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Key Source Of Steele Dossier Arrested, Charged With Lying To FBI; Juror Removed In Rittenhouse Trial Over Joke About Jacob Blake Shooting; Newly-Released Video Shows Interaction Before Shooting; Democratic Incumbent Gov. Phil Murphy Wins Reelection In NJ; Truck Driver On Path To Defeat NJ State Senate President; FAA Sends Only 37 Out Of Over 5K Unruly Passenger Cases To DOJ. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 04, 2021 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: A Russian analyst, who was a key source of information in the Steele dossier, has been arrested and charged with lying to the FBI.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: CNN's senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez, has more. Is this all tied to the origins of the FBI's Russia investigation?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is. The analyst's name is Igor Danchenko. And he was arrested earlier today. He was charged with five counts of lying to the FBI.

These are from interviews that he conducted -- that he did with the FBI in 2017 as they were trying to get to the bottom of some of the allegations that were contained in the dossier that was prepared by Christopher Steele, the former British spy.

Now, Danchenko was a source for Steele in some of the more -- where some of the allegations. But the one that sticks out and that there's a lot of emphasis on in the court papers today is the notorious pee tape allegation.

This -- this is the allegation that back when Donald Trump visited Moscow, he was involved with a couple women who urinated on a bed in a suite that was where the former president, Barack Obama, and his wife had slept.

So, that was the allegation that was contained in the Steele dossier. And it appears that, according to the -- according to the FBI, according to John Durham, Danchenko lied when he was questioned about some of the sources of that information back in 2017.

BLACKWELL: So, Evan, this is now the third person charged in part of Durham's investigation. But it's not the, as it was, I guess, the former president said it would rock Washington, the findings of this investigation.


BLACKWELL: What are you learning from the people and the charges, that how massive this investigation is or is not?

PEREZ: Yes, I mean, look, this is the third person that has been charged. And all of them have been charged with these types of crimes, lying in some fashion during the investigation.

And it is not the type of thing that is necessarily rocking, as you said, the claim that the former president made.

But what John Durham appears to be doing with these cases is trying to get at the dossier, which is the thing that Trump was obsessed about. And Trump felt that it was a conspiracy against him by Democrats and by the FBI.

So what you see in some of these documents and in today's indictment, you see basically John Durham making the broader case that there may have been a conspiracy against the former president, that the FBI had no reason to investigate these claims.

And I've got to tell you, having spent time looking at this, including the fact that the former president's campaign chair was himself compromised by the Russians, back in 2016, it's hard to say that the FBI had no reason to investigate some of these things.

So it is, though, what John Durham is going after. And we'll see whether he has more to bring in these cases -- Guys?

BLACKWELL: All right, Evan Perez, thank you so much.

Now, to a big development in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The now 18-year-old is accused of killing two people, injuring a third last year during a protest over alleged police brutality.


Today, a judge dismissed one of the jurors after he apparently told a joke about the police shooting of Jacob Blake that sparked the unrest.

CAMEROTA: Blake's uncle says his family is, quote, "disturbed and disgusted" by this joke.

Meanwhile, there's new FBI aerial surveillance video that shows Rittenhouse moving towards a parking lot where Joseph Rosenbaum was standing.

This reveals never-before-seen moments before the interaction that led to that fatal shooting.

An eye-witness told the jury what happened on the ground.


RICHIE MCGINNIS, SHOOTING WITNESS (voice-over): I realized that Mr. Rosenbaum was continuing to advance and Mr. Rittenhouse was standing still.

It wasn't clear to me whether the weapon would be grabbed or fired or what exactly was going to happen. But it was clear to me that it was a situation where it was likely that something dangerous was going to happen.


CAMEROTA: Rittenhouse's lawyers claim that he was attacked while trying to protect property, and he fired his weapon in self-defense.

Joining us now is Paul Bucher. He's a former district attorney for Waukesha County.

BLACKWELL: Waukesha.

CAMEROTA: Waukesha County.

Thank you very much, Mr. Bucher.

OK, I don't know if you were able to see that video, the new surveillance video of a parking lot that we just played. And maybe we could put it up again.

But you see here, somebody that they say is Kyle Rittenhouse, and you see this interaction in a parking lot. Well, it's hard to see.

But basically, my question is, do you think that what the jury is seeing vindicates Kyle Rittenhouse, that this was somehow self- defense, or do you think what they're seeing is that he went there looking for trouble or spoiling for a fight?

PAUL BUCHER, FORMER WAUKESHA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY (via telephone): Well, that's certainly going to be the major question. I mean, all -- it doesn't make a difference why he's there.

But clearly, pragmatically, the jury's going to want to know, what the heck were you doing here with an A.R.-15?

The surveillance video from the FBI, I've seen that. And it's a heat- sensing video and shows him running.

But as it relates to Mr. Rosenbaum, the allegations are that Mr. Rosenbaum was trying to grab his gun. And he, Mr. Rittenhouse, was on his back.

Now, it may have been that he was running initially. But the allegations from the defense, anyway, is that he was struck in the head by this skateboard that was being wielded by the individual who subsequently was also shot.

So, self-defense is difficult. You can't hang your hat on one particular issue.

But this was a significant civil unrest. And the judge has allowed the defense to call these individuals rioters and looters, which I was a little surprised at. But we'll have to see.

But it's clear that, in my opinion, on count one, when he was on his back and, unfortunately and tragically, shot Mr. Rosenbaum, the defense has an uphill climb on that issue.

The other counts, I think, are going to be easier.

I believe, and I have said time and time again, the government has significantly overcharged this case and is going to confuse the jury so badly that I don't think the jury's going to know what to do.

BLACKWELL: Explain that, when you say significantly overcharged. What's the line that you believe they crossed?

BUCHER: Well, as a prosecutor for over 30 years, this is a straight-up homicide case. This is -- I don't want to downplay it, but it's not that complicated.

And they charged the endangering safety of a person. They don't even know the identity of. Why would you do that? We used to refer to those people as FNU/LNUS, first name unknown, last name unknown.

Why would you charge them? Why would you charge the possession of a firearm by a minor? Charge the case that is the most serious of what this is all about. This is about homicide.

And at the end of the day, the defense is going to ask for a lesser defense, which I won't get into, but it's going to be very complicated.

I believe the government has overcharged this case and I think they're going to pay for it.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that Kyle Rittenhouse is going to have to testify in this case?

BUCHER: Oh, absolutely. I know the defense hasn't committed to that, and you never commit. You say, maybe he'll testify. Because the facts come out totally different.

But the jury's going to want to hear, just like you said -- you know, if I were trying this case, I would go right up to the juror's face, if I could, and say, what would you do? What would you do in that situation?

They're going to want to hear that from Mr. Rittenhouse and they also want that question answered. What the heck were you doing? Why the did you come there with an A.R.-15?

Those questions have to be answered and they can only be answered by Rittenhouse.

BLACKWELL: Last one here. We reported, at the top, that a juror was dismissed for making a joke about the shooting death of Jacob Blake. A pool is down from 20 jurors to 19 and, of course, only 12 will deliberate. [14:40:10]

Any special significance you see in that dismissal?

BUCHER: No. It's unfortunate. We don't know what the joke was and I don't think it's funny.

I've had jurors dismissed in the middle for lots of reasons. And that's why you have alternates. The judge is the longest-serving judge in Wisconsin and has alternates. So I don't see the significance of that.

If it was told to other jurors and they heard it, then I believe the judge is going to have to do what we call individual voir dire or individual questioning of the jurors in camera, in chambers, to see if that joke affected -- it's going to prolong the trial -- to see if that joke affected their view of the case.

But dismissing him or her, I think, was obviously the only thing you could do. I mean, you don't want to try this case and have it reversed because of that.

It was stupid. Just -- I -- whatever. I've done this so long and tried so many cases that it's amazing what jurors will do and say.

CAMEROTA: Stupid and heartless. I mean, you know, this is a person who was grievously injured in front of his kids. What would be a -- what would be funny about it? Hard to say.

But Paul Bucher, thank you very much for your expertise. We appreciate it.

BUCHER: You bet. Thank you for having me on.


It's the New Jersey race you perhaps have not yet heard about.

BLACKWELL: But you should.

CAMEROTA: Yes, you should.

BLACKWELL: You should.

CAMEROTA: Because a truck driver could unseat one of the most powerful Democrats in the state, and, yes, it involves Dunkin Donuts.



BLACKWELL: Well, CNN now projects that New Jersey Democratic Governor Phil Murphy will win re-election, narrowly defeating his Republican opponent, Jack Ciattarelli.

CAMEROTA: CNN's M.J. Lee is in Jersey City with more. M.J., I'm sure that was much too close for comfort for Governor

Murphy. What's he saying today?

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They're certainly happy that, in the end, he was able to pull this one out.

But you're absolutely right. You talked to Democrats close to the governor's campaign, and they acknowledge that there were issues here. There were enthusiasm problems. There were turnout problems.

That in certain key Democratic areas, people didn't turn out the way that they had expected. And then, in very red areas, people turned out in massive amounts, also unexpected.

And so, Democrats are going to be thinking in the weeks and months to come, and particularly ahead of the midterms next year, what exactly went wrong.

Because what we saw in New Jersey was the governor really run on his record from everything, including his handling of the pandemic, his work on raising the minimum wage, on creating clean energy jobs. These really local issues.

And he also ran against Donald Trump. Even though he is, of course, no longer on the ballot or even in office, he tried at every turn to tie his Republican opponent, Jack Ciattarelli, to the former president.

We saw him talk about these dynamics in his very delayed victory speech last night here in New Jersey.

Here he is.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NEW JERSEY): Tonight, I renew my promise to you, whether you voted me or not, to work every single day of the next four years to keep moving us forward.

It's so, importantly, forward with a deeper sense of fairness and a commitment to equity. Forward by rejecting the divisiveness and chaos that permeate too much of our politics.


LEE: And I will just quickly note that the Ciattarelli campaign last night, as the race was being called for Governor Murphy, they said it was too close and too early to call the race.

And we know that he has still not made that phone call to concede the race to the governor.

BLACKWELL: Let's look down-ballot to potentially our favorite race.

CAMEROTA: Oh, yes. We need to hear about how this trucker might win.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Spent, what, 150 bucks to unseat one of the most powerful Democrats in New Jersey? Explain this.

LEE: Yes, that's exactly right. This is a fascinating down-ballot race here in the state.

If you're familiar with New Jersey politics, the name, Steve Sweeney, is a name that you're going to be familiar with. He is the president of the State Senate.

He is, as you said, Victor, one of the most powerful Democrats in the state.

What it looks like right now, even though CNN has not called this race, he does look poised to be beaten by a man named Edward Durr. He is, in fact, a truck driver. He has never held office.

And you're right, his reported campaign spending is around $150. He spent that money on Dunkin Donuts, apparently, and in making some flyers and business cards.

I think we have sound of him on FOX News the other night actually talking about what he would do if he were actually to unseat this very powerful lawmaker.

Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Ed, what's the first thing you're going to do when you get to the capital in Trenton?

EDWARD DURR, (R), NEW JERSEY STATE SENATE CANDIDATE: I really don't know. That's the key factor. I don't know what I don't know so I will learn what I need to know.

And I'm going to guarantee you one thing. I will be the voice. And people will hear me because, if there's one thing people will learn about me, I got a big mouth, and I don't shut up. When I want to be heard, I'm going to be heard.



LEE: So this would be a huge, huge upset if the race were again called for him.

This is a smaller race compared to some of these gubernatorial races we have been talking about all week. But I think the race is going to speak volumes to Democrats who are watching everything happening this week.

And they'll certainly try to take away some political lessons here and try to figure out what it is perhaps we're taking for granted that we can't take for granted heading into next year -- Guys?

BLACKWELL: The unknown unknowns. (LAUGHTER)

CAMEROTA: I like that platform. I don't know what I stand for or what I'm going to do on the first day.

Here's something voters should take away. Dunkin Donuts.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Do not underestimate the apple fritter.

CAMEROTA: The power of Dunkin Donuts.


BLACKWELL: Just don't heat up the apple fritter.



BLACKWELL: M.J., thank you.

CAMEROTA: You've got my vote if you --


CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, it's first on CNN, there are new questions over the FAA's handling of the more than 5,000 cases of unruly passengers this year. Including this guy.



CAMEROTA: First on CNN, we are learning how often violent airline passengers are actually facing consequences.

Out of more than 5,000 complaints of unruly passengers this year alone, the Federal Aviation Administration has only referred 37 of those to the Justice Department.

CNN's Pete Muntean joins us now.

Pete, does that mean the other 4,098-plus cases are being ignored?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: This is actually a bit of good news, Alisyn, because the FAA cannot press criminal charges. It can only assess fines.

It can refer these cases to the DOJ, which can ultimately lead to prison time for these unruly passengers.

These numbers are on the charts, 5,033 cases just this year alone. And 227 have led to enforcement action by the FAA.

But it's a pretty high bar to clear to make this into a federal case. So these 37 cases that have been referred to the DOJ are the most egregious cases, according to the FAA.

In fact, it's the subject of a new public service announcement put out by the FAA today. In fact, you saw first on CNN this morning.

It shows the letter that one would get if they're facing an FAA fine. And then their case has been referred to the DOJ to go criminal.

FAA Administrator, Steve Dickson, says this is a really serious issue. He's saying this is just the start of closer communication between the two agencies.

Here's what he said.


STEVE DICKSON, FAA ADMINISTRATOR: I think we're making good progress, but there's certainly more to be done.

And it really does require the cooperation of all those private sector stakeholders, including the airports, as well as the various aspects of the federal government, FATSA and DOJ. And we'll continue to stay focused on that.


MUNTEAN: We could be seeing the start of a shift here, Victor and Alisyn. The goal here is to get law enforcement at the gate to meet an unruly passenger after they get off a plane.

There was an incident last week, on an American Airlines flight, of a man was accused of punching a flight attendant. He was discharged earlier this week with assault and interfering with a flight where he could face up to 20 years in prison.

And thankfully, federal investigators were there to meet him at the gate.

CAMEROTA: OK, so, Pete, so only 37 are being referred, but the rest are being charged fines, you're saying?

MUNTEAN: That's right. And not all of these cases are the most severe ones. Some are just over a mask.

Some may be other cases where people get punched, or someone interferes with a flight crew, abuse of a flight crew. Those are the really serious ones. Those are the cases being referred to the DOJ in this instance.


Pete Muntean, thank you.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Pete.

So intentional discrimination, that's how the judge the Ahmaud Aubery case said it appears after the selection of the jury. But he had more to say. We'll get into that in a moment.