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At This Hour

Meadows Ignores Deadline To Comply With Jan. 6 Committee; Trump Defends Threats To "Hang" Pence During Insurrection; Trucking Industry Says It Needs 80,000 More Drivers. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 12, 2021 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Here's what you're watching at this hour. Deadline passed, Mark Meadows defying a congressional subpoena saying essentially I'll see you in court and a new interview of Donald Trump appearing to defend a chance of having Mike Pence.

Help wanted, how the huge shortage of truck drivers nationwide is pushing the supply chain to the brink and the new moves now to try to fix it. And humanitarian crisis, what push thousands of families to a key international border.

Thank you so much for being here. We begin this hour with the growing battle between the House Committee investigating the insurrection and former President Trump and those close to him. It is now one hour past the deadline for Mark Meadows, Donald Trump's former chief of staff. He was ordered to appear for a deposition and turn over documents today, and he has not. Meadows decisions sets off -- sets up another potential legal standoff for the January 6th Committee and the Justice Department.

A federal appeals for just granted Donald Trump's request to temporarily pause the release of key documents from him that were set to be released to the House panel. Those records included White House call logs, also included handwritten memos from Mark Meadows. In total, more than 700 documents from Trump's presidency were set to be turned over by the National Archives. Now that's all in limbo.

All of this as a new interview with the former president reveals more of what he was thinking on that day, on that day of the insurrection, even about his own vice president. CNN's Kara Scannell has the very latest, she's live in Washington. Kara, this was setting up to be a big day for the House Committee investigating the insurrection, Meadows testimony and documents and all of these documents from Donald Trump, now what?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Kara, I mean, yes, the Committee was hoping to get a lot of answers today. Now the question is, will the Committee move to hold Meadows in contempt for not appearing today? And just before that 10:00 a.m. deadline when Meadows was expected to show, his attorney issued a statement saying that he wouldn't, in that statement he said, our correspondence over the last few weeks shows a sharp legal dispute with the Committee.

The issues concerning whether Mr. Meadows can be compelled to testify, and whether even if he could, that he could be forced to answer questions that involve privileged communications, legal disputes are appropriately resolved by courts, it would be irresponsible for Mr. Meadows to prematurely resolve that dispute by voluntarily waiving privileges that are at the heart of those legal issues.

Now, Meadows making this statement really in defiance of the House Committee, they have subpoenaed him weeks ago, seeking his testimony, and Bennie Thompson, the chairman of that committee had told Meadows that he would hold him in contempt if he didn't show. Here's what Bennie Thompson said in that statement. So Meadows, he said there is no valid legal basis for Mr. Meadows continued resistance to the Select Committee subpoena. The Select Committee will view Mr. Meadows's failure to appear as willful non-compliance, which could result in a referral the Department of Justice for criminal charges.

Now that is the issue here in this is whether they will make that move. This comes in the backdrop of Meadows being at the center of this executive privilege fight where Donald Trump is trying to keep many documents including three handwritten memos by Meadows. The federal appeals court has set a deadline for oral arguments. That said that they will hear them on November 30th. So we could have some resolution at least at the federal appellate level early next month.

Of course, the former president will likely appeal that to the Supreme Court if he loses, Kate?

BOLDUAN: Kara, thank you so much for reporting. Joining me now for more on this as CNN legal analyst Paul Callan, as well as CNN's Manu Raju, and John Harwood. Let's start with the legal, as Kara was just ending there, Paul, Meadows blows past this deadline. What do you think this means?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's actually a little odd that his attorneys didn't come in and make a motion to quash the subpoena initially, and then test that in the courts. But I think what you're seeing here is a stalling action. By stalling it this way, he's got to be held in contempt of Congress, and then that has to go over to the Attorney General, and then eventually something filed in court. So you're months and months away from resolution of this subpoena with respect to Mark Meadows.

BOLDUAN: Months and months away, Manu what is the Committee going to do about this? Kara read the statement from Bennie Thompson but do you really see them going the way of Steve Bannon?


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They're making that clear that that is something that they certainly may do. Bennie Thompson has said for weeks that he will not put up with any stall tactics that they will move the way they did with Steve Bannon to refer him to the Justice Department for criminal contempt charges. The problem, though, is that they don't know exactly what the Justice Department is going to do.

We have not gotten any indication about whether the Merrick Garland the attorney general would move forward with any contempt charge -- criminal contempt charges for Steve Bannon, if they decide not to, perhaps that could make it easier for some of these witnesses to not comply point to these ongoing court cases and defy these subpoenas.

But nevertheless, the Committee said they will not accept what Mark Meadows's explanation is for not showing up by tying his decision not to appear today to that separate court case, they said they're still planning to move ahead, they may very well move forward to refer him for criminal contempt charges. We do expect, Kate, a statement from the Committee soon in the aftermath of Meadows's decision here not to appear in person, not to answer questions.

And at that point, perhaps more indication that they may try to refer this to the full House, have a vote, try to encourage the Justice Department to move forward and then the ball again, in Merrick Garland hands.

BOLDUAN: And I want to ask you about that in just one second, Paul. But John, to kind of getting to the part of the big issue here, which is there is just one President at a time, and that President is the one that decides executive privilege. And the Biden White House has made clear now more than once that they are not going to do that. They're not going to support invoking executive privilege over these documents, a whole slew of them. So what are you hearing about all that?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the administration, President Biden and the people who work for him have been walking a fine line this year. Biden's been trying to tamp down some of the partisan temperature. His Justice Department does not want to look even though many Democrats want a very forward leaning aggressive posture in going after President -- former President Trump and some of his aides over the insurrection and other things. They've been trying to look very deliberative and slow.

Now, they've drawn the line though, where the Committee is pursuing these documents. And the Trump team is making these spurious executive privilege claims for somebody who's no longer the chief executive. So they're standing out of the way, saying this can go forward. But they still have decisions to make at the Justice Department about what to do with those criminal contempt referrals.

Steve Bannon, we haven't seen action on that yet and Mark Meadows if it comes to that. So the administration's trying not to look like it's acting politically in this situation. And that can -- have its own slowdown effect.

BOLDUAN: And, Paul, I'm curious what you think about this, because the Justice Department, as Manu and John have discussed, still hasn't announced a decision on what if anything it's going to do about this, about the Bannon charge. And now Meadows is maybe facing the very same. What does this mean for Attorney General Merrick Garland? What do you think about this?

CALLAN: I think Garland takes this whole issue very, very seriously. He's acting like a good attorney general should do because he's looking at the institutions and not just at his relationship to President Biden. And he's trying to decide what would the precedent be if we hold in contempt a former, you know, Executive Director of the White House and Bannon and really close presidential advisors.

So I think he's going to make a careful deliberative decision on this. I'm not sure which way he will go. I suspect in the end, he may prosecute, particularly Bannon. I think there's a much clearer case against Bannon here. But it's an important precedent. It's a fight between the branches of government, about executive privilege, and about whether presidential advisors can be hauled before Congress after a president has stepped down.

So the issues are very, very important. And I think Garland deserves credit for looking very carefully at this before he proceeds.

BOLDUAN: And so everyone knows why Paul is saying it's almost a little bit of different case for Bannon and Meadows, if it comes to that, as Bannon left the White House, and I think it was 2017. So he was nowhere near being covered by, you know, a special privilege of communications with the President on January 6th, because he was nowhere near working for the President at that point.

But John, everything the House Committee is asking for is trying to get at what Donald Trump was doing, saying, and thinking around January 6th. And he did an interview with ABC, John Karl, that was just released a portion of it offering a new window into his thinking. And let me -- we're going to play this for you. And this is when John is asking Donald Trump about Vice President Mike Pence, listen.


JOHN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No. I thought he was well-protected, and I had heard that he was in good shape. No, because I had heard it was in very good shape. But, but -- no, I think --


KARL: Because you heard those chants that was terrible. I mean, you know, those --

TRUMP: He could have -- well, the people were very angry.

KARL: They were saying hang Mike Pence.

TRUMP: Because it's common sense, John, it's common sense, that you're supposed to protect. How can you -- if you know a vote is fraudulent, right --

KARL: Yes.

TRUMP: How can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?


BOLDUAN: John, there is a lot going on here on multiple levels.

HARWOOD: Well, Kate, what it does is confirm what we've long known about Donald Trump. Donald Trump is concerned exclusively, with himself, with his personal circumstances, with the needs of his ego. Loyalty to him only flows one way to him, not to other people. And so he could take this callous attitude toward his Vice President, the danger he was in, because he's seeing it only through the prism of he needed to do something to help me stay in power. It's shocking on one level, but it's not surprising on another.

BOLDUAN: Yes, especially when you everyone knows that Mike Pence is also seriously, seriously considering running for president in 2024. Manu, I do wonder what the impacts this has on the on the committee's work because CNN is reporting from Jamie Gangel that they are interested in speaking with people close to Pence, you know, some of them with him on -- at the Capitol that day.

RAJU: Yes. And the question is, how many of them will cooperate? I think what you will see, as we're seeing with the Meadows case, in the Bannon case, that people who are closer to Donald Trump are less likely to cooperate. Some of those folks who have created some distance with the former president who may not be as close to him or in his inner circle may be more willing to cooperate. And that may include some of the folks in Mike Pence's inner circle, particularly after January 6th, a lot of them were appalled by Donald Trump's actions. Perhaps there'll be more cooperation there.

And Kate also a big question, what will Mike Pence himself do? Ultimately, there will be an effort, almost certainly by the Committee to try to get Mike Pence to cooperate, try to see if he can provide any insight. Will he stick to his the president of the time, will he instead detail what he knows all big questions they try to pursue these questions in the months ahead.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. All thank you so much.

I want to turn out to Kenosha, Wisconsin, though, the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse is about to enter a critical final phase. Prosecutors and the defense teams have now both rested their cases. And today, both sides are going to be are going to be -- are back at the courthouse without the jury present to work through jury instructions when they will be getting the case next week. Closing arguments are set for Monday. CNN will bring those to you live.

Let's go to Wisconsin though. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is live outside the courthouse. Adrienne, what are you hearing there?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, good morning to you. Judge Schroeder took the bench moments ago and we are waiting for that meeting between him and the attorneys to hammer out the details of the jury instructions. The attorneys had until last night to turn in their proposals for any special requests regarding those jury instructions.

On Monday, we know closing arguments will take place each side, the prosecution and the defense has two and a half hours for closing arguments and that includes the rebuttal. The prosecution is expected to show videos this is what the Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger told the Judge on yesterday and those clips total about 30 minutes from that night.

Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people killing two. By contrast, the defense has said it only needs an hour and a half for closing arguments. And it's likely the defense will continue to hammer home the point that Kyle Rittenhouse they believe acted in self-defense. Over the last eight days we've heard from 31 witnesses.

And the facts of the case haven't really been disputed. Everyone agrees Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people, killed two. But at the end of the day, it's going to come down whether -- to whether or not this jury believes Kyle Rittenhouse was attacked or whether he escalated the situation by firing on those unarmed men.

Right now there are 18 members of the jury, but that number will decrease from 18 to 12. And the method is old fashioned. They will draw names. The 12 that are chosen will deliberate. They will decide the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse. If he is convicted on the most serious charge, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison. The remaining jurors will serve as alternates and that's all expected to happen on Monday. Kate?


BOLDUAN: Adrienne, thank you so much for that.

Coming up for us, still this hour, a record number of people quit their jobs last month, a new report just out what is driving this trend. That's next.

And one of the key links in the nation supply chain, truck drivers. How that industry is facing a critical shortage as well and what they're trying to do about it?


BOLDUAN: New this morning, a record number of Americans quit their jobs in September, 4.4 million people, the last record of people leaving the workplace set just the month before with 4.3 million quitting in August. Let's get over to CNN's Matt Egan. He's watching all of this tracking the numbers. Matt, what are you seeing here?


MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Well, Kate, clearly COVID has been an absolute game changer for the jobs market, American workers today. They're demanding better pay, better benefits, and more flexibility. And, you know, it's not just about economics, the pandemic has forced this reassessment over quality of life and purpose of work. And I think what's key here is that more than any time in recent memory American workers have leveraged here, because companies can't fill all these open jobs.

And clearly, workers are not afraid to use that leverage. So that's what we saw a record 4.4 million Americans quit their job in September, as you mentioned, back to back record numbers right there. Let's look at some of the industries that are getting hit the hardest. We saw heavy quits in arts and entertainment, the service sector, state and local government as well. You know, one economist told me that these new numbers show that the era of paying workers less than a livable wage is over.

And given all of the people quitting, it's not surprising to see that the number of job openings remains very elevated above 10 million, it's come down a bit. But these are still high, high figures. It's also important to remember that the fact that people are quitting so much, and that there's so many open jobs, this worker shortage is contributing to historic levels of inflation, because companies have been forced to pay workers more money and they pass along some of those costs to consumers.

I think that in the long run, this is all a positive because workers could be happier. They could get make more money, you can sort of lift people out of poverty. But Kate in the short run, this is going to complicate the supply chain stress and inflation and the reopening of the economy. It's going to take some time to sort all this out.

BOLDUAN: Yes, let's talk more about that, Matt, thank you very much for that reporting. I really appreciate it. Which leads very importantly in perfectly into what we're going to focus in on, one part of that supply chain because one industry being hit by this labor shortage is America's trucking industry, a key part of the country's supply chain, which is all under incredible stress right now, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg just this week, talked about it. Listen.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: We've got to just make truck driving better job. Truck drivers, there's reason the turnover is so high. And the way they're compensated they're often not compensated for their time. They are the absolute backbone of a big part of our supply chain, we need to respect and in my view, compensate them better than we have.


BOLDUAN: So industry leaders say they're short 80,000 truckers, a record high, which is 30 percent and 30 percent increase from before of the pandemic threatening a huge gap in the supply chain and becoming a big problem from Washington to Wall Street to Main Street. Joining me now is Greg Hodgen. He's president and CEO of Groendyke Transport, the fourth largest tank truck carrier in the United States. Greg, thank you for being here.

As you heard the Transportation Secretary, he points to pay as a reason for the trucker shortage hampering the supply chain. Is that one of the reasons you see creating this crisis? GREG HODGEN, PRESIDENT & CEO, GROENDYKE TRANSPORT: Good morning, Kate, thanks for having me, I would say my personal opinion is paid -- pay has increased dramatically in the last few years to try and fill an ever widening gap and the shortage of truck drivers. I would point more of the problem at lifestyle, the work life balance that your previous reporter was talking about that people want day and their life. Truck drivers want that too, they're people just like the rest of us, they just have a different job where they're not reporting to an office, they've got an independent job where they're out on the highways of the nation.

So they want good benefits, they want good pay, they want consistent pay. One of the problems with COVID was when a lot of the volume dropped off when we didn't have fuel to haul in the tank truck business. We didn't have retail products to haul. They didn't have any work to do. And these are people who don't like to sit. They want to be out doing things and accomplishing things for the country.

BOLDUAN: That's really interesting because it's impacted by the pandemic on the front end and impacted by the pandemic on the back end as well kind of as -- kind of two opposing forces in what you're dealing with. And I know your company has been increasing pay. That's something that you guys have been talking about.

The country is also grappled with a chronic lack of drivers for years. It's definitely as you just talked about been exacerbated by the pandemic. I'm curious how challenging is this for you all right now?

HODGEN: Well, it's a challenge, we're used to. And in some ways the industry has been accused of crying wolf, because every year we say it's, it can't get worse and then it gets worse. And I think it really comes down to a couple of things. We really need to improve the image of the truck driver. I remember as a kid driving down the highway and you know, doing one of these, want the driver to honk their horn and they were the white knights of the highway.

And the highways today are very stressful. They're full of a lot of distracted drivers. The infrastructure is crumbling. It's good thing we passed the infrastructure bill if we fix that that'll help a lot. But improving the image is one part of it, improving the lifestyle is another, you know, how much do people want to be gone from home for four to six weeks. In our case, our drivers are home a couple of times a week or every night.


But a lot of the long haul trucking they're still gone away from home. And they have ballgames they want to go to, they want to go to recitals, they want to go to church, things like the rest of us. So I think we're going to see a shift in how trucking is run in the future. And they have to be compensated for a skilled job. These are highly credentialed people that are driving these trucks and they have a lot of skills. We'd like to see the Department of Labor name is as a skilled position because good drivers are professional drivers, and they're highly skilled. BOLDUAN: That's fascinating and important. I also, I to throughout my childhood, we would count on the highway, which are very flat roads in Indiana, how many truckers I could get, it's a long back. Just this week, I did want to ask you, just this week, Walmart announced that it's starting to use driverless trucks for its online grocery business, putting out some video we're showing for people right now. Is that part of the problem? People see this as the road ahead. Is that do you think where you all are headed?

HODGEN: I don't think it's where we're headed in hazmat trucking, I think most of the public would rather see a driver pulling a load of gasoline or chemicals or acids with a driver that's highly skilled and professional. I think there are portions of the infrastructure that would allow for driverless trucks. But there are a lot of places that it's just not going to work.

So I think truck driving has a good long term bright future. And we need to tell people this is a career choice. If you want to join this industry, we'd like to see them join sooner. So they can learn to be a driver, gain the skills and the experience needed to be in whatever sector of trucking they want to be in. But autonomous trucks will have a part in the supply chain, but I don't think you're going to have a dramatic piece for quite a while.

BOLDUAN: Getting them into the trucking industry at a younger age is an interesting aspect of this. It is part -- a pilot program is part of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which is also something really being discussed as well. It's great to meet you, Greg, thank you so much for coming on.

HODGEN: Certainly, Kate. Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, an attorney for one of the three white men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery asked the judge not to allow any more black pastors in the courtroom. What that attorney is saying today. We're live at the courthouse next.