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Rittenhouse Jury To Begin Deliberations Tomorrow After Day Of Closing Arguments; Steve Bannon Lashes Out Over Contempt Charges, Warns This Will Be "The Misdemeanor From Hell" For A.G. Garland, Pelosi & Biden; Karl's Book: Meadows Sent Pence Plan To Overturn Election. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired November 15, 2021 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for CUOMO PRIME TIME. Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thank you, Anderson.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

Get me in the center of the frame, Ellie (ph). This is an important night. Ellie (ph) is the Director.

Everybody is finally back. It has been over a year. My EP, as he says, it has been one year and eight months, almost to the day, since we were in this studio. And for you, it may matter, it may not. But for us, this is such a big sign that things are getting back to normal.

Literally, I have dreamed of being able to do the show here again, having the people around, understanding the energy, having guests that you can actually see. Hopefully, it all allows us to give you an even better program that has more resonance and more relevance.

So, here we are. We're back. And welcome to PRIME TIME.

The jury has the Kyle Rittenhouse case. And their job got harder today. I'll explain why. Now, on one level, they are doing this, with 500 National Guard troops, on standby, for any unrest, in Wisconsin.

And now, you have to remember, this jury is not sequestered. In fact, we don't even know who's going to be deliberating yet. You have a group of just under a couple of dozen people. The judge is going to pick which ones are the 12.

And they're going to be able to go home. They're going to be told, "Hey, try not to follow any of the coverage of this." But they're going to be very aware, of all the weight of expectations. That's heavy.

So, the atmosphere is tough. But so is the case. They got a lot of charges to consider. And they came. They got extra ones today. And they came with an unusually confusing set of instructions that we'll take you through, from a controversial judge, who's absolutely an issue. Will he be for them? We'll see.

Now, the judge threw out a weapons charge, today. You're hearing a lot about this online. Look, the statute has a length, for a weapon, to trigger, no pun intended, the statute where it's too long to be carried.

The judge determined that the how - the weapon that Rittenhouse, the defendant had, an AR-15, was not long enough, to be prohibited, under the State statute. So now, the double homicides, and the alleged attempted homicide, have layers, of lesser charges, for the jury to consider.

Why does the prosecution do this? The obvious, they're hedging. You get more choices. But that can be confusing for a jury, especially with the instructions they got today, about what's OK, and when, and when do you look at this one, and when do you look at that one? It's going to extend this process. I'll tell you that now.

However, after we've heard the cases, and the closings, we can now give you a good sense of the main questions. You ready?

Was the defendant's presence, and behavior, at the violent protests, or riots, or whatever, you want, to call them, was his behavior in itself a provocation, to the people around him? That's the key word. Was it a provocation?

Why? Because if he provoked the situation, if he created the situation, you cannot claim self-defense, as a cure, to a situation you created. If the jury does not believe that he provoked the situation, and that is not unlikely, they then have to look at each incident, of a use of force.

Here, the firing of his weapon. They're going to have to assess with each of the victims, in each situation. Sometimes, it's with each bullet. I don't think that's going to happen here, because they came in a very quick volley, less than a second.

But did the defendant need to use deadly force, to avoid serious injury, or death, in each instance, he used the gun. Is it reasonable to them? Does it make sense? Do they say, "If it were me? I would have." That's the key.

What are the questions in looking at it? Were the people chasing him? Were they trying to hurt him? Were they trying to kill him?

People, observing the case, outside the jury, got really strong feelings. Some of them don't meet the facts.

On the Left, Kyle Rittenhouse, the defendant was framed early on, as an absolute vigilante. "He's a villain. He's a righty. He's an extremist, looking to shoot protesters that night," something, even he alluded to specifically, a couple of weeks earlier, caught on video, saying, "Hey? You see those people coming out, those looters? I would have shot them, if I had my AR-15." Now, the jury never got to hear that. But the rest of us did. And it's cemented an impression.

The Right paints him as a victim. "He's a hero. He went there to help. He acted in self-defense, when that mob came at him."


Now, I've said this all along, OK? The coverage of this situation has not been great. It's steeped in political agendas. This was not an easy case, for this prosecutor. And this prosecutor did not do a great job, OK?

Neither of these portrayals that I'd given you, who he is, on the Left, who he is, on the Right, neither has to find a home, in this jury, for them to find a verdict.

And it could easily be the case that the defendant, while has no explicit burden, right, it's on the prosecution, but his team may have made, and with him in the chair, a stronger showing, in their affirmative defense case, than the prosecutor did, in making theirs, and meeting their burden.

Remember, everything they put out, about his self-defense, and why he needed to do it, that was their choice. But here, in this court, the prosecution has to prove to this jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, he didn't need self-defense.

The main takeaway from the prosecution is provocation. That was the headline of their closing argument. Provocation invalidates the self- defense claim. Listen.


THOMAS BINGER, PROSECUTOR: You're not allowed to run around and point your gun at people. This is the provocation.

This is what we see in the video, him putting the fire extinguisher, on the ground, and then raising the gun.

That is what provokes this entire incident. And one of the things, to keep in mind, is that when the defendant provokes the incident.

MARK RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Think back, to back, on November 2, when this case started. Did you hear one word, out of Mr. Binger's mouth, about provocation? You didn't, because it was never said. But when, his case explodes, in his face, now he comes out with provocation.


CUOMO: Now, that's not the defense's best pushback. The best pushback is that you didn't hear the prosecutor say, "Who did he point the gun at?" Because, if you're going to provoke somebody? You're going to point the weapon at them. They have to perceive that you're doing the provocative act. Otherwise, it's not a provocation.

Did the prosecution make the case, beyond a reasonable doubt, to that jury that it was Rittenhouse, who started, what wound up, with him firing the weapon, at the same people? Did he do that?

Why Rittenhouse was in Kenosha, that night? So compelling, in the media, so compelling, to so many of you, watching this. He came across state lines, AR-15, lying that he was an EMT.

The prosecutor says that all makes him an aggressor. Listen.


BINGER: Here is the defendant, running, in between those parked cars, slowing down. And you can see just how close, or rather how far away, Mr. Rosenbaum was, when the defendant shot him. Mr. Rosenbaum is not even within arm's reach of the defendant, when the first shot goes off.

There's no way Mr. Rosenbaum could have taken that gun, even if he wanted to. He is already falling to the ground.

You can't claim self-defense against an unarmed man.


CUOMO: You can claim self-defense against an unarmed man. It depends on what the unarmed man is doing to you. Just because you have the gun doesn't mean that anybody else can't do anything.

But was it reasonable? Is what he perceived reasonable, in the mind of this jury that it needed to be responded to, with deadly force? Because remember, he admitted on the stand, "I used deadly force, on purpose."

Again, remember, this jury is going to hear all of this. The judge says "Don't listen to the media. Don't do any of that stuff." But they're not sequestered. They got people around them. They got lives. There's so much noise on this, what will filter through, what won't?

Now, does being in Kenosha - this is the damning fact, about this guy, right, that you hear all the time? "He shouldn't have been there. He went there for bad reason. And he's got bad ideas in his head."

Even if that's all true, does it mean he provoked the attacks on him? That's what the defense seized on. Here's their rebuttal.


RICHARDS: We don't play fast and loose with the facts, pretending that Mr. Rosenbaum was Citizen A, Number One guy. He was a bad man. He was there. He was causing trouble. He was a rioter. And my client had to deal with him that night, alone.

Mr. Rosenbaum was shot, because he was chasing my client, and going to kill him, take his gun, and carry out the threats he made.


CUOMO: The defense attorney actually said - now, I've never heard this before, I'll ask the better minds, in a few minutes.

He actually said that he's happy, his client, the defendant, shot and killed Mr. Rosenbaum, because, if he hadn't, he would have taken the weapon, and used it on other people.


Now, a closing argument has to be anchored, to the facts, but there's absolutely room for speculation. And this judge, who couldn't find enough opportunities, to talk, let these guys go, didn't say anything.

Now, that is a huge leap for this jury, I wonder if it bothered them, because there's no fact to support that Rosenbaum was going to take this guy's gun, and start using it on other people. The only reasonable thing for him to argue is that he was going to use it on the defendant, Rittenhouse.

Now, Rittenhouse's mother has been there, has been emotional, obviously. But she's also been working this case, in the media, saying that's - that gun, that her son had, that they say is a bad thing, was a good thing that saved his life.


WENDY RITTENHOUSE, KYLE RITTENHOUSE'S MOTHER: A lot of people shouldn't have been there. And he brought that gun for protection. And to this day, if he didn't have that gun, my son would have been dead.


CUOMO: Now remember, he had no business being there. He should have never been there. And you shouldn't have taken him there, Mom. She didn't take him.

And the fact that he shouldn't have been there is not what this jury is looking at, unless they see his presence and behavior there, as provocative, to the same people, provoking the same people, who chased him. Did the prosecution prove that, beyond a reasonable doubt?

Now, look, you can argue, if he didn't have the gun, two men wouldn't have been killed, and another's arm blown off. They showed the pictures in court, horrible to look at.

But remember, the judge said it was not illegal for him to have that weapon there. He removed the charge. So again, I know it plays outside. But does it play inside?

Here were some of the final words, from both sides, of a very polarizing case.


BINGER: The defendant committed these crimes.

The question is whether or not you believe that his actions were legally justified. And I submit to you that no reasonable person would have done what the defendant did. And that makes your decision easy. He is guilty of all counts.

RICHARDS: Ladies and gentlemen, the videos show the truth. They had to charge the white supremacist, who isn't a white supremacist.

This is a political case. We can take politics out of it, as in Democrat and Republican. But the District Attorney's office is marching forward with this case, because they need somebody, to be responsible.

Kyle Rittenhouse's behavior was protected, under the law of the State of Wisconsin, the law of self-defense.

JAMES KRAUS, PROSECUTOR: No one is saying that Mr. Rittenhouse did not have a right to defend himself. This case is about the right to use deadly force.

An imminent threat, the only imminent threat that night was Mr. Rittenhouse.


CUOMO: All right, now, the big question is who are they going to believe?

Now, I want to make sure we get something very right, because we're in the business of making it more clear, not more confusing.

The law is you can't carry a weapon, as a minor, if it has a short barrel. Why? The policy behind it is they're trying to keep people from using sawed-off shotguns.

This AR-15 had a full barrel. So, it did not qualify, under the statute. So, the judge threw it out. You don't have to like it. That's the law. That's the ruling. And the charge is out.

So, now for the jury, victim or vigilante, peacekeeper or provocateur, those are the questions.

Let's see what the better minds think, criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson, former federal prosecutor, Laura Coates. We'll do it prosecution-defense.

Laura, what do you think? Did the prosecutor meet his burden?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SIRIUSXM HOST, "THE LAURA COATES SHOW": I don't think they met their burden, on all of the counts. And here's why. In Wisconsin, it's a very low threshold, for a defendant, to demonstrate some aspect of self-defense.

Now, the prosecution always has the burden of proof, as you well know, Chris. But once the self-defense claim is asserted, then the prosecution has to disprove that the person was entitled to use that.

And frankly, the two people, who would be able to give you the most forthcoming, or will be forth and frank and forthright explanation as to whether they themselves were acting in self-defense, against Kyle Rittenhouse, have died.

And the third person, the surviving member, of the victim unit, actually was somebody, who had a gun in his hand, was actually a testimony that unurged the benefit more to the defense than anything else.

And so, at the end, in the closing argument, they made their strongest case, about the notion of Kyle Rittenhouse, being an active shooter. And if anybody had a access or an entitlement to self-defense, it was everyone there, who thought they were trying to subdue, an active shooter, who indeed did kill again.

But the idea of rebutting fully, this idea of self-defense, being entitled to Kyle Rittenhouse, I'm not sure they met that threshold yet. And it's too late now.


CUOMO: That's right. This is it. They're not going to get another shot. No matter what they think of the judge, if he's acquitted, it's over.


CUOMO: Do you believe an acquittal, or a hung jury, is likely?

JACKSON: So, this is my view. I think if the jury buys the argument, of self-defense, it's all or nothing. That's how I feel.

We want to talk about lesser-included offenses that relate to charges that were added that may not be the top count. You did something. It wasn't intentional. Maybe it was reckless. I don't think they split hairs like that, in my view.

CUOMO: Well they--

JACKSON: I think they either buy the fact--

CUOMO: They say he had to do what he did--


CUOMO: --to defend himself.


CUOMO: "We don't like why he was there. We don't like this. We don't like that." But in now, that moment, he - that was reasonable.


CUOMO: And it doesn't matter what the charge is.

JACKSON: Exactly right. It would then be over. So, in my view, I think that's how they're evaluating it. That is the jury. Number one, was he in immediate fear of death, or serious bodily injury?

Now you get to the question, if you were, then number two, were his actions proportionate to the threat posed?

And that's why, before I get to number three, which is, did he act reasonably, the one charge that concerns me, if I'm his defense attorney, that I'm not sleeping well, over tonight, is the issue with Mr. Rosenbaum, the issue of firing, firing again, again, and again, four times.

I thought the prosecution did a very effective job, at saying, "The first shot, you ripped his pelvis out. He was going down. You shot him again. You shot him again thereafter. And you shot him again."

Why am I concerned, from a defense perspective? Because it's disproportionate, to the threat posed. Now, defense dealt with that issue by saying, "Listen, he shot to terminate the threat."

CUOMO: He also--

JACKSON: "And, at the time, the threat was terminated."

CUOMO: --the volley was all in under a second, they believe--

JACKSON: Exactly right.

CUOMO: --by assessing the video.

JACKSON: That's exactly right.

But what the prosecution did, I think, with to great effect, was it was, right on, there was three quarters of a second, but they made it sound that he shot, he shot, he shot and he shot. And you have to justify every bullet that comes out of that weapon. And if you don't, it's a problem. So, I'm not sleeping well over that, at night.

Number two, the provocation issue. If the jury buys that there was provocation here, by him, and you started it off, and very well, as you sum this up, the provocation - now, let's be very clear. It's not because I come there and I don't belong there. And I'm an interloper.

CUOMO: Right.

JACKSON: And I thought I was an EMS, emergency medical person. I'm not. I thought it was a cop.

No, the issue of provocation was when you had to engage in self- defense, did you provoke prior to that specific time, that specific person? And the jury has to define it that way.

If they define it closely that way, he's got a shot at acquittal. If they buy it more expansively, "Well, he shouldn't have come. He shouldn't have been there. What does he think he's doing?" then the defense has a problem. Those are the two issues CUOMO: Running away, could be a damning fact for the prosecutor.

COATES: Well remember though, on that one point?

CUOMO: Laura Coates, go ahead.

COATES: I was going to say, if I can, though, remember, the jury instructions that you know, are so important, in this case.

The jury instructions don't allow the jury to end the inquiry, at saying, "Did he provoke? If he provoked, he can't use self-defense."

The jury instructions require the jury to say, "Look, even if he was the one, who provoked the attack, if the response, allowed him to feel, reasonably in fear, of either death or bodily harm, he is entitled to use the element of self-defense, unless he failed to exhaust all other remedies, to try to escape."

And so, that's why you heard the prosecution going through that list of things that even if he provoked, they believe he did, even if he thought he was reasonably in fear for his life, based on somebody's attempt, to try to counteract his attack, he did not, they believe, tried to escape, at all costs.

There's other ways, you could have gone around. Instead, he remained in the thick of it. And so, it's important to think about this attitude.

And also, remember, we learned a lot, as a society, people, who were the layman here, about the idea of the use-of-force standard. Joey knows this quite well.

Remember, when you're talking about proportionality, of the type of force that you're using, if it's a cop case, you're thinking about the eyes, through the reasonable police officer. Normally, it's about what a reasonable person would do.

The jury instructions here require the jury to look through the perspective of that then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse. Now, the idea of whether he had any business, being there, I think is a resolved one. He had no business being there. His motivation, they're trying to test right now.

But the idea is, was it reasonable, in this jury's mind that at the time, he felt that the chaotic situation that he perceived, enabled him to act this way. And that's why this is such an odd thing, to have used the use-of-force expert, in the testimony.

They're trying very much, to align him, as if he is some member of law enforcement, or somehow an extension of that. And that's dangerous, obviously, for our society. This is a 17-year-old, with an AR-15, who only got off the possession, over a technicality, at this point.

CUOMO: Right.

COATES: But that's the theme of this to their defense case now. CUOMO: There're all kinds of wrong, in this story. The question is does that translate for this jury, into all kinds of crimes? We'll see.

Joey Jackson, Laura Coates, I couldn't ask for better. Thank you very, very much.


All right, now, I want to bring in someone, who understands this process better than most.

What will this jury absorb? What influences matter? What does it mean that they're not sequestered? Obviously, the standard instruction is "Don't pay attention to the coverage of the case." But it's going to be hard not to.

A jury sorting through the confusion, what resonates, what doesn't? An expert, next.








CUOMO: Kyle Rittenhouse, victim of vigilante, now it's time for the jury to decide. Deliberations begin tomorrow. The arguments are over.

Joining me now is Richard Gabriel, jury consultant, has worked with attorneys on the O. J. Simpson, and Casey Anthony case. Big deal!

All right, good to have you. Thank you, sir.



CUOMO: All right, so first, the idea of the judge's instructions, I found them very confusing, long-winded. But what usually resonates, and not, with a jury, no matter what the instructions are?

GABRIEL: Well there's a lot of the basic instruction, jurors typically get very confused with instructions. It's not that unusual. And a lot of times, they don't pay much attention to the instructions. However, when it comes time, to certain instructions, on some of the self-defense elements, on some of the provocation elements, that's where jurors can pay attention, depending upon what the disputes are, in the jury room.

So, when those jurors get to that verdict form, and they start debating, is this self-defense, is it not self-defense, does it meet these - this criteria? That's when they may turn to the instructions. Otherwise, a lot of it is kind of a bunch of noise, that they sort of go, "OK, what do we think this case is about?"

CUOMO: Not being sequestered, what does that mean?

GABRIEL: Well, it's a tricky one. Jurors, I think, do intend to follow the judge's instructions, and to not follow the media. But they are influenced by their households. Some of them just can't resist. We're so automatically on our phones, and things, these days that it's hard not to be exposed to that.

So, they are clearly aware that the world is watching them. And that creates added social pressure. So, they know they're not just getting a verdict on the case itself. They know they're actually giving a verdict, on a bunch of the political issues that have clearly had resonance, during the trial.

CUOMO: How much of their decision winds up being consumed by having had access, to the defendant's testimony directly?

GABRIEL: Oh, it's critical. And it's critical for a particular reason. Because Kyle Rittenhouse, and his intent, his motivation becomes critical in this, whether he's the villain, or the victim, whether he's the helper, or the instigator.

Jurors really have to take a look at who is this guy? Did he go to Kenosha, to actually carry out some plan, to assault these rioters, to be a vigilante?

And that really is going to be one of the key questions, in their mind, even though technically, the instructions say that he only has to be the instigator, in that moment, with each of these three victims. So, his testimony, how they see his motivation, becomes critical, in this case.

CUOMO: Especially, because under the State law, yes, they're always going to have to think about, whether they would have done that. But the specific instruction is no, you have to think about him.


CUOMO: This 17-year-old, in that situation, was it reasonable for him, to think that? Not you. That makes having access to him and hearing him that much of a bigger deal.

Let me ask you, as a final thought, watching the trial, and understanding what you do, about what persuades juries, do you believe the prosecution made its burden here, in a way that will be resonant with the jury?

GABRIEL: Well it's a difficult question, because all - all the personal is political, and the political is personal.

So, this is why jury selection becomes so important, because it's about the story that is told, which is why the defense spent so much time, talking about Kyle Rittenhouse's perspective, in their closing argument, today. And I think the prosecution did OK, but probably did not.

Both sides will trade on the fear of the jury. The jury's fear, in a Kenosha community, about whether they want somebody, like Kyle Rittenhouse, to come and protect them, or whether they, in Kenosha, also feel like they want to be afraid, of an active shooter, in the community?

So, aside from evidence, and burdens, and testimony, and legal instruction, jurors are looking at what's the story that most believe? And that comes back to, "What would I do in that situation? How do I feel, as a member of this community?"

CUOMO: Richard made another interesting point, for you guys, at home. A lot of you have been talking about how "Hey, how come there's like no Black people on this jury?" The community is very White.

A great tip that I've heard before, and Richard echoed, I just want to pass it along, quickly before we go.

Don't worry about color, as much as their credence, what are their politics, because that may resonate more in the room, than anything they bring in with them, as a function of race.

Richard Gabriel, thank you very much. Appreciate you. We'll see how it goes.

GABRIEL: Thanks, Chris.

CUOMO: Now, another big case that we're following, big implications for us, as a society, the January 6 commission.

Steve Bannon showed up for court today, after turning himself in. Looked horrible! But is this a good situation for him, contempt of Congress? He looked like, he was, loving, every minute of it. Also, looked like he needed to go visit a barber!

Who was Bannon telling to stand by? Next.









STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: We're taking down the Biden regime.

I want you guys to stay focused, stay on message. Remember, signal not noise. This is all noise. That's signal.


CUOMO: "What does that mean? Is that a QAnon?" No.

That's Steve Bannon, using something that's from science, is the signal not noise ratio. It's a way of - remember, he was a Navy Intel guy. So, this is his way of saying, "My message is coming through, clearly. There's more signal than there is noise." Is that true?

Defiance is exactly what he wants to be in this situation. He turned himself into the FBI in Washington. Two counts of contempt of Congress, refusing to hand over documents, to the January 6 committee, refusing to testify.

The former Trump adviser was released without bail, after surrendering his passport, so obviously he can't travel. He's now set to be arraigned, Thursday. And you can expect a not-guilty plea.

Bannon has been leading the charge, and claiming executive privilege, even though that power now rests with Biden.

He had no formal White House role, at the time of the Capitol riot. But we know he was in touch with Trump, in the lead-up, and even foreshadowed what would happen the day before, when he said, quote, "All hell is going to break loose."

He again used inflammatory language, today, as he left the courthouse. Listen.


BANNON: This is going to be the misdemeanor from hell, for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden. Joe Biden ordered Merrick Garland, to prosecute me, from the White House lawn, when he got off Marine One.


And we're going to do - we're going to go on the offense. We're tired of playing defense. We're going to go on the offense, on this, and stand by.


BANNON: They - by the way, by the way, by the way, you should understand, Nancy Pelosi took - has taken on Donald Trump and Steve Bannon. She ought to ask Hillary Clinton, how that turned out for them, OK? We're going on the offense.


CUOMO: I got to tell you, he's going to have a big platform now, to talk about this stuff. And the media is going to take it, and they're going to give it to you, OK?

If he's convicted on both counts, which could happen, Bannon would face up to two years in jail. But he could also be a short-timer. And then what signal would that send, OK? Remember this, though, even if you're convicted, it doesn't force you to testify, or produce records.

It remains to be seen, just how many of the other 34 people, and organizations subpoenaed, what they take from this? Are they willing to choose loyalty to Trump, or really fealty, over country?

He's a great journalist, who's been breaking a lot of news, about what led up to this. And I have to tell you, in reviewing the book, shocking things that happened with people that we don't even know about, in situations we don't know about, but you will tonight, details that Congress are - is trying to learn more about.

Jonathan Karl is here, tonight. His book is a blockbuster, literally by definition. "Betrayal" is out tomorrow.

We got him tonight. We're longtime friends and colleagues. But I got to tell you. He told me a lot of stuff, I don't know, in this book, and you're going to learn it, next.

Also, tomorrow, Beto O'Rourke is going to be here, just after announcing, he's running for Texas governor. How's it looking for him? Why is he doing this? And what is the real chance of him winning? He says, he can, and he'll tell you how.

We'll be right back.








(END VIDEO CLIP) CUOMO: With Steve Bannon, the conversation is about testimony, documents, but testimony. The January 6 committee is also looking to get hold of that, right, physical evidence, documents.

It's telling that the only time the former president has legally tried to assert any privilege, is when it comes to documents, why? Because documents don't lie, documents don't spin, documents don't take the Fifth, documents don't not recall.

Now, new reporting, about several key new pieces of evidence, a memo written, not by some outside lawyer, but someone, working for the Trump campaign, an email sent by the White House Chief of Staff, to the VP's office, and pictures taken by an official White House photographer.

The existence of all of it, reported for the first time, in "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show," written by my next guest, Chief Washington Correspondent, for the redoubtable ABC News, Jonathan Karl.

Good to see you, brother, and congratulations, on a really, really profound piece of work. This will be the first draft of history.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, AUTHOR, "BETRAYAL: THE FINAL ACT OF THE TRUMP SHOW": Great to see you. And thank you, Chris. That's why I wrote it, history that is - there are those that are attempting to rewrite, even as we speak.

CUOMO: No question, but--

KARL: That's why I wrote this book.

CUOMO: But I got to tell you. And yes, Jonathan is my friend, all right? But I haven't seen him in forever.

The - I was blown away, by stuff that's in this book that I didn't even know. For instance, Sidney Powell, working with Flynn, and what they were trying to do, you really have reported - you'll see it in the book. I don't want to give away the whole book.

But the - she really wanted special operators, to be dispatched, to go find the Head of the CIA, and bring her back, Gina Haspel?

KARL: Absolutely, Chris. This is one of the strangest things that I found out. And you know how many strange things took place, over the final months, of the Trump presidency.

But Sidney Powell, called the Undersecretary for Intelligence and Security, at the Pentagon, Ezra Cohen, somebody that have been put in there, after the election, and somebody she thought was an ally, because he had worked previously with Michael Flynn, and wanted him, to send a special operations team, to Germany, to get Gina Haspel.

I mean, it's a - it's a bizarre story. But it got so strange, and so convoluted, and spread, through these QAnon channels that actually the CIA had to put out a statement, saying that Gina Haspel was in fact back in Langley, Virginia, doing her job, and there was nothing amiss. But this happened. Ezra Cohen turned her down, and basically told her to get lost.

But I also Chris, know that she placed a call, to the personal cell phone, of the Director of National Intelligence, during this same period. And it was believed that the DNI got - how would - how would Sidney Powell get this private cell phone number?

And again, the fingers were pointed at Mark Meadows, as somebody who puts Sidney Powell, in touch with - with the DNI. And also, the phone call, to the Pentagon, was to a private phone number. How do you get these numbers?

CUOMO: Now, this story, by the way--

KARL: Sidney Powell clearly had them.

CUOMO: Jonathan?

KARL: You know?

CUOMO: Not to undersell your own reporting. I got to stop you. I got to - I got to sell it better.

KARL: Yes.

CUOMO: The point is not just the intrigue of the crazy, which it absolutely is, and that is worth reading, all by itself. But Ezra Cohen, now, it gives you, perspective, on his level of disgust, and what that might mean going forward.

What is the reporting, Jonathan, in terms of whether Cohen is a possibility, as someone who may want to be a truth-teller?

KARL: So, I think Ezra Cohen is somebody that the January 6 committee will be very interested in talking to.

He is somebody, who worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, in the clandestine services, when Michael Flynn was the Head of DIA.


And he's also somebody that was brought into the White House, on the National Security Council, as the top Intelligence official, when Michael Flynn, for that very short period of time, was the National Security Advisor.

So, there was an assumption on many people that he was a Michael Flynn protege. And apparently, Michael Flynn believed that as well.

And when Cohen got that job, over at the Pentagon, during the transition, after the election, he called Ezra Cohen, and said he wanted to get his help, in doing whatever the heck, Michael Flynn wanted to do. This is when he's talking about martial law.

CUOMO: Right. KARL: This is when he is organizing this "Stop the Steal" effort.

And Ezra Cohen, again, said, "Look? No. This is - this is crazy. The election is over." And Michael Flynn started screaming at him, and saying that he was part of the problem.

So yes, here's somebody, again, who, by his bio, and his background, you wouldn't necessarily think that he would be the one, to stand up in disgust, and say "No," to all this. But he did.

And there are a number of people, like this, who I think, at critical moments, stopped this entire disaster, after the election, from actually being a lot worse.

CUOMO: One other point I want to get, before we go to break. And I'm going to keep Jonathan, because there's just too much stuff in the book, for one segment.

Mark Meadows, you talked about people, who stopped it. He seems to be on the opposite side.

KARL: Yes.

CUOMO: What does the reporting reveal, not just in terms of this flurry, of these dates, we have, December 29, 30, 31, January 1 and 2, him taking all of these different steps?

The P2 timeline, if you want to put it up for the audience?

Of trying to plant these seeds? Does the reporting reveal to you, Jonathan that these were done, in earnest? He actually believed this, or was this about him just trying to spread stink?

KARL: I don't know what was inside the man's mind. But, at every turn, he enabled Trump's worst desires. I found no evidence, anywhere, of him pushing back, against Donald Trump, and what Donald Trump was trying to do.

And you get the sense that Donald Trump had some crazy idea that was brought in maybe by a Sidney Powell, or a Rudy Giuliani, or who knows who. And Meadows was the one that enabled that to go through the highest levels of our government.

And I think that that memo that you mentioned, at the top, is a very important document. There's been so much talk about this memo that John Eastman wrote. And John Eastman didn't even work at the White House. He was just some outside lawyer.

But Meadows is forwarding a document that basically outlines the effort, to essentially have a coup, a document written by a lawyer, on the Trump campaign payroll.

CUOMO: Let's talk about why that was done, why we haven't heard more about this.

And a name, again, I mean, it's a little bit embarrassing, I am shocked at the name that I'm going to introduce you to, with Jonathan Karl, about where this man came from, where he wound up, and how instrumental he was, in trying to derail our democracy.

Stay with us.









CUOMO: Let me show you this list of all the people subpoenaed by the January 6 Select Committee.

Media is naturally going to focus on the names you know, Bannon, Meadows, McEnany. But when the committee puts out its report, it will likely feature a whole cast of people, you may not know.

Jonathan Karl does. He has done the work, of laying out, why people, like John McEntee - who is that? You're going to want to know. And we're discussing with him right now.

ABC News' big-shot correspondent is here. This book, I believe, will be the first draft of history, of what happened, at the end of this administration. It is a must-read.

Now, McEntee, why do people need to know that name?

KARL: Well, look, Johnny McEntee, I think, is one of the most fascinating and important figures, in the last year, of the Trump presidency.

He is a guy, actually Chris that I met, back when I was first starting to cover the Trump campaign. They had like 10 employees.

I went to Trump Tower. There was nobody there. There was this - there was this kid, just a few years, out of University of Connecticut, named Johnny McEntee, stepping forward, shaking my hand, and giving me a tour around.

Fast forward, Trump wins. He becomes the body guy, the kid who carries the bags for the President, to Marine One, to Air Force One. And he served that role, through much of the first year of the Trump presidency, until he was fired for issues that were raised, on his background check. But he came back in January of 2020. And he came back, and he came back, because Trump knew that he was the guy that was more loyal to him, than anybody, who would do absolutely anything he wanted.

And Trump actually put him in charge, of the Presidential Personnel Office. This is in charge of all the hiring and firing of everybody, in the United States government, in the Executive branch, and all the political appointees.

And, he, at that point, Chris, he hadn't hired a single person in his life. He had no experience for this job.

But his experience that he had that was relevant for Trump was that he would go through the course of 2020, and conduct a purge, and go through, and systematically go through, the political appointees, in all of the agencies. They had interviews with--

CUOMO: Jeez!

KARL: --hundreds of interviews, conducted by this team that McEntee brought in, mostly people in their 20s, and to remove anybody that wasn't deemed sufficiently loyal to Trump.

So, he becomes the guy that I think, in many ways, made January 6 possible, because when Trump took his darkest turn, there was nobody around to stop him. There was nobody around to question him. There was nobody around to push back in meetings. They were--

CUOMO: Literally, the bag man was there!

KARL: Yes, the guy who carried the bags.

CUOMO: Literally, the bag man!


KARL: Yes. Yes.

CUOMO: So, Jonathan and I were talking, in the break, about whether or not this will move the needle.

I'll say this, because we're basically out a time. If this doesn't move the needle, if this book doesn't open people's eyes, to what was actually happening, I don't think anything will.

And I know that you wrote it, as a journalist. But I'm telling you, it's going to be the first draft of history.

Jonathan Karl, good luck, brother. I wish the best for you. And thank you for this work of journalism, for this all-important time, in our collective history.

Jonathan Karl, ABC News, the book is "Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show." It is on sale, tomorrow. It is the first draft of our history.

Brother, be well.

KARL: Thank you, Chris. Be well.

CUOMO: Got a big show, for you, on Wednesday, a special hour-long interview with Bill Maher, covering a lot of ground. He's going to say things that you will want to hear. He is going to say things that you will not want to hear.

Thank you for watching us tonight. It's good to be back.

The CNN Special, "Being Chris Christie," up next, on CNN.