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Trump Sues to Keep White House Records Secret; Insurrection Panel to Hold Contempt Vote on Steve Bannon; Virginia Gubernatorial Race. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 19, 2021 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Here is what we are watching at this hour.

Refusing to cooperate: former president Donald Trump sues to keep White House records secret, stonewalling the committee investigating the insurrection. Neither side is backing down ahead of a pivotal vote today.

Democrat versus Democrat: the White House chasing a so-far elusive deal on trillions of dollars on spending. President Biden is trying to reunite the party with his entire agenda at stake.

And mix and match: CNN learning the FDA is ready to clear the path for millions of Americans to get a COVID booster shot.


BOLDUAN: Thanks for being here.

New developments on the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. The panel is moving swiftly to vote tonight to hold at least one of Donald Trump's close advisers in criminal contempt of Congress.

We're talking about Steve Bannon and they're moving on him for refusing to comply with their subpoena deadline.

At the very same time, Donald Trump is suing that very same House Select Committee to try to keep his White House records secret. This maybe is the least surprising of Donald Trump's tactics as he has done this over and over again to delay investigations.

The National Archives says it plans to turn over dozens of documents from the Trump White House next month as requested, after the Biden administration refused to assert executive privilege.

The White House is defending that decision, saying the former president abused the power of office. Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Whitney Wild, live in Washington for us this hour.

Start with the vote that's coming up on Steve Bannon.

What's going to happen?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it will certainly pass. This is the committee vote to move on this criminal contempt citation against Steve Bannon. That will go to the House floor for a vote, where it will likely pass.

Then it moves to the Department of Justice where it will essentially be up to the attorney general to decide whether or not to move on that. So there are still a few steps in the process, something to watch and it all kicks off tonight.

It is impossible, Kate, to believe that the House committee investigating the January 6th riot and insurrection has not calculated for these lengthy court battles that could be drummed up by both Steve Bannon as well as former president Donald Trump.

Back to Steve Bannon, they believe he has crucial information. They believe he was at the very center of this effort to stop what they call ramp-up the Stop the Steal rally to continue to, you know, spread this Big Lie, that the election was stolen, which eventually led to the riot.

For example, they cite words he said on his podcast January 5th. Here's the quote that popped up in the resolution from the House committee last night.

Steve Bannon on his podcast, January 5th, "It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen. OK, it's going to be quite extraordinarily different. All I can say is strap in. You made this happen. Tomorrow it's game day, so strap in. Let's get ready."

Then later on, "All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. So many people said, 'Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington,' well, this is your time in history."

Those are Steve Bannon's own words, flying back into his face from the House committee. They say they believe that he was at the center of this effort, which ended up erupting into a violent insurrection at the Capitol.

Kate, the other illuminating information we got yesterday from the House committee is this full subpoena. Before we had just basically had the cover sheet and now we have what the committee actually thinks Steve Bannon knows.

And they're trying to drill down on 17 tiers of investigation, which includes any communications with far-right extremist groups, like the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, many of whom are now facing conspiracy charges.

BOLDUAN: Whitney, thank you. Appreciate it.

That vote coming up tonight. Joining me for more on this, CNN chief political correspondent, co-anchor of "STATE OF THE UNION," Dana Bash and CNN legal analyst and former New York City prosecutor, Paul Callan.

Let's start with the legal, then to the broader impact.

Paul, it would be a misdemeanor against Bannon but it comes down to, there's this long process. As Whitney lays out, it comes down to what the attorney general wants to do.

What do you think Merrick Garland would be weighing here?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He'll be weighing the history of the use of contempt by Congress. When you look back in history, not a whole lot of people have been held in contempt of Congress. So that's something that would weigh in Bannon's favor.


CALLAN: On the other hand, he'll be looking at the purpose of this legislative committee, the Select Committee. They have a right to issue a subpoena if they're functioning in the course of what's called a legitimate legislative purpose; that is, they're investigating something that legislation can arise from.

And if the attorney general decides that that happens to be the case, he may very well feel that he can support a contempt trial and a contempt charge against Steve Bannon. Bannon would then face up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine, if convicted.

BOLDUAN: Dana, this is, though, more than a legal fight. This is an opening salvo where another mid -- lots of them -- over how serious Congress is going to take the January 6th investigation, how serious Congress and really the public image of Congress is and how serious they take subpoena power and investigations.

What do you think is at stake with this?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's so much at stake. You're absolutely right, Kate, that this is, first and foremost, about fact-finding, about finding out, in this case from Steve Bannon, what went on, how much of an impact did he have on what ended up as the insurrection, what kind of communications did he have with the president and people around the president that day.

But it is -- people in and around this committee admit it fairly freely that this is about as you said being taken seriously, that this is going to be a real investigation. And it starts with Steve Bannon, to use him as an example.

Again, it's not as if they don't want to talk to him. They do very much so. But they want to send a signal to the others, who are just completely blowing off the United States Congress and subpoenas from the United States Congress, to say, this will not stand.

There is a lot of frustration that members of this committee are hearing, that why isn't it going quicker, why is it taking so long?

The reason is what Paul said. It's not unprecedented but it's incredibly rare for people to have the gumption or, frankly, the lack of shame to just ignore subpoenas like this.

And so finding their way legally and going through the process and doing it properly is really important in order to set a precedent, not just for the future congresses but more importantly for how they information-gather for this particular investigation.

BOLDUAN: It's especially ridiculous with Steve Bannon, because he's trying to say executive privilege needs to be dealt with; yet he left the White House and the administration in 2017.


BASH: Yes, they expected executive privilege to be invoked for some of these potential witnesses, those who got subpoenaed but not Steve Bannon for that exact reason.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.


CALLAN: He has no grounds, I think, to be supported on that executive privilege claim. That will be thrown out, I think, in court.

BOLDUAN: Paul, with Bannon, could it be decided that he be held in custody until there is a legal resolution of whatever this is?

That could be some time.

Do you think there's an argument to be made for him to be held in custody until it's resolved?

CALLAN: That's an interesting question, Kate. You know, if I were appearing before a judge in New York City and I was held in contempt, they'd haul me out to the cell behind the courtroom and I'd be held there. A judge would have that power.

A congressional committee doesn't really have the power to do that, to order his incarceration. But there's something called inherent contempt that was enacted in the 1800s, because Congress was fed up with this idea of sending this to the courts and having the courts decide.

He could be hauled in front of the entire House of Representatives. And they could vote on whether he should be held in contempt.

In fact, there used to be a jail cell underneath the Capitol, where people could be held, where such an inherent contempt trial was taking place. But as I said, this is a procedure from the 1800s. We haven't seen it in modern history. I don't think you're going to see with Steve Bannon.

BASH: Regardless, Kate, you know, from spending a lot of time walking the halls of Congress with me, that there's this spectacle that we are going to see, never mind in the vote tonight with the committee but the broader House of Representatives. And as important as it is to continue this process, for the reasons

we've described, for the Democrats, on the Republican side, you know that they're going to use it as clickbait for fund-raising and express their fealty for the former president as much as possible.

BOLDUAN: There is a whole lot wrapped up in all of this. You guys laid it out perfectly. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it, guys.


BOLDUAN: So the congressional investigation into the insurrection isn't the only legal issue facing Donald Trump. The former president spent more than four hours answering questions under oath Monday in a video deposition, that's part of a lawsuit unrelated to anything we just discussed. CNN's Kara Scannell is live in New York with the latest. She's been tracking all of this.

What do we know about what Trump said during his deposition?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you mentioned, this deposition is very different and separate from the other depositions that you were talking about.

This stems from a 2015 lawsuit, where a group of men were protesting outside of Trump Tower, protesting against Trump, who was then a candidate for president, some of his anti-immigration rhetoric.

They accused his head of security of assaulting them at that protest and punching one of them in the head. So the deposition took place at Trump Tower and lawyers for the plaintiffs questioned Trump under oath for 4.5 hours.

While those lawyers declined to get into any of the specific answers that Trump had given, one of the attorneys, Thomas Lamadrid, was on "NEW DAY" this morning. Listen to how he characterized the deposition.


THOMAS LAMADRID, CO-COUNSEL, 2015 TRUMP TOWER PROTESTERS: Our strategy, to make sure he'd tell the truth, I think, you know, we had him under oath, we posed the questions and we tried to corner him. At times he was combative and evasive.

But we did pose the questions. And we got answers, I think, for the most part, to most questions.

If you've seen Trump in the press like I think most of us have and the way that he responds to the press, it wasn't so different to the way he answers questions from them.


SCANNELL: So the lawyer also said that Trump had complained several times about having to sit there and answer questions.

The big question is, will we get to see any of this deposition? There's a court hearing on Monday that might shed some more light into that process. But this deposition will be played before a jury in the Bronx when it goes to trial -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Kara, thank you for that.

Coming up for us, two big meetings today at the White House but the question remains the same.

What is Joe Biden going to do to get his party on the same page and his agenda back on track?

And what does it mean for the most closely watched governor's race in the country?





BOLDUAN: If you take a look at President Biden's schedule today, it sends a clear message: the president is all in and really wants to make a deal.

This afternoon, the president has meetings on the books with progressive members of Congress and a separate meeting with moderates, as they try to bridge the divide over how far to go, how many people to help, as they redefine the social safety net of the country. John Harwood is live at the White House tracking the comings and goings.

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, we've paid most of attention during this negotiating process to the recalcitrant Democratic senators who have been holding out, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, balking at some of the provisions. She just arrived a short while ago at the White House.

Yesterday the president spoke to Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Of course, he represents a coal state, is concerned about some of the climate change provisions that would accelerate America's shift and the world shift away from coal to cleaner burning renewable fuels.

He also is concerned about some of the portions of the bill that he thinks are tantamount to welfare, big spending. He doesn't like the price tag.

But the president is also going to be hearing today from some of those House progressives, people like Jamaal Bowman, who spoke on "NEW DAY," and said, representing the views of the progressives, hey, what about our views?


REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): I asked Joe Manchin is he OK with violence in our communities continuing, public housing falling apart, Black and Brown people disproportionately dying from COVID, the climate crisis. Ask him to go bigger instead of asking us to go smaller.


HARWOOD: Now of course, Jamaal Bowman and the views that he represents are more commonplace within the Democratic caucus than Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema's views.

But the challenge of governing with extremely narrow majority, zero margin for error in the Senate, tiny margin for error in the House, is you need everybody on board.

So what Joe Biden is doing now, as he's trying to sprint toward a resolution of this, by the end of the month of October, to try to get both this bill and the infrastructure bill passed, is trying to bring everyone together and step up the presidential involvement and see if he can forge a deal drawing upon those 36 years he spent in the United States Senate -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Stand by to stand by. Thank you, John.

Outside of Washington, Democrats might not be following every twist and turn of what's going on here but the headwinds facing Joe Biden, like these negotiations, they are following. And they could have a very big impact on upcoming elections.

These headwinds, first and foremost, the governor's race in Virginia. Election Day is two weeks out. But hundreds of thousands of voters have already cast their ballots. Joining me now is Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate in that race.

Before we jump in, I want to note, we have extended an invitation to Glenn Youngkin and he has not accepted.

It is one thing, as John Harwood was getting to, to hear Democrats in Congress battling publicly on how to move forward on their agenda. They have some time to do that.

But in Virginia, people are already voting.


BOLDUAN: Is it already too late for Democrats to pass a bill to give you a boost in these final days, to show that Democrats in power can get something done?

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, we've already had 400,000 people early vote. We are now on track to have the biggest vote turnout in the history of a gubernatorial campaign if you look at the early vote.

The issue on the infrastructure, I'm confident they'll get it done, not because I'm running for governor but I'm going to get $7 billion here in Virginia just for roads. I'm very happy what we've seen so far. As you know, the American Rescue Plan, Kate, we got $14.3 billion in

Virginia, $300 billion just for education; child poverty is being cut in half. We have a lot of great things to run on.

I'll be honest with you, what I hear every day, are you going to get the $15 minimum wage, paid sick leave, family medical leave?

I will get those done for Virginians. Glenn Youngkin is against all that, wants to ban women's rights, he's against abortion.

Donald Trump has endorsed Youngkin six times. Youngkin has said the reason is running is so much because of Donald Trump. I'm running for Virginians, to raise them up. I did this before as governor, 200,000 new jobs, personal income went up 14 percent, unemployment dropped in every city and county.

I'll do an historic investment in education and health care. That's what folks are asking me as I travel all over the commonwealth.

We had a great weekend. Stacey Abrams was here last weekend. Dr. Jill Biden. I have President Obama coming in this weekend. It's exciting here. Big issues on the ballot, lifting people up. That's where people want to go.

They don't want to hear a Donald Trump, Glenn Youngkin. The other day they had a Youngkin rally, where they pledged allegiance to a flag.


BOLDUAN: He wasn't there and he called it gross and weird after the fact.

The one thing I will note, one name I haven't said yet was Donald Trump, which you've mentioned two or three times.

You are rolling out a new ad today about January 6th, tying your opponent to Trump and January 6th. Look, you have been running against Trump and Trumpism as much as against Glenn Youngkin throughout the campaign. No secret in that.


BOLDUAN: Do you think your only path to success is making this a choice between you and Donald Trump?

MCAULIFFE: First of all, that ad, I was governor during Charlottesville. And I talked to president Trump on the phone and begged him to come out and condemn the neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

He refused and said there were good people on both sides. Glenn Youngkin has consistently said so much of the reason why he's running is because of Donald Trump. All he's talked about in his campaign is election integrity.

So they're running together. Trump wants to use this election to get him off the mat, to get him ready for 2024. But in regards to that rally, Youngkin wasn't there but it was his rally.

If it was a Terry McAuliffe surrogate rally and I wasn't there and I saw that, with that flag being desecrated the way it was, let me tell you, I wouldn't call it weird. I'd call it disgraceful and disgusting. Glenn Youngkin needs to condemn the actions where you actually pledge allegiance to a flag. It was used to try to destroy our commonwealth.


MCAULIFFE: It's just plain wrong, Kate.

BOLDUAN: But, Terry, to my question, do you view your only path to success -- because it is a clear choice that you talk about Donald Trump so much -- do you see your only path to success here as making this Terry McAuliffe versus Donald Trump?

MCAULIFFE: No. I've spent most of this campaign, if you look at my advertising, what I say on the trail, there's huge differences in this campaign. I'm for raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks and for paid family medical leave. I'm for paid sick leave.

Glenn Youngkin is against every one of those. He wants to ban abortions. He got caught on tape, saying he will go on offense to ban abortion and defund Planned Parenthood.

Now after what we've seen in Texas, with the Trump Supreme Court, if Glenn Youngkin is elected governor, abortions will cease in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Women's right to choose will be gone.


BOLDUAN: You do talk about issues. Let's talk about one issue that has not gotten a ton of attention, which is one thing you're up against, is apathy amongst Democratic voters, the risk they will not show up.

Set aside the parental rights, parental control issue that has really become a thing, I'm seeing Democratic activists upset now over you changing your position on a core issue in criminal justice reform, qualified immunity.

Why do you now say that you would not end qualified immunity, when you said months prior that you would?

MCAULIFFE: First of all, Democratic activists are not upset. I have been consistent. Qualified immunity is exactly what it says: qualified. If you're a law enforcement officer and you go out in good faith and do your job every day, you get the protections of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

However, if you're a law enforcement officer and you break the law, then you will not get the protections of the state.


(CROSSTALK) BOLDUAN: That's why they call it qualified immunity.

That's what the entire debate about qualified immunity is all about, which is that people believe --


MCAULIFFE: It's what I've said from day one in the campaign.

BOLDUAN: -- shields police officers from accountability.

Do you think it shields police officers from accountability?

MCAULIFFE: Let me say it again, we will protect law enforcement officers every single day.

When I was governor, I had the lowest crime rate of any major state in America. I always invested in our law enforcement. As governor, your number one job is to keep your citizens safe.

But if someone breaks or goes against one's constitutional rights or breaks the law, you don't get the protections. Our general assembly today has a whole task force. They'll come out with recommendations and let's see what they do.

Let me say this, Kate. People are enthused. Let me repeat what I have said.

We've already had 400,000 people vote. That is more than any governor's race in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I've raised $2 million just since that flag pledge of allegiance they did at the rally.

One of my best signers, Carole King, "You've Got a Friend." People are excited here. We knocked down over 102,000 doors this weekend. We had 722,000 voter contacts last weekend.

This is historic here. So I've got to tell you, Kate, come down to Virginia, Virginia is for lovers, come on down and see the excitement and the enthusiasm. As I say, we have President Obama coming in this weekend. Vice President Harris is coming.


BOLDUAN: When is Biden coming?

MCAULIFFE: The president is coming and I'll let the White House make the official announcement. But I can promise you that President Biden will be back in state very soon before the election.

And, you know, we had Stacey Abrams here this weekend, Dr. Biden. Folks are fired up here. Come on down, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Are they fired up?


BOLDUAN: I want to double-check. OK, thanks for coming on. I appreciate it.

MCAULIFFE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Two weeks out. People are voting as we speak. Thank you so much.

A programming note -- on Thursday, President Biden joins Anderson Cooper for a live CNN town hall at 8:00 pm Eastern right here on CNN.

Up next for us, another missile test by North Korea has neighboring countries on edge as China denies conducting a missile test of their own.