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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Chris Christie Talks About His New Book, "Republican Rescue;" Rittenhouse Jury Concludes Deliberations For The Day And Will Resume On Wednesday At 10AM ET; House Plans To Vote Wednesday To Censure GOP Rep. Gosar Strip Him Of Two Committees; Jan.6 Committee Chair Sending Another Letter To Former Trump WH Chief Of Staff Seeking His Testimony; Prosecution Rests Its Case; Defense Begins Tomorrow; NYC Will Allow Thousands To Join In Times Square New Year's Eve Celebration, With Proof Of Vaccination. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired November 16, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: The State Department of the United States is saying what Russia did was a reckless and dangerous act that threatens the interests of all nations.
Thanks so much for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch "OUTFRONT" anytime on CNN Go. Anderson starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. There is breaking news in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. The jury has just finished for the day. They will continue the deliberations tomorrow. They did make some interesting requests through the day that we will discuss, coming up.
Also, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie joins us in just a moment. We will talk about state of the Republican Party, including what he says he would like to see far less of because even in just the last 24 hours or so, it amounts to plenty.
Late last night, we learned that Wyoming Republican Party voted over the weekend to cast their Congresswoman Liz Cheney out entirely after criticizing the former President. They will no longer recognize her as a member of the G.O.P. That's after House Republicans in Washington earlier-this year removed her from leadership obviously for doing the same. Late today, both Wyoming's two Republican senators declined to support Cheney when asked.
House Democrats are expected to launch censure proceedings against Congressman Gosar tomorrow. Congresswoman Cheney today calling House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy's inaction on Gosar, quote, "indefensible." As you know, when asked by CNN yesterday, McCarthy said he had called Gosar and afterwards, Gosar removed the post. Today, he had this to say off camera.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): He didn't see it before it posted. And he took it down. It was not his intent to ever show any harm.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman McCarthy added quote: "What I said to conference was we cannot accept any action or showing of a violence to another member." That's more than a week after the clip went up.
Fellow Republican, Adam Kinzinger saying he will vote tomorrow to censure Gosar, but he is certainly in a pretty lonely minority.
More typical is the House Freedom Caucus choosing a new leader, Pennsylvania Congressman Scott Perry who has come under scrutiny for his role in seeking to overturn the election. Some headlines, "Pennsylvania lawmaker played key role in Trump's plot to oust acting Attorney General."
"PA Congressman Scott Perry acknowledges introducing Trump to lawyer at the center of election plot."
"Pennsylvania Congressman aided Trump effort to flip Justice Department on big lie."
Now, it seems he is being rewarded for it. We learned as well today that the woman the former President endorsed to run elections in Michigan spread false election claims and conspiracy theories about January 6th. His endorsement on her site reads in part, "Good luck, Kristina, and while you are at it, check out the fake election results that took place in the City of Detroit."
Just for the record, there was no evidence of any widespread fraud in the election. But believing such thing has become a price of admission for remaining in President Trump's good graces, as has downplaying the violence we saw at the Capitol. It's gotten so bad for some Republicans that simply voting for a bipartisan bill on roads and bridges has earned them death threats, as well as efforts by fellow party members to strip them of Committee assignments. That, too, is to curry favor with the former President who opposed the bill.
Yet, the irony is that loyalty only seems to run one way. In his new book, ABC's Jonathan Karl writes about a conversation the former President allegedly had in his final day as President with Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel. Quoting now, "'I am done.' Trump told McDaniel. 'I am starting my own party.' 'You cannot do that,' McDaniel told Trump. 'If you do, we will lose forever.'" Quote, 'Exactly. You lose forever without me.' Trump responded, 'I don't care.'"
Joining us now, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, author of "Republican Rescue. Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden."
Appreciate you being with us. Thank you very much.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Congratulations on the book.
CHRISTIE: Thank you.
COOPER: The book is about, as you say rescuing the Republican Party. Do you believe Donald Trump really cares about the Republican Party?
CHRISTIE: Well, the book is not about him, Anderson. It's about -- it is talking to our voters all across the country and saying to them how are we going to win again?
In 2018 to 2020, in two years, we lost the House, the Senate, and the White House. The only other time in the 150-plus-year history of the Republican Party that happened was Herbert Hoover from '30 to '32 and then we didn't win the White House again 28 of the next 36 years.
We have to have a viable two-party system in this country. We have to be able to contrast different ideas, give voters choices. And to do that, we have to, once again, become the party of truth.
COOPER: The problem, though, is the former President who is the head of the Republican Party now, on a national level. I mean, he is a truth denier. I mean, he is one of the people in the title of your book. And yet, your party is beholden to him.
CHRISTIE: Well, look, I think there is some things you are seeing now, which show that that's becoming less so.
Yesterday, there was a new poll from the Des Moines Register of Iowa Republicans and as I know you know, those are some most conservative Republicans in America, in Iowa. They asked a question, where is your first loyalty? To the Republican Party? Or to Donald Trump? Sixty two percent said the Republican Party, 26 percent said Donald Trump.
And I think we are in an instant gratification society, Anderson. Donald Trump dominated the political world in this country, and around the world for that matter for five years. He's been gone now not quite ten months out of office, and we expect everything to be changed.
I think that people have to start to speak out about the truth, which is what I tried to do in the book.
COOPER: But other than -- I mean, you're speaking out, but there is not a lot of other people out there. I mean, it is pretty lonely. I mean, we see what happened to Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger as well has now said he is not going to run again.
CHRISTIE: I think, it's a little different for me because, I was -- you know, for people who say they support Donald Trump, they have to line up behind me. You remember, I was the first one to endorse him in February of 2016 after I dropped out of the race, chaired his transition, was offered Chief of Staff, was offered Secretary of Labor, was offered Homeland Security Secretary -- a lot of things. I didn't take them, but I was offered them and helped prepare for both sets of debates.
COOPER: Do you regret that support?
CHRISTIE: I don't, because as I said to the British Ambassador one day, Anderson, the way America works is, you don't always get to vote for who you want to. You get to vote for who is left in our system.
So, in 2016, I ran against him. I wasn't successful.
COOPER: In 2016, you said, "There is no one who is better prepared to provide America with the strong leadership it needs, both at home and around the world than Donald Trump." In your R.N.C. speech, you said, "We are about to be led by not only a strong leader but by a caring, genuine, and decent person." Do you believe that now?
CHRISTIE: Well, look, I think what I said there, I absolutely believed that he was our strongest option that was left when I said those things. And the fact is that, again, you are left with the choices you have.
But now, what I am saying to folks is --
COOPER: Do you believe that he was caring, genuine, and a decent person?
CHRISTIE: Let me tell you something, when I said those things, he had always been that to me. He had always been that to me at that time.
COOPER: Do you believe that now?
CHRISTIE: Well, he's been less of that to me over the course of time, but I still consider him a friend. We have been friends for 20 years.
COOPER: But do you think he has been decent? Do you think he has been genuine and caring? I mean --
CHRISTIE: I think it is somewhere --
COOPER: When you were in the hospital, he called you up and he was saying something about like you are not going to say you got it from me, are you?
CHRISTIE: Right, but in the beginning of that conversation, for the whole conversation, he did ask how I was doing.
But the fact is, Anderson, is that, where he has fallen down in my view most starkly and the part that I emphasize in the book the most is from Election Night forward. And I said on television that night right after his speech that you can't stand behind the seal of the President and the East Room of the White House and tell the American people the election was stolen when you have no evidence to prove that it was.
COOPER: But you won't say that person should never be able to stand behind the podium in the White House again.
CHRISTIE: This is not my choice whether he stands behind it. And I have learned over time that all you can do is do what you do and what I am doing now --
COOPER: You would have the choice of voting for him or not and you won't say -- or would you say you -- CHRISTIE: No, no. Because I don't know what my alternatives will be,
Anderson. And you know, so it's bad at this point and wrong to get into speculation about that.
COOPER: It's not speculation. I mean --
CHRISTIE: No, it is.
COOPER: There is a good chance he is going to run. And obviously, you --
CHRISTIE: I am not so sure of that.
COOPER: Everybody has to make a choice. And you know -- given who else there may be, you know what he is. You think he is still capable of being --
CHRISTIE: Well, I don't know and I don't know who else will be my choice and I think until you know that, it is irresponsible to say who you would pick or who you wouldn't pick.
COOPER: So you -- but you don't think supporting the attack on the Capitol, fomenting the insurrection is a disqualifier?
CHRISTIE: What I said in the book was that he has to take responsibility for that. And I believe everybody should have an opportunity to change their minds.
CHRISTIE: And to apologize for things that he did wrong.
COOPER: But you know he is not going to apologize.
CHRISTIE: I don't know that. Look, I can't predict what he will do, but what I'm doing is laying out for people very clearly.
COOPER: Has he ever apologized for anything?
CHRISTIE: Yes. Yes. I remember him apologizing for the statements he made on the Mexican Judge during the primary. And so that's one instance that I can remember right off the top of my head. But what's more important to me is that our voters, our citizens have to look at what the facts were and the way I tried to write this book regarding not only the election, but a number of these other conspiracy and truth-denying things like QAnon or Pizzagate or birtherism was to approach it like a prosecutor.
Say listen, everybody. Here is the allegation, here are all the facts.
COOPER: Right, but then again, all of those are things the President has either been, himself, a birther truth denier. He has certainly, you know, played coy with QAnon, at the very least. He's been openly encouraging.
CHRISTIE: And I lay out that case in the book. Like, look, what I am trying to do, Anderson is -- and this is the kind of the way we have -- the wrong way some people have approached the vaccine issue, in my view.
They try to tell people, this is it. You must do this. What I am saying is you need to educate people. You need to educate them, not indoctrinate them.
So what I try to do in the book is to lay out for people in a very plain-spoken, factual way why -- you know, I saw this statement in your lead where he said about the erroneous or fake results in Detroit. Well, I lay out in the book very specifically that he actually did better in Detroit in 2020 than he did in 2016. And Joe Biden actually did worse than Hillary Clinton did.
That's a very ineffective theft. If you are going to let the other guy do better and you did worse --
COOPER: Right, well, also, there are a lot of Republicans who did very well in the election down ballot, just he didn't.
CHRISTIE: And by the way, that is also in the book as well, but I am talking Detroit in particular.
COOPER: Right. The thing is, though, you know, the Republican -- I mean, I agree with you as a citizen -- stepping aside as a reporter -- as a citizen, I want there to be two strong, viable parties that have different perspectives and battle it out, but that have a basic agreement of what is truth and what is not and the Republican Party today, seems to have given up on that, largely -- I mean, you look at what's happening in Congress. These people are terrified of him.
CHRISTIE: Well, look. I think also there have been times when we could say the same thing about the Democratic Party. And what changes that? Leaders come forward and say, no, no, here is the better way. And what I'm saying in this book and I have been saying in a speech that the President critiqued at the Republican Jewish Coalition last weekend or at the Reagan Library in September is that we have to be the party now that is talking about tomorrow and not about yesterday because grievance politics, vendetta politics about an election that is long over now is not the way to show you're a leader.
And I want to show our party there is a way to do this. And by the way, Glenn Youngkin and Jack Ciattarelli did it.
CHRISTIE: And Glenn was rewarded with a victory and Jack closed a 15- point lead to two and a half points by talking about tomorrow and he won seats in the New Jersey legislature.
COOPER: You got criticism from Adam Kinzinger. He tweeted "As @ChrisChristie tries to pretend to be anti-Trump and pro-Trump, it will be interesting to hear what made him decide to be the first mainstream politician to glowingly endorse him." That is the knock on you, that you are being -- you are playing both sides.
CHRISTIE: No, I am not playing both sides, Anderson. What I am doing is I -- I will absolutely explain why I endorsed Donald Trump. That's what Adam said, well, why did he go endorse Donald Trump? Well, I did because when I got off that stage and I looked at the field, it was clear to me that there was no one left on that stage who was going to beat Donald Trump. He was going to be the Republican nominee.
I did not want Hillary Clinton to be President. That was my opinion and the opinion I have every right to. So, I said, okay, I can do two things. I can stand on the sidelines and do nothing. Or because I have had a 15-year relationship, at that point, with him. Get in and try to make him a better candidate, and if he wins, a better President.
COOPER: Is Donald Trump good for the Republican Party?
CHRISTIE: He has been good for the Republican Party in some ways. He has expanded the Republican Party's reach. There are a lot of voters who voted in the '16 and the '20 election for him that never voted before.
COOPER: Is he good for the Republican Party right now?
CHRISTIE: Not if he continues to conduct himself this way, no. If you continue to say stuff like he said in that statement and continue to dwell on 2020, then no, that's not good and that's why I wrote the book. That is why we need rescuing.
COOPER: Do you worry about civil unrest? Do you worry about -- I mean, there is such polarization. There is you know, people -- we have authors of "How Democracies Die." There is a lot of people who legitimately -- or seem to be seriously concerned about the future of this country.
CHRISTIE: I am not and I will tell you why. I look at January 6th, which was an awful day, an awful day for this country, an awful thing to watch as someone who has been in government and a leader in this country.
But I also looked at what happened at 4:00 a.m. the next morning, which those men and women of both parties in Congress got back of the floor of the House and Senate, regardless of the violence that had been perpetrated and future violence that was threatened, and they did their job. They put the democracy ahead of themselves.
COOPER: Right, but a number of them did continue to vote to decertify and lot of ones who did come forward, Lindsey Graham, who has said that you know, "I'm done, that's it, I'm out," got yelled at the airport and then a couple of days later is playing golf with the former President.
CHRISTIE: Well, Lindsey has to answer for that, but a lot of Republicans did vote to certify the election and by the way, the ones didn't have a right to vote the way they want to vote and their constituents will hold them to account for that, one way or the other. But what didn't happen was, they didn't evacuate the Capitol and not come back and not certify the election.
To me, that shows the resilience of our democracy. That in the end, the leaders -- people like Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi, they got everybody back on that floor and they did their job. And by the way, so did Mike Pence.
CHRISTIE: And --
COOPER: But the Republican Party does not want to get to the bottom what actually happened on this day. I mean, do you support the January 6th Commission?
CHRISTIE: Listen, I would have supported this Committee -- the Select Committee if Nancy Pelosi would have allowed Kevin McCarthy to put on the Committee who he wanted to put on the Committee. For -- that's never done and you know that.
The Minority Leader always gets to pick who he or she wants to put on their Committee. And when Nancy Pelosi refused to let him put Jim Banks and Jim Jordan on the Committee, what she did was she delegitimized the committee.
COOPER: That was already after all the negotiations for a bipartisan nonpolitical Committee were shuttled by the Republicans -- were shunted by the Republicans.
CHRISTIE: Well, look, and -- look, I was a favor of the 9/11 Commission. I think independent commissions in the right circumstances are absolutely the right thing to do. But then, we had another opportunity to have there be a Select Committee that truly was bipartisan. And I don't understand what Nancy Pelosi was afraid of with Jim Jordan and Jim Banks.
Let them state their positions at the Committee. Let them question people given what their point of view is. In the end, it's still a fact-finding mission and they would have had all the opportunity to do that. So, I believe that Nancy Pelosi, on the Committee side made that opportunity --
COOPER: Jim Jordan who was talking to the President on January 6th and doesn't say what he was talking about, won't talk about it. Is that appropriate to have that guy on the Commission if he is going to be, himself, perhaps a witness?
CHRISTIE: Kevin McCarthy would have to answer for that, Anderson, and be responsible for it. And -- would -- if I were, you know, the minority leader, maybe I would have selected different folks, but he is the minority leader and he is supposed to be able to do that.
And all this conversation, though, that you and I are having now -- while interesting and important from an historical perspective -- to me, this is what drags our party down and why I am trying to say, look, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris right now are putting forward their agenda and trying to get it through, which they have every right to do because they won the election.
If we want to be an appropriate counterweight to that, we can't be talking about what you and I are talking about right now.
COOPER: But, I mean, you guys need a healthcare policy. You need actual policies other than the -- whatever Donald Trump wakes up wanting to do that day.
CHRISTIE: Well, and that's why the last-third of the book, as you know, is about issues like education, crime, taxes, and all the things that we should be concerned about. North Korea and Iran, Russia and China. And those are the things we should be talking about and presenting a choice to the American people.
COOPER: I would love, on a nightly basis, to get back to talking about issues that they are being debated by rational people, as opposed to this craziness which is not helping the country.
CHRISTIE: And I am really glad to hear that and that's why I wrote the book because someone has to start that conversation on our side of the aisle. Someone has to do that and I thought the best person to do that is someone who had supported Donald Trump right from the beginning. No one can call me a never-Trumper and dismiss me that way.
COOPER: That's true.
CHRISTIE: Right? And so you try to do the best you can to get the conversation going.
COOPER: Governor Christie, appreciate it.
CHRISTIE: Anderson, thanks for having me.
COOPER: Thank you.
Again the new book, "Republican Rescue: Saving the Party from Truth Deniers, Conspiracy Theorists, and the Dangerous Policies of Joe Biden."
Next, day one of jury deliberations in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. What jurors asked for and what, if anything, it says about where this could be going.
Later, the former President's new legal argument for keeping White House documents away from the House Select Committee. Congressman Adam Schiff joins us with his response to that.
COOPER: There is breaking news tonight in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Judge in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial sending jurors home after their first day of deliberation. They had request and there was news on who has been advising the defense team on jury matters. There were preparations, as well, for a possibility of unrest when the verdict comes.
Certainly, a lot to cover tonight. CNN's Sara Sidner starts off in Kenosha for us. So where do things stand tonight after the first day of deliberations?
SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Judge came in around/near 6:00 and said, look, the jury is ready to go home. They are not being sequestered. But, of course, they were told they can't discuss the trial or case with anybody.
They expect to be starting up again tomorrow morning. They are in deliberations, and were doing that for hours today. They did a couple things. They asked a couple of questions. Both, the same question. They basically asked for the jury instructions to be copied and given to them.
First, they asked for the first few pages, then they asked for all 36 pages and they wanted 11 copies of it so that each juror, I think, could have their own copy. Those jury instructions were very confusing when the Judge gave them to the jury. I think they just want today see the details so that they could see what laws applied, as they look through a couple of weeks of testimony and hundreds of hours of video -- Anderson.
COOPER: We also learned more about a consulting -- a consultant working with the defense team.
SIDNER: Yes, this is an interesting twist that a lot of folks didn't know. We have learned that Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, who was a jury consultant, someone who helps the defense pick a jury, she has helped in this case. She also helped in the now-infamous 1995 case that involved OJ Simpson and the murder of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman.
She said that -- basically, her boss said that she was hand in hand helping to pick this jury, and basically, her job really is to try to find a jury or jurors that will at least be able to listen and be sympathetic with the defense -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Sara Sidner, appreciate it. Thanks.
Joining us now, CNN legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Laura Coates; and former Federal judge, Nancy Gertner.
Judge Gertner, what do you make of the jury asking for extra copies of the instructions? Is that common in deliberations?
NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Well, they are very complicated instructions. The Judge acknowledged that. There were multiple charges per person who was shot, and lesser included offenses. So, the asking for multiple copies only suggests that sometimes -- sometimes, I would see jurors' notes after deliberations and they will have written on the jury instructions that I had distributed so that partly it's just a way of recording what they are thinking.
I don't think you take any significance from it, except they are doing their job or trying to at least.
COOPER: And, Laura, Kyle Rittenhouse chose the final jurors by lottery today, basically, selecting six numbers from a batch of 18 in a tumbler kind of device to kind of like what you would see in a raffle drawing. Is that something you've seen done before? I have never seen that.
LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: No, it's very odd to have that done. Normally, you pick the alternate numbers at least beforehand so that you know going in perhaps -- not the actual jurors, but the parties know. But the idea of having him have a hand in it is not the oddity, it was a sort of bingo tumbler.
But for the reasons that Sara explained, the idea of being the defendant playing a role in the type of jurors in this case, they are often a part, even though a passive one, of the voir dire process giving their input because they can actually do so. But having the bingo sort of tumbler, pulling out the names, that's very, very odd.
But again, ultimately, it is about having those alternate jurors available in the event they are called upon to try to deliberate on this case.
COOPER: And, Judge Gertner, the Judge last night before he sent the jury home said that sympathy can't play a part in their decision. In your experience, how tough is it for juries to try to put those feelings aside and how ever that may influence them one way or another?
GERTNER: That's very -- that's very difficult. You know, it's interesting, we choose jurors precisely -- we choose jury trials precisely because we want the commonsense, empathic decision-making of a jury as opposed to the more formal decision making of a Judge.
So, I mean, it seems to me what you are really saying is look at the evidence. Try to -- you know, look at the evidence. Look at the law. Try to match one to the other and don't be swayed by your gut. It's very difficult to tell a jury not to be swayed by their gut since that's, to some degree, what lay jury decision-making is all about.
COOPER: Laura, the longer the jury deliberates in a case like that, does that usually favor one side over the other?
COATES: Not necessarily. I mean, the jury instructions were very convoluted. The Judge ad libbed quite a bit, which is irritating for the prosecution and defense because you actually go beforehand, and you work together to try to actually come up with a streamlined, direct way to present to the jury. You don't want them to be bogged down prior to your closing argument. You want them fresh and top of mind.
But the idea of going through the motions and talking about it added some of the irritation here. But ultimately, this case does come down to the jury instructions. The ones that were offered here in two main categories. One, the idea
about provocation. Very important because if they find that Kyle Rittenhouse provoked any of the aggression, they don't end the inquiry there. They can actually go beyond, according to the jury instruction, and essentially say, well, look, did he try to exhaust all means to escape? Was he reasonably in fear for his life for the retaliatory attack that came his way? They have to go through that.
Also, the idea of self-defense. Kind of like the cases involving an officer-involved altercation, the idea of looking at it through the eyes of the reasonable person of ordinary intelligence that would be Kyle Rittenhouse, not the juror through hindsight.
And so, all of these things are very precise as it relates to each of the victims and they have to be very cognizant of what the jury instructions say because they might be quite counterintuitive to what you would normally think if you were just coming to this case as a layman.
COOPER: Laura Coates, Judge Nancy Gertner, I really appreciate it. Thank you.
There is breaking news tonight, CNN has learned the House will finally stake take steps to punish Congressman Paul Gosar for posting on social media a video depicting himself in anime form killing another Member of Congress. The latest from Capitol Hill, next.
COOPER: Breaking news tonight more than a week after Republican Congressman Paul Gosar posted this photoshopped anime video depicting himself killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and swinging a sword President Biden on Twitter. Sources tell CNN the House will vote tomorrow on a resolution that will censure him and remove him from two committees. Earlier today, word was it would be one committee but now we're learning the resolution we'll call for two.
CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Dean joins us now. So, how does this all happen tomorrow? Is Gosar required to be present?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, he is required to be there, he may not show up, we're going to have to see how this all kind of shakes out. We just got word that this is likely this vote is likely to come down in the afternoon tomorrow, how this works is how it would typically work with a resolution. They'll have one hour of debate equally divided on both sides. And then they will vote on the censure resolution and also to remove him from those two committees. And worth noting one of those committees, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also sits on that committee with him as well, of course, she is at the center of all of this. So they will vote on that.
What is unique about censure Anderson, is that he is required to stand in the well of the House while this resolution is being heard. So that is very unique to this. This is a very severe form of punishment. It's obviously symbolic, but it's as severe as they can go in the House of Representatives. And if he doesn't show up, the sergeant-in-arms could go haul him into the House of Representatives. Although House Democrats we've spoken to kind of have downplayed that as not likely to happen.
So we'll be interesting to see kind of how this plays out tomorrow afternoon. We haven't seen this in a long time.
COOPER: Also, is there any indication that any Republican member of Congress would vote for essentially other than representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger?
DEAN: At this point, not really. We have heard from a number of Republicans this afternoon, we talked with Congressman Tom Emmer of Minnesota who said this, you know, this wasn't appropriate in his in his view at all. But he told us that this did that at this point, they all get death threats for a variety of issues. I think it's worth noting, though, that those death threats don't come from fellow members of Congress, who you see in the hall, who you serve on committees with who serve with you in the House of Representatives.
We also talked to Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina, you'll remember he voted to impeach President Trump, former President Trump and had death threats issued against him as well. But he said that while he thought this was in very poor taste, he didn't think this really rose to the level of death threats. So, it will be we-- will see if anyone, you know, joins Kinzinger and Cheney has been quite outspoken, that they intend to support this.
COOPER: Do you know when was the last time representative was censured?
DEAN: That was back in 2010. So it's been some 11 years, this was Charlie Wrangle, who was censured by his own party for ethics violations and he addressed the House for about one minute after that happened. But again, Anderson, it just underscores how serious this is. And if you go back to earlier in the year when Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was stripped from her committee, that was a big deal but it didn't go all the way to censure. So, it's worth noting that this is as far as they can go.
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, when we caught up with her my colleague Manu Raju caught up with her late this afternoon. And she said that they had to do this. You can't have fellow members of Congress threatening the lives of other members of Congress. And worth noting, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has said that she's heard nothing from Congressman Gosar, she's heard no apology. She's also heard not at all from the leader of House Republicans Kevin McCarthy, and she said in fact, she's just doubled down, Gosar's doubled down and made her representative of undocumented people and that that is somehow, you know, leads to or should be followed through with, with death threats or murder. So that's what she has to say.
COOPER: All right. Jessica Dean, appreciate it. Thank you.
COOPER: Up next, there's new action tonight by the January 6 committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. We talk to Congressman Adam Schiff about that as well as the new claim by the former president's attorneys as they try to keep his White House Records secret.
COOPER: The chairman of the House committee investigating the January 6 Capital insurrection says he's preparing to send another letter to Mark Meadows Chief of Staff to the former president. Congressman Bennie Thompson tells CNN, it'll recap what the committee still needs from meadows and once again ask him to testify.
Meanwhile, the former president's lawyers have filed a new brief with an appeals court claiming they shouldn't make him hand over hundreds of White House documents, the January 6 committee because it could give Congress too much power. They argue, quote, in these hyper partisan times, Congress will increasingly and inevitably use this new weapon to perpetually harass its political rival.
Joining me now, as a member of the January 6 committee, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff.
Congressman Schiff, do you think there's any merit to the former president's claims?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): No, I don't, not at all. First of all, it's not up to the former president. It's up to the current president. And that is the, you know, were they the heavy weight is given in terms of the assertion and non-assertion of privilege. And even if they were a privilege to apply here, the circumstances are such as the as the President Biden has indicated, where any privilege has to give way to the public's need to know that this was a violent attack on the Capitol, there is a continuing threat of domestic terrorism and potentially more violence directed against our government. And we need to be able to investigate what happened, what led up to it and make recommendations about protecting the country going forward.
So, hard to have a weaker claim of privilege. But even if a privilege did apply, it's for the current president to assert. He hasn't and even then it would be outweighed by the public interest.
COOPER: There are some Republicans in the House who have already making the argument that the President's lawyers are making saying, well, look, if you know, a Republican gets into office next time around and decides to, you know, act in the same way that there's a lot of Republicans in Congress who would like to haul in, you know, members of the Biden administration task questions. I mean, do you worry about a precedent that could be set?
SCHIFF: I don't worry about a precedent. The Republican argument is essentially, if you make a good faith, request for information for people about a violent attack on the Capitol, and the current President believes that the public interest is served, violating Congress know what happened, then we will abuse that to probe any Democratic president's staff. That's not much of an argument.
But that's basically what they're saying, we will be vindictive, we will draw some false equivalence, and we will abuse our power if we're given it again. To me, that's simply an argument to make sure they never take the majority.
COOPER: If the case does end up at the Supreme Court, do you have confidence in how the court -- in that the court would rule in the position you want them to?
SCHIFF: Well, it depends ultimately, whether they're a conservative court in which yes, I would have a lot of confidence, they would rule in our favor, it's a pretty easy decision to make. But if they're a partisan court, if that's all that the Supreme Court has become an instrument of one party, that is the Republican Party, then all bets are off. I have to hope that that's not the legacy that the Chief Justice wants of the court that bears his name. But at the end of the day, if they're following the law, if they're following the Constitution, it's a very easy decision to make.
And the Trump lawyers know this. Their real hope is to simply delay and just as they did with the testimony of Don McGahn this is part of their stratagem. It's not really based on the lower constitution, just hoping to run out the clock.
COOPER: The January 6 Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson said tonight that he'd be signing on sending a letter to Mark Meadows repeating the committee's request for him to answer questions. If Meadows continues to ignore that request, do you believe the committee will move to hold him in contempt of Congress? And how much - I mean how much time do you give a person that seems pretty clear, I mean, what his strategy is here.
SCHIFF: We met as a committee today to discuss the next steps with Meadows, Clark and other steps that committee will be taking. I don't think we've reached, actually reach resolution on those questions. But I think to a person, the committee feels that the witnesses that have refused to appear, have no basis to do so. And we need to hold them accountable. And we're discussing the best ways to do it. I'm very pleased with the Justice Department mood with as much alacrity as they did to hold Steve Bannon accountable. I think for four years, he and others were under the impression that they were above the law and could stonewall the Congress or just ignore a subpoena.
The Justice Department demonstrated now the law applies equally to everyone. And we are considering that remedy again, and we don't have a decision to announce at this point. But I hope we'll have one soon.
COOPER: So lastly, I spoke earlier about the pending censure vote against Gosar tomorrow, besides representatives Kinzinger or possibly Cheney, do you think any other Republicans will vote to punish him? SCHIFF: I don't know. You know, there were Republicans that voted for an infrastructure bill, who are now being threatened by members of their Republican conference with being expelled from their committees because they got the audacity to vote for a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
So, the Republican caucus under Kevin McCarthy is capable of anything. They certainly haven't taken any steps to discourage the glorification of violence by their members or by the former president. So will others show courage the way that Adam Kinzinger or Liz Cheney and a few others have? I don't know. But it just shows I think, the dangerous state that the Republican conferences in today will have fealty to a president who continues to lie about the last election. And they join in that lie to the detriment of our democracy.
COOPER: Congressman Schiff, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
COOPER: Still ahead, the prosecution rested its case and trial of three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery as the jury hears new details about how he was killed.
COOPER: Prosecution the trial the three white men charged in the killing of black jogger Ahmaud Arbery's rested its case by showing in graphic detail how the 25-year-old died. In court today, juror saw autopsy photos that showed the white shirt or where he was wearing, they stained entirely red with blood. And the medical examiner testified that the shotgun blast that hit Arbery left a gaping hole in his chest.
CNN's Ryan Young has more than today's testimony. Want to warn you some of the images you'll see are graphic.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, at this time the state rests.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And with that the state rested their presentation of evidence in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial late this afternoon. Defense Attorney Kevin Gough previously reserved the right to delay his opening arguments and is expected to deliver them starting tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what was his cause of death.
EDMUND DONOGHUE, GBI MEDICAL EXAMINER: His cause of death was multiple shotgun wounds.
YOUNG (voice-over): After eight days the last of the state's 23 witnesses took the stand today, including the forensic pathologist who conducted the 25-year-old jogger's autopsy.
Arbery was shot and killed after he was chased and got into a confrontation in a Brunswick neighborhood with three white men, Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and William Bryan back in February 2020. Disturbing X-ray images of Arbery's body were shown while Dr. Edmund Donoghue described the multiple injuries he sustained.
DONOGHUE: You see, shotgun pellets on the lower portion of the chest. That's the right lateral chest or the right side of the chest. You also see shotgun pellets in the right chest and left chest and shoulder injury and shoulder area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did it break ribs five through 10?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, so all the ribs over here got broken five to 10?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happens when you break all these ribs over on the right lateral side?
DONOGHUE: Well, it becomes difficult and painful to breathe. And also, there is the intercostal arteries run on the lower edge of those ribs. So you would bleed into the chest cavity.
YOUNG (voice-over): Donoghue also testified there was nothing that could be done to save over his life. Once the first shot to his chest was fired.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there anything EMS or officers could have done on the scene to save his life from the torso shot?
DONOGHUE: Well, they could put a an occlusive dressing on the large defect, but you would still have the exit defects in the back of the chest. And they couldn't do anything about the bleeding as long as the heart was beating.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In other words, is there anything they could have done on scene to save his life?
YOUNG (voice-over): The prosecution questioned the doctor about some plant like material found in one of Arbery's wounds, trying to illustrate how hard they say Arbery fought in those last moments.
DONOGHUE: It leads me to believe that it somehow gotten into the barrel of the shotgun possibly why they were struggling, and maybe pointed it down into the ground and came up with this botanical material.
Well, this is what is called the flight or fight reaction. And when you run up -- when you run into a situation that is stressful, or that you're afraid of, or is going to cause anxiety, and the brain will correlate a flight or fight response.
YOUNG (voice-over): But the defense took issue with that.
BOB RUBIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR TRAVIS MCMICHAEL: I believe you testified on direct examination that someone in the fight or flight mode when they can no longer flee can fight.
DONOGHUE: They can.
RUBIN: OK. You didn't see any evidence that Mr. Arbery could no longer flee. Right?
DONOGHUE: Well, no, I didn't.
RUBIN: So there was nothing physically preventing him from continuing to run. Right?
RUBIN: you have no idea what he was afraid of at that point in time, correct?
DONOGHUE: Well, there's a man holding a shotgun out there.
RUBIN: Right. So could have been afraid of being shot.
DONOGHUE: And there was a man following him in a pickup truck.
RUBIN: OK. Could have been afraid of being caught.
Do you know if Mr. Arbery was afraid of being caught?
DONOGHUE: I don't.
RUBIN: Right. You don't know what you don't know.
YOUNG (voice-over): Today's graphic testimony of Arbery's last moments was overwhelming for the Arbery family.
MARCUS ARBERY, AHMAUD ARBERY'S FATHER: I wouldn't put that on nobody family. You look at your kid laid out built upon.
YOUNG (voice-over): Earlier in the day defense attorney Kevin Gough told the court he filed a motion asking the record reflect who's sitting in the public gallery during the trial. It comes one day after he took issue with civil rights icon Reverend Jesse Jackson's presence in court with the Arbery family and days after a similar appearance for the Reverend Al Sharpton.
KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM "RODDIE" BRYAN JR.: This morning we did file a motion to prohibit any further conduct that may intimidate or influence jurors and otherwise interfere with fair trial, it raises same issues perhaps with more authority than were raised previously.
YOUNG: Judge Timothy Walmsley denied the motion before joining court for the day.
YOUNG: And Anderson actually we saw after court that William Bryan actually testified today in a limited capacity. He wanted to get out of jail. And of course, the judge denied that, but we were so surprised by him being up there. One of the things I should tell you, Anderson, everyone in this city, everyone in the county is getting ready for all these pastors who plan to come here, more than 100 plan to line the outside of this courthouse on Thursday. It is the talk of the town at this point. It seems like Kevin Gough strategy might have backfire because the more he talks about it, the more pastors are talking about coming to town.
COOPER: Ryan Young, appreciate it. Thanks.
Coming up next, if you made a New Year's resolution last year to celebrate this year, in Times Square, we have some good news. You'll like on how to make that actually happen. Or you can just watch us. We'll have more on that ahead.
COOPER: The party returned to New York Times Square this New Year's Eve after pared back celebration last few weeks of COVID. The mayor in New York has announced that a whole strength crowd will be allowed in. The outgoing mayor says hundreds of thousands will be allowed to see the ball drop you have to show proof of vaccination and a valid ID.
And of course you don't want to brave the crowds, come join me my friend Andy Cohen, as we bring in the new years live from Time Square on CNN.
News continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.