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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Biden Sells Infrastructure Win, Faces More Agenda Hurdles; January 6 Committee Weighs How To Handle Meadows Refusing To Cooperate; CNN Uncovers Long History Of Inflammatory, Homophobic, And Anti-Science Rhetoric From Trump-Backed Candidate In Michigan; U.S. Condemns Russia Missile Test That Created Space Debris; Polish Border Guards Unleash Pepper Spray, Water Cannons On Migrants; Jury Deliberations Under Way In Kyle Rittenhouse Trial; "Out-of-Stock" Problems Stacking Up Before Holidays. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 16, 2021 - 16:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: He's got a bridge to sell you. Actually, many of them.

THE LEAD starts right now.

From rickety bridges to spotty Wi-Fi, President Biden hitting the road with a trillion-dollar fix and hoping for the next big thing. The big question today for Trump's former chief of staff, does he want to be like Steve Bannon? Why his loyalty to the defeated former president also could land him in court.

Plus, 'tis the season for a shortage of stuff. What if everything you need this holiday season is the next tickle-me-Elmo?


Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper.

And we begin today in the politics lead.

Moments ago, President Biden wrapped up the first stop of his infrastructure bill road tour stopping at one of New Hampshire's crumbling bridges which has been on the red list for poor conditions for years. Now, the president says help is on the way.

What's still in limbo, the other more expensive part of Biden's big legislative agenda. That nearly $2 trillion social safety net bill, the Build Back Better Act.

We'll talk to the chair of the congressional progressive caucus, Pramila Jayapal, in just a minute.

But, first, CNN's Kaitlan Collins has new reporting about when that bill might come to a floor vote in the House.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden taking his sales pitch to New Hampshire.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We now rank 13th in the world in terms of infrastructure. Well, we're about to turn things around in a big way.

COLLINS: Biden visiting a dilapidated bridge that will benefit from the infrastructure bill he signed into law on Monday.

BIDEN: When you see these projects start in your home towns, I want you to feel what I feel -- pride. Pride of what we can do together, as the United States of America.

COLLINS: The win comes at a critical time for Biden who is facing the lowest poll numbers of his presidency.

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER (D-NJ): People were rightly frustrated it took longer than it should have to get this bill passed.

COLLINS: In Washington, House Democrats are hoping to advance the second part of Biden's economic agenda this week.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: There's more to come, and so happy that hopefully this week we will be passing the Build Back Better.

COLLINS: But major divisions remain between moderates and progressives over how to put the social spending plan, which ranges from child care to climate change, into law.

REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): You have to have faith in the other side that they're negotiating in good faith. I think we have some money in the bank now from the infrastructure bill and have to take it to other issues.

COLLINS: Fearful of making inflation worse with more federal spending, Senator Joe Manchin has pushed to delay the bill, telling CNN he is, quote, has a lot of concerns about voting on it before Christmas.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I hear it when I go to the grocery store or if I go to the gas station. They say, are you as mad as I am? I say absolutely.

COLLINS: Party leaders are pushing back and blaming Republicans.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: Want to fight inflation? Support Build Back Better. Republicans on the other hand think inflation is, quote, a gold mine, unquote, for them and a rooting for prices to go up.


COLLINS: Now, Pam, the president said in New Hampshire he believes once that bill passes the House and makes its way to the Senate it will pass within a week. Of course, that remains to be seen given the concerns you heard there from Senator Manchin. But as he was leaving New Hampshire, he also made other news saying he

does believe by the end of this week, he's going to make a decision on the next Federal Reserve chairman. Of course, that has been a heavily watched contest where it remains to be seen whether or not the president will decide to reappoint Jerome Powell who is the current Fed chair or go with Lael Brainard who also has interviewed for the job. Of course, that's a four-year term that starts in February.

BROWN: All right. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.

And here to discuss is Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state. She is the chair of the congressional progressive caucus.

Thanks for coming on, congresswoman.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): It's good to see you, Pamela. Thanks for having me.

BROWN: So, we spoke to economist Diane Swonk yesterday and she said it could take years before we see real results from the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Let's listen.


DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GRANT THORTON: We know that infrastructure programs, not only do they pay off but they pay off over time in productivity. We desperately need this, that's all true. But they also take a long time to ramp up. There are some shovel-ready projects out there, but really where the tire meets the road on this bill is middle of the decade.


BROWN: Middle of the decade. Of course, President Biden was out there touting it, but how do Democrats prove this is a win for the American people in time for next year's midterm elections with that timeline?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think first of all, on the infrastructure bill, while there are some projects that may take longer, there are many projects that can get going right away, including things that will help the supply chain. The investment in ports, and I represent Seattle very proudly and I have a port in my district that is very important to the west coast, very important to the supply chain. That is going to produce immediate results.

But in addition, all of the work that will be done on public transit, this is the biggest federal investment in public transit ever in our history. This is the biggest investment in bridges since the mid- 1900s. And we have so many bridges that are ready for repair right now that are shovel-ready.

But in addition, Pamela, there's restoration of the Puget Sound. There's replacing lead pipes and getting clean water across the country. There are public investment in broadband which is really critical that people will see right away. So I think there's a lot that people will see right away that will

give people enough faith. But then that's part one. Part two is the Build Back Better Act. And that's what we're going to pass through the House this week. Send to the Senate. And that will show people immediately an investment in child care, in pre-K, in cutting pharmaceutical drug prices. So many other things.

BROWN: All right. So, let's talk more about that. The Congressional Budget Office says they'll have a full score by the end of the day on Friday on the Build Back Better plan. How certain are you the bill is fully paid for?

JAYAPAL: I am very certain that it's fully paid for and remember that it's the Joint Committee on Taxation that gives us the revenue side of things. It is the CBO that scores the investment side of things. We already have the revenue side. We know what the investment side is, but, you know, our colleagues needed just a little more information. Not the final score by the way.

The agreement that we inked a couple of weeks ago was that they needed fiscal information and that in no event would a vote take place later than the week of November 15th, which is this week. So by Friday, we'll have a vote and the Build Back Better Act will pass through the House and go on to the Senate.

BROWN: I see what you're saying about the revenue being separate but the White House is already bracing for the CBO to say the bill will add to the federal deficit.

On that note, how nervous are you that that will happen and could scare off some moderates from voting for it?

JAYAPAL: Well, I don't think that is going to happen. The White House has said that we will have information that matches, that the bill will be fully paid for. And ultimately, you know, the CBO has indicated that IRS enforcement may be scored differently.

But I think all Democrats understand that actually the effects of enforcing the law and making the wealthiest pay their fair share are very, very clear, and we will get all of that revenue in.

So I don't believe that we think there's going to be a problem between what the White House has said in terms of what the bill is going to cost and how it's paid for. I think that's all going to be consistent. And I do think we'll pass it through this week.

BROWN: Have you talked to any of the moderates and received firm assurances from them that they will vote for the bill this week, regardless of what CBO comes out with?

JAYAPAL: Well, we have our agreement. And in that agreement, it was very clear that regardless of if CBO has not provided the information, we will still hold a vote this week. And I've been continuing to talk to them. They've now had a week and a half to look at the bill to make sure they know what's in it, to get most of the financial information, the fiscal information has been provided. There are one or two pieces that are still left.

But I think it's really a question of the level of comfort. And I believe that my colleagues will have that level of comfort by the end of this week and we'll get this done, because at the end of the day, we all understand this is 85 percent of President Biden's agenda. We all want the president to be successful, but most of all, we want to deliver for people in a way that really makes them feel like they have opportunity in their lives again. That's what the build back better act will do.

BROWN: So if it does pass the House, it would then go to the Senate but you have Senator Joe Manchin suggesting the rise in inflation has given him pause on moving forward with this bill.

My colleague Manu Raju asked him about this, this morning. Let's listen.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do your voters want this bill, this big massive bill right now?

MANCHIN: I think my voters in West Virginia, but I don't speak for the whole country. My voters are a lot differently, but they are very much concerned. Inflation has hit them extremely hard. It's taking a toll. I hear it when I go to the grocery store or if I go to the gas station. They say, are you as mad as I am? I say absolutely.


BROWN: What is your message to Senator Manchin?

JAYAPAL: Well, the message really is, if you care about inflation, then pass the Build Back Better Act because the things that we are dealing with right now are due to supply chain increases.


They're due to -- or hold ups. They're due to COVID problems. They're due to, you know, getting the economy back after such a devastating turn. And the way to fix that is to bring down costs in other areas.

And so, if we can't immediately address some of the rising prices that are from the supply chain, then let's cut child care costs in half. Let's cut prescription drug pricing costs significantly. Let's actually make sure that we are dealing with health care costs in this country. Those are the things that are going to cut costs for Americans. That's what's in the Build Back Better Act and it's why, if you care about inflation, pass the Build Back Better Act.

BROWN: All right. Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, thank you.

JAYAPAL: Thank you.

BROWN: The January 6th Committee reportedly meeting to decide whether to pursue charges against another top Trump associate.

Plus, the jury is now deliberating in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. And his mother is making an unusual request. We'll explain, coming up.



BROWN: Breaking news, the House just announced a vote tomorrow on whether to censure Republican Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar and strip him of one of his committee assignments after Gosar tweeted out an animated video depicting the killing of Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

CNN's Jessica Dean joins me live from Capitol Hill.

So, Jessica, are any Republicans expected to vote for it?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're going to see how this plays out, Pam. This is the most severe form of punishment that one can receive here in the House of Representatives, and it requires the person who is being censured to stand in the well of the House and have the resolution read aloud as they stand there.

So they will be voting on this resolution both to censure Gosar and also to remove him from one of the two committee he's sits on, that being the House Oversight Committee. It's notable that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also sits on that committee and, of course, she was the one in that an anime video that he posted, in this animated video, appears to kill her. So, separating the two from one another.

But again, a very big deal here on the House and it coming on the heels of no action from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who said that there shouldn't be violence, but certainly didn't take any action to punish Congressman Gosar after this video. Now, he did take the video down but he never apologized, Pam. So we're going to see how this all plays out in the house tomorrow. But again, underscoring just how severe of a punishment this is and how big of a deal this is in the House of Representatives.

BROWN: All right. Jessica Dean, thanks for bringing us the latest on that front.

And in our politics lead, the fate of former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is, quote, still a work in progress. That's according to the chairman of the House Select January 6th Committee which met today to figure out what to do after Meadows failed to show up to testify.

CNN's Ryan Nobles joins me live.

So, Ryan, what do we know about the committee's thinking on this and how is it different from how it handled Steve Bannon's lack of cooperation? RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for one thing, we

saw the January 6th Select Committee move very quickly when it came to Steve Bannon to quickly refer him for a criminal contempt of Congress when he defied their subpoena request. It's been a much more deliberative process with Mark Meadows, the former chief of staff. And the chairman of the January 6th Select Committee Bennie Thompson just telling our Annie Greer a few minutes ago that the committee has not officially decided they are ready to move to criminal contempt against Meadows but he has signed a letter that they will send to meadows outlining all the things they expect of him and if he does not comply that they are ready to take that next step.

Now, the Meadows situation is a little more complicated than Bannon. Bannon was not working in the White House or directly for Donald Trump at the time of the January 6th insurrection. Meadows, of course, was White House chief of staff. He was in direct contact with the president in an official capacity in the executive branch. Now, he believes that puts him under a special banner of executive privilege. The committee does not feel that way.

I just talked to Jamie Raskin who is a member of the committee who said that because the current occupant of the White House, Joe Biden, has said that there are not executive privilege protections for the former president and his associates, that, therefore, Meadows needs to comply with the committee and at least needs to show up and answer that subpoena.

What we're seeing here, though, Pam, is a standoff between the committee and Meadows. They desperately want to learn about the role that he played in the events leading up to January 6th. If there are connections to some of the people that were here on that day, and if the lies that the Trump administration was telling about the election results in November were part of what led to all the violence and chaos on that day. At the end of the day, Pam, they want the information. This aggressive legal posture may complicate that process but the committee says they're committed to learning as much as they can as soon as they can -- Pam.

BROWN: All right. Ryan Nobles, thanks so much.

Also in our politics lead, a woman who helped perpetuate Trump's big lie wants to be in charge of running elections in the swing state of Michigan. Her name is Kristina Karamo. And President Trump has enthusiastically endorsed her campaign for secretary of state.

So who is she?

CNN's Sara Murray took a deep dive into her background and found a history of inflammatory, homophobic, anti-science and hateful speech.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A vocal critic of elections now wants to be in charge of them.


MURRAY: Kristina Karamo has not been shy in insisting there was widespread cheating in the 2020 vote, touting debunked claims.

KARAMO: It is not right that hundreds of thousands of votes are allowed to be considered as lawful votes. We know they're illegal.

MURRAY: And saying Donald Trump was the true winner in Michigan.

KARAMO: Donald Trump won Michigan.

MURRAY: Unsurprisingly, she now has Trump's backing in her bid to become Michigan's next secretary of state.


KARAMO: Yes, I have president Trump's endorsement, which is massive.

MURRAY: Karamo has never run for statewide office, but gained some national notoriety after making unsubstantiated claims that she witnessed election fraud in 2020.

KARAMO: I was a poll challenger at the TCF center.

MURRAY: As Trump eyes a potential 2024 comeback bid, he's backing candidates like Karamo and others who spread election falsehoods, looking to replace the battleground state officials one who stood up to attempts to overturn the results in 2020.


MURRAY: A CNN review of Karamo's podcast and writings on her now defunct personal website reveal previously unreported comments that show extreme views beyond just the 2020 election results and reveal barbed criticism of both parties.

KARAMO: There are a bunch of traitors in the Republican Party.

MURRAY: But her most inflammatory language is aimed at Democrats.

KARAMO: Their party has totally been taken over by a Satanic agenda.

MURRAY: Including Michigan's current secretary of state.

KARAMO: She's an evil woman. She's a very evil, evil, evil woman.

MURRAY: Karamo's staunch conservatism intermingles with her religious beliefs.

KARAMO: Ultimately, the culture war is really the most important war to fight.

MURRAY: A community college adjunct professor, Karamo, has a masters degree on Christian apologetics, traditionally the defense of Christianity.

Among her concerns, evolving norms around gender and sexuality, a view she often takes to the extreme.

KARAMO: There is no such thing as a person with two mommies and two daddies. That is just factually incorrect.

MURRAY: In an August 2019 blog post, she called transgender women trying to play sports mentally ill adults playing dress up. She suggested in a podcast that premarital sex paves the way for society condoning pedophilia.

KARAMO: When we normalize people fornicating and we normalize people living together with their boyfriend and girlfriends and all that stuff, we open a door to get to the point where we have people want to normalize pedophilia.

MURRAY: She's called public schools indoctrination camps.

KARAMO: You're forced to have your child be exposed to thing these Democrats and liberals want to teach.

MURRAY: And is against teaching evolution.

KARAMO: Evolution is one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on us.

MURRAY: She also referred to herself an anti-vaxxer before the COVID- 19 vaccines were authorized.

KARAMO: Guess what, I'm crazy. I'm an anti-vaxxer.

MURRAY: These views under the spotlight as she seeks the Republican nomination.

KARAMO: One of the things I try to be cognizant of. I'm running a statewide race. And I understand I have to win the hearts and minds of people who may not think like me.


MURRAY (on camera): Now, we reached out to Karamo and her campaign to see if she wanted to do an interview and sent them a list of questions we had about these beliefs she's expressed. No one ever got back to us. And, you know, a lot of these are coming to light for the first time. So, it's still unclear how or if these will affect her candidacy -- Pam.

BROWN: Stunning report there. Sara Murray, thank you.

Well, the U.S. is calling it reckless and dangerous. Russia's surprising space move that sent astronauts scrambling to safety and why the danger may not be over.



BROWN: In our world lead, an unexpected Russian missile test created so much space junk that astronauts on the International Space Station had to suit up and scramble for shelter in the middle of the night. The NASA administrator says he is, quote, outraged.

CNN anchor and chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto investigates how Russia's latest attempt at showing off their military might could cause issues in space and back on Earth for years to come.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will need to activate Dragon Safe Haven and close centerline hatches for the next two crossings.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: This is the moment when the crew of the International Space Station was ordered to put on their space suits and enter their shuttle spacecrafts as the station was threatened by approaching debris from Russia's anti- satellite missile test.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. Station copies that the next time of closest approach is 0706. And that we intend to activate safe haven and dragon.

SCIUTTO: The cloud of debris the test generated which the U.S. described as reckless and dangerous remains a threat and will for years.

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: The most immediate concern is the debris itself, which is now floating out there and could become a hazard, including to the International Space Station.

SCIUTTO: The missile struck a Russian satellite, creating a debris field of some 1,500 trackable pieces. NASA already tracks tens of thousands of pieces of orbital debris throughout earth's orbits, with Russia's tests now adding to the clutter, threatening thousands of active satellites, orbiting the earth that provide everything from phone and broadband services to GPS systems, even connecting key aspects of the financial system.

JONATHAN MCDOWELL, ASTROPHYSICIST, HARVARD SMITHSONIAN CENTER FOR ASTROPHYSICS: All of this debris wizzing around in all different directions, there's lots of time spent dodging the debris.

SCIUTTO: Perhaps even more ominous is the potential for increased militarization in space. In August, the chief of operations for U.S. Space Force told me the U.S. is ready to counter the growing threats from Russia, China, as well as North Korea and Iran in space.

Weapons are a last resort from the U.S. perspective?

GEN. JOHN "JAY" RAYMOND, CHIEF OF SPACE OPERATOINS, U.S. SPACE FORCE: We prefer the domain to remain free of conflict. But like in any other domain, like air, land, sea and now space, we'll be ready to protect and defend.

SCIUTTO: Today, Russia accused the U.S. of ignoring its overtures to negotiate a treaty to prevent an arms race in space.

SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): It is hypocrisy at the very least to claim the Russian Federation poses a risk to peaceful space activities.

SCIUTTO: But the missile test is the latest in a series of destabilizing acts by Russia. Russian forces have been amassing near its border with Ukraine, leading to U.S. concern Russia may be preparing for an invasion.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: We don't have clarity into Moscow's intentions, but we do know its playbook.

SCIUTTO: Russia also conducted military drills in recent days with Belarus which has been accused of manufacturing a dangerous migrant crisis on the border with Poland. Russia has defended Belarus' handling of the crisis while denying any involvement.


SCIUTTO (on camera): The U.S. views both Russia and China as the greatest threats in space. And both countries have already deployed and tested weapons ranging from missiles like we saw earlier this week, but also space-based kill vehicles and even directed energy laser weapons. The age of space war is here, and if you speak to military officials, they assume, they don't just guess, that the next conflict will have a front in space. That's the new reality.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Wow. And so you'll be really busy reporting on future space wars to come.

All right. Thanks so much, Jim.

Well, as Russia continues to push buttons in space and on land, just one country away, the situation on the Belarus/Poland border is getting more tense by the hour.

Today, migrants who are being used as pawns in Belarus' retaliation against European Union sanctions were hit with pepper spray and water cannons as the migrants hurled rocks at the Polish border guards. Among those feeling the wrath, Matthew Chance who was hit with a water cannon while reporting on this story.

He joins us now live from the Belarus border.

Matthew, hope that you are doing okay. Tell us who instigated this violence today? The migrants or the Polish border guards?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I am doing okay, Pamela. Thanks for asking. The water was filled with a kind of chili or pepper component so it left everybody's skin slightly burning, lips, eyes, but it's fine now. In terms of who instigated it, it was hard to make out because I got there just after it had begun. It began quite early in the morning. And what I saw was migrants. They were, obviously, very angry. They were smashing up big boulders or bricks and turning them into smaller rocks and throwing them at the Polish border guards just meters away trying to storm the barricades and the razor wire fences that have been erected by the Poles to prevent the migrants, mainly from the Middle East, from entering poland and entering the European union. The Poles have responded, you know, in kind. Standing their ground.

Shooting this -- these water cannons, some with water, some with a pepper substance in it to push back the migrants. And that was pretty successful in the sense, you know, that eventually the riot essentially on the border calmed down and eased.

You know, what I didn't see, though, at any point during this confrontation are the Belarusian security forces moving in to stop it. It was only at the end of the whole process that Belarusian forces started to appear. Started to appear in some force and established some control over the region.

And so you got the sense that the Belarusians could have stopped this at any time, but they waited until it all played out, until they actually moved in, Pamela.

BROWN: And we've heard these reports the migrants are in rough shape. Are they being treated?

CHANCE: Well, they've been in very, very poor shape indeed. Until this evening I'd say they are in real danger of more deaths taking place. Really nine people at least reported to have died on that Polish/Belarus border. They've been living in exposed conditions in what are very cold temperatures, rather. They've got very limited resources in terms of shelter and food and medical attention.

But this evening, after the Belarusian authorities had re-established control over the border region, they began the process of moving these migrants back. Basically just getting them to load up their kit and walk back to a logistical center, sort of a processing center, which -- in which we're told they'll get clean clothes. They can shower, get a hot meal. Get sleeping facilities and medical care.

All of it inside which is in itself a big upgrade to the situation we're in. And, of course, it implies this crisis is finally coming to a close.


BROWN: Certainly does. Hope that is the reality.

Matthew Chance, live on the Poland/Belarus border, thank you.

And up next, talk about a fall from grace. A close look at the fraud trial of a billionaire businesswoman turned criminal defendant.


BROWN: In the national lead, it's now been six-plus hours of deliberations in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. The 18-year-old testified that he was acting in self-defense when he shot three men killing two of them in August 2020.


That was at the height of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Prosecutors say Rittenhouse provoked the shootings, therefore, can't claim self-defense.

Let's go straight to CNN's Sara Sidner in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She is in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Sara, what do we know about this jury and their deliberations so far?

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are clearly looking at everything very closely. They've asked a couple of questions in the last six hours. First, they requested a few pages of the jury instructions to be copied. Now they've asked for all the pages -- all 36 pages of the jury instructions to be copied for each of the jurors. And so, that's what we've heard so far from the jury.

They are clearly being deliberate. They have a lot to go through. More than 30 witnesses. Hours of video taken from the streets of Kenosha and taken from above, as well as photos and tons of testimony that they will be looking through as they consider these five charges, plus two lesser included charges.

They have a lot to deliberate on, and in the meantime, we are just waiting to see if they have any more questions. The judge not indicating just how long he's going to let this jury go tonight as they deliberate in this case -- Pam.

BROWN: And the mother of Kyle Rittenhouse made an unusual request today. Tell us what she's been asking for.

SIDNER: You know, we got emails right after the jury started deliberating basically sent from an organization out of Nevada that said that she was nervous and pleading for people to help her and her family.

And the bottom of the email, it gives you information on a fund so that you can donate to the Kyle Rittenhouse USA Defense Fund which is a non-profit -- which is a for-profit fund. That fund then links to a website that says that it is created and was established by Kyle's mother Wendy Rittenhouse.

We are still trying to get details to find out if she approved the message that was sent out during deliberations which is her right or not. We've not heard back from Mr. Rittenhouse's attorney on that -- Pam.

BROWN: OK. Sara Sidner in Kenosha, Wisconsin -- thank you, Sara.

And in our tech lead, an approaching milestone in a fall from grace story involving big names, big money and a big question. Is a once prominent businesswoman named Elizabeth Holmes, who ran a medical tech company called Theranos and made the covers of national magazines, simply a failed entrepreneur, because her company's potentially breakthrough technology for blood tests ultimately did not work? Or did she know it wouldn't work and intentionally fleeced her investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars?

CNN's Dan Simon is looking for answers as prosecutors lay out their case in federal court. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELIZABETH HOLMES, FORMER CEO & FOUNDER, THERANOS: So this is the little tubes that we collect the samples in and called them the nanotainer.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elizabeth Holmes who once graced magazine covers and was estimated to be worth billions of dollars now potentially faces decades in prison for her blood testing startup called Theranos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 2025, what's the thing you're most certain about?

HOLMES: More people will have access to their own health information.

SIMON: Holmes claimed her machines could conduct hundreds of blood tests with a single drop of blood from a finger. At one point, Theranos had lucrative deals to have their machines in Walgreens and Safeway pharmacies across the country. Accused of misleading her investors and patients, Holmes is on trial for a dozen counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

REPORTER: Any comments today about the trial?

SIMON: She's pleaded not guilty. Holmes' backers included an array of former U.S. officials, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Betsy DeVos among them. The DeVos family investing a whopping $100 million in Theranos. Media titan Rupert Murdoch invested $125 million.

How such prominent individuals ultimately fell for what prosecutors say was a scam is part of what makes the Holmes case so intriguing.

ELLEN KREITZBERG, SANTA CLARA LAW PROFESSOR: An important component for the government is to show not only that she made factual misrepresentations, but when she did it she was intending to defraud them.

SIMON: Ellen Kreitzberg is a law professor following the case.

KREITZBERG: Once you get a certain number of people in who are reputable, other people assume that the due diligence or the investigation had occurred. Secondly, this was an exciting opportunity in terms of changing health care.

SIMON: Among those who have testified, former Defense Secretary James Mattis who served on Theranos' board.

Mattis invested $85,000 in the company.

EMILY SAUL, REPORTER, BAD BLOOD: THE FINAL CHAPTER: Compared to the other investments made in this company, it's not a huge one, but as he pointed out for someone who spent their life in civil service, it's not a -- not an insignificant amount of money.

[16:45:01] SIMON: Holmes also claimed her devices were used by the military in the battlefield to assess the wounded. A Theranos project manager testified they had no deal with the military.

Emily Saul, reporter with a podcast "Bad Blood: The Final Chapter", has been in the courtroom for every day of testimony.

SAUL: Holmes owned the room when she was CEO of Theranos. And I can say that she does not own the room in this courtroom. There is a big change in whatever demeanor she was presenting before. She cuts a very small respectful, almost timid figure.

SIMON: Quite a difference from 2015.

HOLMES: It's an incredible honor to have this group.

SIMON: The Silicon Valley entrepreneur appeared alongside then Vice President Joe Biden at the company's California lab.

JOE BIDEN, THEN-VICE PRESIDENT: Talk about being inspired. This is inspiration, man. This is inspiration.

SIMON: The trial is now in its 11th week. It's not clear if Holmes will take the stand when the defense gets the case likely this week. But her attorneys are expected to argue she was a hard-working founder whose company ultimately failed. But failure is not a crime.


SIMON (on camera): Three jurors have already been dismissed for one reason or another, including one juror dismissed for playing a game of Sudoku during testimony. That leaves just two alternates left. According to legal experts with the pandemic that puts the prospect of this going to the jury at significant risk. Keep in mind, Pam, this trial still has at least one month to go -- Pam.

BROWN: All right. I know you'll be bringing us updates on it for sure. Thanks so much, Dan Simon.

Better start our shopping now -- better start your shopping now. The shortages that could ruin your holiday plans, up next.



BROWN: Big consumer news in today's money lead.

A new report shows retail sales jumped over 2 percent last month. That's despite rising prices. But some stores still can't keep certain items in stock.

Think of it like this. In 1996, you remember this, the hunt was on for this hot toy, the Tickle-Me-Elmo giggling doll.

As Tom Foreman reports, now there are many hot items and the early rush is complicating the supply chain.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Over 2 billion times, that's how often the words "out of stock" came up as researchers tracked just 18 different product categories online in October. That's worse than last year and much worse than two years ago.

Among the hardest hit items, according to Adobe Analytics, electronics, jewelry, clothing, home wares and pet supplies.

The trend has been driven in large part by months of people sitting at home shopping online in the pandemic and the holidays are amping it up.

JONATHAN GOLD, VP, SUPPLY CHAIN & CUSTOMS POLICY, NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION: The demand for the products as well as the materials to make those products is just far outpacing the available supply of those products and materials and what's needed to move those products through the supply chain to the consumer.

FOREMAN: Imported goods are especially vulnerable. Not only are manufacturers and shippers navigating a maze of periodic shutdowns but even when their cargo arrives, they are piling up in ports waiting to unload.

Rosemary Coats is a supply chain expert.

ROSEMARY COATES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RESHORING INSTITUTE: There's a shortage of truck drivers. There's a shortage of warehouse space and workers all along that supply chain. So this is not, you know, a snap your fingers and organize a solution.

FOREMAN: That means for consumers, the day after Thanksgiving could be more like bleak Friday with some products hard to find and prices rising.

Best tips? Shop early. If you see what you want --

GOLD: Buy it now.

COATES: Buy it. Definitely. Buy it now.

FOREMAN: And have faith, just like many retailers, that the holidays will wind up happy anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: SO, are you ready to fly to grandma's?



FOREMAN (on camera): Retailers met at the White House recently trying to corral the supply chain grinchiness. But the problems are so endemic and worldwide, experts think we won't see anything like normal until after the holidays, perhaps in time for Christmas 2022 -- Pam. BROWN: What, Christmas 2022?

FOREMAN: Yeah, it's going to be around for a while.

BROWN: Let's just be realistic here, people are going to buy a ton of gifts this year. What can consumers do?

FOREMAN: Get started right now is the first rule. And really be flexible. This is going to be the year where you may say, I want this color for this person and you have to be flexible.

You may say, I want this style but they don't have the size that you want in that style. The real goal, get out there now, spend your money wisely. Be flexible and remember, it's about a lot more than just about gifts.

BROWN: Very good reminder, Tom Foreman.

FOREMAN: Always.

BROWN: Thank you.

Well, up next -- the so-called megaspider that has called its way into an international mystery.



BROWN: Could you imagine. Look at this. That's a coast guard helicopter crew rescuing ten people, including a baby, from flooding in Washington state. Thankfully, no one was hurt here.

More than 500 people have been forced to evacuate their homes in the region because of high waters. All the rain in the last two days even triggered a mud slide forcing authorities to close parts of an interstate. About 55,000 people in the region have lost power and the rain isn't supposed to let up here for another five days.

All right. Now, we're going to turn to our nightmare lead. Brace yourself or rather our world lead, I guess. This is the so-called megaspider, according to an Australian reptile. From limb to terrifying limb, it's bigger than a baseball with inch-long fangs strong enough to pierce human finger nails.

A stranger anonymously donated the creepy crawler in a takeout container. Experts are asking the mystery donor to come forward so they can find out more about it.

Our coverage continues now.