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U.S. Adds 943,000 Jobs in July, Unemployment Rate at 5.4%; Biden: July Job Growth Is Proof "Our Plan Is Working"; Op-Ed: "Woke" Corporations Won't Stop the Pandemic, Government Intervention Will; Texas Governor Calls Special Session Aimed at Restrictive Voting Laws; My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell Presses Ahead with False 2020 Fraud Claims. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 6, 2021 - 14:30   ET

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


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[14:32:52]

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: The U.S. just added 943,000 jobs in July. That's the biggest gain in a year. The unemployment rate also fell. It's at 5.4 percent.

President Biden says these gains are proof that his plan is working. And he vows the economy will continue to grow, despite the spread of the Delta variant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we continue the battle, the Delta surge of COVID, what is indisputable now is this. The Biden plan is working. The Biden plan produces results. And the Biden plan is moving the country forward.

Jobs are up. The unemployment rate is the lowest since the pandemic hit. Black unemployment is down as well. Why? Because we put in place the necessary tools.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACKWELL: CNN economics and political commentator, Catherine Rampell, is here. She's also a columnist for the "Washington Post."

Catherine, thanks for being here.

Let's start with what we heard from the president. He says it's the Biden plan, that's the reason we have this strong growth. How much credit does he deserve?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMIC & POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, honestly, what matters most is the pace of vaccinations. The virus is still very much in control of this economy.

And so long as we can keep the virus at bay, that basically people are getting vaccinated faster than the Delta variant is spreading, that will be good for the economy. So to the extent that this president has accelerated the pace of vaccinations, to the extent that the rollout has been pretty smooth, even though there are a number of holdouts, yes, he deserves credit for that.

BLACKWELL: Your column says July's great job reports comes with an enormous Delta-shaped asterisk. Tell us about it.

RAMPELL: The jobs report was excellent. The headline numbers were great. The number of jobs added, the drop in the unemployment rate, the increase in the number of people actually in the labor force. All very good news.

The downside is that those data all come from mid-July, which is before the recent spike in infections.

So, around the time that those numbers were collected from companies and from Households, there were about a quarter as many daily infections, new reported COVID cases, that is, as there are today.

So, we don't know if all of the consumers and workers out there who have, you know, suddenly decided to re-emerge from their homes and go back to work, go back to the movies, go back to traveling and dining out, if they're going to retrench.

[14:35:09]

We just don't know right now what the effect will be on public health and what the effect will be on consumer psychology.

BLACKWELL: You've written about the companies now that are requiring their employees, some of them, not all of them, to get vaccinated. And you said it's not the corporate mandates that will get us out. What will?

RAMPELL: Government intervention.

Look, it's great that companies -- some companies are requiring workers and, in some cases, their own customers to get vaccinated. That's very good news.

The downside is that most of the companies making those kinds of announcements are imposing mandates on people who are already vaccinated.

The kinds of companies that are announcing that people have to prove that they have gotten the shot, their workforces already have, like, 90 percent-plus vaccination rates, in many cases.

Or they've surveyed their workers and customers and they found that they're just basically reflecting back the preferences and the existing behavior, the fact that people have already been vaccinated, back to those same people.

The people who need to get more motivated to get the shot, they're not getting these kinds of orders. And, in fact, there are some companies that have sort of a two-track policy.

So, for example, Walmart has a vaccine mandate for their white-collar workers but not for their either in-store and warehouse workers who probably have lower vaccination rates.

Uber and Lyft, they also have vaccine mandates, again, for their corporate workers and not for their drivers.

So, these kinds of policies, I get that.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

RAMPELL: I get it. Companies are trying to do whatever they can to retain workers at a time when there are worker shortages.

But even if they're doing what's reasonable, it's not going to move the needle in the end on vaccination rates.

BLACKWELL: All right, Catherine Rampell, thank you.

So as Congress members get ready for recess, some fear the toxic atmosphere on Capitol Hill will follow them home. Why their security concerns are mounting.

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[14:40:50]

BLACKWELL: It looks like the Senate could take another look at federal voting reform.

CNN has learned that majority leader, Chuck Schumer, is privately telling members that they should expect to see this before Congress breaks for the August recess.

Right now, the Senate is trying to wrap up the roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill along with the budget resolution.

And some Democrats have been clamoring for federal legislation in an effort to combat restrictive voting laws already passed in 18 states.

Now, speaking of voting rights, today is the last day of that Texas state legislature special session.

It really never got off the ground after dozens of Democrats left the state in protest. This was their effort to block the Republicans from enacting new voting restrictions.

But the state's governor, Greg Abbott, has already announced a second special session that starts this weekend.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher in Austin.

Tell us about this next session and what happens now.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, the special session that kind of wasn't just wrapped up a couple of hours ago.

And there will be about a 24-hour period before they attempt to gavel in the second special session with an expanded agenda that still includes election legislation.

And I say attempt, because it's not known right now if there will be enough Democrats to have a quorum.

This is how they have -- this is the way that they have sort of battled those voting bills, twice now by denying a quorum.

Whether or not they're going to have the stamina to do it for another 30 days, that's still to be determined.

But they say they're not going to give up their strategy just yet.

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STATE REP. TREY MARTINEZ FISCHER (D-TX): Make no mistake. We do not telegraph what our plans are. But do not be fooled. If Congress is in session, we're in session.

Our job is here. And we will have a significant number of members staying here, and waiting day by day, engaging day by day, finishing the fight.

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GALLAGHER: You heard him say a significant number staying there in Washington, D.C.

I'm told that several of them will be there at least through that August recess as they continue to try and put pressure on the Senate to hold another vote and, in their words, hopefully pass some kind of voting rights protections.

But I've also talked to some who say that there are Texas Democrats who are on their way back here to the Lone Star State.

Victor, the question is, are they going to be coming here to the capital by noon on Saturday?

Republicans tell me that they are confident that there will be some kind of quorum achieved eventually during this session.

Democrats have said they still have not heard what they need to hear, Victor.

But again, it's a long 30 days to try and hold out and kill this bill again for them.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dianne Gallagher, for us in Austin, thank you.

So, he's behind some of the most outlandish and baseless claims of 2020 voter fraud. I want you to see what the CEO of My Pillow does when CNN confronts him with the truth.

And the conflict in Jerusalem. See how the Arab revolt and the imperial ambition set the stage for what we see there today. An all- new episode of "JERUSALEM: CITY OF FAITH AND FURY," Sunday night at 10:00 Eastern, only on CNN.

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[14:47:35]

BLACKWELL: My Pillow CEO and loyal Trump supporter, Mike Lindell, is still pushing that false narrative that China hacked U.S. voting systems in 2020 and switched votes intended for the former president to the current president instead.

He's also facing a billion-dollar lawsuit from voting machine maker, Dominion, which alleges he defamed the company with his false accusations. Lindell's company is countersuing.

CNN senior investigative correspondent, Drew Griffin, went to Minnesota to talk to Lindell himself.

So, tell me about this conversation. What did he tell you?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of nonsense, Victor, to be honest with you. But he still has a big following.

He's been shunned from FOX, shunned from most of the retail world, but he's still out there selling his pillows.

And mostly selling this baseless conspiracy theory that somehow or another, foreign entities hacked and switched votes in this election.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The My Pillow guy.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mike Lindell, yes, the My Pillow guy, is convinced China hacked the election, Donald Trump really won, and Lindell has the absolute proof.

MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MY PILLOW: They did it in all the states.

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN (on camera): And they changed the votes?

LINDELL: Every single state.

GRIFFIN: And you have the proof --

LINDELL: Yes.

GRIFFIN: -- that will show --

LINDELL: I have the --

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: -- the actual exchange of votes?

LINDELL: Yes, yes, 100 percent, 100 percent.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): It is, of course, complete nonsense. Despite every piece of so-called evidence Lindell has presented so far -- three videos, a lawsuit, screenshots he sent to CNN -- there's still no proof that the election was hacked.

And that's according to two dozen cyber experts and election officials contacted by CNN.

LINDELL: A hundred-percent evidence.

GRIFFIN: When Lindell released his so-called evidence, in videos like this, fact checkers quickly found out it was evidence of nothing.

These images are just publicly available voter data, scrolling across the screen, not proof of election hacking.

So Lindell changed his story, saying now the real evidence will be revealed at a cyber symposium streamed live with My Pillow discounts available throughout.

And as further proof, he sent CNN a preview, six different screenshots.

(on camera): You sent us this on Friday.

LINDELL: Yes.

GRIFFIN: What is this?

LINDELL: That's just one piece of 1.2 billion lines of data from the election, OK? Within that will be timestamps of when it happened. There will be flips in there.

[14:50:06]

GRIFFIN: So, we sent this to our own experts. He said that it doesn't show any specific actions of any kind, election related or not, and it's proof of nothing.

LINDELL: OK, so he said that's nothing, huh? Well, he's wrong. Then you didn't hire a cyber expert.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): We didn't consult just one cyber expert. We consulted nine top election security experts, who told us Lindell's screenshots were extremely rudimentary metadata, and completely ridiculous.

We also reached all 15 officials from the 15 counties where Lindell says, without any proof, votes were hacked and switched.

Lindell mentions some of the counties in his videos and lists them out in his counter lawsuit against Dominion voting.

They are counties that use paper ballots counted by systems not connected to the Internet.

Every one of them told CNN there is no evidence they were hacked by anyone.

(on camera): You identified 15 counties where the votes were switched. We contacted all 15 counties --

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: -- red and blue, red and blue.

LINDELL: That doesn't matter.

GRIFFIN: And we couldn't find a single person that said this is even possible. They say you are mistaken.

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: They think you're wrong.

(CROSSTALK)

GRIFFIN: The bottom line is they have paper ballot backups that prove they were not --

LINDELL: So you guys went and they let you audit there? They let you do a full audit, CNN? You guys did a full audit on 15 counties, huh?

GRIFFIN (voice-over): We did what Lindell did not do. We went to Delta County, Michigan, to see how the election was carried out. Trump won here nearly two to one.

LINDELL: The state Michigan, entry point, or Delta County --

GRIFFIN: In his videos and his lawsuit, Lindell claims someone in China hacked the election system here and stole away precisely 3,215 Trump votes and turned them into Biden votes.

The Republican county clerk, Nancy Przewrocki, finds the allegation laughable for one main reason.

NANCY PRZEWROCKI, CLERK, DELTA COUNTY, MICHIGAN: It is never connected to the Internet.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Never? PRZEWROCKI: Never connected to the Internet at all, whatsoever.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Not only are they not connected to the Internet, the votes are cast by hand on paper.

Voters scan their ballots into this Dominion storage machine where two digital storage cards keep a tally. The paper ballot goes right into this bin under lock and seal.

PRZEWROCKI: And that container is sealed.

GRIFFIN: And just to check that everything went OK, they conduct audits, comparing the paper ballots to the results on the computer. And in 2020, it was an exact match.

PRZEWROCKI: We audited three different precincts and they matched exactly, so.

GRIFFIN (on camera): What would you say to somebody who made a documentary that, among many counties, accused your county of being a victim of a Chinese hack that changed the vote counts?

PRZEWROCKI: I would say that didn't happen in Delta County.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): A Republican-led Michigan State Senate investigation found out it didn't happen anywhere. "No evidence of widespread or systematic fraud."

(on camera): I don't think you really understand how votes are cast, collected, and tabulated in this country.

LINDELL: OK, you know what? I do.

But what you don't understand is they can get -- after they're tabulated, they can get hacked after the fact, which they were, because Donald Trump is going to win anyway.

GRIFFIN: But the paper ballots which were cast --

(CROSSTALK)

LINDELL: Donald Trump was going to win anyway.

GRIFFIN: But the paper ballots which were cast --

(CROSSTALK)

LINDELL: You didn't do an audit to match them up.

GRIFFIN: They were audited against the machine count.

LINDELL: No, they weren't. No, they weren't.

GRIFFIN: In these counties they were, Mike.

LINDELL: No, they weren't. No, they weren't. Who told you that? GRIFFIN: The county officials who did that.

LINDELL: Oh, did they tell you that? They're going to have some answering to do.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): No matter who says there was no widespread fraud in the election, whether it's local election officials, secretaries of state, judges, or even Donald Trump's own attorney general, Mike Lindell's conclusion is the same -- they are all wrong.

(on camera): All these county officials are lying?

LINDELL: I don't know. They might be misconstrued. We'll see. Misconstrued because they don't realize what happened.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Lindell says his information comes from multiple sources, all of them supersecret.

He claims he spent millions on the project, and also claims he will give $5 million to anyone who proves him wrong.

(on camera): Mike, you can make up anything.

LINDELL: No, you can't. No, this is right. No, this is right.

GRIFFIN: You are just going to have a demonstration in a room --

(CROSSTALK)

LINDELL: No, no, no, this is where you're wrong. We're giving it to the cyber people that show up. We're going to give them each state. Here's a state, Georgia. They can take it apart.

GRIFFIN: You could possibly be the victim of a scam here.

LINDELL: Then why don't you come to the symposium and make $5 million. Are you worried about me? We should give a hug. You worried about old Mike? Oh, God bless you.

GRIFFIN: Here's what we're worried about. We're worried that what you are doing is mistakenly or deliberately destroying the confidence in the legitimate elected president of the United States and fostering what could be real damage to this country.

LINDELL: You know what? I never said that about Biden or the Democrats ever.

[14:55:02]

GRIFFIN: You have -- you have --

LINDELL: Never.

GRIFFIN: You went through this investigation and this --

(CROSSTALK) LINDELL: No, I am not. You're lying now. You're lying.

GRIFFIN: This is what I said.

LINDELL: I said the Democrats warned us. No, you're lying.

GRIFFIN: You're saying that -- you're saying that --

LINDELL: I said the Democrats already warned us of this.

GRIFFIN: -- Joseph Biden was illegitimately elected?

LINDELL: I'm saying that China did an attack on our country and that the election --

GRIFFIN: And that the wrong person won.

LINDELL: That's right.

GRIFFIN: The people who have watched your video believe what you say.

LINDELL: A hundred percent.

GRIFFIN: If you're wrong. Isn't that very dangerous?

LINDELL: Yes, but I'm not wrong. I've checked it out. I've spent millions. You need to trust me and come there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN: Victor, it's pretty clear that Mike does not know how voting works in this country.

We also have every reason to believe that his so-called evidence is nothing more than information that comes from old, recycled conspiracy theorists who have been involved with scams in the past.

We don't know which side of this scam Mike Lindell may be on -- Victor?

BLACKWELL: Nine months since the election and he is still selling this. We have seen how dangerous this can be.

Drew Griffin, a fantastic report. Thank you so much.

GRIFFIN: Thanks, Victor.

BLACKWELL: We're pushing forward on the breaking news. One of Governor Andrew Cuomo's accusers file a criminal complaint. The governor's attorneys are going to be speaking to the media in moments.

Stay with us.

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