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The Lead with Jake Tapper
House Censures GOP Rep. Gosar Over Violent Video; House Censures GOP Rep. Gosar Over Violent Video; Man Who Shot Ahmaud Arbery Testifies in His Own Defense; Jury Asks Judge Series of Questions in Second Day of Deliberations; January 6 Committee Sends Meadows New Letter As It Weighs Contempt Citation. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired November 17, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: And we're watching the vote count no. We know there will be several Republicans who will vote to support the resolution. They have not yet voted. They have gone on record. We know that Congresswoman Cheney, Congressman Kinzinger, two of them.
But so far, all the yea votes from the Democrats. All nay votes there from the Republicans. We'll continue to watch the count.
THE LEAD with Jake Tapper starts right now.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper.
And we begin with breaking news in our politics lead. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are voting now over a censure resolution for Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona after he posted a violent anime video appearing to depict him killing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez and attacking President Biden.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez spoke before the vote and pleaded with members to call out Gosar's behavior as unacceptable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): What is so hard about saying that this is wrong? It's pretty cut and dry. Do you find -- does anyone in this chamber find this behavior acceptable?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Then Gosar took the floor moments later saying he didn't mean to offend anyone and the video was actually a nuanced commentary on the Biden administration's immigration policies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): I do not espouse violence towards anyone. I never have. It was not my purpose to make anyone upset. I voluntarily took the cartoon down, not because it was itself a threat but because some thought it was. Out of compassion for those who generally felt offense, I self-
censored. There is no threat in the cartoon other than the threat to the immigration poses to our country. And no threat was intended by my staff or me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Dean joins me live on Capitol Hill.
So, Jessica, this vote is ongoing, but it's likely to pass, right?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We are expecting this to pass. At this point, it's just a numbers game. This voting just starting a few moments ago. And right now, it is strictly down party lines.
We do expect Congressman Adam Kinzinger and Congresswoman Liz Cheney to join the Democrats but it remains to be seen if other Republicans will cross party lines here. We spoke with Congresswoman Nancy Mace earlier today. She was still undecided. She was sorting through some of that.
So, we will keep an eye on if there are any other crossovers. But the bottom line here is this will pass with the Democratic majority, Pamela. And it is the first time we've seen a censure vote going through in ten years. It was ten years ago Democrats censured their own, Congressman Charlie Rangel for multiple ethics violations. And what is unique about a censure vote which is the most severe punishment they can put forth in the House of Representatives, it is symbolic.
But what is unique about it is that Paul Gosar will stand in the well of the house once this passes and it will be read to him, which is a unique part of this. Another part of this resolution would strip Gosar from the two committees on which he serves, one of which, the very powerful house oversight committee. He also serves on with Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez.
So you heard from her earlier. You also heard from Congressman Gosar, really doubling down. We have yet to hear a public apology from him. And Ocasio-Cortez telling us she has not heard a private apology from him or from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Pamela. He really said earlier today essentially, look, if we win the majority back in 2022, we'll take retribution and get ready.
I talked to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar earlier today. She told me that was childish. She's one of the people that Republicans would have their eye on -- Pamela.
BROWN: All right. Jessica Dean, thanks for breaking it down for us, breaking us the latest there in Capitol Hill.
So, let's discuss all of this with our panel. I'm going to start with you, former congressman, Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, because you have been talking to your former colleagues on the hill. Republicans, as we know, as Jessica laid out, are largely expected to vote against this.
What message does that send? Are Republicans really okay with what Congressman Gosar did?
CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course not. They're not okay with it. But what's more troubling is the fact that they're -- you saw several defending Paul Gosar's indefensible conduct, but who is defending John Katko right now? I wish they'd defend him as strongly as they're trying to strip him from a committee assignment for voting for an infrastructure bill.
I mean, these types of motions you're seeing today on censure are reserved for people who have engaged in misconduct or violated standards of conduct. That's what it's about. Not for some policy disagreement.
So that's what I find so troubling that the people who are misbehaving aren't being held to account and the people who are behaving honorably like John Katko are being keel holed.
BROWN: Right. John Katko, one of 13 Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill and as we know, the money from this bill will greatly benefit his district and other Republicans' districts and yet you see this dynamic at play here where Republicans, Gloria, are threatening those who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill for the sin of giving Biden a win and yet here you heard today on the floor McCarthy and other Republicans defending Paul Gosar.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: This has nothing to do with policy. It really doesn't even have anything to do with politics, per se, what you believe.
What it has to do with is Kevin McCarthy wanting to get the majority, wanting to become speaker and saying, you know, we're not going to give you an inch on this.
You think Kevin McCarthy thinks this was a great thing? No. But did he apologize? Did Gosar apologize? No, no, no, no. He said oh, we took it down. That's fine. We took it down.
And this is an indication, unfortunately, and McCarthy gave you the road map here of what you're going to see if they take control of the House because what they'll do is they'll -- an eye for an eye, baby, and we're going to call up people like Maxine Waters, you know, who they mentioned on the floor today who said, you know, be strong in demonstrating and whatever.
And they're going to call her up and say we're going to censure her because you censured the saint, Paul Gosar, who threatened the life of another member of Congress and I say, well, this wasn't that serious. You really believe that was serious? This was a cartoon for him.
BROWN: We have that sound actually if we can play it where Kevin McCarthy is talking about what will happen if Republicans take majority in 2022. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Under the Pelosi precedent, all the members that I have mentioned earlier will need the approval of a majority to keep those positions in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So what do you think, Paul, when you hear that as Gloria laid out. This is a preview of what is to come if Republicans are the majority.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. They're not saying to America, if you put us in the majority, we'll help make your life easier, right? You have two really radical different parties right now. The Democratic Party has its debate about the size and scale and scope and speed of aid to the middle class, right? And that's an honorable debate that political parties have for centuries.
Republicans' debate is democracy or autocracy, debate or violence? Autocracy and violence win in a route. We'll know how many Republicans are going to stand up and say it's wrong to suggest violence on a member of Congress and the president of the United States.
And I bet you the number will count on one hand. It's really atrocious, but that's their message to the American people. We'll exact revenge on people who don't look like us.
BROWN: Well, I just want to note that Liz Cheney, we just understand just voted for the censure, which was expected. So, one Republican so far voting for. And it was really interesting because you heard Leader McCarthy -- not Leader McCarthy, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, I should say, speak and he tried to make this case this is a double standard, that Democrats do the same thing.
Let's listen to what he said on that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: When a congressman on the intelligence committee was targeted by a suspected Chinese communist party agent for years, the Democrats kept him on the committee. Why? Rules for thee, but not for me.
When a Democrat congresswoman said, Israel was hypnotized the world, that supporting Israel is all about the Benjamins, and that 9/11 was -- some people did something. The Democrats actually defend her. Why? Rules for thee, but not for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: I also want to note, many Democrats condemned that. But here's what Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said shortly after that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OCASIO-CORTEZ: When the Republican leader rose to talk about how there are all of these double standards and lists a litany of all these different things, not once did he list an example of a member of Congress threatening the life of another. This is not about a double standard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Francesca, what do you think?
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY: What I've been hearing from Democrats on and off the Hill today is whether or not this would open the door for a precedent for Republicans to be able to do the same thing if they take the majority next year after next year's elections. So while there is some concern about that, they view this mainly as something they just could not let go, that the conference was in lockstep with Speaker Pelosi on this, more so than almost anything else recently. That there's no place for violence, that something had to be done and that the things you're talking about, those other comments are different than what was being discussed with Representative Gosar.
BROWN: I do want to -- go ahead.
BORGER: No, I just think this whole notion this is hypocritical of the Democrats is ridiculous. I mean, it's just not the same thing. He was threatening someone's life.
This is, you know, they said oh, this is a cartoon and he sent an email. Gosar sent an email to constituents saying I'm allowed to appeal to young people and this is the way to reach young people. This is ridiculous. This was offensive and if you were AOC or any other member of Congress, having lived through the insurrection, on January 6th, it's particularly offensive.
BROWN: I want to pick up on that because my reporting indicates that there is an uptick in violent threats against members of Congress. We saw it of course on January 6th. But there had been this steady crescendo leading up to that and beyond. And yet you heard Republicans there downplay it as a silly cartoon. No big deal.
Madison Cawthorn tweeting out today, political correctness is so stupid. You know, basically if this bothers you, shut up. But let's not forget that when a member of Congress sends out a video like this, it goes out to all of his followers. It gets shared. There is a higher responsibility, is there not?
DENT: There is. And, in fact, Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted out the phone numbers of these 13 congressmen who voted for the bill. Fred Upton received credible death threats over the phone. I mean, the challenge right now is the standard that we used to maintain standards of conduct.
I was chair of the ethics committee. I had to deal with these problems. We used to get members of Congress to resign rather than force them to go through what they just went through now. Deal with these kinds of situations publicly. We would force people out. And it happened.
I saw Speaker Boehner, Speaker Ryan, Speaker Pelosi, all force out members who became an embarrassment or distraction. We didn't want to deal with it in this kind of a public manner. What's more troubling is there will be -- there will be tit-for-tat and you watch what happens next year.
Pelosi made a mistake when she removed Jim Banks and Jim Jordan from that Select Committee because that opens the door for Republicans to do the same thing. I would not have done that. That was a mistake.
BEGALA: They're going to do it anyway, Charlie. They get this majority -- look, more fundamentally.
DENT: I don't agree with those guys on that, but I think it was a mistake.
BEGALA: We're entering a phase of political violence, the likes we haven't seen since the run up to the civil war. Ten years ago, Gabby Giffords was shot doing her job at a mall in Arizona.. A federal judge with her was murdered. In 2017, Steve Scalise, a Republican whip, shot by some animal who hated Republicans. In 2019, a Trump supporter was sending pipe bombs to critics of Mr. Trump, including people at this network. We saw the insurrection.
In the first or second year of the Obama administration, some neo-Nazi was stopped at the Holocaust museum. He murdered a guard in his car. There was a list of Jews who worked for Barack Obama.
This is an era of political violence so our leaders have to bring the temperature down. And I blame Mr. Trump first and now Mr. McCarthy. They are not bringing the temperature down and condemning violence and they have to do that because people are getting hurt.
BROWN: Really quick, let me just say, Kinzinger also just voted in favor with Cheney. So, two Republicans.
BORGER: That gets you to --
BROWN: Not surprised, but go ahead.
BORGER: Let me remind you that a lot of these Republicans ran for the hills when Donald Trump would tweet something offensive. And they didn't want to talk about it, much less censure him or say he was wrong or anything like that. So they're not going to censure Gosar because there's another excuse. There's always another excuse.
And I think that's what we're seeing and I agree with you because what's very sad about all of this is that this is what we're in for. You change political parties now. It's going to be an eye for an eye. And everything will become elevated to a degree that it really shouldn't be. Maybe it should be handled in the ethics committee or whatever. Gosar needed to be censured as far as I'm concerned for inciting violence, particularly in this context, but this is -- we're in for a rough time.
BROWN: Jessica, what do you think? What are your sources in the White House telling you about all of this?
CHAMBERS: The White House said today the president also believes there is no place for violence, but they also made the same comparison that Charlie made earlier on. They said that, look, when you compare this to infrastructure and some of the threats that Republican lawmakers who voted for infrastructure were getting because of that, that this is way -- this is way different than even that. And so, they believe they should be able to come together on what should be a bipartisan measure here.
But when you talk about January 6th, the other thing I'm hearing from Democrats, Pamela, is that in the context of January 6th and what happened with the riots at the capitol, this is a completely different ball game when talking about threats and violence against members of Congress.
BROWN: Right. Why can't Republicans publicly say that they understand the difference, right? That they can understand that this isn't just a cartoon. That this is a video tweeted out by a member of Congress that is basically glorifying violence.
DENT: Yeah, I think what's happening is, if you ask them privately, I think they would all say they're appalled by this behavior, this behavior by Paul Gosar. It's not the first time where he's done things --
BROWN: He's been controversial in the past.
DENT: Yeah. I mean, these -- when members bring discredit upon the House, somebody has to stand up. And I think what's happening now is that some Republicans, the 13, for example, who voted for the infrastructure bill, I think this whole notion of taking them off their committees is a brushback pitch. It's throwing the ball at them.
How many of them are going to vote to censure Paul Gosar now? Why? Because there's a risk for them to do that because some members come back and they'll try to strip them because they stripped Gosar. This is how bad it's gotten.
This is what I see happening. It's terrible when ethics becomes a partisan issue. That committee is evenly split, 5-5. We -- if we were going to sanction somebody, we had to do it on a bipartisan basis. It's terrible.
BORGER: The irony here, of course, is that Kevin McCarthy who wants to become the next speaker of the House is out on the floor defending Gosar. By trying to turn the tables, I thought ineffectively, but trying to turn the tables on Nancy Pelosi.
So is this worth it? Say he gets to become speaker. A lot of these Gosar Republicans, Marjorie Taylor Greene, won't vote for McCarthy because they think he's being too nice, playing too nice with these moderates that you're talking about, Charlie. And Donald Trump has also hinted that he may, you know, he may take on Kevin McCarthy. That perhaps he doesn't want Kevin McCarthy to be the next speaker because he doesn't play with the Trump program enough.
BORGER: So this could all change. He could be doing this and not get the reward that he actually wants.
BROWN: Just as we're talking, David Joyce, Republican on the ethics committee voted present. So you see that there on the board. Everything is ongoing at this hour.
And I'm wondering if we could take a step back, Paul. Have you -- have we ever seen this kind of dysfunction as you just pointed out as Congressman Dent just pointed out of not even being able to agree on ethics. In the history of this country --
BEGALA: Not even being able to agree on violence, on inciting violence. He didn't commit violence. I want to be fair to Mr. Gosar.
You have to step back to our history. A hundred years ago, there were dozens of members of the House, Senate and governors who were Ku Klux Klansmen. It took years. Democrats expelled them from their party.
When Reagan was creating the new Republican Party, there were the John Bircher extremists. Ronald Reagan, William F. Buckley, others purged them out of that movement. When David Duke was running as a Republican in Louisiana, George H.W. Bush disavowed him and effectively excommunicated him from the Republican Party.
This is what leaders do, and this is the failure of Kevin McCarthy, of Mitch McConnell, of Mr. Trump. They have got to stand up and purge those extremists but they don't want to. I don't know if they -- I think some of them, McCarthy and McConnell, need them and want to use them. But I think some of them, like Mr. Trump, is one of them.
DENT: No leaders used to do -- I'll tell you what? When people got in trouble when Boehner was speaker, they'd be summoned to the office. And, you know, you'd be asked. Is this true? If they said yes, you see that letter on the desk, that's your resignation letter. How about signing it?
BORGER: Can you do that now, though? You can't do that now.
DENT: No, but that's what happened.
BORGER: No leverage for the leader.
DENT: That's what would happen. They just didn't want to deal with it. They didn't want to deal with it. We have too many important things to deal with.
And if you are a member of Congress you don't want to be answering these questions about Paul Gosar if you're a Republican. You just don't want to do it. But, back to the Trump era, these lowered -- the standards bar so low and people don't feel shame anymore. Now they can monetize it.
BROWN: That's the shame. Where is the shame?
BORGER: There isn't any.
CHAMBERS: That issue is the apology or lack thereof in speaking to my sources, there was a sense that if he'd apologized to the congresswoman directly, then we might not be where we are in this vote today. But that is not how he chose to pursue it, although from Republicans I'm hearing from, they feel the fact he showed remorse in conference and then showed remorse on the floor was good enough for them.
BORGER: But he didn't --
CHAMBERS: For Democrats, that was not the case because again, he did not directly apologize to her and say that he was sorry.
BORGER: No, he didn't even show remorse on the floor and this email to constituents, he was sort of like, I'm allowed to do this because I want to appeal to a younger demographic or whatever it was and I want to talk about immigration. And this is the way to get my message across.
I think, you know, you're right. There were people who came out of that conference who were saying, well, he showed remorse.
But when they talked about what he said you have a hard time finding any kind of apology in there or any kind of sense that, you know, it was more like this wasn't what I intended, but not kind of this was wrong.
BROWN: If you look at it today in context, you only have 23 members of Congress have ever been censured before today. The most recent as we know was Charlie Rangel in 2010 for ethics violations. I remember covering that at the time. He was re-elected twice after that.
So assuming he -- Paul Gosar is, and we expect him to be censured today. Will it have any real life consequences for him?
CHAMBERS: Well, getting kicked off of his committees. When you get kicked off your committees, it makes it hard for you to be effective as a member of Congress, to get things done for your constituents. In the past when lawmakers have been booted from their committees, sometimes their constituents have responded to that by putting in different members of Congress who they think might be able to be more effective. BROWN: How much do people outside of Washington, because you heard
some of the Republicans try to make the case. People outside the beltway are focusing on this. They kept bringing up the Republicans. They kept, you know, bringing up inflation, even though that was not what this vote was about today.
They clearly are trying to do -- they're clearly trying to do that, but they tried to argue that's what they care about. They don't care about this vote right now.
BORGER: Look, they may have a point. In the end, if you like Paul Gosar, this isn't going to have any effect on you because you know how Paul Gosar is. I think overall for the Republican Party, at some point you reach the proverbial fork in the road and you have to decide what you stand for, and whether this is excusable or not.
Today, McCarthy tried to make it about Joe Biden and about inflation and about immigration and the broken borders and Nancy Pelosi's House and all the rest of it. In the end, it was about somebody who tweeted -- yeah, who tweeted something offensive and murderous in effect and that is what it was about so they tried to make it about everything but, and if you are a Gosar Republican, or a Marjorie Taylor Greene Republican, or -- this isn't going to affect you one way or the other.
DENT: There was a time, not so long ago when a member was sanctioned, reprimanded, they'd incur reputational damage. It would be a stain on their records and legacies. It's not something they wanted.
Now, I mean, I just can't imagine why we don't have that same feeling now. I was on the ethics committee when we did the Rangel censure. I mean, these are not easy things to do to people. You have to think hard about it, but some of these -- they just don't feel shame.
BROWN: How much do you think Donald Trump has to do with that?
DENT: He lowered the bar. I mean, he lowered the bar. Compared to Donald Trump, I mean, this might have been relatively mild compared to some of the things Donald Trump said.
BEGALA: This was terrible, but as Mr. Gosar said it was a cartoon, trying to reach young people.
Look what we learned this week about Donald Trump. He gave an interview to Jonathan Karl, ABC, and he said that calling for the murder of the then sitting vice president was, and I quote, common sense.
BEGALA: Good God almighty! This is why. Why do you think Gosar does this? This is what his hero does.
The fact that we're only a few months, 11 months from when these insurrectionist terrorists were in that building hunting down those members with murderous intent and now we know the then-president thought it was just common sense to want to murder our vice president. That's what's going on. Leadership matters. And we have had none in
the Republican Party.
BROWN: I'm going to note as we look at the board. They are above 217. So he has been censured.
BROWN: Tell us how you really feel, Paul.
BORGER: I think he'll wear it as a badge of honor. Look at Steve Bannon. This is a badge of honor for him. You know, he's streaming it live, and outside the courthouse. And I think this is just, you know, for Gosar, there's not a feather in his cap. Look at Marjorie Taylor Greene. She got taken off her committees.
BROWN: Look at her fundraising.
BORGER: Just fine. So unfortunately, I don't think in the world -- in the real world that in the end it's going to change a lot of people's minds. The reputational damage to the Republican Party itself that you talk about, Charlie, I think may come in the presidential year, but I think just not enough to keep Kevin McCarthy out of a potential speaker --
DENT: If you are a member of Congress you have to be livid about this whole situation. After Glenn Youngkin wins, the message was, oh, stiff-arm Donald Trump. Keep him away. So now what are we doing? We're following Donald Trump to try to go after 13 good Republican members who voted for infrastructure.
We're not going after people like Gosar who have embraced Trump strongly and are behaving badly. And so we're talking about that instead of things they'd rather talk about. You know, the economy, the build back better being too expensive. Whatever they want to talk about but they are talking about these fringe elements within the party who have been -- who have not been pushed aside.
We used to marginalize people like that. Not marginalize normal people who are voting for an infrastructure bill. One of whom is an Air Force general, one of whom is an FBI agent, one of whom is a U.S. attorney. We're going to go after those guys who bring credit upon the house but we're going to leave alone those who bring discredit upon the house.
BROWN: That's because Trump has told them to.
CHAMBERS: I want to come back to something you said a moment ago, whether or not this is enough to keep McCarthy from becoming speaker of the house. And that's such a -- that's a much broader point than this one congressional district when you look at the generic ballot advantage Republicans had in a poll this week. When you look at the 2022 midterm elections and all the seats Republicans could pick up. If the average American likely to hold their member of Congress accountable for something that another member of Congress did, or consider who is going to be the next speaker of the house potentially as they're casting their vote.
That's probably likely and so when you talk about the chances that Republicans have of taking the House, there's so many other things at play. And for many Americans this probably is not one of them.
BORGER: I mean, women voters may be a little upset by that. Let's just say that suburban women probably look at this video and say, eh, not so much.
CHAMBERS: Talking about the economy and COVID-19 and the legislation that's under consideration right now in the House and Senate. There are other issues that Americans, when you poll them, say are of the highest importance to them as they consider their vote.
DENT: Midterm election will be about the party in power and the president. I mean, that's what it's going to be about. Situations like this don't help. This is how you can blow it for the Republicans if you have too many distractions like this. At the end of the day, the midterms will be about Biden and the Democrats.
BEGALA: Biden, like Charlie, like old school Republicans, operates under the theory that politics should be about trying to make people's lives better. You and Biden would argue about the best way to do it.
But Mr. Trump has pioneered a new kind of politics and you're seeing it on the floor today, and it's the politics of identity and grievance from extreme right wingers. No one is standing up there talking about, we learned today 100,000 people died in the last year from opioid overdose. My guest is it disproportionately impacts where Mr. Trump succeed politically.
All of us should be focused on doing something for those folks. But instead, instead of saying I'm going to combat the opioid crisis or I'm going to try to lower the price of gasoline or all the grievances people justifiably have, they're simply saying I'm going to hate AOC as much as you. That poor woman already is facing death threats. But they are diverting and distracting away from people's real lives with, oh, look at her, hate the other, let's threaten AOC.
I don't share AOC's politics but Good Lord, that woman is a rising star in my party and now facing threats of violence even from her colleague.
BROWN: Demonizing the other side.
BORGER: That's what Kevin McCarthy said the Democrats are doing. Now he said --
BEGALA: Te Democrats have lots of bills they are trying to pass that affect people's lives.
BORGER: Why are they wasting our time on Gosar when we have this list of -- we had this list of problems, to which Nancy Pelosi could have replied, you know, we just passed an infrastructure bill. Why are you campaigning against those Republicans who voted for it? You're going to support that. But it goes back and forth and it's never ending, which is why the
American public is just so fed up.
BROWN: Yeah, every Republican I have on my show on the weekend, they always do that. They bring up, well, look what Maxine Waters has said.
BROWN: Look at what AOC, you know, so forth and so on. It's just created this dynamic. You look at it and see what happened today on the floor and the rhetoric and the divide and you just think, where is the future of democracy? What is the future of this country?
And how many of those Republicans, you mentioned that so many probably don't look at it as just a cartoon even though they say no big deal. How many of those Republicans that spoke out and voted against censure were horrified by the video and if it had been a Democrat who tweeted it out, they would have voted for it?
DENT: When I first saw it, I thought it was really bizarre. This is bizarre. I had to watch it a couple of times and see what was going on. I think most of them are mortified and think this guy has been a problem. He's been a distraction. He makes their lives miserable. They wish he'd go away.
And this is it comes down to leadership. I saw other speakers and leaders take care of their problems. When Weiner got in trouble, Nancy Pelosi dealt with it. When several Republicans got in trouble, I saw John Boehner and Paul Ryan deal with Trent Franks. So, these people were gone quickly.
They dealt with the problems internally. They didn't force these public spectacles. But nowadays, again, because these members are able to go out now after being censured and they'll raise a gazillion dollars, they'll monetize it and that's changed.
They used to be so marginalized they couldn't -- they couldn't do anything. They couldn't operate. Nobody wanted to be near them. They're radioactive.
FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY: Charlie, you are representative of the split taking place in the Republican Party right now over the grievance politics. And you mentioned the grievance politics and you have to look at someone like Chris Christie talking about this also and there's so many Republicans who especially in light of the Virginia election and heading into the midterms want to see the party move away from those grievance politics and focus on some of those kitchen table issues like we were talking about before where they do believe that they would have a better chance of winning on those issues in the midterm elections.
And you talked about former President Trump who did not win the last election and they say, look, that is --
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Look, I have to intercept. We're going to the house floor. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
BROWN: All right. Not very exciting. She just said the motion has been adopted. So Paul Gosar, the Republican from Arizona, has been censured.
Okay. Let's listen to Nancy Pelosi.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Representative Gosar present himself in the well.
By its adoption of the House resolution 789, the House has resolved that Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona be censured. That Representative Paul Gosar forthwith present himself in the well of the House for the pronouncement of censure. That representative Paul Gosar be censured with the public reading of this resolution by the speaker. And that Representative Paul Gosar be and is hereby removed from the committee on natural resources of and the committee on oversight and reform.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The chair will now entertain requests for one- minute speeches.
BROWN: Okay. So we just heard there Nancy Pelosi speaking there on the floor. Paul Gosar has been censured. Two Republicans did vote for this. One voted present. That was David Joyce. He is on the ethics committee, and he said he told our Manu Raju, my colleague, that he voted present because the ethics committee is going to be meeting about the Gosar matter and so that is why he did.
DENT: That was always the case. I was on the committee, if I knew an issue was coming to the committee, we were basically told to vote present because if we vote on the issue, then we've already revealed our bias. That's probably why he voted present. I'm surprised all the Republicans and Democrats on the ethics committee didn't just vote present if this was going to be referred to them. He's already censured.
BROWN: Is it because of going back to Donald Trump and, you know, the fear of his wrath, Paul?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And it's not just him. It's who he inspires. Most people, most Republicans are good people in their -- normal people and love their country and love their neighbor.
But when you get a platform, Mr. Trump had the largest platform in the world. Still has quite a large one. You start to realize if you have a brain there are some fringe people out there, a tiny percent, tiny fraction, but you need to be careful and this is why the House has all the rules. The distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania, because there was a time when Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat Charles Sumner into a coma on the Senate floor. And so, we set up all these rules.
When you have a platform like Mr. Trump or Mr. McCarthy or Senator McConnell, it's more important than ever with social media to make sure that you send out the signal that there are lines you cannot cross. We'll have big debates about this, but no one, very few in the Republican leadership, apparently two in the entire House of Representatives, are willing to say that threats of violence against a congresswoman is a cross of the line. Where is the line?
BORGER: It's disappeared. I mean, it's totally disappeared. As you look towards 2024, you look at Chris Christie, his great interview with Dana Bash. He's looking for a third way here to try and say, okay, Trump -- that's about the past.
Let's talk about the future. We're not going to talk about the rigged election anymore, et cetera, et cetera. But now it's no longer, it's about the rigged election in Donald Trump's mind, but it has evolved into grievance beyond that, about everything. And I think that's what you see with Gosar.
It's about grievance about the Democrats. It's about grievance about their policy. It's everything is put into sort of black and white terms. You know you can't legislate that way. Infrastructure wasn't done that way. You can't get anything done that way. And that's politics.
CHAMBERS: And that is the point that I am hearing from some Republicans that you can't win on grievance politics. Donald Trump could not win on grievance politics. And that is not how you will take back the House. That's not how you'll take back the Senate and not how you will take back the presidency. You need to be focusing on the issues that the average American cares about.
BROWN: But, look, the Republicans voting against -- voting for infrastructure, you already have Donald Trump coming out wanting to primary them, you know, gearing up other Republicans against them. How do you --
DENT: How self-destructive is that, by the way? We're talking two members from New York who are freshmen, more vulnerable. Brian Fitzpatrick in Pennsylvania. These are some of the most competitive seats in the country.
So, yeah, let's primary them and hand the seats over to the Democrat. That is self-defeating, self-destructive and it is stupid. There's no excuse for that. It is so dumb, on so many levels and wrong.
But I think what's really wrong with our politics, though, you have the Trumpian right which a lot of people are sick of, tired of his behavior. The far left talking about defund the police and abolish ICE and all kinds of stuff. There's a center left, a center right in the country that feels it's terribly underrepresented in government right now.
BROWN: Yeah, I have interviewed several of those voters myself.
All right. Thank you all for that marathon panel. Appreciate it. We are standing by for President Biden to speak this hour as he touts
the infrastructure bill and tries to get support for the next chapter of his agenda.
BROWN: Breaking news in our national lead. Today, one of the three men accused of chasing down and murdering an unarmed Black jogger named Ahmaud Arbery took the stand in his own defense.
CNN's Ryan Young is at the courthouse for us.
Ryan, he described the shooting. What did he say?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Pamela, we are still watching this as we speak right now because the prosecution is actually talking to Travis McMichael right now. All day long the defense has been asking him questions, building up to the moment where the shot was fired. In fact, take a listen to some of his testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRAVIS MCMICHAEL, DEFENDANT: I knew that he was on me. I knew that I was losing this. I knew that if I was getting tripped, if I would have tripped or if he would have got a lucky strike on my head or if I would have lost that grip on the shotgun, that I would have been shot or I would have been in serious trouble at that point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you, at that time, did you remember how many times you shot the gun?
MCMICHAEL: No, I didn't. I thought I shot twice.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you shot it. You shot it.
MCMICHAEL: I did shoot, yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
YOUNG: Pamela, so many questions in this case, especially from the defense today in terms of just the idea of how this all started. The fact the men went running to their truck. The fact they went running for a shotgun and they were behind him all this time and then at some point that shot was being fired. You heard him say he didn't even realize that he shot the gun three times. We know that first shot was fatal for Mr. Arbery.
It still continues right now, as we're watching it, as the questions go on, hopefully for another half hour or so. There are some other questions lingering out there, especially when it comes to, will his father also testify now that his son has in this case -- Pamela.
BROWN: So, he is answering questions there on the stand. The defense has complained about Black pastors being in the courtroom. Reverend Jesse Jackson was there and more are planning to come, we
YOUNG: Yeah, this has been the big question in this city so far. I can tell you there has been no issues outside of the court but tomorrow we know for a fact that at least 100 plan to be here because the attorney, Kevin Gough, has said he didn't want extra here. They plan to surround the courthouse tomorrow and have a prayer vigil here. That's really had people starting to talk about what could happen.
But, obviously, they're pastors so they said they're here to support the family. As we see this play out, it's quite shocking to hear how the explanation of how this shooting happened, but again tomorrow there will be hundreds of extra people, hundreds of extra eyes on this case -- Pamela.
BROWN: And you have three defense attorneys in this case as well. How has that complicated matters?
YOUNG: Well, that's an excellent question because you have seen sometimes the defense attorneys haven't got along on this one. Kevin Gough stood up and talked about the black pastors. The other two defense attorneys could be seen sort of squeaming (ph) in their seats trying to figure out where it was going to go. In fact, one of the defense attorneys came out and called the comments just not great comments in terms of how this has moved forward. I think it's energized other people to come to town.
There's only been one march since this court case started. We know there will be another march tomorrow. So, it will be interesting how the three play off each other. Obviously, each of them has a different goal, but today this is crucial testimony that is going on as we speak.
BROWN: It absolutely is. Ryan Young, thank you so much.
Also in our national lead, new questions from the jury deliberating the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse. The 18-year-old on trial for shooting three men during protests in 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, killing two of them.
And among their questions today, the jury asked how they could review video evidence played during the trial.
CNN's Omar Jimenez is live outside the courthouse.
Omar, the question of exactly what the jury could see and how turning into quite the debate today.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really did, Pamela. Now, for starters, the jury will get to video some videos on a clean computer in the jury room. The main dispute came over drone video from that night in August of 2020. Basically what happened, according to the prosecution, is a Kenosha police detective obtained this video, then air dropped it to the prosecution.
The prosecution then emailed it to themselves under one file name, then separately asked the police detective to email that video to the prosecution. But it was an email so it compressed the video. And that was the video that was sent to the defense. The compression, obviously, matters because you lose some of the quality of the video.
The defense said that's not fair that they should have gotten the higher quality version of this video and they took it a step further and said that because of this, they are now going to file another motion for a mistrial. This time without prejudice, meaning it could be tried again on the grounds of fairness around this single piece of video. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLPI)
COREY CHIRAFISI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Tell you what we think, but it doesn't matter what we think because we don't get to present that to the jury anymore. We got a compressed version which was not of the quality that they had. We learned that Friday, after the evidence had been closed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIMENEZ: So the state said that they didn't even know about it until a few days ago, as you heard the defense complaining on when that came. The state, though, argued in return that we are focusing too much on a technical glitch that this trial shouldn't be turned into a mistrial because of a technical glitch and that the defense had a chance to view this video up close, so did the jurors, during the actual trial when it was played in court.
The judge did not make a ruling either on this mistrial file or they said they'll file one, or on the previous one filed with prejudice, meaning that it wouldn't be tried again, Pamela. It's been an active day.
BROWN: Very, I would say.
Omar Jimenez, thanks for bringing us the latest there in Kenosha.
And we're waiting to hear from President Biden in Detroit speaking any moment trying to drum up support for the next chapter of his economic agenda.
Stay with us.
BROWN: In our politics lead, he is one of the most prominent faces of the January 6th insurrection. Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon shaman, who wondered through the U.S. Senate chamber wearing a headdress and face pant. Well, now -- face paint, we should say.
Now, as CNN congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles reports, he's going to prison for more than three years.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It is the harshest sentence handed down to rioters in the January 6th Capitol intersection. Jacob Chansley, the so-called QAnon shaman was one of the first people to storm the Capitol. He defiantly climbed the Senate dais shirtless and clad in a horned, bearskin headdress, and left a note that warned, quote, justice is coming.
His theatrics part of an attempt to interrupt the certification of the election results.
The Justice Department wants his sentence to serve as an example to others and the judge agreed, handing him 41 months in prison, plus 36 months of supervised release. His attorney asking the public for grace.
ALBERT WATKINS, LAWYER FOR JACOB CHANSLEY: We all need to be patient. The last thing we can do is to act devoid of compassion and tell someone they're nuts. All that does is steal the resolve and make permanent that great divide.
NOBLES: Meanwhile, the January 6th Select Committee continues their probe into who was responsible for the deadly riot.
REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): We had over 200 interviews of witnesses. We've looked at over 25,000 documents. We continue to make significant progress.
NOBLES: They contend they are making progress despite resistance from those loyal to former President Donald Trump. The committee is holding off on referring former chief of staff Mark Meadows for criminal contempt of Congress, instead writing him a letter with a list of what they want to know from him, including answers to questions about a personal cell phone and messages they say Meadows may have destroyed.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): We have information that that phone may or may not be in his possession. The number is not active anymore that he used so we just want to know.
NOBLES: Meadows remains defiant, the committee continues to insist that he must appear.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): You can't stay home and sit on your couch and, you know, talk to people about the Fifth Amendment or executive privilege but not show up. You have a legal duty to show up. Once you show up, you begin to answer questions.
NOBLES: Meadows just 1 of 35 subpoenas issued by the committee. Other targets also continue to evade their requests. Former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark is still in a standoff with the committee and members say Trump associates like Dan Scavino and Kash Patel have had their subpoena deadlines postponed while they negotiate.
[16:55:04] Despite this lack of cooperation, Bennie Thompson says more subpoenas are coming this week.
NOBLES (on camera): And meanwhile, the legal problems perhaps the most prominent subpoena target, Steve Bannon, continue. He informed the federal court today that he plans to plead not guilty to that charge of criminal contempt of Congress. He was supposed to be arraigned tomorrow, but because he filed this today, it likely means that that arraignment won't happen. They will now set a trial date and that process will continue -- Pam.
BROWN: OK. Ryan Nobles, thanks so much for that.
Now to a world lead. Today, Chinese state media is claiming tennis star Peng Shuai is backtracking allegations of sexual assault against the former top communist party leader, after a growing number of members from the international tennis community began demanding answers as to why she hasn't been seen publicly in weeks.
Now, CNN's Ivan Watson is looking into the explosive me too allegations and if that correspondence from Peng Shuai is actually from her.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The royalty of professional tennis expressing concern about the welfare of one of their own.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC, PRO-TENNIS PLAYER: Honestly, it's shocking, you know, that she's missing.
WATSON: Warnings echoed by other champions past and present.
I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and okay, writes Naomi Osaka, adding #whereispengshuai.
I've known Peng since she was 14, writes Chris Evert. Where is she?
Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis champion --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Peng Shuai moves into the quarterfinals.
WATSON: Hasn't been seen or heard from in weeks.
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: This is really extraordinary. A top athlete, 35 years old, a name that a lot of people know, formerly number one ranked doubles player in the world just goes missing? Gone?
WATSON: In early November, Peng published this bombshell post on her Chinese social media account. An open letter to a former top communist leader named Zhang Gaoli, now aged 75 who Peng accuses of sexually assaulting her after the two had an affair. Why did you have to come back to me, take me to your home to force me
to have sex with you, the post reads. Yes, I did not have any evidence and it was simply impossible to have evidence.
CNN cannot independently confirm these allegations, and we reached out to Peng as well as Zhang and his wife through the Chinese government for further comment with no results.
Shortly after the controversial post, Peng's online profile more or less disappeared.
Until recently, Peng Shuai was one of the biggest tennis stars in China. Look what happens when you try to search for people with her name in the Chinese internet. You get the message -- no results found. Censors have all but scrubbed this woman from the Chinese Internet.
Beijing has zero tolerance for outside criticism of the country's ruling elite. Jong was a member of the Chinese communist party seven- person standing committee, the country's top decision-making body. A powerful man who rubbed shoulders with Chinese Leader Xi Jinping until his retirement in 2018.
In the past, foreign athletes have paid a price for challenging China. Beijing quick to cut off access to its lucrative market when players from the NBA or Britain's Premier League criticized its human rights record.
BRENNAN: Whether it's the NBA, whether it might be the International Olympic Committee in a few months, do they stand for human rights, and investigations of allegations of sexual assault? Or do they stand all about money?
WATSON: For now, professional tennis is not backing down. The chairman of the women's tennis association demanding for Peng Shuai to be heard writing the allegations must be investigated fully, fairly, transparently and without censorship.
The ball is now in Beijing's court.
WATSON (on camera): Now, Pamela, the original statement that Peng Shuai published at the beginning of the month was some 1,600 words long. It was very emotional. Describing somebody who is clearly distraught and struggling and feeling morally compromised.
And now, Chinese state media has published this email purportedly from Peng Shuai, just ten sentences long recanting all of this saying she's okay and ending with, I hope Chinese tennis will become better and better.
The CEO of the Women's Tennis Association has responded to it in writing and this is what he says. Quote, the statement released today by Chinese state media concerning Peng Shuai only raises my concerns as to her safety and whereabouts. I have a hard time believing that Peng Shuai actually wrote the email we received or believes what is being attributed to her. The WTA and the rest of the world need independent and verifiable proof that she is safe.
This is a strange and disturbing story that's only gotten stranger.
BROWN: Certainly. Ivan Watson, thank you.
I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper.
Our coverage continues next.