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Kyle Rittenhouse Trial; Infrastructure Negotiations; Live Round Fired On Deadly Movie Set Shooting. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired October 27, 2021 - 15:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota. It's the top of the hour.


A just-released after David reveals new details about how guns were handled on the set of the Alec Baldwin movie "Rust," where a filmmaker was accidentally shot to death last week.

A local prosecutor in New Mexico said short time ago that no one has been ruled out in terms of criminal charges for the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Now, you're looking at what may be the final photo on set of Hutchins. And this afternoon, the DA and the sheriff, they held a news conference, the first one on this case.


QUESTION: As the man who pulled the trigger and as a producer on the movie, does Alec Baldwin himself face the potential of criminal charges?

MARY CARMACK-ALTWIES, NEW MEXICO FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY: All options are on the table at this point. I'm not taking -- I'm not commenting on charges, whether they will be filed or not or on whom.

No one has been ruled out at this point.


CAMEROTA: The sheriff also revealed that investigators extracted the suspected live round that he believes killed Hutchins from the shoulder of Joel Souza, who's the director of "Rust."

The sheriff also said that 600 pieces of evidence were collected from the scene, including 500 rounds of ammunition, describing them as a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what are suspected to be live rounds.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov is in New Mexico with more on this new search warrant. Lucy, what are you learning from it?


Well, we know from this press conference and from court documents that at least three people handled the gun that was used in that accidental shooting. They were Alec Baldwin, who was rehearsing for the scene when the gun went off. They were also Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the head armorer in charge of prop safety, and assistant director Dave Halls, who, according to an earlier affidavit, shouted "cold gun" when bringing the weapon to Mr. Baldwin, which should have indicated that it was safe to use.

Now, in this newly released search warrant, which I should say the deputy on the scene describes his conversations with Halls and Gutierrez. These are not exact transcripts. These are the conversations as the deputy remembers them.

But in his interview with Halls -- I'm going to read you a portion -- it says: "During an interview with David Halls, when the detective asked David about the safety protocol on set in regards to firearms, he advised: 'I check the barrel for obstructions. Most of the time, there's no live fire. And she," referring to Hannah Gutierrez, "opens the hatch and spins the drum, and I say 'cold gun on set.'"

Now, "David advised when Hannah showed him the firearm before continuing rehearsal, he could only remember seeing three rounds. He advised that he should have checked all of them, but didn't and could not recall if she spun the drum."

Now, the detective also spoke to Hannah Gutierrez. She told him, according to the affidavit, that on the day of the incident, she checked her -- quote -- "dummies," these are blank bullets, and ensured they were not hot rounds.

When asked about live ammo on set, Hannah responded: "No live ammo is ever kept on set."

Obviously, this is going to be a big focus of the investigation. The investigation is still continuing. We have learned that Alec Baldwin had been interviewed multiple times. And we know from authorities that all three individuals who handled that weapon have been fully cooperating with the police, guys.

BLACKWELL: So, the presence of three rounds there, in that case...

CAMEROTA: That's not a cold gun.

BLACKWELL: How is that a cold gun? Any explanation there?

KAFANOV: That's a question for investigators.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I know the investigation continues.

KAFANOV: That's a question for investigators and authorities.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you this about Hannah Gutierrez.

We understand that you have got some new details about accusations of mishandling guns on a previous film. Tell us about that.


KAFANOV: Yes, so we know that this movie, "Rust," was the second time that she worked as the armorer, the person in charge of safety.

The previous one was a film with Nicolas Cage. It was called "The Old Way." Now, two crew members told CNN that she was the lead armorer on the side and she -- quote -- "mishandled weapons." A key grip on the film "Old Way" told CNN that she handled the guns on the set of that project in a reckless manner. He actually even urged the film's assistant director to fire her.

He said -- quote -- "There's a universal way to handle weapons on set. And, immediately, red flags went up when I worked with Hannah. That is why I asked for her dismissal. This is why people get injured, because of rookie mistakes."

He described an incident in which Gutierrez actually fired a gun near Nicolas Cage without warning. He described Nicolas Cage as shouting: "Make an announcement. You just blew my 'expletive' eardrums out," and then walked off set, according to the source who spoke to CNN.

So we have reached out to the film producers for comments. We have not gotten a response just yet, guys.

BLACKWELL: All right, Lucy Kafanov off in Santa Fe, thank you.

Let's go to Washington now. Democrats, who cannot agree on what goes in the president's spending bill, are now still trying to decide how to pay for it. Senator Joe Manchin, one of the two moderates trying to lower overall cost, among other things, is now pushing back on the idea of taxing billionaires as an option to pay for it.

CAMEROTA: Well, that didn't take long.


CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, dozens of progressive House members are threatening to tank the bipartisan infrastructure bill again.

CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill.

Manu, are they getting further apart now?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is really just hard to say. But what is very clear is that there are serious divisions on the policy and on the strategy, and both of which can sink both bills, both the larger package to expand the social safety net to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into efforts to combat climate change, and that separate bipartisan infrastructure bill, $1.2 trillion. That already passed the Senate. It's been awaiting action in the House. But because of the division over strategy, it's uncertain if that infrastructure bill can get the votes.

Now, the Democratic leaders in the House, Steny Hoyer just told me moments ago that he wants a vote tomorrow on that infrastructure bill. And he's calling on Joe Biden to come and talk to House progressives and tell them that they should vote for this bill, assuming they can get an agreement, at least an outline of an agreement on that larger bill.

But an outline of agreement is just simply not enough for the progressives. They actually want legislative language. And they actually want that bill to actually pass the House before they agree to vote yes for that infrastructure bill.

And that's a process that could potentially take weeks.

And, moments ago, I caught up with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is a progressive in the caucus, and who is making it very clear that she's not ready to vote for that infrastructure bill, even if the president urged her to do so, because she wants to see the details of the legislation on the larger bill. Listen.


RAJU: So, a framework is not sufficient for you?

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): No, I mean, we have had frameworks for six months, and we have seen how much those frameworks have changed, been taken back, et cetera.

We need text. We need text. I think we can talk a little bit. There's flexibility around process, but we confirmed text.


RAJU: ... to the floor tomorrow, infrastructure bill, you're a no?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I don't see how, ethically, I can vote to increase...


RAJU: So, framework is not...


RAJU: And Pramila Jayapal, the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, says there are dozens of members who have that same position.

So, what do the Democratic leaders now do? Do they punt on that infrastructure bill? Because there's not going to be a bill that could pass the House, a larger bill, by tomorrow, certainly not by the end of this week, because they're still negotiating on that larger package with Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. And Manchin has pushed back on a number of key areas that the liberals have wanted, expanding Medicare to include dental, vision and health. That is a no-go for Joe Manchin. Bernie Sanders on the left, liberals want that. Paid leave proposals to allow for workers, Joe Manchin says no. Liberals want that as well.

There are a whole range of issues. And you mentioned the billionaires tax, how to finance that -- the overall package. Manchin is resisting that as well. So, as you can see, a lot of difficulties for the party ahead, even as the White House and the Democratic leaders are trying to get something together. But when that will happen is anybody's guess -- guys.

BLACKWELL: Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thank you.

Let's bring in now CNN political analyst and V.P. of digital content at The Grio Natasha Alford.

Natasha, welcome back.

Let's start with the president's spending package. First, the question was, what goes in it? Now it's, how do you pay for it? They blew through the end-of-September deadline to vote for instruct infrastructure. Now you have got 40 Democrats who are saying that -- the progressives, saying, we're not going to vote for the infrastructure bill if we don't get more than a framework.


Is -- just describe for me the degree of distrust -- if there's a better word for it, give it to me -- that you see from one faction to the other.

NATASHA ALFORD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this is what happens when you are pushing through a legislative mandate through something like reconciliation, right?

You see all of these different factions coming out and fighting for what they think is important. And, Victor, what comes to mind is Representative Cori Bush saying that it's not enough for me when talking about the idea of a framework being enough to move forward.

And she said, it's not enough for me. And folks like Cori Bush, they're asking to abolish poverty, right? They're thinking about these very big picture, transformative ideas. And so they know how Washington works. And they have said, essentially, that we held out, we delayed that infrastructure bill, and look what we got by doing that.

And so I think, if anything, they have more incentive to stand their ground and to advocate for what they want. And they're basically saying that, to be a Progressive Caucus, it's not enough to just have the shared values. We need to be flexing our political muscle too.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, look, some of these deadlines are arbitrary, but some of them have real-world consequences. And President Biden had hoped to have some progress on climate

provisions when he goes tomorrow overseas, because people do look still to the United States as a role model on climate change, or at least that's how the United States would like to be perceived.

And so to show up empty-handed, that, in other words, he can't even get U.S. senators or congresspeople on board, what's the message?

ALFORD: Absolutely, Alisyn.

I mean, I think the message is that they don't have it together, right? Washington doesn't have it together. And that Democrats, even when they have these majorities, albeit slim majorities, still aren't able to push things through for their voters.

And you -- Alisyn, you talk about the world watching. The voters are watching too, right, this Democratic base. And, again, I always am thinking about voters of color who were told, these are the stakes. This is why you have to show up for these elections. And this is why your vote matters.

And you can't even get things like infrastructure. And then, of course, we're looking at the governor's race in Virginia, which I'm sure we will talk about, where Terry McAuliffe is saying, like, give me something to work with, right? Give me this infrastructure bill so that I can show what Democrats actually got done.

BLACKWELL: Let's do that now, Natasha. Let's talk about the Virginia governor's race, because what the party is giving him is actually more of what he's been selling voters, is tying Glenn Youngkin to Donald Trump. Let's listen to President Biden there campaigning for Terry McAuliffe.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Terry's opponent has made all of his private pledges of loyalty to Donald Trump.

But what's really interesting to me, he won't stand next to Donald Trump now that the campaign is on. Think about it. He won't allow Donald Trump to campaign for him in this state. And he's willing to pledge his loyalty to Trump in private. Why not in public? What's he trying to hide?

Is there a problem with Trump being here? Is he embarrassed?


BLACKWELL: Sounds like the president is trying to goad President Trump to come to Virginia and they think that would help Terry McAuliffe.

But is this the argument that wins the race for Terry McAuliffe? It hasn't stopped the polls from narrowing. It hasn't stopped the drain of independents from his fold.

ALFORD: Yes, that's a great question, Victor. I mean, obviously, this is strategic, right? I don't know. When you

two were watching that clip, it reminded me of like the schoolyard bully, like, come outside if you're really tough, like, show me what you got.

They're trying to go to him into making this appearance with Youngkin. But I think there has to be more than saying that someone is like Trump, right? I mean, we have heard it for four years. I think people have sort of reached this point of numbness. They know how absurd Trump is. And so many candidates have decided to basically imitate him to get support.

So it actually works. when candidates align themselves with Trump. So I think this is a state where Donald Trump lost, right? He lost in 2020. He lost in 2016. But that doesn't mean that basically aligning Youngkin with Trump is going to be enough for some of those independent voters who are willing to try someone different because they're dissatisfied with how things are going on a national and at the state level.

BLACKWELL: President Biden there employing the strategy known as, if you scared, say you're scared, speaking to Glenn Youngkin.


BLACKWELL: Natasha Alford, thanks so much.

ALFORD: Thanks for having me.


CAMEROTA: All right, so, today, the House committee investigating the January 6 attack postponed its request for dozens of pages of records from the Trump White House. We don't know what is in those records. But we do know that Donald Trump has tried to play the executive privilege card on more than 40 other documents.

And we're also expecting to hear about a subpoena for a conservative attorney, John Eastman. He's the one who drafted that memo outlining multiple ways to overturn the fair election results.

CNN's Ryan Nobles is on Capitol Hill.

So, Ryan, why is the committee postponing this request?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the big reason is because it is so many documents that the National Archives needs to go through. And each one of these documents individually could be a lengthy court battle.

So they want to be very specific in the information that they're requesting. Because the former president has already issued this request to defend executive privilege, that means that each individual piece of information is going to have to be adjudicated in a court of law. So they're not necessarily saying they never want to see these documents. They're just deferring these requests down the road, so that they can get some specificity as to what exactly they're looking for, and then request those for when they're ready to have that lengthy court battle.

And you talk about this John Eastman subpoena and this question about when he will be brought before the committee. I actually just caught up with the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, also the chair of the January 6 Select Committee, Bennie Thompson.

And I asked him specifically about John Eastman. He didn't have a timeline. But he did say it's important for them to get Eastman in front of the committee because of so many things that he was involved in on January 6, specifically that memo that was -- that he wrote that he gave and delivered to Donald Trump in the White House that outlined a questionable legal strategy that the former Vice President Mike Pence could use on January 6.

Now, Eastman at one point backed away from that memo, said that it wasn't really a viable legal strategy, but he was recently caught on tape embracing it once again. Take a listen.


QUESTION: All your legal reasoning is totally solid.

JOHN EASTMAN, ATTORNEY: Yes. Yes. There's no question.

QUESTION: But, like, supporter to supporter, like, why do you think that Mike Pence didn't do it?

EASTMAN: Well, because Mike Pence is an establishment guy at the end of the day. And all of the establishment Republicans in D.C. bought into this very myopic view that Trump was destroying the Republican Party.


NOBLES: And so Eastman's role in all this very important. He was supposedly in that war room at the Willard Hotel on January 6, and sowing doubts about the 2020 election, a big part of what drove all the violence and chaos here on January 6.

It's one of the big reasons the select committee is interested in what Eastman knows about everything leading up to what happened on January 6 -- Victor and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Ryan, thank you.

Now to this story. A judge says that the three men who were shot by Kyle Rittenhouse during last year's Kenosha protests can not be referred to as victims, but calling them looters or rioters might be OK.

BLACKWELL: And 5-to-11-year-olds could get a first dose of the COVID vaccine as soon as next week. A panel of FDA advisers recommended the Pfizer shot.

A doctor on that panel joins us ahead.



CAMEROTA: A Wisconsin judge has an interesting rule in his courtroom. He doesn't like to use the word victims. And now he's ruled that the three men shot by Kyle Rittenhouse during last summer's Kenosha protests cannot be referred to as victims during the trial, even though two of them were killed.

The judge will, however, allow them to be called rioters, looters or arsonists if the defense has the evidence to support that.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is with us now.

So, Adrienne, this is apparently a longstanding rule with this judge. What's the reasoning behind it?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's just his opinion. And this judge has this policy.

And the district attorney is -- or assistant district attorney was well aware of that policy. He, however, called it a double standard. And during the pretrial hearing, he said to the judge: "If I were to count the number of times, you have admonished me for using the term victim, it would be in the thousands."

But that did not stop the assistant district attorney for making his case as to why the state should be allowed to use the term victim. He told the judge he believes the terms rioters and looters is just as loaded, if not more loaded, than the term victim.



JUDGE BRUCE SCHROEDER, KENOSHA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: You tell me that if you called -- if you in final argument said to the jury Kyle Rittenhouse is a cold-blooded killer, that would be -- you don't think that you would be allowed to do that?

THOMAS BINGER, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I think I should be. I think I should be allowed to call people a victim too.

SCHROEDER: So, why can't he call the victim an arsonist if that's what he thinks he can prove?

BINGER: Your Honor, I have practiced in most of the courts in this county.

And other than you, as you rightly pointed out, the other judges do allow us to call people victims, even at the beginning in an opening statement. And I would like to be able to do that in your court. But you have made it clear to me that we can't. And I think your concern there is that it is a loaded term. We are telling the jury something when there's been no judicial determination of that.


BROADDUS: A slight win for the state there, the judge giving them permission to -- quote -- "demonize Rittenhouse" if they have the evidence to support it.


The judge also said they can use positive affirmations to describe the deceased, for example, if they were active in a community organization or their church -- Victor and Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Really interesting.

Adrienne Broaddus, thank you very much.

Let's talk about it with CNN political commentator and attorney Bakari Sellers, who joins me now.

Bakari, put your legal hat on. And so I guess, I mean, what I'm gleaning is that this judge thinks that the term victims is prejudicial for the jury because there hasn't been a conviction yet. What do you think of that logic?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it's absurd. It's patently absurd.

I think the absurdity shows itself in the fact that apparently he's the only one in that jurisdiction with that rule. It's not grounded in law. It's his opinion. And if we're talking about terms that are prejudicial, then you have to look at words like rioter or looter, because they will then give the defense in this matter the ability to raise claims like self-defense.

The fact is, there was a homicide, there was a murder involved. And I'm hard-pressed to understand how you have two dead bodies, and yet they're not considered victims. They can be victims of an accident or victims of a tragedy, or victims of mal intent, but they're still victims.

And I -- this is one of the more inherently biased and bogus things I have ever seen in my life.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, it's demonstrable. They're victims of gunshots.

That doesn't mean that call Rittenhouse is guilty of murder. And that's what will be decided at the court case. But the double standard just jumps out at you. So, if you're not allowed to use the term victims for the dead men, why would you be allowed to call them arsonists or looters?

SELLERS: Well, I'm not sure. I don't understand that either. I mean, that seems to be more prejudicial than the term victim. But

I'm glad that viewers are getting a glimpse into courtrooms around the country. I mean, this is vastly different than watching "Law & Order" and thinking all of a sudden that you have a J.D. that was handed out by Jack Dorsey on Twitter, right?

Everybody wants to play lawyer on Twitter after they watch "Law & Order." But you get a chance to see many of the inequities that exist in our courtroom, and the state attorney just has to throw his hands up. And he just has to still advocate for the victims in this matter.

I am concerned deeply about the table that's been set by this judge for a not guilty verdict. And it's going to be extremely difficult for these charges to come back in a conviction, based on the table that's been set.

CAMEROTA: Well, that's what I'm wondering about.

So the fact that the judge is making this ruling, which, as you say, is so kind of unorthodox, and as the attorney we heard in the courtroom say, that no other judge in that county plays by those rules, does that set up the possibility of fill in the blank, an appeal, a mistrial? Does it complicate whatever the finding will be in this case?

SELLERS: Well, I mean, I think you have to let it play out. I think that this is definitely an appealable issue.

But appeals aren't heard until after the jury comes back with their guilty and not guilty verdict. I will be honest with you, Alisyn. I had to take the bar exam more than one time, right? I may not be Johnnie Cochran or Thurgood Marshall. But I do practice law. And I have tried many a cases.

And I can tell you that this is one of the things that I have never seen before. And this borderline is absurd, if not over the line of being absurd. And my problem with that is that it's going to be very difficult to have justice for these victims with this judge making rulings the way that he has.

Is it an appealable issue? Of course, but you have to get through the entire trial. So I think the country is going to be watching not only the arguments made by the defense and the prosecutor in this, but now they will have their eye on the judge, because what he's doing right now is illogical and is not bound in the law.

CAMEROTA: Bakari Sellers, great to see you. Thank you.

SELLERS: Always good to see you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Dozens of progressives are threatening to vote against the infrastructure bill again. We're going to talk with one of the vice chairs of the Progressive Caucus.

CAMEROTA: Plus, a new poll finds one in four parents of kids aged 5 to 11 will definitely not get their kids vaccinated against COVID. So, a doctor on the FDA advisory panel who voted to approve this shot

has a message for those parents that we will hear next.