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House Committee Passes Package Of Gun Safety Measures; Zelenskyy Delivers Message Marking 100Th Day Of War With Russia; Federal Grand Jury Indicts Former Trump Adviser Peter Navarro On Criminal Contempt Charges. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired June 03, 2022 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: As President Biden is pleading with Congress to act on gun reform. The House Judiciary Committee did just that, passing a series of gun measures along a party-line vote, a hearing, and a vote that really encapsulates how divided lawmakers are still.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT, (R-TX): To infer by rhetorical supposed questions. Who are you here for? We must be here for the gunman is an outrage. How dare you? Do you think we don't have hearts?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE, (D-RI): You didn't have their constitutional right to life respected. The kids at Parkland, and Sandy Hook, and Uvalde, and Buffalo, and the list goes on and on so spare me the -- about constitutional rights.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And that was just some of it. The legislation that was passed along a party-line vote, it now has to the full house for a vote next week. But even with that expected to pass there, the math, as you know, still has not changed in the Senate, despite all of these shootings. Joining me now is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren.
BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, thank you for being here. What happened in that markup yesterday? I mean, why was it so tense, so heated, and emotional?
REP. ZOE LOFGREN, (D-CA): Well, I think there were high emotions certainly. The representatives from Texas, who have visited and met with the parents of the children who were slaughtered, had a high level of emotion. And I think some of the Republicans must realize -- I mean, I don't question that Louie Gohmert has a heart, sometimes I wonder about his head. In they were advancing scenarios that were ridiculous. I mean, let's have a good guy with a gun and that's all we need. Obviously, that is not the answer. We have. Ill guns are the leading cause of death for children in the United States today. We're the only advanced country that has mass murders routinely. And we can prove because we've done it, that if you control access to assault weapons if you do background checks, the level of gun violence will go down.
And I think Republican voters understand that. The polling shows that about 70 percent or better of Republican voters support universal background checks. So I hope that when we go to the floor of the House and when the Senate considers some of these measures, that they will reflect the voters that they represent, not the advocacy groups like the NRA that are opposed to anything that wants to have the status quo, which means just more deaths for children.
BOLDUAN: As it looks right now, you know -- you know the math in the Senate, the proposals as they will likely pass in the House likely have no chance in the Senate but there is this bipartisan negotiation that is ongoing for some kind of common ground on gun reform. Manu Raju spoke with one of the lead negotiators, Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, about this effort toward a bipartisan agreement. And Murphy saying that he is, in his words, certainly prepared for failure here, are you?
LOFGREN: Well, I've got to observe that the U.S. Senate specializes in being gridlocked. And the Republicans, you saw it yesterday in our markup, the extremists who have controlled big segments of the Republican Party want no change. They want guns to proliferate, which means that there will be mass murders routinely. And it seems like every day. That does mean that Republican voters are in that spot.
I mean, the Republicans I know, who are normal, regular people, would like to have their grandchildren and children safe as well, which is why they support background checks. And I'm hoping that the sensible middle will come and do something, probably not everything I want to do but if we take several discrete actions, it will lower the level of violence and less people will be murdered. And I think that's not too much to ask of our representatives in the Senate.
BOLDUAN: Now, President Biden coming out and kind of planting his flag on this issue last night calling for an assault weapons ban, among other things. He also called out Senate Republicans. Let me play this for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My God, the fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don't want any of these proposals, even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: On an issue and a topic that's so hard to get people to come to the table, does that help get you to a bipartisan agreement?
LOFGREN: Well, I've never served in the Senate, and President Biden has. He knows these senators. He served with them. And I think he's got a much better handle on what might move them than probably I do. But I think we need to call out where we are. I mean, we're the only advanced country in the world that has mass shootings every day.
The proliferation of guns does not make us safer. It makes us more vulnerable. And I think, you know, I listened to people say, are afraid when they go to work, is there going to be some nutcase with a -- with an assault weapon at their place of work for -- at their children's school, when they go to the grocery store? This is not the way for the land of the free to survive here.
BOLDUAN: Much more work, and at least talk -- talking and negotiating to be done on this. You're also an important member of the congressional committee investigating January 6. Public hearings were announced they begin next week. And I know that you don't want to get ahead of that which is completely understandable since it's a big deal.
BOLDUAN: But can you broadly speak to what the goal is, in general, for these public hearings?
LOFGREN: I would say the goal is to lay out the truth as we have found it about the events leading up to January 6 than what happened on January 6, to help inform us as to legislative recommendations we may make. But the primary maybe, or certainly the main element would be to have the American people learn what actually happened, and have a renewal of passion for our democratic system. We came remarkably close to losing that. And I think a peep more than people realize. And I think we need to have a renewal of our passion for our democratic Republic if we're to survive.
BOLDUAN: Well, learning more of those details because we know a lot has not been known publicly yet in the -- in the investigations that have been ongoing you've been part of. It's something that I know everyone is very much looking forward to hearing what comes out in those hearings. Congressman, thanks for coming in.
LOFGREN: Well, it'll be a mix. Some of -- some of it has become known, some of it hasn't. But we'll just lay it out as best we can.
BOLDUAN: Yes. And we'll be there to watch. Thank you, Congressman.
LOFGREN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us. 100 days into Putin's war in Ukraine, President Zelenskyy's defiant message to the entire world. That's next.
BOLDUAN: Today marks 100 days since the start of Putin's brutal war in Ukraine and while there is no end in sight, Ukraine's President remains optimistic about ultimately defeating Russia, delivering this message today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Speaking a foreign language.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The leaders of parliamentary factions are here. The president's chief of staff is here. Prime Minister of Ukraine, Shmyhal is here. Podolyak is here, the President is here. Our team is much bigger. The armed forces of Ukraine are here. Most importantly, our people, the people of our country are here. We have been defending Ukraine for 100 days. Victory shall be ours. Glory to Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: What victory looks like or how it is defined by either side really remains to be seen, especially in a place where the Red Cross now says that the scale of destruction is "defies comprehension."
Joining me now is CNN military analyst, retired Major General James "Spider" Marks. It's good to see you here, Spider. Thank you for coming in.
JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: How do you describe the state of this war 100 days in?
MARKS: Well, sadly, for Ukraine, much of that eastern portion has been really devastated. I mean, just look at the killing in the wanton destruction in Mariupol. I mean, that's not a military activity, that's criminality. Russia has a narrative that they've achieved a victory.
Ukraine has an incredible narrative and that, they've stepped up, they've defended their sovereignty, and they're doing exceptionally well. They're incredibly creative militarily, the United States and NATO is learning from Ukraine. We were the teachers and now we're learning from some of this amazing -- some of these amazing things they've been able to do in the fights.
The sad thing is, is that Putin is not going to do an about-face and depart. He can turn around and say, I've achieved this level of victory and I'm going to be satisfied with what really looks like a crescent from the outskirts of Kharkiv all the way down to Kherson. He's achieved that land bridge. He now has to sustain it.
And Ukraine is going to be in a situation where this may end up being a frozen conflict. What we're going to see over the course of the next two to three months, Kate, I think is what we will see as an inevitability over the next couple of years.
BOLDUAN: That's our -- Spider, I was going to ask you if -- because there's a healthy amount of wins and losses -- devastating losses on both sides when you look at this in the first 100 days. And in a drawn-out war -- in a drawn-out conflict, as you've seen in so many places, does the second 100 days look the same as the first?
MARKS: No, I think at this point, you kind of, have two boxers that are in the 12 rounds, or their hands are down around their ankles, they're exhausted, they're both going to get a few punches in, the Ukrainians really have -- clearly they've got the momentum of the world. They've got the focus of the world. Zelenskyy is inarguably the George Washington of Ukraine. I mean, it's quite phenomenal the type of leadership he is providing.
Putin is an international pariah. And I think we're moving back into what would be a Redux of a Cold War that now has a real element of hotness to it, right, where the world doesn't want to pay attention to Russia, but we have to pay attention to Russia.
And we even have some that have said, look, we need to go back to what we saw on one January of this year as an OK, outcome. And Zelenskyy said, no, that's not OK. So those are the discussions. Those are the things that need to take place. So the fighting, you can't maintain the level of fighting that they've maintained for the first 100 years -- days for the next 100 days.
BOLDUAN: Yes, it's too much. It's good to see you. Thank you for being here.
MARKS: Thanks, Kate.
BOLDUAN: We have to jump because we're off this just in to CNN -- just coming in. Peter Navarro has now been criminally indicted due to the Justice Department's criminal referral for ignoring the January 6 committee subpoena that he was issued.
BOLDUAN: Let's go to CNN's Paul Reid. She's got much more on this. Paula, what do you have?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. Well, I have the actual indictment here. Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro has been indicted on two counts of contempt related to his refusal to cooperate with the House Select Committee's investigation into January 6.
Now, Navarro was subpoenaed back in February. The committee wanted certain information from him, but he refused to cooperate with the committee, citing various forms of privilege. But the committee was very explicit at the time, they said, look, you may possibly have some claims to privilege but there's a lot of things we want to talk to you about that wouldn't be covered by privilege. Again, he refused to cooperate, so the House voted to refer him to the Justice Department for possible criminal contempt charges.
Now, last week, Navarro says he was visited by two FBI agents who served a subpoena on him seeking documents that are related to his interactions with the House Select Committee. He was supposed to, Kate, cooperate and provide those documents yesterday. Now, I've been in touch with Navarro. He refused to answer whether or
not he turned over those documents and is cooperating with this grand jury subpoena. And today we see a grand jury has indicted him on two contempt charges for his refusal to cooperate.
And the House Select Committee has expressed some frustration with the Justice Department, arguing that they have not moved quickly enough on other contempt referrals. For example, for former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, also they have referred to Dan Scavino, as well another White House adviser. But here you can see the Justice Department did move on this. Mr. Navarro is expected to appear in federal court this afternoon.
BOLDUAN: All right, Paula, stick with me. Let me bring in Evan Perez for more on this. Evan, what do you think it is?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, I mean, this is a much easier one for the Justice Department -- for Merrick Garland and the Justice Department to -- these charges to bring. Peter Navarro obviously, is not a senior as a senior and adviser to the former president, as Mark Meadows, or even Dan Scavino, who we know was essentially an alter ego for the president on the internet.
He was writing all of the president's tweets, and was very, very involved with all of his messaging around January 6, you know, around the time that he was trying to overturn the election. So all -- for all of those reasons, you still see the Justice Department investigating, trying to decide what to do about the Mark Meadows referral, and the Dan Scavino referral is in the same boat.
Peter Navarro is frankly just a simpler one for prosecutors to bring. And you see you saw in recent days, you know, you could see that Navarro was getting ready. He kind of knew what was happening. He decided to go to court and file a very bizarre lawsuit trying to forestall what we are seeing today.
Again, he's going to appear in court today and we'll see that you know if a judge has already kind of slapped his wrist for the improper way he filed his lawsuit. But we can expect that you know, we're going to probably see a trial in the coming months of Peter Navarro. Kate.
BOLDUAN: Fascinating. Manu Raju is joining us now also from Capitol Hill on this. What do you think the reaction is going to be there? Obviously, a big question is how does this impact the January 6 committee's investigation?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, because they wanted to know what he had discussed with Donald Trump at the time of the insurrection in the run-up to January 6, and everything about it. And Navarro was just defiant with the committee will not respond to his requests. Instead, he would -- he had -- was listening to Donald Trump's claims of executive privilege, which of course, had been rejected by the courts. But nevertheless that the committee is interested in what he had to say. At the time when they referred him for criminal contempt charges to the Justice Department, the chairman of that committee at that time, Bennie Thompson, issued a statement as he said then -- he said he hasn't been shy referring to Navarro about his role in efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and has even discussed the former president's support for those plans.
So, it is -- that was the big reason why they needed him to come forward before the committee to fill out any holes they have about Donald Trump's role in January -- in the run-up to January 6, the president at the time, his actions when the instruction was happening.
And we learn next week in the first public hearing, the holes that Navarro's testimony could presumably have brought filled with this committee when it's time -- when we hear -- when we start to get some of the new evidence that the committee has gleaned through their months and months of investigation here.
So, undoubtedly, Democrats and the two Republicans on the committee will cheer this result, but they will ultimately, will want the information Navarro has to help fill any gaps in their investigation as we start to learn more details about what they've uncovered, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Paula, what do you think? I mean, Evan listed out the others who have been referred to the Justice Department.
BOLDUAN: Steve Bannon, obviously, has already had his answer from the Justice Department. Well, what do you think this indictment means for the others?
REID: Well, Evan is absolutely right that Navarro is a much easier case for the Justice Department to bring because he does not enjoy the same kind of protections that a chief of staff or other absolutely top advisors could potentially afford it. The other thing is Navarro has not cooperated at all. Whereas when we talk about the former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, he has provided the committee with a treasure trove of text messages.
Some of the most valuable and explosive information they've received in this investigation came from the former chief of staff. So if you want to try to successfully bring a prosecution against him for content, his lawyers would likely argue, wait a second, he has provided a lot of information for you.
Now, of course, Kate, personally, I'm curious if this is what he handed over, what would he -- what we -- what is he hiding? What is he potentially sitting on? What else does he have? But that really doesn't matter when it comes to prosecuting a contempt case. It's a much more complicated matter when it's the former chief of staff when it's a really senior person like Dan Scavino.
When it comes to someone like Peter Navarro, look, Peter Navarro has been very public about his efforts to undermine the outcome of the 2020 election. He talked about it in a book that he published very explicitly. This is another point that the committee has made repeatedly, why can you talk about this in a book, but not come in and answer our questions and cooperate in our investigation? So the fact that Navarro has been indicted here is not a huge surprise, given how really easy it is to make a case against him.
Now, up until now, interestingly, he has not had an attorney, he has represented himself. Evan mentioned the lawsuit that he filed himself a few days ago, the judge explicitly said, look, you didn't even do this right. So it'll be interesting to see if now that he really is facing potentially serious criminal consequences if he goes and hires an attorney.
BOLDUAN: Well, thanks for bringing us the news, Paula. Thank you guys for jumping on I really appreciate it. Much more to come on this. Thank you all so much for being here with us AT THIS HOUR. I'm Kate Bolduan. INSIDE POLITICS with John King starts after this break.