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Pence: "Congress Has No Right To My Testimony"; UVA To Hold Public Memorial On Saturday For Shooting Victims; Harvard And Yale Schools Withdraw From U.S. News Rankings. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 17, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Former Vice President Mike Pence is making it clear at a "CNN TOWN HALL" last night that the January 6 committee won't be getting his testimony. For their part, that committee says that Pence is misrepresenting the scope of their investigation. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty is live in Washington. She's following this. It's good to see you, Sunlen. What more did Pence say?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, he says here that the last days of the administration were among some of the most difficult of his public life. And he really details his own personal experience on January 6 at the Capitol, the anger he says, the sadness that he felt in the moment. He also talks about the lead-up to that day, the extent of the pressure campaign that Trump and Trump's allies put on him not to certify the results of the election.

Now, all these details, the personal anecdotes in this book that he revealed at "CNN TOWN HALL" last night, certainly essential information for the January 6 committee who has been trying and negotiating with him to try to get him to testify. But the former vice president was pretty definitive last night when he said he doesn't believe that's going to happen.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congress has no right to my testimony because under the Constitution of the United States, as vice president, we had two co-equal branches of government. The Congress doesn't report to the White House, the White House doesn't report to the Congress to avoid what would be a terrible precedent. The very notion of a committee on Congress -- in Congress summoning the Vice President to speak about deliberations that took place at the White House, I think would violate that separation of powers.



SERFATY: And about the other big question that he is facing, of course, will he mount a presidential campaign? Well, he really played coy last night essentially saying to stay tuned. He said again that it's time for new leadership in their party and said he believes that there will be better choices than his old running mate. Kate.

BOLDUAN: It's good to see you, Sunlen. Thank you.

So, the University of Virginia now getting ready for a public memorial for the three football players shot and killed by a classmate. A family friend of D'Sean Perry joins us next.



BOLDUAN: Three days after the gruesome killing of four college students in Idaho, the medical examiner's office has now confirmed to CNN the autopsies on all of the victims have been completed. But authorities say they still do not have a suspect or a murder weapon. Listen to this.


BILL THOMPSON, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY, LATAH COUNTY: The fact of the matter is whoever's responsible for these murders is still at large. The investigators do not know who that person is. From what they've told my office, they believe that this was what they call a targeted attack and not just a random act of violence.


BOLDUAN: Even though it is considered a targeted attack, authorities are now saying that they cannot rule out a threat to the -- to the wider community. We've all -- we're also getting some new details about what happened that night though it almost complicates the picture even further. Two roommates were in the home at the time of the killings, but the police chief is not calling them witnesses. He did confirm though that they were not hurt. Authorities say those roommates are cooperating fully with the investigation.

We're also learning new details today about the deadly shooting at the University of Virginia that killed three football players. The suspect bought two guns on two different occasions after being denied twice before. That's according to the gun store where the alleged shooter made the purchases. Yet, it's still not clear whether either of those weapons purchased were used in last weekend's shooting. The university is planning a community Memorial this weekend to honor the victims, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr., and D'Sean Perry.

Joining me now is Michael Haggard. He's a family friend of D'Sean Perry. He's also an attorney representing the family. Michael, thank you for coming on. This is -- this is just horrible with you -- what these families are going through. How are D'Sean's parents and his family doing right now?

MICHAEL HAGGARD, FRIENDS AND ATTORNEY FOR FAMILY OF D'SEAN PERRY: They're not doing well, you know. They're up in Charlottesville right now you know, a place where they dropped him off full of dreams. He truly was the American dream of what he had, where he's from, and what he made it to. And yesterday, they were cleaning out his apartment and cleaning out his football locker. And you know, just to think that they had dropped him off there a couple of years ago with every bit of hope in front of him and now for it to end this way is just brutal and they're trying to endure it the best they can.

BOLDUAN: They can. You've known D'Sean for years. Your son played football, I believe -- I read that you'd said he play football with him in high school. I've also been reading some very -- some -- just how so many sweet tributes to him that people are making, what a kind of loving person that he was on and off the field. I want to play for everyone, I'm sure you've heard this though, Michael, what his high school football coach said.


EARL SIMS, HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH OF UVA VICTIM D'SEAN PERRY: He was like a son to me. He was a gentle giant who added value and purpose to my life as well as to others. He will truly be missed. But we'll make sure that his legacy lives on.


BOLDUAN: You can see the pain on Earl Sims's face as he's trying to even get through reading a statement like that. What do you and his parents, Happy and Sean, want the world to know about what kind of man D'Sean was?

HAGGARD: You know, he -- as Coach Sims said, you know, he was the best our community had to offer. You know, he came from a tough neighborhood, and his parents, you know, worked incredibly hard, put everything into their children like we all tried to. And he had made it. And that is what is so heartbreaking about this is that he had made it to one of our top universities.

And he was already about giving back, giving back to younger kids, giving back to people in his community to try to help others to advance like he -- like he had. You talked about his humility, his sense of humor, coach Elliott talked about that. He was just a true gift to all of us in this world. And it is -- it is an unspeakable tragedy that he was taken away from all of us not only his family but society by senseless gun violence yet again.

BOLDUAN: Yes. He has the sweetest smile and every photo that I'm seeing. One of the other students who was on that bus, Michael, described the whole thing -- the word that she used was bizarre that, Chris Jones, the man suspected of being -- the suspect here of shooting him got up, pushed Lavel and then said something like you guys were always messing with me before he opened fire. She said it would just didn't make any sense. Are you learning anything more about what happened?


HAGGARD: You know we're obviously waiting for the investigation to be complete. But you know I believe all three of the players, I know D'Sean and I know one of the others, was not even on the team when the shooter was on the team three years ago. They weren't -- four years ago. They weren't even there. D'Sean wasn't even at the University of Virginia. And I know another player who transferred him was also not there. So, it doesn't make any sense. And it goes back to all the disturbing things in our society where young people who are disturbed can grab a gun just like that and end lives in a senseless act.

BOLDUAN: In your professional life, people probably don't -- you have represented the families of victims of other school shootings, including some of the families from the Parkland School shooting. But how does this one, Michael, I don't know, sit differently, possibly for you since you know D'Sean, you know his family?

HAGGARD: Yes. Well, that's the difference. You know, I didn't -- I didn't have the opportunity to know Joaquin Oliver or Scott Beigel, in the particle in case. And I knew D'Sean very well and saw the kind of kid he was. But like many Oliver, Joaquin's dad said to me the other day after we talked about this, he said, Mike, it's going to come to everyone. It's like -- it's like cancer. Every family will experience gun violence unless we do something. And -- you know, and that stuck with me.

And I hate -- I hate to say this is one of the worst things I say to parents, but your kids are at risk if we don't do something. Whether they're at school, whether they're at a concert, whether they're in a mall because we've seen mass shootings everywhere in our society, and it's something that you now have really hit home even though I'd represented hundreds of victims of gun violence. But you know, when you know the kid, it just makes it that much more personal. And it is -- it is very difficult for thousands of kids across the country right now who knew D'Sean. They're hurting as well.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I'm so sorry -- I'm so sorry, Michael. And I'm so sorry for his parents and his family, for Happy and for Sean, for what they're having to go through. Thank you so much for coming on to speak with us.

HAGGARD: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: Harvard and Yale Law Schools are withdrawing from the highly influential U.S. News and World Report college rankings. Both law schools say they are dropping out over concerns about the methodology used to judge them. Yale Law has been number one -- the number one ranking this year and has held that top spot for, what, 30 years, I believe. Harvard Law is tied for number four.

Joining me right now is Heather Gerken, she's the dean of the Yale Law School, to talk about this. Dean, thanks for your time. In your announcement, you say that you -- the U.S. News rankings -- about the U.S. News rankings. Its approach not only fails to advance the legal profession but stands squarely in the way of progress. What do you mean by that? What was the final straw?

HEATHER GERKEN, DEAN, YALE LAW SCHOOL: You know, over the last years, U.S. News has been creating one metric after another that makes it impossible for law schools who are worried about their rankings, which is a lot of them, to do the right thing by their students. It's -- it made it harder for them to support students who want to do public interest work. And it's made it harder for law schools to bring in low-income students into their mitts and provide them the support they need. It really has been time for us to take a step back, and to think about the values of legal education and the values of the profession.

BOLDUAN: And this is big news for a good reason because as I mentioned, Yale Law has been ranked number one on this list since 1990. I mean, is your intention to devalue, even crash this ranking system, because if we're being honest, Yale Law is going to be getting plenty of applicants being on or off this list?

GERKEN: You know I'm someone who believes in data, I believe in metrics, I believe in transparency. The problem with U.S. News is that it's sending a false signal to students who want to do public interest work, to students who are low-income and worried about debt. We need to find a way to get the data that those students need to them in a way that is transparent and accessible and accurate.

BOLDUAN: I want to read some of the statements coming from the head of U.S. News to CNN in response to this. The U.S. News' best law schools rankings are for students seeking the best decision for their law education, we will continue to fulfill our journalistic mission of ensuring that students can rely on the best and most accurate information in making that decision. At the end of the day, what should the students do, right because some see real value in having an independent comparison and review of schools across the country.

GERKEN: So, I actually wrote an entire book about the importance of rankings and metrics, so I am not afraid of rep metrics. I'm not afraid of rankings. But a ranking is only as good as the methodology that underlies it. So, just as we have led the way in many parts of legal education, I hope that Yale Law School is going to be able to lead the way in getting students the information that they need to make a good decisions about their future.

We are confident in the kinds of things that we do but right now, the U.S. News is misleading about students who want to do public interest work and students who have debt. And it -- and it's worse than that. It's actually causing law schools to take steps that are contrary to the values of the profession, and legal education. So, it's not just hurting students who need information, it's actually hurting the entire profession.

BOLDUAN: So, interesting. Dean, I really appreciate you for coming -- I appreciate you for coming on.

[11:55:00] And I suggest everyone read your full statement about how you laid out why you're dropping out of these rankings. It's really interesting and should spark further conversation about how these methodologies -- about methodology, about the data, about the rankings, and what people should consider. Thanks for your time.

GERKEN: Thank you for having me, Kate.

BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it.

So, we are moments away now from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement about her political future. I'm Kate Bolduan, thanks for joining us. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after this break.