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Agreement Reached At U.N. Climate Change Summit After Marathon Talks; Trump Ally Steve Bannon Indicted For Contempt Of Congress, Bannon Expected To Turn Himself In On Monday; Judge In Rittenhouse Trial Considers Adding Lesser Charges; Prosecutors Clash With Judge, Face Setbacks In Rittenhouse Trial; Prices In America Surging More Than They Have In 30 Years; Britney Spears' 13-Year Conservatorship Terminated By Judge. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired November 13, 2021 - 15:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington. And we begin with major breaking news as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. World leaders at the U.N. climate summit have just reached an agreement. This comes after a marathon of intense negotiations lasting after the summit ended.

I want to go straight to CNN's Phil Black in Scotland to bring us up to speed on just about what we know right now about this agreement.

Phil, this sounds like a major development. What can you tell us?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, it was a hard-fought fiercely contested agreement that ultimately at best represents incremental progress and ultimately falls short of what everyone would have ideally liked. But remember this is a consensus process with almost 200 countries in the room pursuing their own national interests while also supposedly trying to make progress on climate change.

There is some key language here that's really important, and it's why countries including the United States wanted to support this agreement even though they believe it is not perfect. And that's because it speaks about the importance of limiting global average temperature increasing in very clear language based on the science to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

And it also calls on countries to take dramatic action in order to achieve that this decade because that's what the science says is necessary, cutting global emissions by 45 percent by 2030, something we're nowhere near doing at this stage. The other key headline here is that for the first time after one of these climate conferences, there is language in the agreement that references the importance of moving away from coal.

Now there was some drama about this in the very final moments, and it has only just been resolved. The original draft talked about accelerating the phaseout of coal-fired energy. What we ended up with as a result of an intervention by India was a subtle change in language but one that is very important and has ultimately disappointed a lot of people in the room.

Instead of phasing out coal, the agreement now talks about phasing down coal. As I say, just one word, but crucial in terms of the message that it has sent. And it is extraordinary to think that after some 26 of these conferences, never before has the importance of getting away from coal power, the dirtiest of all fuels, getting away from it has never been mentioned in a closing text before. It has now for the first time.

That in itself is historic, but people will be leaving this conference disappointed that the language was qualified and softened and weakened to that extent. Ultimately, the key point when it comes to this agreement is that it does not solve climate change, but it does provide a way forward. It clarifies the language, the science, what the goal must be. It tells countries what to do as a next step, and that is come back next year with very clear targets on how to cut emissions that keeps it in line with the science.

So what it means is the process is alive, and so are the hopes of the people in the room that ultimately temperature increase can be contained to 1.5 degrees Celsius, and the world will then hopefully avoid the worst impacts of climate change -- Jim.

ACOSTA: And of course, I mean the future of our children, our grandchildren, it's all at stake. I suppose a lot of folks will be digging into the finer details of this agreement as you are doing for us right now.

Phil Black, thank you so much. Live from Scotland for us. Historic agreement reached at the U.N. climate summit after so many hours of discussion. So, Phil Black, thanks so much.

Now to a developing story of course back here in Washington. The stakes have been raised for those who choose to ignore the January 6 Committee. Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon is facing criminal charges for contempt of Congress after his refusal to cooperate with the committee. If convicted, he could serve time in jail. So for others who dodged the committee, things, yes, just got real.

Trump's former White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, skipped his scheduled deposition on Friday. And now the committee is putting him on notice, tweeting Friday, and we'll put this up on screen, quote, "Mr. Meadows' actions today choosing to defy the law will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena."

They believe he has important information about the insurrection which left more than 100 officers injured and five people dead. Meadows' attorney said he would not cooperate until the courts rule on Trump's claims of executive privilege. But Bannon's indictment could force Meadows and others to ask themselves, is it really worth all of those legal troubles, and the possibility of jail time.

Joining me now is Stephanie Grisham who resigned her job as Trump's White House press secretary and was part of the White House team back on January 6th.


She was with the first lady's office at the time as a hoard of Trump supporters attacked the Capitol.

Stephanie, it's a day that you detail in your book, "I'll Take Your Questions Now." Thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.


ACOSTA: And Stephanie, you've known Steve Bannon for a long time. I was out there on the campaign trail with you back in 2016. Steve Bannon, as we know, was a fixture back then, went into the White House, served as the chief strategist to Donald Trump in the White House and, you know, was unceremoniously booted out of the White House, as you know, in August of 2017, but remained in the picture. So you know him well. Do you think he looks at this indictment as a badge of honor?

GRISHAM: Absolutely. Absolutely. You know, I want to start out by saying I'm very glad that this is happening, and I do hope that it will have, you know, many others who are getting subpoenaed like you said at the beginning, take a step back and realize there's some consequences here. However, my prediction is that the former president is going to tell everybody to continue to stall. They're going to fundraise off of this. Bannon himself absolutely I think is going to wear this as a badge of honor and martyr himself almost.

You know, this is a very small example compared to what's going on, but I recall in the White House when we would get Hatch Act violations, that was a badge of honor. It was a joke in the White House. And you know, the president used to say to us, you know who's in charge of the Hatch Act? It's me. Go ahead, say whatever you want to say.

I want to also say that I think this makes the 2022 elections more vital than ever because I have a feeling, knowing them like I do, he's going to tell everyone to stall and that if the House takes over with his rubber stamp candidates that he wants to get in, the special committee will then go away. That's kind of what I foresee happening. But that's not to take away from what is, you know, what the select committee has done. And I'm very, very glad that they've done that, and I'm glad the DOJ decided to do what they did with Bannon.

ACOSTA: And Stephanie, let's remind people again what Steve Bannon said just one day before the January 6th insurrection. And let's talk about that.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOSE SENIOR STRATEGIST: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen, OK. It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in. The war room, a posse, you have made this happen, and tomorrow it's game day. So strap in.


ACOSTA: And we know there's been reporting that Trump and Bannon have been in touch with one another prior to the riot. They have been talking for weeks or months as far as I know from doing my reporting at the time when I was at the White House. I was wondering, Stephanie, because you and I haven't talked about this, had you heard anything? Was it common knowledge inside the White House that Bannon and Trump were speaking again? And what did people think about that? I mean, obviously I'm sure there were folks who thought, well, this can't be good.

GRISHAM: Yes. I mean, we often thought that. Now I was in the East Wing at that point in time, but it was definitely known that Bannon was very much back in the picture. You know, I think that when things started to look dire, Bannon, of course, swooped in and had these grand plans and grand schemes and promised that, you know, all these patriots would fight for the president. And of course, that was something that Trump at the time would have loved to hear.

Bannon was known for when he was in the White House having his big room with his white board and all these plans, so the things that we're hearing now about the Willard Hotel and this war room, that doesn't surprise me at all either. Bannon was very, very good at telling the president what he wanted to hear. And I've got to say, listening to that, what you just played, it made me sick to my stomach.

And you know, let's not forget the president that day during his rally said let's walk to the Capitol, I'll walk with you. And honestly, I bet he would have. I bet he would have. His Secret Service probably told him no. You know, he encouraged people to walk there. And then I think it's important for people to remember he sat in the dining room and did nothing and said nothing and enjoyed watching these people fight for him.

And then just the other day, you know, audio was released of him defending people who wanted to -- who were running around the Capitol saying they wanted to hang Mike Pence, his vice president. This is really important, and this really is an attack on our democracy.

It's the day I resigned, it -- it made me sick then, it's making me sick now. And I just hope people will understand that how important this is and, you know, look forward, let's not look back, let's look forward to how we can never let this kind of thing happen again.

And again, I want to reiterate, I think 2022 is key to that because they're going to try to stall until those votes happen.

ACOSTA: Right. No question about it. But setting Steve Bannon aside for a moment, let's talk about the other big headline and that is the former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is defying a subpoena. He failed to appear before the January 6 Committee yesterday. Do you think Bannon's indictment will have some kind of chilling effect on Mark Meadows, or is it the same thing, wears it as a badge of honor, is ready to martyr himself, so on and so forth?


Could this have a chilling effect on people like Dan Scavino? What do you think?

GRISHAM: You know, it's funny, I've thought about this a lot. Talking about Meadows I would hope it would have a chilling -- I would hope it would have a chilling effect on any of them. But that core group, as you said, Scavino, too, no. They're going to wear it as a badge of honor. The president is going to say we're going to fundraise off this, don't worry about I'm sure lawyers' fees, we're going to fundraise off this.

Patriots are going to step up. This is going to make everybody excited for 2022, and then the subcommittee will go away. The president was very good at calming you down and telling you everything is going to be OK, you just got to fight, fight, fight. And you know, Meadows especially, it's very clear that he wants to stay on Trump's good side. So I think that the people in the close circle, and the people who actually need to be spoken to the most are going to wear this as a badge of honor. Again, that was the mentality in the White House when I was there.


GRISHAM: Anything we did like that was a badge of honor.

ACOSTA: And Trump is battling to keep hundreds of pages of documents out of the hands of the January 6 Committee. You think that there are some off-the-book meetings, some in the residence of the White House that lawmakers may want to look into?

I mean, Stephanie, you know that residence as well as most ex- officials of that administration. What goes on behind closed doors there?

GRISHAM: Absolutely. Lots of meetings take place in the residence where, you know, I mean, I'm hoping that they're looking at call logs. But I have a feeling even sometimes things weren't put into call logs. But a lot of meetings took place because the president at the time was so paranoid of leaks that a lot of our meetings took place in the residence. Number one so he could keep track of who was in there and if it leaked out, he would try to, you know, figure that out.

But number two, so that it was very much kept off the books and documents, anything that was written down, could probably be thrown in the trash where people can't, you know, come and retrieve them to put into the archives. So that happened quite a bit, and I'm sure the select committee is aware of that and is looking into that. Mark Meadows was one towards the end who was definitely helping to plan those meetings. So I think that Mark Meadows should be spoken to. I think he will stall.

ACOSTA: And you know, thinking back to what you were saying just a little bit earlier, Stephanie, about, you know, what Trump was doing at the time, you know, sitting and watching all of this unfold, you know, the way he revved up that crowd, incited that crowd on January 6th, you know, it makes me wonder, do you think Donald Trump should be indicted?

GRISHAM: You know, I think that the select committee needs to get all the facts out first. I don't want to, you know, have a big blanket thought there. I think the select committee needs to do their job. I think that a lot of things will be uncovered that possibly, yes, then he should. I think --

ACOSTA: You think he was responsible for what happened?

GRISHAM: I think he was partly responsible for what happened, absolutely. I think he absolutely knew what was going on. There is no way -- again, knowing what I know behind the scenes and how the logistics work and how he wants to know how many people are going to be in the crowd, what is the stage going to look like, who -- how are these people getting in, you know, what's the message, there's no way that he and Mark Meadows weren't involved every step of the way and weren't talking to Bannon about, you know, all hell breaking loose, and they had to know.

And so if that's the case, and he said go to the Capitol and let's fight and he then sat and did nothing to even try to calm his supporters down, then yes, I think something needs to happen to him. I think that our country is divided right now, and I think that we can't let this kind of violence be OK. You know, just this week with the video that Gosar posted, you know, it's -- boggles my mind that Republican leadership hasn't denounced this kind of violence.


GRISHAM: It boggles my mind that the recording with Trump talking about or defending the people who were threatening Pence, no one is denouncing this violence. And that's part of what the problem is in our country right now.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. And Chris Christie, you know, he's a former Trump ally. You know him all too well.

GRISHAM: Yes. Yes.

ACOSTA: He's been urging the Republican Party to move past 2020, he's basically urging the party to move past Donald Trump and the big lie. He's taken a few shots at Trump. Even talks about something that happened when he got COVID after being at the White House. And you probably saw this story in "The New York Times." You know, Chris Christie has a book coming out and he writes that his priest arrived at the hospital and rubbed oils on his forehead in the sign of the cross praying over him.

And then Christie got a call from a hospitalized Mr. Trump who had one main concern, according to Chris Christie, and it was, quote, "Are you going to say you got it from me?" Mr. Trump asked him. That's according to an account in "The New York Times." Does that surprise you at all, Stephanie, that Trump would be thinking about himself in that situation?

GRISHAM: No. No, it doesn't.


ACOSTA: As you remember all of those people got sick at the White House, and here's Chris Christie, he's gravely ill, and Trump just wants to know, you know, if he's going to get blamed.

GRISHAM: Absolutely. And you know, again, the story just came out about the disastrous Tulsa rally. And you know, our own staff got sick, a bunch of staff got sick. One person was hospitalized. He was angry that that leaked. He was not worried about his own staff.

I remember when I was quarantined and very sick as his press secretary, coming back and him yelling at me and asking me where the hell I had been. So it doesn't surprise me at all. It's always about Donald Trump and how it will look for him and how it will affect him.

And I just hope that with people like myself or Chris Christie and a lot of others hopefully coming out soon, we'll just be able to talk about what the playbook is and what people can anticipate. And hopefully as Chris Christie said look forward because, again, 2022 is so important.

I believe if the people he wants in get in, that will ensure he runs for president because then he's got all of his rubber stamp people in there to do whatever he wants. So there's a really big picture we need to be thinking about. And I just -- I hope I can get that message out to as many people as possible.

ACOSTA: All right. Well, Stephanie Grisham, thanks for doing that here. We appreciate it. Thanks for joining us this afternoon. And we'll talk to you soon. Thanks for your time.

GRISHAM: Thank you, Jim. Thanks.

ACOSTA: All right. Good talking to you.

All right. If convicted of the charges he's facing, could Steve Bannon end up behind bars? More on that next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: And we're back with our developing story of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon facing criminal charges for contempt of Congress after his refusal to cooperate with the January 6 Committee.

Joining me now is CNN senior legal analyst and former federal and state prosecutor Elie Honig.

Elie, a source now tells CNN Bannon is expected to turn himself in on Monday. Is that typical for the Justice Department to let someone who has been indicted wait three days to turn himself in? I mean, it's kind of remarkable considering he's run afoul of the law before.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It is fairly typical, Jim, when you keep in mind that this indictment came out at around 4:00 p.m. on a Friday. They're having him come in to surrender on Monday.

Now there's two ways to arrest somebody in the federal system. The hard way is where federal agents show up at your door unannounced at 6:00 a.m. and march you out in handcuffs. The easier way is you call the defendant or the defense lawyer and you say, hey, when you do the surrender later today or tomorrow, and the factors you look at, one, is there violence involved, violence alleged, that does not apply to Steve Bannon. And two, is there some reasonable expectation this person might take off, try to become a fugitive. I don't see any particular reason to think that was Steve Bannon.

But you are right, he has been indicted federally before last year and then of course he was pardoned on Donald Trump's way out the door. But I think the Monday surrender is what I would expect here.

ACOSTA: Yes. He's familiar with the mechanics of all of this.

HONIG: Right.

ACOSTA: Elie, Bannon was charged with one count related to his refusal to appear for a deposition and another related to his refusal to produce documents. Each count carries a minimum of 30 days in jail or a maximum sentence of one year behind bars. Couldn't Steve Bannon just appear before the committee and say he's not going to answer any questions? Sort of in the way that Jeffrey Clark did? I mean, why go through all of this? It's for the show, isn't it?

HONIG: Yes. I think that's the only reasonable conclusion. And if you look at the indictment, they use that against Steve Bannon. They say he made no good faith effort whatsoever. He just straight up defied us and for that reason I think the prosecution has an exceptionally strong case here. And look, there could be real consequences, Jim. As you said, one unusual feature of this law, if Steve Bannon ultimately is convicted by guilty plea by a jury, he will go to jail.

He will physically be behind bars for at least one month. So it was interesting hearing Stephanie Grisham in the last segment talk about how he might welcome that to some extent. But that will be the consequence.

ACOSTA: Yes, I certainly think he's looking at himself as a political prisoner on all of them. He's going to run, you know, back to his podcast and talk about this I'm sure plenty. But when he's out of jail. But before the Bannon news broke, the other big headline resolved around former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defying the January 6 Committee. And here's what the committee later tweeted.

This is fascinating. They tweeted, "Mr. Meadows has failed to answer even the most basic questions including whether he was using his private cell phone to communicate on January 6th, and where his text messages from that day are." Does that suggest that they're worried about communications being destroyed? It sounds like they want their hands on those texts.

HONIG: It does, Jim. That is really interesting to me. That got my old prosecutorial antenna up because if what they're saying is they have some information that he deleted texts, that's no different than putting documents through a shredder. That's potentially criminal obstruction of Congress, obstruction of justice. So if Mark Meadows has done this, we don't know, we're reading into the statement here, but I presume the committee wouldn't make that statement unless they had at least some basis for it.

If Mark Meadows has done this, we're not talking about votes of contempt by Congress, we're not even talking about criminal charges like we just saw against Steve Bannon. We're talking about a much more serious piece of conduct there.

ACOSTA: And Elie, does Meadows have a stronger case for executive privilege than Bannon? I mean, you know, I know that Mark Meadows for all intents and purposes is thumbing his nose at the committee right now. But he did work for the government at the time of the insurrection. I suppose couldn't he hide behind the technicality?

HONIG: Meadows does have a stronger case for executive privilege than Steve Bannon. Virtually everybody has a stronger case for executive privilege than Steve Bannon. But, I mean, Bannon's case has a few fundamental problems. One, it's the former president who's trying to invoke executive privilege. Not to say that's impossible, but the law is sort of stacked against that. Two is Bannon was not in the executive branch at the time, in contrast to Mark Meadows, not only was he in the executive branch, but he was the chief of staff.


But really important to keep in mind with executive privilege, Jim, even if it applies, even if someone can invoke it, the courts are still going to look at the content, the substance of the communication. And if they're talking about what's going on January 6 in a positive way, in a way to cover it up, that's not going to be covered by executive privilege. It's not a shield. It's not a cover-up for wrongdoing or for potential criminality.

ACOSTA: All right. Elie Honig, thanks so much. We appreciate it as always.

HONIG: Thanks, Jim.

ACOSTA: Talk to you soon.

HONIG: All right.

ACOSTA: Up next, closing arguments begin on Monday in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, and a new twist could dramatically change what the jury can consider as they determine their verdict.



ACOSTA: Five hundred Wisconsin National Guard troops are on standby ready to be deployed following a verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

Both sides are preparing for closing arguments Monday. And the judge may allow the jury to consider lesser charges for Rittenhouse.

A new twist putting a spotlight on how prosecutors have handled the case.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz reports.



SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER(voice over): The challenges of the prosecution in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse on full display in front of a national audience.

SCHROEDER: Is there something that I'm seeing that drives the face that you're making?


PROKUPECZ: Prosecutor Thomas Binger sparring with Judge Bruce Schroeder over his questioning of Rittenhouse on trial for shooting and killing two men and wounding a third during the night of protests after the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

SCHROEDER: Why would you think that that made it OK?

PROKUPECZ: The heated exchanges just some of the hurdles facing prosecutors.

Some of the prosecutor's witnesses seem to also support a key claim for the defense that Rittenhouse did not instigate the conflict.

RYAN BALCH, PROSECUTION WITNESS: Every time I encountered Joseph Rosenbaum he was hyper aggressive.

PROKUPECZ: Witness after witness pointing to Joseph Rosenbaum, the first person to be shot, as someone acting erratically that night, even pursuing Rittenhouse prior to being shot.

JASON LACKOWSKI, PROSECUTION WITNESS: He had been acting very belligerently. He had asked very bluntly to shoot him.

PROKUPECZ: Even Gaige Grosskreutz, the lone survivor, should have appealed to the jury as the prosecutor's star witness. GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, PROSECUTION WITNESS: But the defendant had pointed

his weapon at me and I put my hands in the air.

PROKUPECZ: But like other witnesses, Grosskreutz also helped the defense.

COREY CHIRAFISI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun, now your hands down, pointed at him that he fired, right?


JANINE GESKE, FORMER WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: The witnesses are kind of all over the board.

PROKUPECZ: Former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske agrees Binger faced a challenge from the start, especially with all the videos from the night of the incident.

GESKE: I had the sense that he was using too much video. And it was sort of it -- because it reinforces this chaos that was going on.

PROKUPECZ: But she says it's Kyle Rittenhouse himself that could pose the biggest problem for Binger.

GESKE: Most of the time, the prosecution is dancing in the aisles when the defendant takes the stand because often that's what convicts that offender. They say things and they're all over the board. Boy, there was none of that from Rittenhouse.

PROKUPECZ: Binger also lost pretrial motions. The judge not allowing testimony on Rittenhouse's comments about prior looting in Chicago when, according to the motion, he said, "I wish had my expletive A.R., I'd start shooting rounds at them."

GESKE: They could have used it because he was saying, well, I only have this gun in case I need it. I'm really there to render medical assistance.

PROKUPECZ: Geske says Binger tried to push the envelope and went too far when he approached the topic in court anyway.

SCHROEDER: You're an experienced trial attorney and you're telling me that when the judge says I'm excluding this, you just did take it upon yourself to put it in because you would think that you found a way around it? Come on.

PROKUPECZ: And again with his question about Rittenhouse's silence prior to the trial.

SCHROEDER: I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant's post-arrest silence.


ACOSTA: Our thanks for that report. Joining us now, civil rights attorney and CNN legal analyst, Areva


Areva, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Prosecutors -- this has been such a bizarre case.

Prosecutors have asked the judge if he'd give the jury instructions on lesser charges following closing arguments on Monday. The judge said he will give his final decision on that I think today.

Explain the significance of that if he allows this. That seems pretty important.

AREVA MARTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is a big development, Jim. As we just heard in that piece, the prosecution has struggled throughout this case.

Many of its own witnesses that it put on to help buttress this case actually gave testimony that was favorable to Kyle Rittenhouse and reinforced his theory that he acted out of self-defense in this very chaotic environment.

These lesser included offenses, I think, is a lifeline in many ways to the prosecution.

From a procedural standpoint, the jury will get instructions on the original charges. And if they can't find that the prosecution has met its burden of proof in terms of being guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, they then move on to those lesser charges.

And we -- there's some reporting that the judge is going to allow the lesser charges at least as it relates to Anthony Huber, the second person that was shot and killed by Rittenhouse, and as it relates to Gaige Grosskreutz, who was shot but not killed.


It seems the judge in going to deny the request by the prosecution for those lesser charges for Mr. Rosenbaum.

Essentially, it gives the prosecution an opportunity to get some -- a conviction on charges that maybe it wouldn't have gotten if the original charges were the only charges that the jury had to consider.

ACOSTA: And the judge also said he instructed the jury on provocation when they begin deliberating on Monday. Can you explain what that means and what kind of impact that could have?

MARTIN: Yes. That's another -- again, I'll I have a bone thrown to the prosecution. This is huge, Jim, because this allows the jurors to decide if Kyle Rittenhouse provoked any of the people that he shot.

We know the prosecution's theory has always been, here's a young man that comes into Wisconsin carrying a gun that he wasn't legally allowed to carry, underage, posing as a medic, even though he had no experience to provide medical care.

Saying he was there to protect the business, a business that had not asked him to come there. Left the premises of that business and inserted himself into this volatile situation.

And by doing so, the prosecution gets to argue now that he provoked both Rosenbaum, he provoked Mr. Huber, and Mr. Groskreutz.

If the jurors find that he is the aggressor, that he set all of these actions into motion, they very well could get the conviction they're looking for.

ACOSTA: And Rittenhouse's mother gave an interview to Sean Hannity on FOX News. And she made some -- I guess you could describe it as pretty concerning remarks.

Let's listen.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST, "HANNITY": Have you and your son discussed whether or not, if he had to do it over again, he would go into a situation like that?

WENDY RITTENHOUSE, MOTHER OF KYLE RITTENHOUSE: With Kyle, I know him, and he probably would do it again. Because that's the type of person he is. He always wants to help people, even since he was a little boy. That's all he wanted to do was help people.


ACOSTA: I mean, it sounds like something the prosecutors might want to say in their closing arguments, his own mother says he would do it again? I mean, what?


MARTIN: Yes, Jim. Such a tone-deaf statement.

Here her son is on trial for killing two people -- and mind you two unarmed men were shot and killed by her son -- and she's going on TV giving an interview when his life is hanging in the balance.

And to say that he would do it again, it shows no remorse for the lives that he took and the chaos that he created.

And, you know, the impact that his actions have had on so many people that were involved in that shooting, the night, that he literally shot at four people, and landed with respect to three of them.

I think it was a totally inappropriate statement.

And for me, it shows that Kyle Rittenhouse and perhaps his family have not learned very much from this very serious situation.

ACOSTA: Does not seem to be the case. All right, Areva Martin, thanks so much for those perspectives on what

has been such a strange, strange case. We appreciate it. Thank you.

MARTIN: Thank you

ACOSTA: Coming up, pain at the pump and the grocery store and on your utility bill. We'll break down why prices are skyrocketing and when relief may be coming.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: All year, Americans have been paying more and more to fill up their gas tanks. Today, California tied its all-time record for gas prices. It hit an average of $4.67 a gallon, tying the high set in October 2012.

Here's what some California drivers told CNN about the surge.


DAVID ROMERO, GAS CUSTOMER IN LOS ANGELES: It'll be one price one day and then tomorrow it's like up 30 cents.

LEAH LAUBACH, GAS CUSTOMER IN LOS ANGELES: No more Starbucks, no more like, oh, those shoes are cute. No, OK, I have to get to work. I have to have gas.


ACOSTA: CNN chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, joins me now.

Christine, great to see you.


ACOSTA: Hey. Thanks for doing this.

What is causing this pain at the pump? I mean, so many people are just grumbling about it these days. You know, you can't blame them. I mean, it's way higher than it has been for a long time.


ACOSTA: Is there any end in sight, and what can we explain to say, OK, this is why it's happened?

ROMANS: There's a couple of things happening. COVID, right? We weren't driving or flying. The economy shut down. And then it reopened again and reopened very strongly.

So people are driving again. There's big demand for oil and gas. And you don't have international producers who are pumping enough to keep up with that big demand.

This is a big geopolitical story. The U.S. and many of our allies are begging the OPEC-Plus producers to pump more oil and they're just sitting tight for now. So that's part of the story.

Across the country, it's really -- it varies. It is the most in California. In other places, it's a little bit less.

The way I calculate it, I look at a typical tank of gas, this year paying about $15 more per tank of gas. And that is your real-feel economic indicator, Jim.

This is what people when they think about the economy -- and the economy is strong right now -- they think about the economy, they think their gas prices and that hurts.

ACOSTA: Yes. If you're putting -- you know, filling your tank once a week, that's, what, $15 a week, $60 -- that's real money for a lot of folks.

ROMANS: Yes. It is.

ACOSTA: It's not just gas prices. Groceries, everyday items that we see on the shelves.


And the Biden administration says it is pursuing a multi-tiered approach to addressing inflation. But realistically, what can the Biden administration do?

And are there any signs that should reassure people? Are we going to have to deal with this?

ROMANS: We're going to deal with it for Thanksgiving. We're going to deal with it for Christmas. You might not get all the gifts you want.

That's not the Biden administration's fault. That's the supply chain, which is completely, completely all messed up.

Because, again, of COVID, the COVID shutdown, then the COVID recovery. The economy, you know, the global economy isn't keeping up.

You look at some of these grocery prices, and again, it is real money.

I mean, you think about it, last year, we weren't buying up all of these holiday Turkeys, so producers of Turkeys in the beginning of the year didn't produce as many birds.

Now it's Thanksgiving again and guess what? Here we are with an economy that is roaring and consumers who want to buy. And you might not be able to get your size of bird that you want.

You look at meat and milk and everything going up here. The grocery bills are rising.

And I think it's going to stay here, Jim, in the near term. I'm not going to say the dreaded "T" word, transitory -- OK, I just said it.

The Fed has been saying for months that this is transitory. It feels like this is going to stick for the time being here.

You asked what the administration can do. Look, fighting inflation is the Fed's job. It can raise interest rates. It can pull back on stimulus.

That's something consumers don't like to feel either. That means interest their rates will be higher to cool off an economy. But we'll watch the Fed there.

What the White House could do, they could tap that emergency petroleum reserve. I think that would just be window dressing. It doesn't really make a dent in the global supply picture for oil.

They could maybe roll back some tariffs, those Trump tariffs. That could lower costs for importers.

But then again that's at cross purposes with trying to make sure we're building things in the United States and not rewarding importing foreign goods.

So there are a few things they could do.

They could also change the messaging.

I mean, think about this. The Biden administration made sure American families get $300 per month per child. That is essentially a tax cut for American families.

They could be explaining that you have more money in your pocket to withstand these --


ROMANS: That's right -- to withstand the vastitude of the economy that really are no fault of the administration. Even though the administration gets too much credit and too much blame for things like this.

They can try to explain this is exactly the time to be investing in working families so they can absorb cyclical shocks like higher inflation.

They're going to have to work on their messaging a little bit.

They're saying there's a multi-tiered approach that they're going to unveil. I'd like to see what that is.

ACOSTA: Of course, if they want to come on, they can come on the show. They could always come on and talk to you, Christine. The door is always open, as we like to say.


ACOSTA: Christine Romans, thank you so much. We appreciate it.

ROMANS: Nice to see you.

ACOSTA: Good to see you, too.

Coming up next, the #freeBritney movement is now a reality as the judge ends Britney Spears' 13-year-long conservatorship. Britiney is free. The latest on the ruling next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: It took 13 years and a fierce league battle but today Britney Spears is finally free to live her life as she chooses.

Supporters of the pop star celebrated outside of the Los Angeles courtroom after the judge granted the singer's request to terminate her conservatorship.

CNN's Stephanie Elam reports from Los Angeles.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For the first time in 13 years, Britney Spears is once again in control of her own destiny. A Los Angeles County judge terminating the conservatorship effective immediately.

We understand from her lawyer that there will be some safeguards put in place to protect her and to protect her estimated $60 million estate.

We also know there will be two more court dates, but those will be for technicalities. And this is really essentially the end of the conservatorship at this point now.

There were no objections in court, which is noteworthy, considering that we have seen her go back and forth with her father since this started playing out in court this year.

Remember, in those two explosive testimonies over the summer, Britney Spears said she was forced to take birth control, that she forced to perform.

And she said she was a victim of conservatorship abuse and she was pointing the finger at her father.

After her testimony, her father petitioning the court to end the conservatorship. Instead, in September, the judge terminating him as co-conservator of her estate, but keeping on the conservatorship until now finally ending this long saga for Britney Spears.

Obviously, the Free Britney fans out here in great numbers celebrating. We saw people who were hugging, crying. They were spreading confetti everywhere.

You could also see some people performing and singing her songs.

And Britney Spears herself taking to Instagram to post about it, writing, "Good god, I love my fans so much. It's crazy. I think I'm going to cry the rest of the day. Best day ever. Praise the lord. Can I get an amen?"

Then signed off with #freedBritney.

And really, when you look at how her fans have played a role in this, her thanks to them makes a lot of sense because, without them, who knows if that day would have come as quickly as it did.

Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.


ACOSTA: And the top-10 "CNN Heroes" of 2021 have been announced. One will be named the Hero of the Year by you, our viewers As you vote over the next few weeks, we'll be reintroducing each of our top 10.


Growing up in Maine, Lynda Doughty developed a passion for the array of marine animals living along its beautiful coast.

So when state and government funding vanished and locals organizations working to protect these animals closed their doors, she dove in to fill the gap and care.


LYNDA DOUGHTY, CNN HERO: Releasing a seal is really bittersweet. And as much I'm excited to see the animal released, it's hard in the sense of now seeing the animal gone.

You guys know that you're going back to the ocean?

So any seal that we rescue, the ultimate goal is for that animal to be release released back into the ocean.


I feel this intense responsibility to help these animals. And really this is what I was put on this earth to do.




ACOSTA: Go to right now to cast your vote for CNN Hero of the Year.

And we'll be right back.