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Jurors Return for Day Two in Rittenhouse Deliberations; House Votes on Censuring Gosar; QAnon Shaman Sentenced Today; Trump Targeting Republicans who Voted on Infrastructure; Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) is Interviewed about the Biden Spending Bill. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired November 17, 2021 - 09:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Look at that construction. I mean David is doing it right.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Solid. Solid construction.

KEILAR: Amazing. I love that story.

BERMAN: Sometimes I want to be carried like Smoky. Just saying.

KEILAR: I know.

BERMAN: All right, CNN's coverage continues right now.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Wednesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.


One hour from now, the jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial will begin day two of deliberations. The group of seven women and five men spent more than seven hours discussing charges yesterday and requested additional copies of the jury instructions.

CNN has also learned a consultant who helped select the jury in the O.J. Simpson trial has been working with the Rittenhouse legal team.

SCIUTTO: Also in the next hour, the man known as the QAnon shaman will be sentenced for his role in the January 6th Capitol insurrection. The DOJ hoping to make an example of him by recommending quite a long sentence, more than four years in prison.

And on Capitol Hill today, House lawmakers are expected to vote on a resolution to censure Republican Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona. That in response to a video he posted that depicted him killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Let's begin in Kenosha, Wisconsin. CNN crime and justice correspondent Shimon Prokupecz, he's covering the trial there.

Shimon, what more can you tell us about what the jurors asked for specifically yesterday, not unusual for them to ask for a repeat of instructions, but what particular instructions?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: No, you're absolutely right, not unusual at all. And also given how complicated everything is here, it certainly, we would expect them to want to hear all of that again.

Specifically, yesterday, they started the day by looking at the first six pages of the instructions. And that part of the instructions goes into self-defense. It also talks about provocation. So all of that was in the first six pages.

It also relates to the first incident, the first shooting where Kyle Rittenhouse opened fire on Joseph Rosenbaum. That was the person that the defense has painted as the aggressor here, as the guy who ambushed Kyle Rittenhouse. Of course, prosecutors arguing that Kyle Rittenhouse provoked Joseph Rosenbaum, sort of started this whole event.

So those are the first six pages of the instructions that the jury asked for.

Later in the day, they asked for all of the instructions. And that has to do with the entire case, the other incidents in the case. And what it really shows perhaps is that the jury is following the timeline that they have been given by the prosecutors, by the defense attorneys, and they're just working from one incident to the next to the next and they'll be back within the hour and perhaps maybe today we'll hear more from them.

But also, interestingly enough, they have had no other notes, no other questions to the judge. They continue to work through the day yesterday and they're expected back, as I said, around 9:00 a.m. here local time where they'll be returning to the jury room and they're going to continue their deliberations.

HILL: All right. We will be looking to you as you bring us those updates.

Shimon, appreciate it. Thank you.

Also with us this morning, CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Elie, good to have you with us this morning.

You know, Shimon just pointed out, as Jim pointed out, not unusual for the jury to ask for their instructions as they look to that. You would think you'd want to have that document in front of you.

There is going to be, you know, a lot made if there are other questions that are revealed, but I know that you caution not to try to read too much into what a jury is asking. Why is that? Does it typically end up burning you?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Erica, I -- I've been in this situation -- I've been in this situation of waiting eagerly for jury notes as one of the lawyers, a prosecutor on a case. And what's going to happen is every note that comes out, we are going to try to prognosticate. What does that mean? Is that good for the prosecution? Is that good for the defense? Are they stuck on something? Are the jurors getting along? Are they fighting? We even used to ask to see the handwriting on the note because we would try to read some magic into, do they look angry? Do they look like the handwriting is written angrily or not?

Here's the point, though. these notes can lead us astray, right? It's -- let's say, for example, the jury asks a question about reasonable doubt. That's a very common thing a jury asks about. Well, you could say they're stuck on reasonable doubt. They're having a hard time with reasonable doubt. You could see that as they're pretty confident on reasonable doubt. They just want to make sure.

So, as these notes come out, some of them will give us clear indications, but it's really sort of reading tea leaves. There's no science to it. You just have 12 human beings, strangers, selected at random, in a room.

So, the note that has come out so far asking for instructions, as Shimon said, that is a very common thing that juries ask for because they were given this massive legal instruction. No human being could possibly digest that. So I think it's a good thing overall that the jury is focused on the actual law, wants it in writing.


It shows they intend to go about this in some sort of methodical way.

SCIUTTO: We've heard, Elie, from a number of experienced trial lawyers and judges that when juries are presented with a range of charges, as you have here, ranging from at the top end, homicide, to a series of lesser charges, when folks have come away dead, right, from a shooting incident that there is a phenomenon where they look for some sort of compromise, right? That they want to assign some sort of accountability. And I ask all these questions with a heavy dose of salt because, as you note, jurors are unpredictable and there are a lot of different ways they could go. But do you think there is something to that phenomenon in your experience of juries looking for a compromise charge?

HONIG: There is, Jim. Look, there is scenarios where a jury is just all on board. It says, look, this guy is just guilty across the board. There is certainly a phenomenon the opposite way, where juries say, nope, they did not -- the prosecution did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, not guilty.

But, again, you have 12 human beings it a room. It needs to be unanimous, either way, 12-0 to convict, 12-0 to acquit. Anything in between is a hung jury. And there are a lot of institutional pressures and guidelines pushing jurors to reach a verdict. If they get to a point where they say, judge, we're having a hard time getting unanimous here, the judge will instruct them, it is your duty, if humanly possible, to reach unanimity. And what does that result in a lot of times, Jim, is compromise. They're human beings. They want to reach a verdict. They're instructed, it's your job to reach a verdict. And so if you offer the jury a middle ground, whether it's a lesser included charge, or guilty on some charges, not guilty on others, juries, at times, will go there to find that common ground and to deliver a verdict.

SCIUTTO: Elie Honig, lots to watch here. Thanks so much.

HONIG: Thank you, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Today, here in Washington, the House will vote on a resolution that would censure Republican Congressman Paul Gosar, strip him as well of his committee assignments. The move comes after the Republican from Arizona posted a photo shopped anime video that showed him killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, attacking also President Biden.

HILL: Congressman Gosar has since taken that video down. Hasn't apologized, though. He's, instead, trying to justify the violent video as a way to reach young voters.


REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): I did not apologize. I just said this video had nothing to do with harming anybody. That's exactly what you were talking about. It's an anime. We were trying to reach out to the newer generation that likes anime, these cartoons, fabricated, in Japanese likeness, to actually tell them what is harmful in this bill that they're missing.


HILL: CNN's Lauren Fox joining us now from Capitol Hill.

So, Lauren, how many Republicans do we expect in this vote? How bipartisan could it be?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the biggest rebuke that can happen to a member of Congress on Capitol Hill. Essentially, the vote will happen later today. They'll start debate sometime in the midafternoon. And we expect that at least two Republicans have publicly said that they will vote to censure Gosar. And those two Republicans, Representative Adam Kinzinger and Representative Liz Cheney, familiar names to people back home, because they are also Republicans who have spoken out against President Trump, who serve on the January 6th Select Committee, and have been critical of their own Republican leadership, Kevin McCarthy, for not taking actions in the past to penalize or punish members who have stepped out of line with the Republican Party.

Now, the concern that Democrats have is that they are having to take these steps because Kevin McCarthy did not take them himself. There are steps that a Republican leader can take to remove his members from his committee. In fact, they've done that in the past with Representative Steve King of Iowa, who was removed from his committee assignment.

This is a very important step the Democrats are going to take today. It's a serious one. And, of course, there are Democrats who say Gosar is lucky this is all they're going to be voting on today.

Here's what Representative Clyburn said earlier.


REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): It would have been the right thing to do to move to expel him. But it is not what we have decided to do as a collective body because we think, quite frankly, the Republican conference has some responsibility here. They have been totally silent on this. What is that about?


FOX: And, again, this vote happening in just a few hours. We expect that, you know, Gosar is supposed to attend this vote. He's supposed to stand in the well of the U.S. House of Representatives. Whether or not he shows or not, however, the vote is going to go forward.

Erica and Jim.

HILL: And we will be watching.

Lauren Fox, appreciate it. Thank you.


In the next hour, one of the perhaps most well-known faces from the January 6th Capitol riot expected to be sentenced. Jacob Chansley, known as the QAnon shaman, is facing more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to obstructing Congress.

SCIUTTO: That would be the longest sentence for anyone charged in the insurrection so far.

CNN's Whitney Wild joins us now from Washington.

Whitney, what does the DOJ hope to gain by throwing the book so aggressively at Jacob Chansley, four years?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, in a word, respect, respect for democracy, respect for the operation of government. I mean they are coming down so hard on Jacob Chansley because they think he was a leader here. And they think that is significant.

Fifty-one months exceeds what we've seen DOJ ask for in other cases, most notably a recent case in which someone pleaded guilty to a violent crime. Jacob Chansley not pleading guilty to a violent crime. But another defendant pleading guilty to a violent crime, an assault on police, and that request from DOJ was 44 months. So that gives some perspective about how prosecutors view the symbolism and the effective of Jacob Chansley's actions.

To bring our viewers up to speed, Chansley is one of the most infamous figures in this entire riot case. Surely you've seen the video. He's the man who's wandering, parading around through the Senate chamber with bullhorns, shirtless, face paint, fur, with a speared flagpole that prosecutors said he wielded like a weapon.

Additionally, prosecutors are coming down so hard on him because he left -- he has admitted that he left this note on the Senate dais where then Vice President Mike Pence had basically run from, just minutes prior to Chansley walking into the Senate chambers. The note said, justice is coming. He has insisted that wasn't a threat, but the -- you know, the impact of that kind of action is severe.

Further, prosecutors allege that he is very much a leader here. He was literally the flag bearer for this riot, this insurrection at the Capitol. And, further, for months prior to the insurrection, spread disinformation. That is the information the prosecutors have brought to the judge in that filing last week, urging for 51 months his -- we were able to speak very quickly with Jacob Chansley's attorney today who insists that he suffers from very serious mental health issues, that the government knows that, that he should really have a sentence of just ten months in jail, which would be time served. He's been in jail since January. So his attorney today arguing for time served.

Erica. Jim.

SCIUTTO: Whitney, just quickly, how does this sentence compare to those rioters who attacked a police officer during the insurrection?

WILD: Right. Exactly. So, this is -- this is the harshest sentence. So they're asking for more time than people who actually assaulted police, which I think is, of all of the messages we've seen DOJ send, that sends a very significant message, that they think that the effect here is even beyond the effect of bodily harm on police.

However, I should -- I should couch this and say we will very likely see many more felony cases. It's very possible that DOJ will ask for a greater sentencing for other people who committed violent acts, Jim.

SCIUTTO: I see. Understood. We know you'll be watching closely.

Whitney Wild, at the courthouse, thanks very much.

Coming up next, Democrats have delayed debate on President Biden's sweeping economic plan, as we are expecting new details on its impact on the deficit. I'm going to speak to Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist about that, when we might see concrete results as well from the infrastructure law.

HILL: Plus, the defense will begin calling witnesses today in the trial of these three white men who were accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Details on who is expected to testify.

And the FDA expected to make a decision this week on whether all adults should be eligible for Covid vaccine boosters. So, what does that timeline look like? We're going to break it down for you.


[09:18:30] HILL: At least one House Republican has received death threats for voting for the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. Now, former President Trump is targeting one of those Republicans, working to get a GOP congressman from West Virginia voted out of office for supporting that landmark legislation.

All of this as Trump's hard core supporters promise to retaliate against all 13 Republicans who voted for that bill.

CNN's Melanie Zanona joining me now from Washington.

So, I mean, how far, at this point, is the former president willing to take this grievance, his revenge tour here?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, it's no longer just the impeachment vote that is viewed as an unforgivable offense in the eyes of Trump. He is now going after Republicans who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He's furious that these members helped turn this bill into law and handed Joe Biden a victory, something that, of course, alluded Trump under his presidency. And we're really seeing that play out in the West Virginia primary race.

Now, this is a bit of an unusual situation. It's a member versus member matchup because of redistricting. Most Republicans do not want to pick sides in this race. But that's not the case with Donald Trump. He got involved this week. He is endorsing Alex Mooney over David McKinley. Alex Mooney voted against the bipartisan infrastructure bill. He also voted against the bipartisan commission to investigate January 6th. And he also voted against the certification of the 2020 election results.

But when it comes to infrastructure, this is poised to potentially become a major flashpoint in the primary. And we're seeing how it's really divided party broadly and in West Virginia.


Alex Mooney thinks that this Trump endorsement seals the deal for him. And Trump's voice does matter in West Virginia. He carried the state by 69 percent in the 2020 election. But McKinley thinks that this vote on infrastructure is going to boost him in the primary race. West Virginia has been desperately in need of more investments in transportation and in broadband services. So he says this is what his constituents want. But we'll have to see. It's essentially come down to Trump versus infrastructure, this bipartisan vote that both senators in the state voted for as well.


HILL: Oh, here we are.

Melanie Zanona, really appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

ZANONA: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: There were expectations of a debate today in the House on President Biden's roughly $1.9 trillion now social safety net package. That date now seems to be delayed, likely pushing back Democratic leaders hopes for a vote on the bill no later than this Friday.

As that vote looms, so does a highly anticipated estimate from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office on the overall cost of the bill. Is it paid for? We're now learning that the White House and top Democrats are expecting it to show a shortfall, failing to meet President Biden's promise not to add to the federal deficit.

Joining me now to discuss, Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist of Florida.

Congressman, thanks so much for taking the time this morning.

REP. CHARLIE CRIST (D-FL): Thank you, Jim. It's great to be with you.

SCIUTTO: So I know we're still waiting for the final numbers to come in from the CBO. It's CNN's reporting that even the White House is expecting a shortfall here. You're highly involved in this. Is it paid for or not?

CRIST: I think it will show that it probably would be paid for. We don't know until we get the final report from the Congressional Budget Office. That we don't expect until Friday. Once that comes out, we'll have a much clearer idea of what it's going to look like and whether it is, in fact, paid for.

But what I know is the American people need this relief. They need to make sure that climate change is addressed. For example, in my home state of Florida, an enormous issue, as you know.

And so I'm hopeful that we'll be able to get this passed by the end of the week. I certainly am glad we already have the infrastructure passed. That was a big, big win.

SCIUTTO: OK. Fact is, even the White House and Democratic leaders are telegraphing that they expect a short fall here, particularly, for instance, on the estimates as to how much IRS better collection of taxes will actually net new revenue here. I wonder, do you worry that that will lose you some of the moderate votes here who have been holding ground, waiting to see that CBO score?

CRIST: Well, that's possible, Jim. We'll have to wait and see. I guess it will depend, if there is a shortfall, how many of a shortfall exists. If it's minimal, then I think it's better probably that we'll get some of those moderate votes. But as I say, time will tell. We should know by the end of the week.

SCIUTTO: Does it endanger the overall passage of this? Joe Manchin, on the Senate side, also saying, you know, he's not happy with those numbers and he's worried about adding fuel to inflation.

CRIST: Well, that's why I say, I think it's so important to see how much, if the shortfall does exist, how big the short fall is or how small it may be. The smaller it is, the better chance we have to get to good. And that's what we need to do for the American people. SCIUTTO: On inflation, you're aware, and I'm sure you're speaking to

your constituents who are having trouble paying higher prices for gas, food, you name it. Do you share any of Senator Manchin's concerns that juicing the economy in effect with more money right now would increase the risk of inflation?

CRIST: Well, yes, but there's a number of ways to deal with that. You know, I'm calling today, for example, that we have our state tax on gas have a holiday exemption, if you will, to reduce it about 26 cents per gallon per consumer. That's a good, right way to address this, give people some relief, especially during the holiday season. These are important things. These are tabletop issues. These are things we need to be addressing. I think that's a great way the state of Florida can address it in a responsible fashion.

SCIUTTO: So infrastructure has passed. It's no small thing. It had bipartisan support. More than a trillion dollars. A big element of it is -- relates to climate. And Florida is a front line climate state, I don't have to tell you that, threatened by rising seas, threatened by increasingly powerful Atlantic storms.

Is there something in that package that your constituents will see soon, in concrete form, to help address that kind of threat?

CRIST: Absolutely, Jim. When you talk about infrastructure, how that addresses climate change, there's a lot of structural changes we can make. I live in St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay area. You can see Tampa Bay rising. You know, we're probably the state that is most susceptible for rising sea. And so this is very important for Florida. This will make a big difference. This will certainly help us. And it will help the whole country. And that's why it's so important. We need to address climate change and we need to do it now and we need to do it in a way that also gives some lessening to the inflation hit that people are taking. That's why I think having a holiday sales tax exemption on the gas tax is very good for my fellow Floridians. They deserve it.

SCIUTTO: Florida is one state where you do hear statewide Republican lawmakers accept that climate change is real and, at times, promise to do something about it.


But, as you know, for the national Republican Party, of which you used to be a member, it is -- you know, it's a political football, right?


SCIUTTO: Why do you think that your former fellow Republicans have so much trouble, resist so strongly addressing the climate issue head on?

CRIST: I really don't understand it, to be honest with you, Jim. I mean it's so open and obvious to most people. And I think it is to many Republicans, particularly Florida Republicans. It's hard to be a Floridian and not care about the climate, the environment. It's so precious to our state and our economy and jobs. Very important factor in all that we do.

SCIUTTO: No question.

I do want to ask you, before we go, your Republican colleague in the House, Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona, likely to be censured this afternoon. You're aware of the video that he sent out, an anime video. He's not apologizing for it. We played sound earlier this hour where he says, hey, this is just my way to reach out to younger voters.

You know about the kind of violence espoused in a whole host of speech, political speech. We see it on social media. We see it elsewhere.

Do you see this kind of speech, which he call just kind of funny or a political move, as encouraging violence? I mean do you look at it and say, this is serious, we've got to do something about it?

CRIST: How can you not look at it that way? I mean, my goodness, you know, it's depicting him taking down a fellow member of Congress. And that's despicable. It's reprehensible. And it should be checked. And we have to call it out. It's not right to let those things just go by and act like it's nothing or doesn't have an impact. It does have an impact. He has a voice. And he should use it responsibly, not irresponsibly, as he did in this video.

SCIUTTO: We'll see if he's listening.

Congressman Charlie Crist of Florida, thanks so much for joining us today.

CRIST: Thank you, Jim. Great to be with you.


HILL: We do have a little bit of good news to pass along from Capitol Hill this morning. Senator Amy Klobuchar announcing today she is cancer free. She completed radiation therapy for breast cancer in May and says her six-month post treatment exam was clear.

Still ahead, coronavirus vaccine booster shots could be available for all adults by the end of the week. What we're expecting from the FDA.

SCIUTTO: And we are moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street. Futures pretty flat this morning after rallying back near more record highs yesterday. Earnings season is coming to a close. Investors have been celebrating strong earnings as companies seem to be handling the supply chain crisis well. Investors still concerned, though, about surging prices, the overall health of the underlying economy.