tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN July 15, 2022 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
and it's the top of the hour on cnn newsroom, i'm alisyn camerota. >> i'm victor blackwell. just into cnn, the georgia district attorney investigating efforts to overturn the state's 2020 election now says the chairman of the georgia republican party could be indicted. >> sources tell cnn that gop chairman, david shaffer was warned about this in a letter about his possible indictment. cnn's sara murray has all of this new reporting for us. what have you learned. >> reporter: my colleagues and i are learning that david shaffer, the republican party chairman in georgia received what is known as a target letter from the fulton county district attorney's office, investigating the efforts that donald trump and his allies made to overturn the election, trying to figure out if anything is criminal. the letter says you are a target of the investigation. it's possible you will be indicted as part of the inquiry. this is important because it's the first target letter that we
are learning of. obviously we know that she has a very wide ranging investigation. she's looking into a bunch of different facets of the effort to overturn the election. shaffer was important because he was one of the people who served as a pro trump fake elector in georgia. he organized the slate of alternate electors there, and he had been cooperated with prosecutors as part of this probe. he was initially told, we were told by sources that he was initially viewed as a witness in this investigation. obviously now this is changing. look, we know she is in the investigative phase of this pr probe. she has a special grand jury seated. this is an indication that she is serious about potentially bringing in indictments in this case, whether it will stem, you know, whether david shaffer could actually face an indictment. we don't know whether it will go further than him. it's clear she's chugging ahead down in georgia. >> sathank you for that breakin news. there are new developments in the january 6th investigation. in a cnn exclusive, we are
learning that the committee investigating the insurrection plans to question secret service officials about deleted text messa messages from the day of the capitol riot and the day before. >> our capitol hill team saw the homeland security inspector general on his way to meet with the committee. his watchdog agencies sent a letter accusing the secret service of erasing text messages shortly after it requested it. the secret service is denying it deleted texts maliciously. k katelyn polantz joining us, what is the secret service saying about all of this? >> this is the house select committee trying to get to the bottom of what caught their attention earlier this week with plans now to ask secret service officials what was happening here if policies are being or were being followed in that agency, so the dhs watchdog has been doing its own separate
investigation into january 6th. the house select committee obviously is still confirming details about what secret service members may have witnessed around then president donald trump. two days ago is when the inspector general first communicated this allegation of erased secret service text messages from january 5th and 6th 6th, 2021, to capitol hill. all nine members received a long briefing from the ig today. after that briefing, here's what representative bennie thompson had to say. >> now that we have the ig's view of what has happened, we now need to talk to the secret service and our expectation is to reach out to them directly. one of the things we have to make sure is that what secret service is saying and what the ig is saying that those two issues are, in fact, one in the same, and so now that we have it, we'll ask for the physical
information. and we'll make a decision ourselves. >> so thompson there is highlighting confusion about what really happened. the inspector general did put out this information to several congressional committees that text messages were erased, they were frustrated with some of the responses to their requests for information, and nthen the secrt service said in a statement, that none of the texts the inspector general sought had been lost in the data migration. it's a complicated situation. it's still unfolding. right now there's this activity we're seeing on capitol hill, and it is creating a concern for congress and the ig at this time. >> tell us what you've also learned about the committee possibly wanting to interview former president trump and vice president pence. >> right, so this is something we've heard before. the committee appears to be revisiting this again this week. do they want to seek information from donald trump directly, from mike pence directly, two spat
people had very different views on january 6th, and what we know is that representative adam kinzinger told the "wall street journal" yesterday that they could subpoena pence, they could also ask pence for written testimony, like a written interview. they also are still considering potentially subpoenaing donald trump, but one thing to point out here is that if the committee were to go this way, it would not be simple. this is the sort of request that would bring up lots of questions about executive privilege and of course we've already heard quite a lot from pence's top advisers about what he was thinking, and donald trump has never been keen on sharing exactly what he witnessed and knew under oath. >> katelyn polantz, thank you for the reporting. >> let's bring in elie honig, we also have joe walsh a former republican congressman from illinois and paige pate, a constitutional law expert, and a criminal defense attorney. paige, i want to start with you
because you are in georgia where we've just gotten this report that this atlanta area d.a. has sent a target letter to the gop party chair there. why alert someone that they are the target of an investigation. what's the point of this letter? >> alisyn, that's a great question, and i'll tell you specifically in this case is because fonny willis previously told david shaffer he was a witness in the investigation. if you're going to change the status of subpoena you may subpoena to go in front of the grand jury, it is incumbent upon you as a prosecutor to be fair about it, let them know, you're not just a witness any longer, you have become apparently over the past couple of months, a target of this investigation now. so it's really out of fairness to the potential witness. >> so ele of course that's suggest they found something that justified the elevation from just a witness to a potential target. what does this letter suggest about the progress of this
special grand jury investigation? >> well, victor, this is a major development in this case, and in this investigation. prosecutors do sometimes notify a person you've now become a target, and what that means is that prosecutors have compelling evidence linking that person to commission of a crime and that they believe that person is a pudtive defendant, meaning at this point, a likely defendant. paige is absolutely right. one of the reasons you notify somebody they've become a target is out of a sense of fair play, to let that person get represented if they need to so they don't incriminate themselves so they have a sense of what might be coming and another reason you do that strategically is you try to flip somebody. you want to send a message that hey, an indictment could be coming your way and it may be in your interest to come in and talk to us. this is a really important, and i think telling step forward in this investigation. >> joe, there's that development in georgia, and also developments in the january 6th investigation, one of them being
that the inspector general for the department of homeland security says the secret service deleted some texts around january 6th and january 5th. so around the capitol riot, and the secret service seems to have explained it by saying we were going through a device upgrade, but, i mean, as i pointed out, i have gotten a new cell phone since then but all my text messages are still there, so obviously there's some questions that need to be answered here. >> secret service agents are supposed to physically protect a president. they aren't supposed to politically protect a president. and this erased e-mails from the day before and january 6th just adds to the smell that there was a weird political loyalty that these secret service agents might have had for donald trump, and you add that to the secret service agents who contradicted
cassidy hutchinson's story about what trump did in the limo. but they refuse to go under oath to give that testimony. this is adding to the secret service really needs to be looked into, and their allegiances and loyalty here really need to be questioned. >> elie staying with the january 6th committee, we heard from katelyn polantz, revisiting the idea of trying to get testimony from the former president, former vice president and written responses, that's an option here. are there pitfalls specifically of trying to get those answers on paper instead of in person? >> yeah, victor, you're not going to get much out of a person like mike pence in responses. in all likelihood all the committee would get back from that is a bunch of lawyered up, noncommittal responses. think back to the mueller investigation, when that team decided not to subpoena donald trump, but instead to send him a bunch of written questions which
then came back weeks or months later w a bunch of lawyerly, may or may not. i think that's fairly useless. i think the committee is serious about getting information from mike pence, they ought to consider subpoenaing for him. if not, trying to negotiate some live testimony. otherwise it's just not going to advance the cause of truth much. >> but, i mean, in fairness. paige, don't they have to ask vice president pence and former president trump about these questions that -- i mean, they're central figures here. don't they have to ask them even if they get useless answers? >> well, i don't think they have to, but i certainly think it would be a good idea. what's the worst that can happen? they can refuse to answer these questions. they could not get information as elie suggested, just general lawyer speak, that type of stuff. i think asking the question, giving them that opportunity. pressing them to come forward and to present the other side, if there is another side. we've apparently seen president trump sending messages to people
saying, look, it should be fair. you know, there should be equal time. well, come on in, you know, i think that makes sense to let the american people hear whatever it is they have to say and compare it to the evidence that we've heard so far. >> congressman, the reporting from new york magazine also cnn, is it the only question that former president trump has to answer about a 2024 run is when to announce, before the midterms, after the midterms, we know from mcconnell and mccarthy that their focus is going to be the economy. how does this upset that apple card? >> well, first off, if it were up to trump, he would have announced a year ago. they have been holding him back. he will announce before the midterms. republicans aren't happy about that. i don't think democrats should get ahead of themselves, and think that trump announcing is going to help them because voters aren't concerned about that.
i actually believe he's going to announce before the midterms and because he wants to claim credit for any potential victory in november, and make it all about him. >> joe, i've been reading your tweets where you say that what you've learned is that a large swath of americans like a strong man as a leader. they want to be led. i mean, there's just a truism i think in that. it's not just americans, and so do you think that president trump has been weakened by the january 6th, in other words, do you think it will be met with as much enthusiasm as it would have without the january 6th committee? >> i actually do, alisyn. look, i was a republican my whole left. i left two years ago because the party has become author itarian. i spoke to trump supporters every day. they're not bothered by anything donald trump did regarding january 6th.
they aren't. the only ones who question whether he should be the nominee, they question it because they worry that all of this stuff might make it more difficult for him to win. but i have no doubt if he comes out and announces, i still don't believe many people will challenge him in the republican party because sadly, i think the party is still his. >> all right. joe walsh, elie honig, paige pate, thank you. just in to cnn, president biden is going to deliver remarks in just a few minutes, 3:30, so 17 minutes from now. after his meeting with the saudi crown prince. we'll bring that to you live when it happens. to be healthier, knowledge is everything. steps. calories. exercise minutes. because proven quality sleep is vital to our health and wellness, only the sleep number 360 smsmart bed keeps you cool, then s senses and effortlessly adjusts for your best sleep. and tells you exactly how well you slept, with yoyour sleepiq score.
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tnchts today, officials in ohio announced the autopsy results of the police shooting death of jayland walker. the medical examiner determined that the 25-year-old had 46 gunshot or graze wounds to his body and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. >> he was killed running away unarmed from police after an alleged traffic violation. walker's funeral was wednesday. the department of justice says their civil rights division, the u.s. attorney's office and the fbi field office in akron are all closely reviewing the circumstances of walker's death. the tops supermarket in buf buffalo, new york, where a gunman killed ten people has been renovated today. >> it includes extra security members and a memorial to honor the victims. my next guest lost her great
niece, sorry, lost her aunt, pearl young, and her cousin marcus morrison in the tops supermarket shooting. michelle spite is now here with us. thank you so much for being here. how do you feel today about the supermarket reopening? >> there is an exhilarating feeling and a mere rad of emotions. exhi exhilarately exhausted. >> that's a paradox, and i totally understand that. you have mixed emotions, are you comfortable with it reopening? >> i am extremely uncomfortable. i am angry. i am appalled at the methodology and the way that this all transpired. i'm just appalled by it, to be perfectly honest with you. >> what part? >> the part that is appalling is that i'm not able to wrap my head around how a massacre like
this could have happened, you know, at the hands of this white supremacist. beyond that, how tops has been making unilateral decisions in my eyes, how you don't bring to the table the very people that were impacted, the victims' families to say, what are your thoughts, how do you feel. what do you feel should be our mode of apperendi, that is baffling to me. >> if they had brought you to the table, what would you have told them. >> i would have told them, it takes space, time and healing, and it takes an alternative plan. the quick fix so many times in our communes, especially communities of color is let's just fix it and get on with business as usual. we need to be able to process things. we need to be able to come up with a strategic plan to
eradicate this from ever happening again. and what that looks like is options. this was the only supermarket, granted. there are people in the community that desperately need a super market. also understood. but what i do not understand is how we put a bandage over a permanent problem. we should have had many conversations, which did not just include top heavy, you know, political officials or community leaders but it should have been held with the members of the very community, the members that live in that zip code. the family members whose families were, you know, were victims. that should have been the tone of the conversation. and it did not go that way and it's disturbing. >> i hear you. you wanted to be involved:. you wanted your voice to be heard, as you point out, that neighborhood is considered a food desert, and people did rely on that supermarket. and so for the people in the community, you know, many, we've
heard did want it to reopen. i'll play for you what the mayor said at the reopening ceremony, and get you to respond. >> most people in the community, while they were in pain and trauma over what happened here felt it was important for the store to open. this is a loving, strong and resilient community that hate will not win, and we will turn this tragedy into a triumph that will be seen by the entire nation and the entire world. >> what's your response, michelle? >> my response is first of all, i really am a fan of mayor brown. i have challenged the fact that i would like to know who most people are. did you do a community survey to find most people. did you survey the persons that live in that zip code to find out their input. and like i said, at the
forefront of that was the family ever involved in it. not only is it the store reopening, you know, one of grandeur for television, but we also have to look at the fact that when people walk through the thresholds of that door, even beyond that, when they come on to that parking lot, that's traumatic, just being around in the neighborhood. that happens to be my supermarket. so i'm passionate about it. i don't live in the suburbs. i'm not an official who is removed from the community. i live there. but can i tell you, i cannot even go down jefferson by that street. i make an absolute detour not to even go near it. it is extremely traumatizing. i would like to submit to that, who exactly were the people that were really really happy. i know we have, you know, a quorum of those that are, you know, on social media and on television happy, but what really is at the seat of that. at the seat of that are victims' families that are daily trying
to make it. >> yeah. michelle, thank you very much for all of your thoughts and sharing them with us. we understand how traumatic today and all of these days have been for your family and the community there, and we'll speak to you again. thank you so much for being here. >> thank you for having me. president biden is going to deliver remarks in just a few minutes after his meeting with the saudi king, crown prince, other leaders there in the kingdom. we'll bring that to you when it happens. my a1c stayed here, it needed to be here. ruby's a1c is down with rybelsus®. my a1c wasn't at goal, now i'm down with rylsus®. mom's a1c is down withybelsus®. (♪ ♪) in a clinical study, once-daily rybelsus® significantly lowered a1c better than a leading branded pill. rybelsus® isn't for people with type 1 diabetes.
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we're just getting this in. president biden has just wrapped up a meeting with saudi leaders. crown prince mohammed bin salmon was part of the meeting. this face-to-face lasted more than two hours. the president will speak in just a couple of minutes. we'll bring that to you live as you look at the podium there. the president called saudi arabia a pariah state during the campaign, and in 2018, passed a resolution, condemning mohammed bin salmon for the murder of "washington post" journalist, jamal khashoggi. >> let's bring in cnn's wolf
blitzer, and phil mattingly. of course you have covered several administrations, what's the significance of an impromptu event like this? >> you're absolutely right. it was not on the previous schedule the president would make remarks and bring in reporters, hear what he has to say and maybe even answer a few questions. clearly the president wants to make a statement about what emerged from this very important meeting from the saudi leadership. what emerged on the issue of oil, for example, did he get a commitment to increase oil production and perhaps reduce the cost of gasoline in the united states. certainly he's going to speak a little bit, i'm sure, about what we all know that the issue of jamal khashoggi came up during this meeting. i assume he's going to tell us how that played out with the saudis, what concerns he raised, and how the saudis reacted. and finally, let's see what he says about this u.s. effort that's intensifying in recent weeks to try to encourage the
saudis to normalize relations with israel along the lines of what some other arab countries have done, the united arab emirates and bahrain. let's see if they made any progress on that front with saudi arabia and israel. that would be very significant, if he emerges from these talks and announces that, yes, the saudis are committed to doing so. we shall see. >> yeah, we'll see in a couple of minutes exactly what was discussed, but going into the meeting, phil, was there a list? is there a framework of what a win is for the white house in this meeting with the saudis? >> reporter: you know, it's tough to design here. without question, a driving force behind the decision to have this meeting at all was the idea that the u.s. was pressuring the saudi and other persian gulf countries to ramp up their oil production. u.s. officials have been very clear, they don't expect specific numbers coming out of this meeting. their hope is leading into the next opec plus meeting that's where you'll start to get a
sense of what the agreement has been or what commitments have been made by saudi officials here. to wolf's point, going into the meeting, you have to keep in mind, there were months of meetings, mostly in riyadh with top u.s. officials laying the ground work for this day, laying the ground work for these bilateral meetings, and there will likely be according to officials i have been speaking to agreements on what wolf was just talking about, trying to move saudi closer in terms of its relationship with israel. the integration in the region, a dynamic and changing region over the course of the last several years on areas like climate and technology, 5g, 6g, those issues will all be issues that come up. wolf hits on a key point. here. you are showing the pictures of the video when the president walked in and fist bumped the crown prince. the saudis have gotten everything they wanted out of that moment. that was a moment that was largely dictated by the saudi press agency because u.s. reporters either weren't near where the fist bump occurred or the bilateral meetings. we couldn't get a boom mic near
the them. they didn't answer questions. we continue hear what the leaders were saying. everything they wanted about the visit, the legitimacy of the crown prince, future king of the country trying to get the americans to acknowledge that the relationship has moved back to a different place than it has been since 2018 in the murder of jamal khashoggi, they got that, and you can just go on to their twitter feeds or tv feeds and see it. they are blasting out these images, very specific images with biden and the crown prince, not just the fist bump but walking together to meet king s s, so to some degree, besides the details of what happened in the meeting, president biden had a necessity to speak after this meeting to at least frame it to some degree from the u.s. perspective. because up to this point, it has been entirely framed by those photos of the entrance by the saudis and by their press agency. >> wolf, i think that's such an interesting point that phil raises because obviously a lot of attention has been paid to whether there would be a handshake or a fist bump.
it was optics except that obviously it's also imbued with meaning and i guess that the president thought that a fist bump was less friendly, somehow, than a handshake, but we got this note from the "washington post," a statement, i should say, from the publisher of the "washington post" who says the fist bump between president trump and mohammed bin salmon was worst than a handshake. it was shameful. it projected a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to mbs the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking. your thoughts? >> i think phil makes an important point. the saudis clearly got what they wanted. they wanted respect. they wanted to be seen as an important player in the region, by the mere fact that the president of the united states joined by the secretary of state, his national security adviser, and other top white house officials flew all the way over here to meet with the crown prince and the king, underscored how important the u.s. regards saudi arabia, and that's what
the saudis wanted. and it's significant, all the pictures we have seen of the fist bump, the walking in, these were from saudi sources, not u.s. media. it was the saudi media that got access to these moments which was significant. the saudis wanted these pictures to be out there. the saudi foreign minister released a lot of still pictures of the meeting that was going on because it seemed to elevate the saudis and so no matter what emerges and what the president says, i think the saudis will emerge from all of this, they will see themselves as having achieved what they wanted, respectability, they got that from the president of the united states. >> all right. phil, wolf, stay with us. i want to bring in now, jason rizian, the global opinions writer for the "washington post," and diplomatic editor nic robertson, josh rogan, cnn political analyst, and "washington post" columnist, good to have you as well. let me start with you, josh.
you are a "washington post" columnist, alisyn just read the statement from the publisher and ceo, and i read on twitter that you were saying the questions over would it be a handshake or fist bump were inflated and a little silly but the imagery and the value for the saudis, what do you make of that moment? >> i agree with my boss that this was an embarrassing moment for the united states government, president biden and a concession to the propaganda victory of mohammed bin salmon, but yes, i also would add another point that actually the fist bump is not the most important thing going on here. we just read a list of things that the saudis got, and my question is sort of what did the u.s. get, what did we get in return? we didn't get the oil, and we didn't get security guarantees, we didn't get human rights guarantees, well, then what was all of this for? what is all of this about. if we're returning to a status
quo relationship, according to the boyden admiden administrati alternative didn't work. we tried to pressure them. they didn't like it. we can't afford to do it anymore. all we're doing is repeating a long standing pattern of putting ourselves in the junior position of the relationship and them in the senior position of the relationship, which is backwards, we're the super power, they're the client state, and we provide their security, and they're supposed to keep the oil market stable. that's the deal. if they're not doing it, then what are we getting ouch the alliance in the first place. that's my question. i agree with my boss. the fist bump was embarrassing and shameful, but i'm saying there's more to it than that, and it's also a strategic defeat for the united states as well. >> jason, your thoughts on all of that? >> alisyn, this is going to be the rare occasion that i agree wholeheartedly with josh. we sit across from each other and debate issues all the time. this is one that i think we are in a lot of agreement on.
we were both in a meeting at "the washington post" editorial board with mohammed bin salman in 2018. it was off the record, so we won't talk about the content of that meeting, but i remember walking out of that meeting and ch chatting with josh and him asking me as someone who spent a lot of time in the middle east, my perceptions of the crown prince and saudi arabia, and you know, i will refer back to what i told him then. we're going to be stuck with this person as the leader of the main supply of oil for potentially 50, 60 years. these guys tend to live a very long time. that's a very dangerous thing to be stepping into, especially when we're not seemingly getting any concessions, a return on the human rights front, it's shocking how poorly saudi arabia has done over the years. but even worse under mohammed bin salman, and so yeah, i think it's a travesty. >> again, we are waiting for
remarks from the president after his two-hour meeting with the saudi king, crown prince, other officials there. nic robertson, to you, the white house spent weeks trying to contextualize the role of mbs in this meeting. would he be there, would he be part of it, what would be the interaction, is there any indication from the greeting, from the set up, from the list of topics that this meeting is any different than it would have been before the murder of jamal khashoggi, that that had any influence on what happened here? >> mbs was always going to be there. he was always going to be the head of the ministers who report to him and work under his direction on his vision for building the country, and i think, you know, one of the take aways here, let's wind back the clock when we say, what is the united states getting out of this, let's rewind the clock to when former president trump came
here, and there was those big weapons sales, and he said, look, if i don't sell those weapons to the saudis, they'll buy them from the russians and the chinese. okay, wind the clock forward to earlier this year, when according to saudi source i was talking to last night said that the white house initially asked the saudis to come here in april, in april to come for the a meeting, and they said, look, we can't come. it's a big holiday festival here. we can't do it. but you know who was going to come here and was expected to come here, the chinese leader, president xi was expected to come, and he was expected to sell the saudis defensive missile systems and factories in saudi arabia to build more defensive missile systems. you can see the timing of the white house's initial request to come in an effort to thwart president xi of china getting a stronger foot and providing security for saudi arabia. the saudis always wanted a relationship first and foremost with the united states because
they think they come first and foremost in the gulf states as one of the united states concerns. they know they wouldn't get that out of china, and they certainly wouldn't get it out of russia, but if they can't get the security they want in the volatile region from their longest ally, they will turn to others, and that's part of what the united states gets here. that is a relationship in the gulf. you can pivot. the view from here is, you know, the united states can pivot to asia, but it cannot pivot over the heads of the gulf, a rapidly changing region, a dynamic region that has a vision for the future that is changing that wants the united states to be an investor, and a partner, business-to-business, here in saudi arabia for that. so it is -- if you're taking on china and russia in the world at the moment, you need the gulf. you need the gulf states. though there may be no commitment on oil, what you will hear likely, is that opec plus, a signature foreign policy has
over the past few months delivering more and more oil, and they will do the same over july, and the same over august, and the saudis will make the point it isn't the refining capacity around the world to take all that oil if they pumped it and they would say that their oil doesn't affect the markets in that rapid way that leaders like president biden and his european union allies need. to add to the other point, if that is correct, the opec plus is going to increase the output and that does have an impact on oil prices, president biden comes here carrying the burden of all of his european allies, as well as that of domestic concerns about rising gas prices, why, because if public and europe and the united states move away from supporting the leaders in the fight against russia in supporting ukraine, then that fight will in essence crumble sooner. biden carries the weight of the world and if he delivers some of it, there will be benefits in europe too. >> josh, jason, hold those thoughts for a moment.
we have gotten a one minute warning that the president will be coming out. i know you want to respond to that. let's go back to wolf blitzer, phil mattingly who are standing by for the speech as well. wolf, will there be a deliverable announced of some kind, like we just heard from nic, will he explain what he got out of this visit? >> i assume he will. he'll try to explain. i came here, i tried to achieve x, y and z. here's what i got, and let's see how far that goes. i think he's probably, i could be wrong, but i assume he'll wrap up his talks here, but also his earlier talks with the israeli leadership and the palestinian leadership in israel and the west bank. i think he's going to try to bring in the big picture of what's going on in the middle east as far as the u.s. is concerned. is there movement towards some sort of more normalized relationship between the arab countries and israel, for example, can he get what he wanted from the saudis, for
example, to establish full diplomati diplomatic relations with israel. i assume he's going to try to project success in this important statement he's about to make. >> yeah, phil, again, we are waiting for the president to make remarks. you know, the last time we heard from the president in this setting, it was a q&a along with the israeli prime minister and the domestic issues did not come up, but of course we learned today about joe manchin, specifically on the climate clauses of legislation, tax increases, if he takes questions today, that possibly could come up as well. >> it certainly could, and look, the president has addressed what senator manchin did, undercutting the corner stone, climate legislation or climate effort legislatively, the president and his team are p pushing for more than a year and a half. though frustrated he will pursue executive actions, and he signed
out of schumer and manchin continue to go pursue a more scaled back deal. we have gone from $2.3 trillion down to 1.5, down to 1. maybe 300 billion at this point in time. still trying to get something done related to drug prices and related to health care, so continuing to push forward, trying to do that in the next couple of weeks. you cannot view anything on this trip right now without also paying attention to what's happening on the domestic side of things. guys, as you know well, the domestic side of things is a driver for why president biden is here at the moment. yes, as nic points out eloquently, there are so many different dynamics at play, geopolitically happening around the world. the president likely would not be here or ramp up the effort to bring -- >> sorry to interrupt. here is president biden now speaking from saudi arabia. >> saudi leadership, meeting with the king for about a little over half an hour, working session with the crown prince and all the ministers from the energy minister to the sports minister all the way down the
line, and got the chance to talk to basically the entire saudi government, and thanks to many months of quiet diplomacy by the staff, we have accomplished some significant business today. first, as you saw this morning, the saudis will open their airspace to all civilian carriers. that is a big deal. a big deal. not only symbolically, but substantively, it's a big deal. it means saudi airspace is now open to flights to and from israel. this is the first tangible step on the path of what i hope will eventually be a broader normalization of relations. second, we concluded a historic deal to transform a flash point at the heart of the middle east wars into an area of peace. international peace keepers, including u.s. troops will leave tieren island and the red sea where they have been for over 40 years since the camp david
accords. five americans died on this strategically located island in 2020, and it's important to remember them today. now, thanks to this breakthrough, this island will be open to tourism and economic development while retaining all necessary security arrangements and the president freedom of navigation of all parties, including israel. third, we agreed to work together to deepen and extend the yemen cease fire, and you know there's carnage in yemen of late, and it's been in place more than three months resulting in the most peaceful period in yemen in seven years. we further agreed to pursue a diplomatic process to achieve a wider settlement in yemen. saudi leadership also committed to continue to facilitate the delivery of food and humanitarian goods to civilians. in this context, we discussed saudi arabia security needs to der defend the kingdom given very real threats from iran and iran's proxies. fourth, we concluded several new
arrangements to better position our nations for the coming decades. saudi arabia will invest in new u.s.-led technology to develop and secure reliable 5g and 6g networks, both here and in the future in developing countries to coordinate with the partnership for global activity, the global infrastructure and investment which i have put together at the g7. this new technology solution for 5g called open ran will out compete other platforms including from china. saudi arabia will also partner with us on a far reaching clean energy initiative, focused on green hydrogen, solar, carbon capture, nuclear and other projects to accelerate the world's clean energy transition and to help the u.s. clean energy industry set global standards. and fifth, we had a good discussion on ensuring global energy security and adequate oil
supplies to support global economic growth. and that will begin shortly. and i'm doing all i can to increase the supply for the united states of america, which i expect to happen. the saudis share that urgency, and based on our discussions today, i expect we'll see furlt steps -- further steps in the coming weeks. finally we discussed human rights and the need for political reform. as i always do, i made clear that the topic was vitally important to me and to the united states. with respect to the murder of khashoggi, i raised it at the top of the meeting making clear what i thought of it at the time and what i think of it now, and i was straightforward and direct in discussing it. i made my view crystal clear. i said very straightforwardly, for an american president to be silent on an issue of human rights is inconsistent with who we are and who i
so that's a quick summary of tonight's outcomes. tomorrow with nine leaders from around the region we'll have more. one thing we will discuss is the multi-billion dollar commitment of the gcc to invest in the partnership for global infrastructure investment, which i announced at the g-7 last month. to help address infrastructure needs of low and middle income countries that don't have the wit wherew pwithal to borrow funds. we have now finalized an agreement to connect iraq's electric grid to the gcc grids through kuwait and saudi arabia, deepening iraq's integration into the region and reducing its dependence on iran. it was pointed out to me, i was reminded by staff at the meeting that i tried to do that back when i was in the early days of my vice presidency. finally it's done, being done. tomorrow i'll also be laying out an affirmative framework for
america's engagement in the middle east to build on these important steps going forward. the bottom line is this trip is about once again positioning america in this region for the future. we're not going to leave a vacuum in the middle east for russia or china to fill. and we're getting results. i'll take a couple questions now. >> what was the crown prince's response to your comments about khashoggi? >> he basically said that he was not personally responsible for it. i indicated i thought he was. he said he was not personally responsible for it, and he took action against those who were responsible, and then i went on to talk more about how that dealing with any opposition or criticism of the saudi administration and other countries was viewed as, to me, a violation of human rights. >> two questions. first, we heard from jamal
khashoggi's wife who said after this visit the blood of mbs's next victim is on your hands. what do you say to mrs. khashoggi? >> i'm sorry she feels that way. i was straightforward back then. i was straightforward today. this is a meeting, i didn't come here to meet with the crown prince. i came here to meet with the gcc and nine nations, to deal with the security and the needs of the free world, and particularly the united states. and not leave a vacuum here, which was happening as it has in other parts of the world. >> gas prices, if i may, you said we'll see relief at some point in the not too distant future. what is message for americans looking for relief now? >> there has been a real change. >> they have already been coming down. >> coming down every single day to the best of my knowledge. >> when will we see the impact of this visit? >> i suspect you won't see that for a couple weeks. and we'll see more when we see
gas stations start to lower their price consistent with what they're paying for oil. >> do you regret calling the saudis a pariah. >> i don't regret anything i said, next question. >> do you feel that way, mr. president? >> i just answered it. i don't regret anything i said. what happened to khashoggi was outrageous. >> mr. president, you're coming under a lot of fire for your fist bump with the crown prince. i wanted to give you a chance to respond, and also, how can you be sure another murder like khashoggi's won't happen again. >> god love you. what a silly question. how can i possibly be sure of any of that? if anything occurs like that again, they'll get that response and much more. look, you heard me say before, and when i criticized xi jinping for slave labor and what they're doing in the western mountains
of china, and i said, i had no right to criticize china. and i said look, i am president of the united states of america. for the united states president to remain silent on a clear violation of human rights is totally inconsistent with who we are, what we are, and what we would do. what we believe. and so i'm not going to remain silent. can i predict anything is going to happen? let alone here, let alone any other part of the world? no, but i don't knewhy you're all so surprised the way i react. no one has ever wondered what i say. the question is i say all that i mean. >> what about your response to the fist bump. >> joe manchin made significant news that seems to be torpedoing energy and climate back at home. your message to those americans looking for that relief that would have a wide impact as it affects the climate and energy specifically? >> i am not going away.
i will use every power i have as president to continue to fulfill my pledge to move toward dealing with global warming. thank you very much. >> is joe manchin negotiating in good faith? >> i didn't negotiate with joe manchin. i have no idea. >> so you have just been listening there to president biden talking about what he thinks he accomplished in these conversations. obviously, this visit was controversial and he laid out six tenants of their talks that he defined as deliverables or things he's coming away with that he things were very good. i'll start with the bottom, basically, about jamal khashoggi. he said he raised it at the top of the meeting. he made his views crystal clear about what happened to khashoggi and how wrong it was, and he said muhammad bin salman claimed he was not personally responsible, and president biden said he thought he was. >> the president also talked about conversations over increasing energy supply, climate cooperation, 5g, 6g, we
have our panel here. i want to start you, wolf. are these the deliverables the white house hoped to come out of the meeting with? >> well, the president wanted to stress what he sees as the positive achievements he secured in these talks with the saudis and he suggested strongly the saudis will in fact increase production of oil that down the road could result in lowering gas prices in the united states. he did say, as you correctly point out, at the beginning of the meeting, he raised the issue of jamal khashoggi with the saudi leadership. the saudis came back, i'm told, and quickly rejected the accusation that the saudi leadership deliberately ordered the murder of jamal khashoggi. they say that simply is not true. and they had a back and forth on that during the course of the meeting. and the u.s. intelligence
community believes that mbs, muhammad bin salman, did in fact order the execution, the murder of jamal khashoggi. and the saudis fought back on that pretty hard, i'm told, during the course of that meeting. on some of the other big issues like yemen, for example, the president emerged saying that they made some really significant progress in dealing with these issues. so he was stressing, as we knew going into this statement by the president, he was stressing what he saw as his achievements. and we'll see if they turn out to be real achievements. >> yeah, so josh, tell us what you heard there. >> right, i think no surprises. they transferred a couple red sea islands to saudi control. in exchange for not making israeli planes fly all the way around saudi arabia. he mentioned khashoggi, seemed like a box checking exercise. i didn't hear biden mentioning any of the american hostages still in saudi arabia right now,
some in saudi prisons for tweets and other nonsense like that. i'm not sure if they mentioned that at all. investment in 5g, that's great, but point all your viewers right now to the reports today that the saudi regime doubled its imports of russian oil this quarter. doubled. in other words, they're not helping us fight russia. they're helping russia fight us. if you think about sort of what nic robertson said earlier, which i respectfully disagree with, i don't think the saudis are going to run into russian arms if we withdraw. i don't think they can depend on the russian military. i don't think they want to bet their security on the chinese either. what we have seen here is sort of an acknowledgment that, oh, well, we need the gulf. we need saudi arabia, but what if we thought about that again. what if we realize that actually, they need us and we used the leverage that we have rather than succumb to the leverage they have, and that's just a thought i leave as we continue to follow the trip. >> jason, your takeaway? >> look, i think this is yet
another example of the united states sacrificing our values for perceived strategic and economic interests that are probably short term. saudi arabia is a country that buys a lot of weaponry from us and it sells us a lot of oil. these are not people that share our cultural ideals or beliefs. it's a country where mass executions happen in public on a regular basis. murdered one of our colleagues from "the washington post." as josh mentioned, americans being held hostage there. i think we could reasonably demand a lot more from this relationship. it doesn't seem like we got anywhere. >> gentlemen, thank you very much for helping us sift through everything we just heard from the president there and what really was the point that he says was of this trip and then you all giving us the context. thank you all. >> and the president, when he was asked about that fist bump, laughed. and of course, you read this,
and i'm going to read it again because it was so concise and potent. the fist bump between president biden and muhammad bin salman was worse than a hand shake. it was shameful. a part of the statement from the publisher and ceo of "the washington post." >> all right, we will hear much more about this trip, no doubt, on "the lead" with jake tapper, starting right now. >> this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we start today with our world lead. president biden just spoke from saudi arabia moments ago after meeting with leaders, including crown prince mohammed bin salman, or mbs, the man that the u.s. says ordered the murder of "washington post" columnist jamal khashoggi. president biden says he brought up khashoggi's murder and human rights issues with mbs at the top of the meeting. >> i made my view crystal clear. i said very straightforwardly, for an american president to be silent on an issue