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Now: Peter Navarro Makes Court Appearance Following Indictment; Today: Report On Police Response Timeline Expected In Uvalde; Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) Discusses About What's Going On In The Investigation In Uvalde After The Elementary Mass Shooting; Biden Touts Jobs Report, Concedes Rising Prices Are A "Problem." Aired 3- 3:30p ET
Aired June 03, 2022 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: I think they do respect the Queen. They wanted to be there for her. Wait to see whether or not they managed to heal the rifts though with Prince William and Prince Charles, which is where the tensions are there. Also interesting outside to see Boris Johnson arriving. Lots of boos, a few cheers as well when he arrived and I think that really speaks to what's unique about the Queen.
She's not a divisive figure. She's never expressed opinion and that's something different from the politicians we've got these days who do divide opinion. And I think that speaks to the current environment, lots of divisiveness in society and why there's interest in the Queen, there wasn't a divisive figure.
Whether or not you're into royalty, I think there's a lot of difference to her as an individual. So I think she'll be pretty pleased with the way the first two days have unfolded even though she can't be there personally.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: And hopefully, she's resting comfortably. Max Foster for us in London, thank you.
Top of the brand new hour on CNN NEWSROOM, good to have you. I'm Victor Blackwell.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: And I'm Alisyn Camerota. Happening now, former Trump adviser Peter Navarro is in court after being indicted for contempt of Congress. Navarro refused to cooperate with the January 6 Select Committee's investigation and was arrested by the FBI earlier today.
BLACKWELL: CNN Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is on this story. So let's start by just reminding everyone of the information that Navarro has that the Committee wants and how investigators got to this indictment.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, Navarro was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee investigating January 6th. Back in February, they specifically requested testimony and documents related to plans he was hatching with another Trump adviser Steve Bannon to delay the certification of the election results.
Now, Navarro has been very public about his efforts to undermine the outcome of the 2020 election. He even wrote about this plan in a book that he published not that long ago. He refers to the plan as 'The Green Bay Sweep'. But he refused to cooperate with the House Select Committee citing executive privilege.
And the Committee pointed out, look, you're talking about this publicly. You're writing about it in book. There's no reason you can't come in and answer questions from us. And so in April, the House referred him to the Justice Department for possible criminal contempt of Congress, but it wasn't clear if the Justice Department would actually move on that.
They have received a few referrals related to this investigation. They have moved forward to prosecute Steve Bannon, but they have not moved forward with another referral for former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. They also have another one outstanding for Trump advisor Dan Scavino.
But he got a sign last week that the Justice Department was moving on this, Peter Navarro received what he described as a very loud knock at his door from several FBI agents who served him with a subpoena. We have the subpoena here. It specifically requested documents related to his refusal to cooperate with the House Select Committee.
So it's clear the Justice Department is looking into this. Today we get news of this indictment and he right now is in court for initial appearance before a federal judge here in Washington. Now, another unusual aspect of this case is the fact that he was arrested today by the FBI.
Traditionally, in a contempt case or cases like this, you would just voluntarily surrender yourself. You'd show up to court. But in the court records, it's clear prosecutors say they wanted to actually seal this indictment to prevent him from being able to destroy evidence or potentially flee, very notable, very unusual. Up till now, though, Navarro has actually been representing himself.
Our colleagues currently in the courtroom tell us that it does appear that he may actually have a lawyer now and that is significant because earlier this week, he filed a lawsuit fighting all of these subpoenas, and he got bench slapped for the way that he filed this. The judge, the court admonished him for not doing it correctly. And look, it's one thing to file lawsuits on your own behalf, it's quite another thing for someone who's not a lawyer to be up against federal prosecutors in a criminal trial. So a big question coming out of today's hearing is has he hired a lawyer or not?
CAMEROTA: Okay. Well, we shall see momentarily. Paula Reid, bring us the developments as soon as you have them. Thank you.
All right. President Biden, meanwhile, says he is being constantly briefed on negotiations in Congress to pass gun reform. And in a rare move, he went on primetime TV last night to push his proposals, including a ban on assault weapons. He also pressured Republicans to 'do something' against America's gun violence epidemic that includes attacks, as he pointed, out that do not get the attention that mass shootings do.
BLACKWELL: Just this week in South Carolina, police say that a man randomly firing at cars shot and killed an eight year old boy. In Wisconsin, a man open fire on a funeral, two people were injured there. And in Texas officials say a prison escapee used a stolen AR-15 in a shootout with police. Now, that prisoner was eventually killed but not before they say he murdered a family of five.
The President's frustration last night was palpable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Two teachers, how much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say enough?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju, joins us now from Capitol Hill. So Manu, do any of the President's proposals have a chance of getting through Congress?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the ones that would restrict access to guns almost certainly do not, including an assault weapons ban that is not even being contemplated among the Senate group of negotiators who have been talking behind the scenes over the last several days and will continue their discussions next week.
One of those ideas too to increase the age from 18 to 21 to prevent people from buying semi-automatic rifles until they reach that age of 21. I'm told that members are skeptical that ultimately we'll get in to the final proposal, assuming they can get a deal. They're still trying to hash one out focused on how to bolster States' red flag laws dealing with mental health issues and the like, also expanding the background check system.
But even an expansion of the background check system won't go as far as one proposal that stalled in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre in 2013, that bill stalled, that would expand background checks to include gun show sales, as well as internet sales. I'm told that they are looking at a narrower version of that proposal as part of these talks.
So a lot they have to sort out but next week is the decisive week. Senators have set that deadline to come up with a deal, otherwise, this could - that effort could very well collapse as they have done so many times before.
CAMEROTA: Also, Manu, next week, is there going to be a fourth grader from the Robb Elementary School testifying before Congress?
RAJU: Yes, it's going to be emotional, gut-wrenching testimony before the House Oversight Committee will hear from several witnesses, including a fourth grade student at Robb Elementary School who will be testifying about the horrific tragedy at Uvalde, Texas. And also, there'll be parents of a 10-year-old girl who was murdered that day as well will also be testifying there.
We do expect to hear testimony on that same day from a mother of a - whose son was injured in the Buffalo massacre and also the day before on Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the son of someone who was killed during - in that Buffalo grocery store massacre also will be testifying.
So a lot of emotions, a lot of emotional testimony to be heard by Congress next week when they returned from recess. The question is what will lawmakers do about it. Guys?
CAMEROTA: That does sound like it would be very emotional. Manu Raju, thank you.
BLACKWELL All right. Let's focus now on that Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde. We're still awaiting the release of that preliminary report from the Texas Department of Public Safety. One of the big questions whether details from the 911 calls coming from inside the classroom were relayed to law enforcement on the scene.
CAMEROTA: CNN Nick Valanecia is live in Uvalde with new details on the investigation. So Nick, how would it be possible that the calls from the dispatcher wouldn't be relayed to the person on the scene?
NICK VALANECIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as state senator Roland Gutierrez underscores, there wasn't just human error on that day last week, there was also systemic error. System error particularly when it comes to the 911 calls, which he says were not relayed to the incident commander, Chief Pete Arredondo.
But look, guys, regardless of whether or not he was getting these 911 calls, we know that officers were there inside the school outside the classroom and could likely hear the gunshots from the gunman. They could likely hear the screams and the groans from those children. And yet they obeyed orders from the incident commander not to go inside and breach those two locked doors and instead just listen to those horrific sounds.
It is a really underscoring here the emotion and the devastation and the explanation or lack thereof from police as to why they didn't do anything. We were expecting that Texas DPS report today that's no longer going to happen. And these families here, they deserve answers. We did get some more answers in the way of new documents from these preliminary death certificates about 60 pages of death certificates from those victims.
And as we know, and we assumed these victims died of multiple gunshot wounds. In some cases, those wounds were all across their body. And according to these reports, we know that at least two of the victims, families chose to cremate their bodies. Victor? Alisyn?
BLACKWELL: Nick, we know the DNA tests were necessary to identify some of those children and give you an idea of just how destructive the bullets were. We know that there are at least two people now demanding accountability from the manufacturer of the firearm that the police say was used in the attack, what more can you tell us about that?
VALANECIA: Yes, Amelia Marren (ph) is the teacher who was falsely accused of propping a backdoor open where it said that the government initially entered. We know that was false. Yet, investigators took days to correct that information. And according to her attorney, Marren (ph) has had trouble breathing because of that false accusation. She even second-guess herself as to whether she left that door propped open only to say that she didn't.
Marren (ph) says that she has no plans of suing the police, the school or the school district at this point, but they are taking the initial steps to sue potentially the manufacturer of the weapon that was used in the slaughter last week. Victor? Alisyn?
BLACKWELL: Nick Valanecia at that growing memorial in Uvalde, thank you.
CAMEROTA: Let's bring in Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. She represents Houston. She is also on the Judiciary Committee. Congressman, thanks so much for being here. Can we just start with Uvalde? So the Department of Public Safety is now not issuing a report that we had expected today. The chief of the school police Pete Arredondo is not answering questions. The DA is not answering questions, what's going on in Uvalde?
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, I know there's a lot of pain in Uvalde. I was there on Sunday and spent a lot of time hugging, embracing and seeing the depth of despair, desperation, anger and anguish and love as well. I saw it, Alisyn, in children. I spent a lot of time at the town square, that children who usually you hear laughter and play where there crying.
With that in mind, I don't think law enforcement in which - I have interacted with law enforcement for at least two decades. I'm chair of the crime subcommittee and Homeland Security Committee on Judiciary. I deal a lot with law enforcement. We know they do good work, but I don't think they're going to be able to hold out much longer. The facts are going to have to be put out. I'm looking to hold congressional hearings on this topic and there are probably other hearings on this topic, investigations on this topic the Justice Department is investigating.
I sent a letter, the mayor of the city sent a letter and I asked the Justice Department to investigate and they're doing it along with the FBI. This will not rest. I think now I've often said I really want to focus on the mourning of these parents, the funerals are still going on. But I know that these questions are still there and that's one of what we have to solve along with ending gun violence.
CAMEROTA: Yes, of course. And I mean, obviously, I hear you about the grief that is so raw in that community and will be for a long time. And the idea that the officials aren't answering any questions, they're not answering the parents' questions, they're not answering the media's questions, it's just unusual. Sadly, we have covered so many of these, Uvalde is handling this differently the officials there are.
But I do want to move on to what you're doing in Congress, because you just had this committee hearing and it felt like Democrats and Republicans were not seeing eye to eye at this. Let me show - let me play for everybody the moment where a Republican Congressman from Florida Greg Steube wanted to show the Committee his guns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GREG STEUBE (R-FL): This gun would be banned under the Democrat (inaudible) ...
LEE: I hope the gun is not loaded.
STEUBE: I'm at my house, I can do whatever I want with my guns.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Congresswoman, is it possible to have any productive conversations between Democrats and Republicans in the House on this issue?
LEE: I think we can bring clarity to the issue and most of the time the clarity was on the side of the Democrats, but I frankly believe that there are members of our friends on the other side of the aisle, Republicans, who realize that this is a moment of which they cannot close the door. They cannot run out of the door. They cannot slam the door shut.
Mitch McConnell would not have sent John Cornyn to Washington and asked him to at least sit in the meetings if he didn't realize and feel the pressure of the deaths in Buffalo, the deaths in Uvalde, the shooting in Tulsa and, of course, most people didn't hear there was a shooting in a graveyard in Racine, Wisconsin. It's shooting, shooting, shooting, Texas has had some 12 mass shootings, 151 dead since 1982 and 183 injured.
We have no gun laws in Texas and that means that we are a state that needs federal action. And other states have no gun laws and they contribute to states that have strong gun laws. So I'm reminded of the time after Sandy Hook, it's almost unspeakable. That's - I've been in Congress since Columbine. I was on the Columbine task force. It's shame on America in terms of the representatives that she has, that there has not been action.
But there was this crying president, President Obama had no doubt about the pain he felt.
LEE: And obviously, he was a parent.
LEE: But the parents they're in Sandy Hook, you would have thought after we sat on the floor of the House, a sit-in, that it would have happened. John Lewis said ...
LEE: ... where is our soul? And so I would say, Alisyn, we've got a package that is an exciting package that we passed out. I would not be surprised if we got some Republicans on the floor of the House that would vote for this package, because it is a common sense package, (inaudible) ...
CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, I understand. We do have that. We can put it up, I think, the list of everything that's in it, but do you think the Republican, who - which Republicans do you think will sign on?
LEE: Well, I think what we're prepared to do when we go back to Washington is to speak with them, because the package is not harmful. One of the things I also want to do, I'm saying it over and over again, my office is reaching out to Wayne LaPierre. Because frankly, I don't believe the NRA has the dominant population of its membership that would not be open to stopping gun trafficking, storing guns, and munitions and an increasing age, that's overly popular.
So here's the point, I think ...
LEE: Let the Senate move in its negotiating, but we in the House have work to do as well and I think there are people in the House members, Republicans ...
LEE: ... Democrats that can find some commonality around this package.
CAMEROTA: Well, let me, on that point, hear may be an example. We had a Republican congresswoman on, on Wednesday, Beth Divine - I'm sorry, Van Duyne, Beth Van Duyne from Texas, I'm sure you know her and she said that she's introduced a bill that would keep guns out of the hands of 18 year olds with a violent juvenile record. But she says she can't get any Democrats to come on board with her. So let me just play for you what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. BETH VAN DUYNE (R-TX): Violent offenders, violent criminals need to be prevented from purchasing guns. If we actually work and talk there, and that's where we have our conversation, I'm ready. I'm ready. I will talk to anybody in the room who's willing to have that conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: How about that, Congresswoman? Are Democrats willing to meet Republicans in the middle?
LEE: Well, we've often done that and we feel that we're open. She's a fellow Texan, let her reach out as - excuse me - as a fellow Texan, and ensure that we ...
CAMEROTA: But what she says this has been languishing. She says that she pitched - that this was proposed a year ago and it's been languishing.
LEE: Alisyn, the way you get co-sponsors is you move around the floor of the House, you come to the Committee of jurisdiction. I don't recall speaking to the congresswoman, but she's a fellow Texan. I'm open to speaking to her about her bills. Her bill may not move this week, but I said in the Committee, and I was somewhat surprised to the members and said this is the beginning.
We do need to have a comprehensive plan of gun safety legislation, not anything that undermines the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court case on Heller (ph) ...
LEE: ... says we can put restrictions on it. So let me say to the congresswoman ...
LEE: ... my door is open. But it may not pass next week, but we begin to look at any number of items that we can find common ground. I think we have hit the elements that is needed in Uvalde. They also want a seven day waiting period.
LEE: I'm going to offer that amendment and look forward to collaborating on that.
LEE: But we can find ways of working together.
CAMEROTA: There you go.
LEE: Save lives.
CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee ...
LEE: Children are dying.
CAMEROTA: ... we really appreciate you being on, thank you.
LEE: Thank you. BLACKWELL: All right. We'll see if they make some progress. It was a
school in Texas, a hospital in Oklahoma, nearly every intersection of public life targeted by mass shooters. Well, we are now going to speak with an expert who will tell you what to do, show you what to do if you're ever in that situation.
CAMEROTA: Also, the May jobs report is out, what the numbers mean for inflation and your wallet?
BLACKWELL: U.S. employers added 390,000 jobs in May, that's down from April but higher than expected and the unemployment rate held at 3.6 percent. Now, despite the steady numbers, President Biden acknowledged that rising prices still threaten the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Even with today's good news, a lot of Americans remain anxious and I understand the feeling. There's no denying that high prices, particularly around gasoline and food are a real problem for people. But there's every reason for the American people to feel confident that we'll meet these challenges because of the enormous progress we've made on the economy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: With us now Mitch Landrieu, Senior Adviser to the President and the administration's Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. Mitch, welcome back.
MITCH LANDRIEU, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Hey, Victor. How are you?
BLACKWELL: I'm doing well. Hope you are too.
BLACKWELL: Let me start here ...
LANDRIEU: I am.
BLACKWELL: ... Elon Musk add his name to the list of people who are concerned about the economy. Larry Summers, Jamie Dimon on the list, Musk says he has a super bad feeling about the economy. You reminded me on Wednesday you're not an economist, I got you, but they put you forward to talk about the jobs report and the economy. What is the White House's expectation projection for what's ahead?
LANDRIEU: Well, a couple of things. We don't need expectations. Today, we got a really robust number that came out that speaks for itself. You also noted at the top that we have the lowest unemployment rate in a very, very long time. As I said the other day, household debt is down, savings are up, jobs are up, wages are up. Just earlier this week, Ford announced that they were going to invest
another $3.1 billion in May in constructing a number of plants around the country for EV infrastructure. So those numbers look good. What the President was saying, though, is that he completely understands that notwithstanding all of those numbers, and how strong we are in a position to go forward, that inflation continues to be a challenge.
He laid out an agenda for dealing with that the other day. He spoke to it again today. We're in a difficult time. There's no question that we're in an economic challenge. But the bigger point is that the President's economic policies have put us in a very strong position to move through this very difficult time.
BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about gas prices hitting a record again today, $4.76. The President said there's nothing more unilaterally that he can do, but I wonder what the White House's position is today on a suspension or holiday for the federal gas tax.
The Democrats in Congress are split on it, some people think it would work, some think it's a stunt, there are some states doing it. How would that impact, one; the price and two; infrastructure and funding projects moving forward?
LANDRIEU: Well, let me mention two things about that. First of all, the President, as you know, got together, world leaders and they released as much as they could. He also, on the local level, released huge amounts of supply from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. On top of that, he is going to continue to work on this particular issue and he said that he wouldn't quit.
The second part of it, though, is he also said that everything is on the table and I'm going to leave that to him, obviously, and Congress to negotiate this going forward. But then he said, notwithstanding that, he's going to continue to use the power of the presidency to reduce costs on everyday Americans and one thing he was going to do is make sure that the Federal Reserve did its job in dealing with inflation.
The second thing that he said that he would do in partnership with Congress, is to make sure that we lower prices on Americans in other areas, because he understands what it's like at the table and he laid out prescription drugs, he laid out childcare, he laid out high speed internet, there are lots of things that we can do to reduce the cost on American citizens and as he said, to make it just a little bit easier.
And then finally, the robust economy and reducing the deficit and actually making people pay their fair share billionaires to pay the same rate that firefighters and teachers do all would be a great start in reducing the burden on everyday Americans. The President's laid that out and he would like Congress to act.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Talking - let's talk about Congress acting, the President delivered this speech last night on gun reform and you watch the Build Back Better negotiations and talks up close. It will certainly be an uphill push to get legislation through Congress. It might be a vertical wall climb even.
But do you think that there's some value to have the President do more than he did last night to engage one on one with members of the Senate to try to come to some agreement?
LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, I expect that the President will use the power of the presidency to help secure the lives of American people and American children. I think that you will agree with me that the President's speech last night was right on target, right on point, right on message. This is a president that understands what it's like to lose a child and clearly from the work that he did, from the time that he was a senator to being a vice president to the President has been working on this issue. You will remember that I served as mayor of the City of New Orleans ...
BLACKWELL: But beyond, Mitch, let me interrupt real quick ...
LANDRIEU: ... wait, but let me finish ...
BLACKWELL: ... beyond the speech, will he engage?
LANDRIEU: ... but I understand that, but let me explain. The President is going to use his bully pulpit. He actually called on Congress and but for going over there to do their job for them, I am sure that he's going to work with them. He laid out a very specific plan of things that almost two-thirds of the people in America support.
Now, for the life of me as just a guy from New Orleans that looks up at Washington before I got there a couple of months ago, I don't understand how Congress can act on pieces of legislation that over 70 percent of the American people support that are common sense gun reforms that will save our children.
In the previous segment that you had, I think Alisyn was interviewing someone who I couldn't see from Texas and said, what's the middle ground. There is no middle ground between life and death when somebody is standing over a kid with an AK-47. There is no middle ground.
And I think the President laid out a certain level of frustration last night with Congress' inability to move where the American people want them to be and I'm sure that he will use the power of the presidency to actually make sure that he speaks to the American public, and he speaks to Congress in the way that's appropriate to get this done.
BLACKWELL: Mitch Landrieu, thank you. Always good to have you.
LANDRIEU: Thank you, sir.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Happening now, former Trump adviser Peter Navarro is in court after being indicted on criminal contempt charges. This is days ahead of those primetime hearings on the January 6th investigation. We have more ahead.