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American Missionaries Kidnapped in Haiti; U.S. Extradites Alex Saab and Citgo 6 Arrested; Tribute for Sir David Amess; China Condemns U.S. and Canada for Sending Warships at Taiwan Strait; China's Economy Slows Down; U.S COVID Rates Declining, Virus Not Yet Under Control. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired October 18, 2021 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I am Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, the details on the hunt for kidnap missionaries in Haiti now that a source there says police believe they know who is responsible.
Plus, disappointing economic news out of China. We are live in Hong Kong, with the latest.
And promising signs that the U.S. is gaining ground on the war on COVID. But Dr. Fauci says not so fast.
Thanks for joining us. Well we are learning new details about the kidnapping of a group of missionaries in Haiti and the gang that Haitian security forces say is behind it. Sixteen Americans and one Canadian were abducted on Saturday after visiting an orphanage east of Port-au-Prince.
The U.S. organization Christian Aid Ministries says as five children were among the group. A Haitian security source says a powerful gang called 400 Mawozo is believed to be responsible and has a history of kidnappings.
Journalist Stefano Pozzebon is tracking developments, and then joins us now live. Good to see you, Stefano. So, what more are you learning about this kidnapping and of course, the group authority says behind it?
STEFANO POZZEBON: Yes, Rosemary, it came to no surprise that Haitian authorities believe that these powerful gang, the 400 Mawozo are behind these shocking kidnapping that occurred early on Saturday. The gang, the 400 Mawozo are one of the largest and most fearsome organized crime groups in the underworld of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
And as so often happens in these part of the world in Latin America and the Caribbean, organized crime group exercise territorial control of neighborhoods and slams around the major cities. That means that they control whoever enters, whoever gets out, the local racketeering trafficking of drugs, and in this case, kidnapping for ransom.
As that group of Christian missionaries from North America were visiting an orphanage in an area that is known to be controlled by the gang. It's a neighborhood north of Port-au-Prince called Croix-des- Bouquets. The local authorities believe that these one, which is one of the most powerful and fearsome gangs in Haiti are behind the kidnappings.
And as a sign of how the situation in Haiti really has been deteriorating, Rosemary, over the last few months. This gang is also, responsible, according to local authorities, for the kidnappings of a group of truck drivers from the Dominican Republic just a few months ago, with gang who are more and more daring in their criminal action getting to the point of kidnapping an entire group of western missionaries. And the situation is deteriorating. And in fact, Haitian people, local people from Haitians have started to take things on their hands, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. And Stefano, I mean, this is a big problem. There is not -- there are union calls for a strike to protest the spike in kidnappings. What is the latest on that?
POZZEBON: Yes, correct, Rosemary. We are waiting in a few hours in Port-au-Prince. One of the leading transport workers union will be leading an indefinite strike against the rising of violence and kidnappings. Of course, drivers and workers who work in transportation are among the group that are most targeted for ransom kidnappings in Haiti.
But the fact that this union has called for a strike to put pressure on authorities to take the bull on the horns and try to stem off the rising violence. To show you, Rosemary, that these latest accident involving 17 North Americans has only brought to the forefront a situation that is being felt tragically by every Haitian and most foreigners who live in Haiti over the last few years.
With the security situation deteriorating due to corruption, mismanagement, economic crisis, and natural calamities. And just this summer, the tragic homicide of a former president, Jovenel Moise. All of these causes, together combined to create a power vacuum in Port- au-Prince and the rest of the country that these gangs have only been too eager to occupy with the effect that they now brought forward in these tragic development.
And there is a frantic hours as U.S. authorities are telling CNN that the FBI is working around the clock to try to bring those 16 Americans and one Canadian citizens back home, but the authorities don't have still any idea of where these missionaries might be, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. That is a problem indeed. Stefano Pozzebon bringing us up to date on the situation. Many thanks. Well, officials in Haiti are in touch with Canadian authorities, as well as the U.S. State Department in the urgent search to locate the missionaries. CNN's Kylie Atwood has more from Washington.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: A Christian aid organization based in Ohio confirming that there were 16 Americans and one Canadian, 17 in total missionaries in Haiti who were abducted by a gang over the weekend.
Now, they were there working at an orphanage. They were kidnapped when they were doing the work, leaving that orphanage, headed to a place just north of Port-au-Prince. Now, I am told the U.S. government according to a senior U.S. government official, doesn't know the current location of those Americans who have been kidnapped.
They are working around the clock, State Department officials, FBI officials, to try and figure out where they are and of course, how to secure their release. Now, officially, the State Department's spokesperson saying that they are aware of the reports not going much further with regards to details.
We are waiting to see if the White House comments on this. But, the State Department travel advisory for Haiti says do not travel. That is for all Americans. They suggest that they don't travel to Haiti particularly because of these kidnappings. That travel advisory sites kidnapping. And we should note that kidnappings in Haiti have been on the rise in the last few months.
Since July, they have risen 300 percent. And of course, that doesn't include this latest development over the weekend with these 16 Americans, kidnapped. Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.
CHUCH: And as we heard, the kidnapping of 17 missionaries in Haiti is just the latest in a surge of lawlessness being fueled by gangs specifically, the 400 Mawozo. Earlier, we spoke about the deteriorating security situation with Amy Wilentz, author and contributing editor of "The Nation."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMY WILENTZ, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, THE NATION: Of course, they are territorial like any gangs. So, and there are many of them. There are big gangs and little gangs. This happens to be the one involved in this incident, a very, very big gang that has branches throughout Haiti. It's one of the biggest employers in Haiti right now other than the government.
And, all of the gangs put together are probably the second biggest employer right now in Haiti. And that's the kind of situation the economy is in. But beyond that, these gangs have, you know, undercover relationships with political figures, political parties, and this is not new in Haiti, but its way worse than it's ever been. And these are real, real gangs with heavy weapons and real vehicles that they can take in anywhere. They have tons of SUVs and it's a very scary situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHUCH: The extradition of a Columbian businessmen is fueling the
latest standoff between the U.S. and Venezuela. Alex Saab is due in a Florida court in the coming hours as he faces charges of money laundering. He is a close aide to Venezuelan strongman, Nicolas Maduro and Maduro supporters are protesting the extradition.
Meanwhile, Venezuela appears to be retaliating against a group of detained Americans. CNN's Rafael Romo has more on the fate of the CITGO 6.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN: The group of five U.S. citizens and one permanent U.S. resident were imprisoned only hours after a businessman close to Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was extradited from Cape Verde to the United States leading many to think that it was a retaliation move by Venezuela's socialist regime.
The group is known as the CITFGO 6 because they are all former executives of the CITGO petroleum Corporation. They were arrested in 2017 in Caracas on embezzlement charges, which they deny.
And had been under house arrest since May. Two attorneys who have been working to get all six released, told CNN Sunday that they are now being held at Helicoide prison in Caracas, the capital. This is the same prison where former defense minister and general, Raul Isaias Baduel, considered by many a political prisoner, died at Tuesday of COVID-19.
According to the Coalition for Human Rights, an NGO, 20 inmates have tested positive for the virus at the prison where the CITGO 6 are now being held. The family of Jose Angel Pereira, one of the six, posted a video where he says, he was afraid that if taken to prison again, it would be under the worst conditions possible.
Pereira also said he wanted to record his testimony because he was very worried. Many in the Venezuelan opposition say this is nothing more than a retaliation move for Alex Saab's extradition Saturday from Cape Verde to the United States.
Saab is a Colombian businessman close to Maduro, who is suspected to appear in court Monday in Florida after being indicted in the U.S. He also faces money laundering, and fraud charges, in his native Colombia. Why isn't the Venezuelan government protesting his extradition? Because, it means that one of President Maduro's closest confidants may be available for interrogation by U.S., authorities someone who knows the ins and outs of a totalitarian regime. Raphael Romo, CNN, Mexico City.
CHUCH: Britain's parliament will pay tribute to MP David Amess in the House of Commons in the coming hours. Members are also expected to discuss what can be done to prevent a tragedy like his murder from happening again.
Sir David was fatally stabbed while meeting with his constituents on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, England. Police are treating the case as a terrorist incident. The suspect was arrested at the scene. A government source says he is a 25-year-old British national of Somali heritage named Ali Harbi Ali.
Amess' family, meantime, has released a statement about his brutal killing. They said, and I'm quoting, "The family would like to thank everyone for the wonderful, wonderful tributes paid to David following his cruel and violent death. It truly has brought us so much comfort. The support shown by friends, constituents, and the general public alike has been so overwhelming. As a family, it has given us strength."
The Taiwan Strait remains a flashpoint between the U.S. and China. And this time, Canada is getting involved. Beijing is furious after reports the U.S. and Canada each sent a warship into the strait last week. The People's Liberation Army says the move threatens peace and security. This latest round of gunboat diplomacy comes after China's own show of force. Beijing has flown dozens of warplanes near Taiwan in recent weeks.
Well, meantime, China's economy grew only 4.9 percent in the third quarter. It's weakest expansion in a year. The country has been able to rebound from pandemic difficulties but seems to be losing steam amid a multitude of problems including supply chain issues, COVID outbreaks and energy shortages.
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now live from Hong Kong with the latest on this. Good to see you Kristie. So, let's look and little closer at what's behind China's weakest rate of expansion in a year and what impact this will likely have on the region and indeed the world?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, the global economic growth is slowing down. That was confirmed last week when the IMF released its report. It revised down economic growth forecast globally. And then today we've learned that China is announcing that its economy is slowing down to the form of this third quarter GDP report announced earlier today that its economy grew 4.9 percent in the third quarter compare to the same period a year ago.
That is a sharp slowdown from the 7.9 percent growth it achieved in the previous quarter. China is facing quite a number of economic challenges. You have weal consumer spending due in part to ongoing delta flare-ups throughout the country. You also have the energy crisis which is worsening due to the record high prices of coal, China's main source of energy.
As a result, there have been power outages across China that has forced China to ration electricity in 20 provinces. It's also forced factories to suspend production, which has been a hit on industrial production inside the country. And on top of that, you have the Evergrande debt crisis.
Evergrande is of course, the Hong Kong listed property giant, China's most heavily indebted developer, with over $300 billion worth of liabilities. And its fate and future has been weighing on global markets and causing a lot of concern about a potential spillover effect into the real estate market in China, which is equivalent to about 30 percent of China's GDP.
And also its impact on the greater economy. Before today, the recorded GDP report came out already. Economist across the region were revising
downwards their economic forecasts for China including Aidan Yao. He's a senior economist with AXA. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AIDAN YAO, ECONOMIST, AXA INVESTMENT MANAGERS: I think the data suggests that the multiple head winds facing the Chinese economy at the moment. Some of which are temporary, some of them could be more long-lasting. I think the key long term challenge here is the housing market breakdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Now earlier today, we did hear from the spokesperson of China's National Bureau of Statistics and he insisted that China's property market will be able to maintain steady growth. Last week, we heard from (inaudible), China's premier who acknowledge these economic challenges that China is facing and said that China has the tools to be able to cope with these challenges. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to our Kristie Lu Stout joining us live from Hon Kong. Appreciate it.
Well, still to come, the U.S. is making progress against the coronavirus, but with winter approaching experts say those gains could disappear.
Plus, former U.S. President Bill Clinton is now out of the hospital. What his doctors are saying about his recovery from sepsis.
CHURCH: The U.S. is gaining ground on its fight against COVID-19. The rates of new cases is improving, fewer COVID patients are in hospitals, and deaths are down compared to a month ago. Plus, the CDC says 57 percent of Americans are now fully vaccinated. But winter is on the way which means more people gathering indoors. It's also cold and flu season. Dr. Anthony Fauci says we could see another coronavirus surge if more people don't get vaccinated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERG AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're going in the right direction. The problem is as we all know, we still have approximately 66 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not vaccinated. The degree to which we continue to come down in that slope will depend on how well we do about getting more people vaccinated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And Dr. Fauci also says Americans can enjoy the holidays with family this year, if everyone is fully vaccinated. Joining me now from Los Angeles is Dr. Jorge Rodriguez. He is a board certified internal medicine specialist and viral researcher. Thank you doctor for all that you do.
JORGE RODRIGUEZ, INTERNAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST & VIRAL RESEARCHER: Thank you, Rosemary. Glad to be here.
CHURCH: So, according to CDC data, 57 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which is nearly 67 percent of eligible Americans 12 years and older. And 35 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents.
And as we just heard from Dr. Fauci, he says we are heading in the right direction, but 66 million Americans are still not vaccinated. So, how do we encourage more people to get their shots? And do we need to learn to live with COVID?
RODRIGUEZ: Well let's start off by -- I know that Dr. Anthony Fauci and everybody is trying to put a positive spin on this, but when you look at this, that is not a good number. And I think we just need to be realistic. Right now, yes things are better, but we still have 85,000, you know, cases a day and if this starts ramping up when we are at this high-level, we are in deep trouble for the winter.
So, 57 percent or whatever, you know, it is total vaccination, you know, that's an F. There are other countries that are at 100 percent, Portugal for example, Australia just opened up their vaccination program a few months ago and they are at 80 percent. So, we can do better. We must do better.
And are we going to have to learn to live with COVID? To some degree, I think that everybody that is in science is in agreement that this is going to become an endemic infection. Meaning that it is not going to be all over the world eventually, but it will be in hotspots. So, are going to have to learn that sometimes it's going to flare up where we live and we are going to have to have more restrictions unless people, you know, just sort of like ante up, man, and start taking this vaccine here in the United States.
CHURCH: Yes. I don't know why some people are so afraid to get that shot. It is extraordinary. And doctor, an FDA advisory panel recommends that the 14 million people who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine need to get a second dose after two months. What's your reaction to this and does it mean that all those who got their first J&J shot many months ago are maybe no longer protected against the virus?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, my first reaction is it's about time that they recommend that because studies are showing that 6 or 7 months after, you know, the people who have gotten the J&J vaccine their protection is maybe down to 3 percent, maybe in the single digits. And people are saying, well, you know, those vaccines don't work. The correct response is wow! Look how great science is that they are able to get us this information so quickly so that we can do something about it. So yes, the recommendation by the FDA panel is that anyone who has had a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago will require another booster. Anyone of any age, of any disease state, immunocompromised or not.
CHURCH: And doctor, an NIH study shows that mixing and matching booster shots could be effective. So, would it make better sense perhaps for recipients of the first J&J shot to get a Moderna or Pfizer booster instead of the J&J option?
RODRIGUEZ: Well, you know, what the final verdict on that is still out. I know a lot of people have gone ahead and gotten it, you know, even though that isn't the recommendation.
Right now, they should follow the recommendation in the future when we know more. When we know more the recommendation maybe hey, you can mix and match if you had Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer and you get a Moderna, that's really going to increase your booster.
Again, it is incredible that we are getting this information in realtime. But right now, FDA approves it, and if the CDC approves it, people that got J&J should get their J&J booster fairly soon.
CHURCH: And of course, we know 65 an above have been receiving their booster shots. Dr. Fauci said there is promising evidence from Israel that those between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age benefit from getting a booster shot of Moderna or Pfizer. Do you agree with that?
RODRIGUEZ: I wholeheartedly agree with that. I actually think that the data is going to show that people even younger than that should get the booster. At first, people didn't get the vaccines, not all people got the vaccines because we were limited as to how many we had. So we gave it to population that were at greatest risk.
Now that people have gotten the vaccines, I think it doesn't matter your age if there is a surplus the vaccination, which some of these countries, some of our countries are very, you know, lucky to have that, then the booster should be given to anyone. And it's the time span since the last booster that should be the determinant if there is a surplus and enough to go around.
CHURCH: Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, always great to talk with you, many thanks.
CHURCH: Well, former U.S. President Bill Clinton is now recovering at home after spending five days in a California hospital. He was treated for sepsis after a urinary tract infection spread to his bloodstream. Clinton was seen walking out of hospital Sunday morning along with his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He gave a thumbs up when someone asked how he was feeling.
Well days of rain have led to deadly flooding and landslides in southern India. We will have a live update from the CNN Weather Center on when the rain might let out. We'll be back in just a moment.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN HOST: Rescue operations are underway in India after deadly flooding in the state of Kerala. At least 22 people have been killed after landslides were triggered by days of rain. The Indian military is flying in emergency supplies and personnel to the hardest hit areas. And CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri has been watching this very closely. Pedram, what are you seeing?
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Rosemary you know we're going on four consecutive years, we've had flooding across the state take place and unfortunately this has been happening every single year, typically in the month of August. This time around we're seeing it in the month of October as the monsoons culminate here with tremendous amount of rainfall that has kind of ushered in across this region.
And we have had a disturbance just offshore that's fueled the monsoonal moisture in place. But you see the images here in recent days, rainfall amount estimates are somewhere between 200 millimeters to 300 millimeters. And again, when you bring that much rainfall down in a matter of just a couple of days, or in some cases a matter of just a couple of hours, it quickly becomes problematic.
But there's the culprit across the Arabian Sea, we do have a system parked offshore. Again I string in that tropical moisture into portions of Kerala and this is the concern moving forward because we do expect the monsoons to gradually shift a little farther towards the south. The hatch line here is indicative of where the moisture typically is this time of year. And all of that again by the month of November, typically moves out of here, but you take a look.
90 percent across portions of India, 90 percent of the annual rainfall comes down during the monsoon season. So seeing heavy rainfall this time of year is not unusual. But the amounts of it again, in a matter of few days across portions of the south and west have been really the most problematic. And the concern here is that the forecast does keep about a 60 percent to 80 percent chance for rainfall each of the next three days across this region.
We don't expect it to be quite as heavy, but it is certainly going to continue. Notice, off towards the north and east, another round of heavy rainfall across eastern areas of India into portions of Bangladesh as well set to continue, Rosemary and rainfall amounts here could even be more significant 200 millimeters to 300 millimeters expected to come down so the monsoon is certainly going out with a bang across portions of India. Rosie
CHURCH: All right. Pedram, thank you so much for keeping a very close eye on all of that. Appreciate it. Well, space travel seems to be the hot new trend this season. Coming up, we will talk with veteran astronauts about the worldwide Space Race and whether he believes in aliens and flying saucers. Back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Retired U.S. astronaut, Scott Kelly first went to space more than 20 years ago. And between 2015 and 2016, Kelly spent nearly a year aboard the International Space Station, he's been at the Dubai 2020 Expo and spoke with CNN Scott McLean, about politics, living without gravity, and sending tourists to space.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I just wonder if you think that all of this focus that we have right now in space tourism and commercial flight is sort of detracting from the broader goals that humans have in space?
SCOTT KELLY, RETIRED ASTRONAUT: I know it's cliche, but space is pretty big. And I think there's room for both, you know, I think, you know, governments can do the hard stuff, you know, go back to the moon, go to Mars. Companies like, you know, SpaceX, Blue Origin, other, maybe others that, you know, are just getting started can take over access to low Earth orbit and build a space station.
And then that, you know, frees up the resources for the governments to do the harder things.
MCLEAN: Should we be sending people to live on other planets?
KELLY: I would see Sunday, people living on Mars. Now me personally, having spent nearly a year in a module inside would not want to spend the rest of my life on Mars, but I would certainly be willing to visit as long as I had a pretty good chance of coming home.
MCLEAN: Even if it took a year or two to get there.
KELLY: I can do two years no problem.
MCLEAN: Russia is planning to start their own space station. China is doing its own thing. The Emiratis are sending a probe to Mars. Do you think that the era where everyone was sort of a big happy family of Earthlings out in space, do you think that era is passed?
KELLY: No, I think we -- it still kind of exists on the International Space Station. I mean, I've spent, you know, 500 - over 500 days in space with cosmonauts, Russian guys, you know, people that their government, their country, we sometimes don't get along with very well, sometimes we get along with them better, but it never - those, you know, earthly political tensions never transmit the space, because what's important to us is, you know, supporting each other, being friends, helping each other with our jobs and literally relying on each other for our lives.
MCLEAN: But if the Russians leave, you might not have that same kind of dynamic with countries that maybe don't get along on earth up in space?
KELLY: I don't think they'll leave.
MCLEAN: You think that they're bluffing?
KELLY: Every few years, they say they're going to leave? And so far they haven't.
MCLEAN: Do you think that the United States should be inviting China onto the International Space Station?
KELLY: That's a complex question.
KELLY: It's a political question?
KELLY: Because there's a, you know, our government has, you know, issues with human rights violations, issues with technology transfer, or so, that's the challenge there.
MCLEAN: The government has similar issues with the Russians.
KELLY: Our government does.
KELLY: Yes. But --
MCLEAN: Alexey Navalny. Exhibit A.
KELLY: Yes, exactly. But I am not, I don't work for the government. So it's not for me to decide.
MCLEAN: But just broadly speaking, you know, do you wouldn't it be nice for sort of global cooperation to have everyone on board and kind of put the earth differences aside?
KELLY: I think it would be yes. But that's not for me to decide.
MCLEAN: Gotcha. So if you were making the decisions, you'd invite the Chinese.
KELLY: I'm not saying that. I would have to look into it more and understand more the issues involved.
MCLEAN: Do you believe in UFOs?
KELLY: You mean like aliens?
KELLY: Like flying saucers?
KELLY: That visit this planet?
MCLEAN: Why not?
KELLY: Because I don't believe in it. I think the distances are too great, the physics involved are, you know, the nearest earth like planet if we went as fast as we could it would take 80,000 years to get there.
MCLEAN: So you haven't seen any piece of video that convinces you otherwise? Everything is explainable?
KELLY: When you're flying in space. When you're flying in an airplane in certain weather conditions, there are a lot of optical illusions. So I think I'm not saying the people, especially the military people that claim to see something that doesn't make sense as far as their understanding of technology. I'm not doubting that that's what they think they saw. But I'm very skeptical that that is some kind of alien spacecraft.
I think it's a little outrageous, to be honest with you.
MCLEAN: Someone asked you on Twitter in January, if you'd run for the U.S. Senate in Texas versus Ted, Ted Cruz, and you said, maybe. Were you joking?
KELLY: Yes, I was joking.
MCLEAN: You're never running for the Senate.
KELLY: I was joking. My brother's the senator. That is not me, sometimes confused with me. But he's the U.S. senator from Arizona.
MCLEAN: But I just want to clarify 100 percent you will never run for U.S. Senate?
KELLY: I would never say never on just about anything.
MCLEAN: You might run for U.S. senate?
KELLY: I am not saying that.
MCLEAN: Should they take it down from your Wikipedia page?
KELLY: Someone should probably remove that from my wiki Wikipedia page. Definitely not in 2024.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Very interesting. Thanks for joining us here on CNN Newsroom. World Sport is next for international viewers. And for viewers in the U.S., I'll be right back with more.
CHURCH: The House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection is planning to vote this week on whether to pursue criminal contempt charges against Steve Bannon. The Trump loyalist is refusing to comply with a subpoena from the committee.
He claims he can't testify or provide documents because former President Trump is covered by executive privilege. Legal experts dispute that. CNN's Tom Foreman has more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is not ready to speak to Congress about the violence of January 6. But Steve Bannon is talking plenty on his daily podcast whipping his followers into a frenzy.
STEVE BANNON, THE WAR ROOM PODCAST: Elections have consequences. Stolen elections have catastrophic consequences. And that's what we're seeing in this country right now. And we need your blood to boil. We need to be in a situation, you're not going to back down OK?
FOREMAN: He's done it all along. He appeared to confirm reports the just days before the insurrection he was on the phone with Donald Trump discussing how to kill the Biden presidency in the crib.
BANNON: Yes, because of its legitimacy. 42 percent of the American people, 42 percent of the American people think that Biden did not win the presidency legitimately. We told you from the very beginning, just expose it. Just expose it. Never back down, never give up. And this thing will implode.
FOREMAN: Promoting the big lie of election fraud fits Bannon's long- standing affection for radical right wing theories and his apparent appetite for conflict.
BANNON: If you think they're going to give you your country back without a fight, you're sadly mistaken.
FOREMAN: Take his fascination with the book, The Fourth Turning, which argues every 80 years or so, cataclysmic upheavals, are necessary to political and social realignment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turnings are like the seasons, every turning is necessary.
FOREMAN: Bannon was so taken with the idea he made a movie about it savaging liberals, blasting traditional governments. And as one film critic put it, pushing a clear message. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bring on the apocalypse. There's an almost fetishistic desire to see everything blow up. It's almost like he's inviting a cleansing fire to just raise the edifice, raise the institutions. I think it's that dramatic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steve Bannon is over here. Steve Bannon.
FOREMAN: Bannon's turns in the spotlight have not always thrilled his most famous boss, who was reportedly annoyed when Bannon showed up on the cover of Time, which Trump clearly craves. He was pushed out of Trump's immediate orbits, but never far away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would love to know what advice you would give to Donald Trump if he didn't leave, even after he lost because I saw Hillary Clinton.
BANNON: You're obsessed with this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am obsessed with this. Wait a second.
BANNON: You're obsessed with this. Why do you think he's not going to leave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wait a second. Because he's an insane narcissist.
FOREMAN: And since the uprising Bannon has been firmly in the losing candidate's corner, trotting out guests to insist the riot was the work of Antifa and undercover federal agents.
RUDY GIULIANI, FMR TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: 226 Antifa members were tasked with making that - what should have been a peaceful protest a riot.
FOREMAN: And insisting prosecutors are dead wrong to say these are Trump's and his people.
BANNON: Either they're totally incompetent, or they're lying to you. Right? Either they're totally incompetent or they're lying to you. They're either totally incompetent, or they're lying to you. Pick them.
FOREMAN: There are no facts to back that up. But listen to Brandon's podcast, watch his interviews and you will see he has very little use for facts unless they support this notion that America as we know it must end. So America as he would have it can begin. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And while the House Committee decides how to deal with Bannon, some members are not ruling out the possibility of issuing a subpoena to Trump himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): If we subpoena all the sudden, the former president we know that's going to become kind of a circus. So that's not necessarily something we want to do up front. But if he has pieces of information we need, we certainly will.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA): One thing that we are very uniform on that Democrats and Republicans on the Select committee is that no one is off the table. We will go where we need to go to get the evidence that we need to present to the American people and write a definitive report of the terror of that day and what we need to do to protect the country going forward. And one of the biggest black boxes in terms of the unknowns is Donald Trump's role.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And retired U.S. Army officer Alexander Vindman was a key witness in Donald Trump's first impeachment trial. The Lieutenant Colonel testified about Trump's campaign to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Vindman was asked Sunday, if this House Select Committee is the final chance to hold Trump accountable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN (RET): If Trump and his cronies are not held accountable, this becomes a rehearsal for a future insurrection. We need accountability to deal with the crimes, the criminal activity from the previous administration to be able to expose the big lie of stolen elections to expose the President's wrongdoing, to expose the corruption of his proxies.
And if we do that, we could start chipping away at the big lie, we could start bringing this country back together, bring and with that, move ahead. Without accountability, we can't do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Joining me from Los Angeles is Jessica Levinson. She is a professor of law at Loyola law school and the host of the Passing Judgment podcast. Great to have you with us.
JESSICA LEVINSON, PROFESSOR OF LAW, LOYOLA LAW SCHOOL: Good to be here.
CHURCH: So the January 6 committee will begin the process of holding Steve Bannon in criminal contempt this week for refusing to comply with his subpoena because he's unwilling to talk to Congress about what he said to former President Donald Trump ahead of the violence on that day January 6.
Despite being fired by Trump in 2017, Bannon claims his conversations with the former president are protected under executive privilege. What's your view on that? And what will likely happen given he is a vital witness here?
LEVINSON: My view is that Steve Bannon has a very weak argument for executive privilege for a couple of reasons. As you mentioned, he wasn't actually a member of the executive branch when all of these conversations took place. In fact, he left in 2017. So has a court specifically said that if you're no longer a member of the White House, you absolutely cannot claim executive privilege? No.
But we know based on the doctrine of executive privilege, that this is already a tenuous claim. Add to that the fact that he really is trying to piggyback off of former President Trump's claim of executive privilege. And we've already seen what the Biden White House has said, with respect to some of those claims. The Biden White House in a very specific letter, and I'm - I'm paraphrasing here said, look, you don't get to try and subvert the constitution and then wrap yourself in the protections of the constitution.
Executive privilege, it's not specifically written in our Constitution. It is a doctrine that judges recognize. It basically says, if you are the president, and you want to have free and unfettered conversations with some of your senior counsel, then we want you to be able to do that, particularly if there are national security interests at stake.
But we're going to balance that against the public's right to know. There was an insurrection in the Capitol. I believe there was an attempted coup, the public has a right to know what happened.
CHURCH: And Jessica, Republican Adam Kinzinger isn't ruling out the January 6 committee issuing a subpoena for Donald Trump. Now surely, that would have to happen no matter what, given his role inciting the mob just before the insurrection.
LEVINSON: It's hard to imagine that you could piece together every aspect of this story and not call former President Trump and get him under oath. It's also hard to imagine, frankly, that he would comply with that. And we know having seen the first impeachment and the second impeachment, that when you fight the subpoenas that you can basically win, even if you have a losing legal argument.
That you can imagine, they would say, of course we should hear from former President Trump. Look, a lot of the information we need to know is publicly available. But there are still some parts of the story that I think we all deserve to hear. This is our country, our constitution that was at risk, our government that was under siege. But if President Trump - former President Trump drags this out in Congress, and then in the courts, this is a problem if you were the House Democrats and you've said I want to wrap up our work by early spring.
It's the same reason Steve Bannon, as we're talking about before, could win even though he has a leap - weak argument basically just play up the clock here.
CHURCH: And on another issue, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic nominee in the Virginia race for governor held a grassroots event with fellow Democrat Stacey Abrams in Northern Virginia, Sunday. She is of course a heavy hitter here, using national issues to inspire voters. So what does that indicate about where McAuliffe is in this race and how critical it is for the Democrats? [02:55:00]
LEVINSON: It indicates that it's critical and that in fact, this is neck and neck. So you don't have Stacey Abrams come if you are ahead in the polls by 10 or 15 percentage points. It shows that Democrats are trying to put on the map, not just in the - in the Senate, not just in Congress, but also in gubernatorial mansions, the idea of voting rights, then that's really her key issue here.
And it's important who is in the governor's mansion, who is the chief executive in states because we know that matters for issues like redistricting, and obviously, a whole host of other issues that matter for Democrats. But the more you see people have come in and campaign for you. The more we can read into that that it means you need them and you need their help. And that's what the polls indicate here.
CHURCH: Jessica Levinson, always great to chat with you. Appreciate it.
LEVINSON: Thank you.
CHURCH: Police in Chicago have been told they can't take time off right now as a standoff over the city's vaccine policy threatens to cut their numbers in half. Officers are now required to disclose their vaccine status or risk being placed on unpaid leave. The Police Union is fighting the vaccine mandate calling it an overreach.
And in Minnesota, a nurses strike temporarily closed an emergency room at one hospital in Plymouth. About 50 nurses went on strike seeking fair pay and benefits for those on the front lines of the COVID pandemic. The closure will last three days according to a statement.
I'm Rosemary Church. More news after this quick break, stay with us.