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Off-Duty Officer Charged in SUV Attack; First-Time Jobless Claims Jump; No End in Sight to Partial Govt. Shutdown; Interview with Sen. Susan Collins; On the Cusp of a Debt Deal

Aired October 10, 2013 - 09:30   ET


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dragged out of his vehicle and beaten. Yet to hear some tell it, these videos of SUV driver Alexian Lien under attack aren't all they seem.

JOHN ARLIA, DETECTIVE BRASZCZOK'S ATTORNEY: The video will exonerate our client.

CANDIOTTI: That's the lawyer for Detective Wojciech Braszczok, who works in police intelligence. After posting bond, he leaves the courthouse in a hooded sweatshirt pulled over his face, protecting his identity. Braszczok is accused of smashing the SUV's rear window with his fist, also on video not made public.

ARLIA: They allege that he struck the rear portion hatchback window, which has a gaping hole already in it. It's already destroyed. So under the law, it's a fatal flaw. You can't break what's already broken.

CANDIOTTI: Prosecutors say the detective told them different stories. At first a law enforcement official says the officer implied he was working undercover, not reporting the incident for fear of blowing his cover. Then his story allegedly changed again from not seeing the attack to seeing it from a distance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): This defendant also did nothing to stop it, including not calling 911. Besides not even making that phone call, the defendant failed to properly report being present for any of these events until two days later.

CANDIOTTI: Braszczok's attorney didn't address those allegations during a brief press conference Wednesday. A source tells CNN, a second off-duty officer questioned was riding with Braszczok but was not involved in the attack. And yet another civilian biker arrested Wednesday night is accused of using his helmet to pound the SUV driver on the ground. Suspect James Cuhne (ph) turned himself in and is expected in court today.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: The bell just rang on Wall Street. So let's head there now, because investors are looking for a second straight day of gains. But we had that not so pleasing jobs report - or jobless claims report come in earlier this morning. Alison Kosik is at the New York Stock Exchange.

Good morning.


The bulls are back. Not only the second straight day of gains, but pretty strong gains at that. You look at the Dow. It's up 145 points. You know, a breakthrough in Washington means a breakthrough here on Wall Street. Wall Street's happy to hear of even just a glimmer of hope, a temporary debt deal possibly in the works, at the very least that political leaders are actually playing nice in the sandbox.

You look at the market, it's really been trending lower the past several weeks, you know, because Wall Street gets it. Wall Street understands all the warnings that we've been hearing. And the latest coming this morning from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew giving dire warnings, especially on the debt ceiling and rising interest rates, that could result if we can't reach a solution on the debt ceiling. Lew saying this morning that the stock market, including investments and retirement accounts, could tumble and it could become more expensive for American to buy a car, a home, open a small business. That's because if interest rates spike, that could hike borrowing costs, that could cause people to spend less, making the economy even weaker.


COSTELLO: All right, Alison Kosik report live from the New York Stock Exchange.

Still to come in the NEWSROOM, you heard Alison say it, a possible deal to avert a debt ceiling disaster appears to be in the works, but it would only save us from this headache until, yes, Thanksgiving. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: President Obama would sign a short term deal to raise the debt ceiling as long as it doesn't come with any Republican provisions. That's what a White House official told CNN. House Republican leaders in the White House will meet later today. In the meantime, no deal in sight to end the partial government shutdown. But some lawmakers are searching for middle ground, like moderate Republican Senator Susan Collins. She's offered this solution, reopen the government, repeal the medical device tax from Obamacare and give federal agencies more flexibility in the sequesters forced spending cuts. Joining me now from Capitol Hill, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine.

Good morning, Senator.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Good morning. Great to join you.

COSTELLO: Nice to have you here. So there's going to be this meeting between the president and a small number of House Republicans later this afternoon. Do you think there will be any movement at all? COLLINS: I certainly hope so. We're at a point right now with the shutdown and the looming expiration of the debt ceiling where we really need to reason together and put an end to this impasse. And that means that both sides need to show some flexibility and avoid drawing lines in the sand.

COSTELLO: Well, I just talked with a Republican congressman who told me that he feels the president is spiteful and he won't come to any agreement with the Republicans unless he gets exactly his way. Do you feel that way?

COLLINS: I think that it was very unfortunate that the president said that he absolutely would not negotiate with Republican leaders. But the fact is, he is now inviting Republicans from both the House today and the Senate tomorrow over to the White House. So I hope that means a rethinking of his position.

In the meantime, I continue to have very constructive conversations with members on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats alike, about the plan that I first put forth on Saturday about whether or not we could add to my plan, a short term extension of the debt limit that would give us more time to work on a long-term fiscal plan to deal with our unsustainable $17 trillion debt.

COSTELLO: Well, the challenge for moderate Republicans, in the House at least, is that John Boehner won't like introduce the bill on the floor for anyone to vote on. Why do you suppose he won't do that?

COLLINS: Well, I don't serve on the House, so I really can't speak to the dynamics there. But one reason that I'm working so hard with my colleagues in the Senate is, I believe that perhaps the Senate needs to take the lead. Now, spending House - spending bills have to originate in the House, but we have a number of them that are sitting on the Senate calendar right now that could be a vehicle for a possible compromise. And perhaps it's up to us in the Senate to put together a compromise and send it back over to the House at this point.

What I do know is that every day that this shutdown continues, more and more Americans are being harmed. And it's not just federal employees who are being furloughed. It's disabled veterans. It's pregnant women who rely on the WIC program. It's people who intended to go to our national parks. It's businesses that provide services to government and to those parks. So this is important for our economy as a whole that we get government reopened and that we avoid a crisis.

COSTELLO: But as you know, senator, not all, even Republican senators, believe that. You know, and talking about raising the debt ceiling, there's a Senate Finance Committee hearing going on right now, Jack Lew, the Treasury secretary, is testifying. He's talking about the dire consequences our economy faces if we don't raise the debt ceiling.

Now, Senator Mike Enzi, a Republican from Wyoming, said to Jack Lew, and I quote, "Mr. Secretary, I think this is the 11th time I have been through this discussion about the sky is falling and the earth will erupt. Wyoming families aren't buying these arguments. They're saying, you can't spend more than you take in and you definitely can't keep doing it forever and ever and ever." Some Republicans just don't think that anything bad will happen to the economy, you know, if the debt ceiling is raised -- is not raised rather. I mean do you agree with that? Are we -- is Jack Lew talking doom and gloom? Is he telling us the truth?

COLLINS: I think that the skepticism you are hearing does not have to do with what would really happen once the debt ceiling is reached. I think there is widespread agreement that we cannot default on our obligations. After all, this is for spending that has already occurred. The skepticism revolves around exactly what date would that happen, because we've seen in past years the Treasury say that it was going to happen on one date and then extend that date repeatedly through manipulation of accounts or additional revenue comes in that was not expected.

This is not an exact science. So when we hear the secretary of the Treasury say on October 17th we are going to be out of money and unable to meet our obligations, that we'll have only $30 billion with obligations of $60 billion, there's some skepticism about whether that really is the date given what we've seen before. But I don't think that --

COSTELLO: So is it worth gambling with that day? Is it worth the gamble?

COLLINS: What I think is that all of us need to come together, do a temporary increase and then work on the underlying problems that Senator Enzi was correctly bringing to the secretary's attention. This work -- the administration has requested a trillion-dollar increase in the debt ceiling that would take us through next year's elections without any kind of spending reforms attached. And I think most members of the Republican caucus believe it would be better to have a shorter term extension of the debt limit, prevent default, but then work on real reforms.

COSTELLO: Senator Susan Collins, thank you so much for talking with me this morning. I appreciate it.

COLLINS: Thank you, Carol.

COSTELLO: Still to come in the NEWSROOM, what would a good shutdown deal be, if it lasts just a few weeks? We'll discuss.


COSTELLO: Oh dare we dream because it seems the White House and Republicans are on the cusp of a deal at least with the debt ceiling and, of course, that deal would only last about six weeks while negotiations happen and the compromise doesn't do anything to end the partial shutdown of the government and the gridlock is starting to take its toll.

Look at this poll from the Associated Press and GFK; 62 percent mainly blame Republicans for the shutdown, while about half blame President Obama or the Democrats.

Approval ratings are tanking, only 37 percent approve of the President's job performance. Congress has hit rock bottom, they have only a five percent, five -- five percent approval rating.

Joining me now, Jason Johnson, an HLN contributor and professor of political science at Hiram College; and Patricia Murphy, contributor for the "Daily Beast" and founder and editor of Citizen Jane Politics. Welcome to you both.



COSTELLO: Ok so Jason my first question. So who are this five percent that think Congress is doing a good job?

MURPHY: Who are they?

JOHNSON: I don't know I'm very worried about who these people are. Look I mean I think the U.S. revolution was started with higher approval ratings than this. I mean for Congress to be that low is an embarrassment. I think it should bring every single person to the table. And what we've seen here is this group of members in the GOP they drive down everybody. The President, Harry Reid, no one wins. This needs to end soon.

COSTELLO: Well Patricia I mean is there a growing anger out there, is it -- I mean Republicans and Democrats are meeting at the White House today.

MURPHY: They are meeting at the White House today which I think anybody can agree is at least some progress after both sides have said we're willing to talk but not negotiate. Well that doesn't really help anybody out of the situation.

But I think it is not wise to put too much hope into this being some sort of signal of a big breakthrough coming because we have seen even the President and John Boehner over past years strike a deal, come to an agreement, walk out of the room and say we've got a deal, we're ready to go and then John Boehner can't get that through his own House Republican caucus.

So even if there were a deal to come out of these talks that is only the beginning of a very difficult process. And so it's -- to me, it's good news they're meeting but it's certainly no cause for any great hope unfortunately.

COSTELLO: That makes me -- that makes me want to run from the room actually.


COSTELLO: Because the President has said he'll accept this deal, this temporary deal with no Republican provisions. How is that negotiating, Jason?

JOHNSON: Well it is in a way. Because you know there is a "New York Times" article where they're talking about the President is like -- look -- what the Republicans want me to do is implement Romney's platform and pretty much resign. And I think he's not just saying look, can we at least get this debt ceiling fixed so we don't tank the global economy. But he's trying to set a precedent not just for his presidency but for every presidency over the next two generations.

If this appears to be a fair negotiating tactic we will never get our government back whether we have Democrats or Republicans. And I think he's trying to fix that.

COSTELLO: Well I think the main issue here is trust. I was listening to Senator Susan Collins and she was talking about the effects of not raising the debt ceiling. She says that Republicans, some Republicans are skeptical because the Treasury Department doesn't exactly tell them how much money it has in the bank to pay these things. And all of a sudden, when they predicted economic doom and gloom they come up with some money and that's why there's skepticism.

MURPHY: There is also skepticism if you look at who has been elected to Congress since 2010, we have had TARP we have had multiple exploitation to the debt ceiling, we've also have the government shutdown in sequestrations when people were told this is going to be off, or this is going to be terrible. And those calamitous predictions didn't really come to pass.

So we're seeing a number of Republicans say we don't actually think that if we go through the debt ceiling that that's really going to be such a bad thing. To me, that is very dangerous. Because nobody knows what would happen if we go through the debt ceiling because we've never done it before in the history of our republic.

I've spoken with a number of economists who say whatever happens with the markets, we cannot pay Social Security recipients, we cannot pay doctors for Medicare. That is not -- there is no question about that so I think the conversation is not broad enough.

COSTELLO: But some Republicans don't believe that. I just talked to a Republican congressman who said I don't believe that we can't pay for people's Social Security. I think they're lying when they say that.

MURPHY: Well I think is their calculator lying? You know get out your calculator we borrow 40 cents on every dollar. We have to pay our creditors first what's left over. What are you not going to pay? And 15 -- only 15 percent of the budget is discretionary spending. The rest is Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.

We can't pay our bills if we don't raise the debt limit. Maybe that's a risk people are willing to take. And I think we'll find out next week. I mean it's a very dangerous situation.

COSTELLO: Ok so let's go out on a limb and say, wow, they're going to like come up with a short term deal for six weeks, they're going to raise the debt limit and they're going to talk.


COSTELLO: That brings us direct -- if we take the six weeks from October 17th. That means six weeks ends at Thanksgiving.


COSTELLO: So you can watch the Detroit Lions take on the Green Bay Packers.

JOHNSON: Exactly.

COSTELLO: You can eat your Thanksgiving Day meal and you can watch C- Span all at the same time. Won't that be fun?

JOHNSON: That's going to be a thrill. And the problem is I hope they can actually get something done. One, we would have to have members of Congress come back. And I think -- and this is why -- their ratings are so low. I think what's made everyone so angry is, Congress appears to be found flat-footed in so much of this. They're reading the newspaper and finding out what the government shutdown is like. We didn't know it wouldn't pay for veteran's benefits. We didn't know this would happen. And then we go running around with these bills.

So I'm hoping they'll take this time to actually read their own laws and come up with a negotiation to solve this problem. That's why everybody is so frustrated.

MURPHY: Yes I do think though there is a larger conversation we're not having about the debt. And I do think that's where the Republicans have a very good point to make. $16 trillion debt ceiling and no plans to make major changes or even small changes in entitlement spending, tax reform. I think those are conversations that are not happening now because of this incredibly partisan atmosphere. Nobody is talking about the real issues. They're just having partisan fights and pointing fingers and that's why Congress has a five percent approval rating. Americans are not dumb enough to know -- to think that we don't have problems in the budget but they're smart enough to know that none of us get paid if we don't do our own jobs.


COSTELLO: We can all agree with that.



COSTELLO: Patricia Murphy and Jason Johnson thanks so much for being with me this morning.

MURPHY: Thank you. COSTELLO: All new at 10:00, people are just a few feet away from a man holding a gun and they didn't even notice him. The reason? Well, they had their faces buried in their cell phones, their iPads, et cetera. Details on the deadly consequences in our next hour.


COSTELLO: Cinderella, at least one of them, has exited the baseball playoff. After a great season the Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the -- oh those Cardinals they're like a machine -- Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, BLEACHER REPORT: They are Carol. But you know the Pirates they have nothing to hang their heads and bow. You know after 20 years they finally made it back to the playoffs. The only problem was they ran into Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright last night.

You know Adam (inaudible) got this going started for the Cards with a two-run home run in the second inning and that's all Wainwright would need. He threw a complete game giving up only one run. The Cardinals won the game 6-1. They advance to the National League Championship series to take on the Dodgers.

And we have another winner-take-all game five tonight Carol. I'm sure you'll be watching this one. Tigers - A's, they're going to battle it out for the right to play the Red Sox in the ALCS first pitch at 8:00 Eastern on TBS.

COSTELLO: I'm drinking lots of beer.

SCHOLES: All right. Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is doubling down on his commitment not to change the name of his team. Snyder sent a letter to (inaudible) saying he wants to preserve the team's heritage by keeping the controversial Redskins name. This comes just days after President Obama said if he were the owner, he would consider changing the name.

Carol I would say we're never going to see the Redskins changes their name. Snyder is on record before he sent out the softer letter saying, "Never, never are we going to change the Redskins' name." He said "You can print that in all caps."

COSTELLO: Well, they'll keep fighting, I'm sure. Thank you, Andy. Next hour of CNN NEWSROOM after a break.