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The Lead with Jake Tapper

America's Prices Surge, Inflation Hits 30-Yeah High; Kyle Rittenhouse Testifies In His Own Defense In Homicide Trial; Police Update Investigation Into Deadly Crowd Surge At Concert; Police Chief: Security Guard Who Felt "Prick" In Neck Later Said No One Injected Him With Drugs; Police Chief: Promoter Live Nation Had A Role During Event To Secure Two Mosh Pits Directly In Front Of Stage; Trump Raising Millions Despite No Official 2024 Announcement. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired November 10, 2021 - 17:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The President today said that consumer prices are still too high. But the way that he was talking about it, Jake, was talking about selling this infrastructure plan that he just got passed and is going to sign on Monday hoping it can alleviate some of the supply chain gridlock. And of course they're going -- they're hoping in the end, Jake, is that it lowers those consumer prices.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.

Let's discuss with White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain.

So Ron, let's talk about inflation. It's at a 30 year high, up 6.2 percent. That's worse than had been feared. Six point two percent in just the last year.

Senator Joe Manchin's views on this must be of some concern to you because he is pointing to the rising inflation rate as a possible reason to pause on some part of Biden's agenda.

Today, Manchin tweeted, quote, "By all accounts, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not transitory and is instead getting worse from the grocery store to the gas pump. Americans know the inflation tax is real and D.C. can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day," unquote.

Obviously you need his vote. Do you think that Build Back Better in its current form is essentially dad because of inflation?

RON KLAIN, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Quite the opposite, Jake. I think that Senator Manchin's concerns make the strongest possible case for Build Back Better.

One of the biggest expenses families face is childcare. Our bill will cut the cost of childcare for middle class families in half. Another thing that people are really feeling the pinch of is prescription drugs. Our Build Back Better bill lowers the cost of prescription drugs, puts a cap on what seniors pay for their drugs. People are pinched by eldercare costs, it brings that down by health insurance premiums. The bill brings that down.

And of course, for families with children, the bill provides a tax cut of $250 per child per month. So, I think if your concern is the cost of living, it's a concern we have here at the White House, it's a concern Senator Manchin shares. The Build Back Better bill is the best answer we have to bring those costs down.

By the way, it also does it without adding a penny to the federal debt. It's fully paid for. And without raising a penny of taxes on families making less than $400,000 a year.

TAPPER: So, but Senator Manchin is of the opinion that at a time of inflation like now, putting more money, and this would be, I think, 1.7 5 trillion over the next few years, more money into the economy could actually have a harmful effect and have inflation increase. Why --

KLAIN: But Jake, the bill doesn't put any more money into the economy on net for in the House. It's about $1.8 trillion of new spending paid for by taking $1.8 trillion out of the economy, from the big corporations that pay no taxes at all, from the richest Americans will see their taxes go up. So it doesn't add any new money to the economy, Jake.

What it does is, it makes sure that our federal spending meets the things that families really need. Bringing down the cost of childcare, bringing down the cost of drugs, bringing down the cost of eldercare, bringing down the cost of preschool, cutting taxes for middle class families. That doesn't fuel inflation. It does the opposite. It brings down costs for everyday people.

TAPPER: That's your argument. Does Joe Manchin agree?

KLAIN: Well, we'll see when Joe Manchin votes.

Well, I'll tell you, it's not just my argument. Thirteen Nobel Prize winning economists said that our bill eases long term inflationary pressure. So, it's not just Ron Klain who's saying this or the White House who's saying this, but some of the world's leading economists who agree that this plan will help bring down long term inflationary pressures.

TAPPER: Former Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, Larry Summers has been sounding the alarm about inflation since February. And he has been one of these individuals saying that this big agenda, ambitious agenda from President Biden was creating the risk of an inflation spike.

Now Secretary Yellen told me three weeks ago that quote, "Monthly rates of inflation have already fallen substantially from the very high rates that we saw in the spring and early summer," unquote. That was three weeks ago.

The CPI, the Consumer Price Index is now back up 2.9 percent matching a tie in June 2021. Is it possible that today's inflation news proves that Larry Summers was correct and Janet Yellen incorrect?

KLAIN: Well, I want to quote a leading source on this topic, which said today that the government spending of this year, to say that the government spending this year caused an increase in gas and food prices is false. That was the CNN fact check that was out this morning on CNN about these claims.

Look, I know that former Secretary Summers was a critic of the earlier legislation, the Rescue Plan. I disagree with him on that. But I think Secretary Summers has been very clear about the fact that when you take action to make the economy work better for people and you fully pay for it by doing things like a provision in the Bill Back Better plan, the Secretary Summers recommended increasing IRS enforcement on high income taxpayers who just refuse to pay their taxes to get away with it, those kinds of measures help control federal spending, there are sound long term measures for our fiscal soundness. And so I think we're on the right path here to help working families, to help middle class families and to curb this inflation.


TAPPER: So according to a new Monmouth University poll, about 42 percent of those polled say middle class families have not benefited at all under President Biden. That's up from 33 percent who said the same in July.

You know, I understand why a lot of them might feel that way, because of all the increase in prices, gas, used cars, bacon, beef, chicken, eggs, furniture, T.V.s, kids shoes, electricity, rent. What do you say to these Americans who say, you know what, we're not feeling any help --


TAPPER: -- from President Biden?

KLAIN: Well, that same poll show that 52 percent of middle class, people thought the 52 percent of middle class families would benefit going forward from the bill the President is going to sign on Monday, the infrastructure bill, which will help deal with the supply chain problems we're having, get goods to market more efficiently, less expensively, create jobs in the process, and of course, with the rest of our legislation. So, I have no beef with voters pardon the pun who say, look, the recovery is making progress, but not far enough along for me yet. That's why we aren't stopping work now. That's why we're working hard to move the recovery forward.

There was a second economic report out today, in addition to the inflation report, a report about jobs that show that unemployment is falling at the fastest rate since the 1950s. We've made progress on the jobs recovery, we now need to tackle inflation, supply chains, making sure their workers available for the jobs that haven't yet been filled. We're making a lot of progress.

The economy is much better than it was a year ago. But we have a lot of work left to do. And that's what we're working on. TAPPER: A new CNN poll, I'm sure you saw found that majority of Americans, 58 percent believe that President Biden is not paying attention to the nation's most important issues. What those issues are fairly obvious. Thirty-six percent of the economy is the most pressing problem, followed by coronavirus, immigration, climate change, national security, and so on.

But the economy far and above, even Democrats are walking away from the idea that Biden has the right priorities. Ninety percent in April of Democrats polled said that the Biden had the right priorities, now it's 75 percent.

So, how do you how do you fix this? Obviously, I cover you guys every day. You do this every day. And you are talking about the economy. You are talking about coronavirus, but there's obviously some sort of disconnect here.

KLAIN: Well, look, I do think, as I said, Jake, I think things are a lot better in this country than they were a year ago with regard to COVID, with regard to the economy, but we have a lot of work left to do. And I think voters are in a show me don't tell me mode. I don't think they really care as much about what I'm saying on T.V. or what you're saying on T.V. as much as they do about us putting results into their lives.

This bill, the President's going to sign on Monday, the infrastructure bill, I think is a big step forward in terms of dealing with a lot of the long standing issues in this country. And I think the Build Back Better bill, which we hope the House will vote on, scheduled to vote on this coming week when they get back from Veterans Day recess is another thing.

Again, I have no objection to voters saying look, I don't want to just hear speeches about it, I want to see action. We got action just before Congress went out. After four years, and frankly, 50 years of Washington promising that there will be an infrastructure week, there'll be action on that, we finally got that bill passed. It will be signed on Monday.

We have to continue to work on the other economic problems. And of course, we have to continue our work on COVID. Just this past week, we rolled out the vaccine for ages five to 11. This is the only country in the world, ours is the only government in the world that has bought enough vaccine for every child in this country to get vaccinated.

We've gotten about a million kids vaccinated and just the first few days of this program. We're going to see that continue to grow in the days ahead. We have problems to solve, but we're solving.

TAPPER: All right. I'm getting the hook from your team there. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, really appreciate your taking our questions. Hope to have you back soon.

KLAIN: Thanks, Jake. Appreciate it.

TAPPER: Let's go back to Kenosha, Wisconsin where the prosecution is cross examining Kyle Rittenhouse, who was testifying in his own defense.

THOMAS BINGER, PROSECUTOR: -- frame 468. This is an exhibit which consists of, what's the number 732, 729 frames from the BG on the go video that we just watched. This was prepared by James Armstrong of the state crime lab.

I'm not going to 729, but I'd like to start at frame 468. And we're going to go frame by frame from there until frame 500.


Mr. Stewart (ph), could you please slowly advance frame by frame until I tell you to stop?

Mr. Rittenhouse, this is immediately after Gaige Grosskreutz has stopped in front of you. And you are doing something with your firearm at that moment. Do you recall that?


BINGER: You were asked some questions about what you were doing at that moment. Is it fair to say that you turn your firearm over and you're looking at it? You're examining it?


BINGER: But your testimony is you didn't do anything to actually manipulate it at that moment?


BINGER: Is that fair to say?



Please continue.

Frame 500 shows you firing your AR-15 towards Gaige Grosskreutz. At this particular moment, he does not have that pistol pointed towards you, does he?


BINGER: His left leg has stepped across in, not directly towards you but to the side of you. Correct?


BINGER: He's reaching in with his left arm towards you. Correct?


BINGER: He never steps back and puts the gun in both hands in a ready aim position towards you, does he? RITTENHOUSE: He doesn't do that.

BINGER: He never takes that gun with his right hand and stands there and holds it out with his right hand in front of him and aims it directly at you. Does he?

RITTENHOUSE: No, he does this pointing it directly on my head.

BINGER: And you thought that's the way he was going to shoot you?


BINGER: You thought he ran up close to you to shoot you?


BINGER: You understand that he could have taken that gun if he wanted to and shot you from 10, 15, 20 feet away. Right?

RITTENHOUSE: Can you refer -- sorry, I'm trying to understand the question.

BINGER: You understand that a pistol like that doesn't need to be right up close to someone to shoot, right?


BINGER: It can shoot from 10, 15, 20 feet away, right?


BINGER: Mr. Grosskreutz could have stopped 10, 15, 20 feet away if he wanted to shoot you and fire at his pistol at you, couldn't he?

RITTENHOUSE: He could have but he didn't.

BINGER: And your testimony is that you believed he ran up close to you and reach in with his left hand with his gun in his right hand because that was his way of using this gun to shoot you?


BINGER: Did you think he was reaching in to grab your gun?


BINGER: You didn't think he was going to take your gun away, did you?

RITTENHOUSE: I thought he was going to shoot me.

BINGER: With his pistol?


BINGER: Which he never actually does. Correct?


BINGER: He never fires that gun at you at all?


BINGER: In fact, in this entire sequence of events, no one ever fired a gun at you, did they?

RITTENHOUSE: Mr. Ziminski fired a gun from behind me.

BINGER: Did Mr. Ziminski fire that gun at you?

RITTENHOUSE: I believe so.

BINGER: What do you base that on? Did you see it?


BINGER: Did you see it?


BINGER: That's -- you're talking about back when the incident with Mr. Rosenbaum happens, correct?


BINGER: That happened while you and Mr. Rosenbaum are running across the car source locked, correct?


BINGER: At that moment in time, you didn't see Joshua Ziminski fire shot, did you?


BINGER: You heard a gunshot, right?


BINGER: But you had no idea who fired it.

RITTENHOUSE: I believe it was Mr. Ziminski.

BINGER: So that gunshot did not at all factor into your decision to kill Joseph Rosenbaum, did it?

RITTENHOUSE: No. Mr. Rosenbaum trying to steal my gun head.

BINGER: So you didn't think there was a gunshot from Joseph Rosenbaum?



BINGER: You knew he didn't have a gun?

BRUCE SCHROEDER, PRESIDING JUDGE: Well I see what your question is now. You didn't think that the shot had been fired, supposedly by Mr. Ziminski had been fired by Mr. Rosenbaum.

BINGER: Exactly.


BINGER: So you heard a gunshot, you now know that was Joshua Ziminski based on watching the videos, right?


BINGER: But at the time, you didn't think that was Joseph Rosenbaum firing that shot, did you?


BINGER: You knew Joseph Rosenbaum didn't have a gun, right?


BINGER: And you certainly would agree with me that you don't have the right to kill Joseph Rosenbaum for something Joshua Ziminski does, correct?


BINGER: When you heard that gunshot, you didn't know whether it was fired at you or up in the air or at Rosenbaum or anyone else, did you?

RITTENHOUSE: I heard it from behind me, but I didn't.

BINGER: You didn't know where it was aimed?


BINGER: Correct? You didn't feel it hits you, correct?


BINGER: You didn't hear it ricochet anywhere near you, correct?


BINGER: You received no indication that that gunshot was going to put your life in danger, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: I don't know.

BINGER: There were gunshots going off all night long, weren't there?


BINGER: Firecrackers, gunshot? RITTENHOUSE: Fireworks, yes.

BINGER: Hard to tell the difference?


BINGER: Right after you kill Rosenbaum, there's three shots right after that, aren't there?


BINGER: From very close to where you were?


BINGER: Yet you don't turn and shoot anybody there after you hear those, did you?


BINGER: So, getting back to my original question. In this entire sequence of events no one ever fired a shot at you, did they?


BINGER: After you kill Anthony Huber, shoot Gaige Grosskreutz and attempt to fire those two shots at the person who would jumped at you, you got up and you walked away, didn't you?


BINGER: And you're about, what, a block away from the police line?


BINGER: And you know that police line is there because you're running towards it?


BINGER: And there's really nothing in the road between you and that police line, is there? After the shooting --


BINGER: -- everybody scatters?

RITTENHOUSE: No, nothing in the road.

BINGER: So you have a clear line of sight from where you did those shootings to those law enforcement vehicles, correct?


BINGER: And you still have your AR-15?


BINGER: And the crowd is pretty much run after they hear the shots, right?


BINGER: You still have your medic bag.


BINGER: Correct?


BINGER: You never once offered to help anybody that you just shot, correct?


BINGER: Correct you don't?


BINGER: Anthony Huber is lying there over on the ground after you shot him once in the chest, correct?


BINGER: You didn't know at that point whether he was alive or dead, did you?


BINGER: You never went over to check, did you?


BINGER: You didn't know whether it was possible to save his life at that moment or not, did you?


BINGER: And you didn't even care? You just kept on walking? Correct?

RITTENHOUSE: I kept walking to get to the police line.

BINGER: Gaige Grosskreutz, right after you shoot him in the arm is yelling, I need a medic. Did you hear that?


BINGER: That's in the videos, isn't it?


BINGER: You don't do anything to help him, do you? RITTENHOUSE: No.

BINGER: You just decide to get out of there as fast as you can, correct?


BINGER: If you had seen someone running up the street with a gun, and the crowd was saying that that person just shot someone like they were saying about you, you would have taken action to stopping yourself, wouldn't you?

RITTENHOUSE: No, I run (ph) it off.

BINGER: You're running around putting out fires, aren't you?


BINGER: Shootings are far more serious than a fire, isn't it?


BINGER: You took it upon yourself to do the things that the police and the fire weren't doing that -- fire departments weren't doing that night, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: I helped put out fires, but wouldn't say that.

BINGER: You went around offering medical service because you didn't think there were EMTs or EMS that would be able to come in there, correct?


BINGER: So, you took it upon yourself to do the things that you didn't think the police or fire could do, correct?


RITTENHOUSE: I wouldn't say I took it upon myself, but I would -- I was helping people with first aid and putting out fires at businesses.

BINGER: So if you saw someone running with a gun, and everybody said, that guy just shot someone, you would have taken your AR-15 and tried to stop him, wouldn't you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's irrelevance in this (INAUDIBLE).

BINGER: It goes to the crowd's reaction to him, Your Honor, I think he would have reacted the same way.

SCHROEDER: The crowd is important in terms of it's a factor that bears on the sum of the counts as to what the surroundings were, and otherwise the crowd is unimportant. And what the crowd -- what he might have done vis-a-vis the crowd is, I don't see where we're going.

BINGER: Understood.

When you got back to that police line, and they -- would you say they pepper sprayed you?

RITTENHOUSE: I believe so, but I don't remember it.

BINGER: They told you to get out of the road?


BINGER: Because they were going in there --


BINGER: -- to do what you hadn't done, which is to try and help the people that you just shot, right?


BINGER: And then you went after -- back after that to the 59th Street Car Source, didn't you?


BINGER: And you told them that you just shot someone?


BINGER: Someone, meaning, an individual, person, correct?

RITTENHOUSE: I wasn't meaning individual. I was saying I just shot someone, I just shot someone.

BINGER: You were told by Nick Smith (ph) that the police were coming to your location, to the 59th Street Car Source, right?

RITTENHOUSE: I don't recall that.

BINGER: And yet, you decided to flee, didn't you?


BINGER: You didn't stick around for the police, did you?

RITTENHOUSE: I went to go turn myself into the Antioch Police Department.

BINGER: A couple of hours later?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't a couple hours, (INAUDIBLE) it was.

BINGER: I'm asking the witness if the witness can answer.

SCHROEDER: Go ahead. You could answer sir. BINGER: It was a couple of hours later, wasn't it?


BINGER: And in between leaving that location in downtown Kenosha and getting to Antioch, you were looking at social media, weren't you?

RITTENHOUSE: No, I wasn't. My phone was dead.

BINGER: You had heard from other people that your name was out there, right?

RITTENHOUSE: Later on in the evening, I believe I heard something but no.

BINGER: You knew that your picture was out there, right?


BINGER: You're telling me as you sit here under oath, that after those shootings between them, and the time you turned yourself into the Antioch Police Department, you had no idea that there was social media out there with your picture and your name as the shooter.

RITTENHOUSE: I'm trying to recall but I can't. I'm trying to remember. I'm sorry I don't remember.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing on me, your Honor.

SCHROEDER: You may step down sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, but before I call that witness, I need to use the men's room.

SCHROEDER: About a five to 10 minute break. Please don't talk about the case during the break. You may either use the jury room or you may remain down here in the library.

TAPPER: While we've been listening in to the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, they're taking a five to 10 minute break, we're told the prosecution is continuing its cross examination of Rittenhouse after he somewhat surprisingly took the stand today in his own defense. It's kind of a rare event for a defendant to take the stand unless, of course, he -- if he's convinced it will be good for him.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live outside the courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

And Omar, Kyle Rittenhouse, he's been on the stand for most of the day. What are your biggest takeaways so far?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. I mean, well, as soon as he took the stand, we knew this was going to be -- this was the most anticipated moment of the trial so far, and I think it has lived up to that so far. We've seen questioning that has taken the entire day basically at this point.

At points, Rittenhouse actually had to exit the stand because he got so emotional describing what led up to the -- what led up to the sequence, I should say, that went to the moments of the killing of Joseph Rosenbaum. He was the first of two people killed back in August 2020 here. And he began to describe the fact that he was being surrounded and actually could not continue because of how hysterical he was getting with his emotions.


They came back and the questioning continued as the defense tried to paint a picture as they alluded to in their opening statements that this was nothing more than self-defense because everything he did, he had to do it.

Then, we got in a little bit of trouble with the judge here in regards to the prosecution because at one point, the prosecutors when they had the chance to cross examine Rittenhouse, basically questioned why Rittenhouse had not said anything up until this point, and the judge chastised the prosecution saying that Rittenhouse has the right to remain silent. And then not long after the prosecution brought up an incident that the judge previously had not allowed into this case. And so, the judge stopped it altogether.

The defense said they were going to call for a mistrial because of this and did file a motion, as they mentioned or that we said they plan to, and the judge is now taking it under consideration. And right now, again, as right before you came to me, the prosecution was continuing their questioning as part of cross examination. And the day will continue after this break.

TAPPER: All right. Omar Jimenez in Kenosha, Wisconsin, thank you so much.

Let's bring back our legal experts, Charles Coleman and Mark Eiglarsh.

Charles, just to remind our viewers, you're a former prosecutor. We were watching this trial. And the prosecution is trying to make the case that Kyle Rittenhouse did not have to use lethal force against the three individuals he shot, two of them fatally. Has the prosecution succeeded at making the argument in any of this cross examination that Kyle Rittenhouse did not feel as though his life was in danger?

CHARLES COLEMAN JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Well, Jake, as we're watching this trial, one of the things that you have to keep in mind is that a significant part of that defense, the self-defense and claim in this trial is going to be based around Kyle Rittenhouse state of mind. And so, what the prosecution is attempting to do is slowly and surely try to sort of pick these different points that they will then go back to one summation and all closing arguments to talk about, will his state of mind was this or try to explain. He could not have thought that at this point, and so on and so forth. The problem with that, although while it is technically sound is that is boring, and it's not working for the jury. The gripping testimony, the emotional testimony occurred when Kyle Rittenhouse was talking about how he feared for his life.

So while the defense -- I mean, so while the prosecution is currently chipping away or trying to identify these isolated moments where his conduct in the moment may not make sense, given the chaotic scene and everything else that was going on at the time, I think that's going to be a very, very hard sell for this jury who at this point in Rittenhouse's testimony, quite frankly may be on his side.

TAPPER: And Mark, you're a defense attorney. We saw the district attorney tried to back Rittenhouse into corners several times. One moment that that struck out we just saw, that stuck out to me that we just saw was somebody approached Rittenhouse and was holding his gun like this, you know, like they do in a movie, kind of like up into the side, not how somebody actually normally who knows anything about firearms would fire a gun, but like that. And the district attorney was arguing, you really thought he was going to shoot you like that?

And at least for me, I was thinking, I don't know that if somebody approached me with a gun holding it like that I would think that he wasn't just because that's not how people hold guns if they know anything about firearms. How effective do you think this cross examination has been?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not very at all. You know, desperate times calls for desperate measures.

And to answer your original question, no. I don't think the prosecution has made the case that this wasn't self-defense. Fact, throughout their case, their own witnesses seem to establish that anyone would reasonably fear death or great bodily harm, which is why I don't know that I would have called this defendant as a witness.

But since they did, he's actually doing really well. He's giving the prosecution the answers that they need, you know, softballs he's saying no, you're right, yes, yes, yes, no. However, at that point, I really did believe I was in fear of death or great bodily harm. I think he's doing an amazing job.

And this case, is not one that has scientific evidence. There's no video clearly establishing what happened like we do see in other cases, there's no busload of nuns who followed everybody around. So we have credible, honest testimony. You've got finger pointing.

And his testimony seems to be credible. His effect seems to be genuine. And I think these jurors can exclude the fact that he reasonably feared death or great bodily harm.


TAPPER: All right. Mark Eiglarsh and Charles Coleman Jr., thanks to both you. Appreciate it. Houston officials just gave an update on that horrific Astroworld concert tragedy. What they say may have contributed to the chaos is next.


TAPPER: Breaking news in the national lead, moments ago, Houston police gave their first news conference since Saturday in that horrific Astroworld concert tragedy. Eight people were killed, many others crushed in what survivors described as a whirlpool of people moving toward the state.

Let's go live to CNN's Josh Campbell at Houston police headquarters where that press conference just wrapped up. Josh, after several days of silence, the police chief is finally clarifying the response of his department and his officers. Tell us more


JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, we're learning about the police presence that day the chief coming out and saying that this ultimately was not a -- an event that the city was responsible for or was a county event. But we're learning that HPD, the Houston Police Department had a lot of resources there over 500 officers in around that area. But the chief saying answering one question that we had about who's ultimately responsibility was it to bring that concert to a halt. He said that was up to the production team, the organizers of the event and communication with public safety officials that saying that that wasn't a responsibility of the police.

And we're also learning, of course, we've been reporting on what the Wall Street Journal was saying that perhaps investigators were concerned that some of those concert goers were injured by laced drugs, perhaps laced with fentanyl. I asked the chief about that directly. He said that at this point, they're not ruling anything out. That remains under investigation.

And finally there is this question about permits, how a permit was issued. I asked the chief directly. We know that Travis Scott, the rapper, had these two previous incidents where he was actually cited for crowd control issues. I asked the chief whether or not future permits should be granted. Take a listen to what he said.


CHIEF TROY FINNER, HOUSTON POLICE: That those individuals that are making that decision and how that -- they consider all this, OK? We have eight people dead and two in the hospital, very critical.


CAMPBELL: So the chief saying it's not his responsibility, but those who issued the permit should look into that. And then finally, on this point, of course, we saw that video of these people rushing through past entrances the morning of that concert, the chief saying they were actually trying to get to a merchandise area. Of course, that incident raises a lot of security questions where security was so overwhelmed that morning, could that have been a precursor to what happened that night.

TAPPER: And Josh, the police chief was also asked about the security guard who had reported feeling something like a prick in his neck. What did the police chief say?

CAMPBELL: Yes, that earlier reporting that the chief himself had mentioned raised a lot of eyebrows that perhaps a security officer there was stabbed or injected with something, the police chief coming out today and saying that has been ruled out after conducting an interview with that person. The security officer was taken to a medical tent after losing consciousness, but saying that, no, there was no injection. That's something again, that they're ruling out. But again, as relates to other types of drugs that may have impacted some of those injured, that is still very much on the table according to chief.

TAPPER: All right, Josh Campbell in Houston. We're going to take a quick break then we'll get -- when we come back, we're going to talk to an attorney who is representing plaintiff suing in the Astroworld case. Thank you so much. Stay with us.



TAPPER: We're back with more in our breaking news. Moments ago, Houston police were giving an update into that horrific and deadly concert tragedy over the weekend. I want to bring in now, Thomas J. Henry. He's an attorney who has filed multiple lawsuits on behalf of some of the victims in the Astroworld tragedy.

Thanks for joining us. Moments ago, the police chief said that Live Nation had a job of securing mosh pits directly in front of the stage. How much fault do you put on the promoter for the actions of the crowd?

THOMAS J. HENRY, ATTORNEY FOR MULTIPLE VICTIMS OF ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL: I think Live Nation and Astroworld and the performers all have responsibility. Astroworld has an event plan. And Jake, one of the quotes from the plan is that Astroworld as an organization will be prepared to evaluate and respond appropriately to emergency situations.

What do we have 37 minutes before Drake and Travis Scott got off stage? They had a mass casualty incident. And within this event policy, they were required to give notice to shut down the concert. There are procedures in place to do that. And I want to tell you, I don't think they shut down the concert because they wanted their surprise guest Drake to perform. And that was more important than the mass casualties they knew were occurring 37 minutes continuously.

TAPPER: The concert was declared a mass casualty incident as you note at 9:38. Friday night local time. Video shows Travis Scott pausing the show and trying to note problems that he saw in the crowd. Here's a little clip of that.


TRAVIS SCOTT, AMERICAN RAPPER, Hold, hold, hold, hold, hold. Just play it slowly. We need somebody help. Somebody passed out right here. Somebody passed out right here. Hold on. Don't touch him, don't touch him. Everybody just back up.

Security, somebody help jump in real quick. Keep going. Just keep it just there.


TAPPER: Now the video doesn't make clear if the concert ended at that moment. But you note, even after the mass casualty incident was declared, he did keep performing. And rapper Drake also came back on stage. Do you have evidence that these performers knew of the severity of what was happening in the crowd and kept going?

HENRY: Yes, I think the video evidence clearly establishes that they had a bird's eye view of what was going on. In fact, you can even, you know, tell from his own admissions, he saw people that have problems. And what did he do when that person who was in trouble was being held? He immediately told the crowd, he turned around within just a short period of time and said, shake the ground.

And so he had a complete disregard for people's safety and their producers. They have a communication system in place within this plan. The Astroworld plan has a communication system. And then following that plan, there can be no doubt that Travis Scott and Drake all were communicated with about the mass casualties.


It's his policy. That is -- that policy is followed in conjunction with Live Nation, because they are doing this concert and this program together. So, I have no doubt that they were aware that there was mass casualties. And they continue that concert regardless.

TAPPER: And your firm has filed at least 110 lawsuits. How high do you think this number is going to get, are all of these on behalf of individuals who were in the crowd?

HENRY: Yes, I represent now about 150 people. That lawsuit will be amended day by day. It's about 110 people at the moment that I represent in that lawsuit. Probably by tomorrow at lunch, it will be about 150. By the end of the day, I would expect based on the trends I'm seeing with people reaching out to my law firm, that it may get as high as 200, which is not surprising, because you're talking about a small area where people were condensed in and you had thousands of people in a very small area.

TAPPER: Before the Astroworld Festival, it's been reported Travis Scott faced criminal charges twice before for inciting his concert crowds once in 2018, another time in 2015. Do you think this is specific to Travis Scott or do you think that this is -- this could have happened with any performer?

HENRY: Well, I think that that's speculation. What we know is there should have been a plan in place. The plan wasn't followed. It's a 54- page plan. I have that, I don't know if you've seen that plan. But if you read the plan, you can see every step of the way, there were failures. And based on the information coming into the event, the mass casualties, there should have been steps taken to protect the crowd. And those steps were not taken.

So can it happen at concerts? Yes, but there are plans and procedures in place to safeguard people, and they were not followed in this situation. And especially, Travis Scott has a horrible reputation for inciting crowds and having a disregard for safety and a disregard for security. So even more so, their own plan should have been followed and it was disregarded.

TAPPER: Thomas J. Henry, thank you so much for your time today. Appreciate it.

Turning now to our politics lead, quote, "Presidents are not kings and plaintiff is not president." That blow two former President Trump from a federal judge last night halting Trump's efforts to block White House documents that could potentially shed light on his activities leading up to end the day of the deadly insurrection. It's a win for the January 6 House committee, though, Trump is going to appeal it.

But as Trump teases a possible 2024 run for president, CNN's Tom Foreman reports, the Republican Party and its donors need to decide whether or not they want to jump back on the Trump train.




TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's a whopping amount even in big money politics, close to a million dollars a week, according to The Washington Post. That is how fast donations are pouring in for the man who lost the last presidential election and has yet to declare he's in the next one.

LARRY NOBLE, FORMER FEC OFFICIAL: One of the things raising money this early does is it shows his power to the party and I think you're seeing the -- that effect in terms of people being afraid to take him on.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Team Trump is raking in donations through the Save America Political Action Committee, the Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, the Make America Great Again again, Super PAC and others. Collectively, his political groups reported more than $100 million on hand. this past summer.

TRUMP: Hillary conceded. I never considered. Never.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Powering it all is an energetic campaign of direct solicitation e-mails, promising signed baseballs, T-shirts, Christmas decorations like the stocking for $50 all feeding off supporters who have embraced the big lie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The election was stole from us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump won in a landslide.

FOREMAN (voice-over): And there are ads, especially on Facebook where Trump himself has been banned but his fundraisers have not, calling the 2020 election corrupt, tainted and Trump, the true president. Some have continued the controversial practice of pre-checked boxes, which can unwittingly lead supporters into automatically increasing their donations.

As far as spending the sizable war chest, the Trump Organization has reported giving little to Republican candidates even as the party hopes to regain congressional majorities in next year's midterm election. And when it comes to 2024, the limits on donors, the demand for reporting, the rules about spending get more complicated the moment he declares his candidacy. So he's still playing coin.

TRUMP: Make America Great Again. Dash, slash, comma again. Make America Great Again again. I don't know.


FOREMAN: Got a late notice from one of the Trump's spokespeople who say he does indeed remain committed to helping the Republican Party retake Congress next year and they say nobody else is better at that than the former president.


That said, what you don't hear anymore, Jake, is what Donald Trump started his campaign with, a pledge that he was so wealthy, he'd pay for everything himself and not be out shilling for money like other politicians. That seems to have gone by the wayside.

TAPPER: Along with many other things. Tom Foreman, thank you so much.

Let's discuss with my aghast panel. So Paul, former President Trump just teased at 2024 run to Fox saying, "I think a lot of people will be very happy," with his decision. How does this affect the Republican Party?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he -- I think he's going to run and that's not just me from the outside.


BEGALA: I talk to people close to Trump, they say it's close to 100 percent certainty that he's going to run. That's going to chill, I think, any other -- many other Republicans from getting in the race. And it's going to further solidify what was once a great political parties now, which become a political death cult of personality around Donald Trump. And it's lamentable for the Republicans, it's dangerous for the country, but I think it's almost certainly happened.

TAPPER: And as a Republican, what do you think?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Like Paul said, people around him close to Trump are indicating and signaling that he will run. And keeping that conversation alive and keeping the rumors around, that helps with the fundraising, it helps with them growing, the supporters for Trump as if he needs that help. And as he said, it freezes out the field.

The concern from a traditional Republican or rational Republican standpoint is under Trump and his leadership, we lost the House, the Senate and the White House, and his getting back on board is not going to change the dynamic. If we didn't learn anything else, we learned an important lesson, Virginia. People have gone past the Trump train. They're going back to the policies that unite this party in this country, and not the personalities that divide us.

And what we need to do moving forward as Republicans is not just look at who is going to rev up the base and be the strong supporter and candidate for the primary, we need someone who's going to win in the general election. And I don't see that's the way to do it with Donald Trump.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, you saw Chris Christie out there, though, saying, you know, I'm not going to let Donald Trump determine my potential presidential candidacy. If you don't think you can take on Donald Trump, you shouldn't run. And so he's saying others, you know, don't let him freeze the field. However, as we all know, Donald Trump is hugely popular with the Republican base and that's why a lot of folks are hanging back.

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY: But even if he did decide to run, as we're talking about here, and may have already said, that he says that he will be running, you're talking about freezing the field, there are realistically Republicans like Nikki Haley, who are unlikely to run --

BEGALA: Right.

CHAMBERS: -- if he gets into the race. There are clashes like with Ron DeSantis, it would be unclear what would happen if he would get into the race. At the same time, there are folks like Mike Pence, who would still probably getting the race even if Donald Trump were running. So that's not to say that he would be the only candidate if he were to run in 2024. But there are Republicans who would back off.

TAPPER: What about what this does to the Republican Party beyond the candidates that choose to run or not? What does this do in terms of -- there are a lot of Republicans -- look, to be clear, very few Republicans have been courageous when it came to -- when it comes to taking on the indecent see of Donald Trump and the lies of Donald Trump. You know, you could put them on -- you could name them in one hand, list them in one hand.

But that said, a lot of Republicans do want to move on and want to have a Glenn Youngkin type Republicanism, which is Trump policies per se, conservative judges, tax cuts, et cetera. But much more traditional, as you put it.


TAPPER: What did you say, rational?

STEWART: Rational. Yes.

TAPPER: Saying, not, you know, openly bigoted. What does this do to the GOP?

STEWART: I think the key that we need to remember, Virginia, is there's the new special interest group out there, right? It's parents. Parents are concerned with their education, they're concerned with safety, they're concerned with COVID. And until there's a candidate that comes forward with parents, at the top of mind, pocketbook issues at top of mind, public safety at top of mind, as well as education, they're not going to rise to the top and I think that's the goal moving forward is focus on those important issues.

TAPPER: So -- but can I say I want to control room, I'm going to go to question six here, because I want you to take a listen to a Republican in Arizona who is running for governor and has been endorsed by Donald Trump discussing the vaccine mandate that the Biden administration has put forward and through OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Take a listen.


KARI LAKE (R), ARIZONA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: If I were governor right now and he sent his OSHA goons to this state to violate our civil rights, I would meet them at the airport with our DPS, our state police and arrest them.



TAPPER: I mean that is this new tide of truly Trump Republicans.

BEGALA: Well it harkens back to nullification which is what led us into the Civil War. I'm sorry to be so dramatic, but the notion that a state governor can stop federal safety and health administrators from protecting the health and safety of American citizens is pretty crazy. And she seems to be hinting at force. I mean, she didn't say, I'll send my bureaucrats or my lawyers --

TAPPER: She said, I sent our state police and arrest them.

BEGALA: Right.

TAPPER: She said.

BEGALA: That's -- at first, that was playing that unconstitutional, then perhaps this distinguished lady doesn't want to be a part of our federal union anymore, but the people in Arizona probably do.

BORGER: But she called them goons. I mean, this is the language --

TAPPER: OSHA goons, a phrase that has never been used before.

BORGER: So this is the anti-government language of Donald Trump.

BEGALA: Right.

BORGER: And it -- you know, she is imitating Donald Trump and there are candidates all over who are doing the same thing because anything is acceptable. Any language is acceptable. And, you know, it's the bullying language. It's coming from a woman. There you go.

TAPPER: What do you hear from Republicans on Capitol Hill, Republicans out in the states about the future of their party if Donald Trump continues to wield the power he does, if Donald Trump continues to endorse candidates like this woman who's obviously troubled and some sort?

CHAMBERS: Well, Republicans are doing their own thing, we've seen it with Senate majority -- minority leader, now Senate --


CHAMBERS: -- former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, at the same time, Kevin McCarthy has welcomed Trump's support when it comes to House races. But certainly the NRCC is also doing their own thing, even in areas where the President is challenging some of their members. And so, Jake, I do just want to add, though, that there is a debate, though, that's going on in the Democratic Party right now about how to respond to former President Trump, and whether -- even this was even before Virginia, about whether you should focus on Trump and Trumpism as a way for Democrats to succeed in the 2022 elections.

And there is a school of thought that even if you don't focus on Trump himself, that you should focus on Trumpism because of some of the things that you're talking about today.

TAPPER: And speaking of Trumpism, look, Congressman Paul Gosar, was out there before Donald Trump came on the scene. But he then put out that tweet, in which he showed a photoshopped anime character of himself, killing photoshop, anime character of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, he did take down the tweet last night. Gosar trying to clarify saying it was, "Truly a symbolic portrayal of a fight over immigration policy."

BORGER: Where's the -- where's Kevin McCarthy?

BEGALA: Right.

BORGER: Where is he on this? I mean, this is outrageous. Even his own sister, Gosar's own sister called him a sociopath yesterday. I mean, where is the leadership of the Republican Party saying that this is unacceptable that we can't do this. That excuse is ridiculous. This wasn't about immigration. We all know that. STEWART: If he wants to have a discussion and debate about immigration, have a policy discussion --

BORGER: Exactly.

STEWART: -- about immigration, have one about Afghanistan, have one about COVID, have one about all these issues that we rightfully have policy conflicts with AOC and the progressives, let's have those conversations. But that kind of thing is unacceptable. And race to the bottom by many Republicans really needs to stop this.

TAPPER: But does this actually help Democrats, Paul, do you think the fact that you have the Republican -- I mean, I know that you would not like as a Democrat, a party of Glenn Youngkin's and/or Congresswoman Young Kim, or, you know, rational seeming Republicans who espouse conservative values. But, you know, the Paul Gosar is out there, the -- this woman in Arizona, Donald Trump, does it actually help Democrats win a line (ph)?

BEGALA: I don't know. Maybe it does. But again, I might -- I'd much rather have Alice in her Republican Party, which is distant memory Now. I --

TAPPER: She's right here.

BEGALA: No. But that's so far in the rearview mirror. I'm sorry, but it is. I mean, the days when I thought it would be terrible if Barack Obama was replaced with Mitt Romney. Are you kidding? These folks, some of them, especially Donald Trump, are a threat to the Republican, threat to the nation, which means the Democrats really better get their act together.

TAPPER: Thanks one and all. Appreciate it.

Finally from us today, be sure to check out the Homes For Our Troops Fifth Annual Veterans Day Celebrity eBay auction. Among the great items, two tickets to a future Marvel film premiere offered by Don Cheadle, a replica of the Neon Shaw's bar sign from Brooklyn Nine- Nine. You can even buy a Zoom call with People magazine's newly crowned Sexiest Man Alive, Paul Rudd and I'll also be on that call.

All proceeds go to build specially designed homes for severely wounded veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. You can find all the items at, Homes For Our Troops. Bidding closes on Sunday.

Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to THE LEAD wherever you get your podcasts.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in a little place I like to call "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you tomorrow.