COVID cases, more deaths, more hospitalizations, more layoffs. And when it comes to vaccinations, the skepticism is hard to breakthrough. Next, the Senator trying to change that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:51:32]

CABRERA: The pandemic has hit Latino Americans hard on a number of fronts. A new study says about half of Latino adults reported someone close to them had either been hospitalized or died from the virus.

On top of that, vaccinations in this group are lagging for a variety of reasons.

I want to bring in Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto from Nevada.

You are the first Latina to be elected to the Senate. Hispanics make up 30 percent of your state's population and you were home trying to encourage Latinos to get vaccinated.

What are you hearing? What is stopping them from getting vaccinated?

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO (D-NV): Ana, it is a couple of things. What I find is, if we bring the mobile vaccination sites into the community and meet people where they live and work, they will get vaccinated.

What I find and people forget is, you know, Latinos, particularly in Nevada, they work 24/7.

If you grew up in Nevada, there's three shifts, the day shift, swing shift and graveyard shift and people are working. It is hard for them to get away from work just to go across town to get a vaccination.

But if we bring it into their communities, when they have down time, they will get vaccinated. One is making it easily accessible.

One is tearing down the barriers to education. There's so much misinformation out there.

One of the things that I have found is people don't realize it is for free. These vaccines are free.

CABRERA: Right.

CORTEZ MASTO: People can access them easily.

There's a language barrier. So if you bring people into the community and you are speaking the language, whether it is Spanish, or in some of our other communities, we have a large Filipino population, then they can learn about the vaccines and educate themselves.

The other piece is trusted community members in the neighborhood, that they know, they can go talk to, they feel comfortable.

I was just home and I was at a mobile vaccination site at one of our apartment complexes.

A man came and he got vaccinated, and then just a few minutes later he went back and got his whole family and they got vaccinated.

CABRERA: Wow.

CORTEZ MASTO: So that's what this is about, is meeting people where they live and work. And that's why I'm a big supporter.

And we need to continue in these mobile vaccination sites throughout our communities.

CABRERA: Do they trust people in Washington or does it need to be more of that, you know, local person close to you to get them to feel safe getting the vaccine?

CORTEZ MASTO: Yes, it is local people in the community.

So these mobile vaccination sites are community members who have come together to reach out into the communities.

And they could be anywhere. This one was at an apartment complex.

I have been to some that are at our markets where a lot of people, as you well know, will go get their groceries. People will drive by and see a vaccination sign and stop and inquire

about what is going on and then get a vaccination.

So I think it is just a matter of getting into the community and letting people see that it is there.

And there's people that are part of the community that care, and they just really are educating their neighbors about the importance of these vaccines.

CABRERA: I want to switch gears to talk about another crisis that's impacting your home state, record heat. Just last weekend, Las Vegas hit 117 degrees, tying a record setback in the 1940s.

What will it take for something to get through Congress to address the climate crisis?

CORTEZ MASTO: Well, that's the work I'm doing now. I have the opportunity to sit on energy and natural resources. This is one of the reasons I'm on this committee and subcommittee.

We see record drought. We see wildfires that are no longer seasonal fires. They're yearly, every day. I mean, it is just happening.

[13:55:03]

And then we need to get people back to work.

That's the importance of the investments we are making now, not only in the infrastructure -- excuse me -- in the COVID relief packages, those investments, but now in the infrastructure, family investment that we're making long term is just as important.

We have to help people. We have to make sure we are addressing the drought.

One of the things that I have just introduced yesterday in committee that we just marked up, a piece of legislation, was how do we recycle these large-scale water-recycling projects, investing in those so that we can keep more of that water in the Colorado River, get more water to individuals in our community.

So there's a number of things that we are working on, really funding fire suppression, making sure we are doing more around prevention around wildfires that we see.

CABRERA: OK.

CORTEZ MASTO: In Nevada it is a lot of range fires.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Right.

CORTEZ MASTO: Let me just say they're investments we have to make now, Ana, and that's why it is important we work together. CABRERA: That's the point. Because --

(CROSSTALK)

CORTEZ MASTO: -- working on --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: -- right now, Republicans are not on board. Not even all Democrats are on board, with Senator Manchin yesterday raising concerns about fossil fuels being impacted, which is a big job provider in his home state.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, thank you for this conversation. I look forward to continuing it another day.

CORTEZ MASTO: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Thank you all for joining me. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 1:00. Follow me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.

In the meantime, the news continues with Alisyn and Victor.

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