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Interview With Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS); Biden Won't Assert Privilege Over Trump Documents Sought By Jan 6 Committee; Jan 6 Committee Considering Contempt Referral For Steve Bannon; Anti-Vax- Mandate Protesters Confront Parents, Kids At School & FOX Defends Angry Protesters; Trump Makes Xenophobic Comments When Referring To Haitian Refugees. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired October 08, 2021 - 14:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: There was a suggestion from Congressman Ro Khanna on a call with the president that to get Senator Manchin and the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Bernie Sanders, in a room together, to just talk out the differences, how could they get to some compromise.

And the joke from the president was that that would be a homicide.

How does your party get this done if you can't even get the two leaders of -- I don't want to call the opposition, but the factions in a room to talk?

REP. SHARICE DAVIDS (D-KS): Yes, I mean, I think that one of the things that we're seeing is this -- as this process is playing out in the way that negotiations often do.

Which is you've got a lot of folks who are here -- you know, I'm never going to stop pushing for the needs of the Kansas Third.

And hopefully, all of the Senators and representatives are pushing for the needs of their --


BLACKWELL: But they are not even talking to one another.

Yes, it is one thing to work for your constituents, but if you can't get into a room to converse about a how you come to an agreement, how do you eventually pass this legislation?

DAVIDS: Well, the negotiations are happening. And I think that the president is talking to the various Senators and doing everything he can.

He's coming over to the House. He came over and visited with our caucus about this. I know I've had the chance to talk to him multiple times.

At the end of the day, we're seeing the negotiations happen. You know, if they're not sitting down for a drink while they're doing it, I don't know that that means it is not happening.

It is just not happening in the way that folks thought it might. But the negotiations are going on.

BLACKWELL: The question is, if they are having bourbon while they are talking but the question is whether they are even talking to one another.

But let me move on to another element here. There was finally an agreement on the debt ceiling. There were the votes yesterday to push forward.

There was a moment after the vote that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered a speech, was criticized by Senator Joe Manchin. And you even see him behind the Senator holding his face.

I want to you listen to Leader Schumer and then Senator Manchin and I want your thoughts after that.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans insisted they wanted a solution to the debt ceiling but said Democrats must raise it alone by going through a drawn-out convoluted and risky reconciliation process.

That was simply unacceptable to my caucus.

And yesterday, Senate Republicans finally realized that they're obstruction was not going to work.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why was that not appropriate?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I just think basically what we have to do is find the pathway forward to weaponize -- we have to be weaponized. You can't be playing politics, none of us can, on both sides.


BLACKWELL: Congresswoman, you've urged your caucus to -- this was in your September 30th floor speech -- to set the gamesmanship aside.

Does a speech like from Leader Schumer make it harder to get these pieces of legislation passed and then in December to fund the government, raise the debt ceiling again?

DAVIDS: You know, I think that even just the kind of framing of how we're approaching this is part of why it is hard sometimes to have this conversation.

Look, I think that -- I think that the negotiations that we're having are making progress. And you know, we could discuss whether or not it should be in person, via email, all of that kind of stuff, but the negotiations are going forward.

And I do think that there's absolute a point to the conversation of the politicking, the gamesmanship that's been going on, particularly around this debt ceiling issue.

And the fact that we've come together seven times, the last seven times to address this is -- it is very clear that the gamesmanship and politicking is what is holding us up right now.

And I'm not -- I'm not a fan of that. I don't want it to happen, regardless of which party is doing it.

BLACKWELL: Congresswoman Sharice Davids, Democrat of Kansas, thank you so much.

DAVIDS: Thanks.


BLACKWELL: Trump ally, Steve Bannon, he is defying the January 6th Select Committee and informing them he will not cooperate with their subpoena.

The committee is now responding to that and they say that they will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt-of-Congress referral. We'll talk about that next.


BLACKWELL: Breaking news. The White House has informed the National Archives that they are not asserting executive privilege on behalf of former President Donald Trump.

That paves the way for the archive to share documents with the House committee investigating January 6th. That's according to a source familiar with the matter.

Also this afternoon, there's a letter to the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th capitol attack, from the lawyer for Trump ally, Steve Bannon. And he said that Bannon will not comply with the subpoena for documents and testimony.

And the committee's chair and vice chair moments ago filed their response. The committee says they will consider advancing a criminal contempt-of-Congress referral to the Department of Justice.

Joining us now, is Evan Perez, CNN senior justice correspondent. CNN congressional correspondent, Ryan Nobles, here with us as well.

Evan, first to you on the White House's decision to not assert executive privilege. Just fill out what that means.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, what this means is that the White House is saying that whatever claims these four witnesses that have now defied this committee, Mark Meadows, a number of other former Trump allies, that they don't have a ground to stand on.

[14:40:10] That is in the view of the current White House, which from all that we know in the court, they're the ones that hold the power of executive privilege.

Now the former president, former President Trump is claiming that even though he's no longer president, he still can assert that right.

And I have to tell you, there's a lot of uncertainty as to whether that can hold up in court. A lot of this is -- has not been challenged before in court.

So I think we'll have to see in the next few months how this all plays out.

However, it is important that the current president, President Biden is saying in this letter from the White House counsel to the National Archives that the current president is saying that these are extraordinary circumstances.

That these -- this effort by former President Trump and people who supported him to essentially upend the Constitution do not deserve the protection of executive privilege and clearing the way for people to provide documents and to provide testimony.

A big deadline is coming up in the next -- in the next week or so, when these people are now supposed to show up to provide testimony, to be deposed.

That includes Steve Bannon. We know that includes Mark Meadows. We'll see whether they show up or whether they're going to try to claim, as they have said today, that they are going to -- they're going to assert that they have some kind of absolute immunity.

This is something that is going to have to be contested in court -- Victor?

BLACKWELL: Yes. We're a day beyond the deadline for the records for the documents. And the depositions, as you say, are supposed to come up next week.

Let's go to Capitol Hill now. Ryan is there.

On the Select Committee there, we're learning some about which Trump associates are cooperating, which are not and what they're prepared to do. What are you learned?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, I don't know if we could go as far as to use the word cooperating yet. It is not exactly clear as to what level their communicating with the committee.

But we do know, and we reported this earlier in the day, the Select Committee confirmed out reporting that Steve Bannon sent them a letter saying specifically that he planned to not cooperate.

But in a statement the committee put out less than an hour ago, they said that Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff, and Kash Patel, who was a high-level office in the Department of Defense, are engaging with the committee.

Now we don't know if that means full cooperation but, at the very least, it appears there's some level of negotiation for their cooperation.

And the committee also makes it very clear in this statement that they are going to do whatever they can to get cooperation out of these witnesses. And that includes criminal contempt, if it should come to that.

The statement reads, quote, "We will not allow any witness to defy a lawful subpoena or attempt to run out the clock. And we will swiftly consider advancing a criminal contempt-of-Congress referral."

And the running out the clock part is a very important part of this equation, Victor. Because, to Evan's point, there isn't a lot of legal precedent for the arguments that are about to be played out in a court of law.

And it is to benefit of the former President Donald Trump and his associates to throw as many legal barriers in the way, even if they're ultimately going to be unsuccessful.

Because the Select Committee doesn't necessarily have enough time to adjudicate all of these matters and come to a swift conclusion ahead of the midterm elections next year.

So their time frame is short. So the Trump team could run out the clock as long as possible.

And one other note I'll make about the developments today. You'll note, in that statement from the Select Committee, there's one name that is suspiciously absent, they don't even mention it, and that is Dan Scavino, the former deputy White House chief of staff.

As CNN has reported they had been unable to serve him with a subpoena. They don't make any mention about his level of cooperating or not cooperating.

Which tends to make you at least assume that they are still having a difficult time even finding him -- Victor?

BLACKWELL: All right, Ryan Nobles, Evan Perez, thank you both for that.

Let's bring in now CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jennifer Rodgers.

First, let's start with this decision from the White House to say that they're not going to assert executive privilege. How many avenues does that cut off for former President Trump and his allies?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, not all that many. Because it is not a surprise. They didn't assert executive privilege over the emails where it was Jeff Rosen and others talking about what was happening in the days after the election when Trump was trying to have DOJ help him overturn the election.

So I'm not surprised to see them say, again, these are extraordinary events that happened and we are not going to block, as an institutional matter, these records from becoming public and helping Congress to sort out what happened here.

But as Evan and Ryan were just saying, this is all a game about running out the clock in time.


So even though the documents could go over, and that is going to be, I think, helpful to the committee as they try to really especially put forward the timeline of what happened on January 6th, they still need testimony. They still need to find out what was said and done.

That is going to require witnesses. Those folks are going to delay and refuse to come, like Bannon, and then we're in this game of court and running out that clock.

BLACKWELL: And seeing if Republicans take back the House and that would be the end of the committee and the investigation.

Let's talk about Steve Bannon, specifically, because there's a line from Chairman Thompson, Vice Chair Cheney in which they say, "Mr. Bannon indicated that he will try to hide behind vague references to privileges of the former president."

Steve Bannon was a private citizen at the time of the insurrection. What privileges is he covered by, if any?

RODGERS: Absolutely none.


RODGERS: Of all of the four witnesses, he has the least claim to executive privilege. He wasn't part of the administration at this time. So he has no claim.

The problem is there hasn't been litigation about all of this. If this gets to court in a timely manner and a judge is in inclined to sort it out quickly, he will lose quickly.

But that still requires some effort on the part of the judiciary. And a criminal contempt referral turns into a criminal attempt case at DOJ, but I don't expect that would happen here.

So it is still could take some time but the first one to be dismissed.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about the former president himself. CNN has reviewed a letter from an attorney from the former president saying these four should use any privileges or immunities that they can. Does the former executive have executive privilege here in any way?

RODGERS: He doesn't. But -- I don't think he does I should say.


RODGERS: Because, again, this really hasn't been litigated.

The executive privilege is supposed to be an institutional privilege. It protects the presidency as an institution, not a particular president.


RODGERS: So those communications are kept secret. Not so that President Trump could keep it quiet, like you would with an attorney/client privilege.

But because the president, as an institution, needs to have these kinds of communications.

So that is why he doesn't hold that privilege anymore. Biden holds that privilege.

Biden still has an interest in protecting those communications in places where it matters, where it would harm the institution to let them out.

But in this case, when you are talking about the attempted overthrow of our democracy, Biden has properly said, this isn't a case where it is helpful to the country and the institution of the presidency to keep these communications private here, we're going to let them come out.

But again, a court hasn't officially said, for example, a former president doesn't hold the privilege period, and end of sentence, full stop.

So there's nothing really to point to, at this point, other than, as I was saying, the general notion of what the privilege is supposed to be for.

So that is why it is very tough to talk about what the law is and isn't in this area because it really hasn't been litigated.

BLACKWELL: It hasn't been tested.

All right, we understand that White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has just addressed this. Let's listen to this.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was, in many respects, on the attack on the foundations of our democracy. The president is dedicated to make sure something like that could never happen again. Which is why the administration is cooperating with ongoing investigations, including the January 6th Select Committee to bring to light what happened.

As a part of this process, the president has determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not warranted for the first set of documents from the Trump White House that have been provided to us by the National Archives.

As we've said previously, this will be an ongoing process. And this is just the first set of documents. And we will evaluate questions of privilege on case-by-case basis.

But the president has also been clear that he believes it is of the utmost importance for Congress and the American people to have a complete understanding of the events of that day to prevent them from happening again.



BLACKWELL: And I looked over to you and you said, it makes sense.

RODGERS: Yes. Because they should be doing this on case-by-case basis. They want to see what is it that executive privilege might apply to. Does it or not?

They're not doing a blanket "everything about this could come out, we're not going to stop any of this for executive privilege."

They want to re-evaluate it on a case-by-case basis to say, OK, here, we think it's more important that the public knows about this than it is to protect the sanctity of those communications.

So that's how they will continue to evaluate this. And that is the right way to do it.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jennifer Rodgers, thank you.

RODGERS: Thanks.

BLACKWELL: Several dozen people protesting vaccine mandates confront parents walking children to school. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mask your child, you're a child abuser.




BLACKWELL: And FOX News is defending angry parents. We'll have more on this in a moment.





BLACKWELL: A group of anti-vaccine protesters confronted children and parents walking to school in Beverly Hills, California, this week. The protesters accused the parents of traumatizing their kids by having them comply with school rules to wear a mask.

The disturbing incident was caught on video. Watch it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's going to be traumatized if you put that mask on him and you don't let him breathe through it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's traumatizing because you put that mask on him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's my child. That's my child. You better respect my child.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Masking children is child abuse.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You mask your child, you're a child abuser.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You should choose what goes on your child's face, and in your child's body. This is rape. This is rape. They're trying to rape our children.


BLACKWELL: With me now is the host of the "Run Tell This" podcast, Mara Schiavocampo.

Mara, it's unbelievable. Well, I shouldn't say unbelievable because we've seen it before.

They're so concerned about traumatizing children that they're willing to stand on a street corner and shout at them.

MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, JOURNALIST & HOST, "RUN TELL THIS" PODCAST: Yes, and they talk about you're abusing your child. That's what's happening.

You have anti-vaxxers, unvaccinated adults screaming in the face of unvaccinated children, who are not protected by COVID, putting their very health at risk.

Let's be clear on the issue with mask mandates. These individual schools and school districts are required to comply with L.A. County health orders.

So by going directly to the schools and to the parents and doing this, all they're doing is terrorizing the students.

And the person that I spoke with this morning from the school district said that this is having a real effect on the children.

And they are so upset by what's happening, just as they're trying to get to school, that the school is now having to offer them counseling.

I don't see how this helps anything.

BLACKWELL: Yes. If you have a problem with the policy, as we've seen, you can take it to the policy makers. But to shout at the children and the parents as they're walking to school doesn't help them at all.

This week, we know that Attorney General Merrick Garland asked the FBI to address, as he calls them, angry parents. Since then, we've seen a spike in attention to this on FOX News.

Here's what we're seeing.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST, "TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT": It's a propaganda operation funded by you, out of the Department of so-called Justice, designed to tell teachers and school board members that, when parents complain, it's domestic terrorism.

GREG GUTFELD, FOX NEWS HOST, "GUTFELD" & FOX NEWS CO-HOST, "THE FIVE": That's right. A mom yelling at school board members at a public meeting is the same as her donning an explosive vest and blowing up a school.

KALEIGH MCENANY, FOX NEWS HOST, "OUTNUMBERED": Parents have found their voice, and that is unacceptable to the Biden administration. Parents are the problem.


BLACKWELL: What's this about?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Let's be clear about something. The parents will say this is about choice, this is about choice. These parents have choice.

They can spend the money to send their children to a private school where the school aligns more with their personal believes and values. They can dedicate the time and resources to home schooling their


What this is about is public health measures that have been put in place for the greater good. And it's worth noting that, right now, in most school districts there

are at least 10 vaccine mandates, everything from polio to hepatitis, that have been in place forever.

Those who are protesting right now likely had to get all of those vaccines.


SCHIAVOCAMPO: We had to get them, to go to school.


SCHIAVOCAMPO: Nobody had a problem until now.

Now it's been politicized. Now it's about power and control.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Well, every month, FOX News comes up with -- once it was Mr. Potato head, and then it was Dr. Suess, and then it was Wokeness, and now it's the angry parents element.

And let's turn to the former President Donald Trump, disparaging Haitian refugees seeking asylum in the U.S., claiming that Haitians have an AIDS problem, when he was asked about COVID-19 protocols.

Let's listen to the former president.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): We have hundreds of thousands of people flowing in from Haiti. Haiti has a tremendous AIDS problem. AIDS is a step beyond. AIDS is a real bad problem.

So hundreds of thousands of people are coming into our country. If you look the at stats, if you look at numbers, it look at -- just take a look at what's happening in Haiti, a tremendous problem with AIDS.

Many of those people will probably have AIDS and they're coming into our country. And we don't do anything about it. We let everybody come in.

Sean, it's like a death wish. It's like a death wish for our country.


BLACKWELL: No one should be shocked or surprised that the former president says this. This is Mr. "S-hole" country.

This is also the president, in 2017, who denied that he said something like this before, that all Haitians have AIDS.

But we should not just skip over it or get used to it because he is the presumptive frontrunner for the nomination in 2024.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Yes. If I could just start with one important side note. Men and women living with HIV and AIDS are deserving of dignity and respect.


SCHIAVOCAMPO: They don't deserve to be spoken about this way.

When it comes to this issue, specifically, Trump's brand is fear of the other. That's how he launched his campaign in 2015 with Mexicans as rapists.

One of his very first moves as presidents was to ban those coming from Muslim countries.

The only kind of immigration Trump seems to be OK with is Melania Trump version, right, nice white people coming from white counties. And brown people coming from brown countries are coming here to hurt you.


That is rhetoric as old as this country. This is not a new playbook. But it is very, very effective. He has seen how effective it has been. And he's pulling out the old trump card. And he will again.

BLACKWELL: And this "Haitians have AIDS" stigma is not new either for this country.