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Jury Convicts Three Men Of Providing Aid To Terrorists In Plot To Kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; Prisoner Swap Returns Body Of American Killed In Ukraine; Verdict Reached In Christmas Parade Attack Trial. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired October 26, 2022 - 11:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[11:30:00]

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JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And available over the counter at prices -- at places like Walgreens and Walmart so the tens of millions of Americans with hearing loss don't have to pay an expensive visit to the specialist and saving people as much as $3,000 per pair of hearing aids -- $3,000, which also made it possible for tens of millions of Americans to get free or low-cost internet. If you want to get that, go to get internet.gov. They lay out for you how you do it, to check your eligibility to get 30 bucks off your internet bill every month.

In addition to taking action today to restrict two particularly egregious types of banking fees, my administration has pushed banks to reduce the fees they charge for consumers across the board. The result, 15 of the nation's 20 largest banks are voluntarily getting rid of bounced checks charges entirely. But going forward, the directors' team is also developing roles for guidance that would require banks to go even further in addressing additional types of junk fees.

We're working to lower prices and increased competition across the whole economy. Because when companies compete, products get better, prices go down, wages go up. We encourage innovation when that occurs, and America leads the world. It's called capitalism. I've said it before capitalism without competition isn't capitalism. It's exploitation.

Folks, there are two very different ways of looking at our country. One is, as I've said before, the view from Park Avenue, which has helped the wealthy, and maybe that'll trickle down to everyone in the country. The others have scrambled --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: All right, we've been listening into President Biden making this announcement. Let me bring in CNN's Arlette Saenz with more on what the president and the White House are trying to do here with this announcement to try to tackle junk banking fees. Arlette, what is the White House trying to do and how are they going to do it? ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, President Biden was arguing that he's trying to ease the financial burden that so many Americans are feeling by having his administration try to tackle some of these junk fees. This specific event was partially tied to a new guidance from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which would address bank overdraft and depositor fees.

But really, if you take a larger look at their strategy here, the president and the White House are trying to show voters at this moment that they are trying to take steps to ease some of their economic concerns, especially as the economy and inflation remained of top concerns to voters heading into these elections.

You've heard over the course of the past few weeks, the president really ramping up that economic messaging saying that Democrats are going to protect things like social security and medicare, today saying that they're going to tackle things like junk fees. The president really tried to present a contrast with the economic messaging of the Republicans, as they are keenly aware that the economy is driving so much of voters' concerns with voting about to conclude in just under two weeks.

BOLDUAN: Arlette, thank you so much for that. We'll continue to listen to the president and to the president's announcement and bring you news from it. I really appreciate it, Arlette. We'll be right back.

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[11:38:00]

BOLDUAN: We have some breaking news coming in. A jury has just reached a verdict in the trial of three men charged in connection with a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. This is a plot that dates back to 2020. CNN's Jean Casarez joins me now with these breaking details. We're just getting them in. What do you -- what are we hearing about this first?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, these three men have been found guilty. And these were very serious charges because one of them was providing that material support for a terrorist act. And this is in relation to the 2020, a kidnapping -- alleged kidnapping that was going to take place of Gretchen Whitmer. Now the three men were also charged with gang membership, possession of a firearm, and the prosecutor was really focused in on that these men engaged in the planning and the plotting not only to overtake the state Capitol but also with the allegations of attempting to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer. Once again, they have been found guilty.

And the defense was saying they didn't know what was going to happen. They didn't realize what this was. And you know, Kate, knowledge was a very important part of this case because the knowledge of what they were doing, were they just engaging in the training and the helping and the knowledge to these others for something they didn't really know what they were hired to do or did they realize? Well, this verdict now shows that they knew exactly what they were planning and plotting with others to effectuate. And you remember in August --

BOLDUAN: That's what I was going to say, yes.

CASAREZ: We had this other trial, Adam Fox and Barry Croft, they are facing a maximum of life in prison for their participation in all of this because they did surveillance of the summer home, they did surveillance of the boat dock, and they were really engaged. These three men today facing 20 years in prison. 20 years is 20 years, about the plotting, the helping, the training.

BOLDUAN: One verdict -- there was among I think it was like a dozen people who had been kind of arrested and charged in connection with this.

CASAREZ: Yes.

[11:40:02]

BOLDUAN: The other guilty verdicts. And also at least a couple of them, they're -- they were acquitted is there was a hung jury. So this has been a long road in getting to this process and now we have --

CASAREZ: That's right, and now we have some mistrial along the way, and then a second trial.

BOLDUAN: Yes, exactly. So this has been a long road here and now we have a guilty verdict for three men --

CASAREZ: Yes.

BOLDUAN: And charged with this. Thank you so much, Jean.

CASAREZ: They will.

BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it. Thank you.

So also new this morning, CNN is there to witness the transfer of an American killed while fighting alongside Ukrainian forces. The details of this tragic and now long road home, that is next.

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[11:45:25]

BOLDUAN: It is a tragic homecoming in the making. We have new reporting from CNN that the Russian military has now transferred the body of an American killed while fighting alongside Ukraine and transfer to Ukrainian custody. Joshua Jones, he was killed in August, and CNN was there to witness the transfer of his remains. CNN's Nic Robertson is live in Kyiv with the details on this. Nic, what happened here?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, there was a two-hour ceasefire organized between the Ukrainian and Russian sides and that was enough time to transfer Joshua's body over to the Ukrainian side. His family has been told by the U.S. Embassy here. This is the air raid sirens going off here at the moment. This is quite a routine in Kyiv at the moment since Russia began ramping up strikes on the Capitol over recent weeks.

But his family have now been informed by the State Department from the embassy here in Kyiv that his body will be brought back to the United States. He had decided to come and join the Ukrainian forces and fight off the Russian invasion here in Ukraine earlier on in the year, about a month after the war began. Late March, he told his family he was -- he was coming here. There have been along the frontlines a number of Americans who've been joined -- who've joined the Ukrainian forces who've died in that fight for so far too, also, who were captured were returned as well as part of a prisoner exchange.

But in his case, in Joshua's case, the Ukrainian author -- the Russian authorities in Ukraine, the Russian-controlled area, had informed the Ukrainian side that they did have his body and they were holding it. They held it until now. And now it's being returned to be repatriated home to his family.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Nic, thank you very much for that.

Let's talk about -- let's go to Washington now for not -- to talk about another aspect of this war. Following some pretty intense backlash, the leader of the Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives has officially rescinded a request that the group had made for President Biden to essentially change his approach to the war in Ukraine. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is live on Capitol Hill with much more on this for us. So, Sunlen, this has become something of a mess. What is going on here?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It certainly has become a messy moment for House Democrats, Kate. And the chair of the Progressive Caucus admitting this, saying that this is essentially a distraction to House Democrats in the official statement officially withdrawing the letter that was sent to President Biden only on Monday, she says. "The letter was drafted several months ago, but unfortunately was released by staff without vetting. As chair of the caucus, I accept responsibility for this."

And the issue of timing is one of the main things that has set off Democrats here. And many of the progressives that originally signed on to this letter a few months ago, back in the summer. They said it was signed on to it at a very different moment in the war, a very different political climate, and they wouldn't necessarily sign off on the exact same letter today.

And they really did feel blindsided here, feeling that no one came and checked on them before this letter was suddenly released earlier in the week. That's so certainly causing such an uproar here on Capitol Hill, Kate, especially Democrats acknowledging that this is not a good look, essentially, two weeks before the midterm elections, showing such divisions within their ranks.

BOLDUAN: Sunlen, thank you so much for that. We have some breaking news we need to get to -- right now. Jurors have just reached a verdict in another trial we've been following. The trial of the man accused of the Christmas Day Parade attack that killed six people injured, dozens more in Waukesha, Wisconsin. As you can see there, the jury is back in the courtroom right now. The suspect, in this case, he defended himself during this trial. The judge right now, reviewing the paperwork before this gets underway. CNN's Josh Campbell, he's been covering this trial for us. He's joining us now. Give us some context of what this moment means in this -- so it's something like a three-week-long trial.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is a culmination of I think probably one of the more bizarre trials that we've seen and this defendant at times irate, very combative, as you mentioned, he was representing himself throughout. Now, he faces six counts of intentional homicide, as well as 61 counts of reckless endangerment. This, of course, stemming from that incident back in November, where the suspect is accused of driving through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, injuring several people, killing six people, then he was placed under arrest.

[11:50:09]

And at the -- some point during this trial, he determined that he wanted to defend himself, he withdrew an insanity defense. And we've seen the witnesses come forward, we see -- we've seen the prosecution calling many of the victims and many of the subject matter experts, the defendant himself a cross-examining them. And just to give you some color about you know how this actually transpired at times the judge actually removed the defendant from the courtroom into a separate courtroom because he was being so outlandish and combative, both with witnesses, with the prosecutor with the judge herself.

The judge showing a lot of deference to this defendant throughout though, and I -- you know talked to a lot of legal experts, they say that she was likely trying to create a record here in case this does get appealed to show that look, even though this is a defendant who wanted to represent himself, he didn't have a legal education, she went out of her way, even allowing him at times to do things that you rarely would see a defendant be able to do inside of a courtroom.

Now at some times -- at times he made some claims, for example, saying that he didn't believe that this trial should move forward because the state prosecuting him is not something that he believes should happen, saying the state is not a person, only people should be able to prosecute other people. That's just one of many examples where the judge moved in and overruled the constant objections that came again and again.

We did see last night finally, the closing arguments in this hearing, and we saw a somewhat of a different person in the defendant standing up, giving his closing arguments. He became very emotional speaking for almost an hour to the jury telling them that he did not intentionally commit this act, which of course, is that what this hinges on. The prosecution says this isn't -- this was intentional. The defendant is saying that no, this was not intentional. And it will be up to the jury to decide.

It's worth noting, Kate, that on these charges, particularly the six charges of intentional homicide. If he is convicted on either any of those six charges, he will face a mandatory life sentence. So various serious charges that this defendant is facing, and you're seeing it happen now, right on our screen. The judge is actually going through the verdict sheets that the jury used as they deliberated. They deliberated for nearly three hours, and we're about to learn what the result is of their decision.

BOLDUAN: All right. The judge continue to go through that paperwork, we're going to bring this to live when it does get underway. But in the meantime, joining me right now is CNN chief law enforcement intelligence analyst John Miller, and also with us is former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman.

John, we were talking as you're coming on set just how chaos -- what a horrible tragic day that was last November. They're telling me that they're beginning to read right now.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Sure.

BOLDUAN: Let's jump -- let's listen to the courtroom.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER DOROW, JUDGE, WAUKESHA, WISCONSIN CIRCUIT COURT: To the following question yes or no, did the defendant commit first-degree intentional homicide while using a dangerous weapon? Answer, yes. We the jury find the defendant, Darrell E. Brooks, guilty of first-degree intentional homicide, as charged and count two of the information. Did the defendant commit first-degree intentional homicide while using a dangerous weapon? Answer, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to hell you piece of shit.

DOROW: Hey, you are to be removed right now. You will not do that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please, follow us.

DOROW: We the jury, find the defendant Darrell E. Brooks, guilty of first-degree intentional homicide, as charged in count three of the information. And I should state as to count two it was signed and dated by the foreperson same as to count three. Did the defendant commit first-degree intentional homicide while using a dangerous weapon? Answer, yes. We the jury, find the defendant Darrell E. Brooks, guilty of first-degree intentional homicide as charged in count four of the information, dated this 26th day of October 2022, signed by the foreperson.

Did the defendant commit first-degree intentional homicide while using a dangerous weapon? Answer, yes. We the jury, find the defendant Darrell E. Brooks, guilty of first-degree intentional homicide as charged in count five of the information dated today's date and signed by the foreperson. Did the defendant commit first-degree intentional homicide while using a dangerous weapon? Answer, yes. We the jury, find the defendant Darrell E. Brooks, guilty of first-degree intentional homicide, as charged in count six of the information data today's date signed by the foreperson.

Did the defendant commit first-degree intentional homicide while using a dangerous weapon? Answer, yes. We the jury, find the defendant Darrell E. Brooks, guilty of first-degree recklessly endangering safety as charged in count seven of the information dated today's date and signed by the foreperson. Did the defendant commit first degree- recklessly endangering safety while using a dangerous weapon? Answer, yes. We the jury, find the defendant Darrell E. Brooks guilty of first-degree recklessly endangering the safety --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[11:55:11]

BOLDUAN: All right, so what you're going right there, the judge continuing to go through the other counts, but most importantly is we're hearing there, Darrell Brooks found guilty on the six counts of intentional homicide. John Miller is sitting here with me. John, your reaction to this, and what has played out in this trial?

MILLER: Well, Josh did a very good job of describing kind of the strange experience of the trial with him representing himself and Judge Dorow's struggle to maintain a fair trial, but also stay within the parameters of what's allowed. But the key question, as he said, what it hinged on was, was it intentional or could you buy his story that this was an accident? You know, when you get to the videos of that day and you interview the witnesses and the police, they say he broke through the barricades at 40 miles an hour and continued down the parade route, weaving from side to side not to avoid pedestrians who were scattering, but as it appears to actually target them.

When this happened, I was in the New York Police Department. We assumed this was going to be one of those terrorist attacks. But when you peel back the layers of this defendant, what you don't see as an ISIS inherent, what you see is somebody with an extensive criminal record, who was out on $1,000 bail after being charged with battery, domestic violence, resisting arrests, and bail jumping. So he was released on $1,000 bail after he had already jumped bail on another crime. And that made him a bit of a lightning rod in the debate about criminal justice reform with this crime happening after that.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Harry, let me get your take -- your reaction to this verdict.

HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: So first, Kate, three hours a really very quick for charges of this complexity but you knew when they came in after so little time. That is what's going to happen. As Josh summarize, Brooks actually tried to say representing himself on closing, you know, maybe the SUV veered out of control and that -- and the prosecutor said very effectively on rebuttal. Maybe that's for the first person, the second person, how do you do that 68 times?

It's a very tough situation for a judge when a -- when a defendant insists on representing himself. And the reason he or she has to permit it is under Wisconsin law. If you're competent, which is a very low standard, basically, you can appreciate the trial -- that a trial is going on, you get the right to decide. So he had two public defenders. They had pleaded insanity, which probably was the right plea for him. He fired them and insisted on going ahead. And she was very careful. You saw a taste of it just now in his outburst. In his - the way he wasn't trout, she was careful and trying to keep it from an issue on appeal.

BOLDUAN: Harry Litman, thank you so much. John, thank you so much for your perspective. I really appreciate it.

And thank you all so much for being with us "AT THIS HOUR." I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this break.

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