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At This Hour

Biden Lays Wreath at Arlington National Cemetery; Testimony Resumes in Rittenhouse Homicide Trial; January 6 Insurrection Investigation Eyes Pence's Inner Circle. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 11, 2021 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The president will also be speaking this hour to commemorate this Veterans Day. We'll bring you all of that as it happens throughout the hour. Stick with us for that.

In a very different story, we're keeping a close watch on a courtroom in Kenosha, Wisconsin, new developments in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Testimony is getting underway once again today, with the defense calling a use of force expert to the stand.

This after an explosive day in the courtroom that played out during this show. Almost from the very start, as you will recall, Kyle Rittenhouse, as he took the stand, broke down in tears as he testified that he acted in self-defense when he killed two men and wounded another during protests last year.


KYLE RITTENHOUSE, KENOSHA SHOOTER: People were screaming and I just was trying to get to the police running down Sheridan Road.

MARK RICHARDS, RITTENHOUSE DEFENSE ATTORNEY: And you said trying to get to the police.

Why were you trying to get to the police?

RITTENHOUSE: Because I didn't do anything wrong. I defended myself.


BOLDUAN: Kyle Rittenhouse's testimony was not the only emotional moment in the courtroom. The judge overseeing all of this angrily berating the prosecution a couple of times, even leading the defense to ask for a mistrial. That threat still hangs over the proceedings as they're back underway today.

Let's go there. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live outside the courthouse in Kenosha with the latest.

Where are things at the moment, Shimon? SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE PRODUCER: So the defense witness, the expert, John Black, is now on the stand. He's with the Force Science Institute. And normally you would see these kind of expert witnesses in the prosecution of police officers or perhaps a disciplinary hearing, when an officer is charged or accused of using force unnecessarily or in violation of some law.

But it's interesting to see him being used with a civilian here on the streets of Kenosha. So he's starting that testimony. There was an objection to something that the defense attorney had asked; prosecutors arguing that it goes beyond what the judge was going to allow him to testify to.

So they're kind of arguing over that. But, obviously, there are a lot of things kind of looming around this case; as you said, that mistrial motion. There's no word yet from the court or from any of the attorneys on whether or not the defense counsel had filed this motion, asking the judge for this mistrial with prejudice, which would mean that this case would be over if the judge was to grant that.

The other thing, obviously, was the judge. Everyone's keeping an eye on the judge and how he's doing today. So far, no reaction to the reaction to what happened yesterday with him. He walked into court. He took the bench.

One thing he did say -- and apparently he was confused about what day it was yesterday; he thought it was Thursday because he had come in and told the jury that the case would probably likely end early next week. But that may now be changing.

So it's very unclear exactly what's going to happen. Perhaps we could see closing arguments tomorrow. It's very unclear as to what the next stages will be in terms of this trial.

But for now, we have defense witnesses; we have the one expert and then the defense attorneys are expected to call two more witnesses. And then the prosecution may have some rebuttal witnesses. So we wait to see.

BOLDUAN: All right, Shimon, thank you so much.

Joining me now for more, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and CNN legal analyst Areva Martin.

Areva, picking up where Shimon hit on, with this mistrial hanging over, looming over the background of all this, this is unknown to the jury, of course, because they were told to leave the courtroom when this was discussed.

But what do you think the impact of that is?

How real is the threat of a mistrial still, Areva?

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think it's very likely, Kate, at this stage. The judge definitely is going to entertain it because that's what he has to do. But the prosecution will fight very vigorously against any ruling that

would cause this case to be declared a mistrial, particularly one with prejudice, which would mean that the prosecution could not retry Kyle.

I think the judge is going to continue, as he is doing today, to receive testimony and to allow these lawyers to make their case. I think we're going to see closing arguments, if not tomorrow, by early next week.

And this case is going to the go to the jury and they're going to decide if the charges filed against Kyle Rittenhouse result in an acquittal or a conviction.

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey --


JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: Can I just give you a little picture -- idea about how judges think about an issue like that.

You know, if he were to grant a mistrial today, there would be another trial.


TOOBIN: He'd have to do this all again. He knows that this case is one that might actually end in an acquittal.

So why not just let the jury decide?

Then you don't have to worry about whether to grant a new trial or not. You can always, after the trial, say that the prosecution error was so great, I'm going to throw out the verdict if there's a conviction. But letting the case go to its conclusion is the way most judges approach a case.

BOLDUAN: I was also going to ask, Jeffrey, on part of this, which was the -- just part of the emotion of yesterday, which was Kyle Rittenhouse taking the stand.

And I was struck after watching parts of his testimony over and over yesterday that, you know, the people outside the courtroom can watch Kyle Rittenhouse's testimony over and over again.

The jury sees it just one time, right?

So with that in mind, what do you think today of the decision to put Rittenhouse on the stand and what impact it will have?

TOOBIN: I think it was a smart decision. You know, the reason most defendants don't take the witness stand is that they don't want to be -- they don't want to be cross-examined about prior criminal convictions or about false statements they made to law enforcement after they were arrested.

Kyle Rittenhouse has no criminal record and, far from lying to police officers when he was -- when he went to the -- he actually turned himself in. So you know, he had a story that was not one that could be effectively cross-examined.

What's the outcome of this case?

I don't know what it's going to be. But if I think the defense will regard itself as pleased that they took the risk of putting him on the stand, because the cross-examination, at least to me, did not seem terribly effective.

BOLDUAN: Areva, one of the three people that Rittenhouse shot, the only survivor of being shot, spoke this morning to ABC. I want to play for everyone his reaction to the moment of Kyle Rittenhouse breaking down. Listen.


GAGE GROSSKREUTZ, RITTENHOUSE VICTIM: 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 through his actions that night.


BOLDUAN: Areva, what do you think of that?

MARTIN: I agree. I wasn't moved at all by the emotional breakdown of Kyle Rittenhouse. Now obviously, the jurors, those who may be inclined to be sympathetic may have found his emotional outburst to be authentic.

But those that have doubts about why this teenager was there with a gun that he shouldn't have had, why he was patrolling when he wasn't a police officer and he wasn't a paramedic, I think weren't going to be very moved by his emotional breakdown.

And I don't know if I agree with Jeffrey about the wisdom of putting him on. Yes, he didn't have any criminal background, he wasn't cross- examined in a way that caused there to be serious doubts about prior statements he made.

But I think, for some, he did not make a sympathetic witness. In fact, the prosecution was able to point out, on numerous occasions, he lied during that night about being a paramedic. He said he was out there rendering aid but he didn't render aid to the victim he shot, even though we heard that victim crying out for medical help.

So I think there was some damaging testimony and those jurors that don't see this as a case, where Kyle acted reasonably, probably didn't find his testimony very persuasive or compelling.

BOLDUAN: Another person, as Shimon noted, Jeffrey, that people are keeping an eye on today, is the judge. He berated that prosecutor in court a couple of times yesterday. Let me play one of those moments.


JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: Don't get brazen with me. You knew very well, you know very well that an attorney can't go into these types of areas when the judge has already ruled, without asking outside the presence of the jury to do so. So don't give me that.


BOLDUAN: Jeffrey, what do you think of -- I guess the emotion but I also -- just like the legal matters that the judge was actually upset over?

TOOBIN: Yes, you know, those of us who have been in courtrooms and certainly those who have been prosecutors know that judges often get angry at prosecutors. They don't want to throw out a case but they do get mad at prosecutors.

All of us have seen it. It tends not to have a great deal of influence on the outcome of cases, especially because here, as here, the jury is not present, they don't see it.

But there were two main outbursts, one was when he was angry at the prosecutor for appearing to comment on the silence of Kyle Rittenhouse after he was arrested. I thought that was a real error on the part of the prosecutor. You know, that's a basic right under the 5th Amendment, the right to remain silent.


TOOBIN: You're not supposed to comment. The prosecutor later said he was referring to press interviews, not statements to the police. I thought that was really out of line, what the prosecutor did.

The other matter involved whether the cross-examination could include matters that the judge had ruled off limits during the prosecution's case. There, I thought, the prosecutor was a little more in the right, because, you know, once a defendant testifies, the usual rule is, there is a wide scope for cross-examination.

So I thought the prosecution had some justification there. But, frankly, you know, that was a theatrical outburst. But I really do doubt it will have much effect on the outcome of the case.

BOLDUAN: Areva, let's take it back to live inside the courtroom now and what they're going through. They're kind of in beginnings of this use of force expert. I was reading in pretrial, in a pretrial hearing, this use of force expert was used -- used videos and went kind of frame by frame, trying to explain how quickly events unfolded.

What does that mean?

Obviously, this is a defense witness.

MARTIN: Yes. That's important, Kate, because I think jurors are sitting there, trying to figure out how is it that Kyle Rittenhouse was the only person that killed two people and wounded a third person, where there were so many other people at that protest who were armed?

There were veterans who testified in this trial, who themselves were armed, yet they didn't fire their weapon. So the defense, I think, has a real uphill battle trying to establish, not the one shot -- the one person that was killed, Mr. Rosenbaum, but then the second person, Anthony Huber. And then the shooting of the third person.

So this use of force expert is critical to the defense, I think, in trying to establish that things were happening so quickly that Kyle had no choice but to fire his weapon in the way that he did. That's the argument that the defense has to make, to justify their self- defense claim. And this use of force expert is there to help them do that.

BOLDUAN: Areva, thank you so much.

Jeffrey Toobin, thank you so much. They'll be standing by as we watch this -- as we watch what's happening in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and that trial.

I want to get back over to Washington right now as we have President Biden, who is now approaching to take part in a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Let's watch.







UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wreath-laying ceremony is now complete. The Veterans Day program will begin momentarily. Please move to your seats.

BOLDUAN: All right. As we saw just there, President Biden taking part in laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. The first soldier laid to rest there on November 11th, 1921, three years after the end of World War I.

The program will continue; President Biden will be making remarks to honor all of those who have served in our armed services on this Veterans Day. He's going to be speaking very shortly. When those remarks begin, we'll take you back to Washington. We'll get in a quick break. We'll be right back.



[11:20:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)

BOLDUAN: Any minute now we'll be hearing from President Biden, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery. We'll bring you his remarks like.

Turning to another big story we are watching, another legal setback for former president Donald Trump.

The same district court judge who had declared presidents are not kings and plaintiff -- Trump -- is not president, that same judge has again denied his request to buy time and keep records secret having to do with January 6th and the investigation into the insurrection.

This comes as sources are telling CNN the January 6th House panel now wants information from several members of Mike Pence's inner circle. CNN's Kara Scannell is live in Washington with the details on this today for us.

Kara, what are you hearing about this?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This new reports comes from our colleagues, Jamie Gangel, Zach Cohen and Michael Warren. And what sources have told them is that the House committee investigating January 6th have turned their focus to some of Mike Pence's inner circle.

They're interested in possibly getting information from at least five people, who are close to the former vice president. Among them are a couple of key people here. There's Greg Jacob, the former chief counsel to Pence; Marc Short, the former chief of staff and Keith Kellogg. He was Pence's former national security adviser.

The reason why he is especially interesting is because he was with the former president Donald Trump on January 6th, of course, the day when Mike Pence was stranded in the Capitol as it was under siege. So all of these people very interesting and informative for the committee.


SCANNELL: Sources tell my colleague that some of these individuals might be willing to provide information, to submit for testimony, either voluntarily or through a friendly subpoena, you know, which is very different from how combative some of former president Trump's allies have been.

This all comes as we're waiting to see if the president goes to the appeals court or is successful in blocking the National Archives from turning over those key documents, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Kara, in the meantime, the National Archives is still on schedule to release those documents tomorrow, right?

SCANNELL: Yes, Kate. This is a nail-biter. You know, the judge twice rejecting Trump's arguments, he's 0-2. The big question is does he goes to appeals court and ask them to

temporarily block this while they hear his arguments on the merits of the executive privilege claim?

But so far, he hasn't done that. And the clock is ticking, it's a national holiday. The National Archives has had these records in hand. They've already turned over some records. So they could very quickly move to do this tomorrow unless someone blocks them.

BOLDUAN: Kara, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Let's turn to Texas where a contractor hired to provide security for the Astroworld concert says that he was so concerned by the training and staffing that he saw onsite, even before the concert started, that he walked off the job.

His name is Darius Williams. He tells CNN that it was clear to him that the staff at the festival were unprepared and overwhelmed. CNN's Rosa Flores joins me live once again in Houston with the latest on the investigation into this horrific tragedy.

Rosa, what else did the security guard say?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, he just did not feel safe. And he was assigned to the gates. And he said that he had learned from social media that concertgoers were looking to pop the gates. Take a listen.


DARIUS WILLIAMS, SECURITY GUARD: I had overheard some other people, you know, mentioning online and in person, that there was a plan to storm the gates. And I mentioned that to my superiors. But it seemed like it fell on deaf ears.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: So you mentioned that?

You heard that online and mentioned it?

WILLIAMS: I did. I'm just glad I trusted my instinct and that I listened to myself and actually left for day. I never would have imagined anything like that would have happened. But based on what I witnessed personally, I'm not surprised that an incident did occur.


FLORES: Now we know eight people died, two individuals are in the hospital in critical condition and an unknown number of people were injured and/or are traumatized because of this event.

That's the case of Brian and Jonathan Espinosa. They talked to my colleague, John Berman, on "NEW DAY" this morning. And Brian says he can't sleep. He thought he was going to die. Now these brothers blame Travis Scott. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, you guys are obviously Travis Scott fans.

How much do you hold him responsible?

JONATHAN ESPINOZA, INJURED TRAVIS SCOTT FAN: Completely responsible, sir. He had the biggest microphone out of everybody. And I just think it's crazy, how poorly it was set up.


FLORES: Now the Houston Police Department is the investigating agency. They say that no independent investigation is warranted. The Harris County judge is pushing for an independent investigation. And, Kate, Travis Scott's attorney is saying that all officials here are doing are finger-pointing and sending mixed messages. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Rosa, thank you so much for your continued reporting. Let's dive into that more. Joining me now is Thomas Henry, an attorney representing more than 100 people who were at that concert.

Thanks for being here. I've seen that the number of people that you're representing has been growing quickly, like by the day.

How many clients are you representing now?

THOMAS HENRY, ATTORNEY: We currently will be adding 150 people to the existing lawsuit. By the end of the day, we know that we've had a number of other people reach out to us. I think that it will surge to 200 people. And I think, in the coming days, it will be hundreds more.


BOLDUAN: Hundreds more.


BOLDUAN: Obviously, you can't tick through who all 200 of these people are.

But can you give a sense of who your clients are here and what happened to them at the concert that is the basis of the lawsuits?

HENRY: Well, you can see from the video where there were crushing injuries, people on top of each other, people suffocating, people with heart attacks, people with broken bones. One person had his eye poked in.

Multiple, multiple injuries, people that were unconscious, that we think may experience some brain injuries, very concerned about that. So they were all in that crush zone (INAUDIBLE).

BOLDUAN: Wow. You told my producers that your team is actually going to gain access to the site of the concert, that festival site, today and tomorrow.

Why is that important for you?