tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN November 14, 2021 1:00pm-2:00pm PST
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behind the scenes between vice president kamala harris and the white house. the accounts come from nearly three dozen current and former harris aides administration officials, operatives, donors and advisers who spoke to cnn about the complex reality inside the white house. members of her inner circles believe she's being sidelined. one former high-level harris aide put it this way. they're consistently sending her out there on losing issues in the wrong situations for her skillset. has also learned harris has told confidants she feels constrained in what she's able to do. there was a satirical headline from "the onion" that goes, white house urges kamala harris to sit at computer all day in case emails come through. of course it's not that bad. but on the other side of things, you have west wing staffers who say they are completely
exasperated, throwing up their hands at what they perceive as some of harris' awkward mistakes, including some cringy answers on israel and the border crisis. there is also the belief that harris' staff has repeatedly failed her and left her exposed. i am joined by a cnn reporter. let's begin with what's going on with harris' office. what's with all the finger-pointing behind the scenes? as i was describing it to somebody, this is what political reporting was like when we were on earth 1 before donald trump came along. sometimes this goes on behind the scenes so it's not too surprising that it's happening now. >> the particular situation here is that kamala harris is perceived as someone who is likely to be running for president in the future. why is she perceived that way? she's run in the past, she's the incumbent vice president. also, joe biden will be 82 years old in 2024. he says he's running for president for re-election.
but if that doesn't turn out to be the way that things go, she could be running for president in a year. and she could be on the ballot herself, if not as the presidential nominee, as biden's runningmate, again, needing to validate to be saying to the country keep me empowered till i'm 86 years old. there's a lot of political weight on her for that. she is the first woman in this position, the first woman of color in this position. and the pressure to see her wanting to see her succeed and get out. >> and this piece which we should, again, mention, sourced why by dozens of people. there are these rumors that biden could replace her. that sounds very far-fetched. but when the poll numbers get like they are right now inside the white house, i know this from covering the obama administration and the trump administration, people start talking about all sorts of
things. >> yeah. and, as i said, this is an aaron sorkin-style rumor that biden could appoint her to the supreme court and then pick someone else to be his runningmate going into 2024. is that likely to happen? no. but it's the kind of thing that's going around in circles because there is such a sense of frantic panic. you see a poll that came out last week that had biden at his lowest numbers yet but had kamala harris ten points below that. she was at 28%. that means that there is a real problem that she has. when you get to those sorts of numbers, that means that the base of voters is draining away from her. and that's a problem that she's going to have to deal with and a problem that the biden administration is going to have to deal with if they want things to be better. >> why is harris or people around harris, why do they feel like she's being sidelined in some way? >> one of the best examples of
the way that this has come through is joe biden was given the assignment to deal with the northern triangle diplomacy by barack obama. he then gave that to kamala harris thinking this is the job i had as vice president. it's a serious thing, that will get you involved in this diplomacy. but one of the differences here is that given how toxic politically the border situation has become and anything related to it, it's a losing issue politically, it seems like to almost everybody who's looking at it. and for harris -- >> they've given her the least popular -- in some cases. >> there's a big difference about how barack obama saw him as probably never going to run for president versus how kamala harris is going to run for president again. >> and there's also frustration on the harris team that the west wing will leap to the defense of other members of the administration but not her. we can put this up on screen. one former kamala harris aide told you it's hard to miss the specific energy that the white house brings to defend a white
man. is that about pete buttigieg? >> it is about him. if you specifically remember in september when it became public buttigieg had taken paternity leave, he was attacked by fox news, by a lot of right-wing twitter trolls. and the white house leapt to his defense. now, why did they leap to his defense? number one, there's nothing wrong with taking paternity leave. number two, they are trying to get paternity leave through congress. but it speaks to the sense of this frantic panic that is among the harris loyalists where they look at this and say, oh, so you'll back up pete buttigieg, what about when we need cover? there is a time where harris has created problems for herself and there are times when she's been attacked in completely ridiculous ways. when she was in france last week, she said "the plan." and suddenly it was like she was making a fake french accent. >> i personally did not understand that, and i thought it was one of the goofiest
controversies that we've spoken about. >> i've taken a lot of french classes in my life. that far doesn't sound like any french accent. >> but it goes to what she is enduring right now in this position where all of the spotlight is on her should she decide to run for president. i mean, this is to be expected. isaac, great reporting as always. thank you so much. good talking to you. joining me now to talk about this, washington bureau chief and white house correspondent, along with a "usa today" columnist and senior political analyst for cnn. she is also the author of the new book "saving grace: speak your truth and stay centered and learn to co-exist with people who drive you nuts." [ laughter ] can i just say, you know -- there's a part of me that wants to say welcome to the nfl and it's not just because my washington team just won and beat the bucs. what is with -- are they just a little too sensitive?
and i know i'm going to get, you know, in trouble for saying this, a little too sensitive inside kamala harris' team to be concerned about all of this, or is this to be expected when the poll numbers are where they are and there's a lot of finger-pointing? >> this has happened before, but the sensitivity is warranted because, look, you have the biden/harris administration that came into this white house with the idea of being transformational. and ten months in where is the transformation? you have the asian hate bill that's passed. you also have, um, juneteenth. now ten months later you have infrastructure. but president biden when he was running as president talked about transformation, talked about race. and part of the issue kamala harris like barack obama can never divorce herself from politics and race. that's one thing. some of this is racial.
let's go there, i said it, that's it. now let's move on. the optics of it, she does not look as effective as a vice president standing behind him. joe biden, when he was vice president of barack obama was standing arm in arm. there is a different relational aspect there. >> different vibe. >> very different vibe. is there a connection? are there two separate, i guess, wings of the white house, if you will, beyond the east wing and the west wing? is there the vice presidential wing versus the president's wing? yes, there is. when the issue of haiti came out, she made a ruckus about it. it wasn't taken seriously. she's also talked to people -- >> so some of this is real? >> some of this is real. she's also talked to activists who are out there about voting rights. the president doesn't want to deal with the issue of the filibuster right now. and every time i ask the question, you can see the consternation in the room from the press office.
>> a former high-level harris aide told the white house they're consistently sending her out there on losing issues in the wrong situations for her skillset. have they done that a little bit here with kamala harris? i mean, putting her in charge of the border stuff is not going to enamor her to a whole lot of people. >> joe biden has no interest in seeing her fail. that doesn't really make sense. i have felt that the media has played a disproportionate amount of attention to the mistakes that she makes than they have to vice presidents in the past. >> the silliness about what she was saying in france? >> the truth is i can't remember ever talking about vice presidents as much as we talk about her. but it really is -- there is an
overfocus on her that i do think is a result of gender and race. and i think that that's what that's about. so i think she's getting, in that sense, an unfair shake. one of the things what you were just talking about i think about where she's sort of standing behind him instead of next to him, i wonder if that's not because he feels like there is this story line about him that he's this doddering old fool that can't do anything and she's just there to help him figure out what to do. that's really a story line that the right has pushed. >> which is bologna, by the way. >> it's bologna, obviously. but it's idea that he's too old and doesn't know what's going on. so it's this idea that he has to look completely in charge, and that makes it different for him to do maybe the equal partner thing. >> but it makes it difficult for her to look like she's operating from a stance of strength. there are so many major women in the democratic party who have
expressed concern about that. and i'm told that they have told the white house about that. the optics are not on the side of kamala harris to stand in a stance of strength. >> i also feel like they hide her quite a bit. >> they do. >> why isn't she out doing interviews. she's just not -- for as much as kirsten said the spotlight's on her quite a bit. >> i don't think she is. she should be crisscrossing america right now helping the president educate people on the infrastructure bill. but what doesn't help is the president himself when he was talking about the passage of the infrastructure bill at the time that he was getting ready to sign, he says, this lady right here, she is the vice president of the united states, she's not just the lady. she is the second in command. when al gore used to say when he was vice president, she is your co-worker. so it's time for her to step up because the time is winding down. >> well, i think -- look, i hope
that the white house is watching and that they're listening to what april is saying because it's something that they need to be concerned about, you know, whether they think it's real or not if there is a perception by people that she's being treated disrespectfully, they need to pay attention to that because that's -- >> it is not the winning picture. >> that's an important thing. look, we can say there's always been this kind of infighting between presidents and vice president staff, no question. but it is a different situation when you add in the fact of the historical nature of her vice presidency, it does change the dynamics a little bit. >> he brought her in because he was expected to be that transformational person, especially when it came to race. people were looking at george floyd. remember that? and right after that, all of the frenzy about george floyd. she was named vice president and won the ticket. and now look what's happening. >> well, let's talk about the polls because winning cures everything, and the poll
numbers -- and poll numbers are poll numbers, they go up, they go down. >> but they pay attention to them. >> the cnn polls right now, 45% approve, 52% disapprove. it was not that high in the "washington post" poll that came out this morning. what do you think, april? or do you think this is just the finger pointing that comes from this polling is just as bad as it is? >> they are trying to figure out what to do next because you never want to be that administration that doesn't have a chance at a second term. so they are trying to fix this not only for a second term but for the party. this administration came in because they wanted to fix what was happening with donald trump. now they've got to fix their internal mechanisms. and, trust me, they are watching everything that's being written,
watching everything that's being said. they are taking the pulse of america with these polls. they are trying to fix it. the question is when will it be fixed? >> and, kirsten, i do want to point this out because according to this new "washington post"/abc news poll, the majority of americans support the main points of biden's legislative agenda. it's pretty striking from the infrastructure bill to spending the $2 trillion social economic climate package. but a majority of americans did isapprove how he's handling his job as president. what's going on? that's a problem. >> i think it goes to a lot of confusion around the process because it's been so dragged out. and, so, yes we support it but do we even know what's in the bill? and build back better still needs to be passed. there are a lot of things that they have to sort of sort through with this. but i do want to say that, just to kind of bring this back down to, you know, earth, it's been one year that biden's been
president. and democrats are already freaking out. and it is accurate the democrats are freaking out, and freaking out about the stuff, whether it's about kamala harris or joe biden. and there is time, this is not -- it's not that, like, everything has to be sorted out. i'm not saying there's nothing to be concerned about. i'm just saying this kind of idea that we already know what's going to happen in 2024 -- >> or even 2022. >> but in terms of, you know, who's going to be the candidate, are they setting her up to fail, are they afraid she's going to be a breakout star? i mean, look -- >> honestly, if donald trump becomes the nominee for the republican party in 2024, which people say it will never happen. i don't know if there's anybody out there besides joe biden who could beat donald trump. isaac's reporting is all well and good, it's great reporting, but this notion that, oh, joe biden's not going to be here in 2024, i don't know if that's necessarily going to be --
>> so that's what i'm saying all this sort of gaming out and panicking. i think it's more important, though, in the near term to listen to what april is saying about the concerns about how people feel that she's being treated. >> but not only that. it's the optics, the concerns, but there's also a messaging issue with this administration. they were talking about infrastructure, the president was just in baltimore, at the port of baltimore wednesday. the port of baltimore does not have congestion. they have rail, they have the port, and they have trucks. that port could help unhinge the chink in the chain for causing the supply chain to deal with inflation. the president did not even talk about that. he was there as the sun was setting, no lights, and didn't even talk about that. the messaging is off. they are missing some of the crucial pieces that could help them. >> any chance you miss a chance
to praise the city of baltimore is an opportunity missed. i agree. [ laughter ] >> the great city of baltimore. >> thank you so much. coming up, all the president's memos, another memo from another trump attorney outlining how former vice president mike pence could've overturn the election results. that as we're getting brand new audio of trump recertifying the election. ♪ ♪ ♪ i jump up on the stage ♪ ♪ and do my money dance ♪ ♪ i throw some money up ♪ ♪ and watch the money land ♪ ♪ i do my, i do my i do my money dance ♪ move your student loan debt to sofi - you could save with low rates and no fees. earn a $500 bonus when you refi... and get your money right. ♪ i do my money dance ♪ [gaming sounds]
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with a full exam and x-rays, with no obligation. if you don't have insurance, it's free. plus everyone saves 20% on their treatment plan with flexible payment solutions for every budget. we're here making smiles shine bright so you can start the new year feelin' alright. call 1-800-aspendental or book today at aspendental.com another batch of shocking but not surprising new trump audio shows just how heavily he was leaning on then vice president mike pence to overturn the 2020 election. abc news spoke to trump in march. here's part of their conversation about pence and january 6th. >> there was a report, and excuse my language, not mine, it was in the report, that you talked to him that morning and you said you could be a patriot or you can be a [ bleep ].
did you really say that, or is that incorrect? >> i wouldn't dispute it. >> really? >> he did the wrong thing. he's a very nice man. i like him a lot. i like his family so much. but he did -- it was a terrible, it was a tragic mistake. >> but the pressure campaign went far beyond trump bullying. a plan to nullify the vote from six states and hand trump a stolen win. then white house chief of staff mark meadows sent that memo to mike pence's top aide on new year's eve. here to discuss this is a cnn political analyst and famed watergate analyst. great to have you back on. what do you think of all these trump comments? again, you know, not too surprising. >> not surprising. i think there's a lot more
inv involved than trump's comments. i think what we are seeing in these memos particularly are blueprints for a coup. the actual blueprints in document form in which the president of the united states, through his chief of staff, is sending to mike pence's staff a blueprint to overturn an election, a blueprint for a conspiracy led by a president of the united states to result in an authoritarian coup in which the election is stolen. we've never had anything in our history like this. these are the actual documents that show what was going on. but we need a lot more. we need a complete and thorough narrative of everything that donald trump did and said, especially on january 5th and 6th, to undermine the constitution of the united states and to go ahead with the
coup that would have resulted in the most grievous undermining of our constitution in the history of the united states. and already the fact that he did what he did shows that he engaged in the most grievous conduct by a president of the united states in our history. >> no question, not only was it unpresidential, it was unamerican. but let's talk about this scheme. she's one of these low-level, you know, trump attorneys who is floating around putting all these bad ideas in trump's ears during the election and january 6th. it sounds a little bit like the john eastman memo, slightly different than that one, but it sounds like they were weighing multiple coup options. do we have to draw people a picture? it's more evidence, it almost sounds like there was a conspiracy. >> of course there was a
conspiracy. it was a conspiracy led by the president of the united states to overturn the duly elected president, incoming president of the united states, joe biden, by thwarting the electoral college process, by making it -- >> how is that not -- >> let me -- well, let's not jump too fast. it's a constitutional crime. it may also be a criminal act in which an ordinary citizen would be tried and convicted and jailed. but i think we need to keep our eye on the bigger picture here. we know that trump tried to overturn the election through lies and through actual acts to inhibit the count of the vote, to keep the electoral college from casting its votes. that's what these memos are about. they show multiple attempts and blueprints how to manipulate the
process in such a way that there would not be a free election in this country for the president of the united states. but now we have two things going on. we have this committee in the house of representatives to investigate what happened in the so-called insurrection on january 6th. and that is what these documents are related to. and we have one year until, in all likelihood, that the republicans take over the house of representatives and try to shut down this investigation. we have one year to find out what happened in this most grievous act by a president of the united states since the civil war. and it's up to the press particularly. we know that these acts occurred and we know that donald trump is engaged in a massive cover-up through executive privilege and other instruments to keep us from finding out what he did to
do this illegal, unconstitutional, authoritarian act such as we've never seen. >> yeah. it almost -- >> we in the media need to use this year and make our basic task to find out what he did, how he did it, everything that happened. and there are people around vice president pence, as we're seeing in these memos, who are really angry at how trump tried to use pence to facilitate this coup. and, so, we have a year, it's a long time for both the congress and the press to show the american people absolutely whatever the facts are where they lay what happened here. because this is an undermining of our democracy such as we've never seen. >> i couldn't agree more. could not agree more. before we let you go, though, i have to get your take on some recent comments from former trump national security adviser michael flynn, who is also
facing a january 6th subpoena. it was alleged at one point that he was talking about marshall law, of all things, with donald trump, to try to overturn this election. but these are some other comments that flynn was making about religion over the weekend. let's take a look. >> we are going to have one nation under god, which we must, we have to have one religion, one nation under god and one religion under god. >> carl, and to think this is donald trump's first national security adviser, it's just shameful. >> it's not a question of shameful. it's a question of let's look at the kind of people who came into donald trump's orbit and became the most influential around him. let's look at rudy giuliani. let's look at mike flynn. let's look at these people who are saying out loud things that have never been said by an aide or close associates of the
president of the united states. it's so stupifyng to think that we had a president of the united states that would entertain these fools and dangerous authoritarian figures. that's what we need to look at the big picture. donald trump looked for people to facilitate his authoritarian impulse, both as the president and as the unelected next president to use a coup to stay in office. that's what he did. that's what the instruments are these people, whether it's flynn, whether it's giuliani, whether it's ellis, whether it's all of these lawyers that he gathered around. he engaged in a conspiracy in which he said to these people find me a way to stay in office, i will do anything to stay in office. we now need to find all of these
blueprints, we're starting to get them, it should be a surprise to no one that michael flynn is saying the kind of things that he is saying. but what's mostly significant here is that much of the republican party, both the officials in the republican party and voters, the 48, 50% of the voters who believe in donald trump and trumpism, many of them, something like 35% in exit polls, have said that they favor trump and trumpism because christianity is being taken away from them. so, michael flynn is not that far away from huge numbers of people in this country. you've heard me say many times we're in civil war in this country. and right now secessionists, these republicans are winning the civil war. it's a little much to think, oh,
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we have news of yet another violent incident on a commercial airliner. a southwest airlines employee was hospitalized yesterday after a female passenger verbalry and physically assaulted an operations agent in dallas. the incident happened shortly after the passenger boarded a flight to new york. local law enforcement took the passenger off the plane and into custody. southwest says the employee was released from the hospital last
night and is resting at home. now to what's happening in california where drivers are paying more than $4.67 a gallon, a new state record. cnn's natasha chen joins us now from los angeles. i can see some of those gas prices behind you. californians cannot be too happy about this. tell us what the latest is out there. >> reporter: californians have not paid this much for gas since 2012. and if you look at the sign behind me, no matter what type of gas you're trying to buy here, it's more than $5 a gallon. and the $5.09, that's if you pay cash. and with a credit card it's more. this is what we're seeing across the region, across the state. california does have an issue with some refineries, and northern california not being up to full capacity because of some severe weather recently. but the thing that drivers in this state share with everyone else in the u.s. is just really high crude oil prices, a seven-year high.
and if you look at this tweet and graph from gas buddy, a site, an app that tracks gas prices reported by drivers, you'll see that we have never had a year-over-year increase like this before. in april, 66% increase. we really haven't seen anything like that kind of spike since 2010. and right now, you know, in talking to aa spokesperson, we're also hearing about the mentality of people who have been cooped up throughout the pandemic and are really wanting to get out there and travel. here's what he said. >> the demand for travel really is huge right now not just for this holiday season. but according to aaa travel advisers, all 2022 is expected to be a very busy time for travel. our best advice is if you are planning to travel soon, go ahead and book right away because there are steal some deals and lower prices as well as availability that's out there now that's going to go very
fast. >> reporter: it's not just high demand. the oil production in the u.s. is 14% lower than at the end of 2019. oil companies aren't drilling the same way they used to. our cnn business colleagues report that's because shareholders are demanding these companies cut back on costs and there's been quite a reckoning of environmental impacts of fossil fuels, jim. >> all right, natasha chen, thanks so much for staying on top of that. we appreciate it. up next, protesters in cuba are gearing up for peaceful demonstrations tomorrow as the u.s. threatens further sanctions. we'll take you to havana, cuba, next. ♪ there are beautiful ideas that remain in the dark. but with our new multi-cloud experience, you have the flexibility you need
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♪ i had a dream that someday ♪ ♪ i would just fly, fly away ♪ secretary of state antony blinken is voicing support today for opposition protesters in cuba who were planning to hold peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations tomorrow. cnn's patrick oppman joins us now in havana. patrick, tell us more about what's happening in terms of how the cuban government is handling these expected demonstrations. it sounds like tensions are already ramping up. >> absolutely, jim. tensions are as high as i can ever really remember in the ten years i lived here. after those unprecedented widespread protests we saw in july, people calling for better economic conditions and freedom, a group of opposition activists
tried something never been done before. they requested the right to protest in cities across this island. they were denied in every one of those petitions by the cuban government the right to protest. still people say that they will go out tomorrow on the 15th of november and exercise what they say is their right to peacefully protest. it does not appear the government is going to let that happen. they, as they always do, call people who think differently than the communist government. they say those people are mercenaries and traitors. we've already seen one opposition activist, a man who i just interviewed, who was against the u.s. embargo, his house in havana is now surrounded by police. his supporters say he has had his communications cut off, there are a crowd of pro-government supporters who are not allowing him to leave his house. he is essentially under siege
right now. there are other accounts of people who had planned to go out and protest facing similar type situations. others say they will go ahead and put themselves at risk and try to make their voices heard. it is unclear how the government will react if people do go out and take to the streets tomorrow. >> and we remember those clashes that we saw over the summer, patrick. these were some of the most violent clashes i've ever seen on video in cuba. i mean, in years. so obviously this is something that the united states is going to be closely watching. the secretary of state tony blinken making it clear the u.s. will be watching the biden administration will be on top of this. patrick oppman, thanks so much for that report. we appreciate it. coming up next, the queen pulling out of yet another event. we'll go live to london, next. l. get kicked by a horse. scurvy. plan today. feel comfortable about tomorrow. massmutual.
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it was supposed to be her first public appearance in weeks, but a sprained back forced queen elizabeth to pull out of a remembrance service today, paying tribute to britain's war dead. kate, thanks so much for being with us again. this is perplexing. the queen has been out of the public eye since mid-october. what more do we know? >> yes, it's very significant, jim. she really did want to be here for the veterans commemoration, both because she's head of the armed forces in britain and also because she has served in world war ii. she likes to be there for the veterans. it is very meaningful that she wasn't able to attend last minute. we understand it was a back strain. that was the reason being given by the palace, unconnected to the previous reasons why she'd had to cancel engagements, we
haven't seen her publicly since mid-october. she went to the hospital for the first time in eight years. she's been doing zoom calls and been seeing her driving around. but in terms of public engagements this was to be the first. so clearly she is -- she does have back pain, she does have some strain. and let's hope that she manages to get the rest over the next few weeks so we can see her out and about doing engagements once more in early december. >> and the season finale of the cnn original series "diana" airs tonight which looks at how princen diana's death impacted billions of people around the world. >> the news came through directly to paris to our ambassador. i think charles was in absolute shock that this had happened. he felt immediately for his sons obviously, and there was personal grief as well. this is a woman he had loved. but there was also this feeling,
oh, my god, i am going to get blamed for this. >> the marriage was over, but he still felt a huge obligation towards her, mainly in the shape of his sons who were sleeping just a few yards away. >> the queen and prince charles got up and talked together, discussed whether they should tell the boys. and i think quite rightly charles decided that what's the point of waking up the boys right now? we don't know the truth of it it. >> we'll wait till the morning. he chose, i believe, to talk to william first, his eldest, which is understandable. and together they went and told prince harry, who was just 12. >> looks very interesting. kate, we'll all be tuning in. kate williams, thanks so much for being with us again. we appreciate it. great to see you. and be sure to tune in. the final episode of "diana" airs tonight at 9:00. and the top ten heroes of cnn
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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com ♪ you are live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm jim acosta in washington. we begin this hour with a cnn exclusive, a vice president who is telling confidants she feels, quote, constrained as tensions build between her office and that of president biden. cnn spoke to nearly three dozen current and former aides to kamala harris, democratic operatives, donors and outside advisers for this report. and members of harris' inner circle tell us she's being sidelined and set up to fail instead of being positioned to be a future president. but on the other side of things you have west wing staffers who say they are completely exasperated, throwing up their hands believing harris' staff doesn't serve her well, and frustrated by what they perceive to be awkward answers on her part of israel and the borde
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