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Nunes Reelection Bid; May Jobs Report; Trump Hits Allies with Tariffs; Comedians Going Too Far. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 1, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's just possible Robert Mueller's report into Russian election meddling might provide California's 22nd district with an October surprise.

TAD WEBER, FRESNO BEE EDITORIAL PAGE: Are there going to be any findings? How might that reflect on Devin Nunes?

WATT: If he delivers it before November, it could have a huge impact on this race?

WEBER: It could because Devin has been a staunch supporter of the president, highly critical of Robert Mueller.

WATT: If you were a betting man, Nunes would win?

WEBER: Yes. Today. Standing here today, Nick. But we're a long way, right, you know this, and we're a long way from here to November.

WATT: Yes.

Nick Watt, CNN, Fresno, California.



President Trump slapping key allies with steep tariffs and they are vowing to fight back.

Also, the May jobs report is just out. So we'll have that for you next.


[08:35:05] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: OK, we do have some breaking news for you. The Labor Department releasing the May jobs reports just moments ago.

And Christine Romans joins us now with the numbers.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Strong numbers, you guys. Another month of strong numbers. Seven and a half years now of job creation. That is a record stretch. And 223,000 net new jobs created in the month of May. April was revised down a little bit but I wouldn't get too worried about that. These are still strong numbers that show companies are hiring and they're hiring kind of across the spectrum.

The unemployment rate slipped down to 3.8 percent. That is the lowest we have seen since 2000. Another tenth of a percentage point there and you could have the lowest unemployment rate since 1969. Not quite there yet, but these are very good numbers and they show you that over the past 10 years jobs have been created, the unemployment rate has been coming down and we are shaking off the worst of that financial crisis for sure.

Retail jobs were strong here. Health care. Every month I tell you guys this, across the spectrum in health care, there are jobs to be had and manufacturing grew 18,000 jobs as well. We thought we might get a strong report because just before it came out, the president himself was saying he was looking forward to these jobs numbers. We know the White House could see these the night before but they can't report what they are.

At any rate, this has got to be good news again for this White House because these are now some 3 million jobs, more than 3 million jobs created over the past couple of years, guys.

BERMAN: That's good news for the country. When you see that much job growth, unemployment that low, it's just flat out good for the country.

ROMANS: Wages, 2.7 percent. That was a good number as well. Remember, we want to see wages increasing. That number coming up a little bit. If you have so much job creation, at some point with companies saying they can't find workers, wages have to rise.

BERMAN: Market futures, does the Dow like it?

ROMANS: Futures are up a little bit. Mostly, though, they're worried about tariffs and wondering what's going to happen on the trade front here. So they must not think it's too hot, but it's going to mean faster interest rate increases.

BERMAN: Empress of the segue, Christine Romans, because that's what I want to talk about.


BERMAN: Joining us now is CNN's senior economics analyst Stephen Moore.

And, Stephen, before we get to the tariffs, let's talk about the numbers that Romans just reported there. You know, big job growth. Unemployment down a little bit. I mean it's a remarkable American story going back to the Great Recession, the consistency of the job growth and the rebuilding, really, of the job and infrastructure here, Steven.

STEPHEN MOORE, CNN SENIOR ECONOMIC S ANALYST: Well, I agree with that. I mean it's unbelievable to have a 3.8 percent unemployment rate today. I mean that -- you know, Christine, you know we used to say that full employment is 4 to 4.5 percent.


MOORE: But that means we're actually below full employment levels. And the number one problem that most employer have today, as you know, Christine, is finding workers. We estimate there's about 5.5 to 6 million more jobs today than people to fill them. I's a nice problem to have. And I've got to put this in, I think Donald Trump deserves a lot of credit. I think the tax cut and his deregulation policy have worked, which, you know, I know you guys want to talk about trade. I was over at the White House yesterday saying, the economy's doing so well, why do you want to screw this up with tariffs?

BERMAN: OK. Well, what about that, Stephen Moore? You think these tariffs that the president is going to slap on America's biggest allies are a real threat. Explain.

MOORE: Well, look, I think China's a problem. And I do agree with the White House in terms of getting tough with China, because they do steal a lot of our intellectual property, which is more and more of what we produce in America today. That they don't open up their markets to us as we have to them. It's very difficult for American companies to do business in China today.

But if you want to focus on China, which I believe is the bad actor here, it doesn't make a lot of sense to me to start going after Canada and Germany and Korea and Japan and other countries that we're going to need in an alliance to go after China.

The other point I would make is that I do think that these -- these tariffs will hurt American consumers. And, you know, Christine was just talking about, you know, reduced inflation, which means higher real wages. But, Christine, if we have these tariffs and they raise prices, then those real wage gains may not -- may not arrive.

ROMANS: Yes. You're already hearing from the -- from our allies who are saying, Stephen, what they're going to do in return. Mexico is going to put tariffs on pork, fruit and cheese. The EU is going to hit us on denim, and bourbon and motorcycles.

MOORE: Right.

ROMANS: You know, Canada, look at that, on steel and aluminum, sailboats, beer kegs, the whole thing.

MOORE: Uh-huh.

ROMANS: I mean this is something the consumer, I think no question, will -- will -- will feel.

You know, Stephen, another interesting thing about this is that so many people are telling me, wow, the TPP sounds a little bit better now, even though it felt so flawed at the time. Shouldn't we be working with our allies under something like the TPP to be a blunt to China instead of, you know, you know, screwing our allies, as they would say, and maybe pushing them into the arms of China.

BERMAN: That's an economic term, by the way.


BERMAN: An economic -- says Adam Smith, after the invisible hand, screwing our allies was in chapter two of that.

Stephen Moore, it's interesting because you talked about, this could hurt the American consumer. You know, the president wants to help, you know, steel country, the rust belt to a certain extent.


[08:40:03] BERMAN: But there's also other forms of manufacturing, right? There is this manufacturing of finished products and they're going to get pounded by this.


BERMAN: And the Chamber of Commerce, that's where they're concerned about. They estimates that as much as 2.6 million jobs could be at risk from this. Steel and aluminum, you know, tariffs would be 470,000, Chinese tariffs, 134,000, auto tariffs, 157,000. You know, there are workers, not to mention the agricultural workers, but there are real workers who could be hurt by this.

MOORE: There are. And, you know, one of the -- I've told the White House I think that aluminum and steel tariffs are especially stupid because we have I estimate -- I don't know the exact number, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 Americans who work in the steel and aluminum industry today, but we have 6 to 7 million manufacturing works are who use steel and use aluminum in producing cars or trucks or, you know, manufactured goods. And if they have to compete against other countries with more expensive steel and aluminum, then that makes American products more expensive, less competitive. And that does put a lot of the --

Now, look, I think that number that The Chamber put out is a bit of an exaggeration in terms of how many jobs might be lost.

ROMANS: Worst case scenario.

MOORE: But why would we want to put any of those jobs in jeopardy?

And the other point is, you know, when -- when the president came out with his announcement earlier this week about these auto tariffs, they used this strange 1940s law about national security.

BERMAN: National security.

MOORE: And I don't know about you guys, but I don't think it's a national security threat when somebody is driving a Toyota down the street.

ROMANS: Well, and that's what -- and that's what Justin Trudeau said. He said, how can -- how can Canada be a national security threat. Canada, who helps supply you with the raw materials that you make tanks and airplanes with. You know, we've gone to war together. Americans and Canadians have died side by side in two world wars and in Korea. How -- how can Canada be a national security threat?

So what's the strategy, though? I don't see what the strategy is. That's my -- my point here.

BERMAN: But, you know, it's interesting --

MOORE: Well --

BERMAN: It's -- well, it's a fundamentally different view of the economy. It's a fundamentally different view of the economy that is antiquated, some analysts say, not just by ten, 20 years but hundreds of years.

MOORE: Well, that's right, except, you know, I will say this in Donald Trump's defense, that, first of all, he really does care about these, you know, blue collar workers in those states that he won, like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, the miners, the manufacturing workers and a lot of those jobs were lost in the last 10 years, not just during the Great Recession, but in the Obama administration as well.

So he -- I think his heart is in the right place. And the truth is -- and, Christine, I don't know what the answer to this is, but it is true -- it's just factually true that we have lower tariffs and trade barriers than all of these other countries that we supposedly have trade agreements with.


BERMAN: Does -- but -- but -- but it doesn't make -- but does it necessarily --

MOORE: And that's a problem.

BERMAN: But does it necessarily make rate -- higher tariffs a good thing. You want to lower the tariffs. And the other --

MOORE: Well, maybe not. But then the question is -- but the other question is --

BERMAN: But, hang on, Stephen, I just want to ask Christine one question on the cars, because it's a great example and I just want her to close on that point.

MOORE: Yes. Yes.

BERMAN: You know, the president obsessed with cars. There's one report that he was telling Emmanuel Macron he doesn't like seeing so many German cars in the United States. The Mercedes and the BMW.

ROMANS: Mercedes on Fifth Avenue.

BERMAN: But there's a problem with that because a lot of these cars --

ROMANS: Yes, I mean, go to South Carolina. There's a humongous BMW plant there. And, in fact, you have American workers who are making these cars here. Sure, we're importing these cars too, but they're also making these cars here.

It is such a cross-border supply chain as well, the disruption from that. "The Wall Street Journal" editorial page today really just took this down. And with the -- I would recommend everybody read this editorial that was in "The Wall Street Journal." But pointing out how difficult that is, in fact saying that it was regulatory uncertainty during the Obama administration that held back the recovery. And now you're talking about trade uncertainty in this administration that could hold back the recovery. And there's an irony there.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans, Stephen Moore, again, that story about tariffs, a story about jobs, very, very positive day, 223,000 jobs created, unemployment rate at 3.8 percent.


MOORE: It's all good. We're getting tired of winning.

BERMAN: All right, Stephen Moore and Christine Romans, thanks so much.

MOORE: Just kidding.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Winning is exhausting.

Meanwhile, late-night host Samantha Bee is apologizing for a vulgar insult about Ivanka Trump. So what is the line today for humor? We ask her fellow comedians, next.


[08:48:15] CAMEROTA: OK, President Trump tweeting this morning about comedian Samantha Bee who apologized after using the "c" word to describe Ivanka Trump. The president is saying, why aren't they firing no-talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language she used on her low ratings show? A total double standard, but that's, OK, we are winning, capital "w," and we'll be doing so for a long time to come.

In case you missed it, here's what Samantha Bee had said.


SAMANTHA BEE, HOST, "FULL FRONTAL WITH SAMANTHA BEE": Let me just say from one mother to another, do something about your dad's immigration policy, you feckless (EXPLETIVE DELETED). He listens to you.


CAMEROTA: All right, we should note that Samantha Bee's show, "Full Frontal," airs on TBS. TBS and CNN are both owned by Turner, and that's a division of Time Warner.

Joining us now to discuss this are comedian's Maysoon Zayid and Alise Morales.

Great to have you ladies with us.

OK, Maysoon, what is the difference between what Samantha Bee did and what Roseanne Barr did?

MAYSOON ZAYID, COMEDIAN, WRITER, DISABILITY ADVOCATE: There's a huge difference between having a potty mouth and using racial slurs. And, honestly, I find it offensive that these two things are being conflated.

And I also think it's interesting because I thought that using words like that was just locker room talk. So when I see the tweet from Trump saying that she should be fired, I just want to know, like, where is the line? The "c" word's a no, the "p" word's a yes? Has he ever apologized to, you know, Colin Kaepernick's mom for calling people the "b" word? And I guess we have to spell everything today.

So not only is there a double standard, but the double standard is not between Roseanne, who has a history -- a history of bigotry, racism. She uses the "r" word. Her hate doesn't discriminate. And Samantha Bee, using a cure that, honesty, we hear in comedy clubs every day. And I didn't know until I heard the backlash that it was off limits. And I think we need to be really careful telling comedians what they can and can't say to power (ph).

[08:50:20] BERMAN: I guess another way to look at this, though, is let's not bother using the president's standard. What should our societal standard be on this, Alise? And is it OK -- you know, and I'm not sure, is it just potty mouth to call somebody a feckless "c" word?

ALISE MORALES, COMEDIAN: You know, I think in comedy a standard that we like to hold ourselves to is looking at, you know, is what we're saying punching up? Are we speaking truth to power?

When you look at Ivanka Trump, she is one of the most powerful women in our country right now. She's not just the president's daughter, she's an adviser, she's representing us on the world stage. Samantha Bee runs a political comedy show. So taking aim at Ivanka Trump doesn't seem inappropriate to me.

When you look at Roseanne's comments, you know, she's comparing an African-American woman to an ape. That's something -- that's the epitome of punching down. That's something that is -- has been used for decades now to degrade and dehumanize black women. So I think that there is a huge difference between -- on a political comedy show, coming for someone who is in politics.

BERMAN: I guess what I'm saying is I still think you have to compare the two to say that what Samantha Bee said was wrong.

CAMEROTA: Yes, except that, as Maysoon points out, what is the line, right? ZAYID: What is the line?

CAMEROTA: So let's try to figure out what the line is because I'm personally confused. You, Maysoon, are a disability advocate. You're disabled. I'm wondering, are there third rails that comedians shouldn't touch right now, like race, like disabilities perhaps?


CAMEROTA: Can you call somebody a terrorist? What's the line right now?

ZAYID: Well, I think all is fair in comedy. I think that comedians push lines. We cross lines. It's a job hazard. But I think that context also matters. And I think it's really interesting again that people are grabbing their smelling salts because she uses the "c" word.

I personally don't use the "b" word or the "c" word in my comedy because I think it's misogynistic and violent. But, at the same time, I won't say that it's not OK for other women to choose to use it. And I think, again, it's odd that we're fainting about the "c" word and we're ignoring what she actually said, that children are being torn away from their parents.

BERMAN: You know, she said -- she said, that's what too bad about this, is that people are focusing on the "c" word instead of, you know, immigration issues. But isn't that her fault? I mean shouldn't she have known better that, if I say this out loud, then people aren't going to focus on the other message?

MORALES: I don't know necessarily because I do -- I personally feel like if Samantha Bee had done that segment and used that word, not on the back of Roseanne being cancelled, that I don't know that this controversy would have happened around it.

BERMAN: Right. Right.

MORALES: I feel like people who were upset about the cancellation for Roseanne were looking for something to jump on to and create a comparison. You know, it started with -- it was Bill Maher first on Twitter. They wanted to talk about, you know, comparisons he's made (INAUDIBLE) --

BERMAN: Keith Olbermann. We've heard it all.

MORALES: Yes, exactly. So I feel like people were looking to create a comparison and that is why they jumped on this Samantha Bee thing.

I don't think that it's actually necessarily that different from other things she's done on her show. She's always had that kind of bombastic style. This is the style that her show has taken for a long time.

CAMEROTA: But, I'm still confused, what is the line? So it is racism? Racism is now the line, OK. So comedians can't make jokes that are racist. I think -- is that where we are? ZAYID: It depends on who you are and who's paying you to be there and who you work for. Certain people, racism is a fireable offense. Other things like bigotry are not fireable. And not only that, you get a television show. I was, you know, going head to head with Roseanne on Twitter for four years because I'm Muslim and she despises and vocally tears down Muslim people. That was not --

CAMEROTA: And personally insulted you.

ZAYID: She did.

CAMEROTA: Used a --

ZAYID: Gee, thanks.

CAMEROTA: Congratulations.

ZAYID: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: And she used a profanity and then she deleted it for you?

ZAYID: She deleted it when she cleansed her timeline because right before she went on ABC, she cleansed her timeline. And a lot of nasty things that she said disappeared. But bigotry was not a line. And we were very vocal. I tweeted myself numb telling ABC, please do not give a platform to a vocal bigot. And that wasn't a problem. So racism was.

But I also think if she called Valerie Jarrett the "c" word, she'd still be on TV. And that's why I think comparing Roseanne to Keith Olbermann or to Samantha Bee is just offensive. Racism is different than being a mean girl.

BERMAN: Maysoon Zayid, you know, Alise, thanks so much for being with us. It's a really (INAUDIBLE).

MORALES: Thank you, guys.

ZAYID: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Great to have this conversation. Thanks so much.

MORALES: Thanks.

BERMAN: Today's CNN Hero is a doctor who does more than heal the sick. His story is next.


[08:58:54] BERMAN: So during his medical training in Peru, this CNN Hero noticed sick children sleeping on hospital floors waiting to get help. So Doctor Ricardo Pun-Chong created a nonprofit for desperate families.


DOCTOR RICARDO PUN-CHONG, CNN HERO: The journey, it's very difficult. To come here and it's very expensive to stay here. They don't have enough money to continue their treatments. Sometimes families, they have to sell everything they have. They feel helpless.

So I decided to do something for them. I want them to know that they are not alone.


BERMAN: They are not alone indeed. Check out Dr. Ricardo's program. Head to And while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero.

CAMEROTA: All right, it's been a great week, John.

BERMAN: It feels like so much longer than that.

CAMEROTA: Not -- not a good sign, John.

BERMAN: I mean -- whoo.

CAMEROTA: Well, you haven't been fired yet.


CAMEROTA: So I expect to see you on Monday.

BERMAN: Very good. See you then.

CAMEROTA: OK. Fantastic. Can't wait.

BERMAN: All right, time now for "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and Brianna Keilar. Take it away, guys.