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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Testimony Concludes In Kyle Rittenhouse Trial; Closing Arguments Expected Today; Appeals Panel Presses Pause On Trump Documents Dump; Defense Attorney Objects Nationally Recognized Civil Rights Leaders Attending Trial; Pres. Biden Back Away From Claims That Inflation Is "Temporary"; Dems Criticize GOP Rep. Gosar For Edited Anime Video Depicting Him Killing Ocasio-Cortez, Attacking Biden; Astroworld Victim Bharti Shahani Dies, Brings Death Toll To 9. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 11, 2021 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: They're going to spend the next six months on the ISS. They've just spent 21 and a half hours in that little tiny capsule, so the next six months will be very spacious.

They traveled at 17,500 miles an hour to get there in 21 hours. They reported no issues while the capsule docked automatically. The SpaceX success marking a significant milestone. The rocket carried the 600th person to space in 60 years.

Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thirty-one witnesses in just eight days after it began, testimonies are over in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial, closing arguments set for Monday.

Rittenhouse is charged with killing two, wounding a third last summer in Kenosha, Wisconsin during unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. In a moment, you'll hear from one of the wounded survivors.

First though, the trial itself which has been marked by controversy surrounding the Judge and the defendant who has been praised by some, scorned by others for his decision to travel from out of state to the scene of great civil unrest armed with an AR-15.

CNN's Omar Jimenez joins us now from Kenosha. What happened in court today?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, we moved into the final stages here before it gets in front of a jury. Over the course of today, though, jurors didn't seem as engaged as yesterday, but that's not saying much because if yesterday was the most dramatic day we've seen yet in regards to emotion and substance, today was the most technical day we've seen yet and the most political.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a political trial.

JIMENEZ (voice over): But politics and questions of bias emerged from the backdrop of this trial from the defense's 10th witness, Drew Hernandez, a self-described commentator on the streets of Kenosha the night of the shooting.

THOMAS BINGER, PROSECUTOR: Have you ever posted anything on social media?


BINGER: In support of Kyle Rittenhouse?

HERNANDEZ: One could argue, yes.

JIMENEZ (voice over): It was a recurring theme brought out by the prosecution.

BINGER: Your videos that you have captured of these incidents that you call riots. They're very slanted against the people who are rioting. You characterize them as Antifa, Black Lives Matter rioters, correct?

HERNANDEZ: Because they are rioting in the footage, yes.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Hernandez was called by the defense largely to draw a contrast between Joseph Rosenbaum, the first killed by Rittenhouse in August 2020 in the aftermath of protests in Kenosha.

HERNANDEZ: Rosenbaum was charging Kyle Rittenhouse from behind.

COREY CHIRAFISI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Did you hear that real time?

HERNANDEZ: Hear it and saw it in real time.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Compared with Kyle Rittenhouse.

CHIRAFISI: Did you observe him acting in an aggressive manner to anyone that you observed?

HERNANDEZ: In no way shape or form. The first time I saw Kyle, he actually de-escalated a situation.

JIMENEZ (voice over): But notably, an objection led the Judge to admonish the prosecution for the second consecutive day.

JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT IN WISCONSIN: I'm a little bit challenged when you say -- is there something that I'm seeing that drives the face that you're making?


SCHROEDER: Go ahead and say what you want to say.

BINGER: I have to say, Your Honor, yesterday, I was the target of your ire for disregarding your orders. Today, the defense is disregarding your order.

JIMENEZ (voice over): The day began with establishing a meticulous timeline of what happened looking at slowed down video of the moments in and around the shootings that night, including the second set of shots fired that began with the still unidentified person known in court as a "jump kick man" and testimony from a use of force expert called by the defense.

MARK RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What occurred first? The kicked in the face by "jump kick man" to my client or the first gunshot.

JOHN BLACK, TRIAL WITNESS: Based on my analysis, the kick to the face occurred prior to the gunshot.

JIMENEZ (voice over): Those shots missed. The next one to the chest of Anthony Huber would be deadly, and then the shot to the arm of Gaige Grosskreutz, all of it just shortly after the four shots that killed Joseph Rosenbaum.

BINGER: Can you tell us the amount of time that passes between the first shot -- observation number eight -- to Joseph Rosenbaum and the final shots to Mr. Grosskreutz?

BLACK: Approximately one minute and 20 seconds.

BINGER: In that one minute -- approximately one minute 20 seconds, the defendant fires all eight shots.

JIMENEZ (voice over): A day after Rittenhouse's, at times, emotional account of what happened in that minute 20 --

Gaige Grosskreutz, the only survivor of those shot that night felt it wasn't genuine.

GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, SHOOTING SURVIVOR: To me it seemed like a child who had just gotten caught doing something that he wasn't supposed to, more upset that he was caught and less upset about what he had done and what he had taken and the numerous lives that he affected.


COOPER: Omar, the Judge was also heard making a comment right before they broke for lunch. What did he say?

JIMENEZ: Yes, Anderson he said that he hopes the Asian food that they were getting for lunch wasn't on one of those boats in Long Beach Harbor, which may have been referenced to supply chain backlogs over there.


But for ships that were likely coming from Asia. It was perceived as anti-Asian by some, at the very least, just a weird time to make a joke of that nature. But it also adds into the storyline that the Judge is another main character in this case, whether it is absolutely screaming at prosecutors at times, perusing cookie catalogs during breaks, playing "Jeopardy" with jurors at times.

It's been a constant outside of, of course, just his case specific actions and it may just be his style as he is the longest serving active Wisconsin Trial Judge, but his unusual antics have been noticeable, and for some have been concerning -- Anderson.

COOPER: Omar Jimenez, appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining us now, Harvard Law School senior lecturer and former Federal Judge, Nancy Gertner. Also CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan, who is both an experienced criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor.

Paul, what was your biggest takeaway from what you saw today?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, the trial slowed down quite a bit, I have to say. We had a very exciting group of witnesses, including, of course, Rittenhouse himself earlier in the case and not much happened today.

You had a use of force expert who really in the end just established that pretty much all the bad stuff happened in a minute in 30 seconds. So, it all happened fast. That's about all we took away from that. And then there were a couple of additional films that were shown. So, it really -- we really didn't see much added to the case today.

COOPER: Judge Gertner, last night in the program, you said that you were troubled by the Judge's behavior, He admonished the prosecution again today. I'm wondering what your reaction to him during this two days in a row is?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Well, I mean, I think the thing I was concerned about, which was hard to see on the screen was how much of his sort of chiding the prosecutor was done in front of the jury, how much he communicated.

There certainly were times when he was communicating displeasure at the prosecutor's facial expressions, that, you know, that really was absurd. The defense was making facial expressions as well. And then, he admonished him for asking about the political background of one of the witnesses. This is the witness who was -- who took videos and pictures on his phone, and this was a guy who posts on right-wing media.

And when he was describing what was going on, he was describing it in terms of who was Antifa. So, it seemed to me entirely legitimate to ask what his bias was, and the Judge dressed down the prosecutor for that.

There is a substantial imbalance in the rulings and the treatment of the prosecutor and the defense, and the key question is whether or not the jury is picking that up.

COOPER: Paul, the witness who analyzed the video gave the exact timing between the shots fired by Rittenhouse. Was he, do you think effective for the defense? CALLAN: I don't think it made a lot of difference. I mean, they're

trying to say, well, a minute and 30 seconds is really fast and all of this -- I don't find that to be a very fast happening of events. You know, you hold a watch up in front of a jury for a minute and 30 seconds, it seems like a long time. So, I don't really think that that made much of a difference.

And, you know, and I just had to add something also about the Judge. I mean, he's not a woke guy. That's what we can certainly say for starters, 75 years old. He's been in Wisconsin. He is the oldest judge on the bench in Wisconsin, and he lives in a different age.

And, frankly, you know, Judge Gertner comes from a very distinguished background serving, you know, as a Federal District Court Judge. And, you know, I have a feeling the courts in the streets of Kenosha are not so genteel as the Federal Courts.

I've been yelled at quite a few times myself trying murder cases in, you know, state and local courts, and this character is like a lot of other judges who sit in those courts, unfortunately.

COOPER: Judge Gertner -- go ahead.

GERTNER: Well, I think that -- one of the things that's interesting about this is that at least some people believe that he was sort of a prosecution judge. And so to some degree, this was really a very different picture. And, you know, I tried murder cases in the in the courts -- the State Courts of Massachusetts as well, and I've never seen anyone whose positions and biases are as clear as this Judge. That was really my point.

CALLAN: Well, you know, I think, Judge, what he was trying to do, what he said he was trying to do is keep politics out of the case, and make sure these jurors were decided in the case on the law, but it has gotten out of hand and he has been more anti-prosecution clearly than anti-defense, you know, so I don't disagree with you at all.

COOPER: Judge Gertner, I don't understand the Judge early on deciding about what words could be used to describe the people who were taking part in protests and whatever, however, one wants to describe what happened later, the mayhem that occurred, you know, once it got dark, I guess.

That ruling really still stands out and I'm not sure how big an impact it's had on the trial itself, but you -- I mean, did that surprise you as well?


CALLAN: You know, I was shocked by it --

COOPER: Sorry, sorry, that was for the Judge.

CALLAN: I am sorry, Judge. Okay, go ahead, Judge.

GERTNER: Well, I mean, it was -- that was a cue to where he was going, right? And for me, it was not just that the call that he -- that the defense could call the victims "arsonists, looters and protesters." It was that his rationale was that the defense could demonize these people to score points with the jury. That was a quote from the Judge, "score points."

What kind of points was that? That Rittenhouse had a right to shoot them because they were doing things that he thought were unlawful? I mean, that was an extraordinary comment to make, and I don't think it's a question of being woke, I think it's a question of being biased.

CALLAN: Well, and you know, the other thing that was odd at the beginning of the trial, Anderson, was he doesn't even allow the people who were killed to be called victims. Now, I will tell you in every court in America, the person who gets killed is called the victim and that's what the prosecutor is trying to prove.


CALLAN: So for him to say, you can't use that terminology in my court, but you can call the other people looters and rioters, yes, it was very, very odd behavior by this Judge.

COOPER: Judge Nancy Gertner, appreciate it. Paul Callan, as well. Thanks so much.

Gaige Grosskreutz is the sole survivor of the three people that Kyle Rittenhouse shot. You heard from him a few moments ago there in Omar's report. Before my conversation with him, I want to show you video the moment that he was wounded.

It's not easy to watch, and you may want to turn away now. That said, it's important to see, so you can visualize the moment, the surrounding moments he testified about in court including the AR-15 bullet wound, he took his right bicep.

At that instant, Grosskreutz, who is a trained paramedic became a patient. I want to get his perspective now along with that if his Attorney Kim Motley. We spoke before airtime.


COOPER: Gaige, first of all, what are your thoughts on the trial up to this point, in particular, Rittenhouse's testimony?

GROSSKREUTZ: Anderson, it's been interesting. I think, people on both sides, however, you view this case can agree with that, specifically, to the defendant's testimony. I can't say that I was one, particularly impressed nor convinced. To me, it seemed like a child being upset because they were caught, not upset because of what they had done wrong.

COOPER: Now, he says he did not rerack his gun. He said that on the witness stand. You obviously said that he did. You're -- you firmly say that you witnessed that?

GROSSKREUTZ: Yes, absolutely.

COOPER: And what was going through your mind in the moment right before you were shot?

GROSSKREUTZ: That I was going to die, and I felt that I needed to do whatever I could to try and preserve my own life.

COOPER: Gaige, I just want to play something you said in court to make sure that we have everything right. This was on Monday when you were being questioned by the defense.


CHIRAFISI: When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air. He never fired. Right?


CHIRAFISI: It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun -- now, you're hands down -- pointed at him that he fired. Right?



COOPER: On "Good Morning, America" today, you said that you were absolutely not pointing your gun at Rittenhouse. Can you clarify that?

GROSSKREUTZ: Yes, absolutely. First and foremost, that was a very tense situation, something that I've never been in before, like having never been shot before. I think it's important to note though, that specifically during cross, I mean, if there is a skilled attorney, they are able to present questions to help support their narrative. That's their job.

And with one of the exhibits that Attorney Chirafisi had introduced, there's a photo of me with my gun pointed towards the defendant, either just after or right during he had shot me in my right arm. I think it's important to note though that the physiology of my wound would be inconsistent with somebody being shot with their arm and we'll say the traditional way that you would point a gun at somebody or at something.

The only way that I could have sustained the injury that I have is if I had been shot with my arms up.

COOPER: So what you're -- did you ever point your gun at him?


GROSSKREUTZ: I think that, again, in the still photos it certainly looks like it, but never intentionally. You have to understand that following that gunshot, I was -- I had no use of my arm. I wasn't able to move anything in my right arm or on my right arm. COOPER: And I want to bring in Kim in here in a moment, but I just

want to ask, you brought a gun to what you knew would be a potentially volatile situation, a demonstration that then turned more volatile and violent. Why didn't you bring a gun if you were there as a medic?

GROSSKREUTZ: That's a good question, Anderson. I believe in the Second Amendment, I believe in American citizen's right to bear arms. I carry a weapon with me. It's just like grabbing your keys, your phone, your wallet, and your gun.

So that night was no different than any other night, but I think an important juxtaposition between the defendant and myself, both claiming to be medics is that one of us was carrying illegally with a rifle, and one of us was carrying concealed with a handgun.

COOPER: So Kim, testimonies concluded in the trial, closing arguments are set for Monday. As an attorney yourself, I mean, where do you see this going? And what do you think of the Judge's rulings in this so far?

KIM MOTLEY, ATTORNEY TO GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ: Well, I think that, you know, this is probably the biggest case that Kenosha has ever seen and probably will ever see. I think that the Judge has had a very tough job. This is a very challenging case. There's been some really questionable rulings that I really, frankly don't agree with.

I don't understand why some of the prior bad acts of the defendant such as he has threatened other to use his weapon against others before, but the Judge didn't let that video to come in into the court, which I think was relevant.

You know, those types of decisions, I really, really question, but I'm not the Judge on this case.

COOPER: Gaige Grosskreutz, I appreciate it. Kim Motley, as well. Thanks for time.

MOTLEY: Thank you.


COOPER: We have a lot more ahead tonight, including a conversation with Ahmaud Arbery's mother about what it's like to watch the trial of three white men accused in her son's killing and hearing a defense attorney today say quote, "We don't want any more black pastors coming in here."

Next, more breaking news, the former President winning a temporary reprieve on the release of White House records surrounding the insurrection. His former Chief of Staff gets a warning from the Select Committee to obey a subpoena by tomorrow or be held in contempt.


[20:21:33] COOPER: A Federal Appeals panel late today put tomorrow's release of

documents from the Trump White House on hold. Attorneys for the former President sought the delay while they appeal a District Court ruling that would have allowed the House Select Committee on January 6th access to records from the National Archives that include White House call logs, visitor logs, drafts of speeches, and three handwritten memos from then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who has been subpoenaed by the Committee.

Shortly before airtime, we learned that Chairman Bennie Thompson sent his attorney a letter demanding Meadows appear tomorrow to turn over documents and sit for a deposition or be held in contempt.

Yesterday, you'll recall, his attorney said Meadows would not cooperate until the courts decide the privilege question.

Joining us now is CNN political analyst and "New York Times" Washington correspondent, Maggie Haberman; also CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.

So Jeff, what exactly is the move by the Court of Appeals mean for the House investigation? Because yesterday, you were saying it really all boil down to what judges or what mix of judges got the -- you know, needed to make the ruling on this.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Right, and what these three judges decided was to put the matter on hold briefly. They set a very aggressive briefing schedule. They basically decided, if they didn't grant the stay, they would effectively have decided the case because the documents would have had to been turned over.

So this case is going to be argued on November 30th. This is unquestionably a victory for the Trump team in the short term. But what is, I think, the most significant aspect is that this panel of Judge Wilkins, Judge Millett, and Judge Jackson -- the first two are Obama appointees to the court. The last is Judge Jackson, a very recent Biden appointee to the court, a very likely Supreme Court nominee. That is a very favorable panel for the Congressional Committee for their chances. The very aggressive briefing schedule suggests that we'll get a decision from this court in December.

So yes, it's a victory, but to me, it looks more like a reprieve for the former President.

COOPER: Maggie, what do you make of this standoff between Mark Meadows and the Select Committee? Why is it apparently so important for him to stay in the former President's good graces? I don't know what he is doing for a living these days. But I assume he feels he needs to stay somehow in the good graces of the former President.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, I think you just hit on the issue. I think that's exactly why Mark Meadows is doing this. I think that, you know, until and unless the Justice Department goes ahead and files charges against Steve Bannon for contempt, which we know there is a referral. Steve Bannon has also refused to comply with a subpoena. Mark Meadows is now the latest to do the same. So until there is a charge filed by D.O.J., the incentives are going

to be very warped for people who want to stay in Donald Trump's good graces. Mark Meadows is absolutely one of them. He has been, you know, trying very hard to maintain his place in Trump's orbit. He has always had some insecurity around that, and so that is what he is leaning into.

Meanwhile, you know, the White House, the current White House, President Biden's White House, said today that Mark Meadows does not have a legitimate claim to privilege and he should go ahead.

So look, I think if you if you see Bannon charged, I think you will probably see Meadows charged. You know, I wouldn't assume that silence from the D.O.J. means nothing is happening. But I think again, until that happens, you're going to see people doing things like this.

COOPER: Jeff, what do you make of the silence from the Department of Justice on Bannon?

TOOBIN: I find it baffling and it looks like dithering to me, frankly. I mean this is a reasonable legally complicated question about whether this should be a criminal contempt case. But it's been almost a month now. It's been more than a month that it has been clear that this issue was coming down the line.


They have a lot of smart lawyers at the Justice Department. The idea that it takes them this long is really pretty shocking to me and it is having a real material impact. As Maggie points out, all of these witnesses are yanking the chain of the January 6th Committee, because they know there are no consequences, at least so far. And this is an investigation that has to be over in a limited amount of time. So the delay of a month even of bringing a charge is very consequential and damaging for this Committee.

COOPER: And Maggie, there's certainly -- I mean, nobody really can do anything about that. Certainly, the Biden White House doesn't want to be seen as doing what the former President would have done, which is publicly attack his Justice Department for not doing what he wants faster.

HABERMAN: Well, Biden -- remember Biden did say that he felt that the D.O.J. should prosecute people for not complying with the subpoenas and then the White House walked that back, and that often happens when Biden speaks off the cuff to reporters. But you know, I think in Biden's heart of hearts, he would like to see there be a charge. I also think that they would like to not have a story that Biden is pressuring the D.O.J.

Look, I think -- I mean, I think Jeffrey makes a point about the loss of time here again in how long this is taking. This Committee is operating under a timeframe where there is a midterm election coming up. And the wide expectation is that if the Republicans take the House majority, which you know, they have a very favorable chance of doing in this climate, then they will just disband this Committee. So whatever this committee is hoping to accomplish, they are on a

short timeframe now because the work got done -- started so late in 2021.

TOOBIN: And remember, even if the Justice Department decides to bring a charge, then the timing isn't in -- the court controls it, and it is completely out of the hands of the Justice Department and the Congressional Committee.

So this is not a speedy process, and the fact that the Justice Department has delayed for this long is damaging the work of the Congressional Committee.

COOPER: Maggie Haberman, Jeff Toobin, thanks.

An attorney for one of the white man accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery wants to ban black pastors from the courtroom. Arbery's mother joins us with her reaction to that request and what it is like to sit in that courtroom every day, next.



COOPER: Prosecutors in the trial three white men charge and murder of Ahmaud Arbery played for jurors are recorded deposition of a man who owned the under construction home that has been a central focus in the case. The recorded testimony the homeowner said surveillance video capture people on his property including Arbery in the late 2019 and early 2020, prompting him to call 911. But he said nothing was ever taken from the site. And he never asked Gregory or Travis McMichaels to protect it.

Also today, strange requests from the attorney for the third defendant.


KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM "RODDIE" BRYAN JR.: Don't want any more black pastors coming in here or other Jesse Jackson, whoever was in was in here earlier this week, sitting with the victim's family trying to influence a jury in this case.

I think the court can understand my concern about bringing people in who really don't have any ties to this case, other than political interests, and --


COOPER: Joining us now (INAUDIBLE) this is Ahmaud Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones and Arbery's family attorney, S. Lee Merritt.

Ms. Cooper-Jones, first of all, thank you so much for joining us. And I'm so sorry for your loss. And I can't imagine what it's like to sit there every day going through this. Were you -- I'm wondering what you made that defense attorney for one of the men on trials, objecting to having high profile members, the African-American community sit with your family during the trial, in his words to try to influence one of the jurors. But were you -- what do you think of that?

I'm sorry, we're having audio problems. So we'll try to fix that with you.

Mr. Merritt, I mean, did this. I mean, this could just come out of the blue here.

S. LEE MERRITT, ATTORNEY FOR AHMAUD ARBERY FAMILY: It did come out of the blue, except it's coming from attorney for one of the defendants William Roddie Bryan, who initially claimed that he was just, you know, there to record. And he has been filing some bizarre motions here. Earlier on in the jury selection process, he found what he termed above a motion meaning there were not enough Bubba's or white men in their 50s, uneducated, who more closely matched his defendant. So he's been doing bizarre things kind of the entire trial.

COOPER: And I think we have audio back. Ms. Cooper-Jones, did you -- I'm wondering, were you taken by just complete surprise by this from the defense attorney?

WANDA COOPER-JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: I'm very surprised to know that he frowned upon anybody, any pastor that would come in to sit with the family to keep us encouraged was very, and it was just very insensitive, that he would frown upon that variable, surprising, but also very, very rude.

COOPER: And Ms. Cooper-Jones, just being in that trial every day watching it unfold. I mean, how do you hold up through that? And how do you feel it's going so far?

COOPER-JONES: As I sit there, these are the days that I thought that would never come. So I sit there very, very anxious, but at the same time, very, very thankful. Because again, it took 74 days to have these guys arrested. So I mean, I have very, very long days. But these are the days that I much embrace because I waited for these days a long, long, long time.

COOPER: Mr. Merritt, out of 12 jurors and three alternates there is only one person of color on the jury. I assume that's the person that this attorney was suggesting that, you know, prominent pastors or whomever sitting with the family or trying to somehow influence just by sitting there. Do you worry the makeup the jury could impact the outcome of the trial?

MERRITT: I am concerned the makeup of the jury will impact the outcome of the trial. This attorney is talking about the influence of just one black juror after they use 11 of their 12 strikes to go after the remaining 11 Black jurors in this case.


And so, we know that these attorneys are trying attempting to change the outcome by relying on old racial discrimination tactics that have denied a lot of families justice in the (INAUDIBLE). COOPER: Ms. Cooper-Jones, what does justice look like for you?

COOPER-JONES: Justice just from our looks like everyone who was involved the three individuals that sit behind those tables and in the courtroom but also the DAs that mishandled the case very early on every hand that was involved, and the depth of Ahmaud I want them to just (INAUDIBLE) the justice.

COOPER: And Ms. Cooper-Jones, what do you want the world to know about your son?

COOPER-JONES: Ahmaud just was an African-American, a guy who decided to go jogging. And in the midst of his job, he stopped by a unoccupied home on the construction and looked around and killed immediately. Ahmaud had a life, Ahmaud was loved by many.

COOPER: Wanda Cooper-Jones. I appreciate you talking with us tonight and S. Lee Merritt as well. Thank you so much. I will continue to follow this.

Still ahead, President Biden overhauls his message about inflation and after months of cleaning rising prices were temporary.



COOPER: White House is changing its tune on inflation after promising for weeks and inflation is only temporary President Biden is now saying that higher prices are slowing down the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. The Biden administration is also bracing themselves for high inflation to persist into 2022 posing a major political problem, no doubt for Democrats, ahead of next November's midterm elections.

Joining us now someone who knows something about dealing with financial crisis in the White House, CNN senior political commentator from advisor to President Obama, David Axelrod. Also joining us chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.

Kaitlan, why did the President the administration think was important to finally knowledge and inflation is not temporary?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think he just said they really didn't have much choice because prices were not stabilizing as they had been predicting for months that they would and of course, the word that you heard repeatedly from the President and his top officials was transitory, they were saying that these price spikes were only going to be temporary. And they insisted it was not going to be something that you'd likely see in the long term. And, of course, this latest report that came out this week showing that those prices jumped 0.9% from September to October alone, of course, kind of shot that. And so, that was why you saw the President yesterday, bluntly acknowledging this.

And so, they've shifted from saying it's not really a chief concern. We don't think it's going to last for a long time to say, yes, we do acknowledge that consumer prices are too high. But we're hoping this won't last very long. Here are the ways that we're trying to fix it, while also just acknowledging the pain that people are seeing when they're paying for gas, when they're checking out at the grocery store.

COOPER: David, we were talking on election night last week about how certain you were the Democrats would take a huge hit in the 2010 midterms because of the slow recovery from 2008 recession. How much do you think this current economic anxiety is going to hurt Democrats in Congress, and frankly, the White House?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, if it continues into next fall, it will hurt them a lot Anderson. You know, the hope that for Democrats in the White House is that some of these issues resolve themselves between now and them. And then and some of the benefits of the infrastructure program that he's going to sign into law next week, will begin to be felled. And people will associate the two with, with him and with Democrats. That is, that is the hope.

But, you know, you ask, Kaitlan, why now, certainly, the inflation report yesterday was disturbing the worst numbers in 30 years. But I also think the events of last Tuesday, the election that you and I covered together, has something to do with it as well. You know, Glenn Youngkin, campaigned on a lot of these kinds of issues. He proposed abolishing the grocery tax, for example, in Virginia, because people were feeling the pinch. And, you know, you what we learned in 2010, was that you can, it doesn't really matter what the stock market is doing. It doesn't matter what the jobs numbers on it. What matters what people are feeling.

And there was a poll this morning, released stored yesterday by the Economist, and people were asked how do you judge the health of the economy, 5% said the stock market 21% said the unemployment rate and jobs reports have said the prices of goods and services you buy. So, this is why the White House is -- they're trying to link up with the experience that people are having now. And you can't talk people into believing that the economy is strong if they're not feeling it.

COOPER: And Kaitlan, just in terms of solutions, I mean, does the White House have an answer is there much the president can actually do to fix some of these problems, inflation, gas prices supply chain.

COLLINS: There are some things that he can do. And that's what the President has really been talking about. That's what he did last night when I was with him at the Port of Baltimore. But I think the issue that's facing the White House is they are very much long term solutions, not really something that they believe that is going to change these prices of eggs and bacon and chicken tomorrow. And so, I think that's the concern facing the White House is that this is an issue that every president faces at some point or another typically, it's a -- an economic headache for a lot of them, of course, because it becomes a political headache for these presidents. But what can they can actually do is quite limited.

One thing, of course, that you've seen the White House do is talk about the independence of the Federal Reserve and say that they are making their own decisions here when they come to this, they're looking at this on their own with no White House influence.

Another thing that is a possibility, and is one that we've been talking about inside the White House is maybe removing tariffs, that is something that of course could help as well. But really what the White House is trying to say that they're doing in the short term is just acknowledging that this is something that's happening and talking about the long term implications of their policies.

COOPER: And David, how do you think inflation is going to complicate the President's efforts to pass that massive build back -- so-called build back --

AXELROD: I think it's --

COOPER: -- a spending bill.


AXELROD: Yes, yes. I think it's a really good question we already heard Senator Manchin on this in light of that inflation report. The White House argues that there are elements of this plan that will actually help, help by improving productivity with some of the advancements that the infrastructure bill bring, but that solution, and everybody sort of concedes that there may be some short term issues here.

So, I think that this is going to be a big part of that debate. And of course, Republicans are, are piling on in that regard. But there are, you know, a lot of this stems from after, you know, after effects of the virus, the supply chain issues, the pent up consumer demand, and so on. These are largely artifacts of the pandemic, things that were very, would be very hard for any president to deal with. But the reality is, when you're sitting in that chair, you're going to get blamed for everything. And, you know, we felt that back in the day. He's feeling it now. And there are political ramifications of this.

So, the imperative is, yes, you want people to feel better quickly. But you certainly want them to feel better by next summer, when they're starting to make decisions about how they're going to vote in these congressional elections. And there'll be some nervous members of Congress, particularly those in swing districts who tend to be more moderate, when they consider these votes.

COLLINS: And Anderson, one thing that's also notable about when the President was talking about this yesterday, he brought it up pretty quickly right out of the gate when he was talking about the supply chain, in Baltimore. But later on in his remarks, he did acknowledge that a lot of are part of this problem is, in fact, due to that coronavirus relief bill that they passed right after he took office, the American Rescue Plan, which of course, as we know, sent out $1,400 stimulus checks to a lot of American families that met a certain threshold and the President was talking about how people have this money to spend and they don't have anywhere to spend it and talk about the issues that that is caused. And so, he did acknowledge in part that that is playing a factor in what we're seeing now.

COOPER: Yes. Kaitlan Collins, David Axelrod, appreciate it thanks.

Coming up next, what constituents with Congressman Paul Gosar think about that violent anime video depicting revenge fantasy about a fellow member of Congress and the President? Some of the answers even from supporters might surprise you.



COOPER: As we've been reporting nearly all week, Arizona Republican Congressman Paul Gosar facing big criticism from Democrats for posting a photoshopped anime video depicting him killing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Biden. So far, there has been silence from Republican House leadership, Kevin McCarthy has said nothing about it.

As for Congressman Gosar's constituents, "360s" Randi Kaye went to his district in Arizona to see what some of them think.


CARIE HUGHES, REP. GOSAR SUPPORTER: I love him. I love him. He's a godsend to us just like Trump was.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Prescott, Arizona, Republican Congressman Paul Gosar is a popular guy. In 2020, he got nearly 70% of the vote in this deep red county. But as far as the animation he recently posted online reaction here even among Republicans is mixed.

(on-camera): As a constituent of his and a supporter of Congressman Gosar, you're not OK with this?


KAYE (on-camera): Why inject violence into the mix? And why can't the Congressman just disagree with the others on issues?

PETERSON: That's what they should be doing? Just agree to disagree and go back to the old days when people could disagree and not be violent about it.

SCOTT WELDY, REPUBLICAN VOTER: I don't think it violates the law. You know, it isn't making like making a terrorist threat, which is arrestable. So, I think people make jokes and say stuff like that all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's terrible. It's uncalled for.

KAYE (voice-over): This Republican voter believes the video shows Gosar is simply fighting a war on behalf of those like her. HUGHES: The swords when you had the Almighty God behind you, you know what I mean, he's one of the swords and angels to guide and protect us. And probably was a little extreme on my in my opinion, but then again, I'm not up there where he's fighting a battle with everybody.

KAYE (on-camera): He says that it doesn't espouse violence, that it's shows it depicts the battle for the soul of the country.

HUGHES: Yes, I agree with that. Yes. What you just said, yes, the battle for the soul of the country. Amen to that.

KAYE (voice-over): Democrats here are less forgiving.

(on-camera): In any other job in America, if a co-worker made a video about killing another co-worker.


ROBERT BUNS, DEMOCRAT: Why does it come to this? Why do people want to degrade other people? You know, they put their pants on the same as you do. I think he was trying to incite violence. You know, they put this in somebody's brain and then somebody else picks it up. And it just escalates.

KAYE (on-camera): And after --

BUNS: It gets out of control.

KAYE (voice-over): This Republican jumped to Congressman Gosar's defense, suggesting critics were just overreacting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Political correctness is bullshit.

KAYE (voice-over): And some Republicans who were disturbed by the video in the end seem to let Paul Gosar off the hook.

(on-camera): Would this prevent you from voting for Congressman Gosar?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we're all forgiven. Sometimes when we slip up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Inappropriate but a little on the goofy side, and I don't think it was intended to, you know, be anything more than just, you know, an expression.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not really doing it, you know, that's just fantasy or for something right.

KAYE (on-camera): Would you be OK with someone putting out a violent video about you depicting them killing you, and then continue to work with them?

HUGHES: I say bring it on.


COOPER: Randi joins us now. So what are voters you spoke with think should happen next?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, it's really split on party lines. The Democrats that we spoke with think that there should be an investigation and he should likely be removed from office, but the Republicans don't think that this rises to the level of an ethics investigation. They think he should remain in office. One woman telling me there are just too many investigations. in Washington. And then we spoke with one man who says that he has voted for both Democrats and Republicans and he says that threats of murder and violence have no place in Congress. He doesn't think that's something that our forefathers would have approved of. And he thinks that he should be removed from office.


But of course Anderson is worth noting this is not the first time Gosar has raised eyebrows. He refused to certify Joe Biden's election. He also said that the masses that stormed the Capitol on January 6 were peaceful patriots.

So again, Anderson lots of questions about Paul Gosar tonight.

COOPER: Yes. Randi, appreciate it. Thank you.

Next, a sad update the death toll rising the AstroWorld Festival tragedy.


COOPER: Well in Houston tonight another family is grieving, the ninth victim has died from injuries she suffered during the crowd surge Friday at Travis Scott performed at the AstroWorld Festival.

Twenty two year old Bharti Shahana was her name, she attended the concert with her younger sister and a cousin. She'd been studying electronic system Engineering at Texas A&M. Her dad says she planned on taking over the family business after graduating in the spring. Her mom says she was always thinking about everyone else. And she says the first thing her daughter ever asked for, was to go to this concert. She added, why didn't I say no to her?


Our thoughts are with her family and every family touched by this tragedy.

The news continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.