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Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump Sues To Keep WH Records Secret, Claims Exec Privilege; Tomorrow: Vote On Whether Bannon Should Be Referred To DOJ; In One Of Final Interviews, Colin Powell Opened Up About His Health Battles, Views On War And Greatest Person He Knew; Manchin, Sanders Meet After War Of Words; Source: Location Of Kidnapped Americans In Haiti Unknown. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired October 18, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We'll watch it together with you. Thank you very, very much. Brian Todd reporting.
And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, former President Donald Trump tonight suing the Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection, trying to keep his records from becoming public as the Committee tonight warned Steve Bannon to comply with the subpoena or face possible charges. What are Bannon and Trump afraid up?
Plus, Trump's spending four and a half hours under oath today in a deposition and I'm going to speak to the attorney who deposed him.
A new audio just in to CNN of Colin Powell opening up to journalists Bob Woodward about his health struggles saying, "Don't feel sorry for me for God's sakes." Much more on what Powell said in what may have been his last interview. Let's go OUTFRONT.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, former President Trump is suing to keep his White House records secret. Trump filing a lawsuit against the House January 6 Committee and the National Archives. The National Archives as you know, of course, is preparing to turn over a very long list of records from Trump's presidency to the Committee after the Biden ministration refused to assert executive privilege on Trump's behalf.
Now, Trump lawyers went through it and are now specifically trying to block the release of 45 of those documents. We don't know exactly what's in them, why they don't want those out there. The suit calls the January 6 probe all in a 'vexatious, illegal fishing expedition'.
Of course, nothing about wanting to know why January 6th happened is vexatious or illegal or a fishing expedition. It's an attempt by Congress to get to the bottom of why Trump supporters attacked the capitol, 140 officers were injured that day, five people died in connection with what happened and we all need to know why.
But the former president has never been concerned about stopping another attack against democracy. He said the actual Election Day was the insurrection for God's sakes. Now his lawyers argued that the Committee investigating January 6 in part is 'attempting to damage the republic itself and the citizens of the United States'.
Well, this is the first time we've seen a public legal dispute between a current and former president over executive privilege. No former president has ever exerted executive privilege on his own behalf after leaving office. And while Trump is trying to prevent this information from coming out, he was speaking today in another lawsuit. Here he is here in New York City. Moments ago he left Trump Tower after sitting for a four and a half hour deposition.
I'm going to speak with the lawyer who deposed the former president coming up. And today's developments come on the eve of a vote tomorrow by the January 6 Committee and this vote is on whether to refer Trump ally Steve Bannon to the Justice Department for criminal contempt charges because he's refused to comply with the panel subpoena deadline.
Bannon has said he won't testify because of executive privilege, even though, of course, he was not working for the White House or for the executive when he prodded the president to return to Washington for the January 6th rally. In the letter of Bannon's attorney CNN obtained today the Committee writes that even if it was 'inclined to accept the unsupported premise' that executive privilege covers communications between Bannon and Trump, it continues to say Bannon 'does not enjoy any form of absolute immunity from testifying or producing documents in response to a Congressional subpoena'. Ryan Nobles is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill to begin our coverage tonight.
So Ryan, there were questions would Trump actually sue and now indeed he has, what more you learning about his lawsuit?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You're right, Erin. This really wasn't that big of a surprise and the legal arguments the former President is making are also not much of a surprise. His lawyer is basically making an argument on three different fronts that the Select Committee should not get this information.
The first being that they believe that it doesn't have a specific legislative purpose, which would be the responsibility of any Congressional investigation. The second being that they believe the information is protected under executive privilege and a separation of powers. Even though Donald Trump is a former president, they still believe he enjoys that right.
And then the third aspect is that they said they just haven't had enough time to go through the documents to determine what should and should not be allowed to be in the hands of the Committee.
Now, obviously, the Committee feels very differently about this. They feel as though the executive privilege claim is weak, especially because the current President Joe Biden has said that he is going to allow most of this to go through, although he'll review it on a case by case basis.
And they do firmly believe that there's a specific legislative purpose to their investigation, so this is something they're going to fight it out in court. But, of course, Erin, as we've said many times, this is to the benefit of the former president that there's going to be a lengthy court battle, because there's only so much time for the Committee to get their work done. Most believe it needs to be done by next year's midterm elections.
BURNETT: Yes. And that is a crucial point and I have more on that in a moment. But let me ask you first, Ryan, about Steve Bannon.
Because this vote tomorrow is a crucial vote and if they choose to refer him to the Department of Justice for possible criminal prosecution, that obviously is very significant. What more are you learning about this?
NOBLES: Yes. Erin, more than anything, this is the Committee demonstrating what they've said time and time again, that they are not messing around. They set a deadline of Bannon to appear before them on Thursday of last week and now on Tuesday of this week, just a couple of days, they are beginning the process of formally referring him for criminal contempt to the Department of Justice.
That vote scheduled to take place here at the Capitol tomorrow night at 7:30.
NOBLES: It will then go to the full House of Representatives to be voted on before it goes to the Department of Justice. This could happen quickly and this is not only assigned to Steve Bannon that the Committee is serious about getting him to cooperate, but it's also assigned to all of these other individuals that they've served subpoenas to and even those that they've reached out to, to ask them to cooperate voluntarily.
NOBLES: They are not messing around and they'll use every power of the Congress to make sure that happens.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Ryan.
So now let's go to Elie Honig, former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. So Elie, a couple points here, first, Trump's lawsuit. You've gone through it, so does it have a chance of succeeding?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Erin, I think this is a long shot for Donald Trump. He raises three primary arguments. The first one is that this is just intended to harass or annoy Donald Trump, that's really just name calling. There's no law behind that. This committee, obviously, is investigating for a very specific purpose.
The second argument is that the Committee lacks what we call a legitimate legislative purpose, meaning the argument from Donald Trump is, well, they're not trying to pass laws here.
First of all, it's not clear that they have to have that purpose. They have a certain right in Congress to investigate.
HONIG: Second of all, they may well suggest new laws. The 9/11 Commission did just that when they investigated it. And then finally, there's this executive privilege argument.
Now, Trump says as a former president, he has a right to assert executive privilege. He's actually right. There is some law saying he does have some ability. But when he leaves out of his papers is the fact that it's fairly clear in our law that if there's disagreement, the current president prevails.
BURNETT: And that obviously would be the precedent for where we are. So now to the point that Ryan made about the timing here and the fight over the House subpoena for former White House lawyer Don McGahn, let me just give that as an example, during the impeachment trial. It took two years to litigate, okay, that's an ancient history.
This committee may not have two years, I mean, as Ryan was pointing out. There's the perception that it needs to be done by the midterms. Now, maybe if Democrats win they can continue, but it's going to be a bit chaotic and they could lose, and then it's all over, Republicans end the investigation. So how long could all of this take to litigate?
HONIG: So two years is absolutely inexcusable and I hope that Congress and the courts alike learn their lesson from the Don McGahn debacle. Let me sort of break this down.
The Committee, as Brian said, there's nothing surprising in this brief. The Committee should already have its brief three quarters done.
HONIG: They're going to get a deadline soon. They should be ready to file their brief on Friday, I mean this week. And then they need to stress to the federal district court, you must expedite this. This is not an ordinary dispute. This is a time sensitive dispute. We need a ruling from you soon. There's no reason the district court, the trial court can't rule on this within a few weeks.
Whoever loses is then going to take the case to the Court of Appeals. You have a right to do that. They can move as quickly as the judges want, as quickly as a month, it could take as long as I've seen these things take six months and up. There's no excuse for that. And then whoever loses there is going to try to get it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Again, they can move as quickly as the justices are willing to if the
Supreme Court takes it, of course, that extends the deadline. But if they don't, then the Court of Appeals ruling will stand. So this could be as quick as a month or two, it could be as long as six months or more.
BURNETT: I mean, it is pretty incredible when you think about it, but all that is the crucial timeline. So let me ask you also about Bannon, the vote tomorrow, about referring him to the Justice Department for criminal contempt charges. So they're going to go ahead, I'm going to assume, and go ahead and do that. What is the likelihood though that the Committee when all of this is said and done ever hears from Steve Bannon?
HONIG: Yes. So ultimately, the decision about whether to charge criminally will be Merrick Garland. One important thing to note, even if they do bring a criminal charge against Steve Bannon and he's convicted, his punishment is he goes to prison. It doesn't force him to testify.
The idea is that most people will then choose to testify if force with this leverage. But ultimately, this is going to be a defining moment for Merrick Garland. There's political pressure on him. The Committee is publicly applying pressure to him. The President of the United States said he wants to see this charge.
HONIG: DOJ push back and said we're going to make this decision independently. However, if Merrick Garland takes on this fight, and he should, it's going to be a tough fight. But sometimes, as a prosecutor, that's what you have to do.
But if he does not, if he says I'm not charging this, he will kneecap this January 6 Committee. He will essentially prevent them from compelling testimony from Meadows and Scavino ...
BURNETT: And anyone else, yes.
HONIG: ... and Patel, so this is a huge decision.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Elie.
So tonight we did hear from Donald Trump and under oath, well, not we but somebody did. The former president just leaving Trump Tower because he gave a videotape deposition for four and a half hours and the purpose of this was to see if he could be held responsible for an alleged assault of protesters outside of the building in 2015.
The demonstrators were protesting Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric during the campaign. They claimed that Trump's then-head of security Keith Schiller hit one of them in the head as the protester tried to stop Schiller from taking signs away, which read Trump make America racist again. OUTFRONT now is Ben Dictor. He deposed the former president today and
he is the lawyer for the protesters in the case. So Ben, thanks very much. Okay. So four and a half hours and you're the one leading the questioning here of the former president.
BEN DICTOR, ATTY. REPRESENTING PROTESTERS IN 2015 CIVIL SUIT AGAINST DONALD TRUMP: Yes.
BURNETT: Did he answer your questions in a satisfactory manner or not?
DICTOR: Well, I can say that he answered the questions. Whether or not it was satisfactory, I think we'll leave up to a jury in this matter. But I can tell you that we sat down with Mr. Trump at approximately 10 this morning. He put his right hand in the air and he took an oath to tell the truth and that's the first time that that's happened in, well, since before he was elected president and that's a really meaningful thing.
BURNETT: And did the gravity of that moment sink into him, do you think?
DICTOR: I won't speculate as to what was going on in his head. It's well-known that Mr. Trump has given quite a number of depositions and has testified over the years in a variety of matters, so in some respects, this is nothing new. But at the same time, this is the first time that this has happened. This is the first time that Donald Trump has been under oath, again, since taking the office of the presidency.
BURNETT: So four and a half hours is a lot of time and so let me just ask you, what was his demeanor like and I know you're recording it, obviously, because it could play in front of a jury? Did his demeanor change when the camera was on or off? What can you tell us?
DICTOR: Well, there are a number of video depositions of Donald Trump that are available, you can Google them. They're on YouTube.
DICTOR: And he was not dissimilar to the sort of, I would say, behavior and mannerisms as you see in those videos. Nevertheless, Mr. Trump did answer the questions that were asked. There were a handful of questions that we'll have to seek a ruling from the court on, but that's not an uncommon occurrence when you are examining someone under oath.
I'm an employment lawyer and I've taken many depositions of many bosses and that's essentially what this was today. I mean, this was an examination of Donald Trump as the employer of security guards for the Trump Organization in the Trump campaign. And I've examined a lot of evasive bosses over the years, I've examined, frankly, a lot more challenging bosses over the years than Donald Trump.
But he came in and I would say that he was everything you would expect Mr. Trump to be based on his interactions with the press and with attorneys in other matters. BURNETT: So you're seeking punitive damages for your clients, which
if awarded my understanding is would be based on Trump's net worth. I've watched those depositions online and I've watched interviews on that topic and I've asked him that question myself and his answers change every single time.
So were you able to get a straight answer from him? How did he answer those questions about his worth?
DICTOR: Again, and respectfully, and I understand that that's something of public interest, but at this point I don't think it would be appropriate for me to say what questions were asked or what answers were given. There'll come a time when that information will become public as a function of the way that this process works with the court.
DICTOR: I will say this, we fully intend on proceeding with our claim for punitive damages at trial and presenting that to a jury and I believe that we have sufficient evidence for that claim to proceed and that we will have sufficient information for the jury to make a determination both as to whether or not punitive damages are warranted and how much punitive damages should be awarded, if any.
BURNETT: So obviously, the context here you have the January 6th investigation, you also have Trump in his companies right now facing multiple investigations and lawsuits, including in New York and in Washington about his taxes, about alleged corruption at the Inaugural Committee, about the business practices of the Trump Organization, the list goes on and on as you know. Do you think anything came out today that could be relevant or used in any of those cases when people hear it?
DICTOR: As boring an answer as this might be, I don't want to speculate. I will say that we've covered a variety of subjects and at some point the transcript will, in all likelihood, become public or some portion of it or the video will. This was an examination concerning allegations of the complaint that deal with Mr. Trump as an employer, as an employer of certain individuals.
DICTOR: There have been depositions in this case already from Mr. Keith Schiller, Mr. Matthew Calamari and two other security guards who were employed by the Trump Organization in Trump campaign.
So you can imagine what subjects might have been covered with Mr. Trump in this deposition, but I won't get into them at this point.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Ben, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
DICTOR: Thank you for having me. BURNETT: All right. And next, Colin Powell in one of his final and
most revealing interviews before his death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, FORMER UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: Whatever that is asked of me I said true.
BOB WOODWARD, JOURNALIST: Yes.
POWELL: I am a reluctant warrior.
POWELL: I don't like wars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Plus, breaking news, Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders embroiled in a nasty and personal war of words just met about the spending bill.
And the former Miami Police Chief clashed with city officials when he pushed for a vaccine requirement for officers. He stand by it. Art Acevedo is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: In what may have been Colin Powell's final interview before he died, the former Secretary of State opens up about his career and his health to legendary journalist, Bob Woodward. Powell died at the age of 84 from COVID complications amid battles with multiple myeloma and Parkinson's Disease, both of which, of course, weaken the immune system. Here's Powell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: The reluctant warrior. Whatever that is asked of me I said true.
POWELL: I am a reluctant warrior.
POWELL: I don't like wars. I don't want to be a warrior, but remember the other thing that is well known about me, and that is we go to war, and I will do everything I can to beat the crap out of somebody. And win it.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: Powell's life was one of a groundbreaking leader, a lifetime
public servant and statesman. A trailblazer who, of course, broke multiple barriers, including former President Reagan, making him the first black National Security Adviser. Powell also the youngest and first black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President George H.W. Bush, which included the time period of Desert Storm, becoming so popular that he faced growing calls to run for president in 1996, but declined to do so. And then in 2001, Powell making history again by becoming the first black Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.
OUTFRONT now Christine Todd Whitman, former New Jersey Governor who served with Powell in the Bush administration as EPA Administrator and the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs under President George W. Bush, retired Gen. Richard Myers. I'm so sorry to both of you for the loss of your dear friend. I know that there's nothing prepares one for that emptiness and loss.
Gen. Myers, I want to start with you and what we just heard there in some of these final days, what we think may have been Secretary Powell's last interview, when he called himself a reluctant warrior. Does this sound and when you hear that whole clip and his voice and his tone like the man that you knew so well?
GEN. RICHARD MYERS, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Yes, it sounds very much like him. And there are not many military people who are want to be warriors. We'd like to avoid that and he was the epitome of that and he articulated it as well as anybody.
More importantly, if you're going to avoid conflict by using other instruments of national power he was always advocating for that in any room he was in that all solutions don't need to be military solutions.
BURNETT: So Gov. Whitman, for President Bush remembers Powell as a great public servant, who is highly respected at home and abroad, an understatement of course. But Powell has reflected in time about the difficulty for his reputation when he pushed that faulty intelligence before the UN in 2003 and on behalf of the President made the case for the Iraq War.
Part of the reason everybody listened to it and it had so much power was because it came from him with his great integrity and credibility. How much did he regret that moment as he learned more later?
CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, FOMR. GOVERNOR OF NEW JERSEY: Well, when he learned that the intelligence was just wrong and I must say that we all heard the same kind of briefings that there was just no question, but that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. But as he learned more, he was deeply, deeply resentful of having been put out there and given false information, because he went back several times and reworked that speech to say, have you got it right, is this really what I can say, is based on the facts and he was hurt by it, because he felt that he let people down and that was not cool with Powell at all. And Gen. Myers, I want to play something Secretary Powell said just
days after the deadly insurrection, because I've talked about how he's been lionized for his long career in public service. But he continued to lead and to speak out even after he left office and so this is right after the insurrection, when he called out Republicans who failed to stand up to Trump at that crucial moment. Here's Secretary Powell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: They should have known better, but they were so taken by their political standing and how none of them wanted to put themselves at political risk. They would not stand up and tell the truth or stand up and criticize him or criticize others and that's what we need. We need people who will speak the truth, who remember that they are here for our fellow citizens, they are here for our country. They're not here simply to be reelected again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Gen. Myers, those are the words and the sentiments that we all wish more people shared. How did he see the changes in this country and, of course, in the Republican Party of which he was, for so long of time, a loyal leader?
MYERS: Well, I think that that statement right there probably says all of that. He had the courage to stand up to the bureaucracy and he had a lot of experience with bureaucracy. He was a master in National Security apparatus. He knew how all that worked and then diplomacy when he became Secretary of State.
So he always had the courage to speak his conviction no matter what the audience and that's to be admired. And I think we heard that in that clip right there. That was a vintage Secretary/Gen. Powell.
BURNETT: And Governor, former President Obama remembered Powell as an exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot. Of course, now I've quoted both from presidents Obama and George W. Bush just to show the power that he had for people of various political ideologies.
Obama also said how much it meant to him that Powell endorsed him in 2008, despite being a lifelong Republican at the time. Now, this is the first of several times that Powell called out the Republican Party and the direction of the GOP. Here he is endorsing both Obama and Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. I'm also troubled by not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say and it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is he is not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is what if he is, is there something wrong
with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is no, that's not America.
We are in turning points. I mean, the Republican Party, the President thought they were sort of immune. The one word I have to use with respect to what he's been doing for the last several years is a word I would never have used before. I never would have used with any of the four presidents I've worked for. He lies. He lies about things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: General, he didn't just cross lines, he did it in a very vocal way. He spoke out and to use that and to talk about the importance of the word lies is so significant. Why did he feel it was necessary to speak out so publicly when frankly at that time, very few people were and certainly not using such direct language?
WHITMAN: He said it because he took an oath to the Constitution, not to a political party. It was never a question of his serving the Republican Party, he served the people. And so he wasn't going to put up with someone who disregarded the truth.
I mean, Colin believed in it deeply. He just had such dignity about it and he was someone you could trust and that's why it hurt him so much when the facts were wrong that he was given about the weapons of mass destruction at the United Nations speech. But he had never hesitated to speak out, because especially when he thought someone was not serving the country in the way that they should.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you both so very much. I appreciate your time. And again, my condolences for your loss, your personal loss for both of you.
And Secretary Powell also spoke about his health battles in that interview with Bob Woodward in July. So let me play part of that for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: Well, you see, I've got to go to the hospital about two or three times a week. I've got multiple myeloma cancer and I've got Parkinson's Disease. But otherwise, I'm fine.
WOODWARD: Oh no, I'm so sorry.
POWELL: Don't say no - don't feel sorry for me for God's sakes. I'm 85 years old. I got to have something. I haven't lost a day of life fighting these two diseases. I'm in good shape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath, who was senior official with the FDA. So Dr. McMurry-Heath, Secretary Powell, full of optimism there. When you hear COVID complications, he was 84, African- American, he was fighting multiple myeloma and Parkinson's Disease. How much of an impact did all of that have together on Secretary Powell? By the way, he had had both shots of the vaccine when he got infected with COVID.
DR. MICHELLE MCMURRY-HEATH, PRESIDENT & CEO, BIOTECHNOLOGY INNOVATION ORGANIZATION: Well, Erin, it had a tremendous impact. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the immune system. It makes it very difficult to mount a proper immune response and we know that patients that get both of their doses of their COVID vaccine, if they're getting Pfizer or Madonna, if they have autoimmune disease or immunodeficiency, it's sometimes difficult for them to mount a proper response.
But he was a patriot as you said in your last segment and so he stepped up to the plate as all Americans should to be fully vaccinated. And it's because of those among us that are more vulnerable that we all must do the same.
BURNETT: And I think that's really significant how you put it, you know. As soon as Secretary Powell's death was announced and it was, oh, he was fully vaccinated, this is some of what we heard, actually this that I'm going to play are a few clips from Fox News, specifically.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're seeing data from Europe, from the United Kingdom that fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized and fully vaccinated people are dying from COVID. And here we have a very high profile example that is going to require more truth, more truth from our government, from our health leaders as well as we talk about the story on a day when state after state and institution after institution are pushing mandates for vaccination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Now, Doctor, he had been scheduled, my understanding is, to get his third shot, right, the booster shot last week but he was too ill to actually receive it by that point.
But -- but does his death raise new concerns about the vaccine or not?
MCMURRY-HEATH: Not at all. You know, Colin Powell was so brave about standing up to ignorance and to lies. And this is a situation where we must do the same. We know that the vaccines are extremely effective.
MCMURRY-HEATH: And we know that it's that booster shots are necessary for those that are older and those who have compromised immune systems. And that's why he was about all of that advice. It's just heartbreaking that it did not come quite in time because it probably could have done a lot to help protect him.
But we all must do everything we can so that those of us who can mount a proper response can protect those of us who cannot. BURNETT: Right. And that's the lesson, right? Because he got it from
somewhere and that's the tragedy, right?
All right. Doctor, I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
MCMURRY-HEATH: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Joe Manchin and Bernie Sanders together tonight looking almost friendly despite this war of words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I don't believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): Does Senator Manchin not believe that our children and grandchildren are entitled to live in a country and a world that is healthy and is habitable?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And more than a third of Chicago police officers defying the city vaccine mandate among officers across the country fighting the rules as mandates take effect. Even though COVID is the leading death -- cause of death among officers. Miami's former-police chief who fought for a vaccine mandate for officers is OUTFRONT.
BURNETT: Breaking news: a key meeting on the president's massive spending bill. Moments ago the two sides, progressive Senator Bernie Sanders and moderate Senator Joe Manchin appearing with their arms around each other, literally, outside the Capitol.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANCHIN: We're talking.
SANDERS: We're talking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, that's saying something because the two key senators have been locked in an increasingly nasty and public feud. A standstill over the top line of the bill and even more importantly, what would actually be in it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANCHIN: I don't believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society.
SANDERS: Does Senator Manchin not believe that our children and grandchildren are entitled to live in a country and a world that is healthy and is habitable?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Manu Raju is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill.
So, Manu, what else are you learning about this -- this meeting and what it means for the negotiations on the larger spending bill?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is really the first time that we are aware of the two sat down one on one to talk about these various differences that they have and the differences are vast. You will recall that they have actually met in a group setting with the leadership team on the Senate side, but talking one on one, different.
However, they are still far apart on so many issues. The price tag, for one, $3.5 trillion is what Bernie Sanders says is a compromise on this overall bill. Manchin says he is not going to go over 1.5 trillion. Now, the progressives realize that they have go to below $3.5 trillion but how low remains a question. Also, what issues are they going to ultimately agree on?
Joe Manchin has pushed back on the idea of aggressive climate change measures, presumably to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 52 percent by 2030. He believes it will hurt his coal-producing state of West Virginia.
Bernie Sanders says this bill must be aggressive on climate change as well as other issues, such as expanding Medicare. That is an issue that Bernie Sanders says is a redline for him. Joe Manchin disagrees.
Now, this is important not just because of the personalities at issue here because in the Senate, all 50 Democrats need to agree in order for this bill to move forward. If one senator -- Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema -- two of the leading moderates here -- were to defect, that will be enough to scuttle the entire Biden agenda, and hanging in the balance, too, is that separate infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate.
Sanders has warned -- urged House Democrats not to support that bill until that larger package is agreed to by Manchin and Sinema. So, so much here is riding on the line in the weeks ahead. Bernie Sanders leaving the meeting, told me I hope we can see some real action in the next week.
Another top Democrat, Dick Durbin, told me there is high anxiety among Democrats right now to get a deal. But Manchin, himself, was pessimistic that they can reach a deal by the end of this month. The new deadline for Democratic leaders, though, Erin, still uncertain how they get there but at the moment, they say they are talking.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you, Manu.
So now, I want to go to Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna at the center of all this. He sits on the House Oversight Committee and he is a member of the crucial congressional progressive caucus. So, I really appreciate your time. Okay. You see that video of Manchin
and Sanders together tonight. What -- what do you read into that?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I think it's wonderful. I had suggested to President Biden that the two of them meet. I'm glad that they have met. It shows that they are working to resolve differences, to compromise, and everyone understands the stakes.
We have to pass the president's just agenda. Democracy is at stake. We have to show that we can govern.
BURNETT: Right. Of course, President Biden said when you suggested I believe it would be homicidal but there they are, they did meet.
KHANNA: It wasn't homicide. So there you go.
BURNETT: So let me ask you about the deadline now, such that I understand it, right? That a vote on the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill has got to happen by October 31st. Manchin said today that that's not likely. So, you may have a really big decision to make. Will you vote for the infrastructure bill, the bipartisan one, regardless of where the separate spending bill stands?
KHANNA: Erin, it's not going to come for a vote. The president has said, the speaker has said that they have to come together.
Let me just briefly explain why. When that bipartisan deal was negotiated, it was with 19 senators. There wasn't a single House member involved, not even the House Transportation chair.
We wanted to amend it. We wanted to add electric vehicle provisions. We wanted to add clean energy standards. The president and speaker said, no, do it in a separate bill. So both bills have to move because we're not allowed to amend what the senators came up with.
BURNETT: Right. But part of the reason they did that ostensibly with some of the things you mentioned is it wouldn't have passed the senate. It would have been an un-passable piece of legislation. Somebody like Joe Manchin wouldn't get onboard.
I mean, I am just wondering if ultimately you have to choose between getting that bipartisan bill or nothing at all, do you choose nothing or do you choose the bill?
KHANNA: I don't think that will be the choice. I think the choice will be, we will come to a compromise and we will have two bills.
Now, I do think we have to compromise on the Build Back Better agenda and sit down with Senator Manchin, lower under $3.5 trillion and come to an agreement but I do believe we will have both bills and I do believe there will be some strong climate provisions in them.
BURNETT: All right. So -- so how do you think that happens with him? Because as you point out, right, it's not just that the numbers are -- are -- are incredibly different, right? It's actually the substance.
Joe Manchin has said he wants a work requirement for the child tax credit. He doesn't want the paid leave policies in there. He is not fully supportive of community college being paid for. He's not for expanding Medicare, right? And obviously, he is not for the climate change provisions in the bill.
That is a lot of not being for things. I mean, all those things, to me, would seem to be things that -- that are core for you. Can you compromise and drop a few of 'em?
KHANNA: Well, Erin, let me start with some of the positives. He came out today -- Senator Manchin -- for universal preschool. That was a positive. That suggests that he does believe in certain things with education. You can have universal programs.
On the child tax credit, he voted for the American rescue plan which was means tested but had much higher income levels than 60,000. I believe we can talk to him and say, look, $60,000 isn't a lot of money in California. We need to have higher thresholds and I believe we can reason.
But the most important thing is this. Senator Manchin cares about a lot of families -- mining families, other families that have had pride in their work. And he needs to be assured that those families will have opportunities and jobs so that they have pride and not just a handout. It is our job to convince him that this will be a win for West Virginia and new jobs and I believe we can do that.
We should, frankly, earmark a certain amount of jobs for heavy fossil fuel states that they know that they will have -- be able to deliver for families.
BURNETT: So, the president's meeting tomorrow with a group of progressives. I know he met with the chair of your caucus, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal today, but tomorrow with progressives and moderates. Do you plan to be there? And what do you want to say to him?
KHANNA: I'm looking forward to it and it's not about what I say to him. I -- it's what he says to us. He's the president of the United States. I think it's time for us to follow him. He should offer a compromise that is fair, and we need to get behind him and get this done. And -- and that is what I have indicated in the past.
He has a lot of good will, a lot of trust in the caucus. It's time for him to lead, and us to get behind his vision.
BURNETT: All right. Congressman, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
KHANNA: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, thousands of Chicago officers not reporting their COVID vaccine status in defiance of a city mandate to do so. COVID is killing more police than gunfire, so why the resistance? And 16 Americans including five children kidnapped in Haiti by a
dangerous gang. Where are they tonight?
BURNETT: Tonight, some police clashing with city leaders as COVID vaccine requirements go into effect, coast to coast. In Chicago, 35 percent of officers are defying a mayoral order to report their vaccination status or be placed on unpaid leave. The Massachusetts State Police Department is down 600 troopers because of vaccine requirements. And in Seattle, where the deadline is just hours away and where almost all the officers did get vaccinated, some of them are still signing off for the last time and publicly choosing to leave their jobs over getting vaccinated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SGT. RICHARD THOMPSON, WASHINGTON STATE PATROL: Due to my personal choice to take a moral stand against -- for medical freedom and personal choice -- I will be signing out of service for the last time today.
ROBERT LAMAY, TROOPER, WASHINGTON STATE PATROL: State 1034. This is the last time you will hear me in a state patrol car and Jay Inslee can kiss my (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Art Acevedo, former Miami police chief. He also led Houston's police department, and served as the president of the Major City Chiefs Association.
Chief Acevedo, I really appreciate your time.
And, you know, this is -- we have seen this happening across the country, right? Police officers. They have, in some cases, you know, vaccine -- vaccination rates are low. Obviously, not the case in Seattle but in many other places, much lower than the broader community. And in addition, they are fighting any sort of requirement to get vaccinated or to prove their vaccination status.
Why do you think there is so much resistance?
ART ACEVEDO, FORMER CHIEF, MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: You know, I think that's a $64,000 question. Police officers are part of society and unfortunately this public health epidemic has become a political issue, it's been politicized and a lot of folks are just making decisions not to take the vaccine. And consequently, people are dying unnecessarily and I just wish people would just pay attention to the actual data out there, the science that saves lives and hopefully little by little, we will start changing hearts and minds and people will get vaccinated.
BURNETT: Right, of course, more police officers in the last year have died of COVID than anything else. I mean, it's just a horrible tragedy. And many of these law enforcement officials and union leaders, you know, they are raising concerns to the fact that a mandate would lead to fewer officers on the street.
And I mentioned, Chicago, 35 percent of officers are defying the mayor's order to report their vaccination status. I'm not saying 35 percent of them are unvaccinated. Maybe, right? But they just won't say whether they are or aren't. The Massachusetts State Police Department, down 600 troopers. And in L.A., the sheriff says he would lose 5 to 10 percent of his workforce.
You know, it -- it's pretty stunning.
What do you say to those concerns?
ACEVEDO: Well, I would say that, look, pay attention to what's going on. We are losing more police officers to COVID to a death from a virus that is preventable that we know the science shows us that if you are vaccinated, the likelihood of dying from COVID is almost zero.
So, I would just say that, you know, we need to put -- take a timeout. Take a step back. Push the emotion side and just start getting the information from public health authorities and understand that we have a respondent not just to ourselves and our families but we have a responsibility to the public whom we come in contact with every day. And I know cops, they are good people. They have good hearts and I don't think anyone would want to unwittingly infect somebody and have somebody die because we infect them.
So we need to go out and get vaccinated just like our family and friends do and hopefully what's where we are headed.
BURNETT: So Miami's city manager said you overstepped your bounds when you came out in support of a vaccine mandate for police officers and the city commission voted to remove you as chief last Thursday. Now, you had only been on the job for six months and obviously, you know, you are one of the most, you know, decorated police chiefs in the country.
On vaccines, Chief, why did you feel strongly about speaking out in favor of mandates and not backing down?
ACEVEDO: Because I love my workforce and I love the community and the hard ebb hardest thing you can do as a police chief is having to go to one of your officer's funerals. Houston just buried an officer today that unfortunately passed away from COVID and it's something that whether it's a gunshot or it's a virus, it is permanent and it's fatal.
And so, we got to love our brothers and sisters, and sometimes we have to, you know, try to encourage them. And that's how we need to continue to our neighbors, our friends, and our cops, especially because we are out in the public and we certainly don't want to cause a death of another. So I would hope people would just, again, pay attention to the data.
Know that it will save your life and potentially can save the life of a friend, a family member, or a member of the public.
BURNETT: And yet, here you are now, you know, after -- after -- after, you know, that -- that -- it -- you -- you are out of a job right now and you stood up for this. So when asked about your future plans, I know one of the things you said, chief, which I thought was interesting, quote, my mom and dad didn't come here for us to be quitters. Your parents, of course, did come to the U.S. from Cuba.
So what's next for you? I mean, are you going to fight the city's decision -- decision in Miami to remove you as chief of police? Or what are you going to do?
ACEVEDO: Well, I think, first, it's important to realize that the vaccine was not -- you know, I put out a memo detailing some really serious concerns involving political leadership.
ACEVEDO: And consequently, I ended up getting fired but the end of the day, I think that you are put in these positions to make difference. I'm going to recharge for the next few weeks and then I am going to see what's my path forward.
Public service is in my DNA and I am hoping the future will bring an opportunity to continue serving the American people and the good men and women in law enforcement.
BURNETT: All right. Well, Chief Acevedo, appreciate your time. Thank you so much.
ACEVEDO: Thank you. Have a great evening.
BURNETT: All right. And next, 17 missionaries, 16 of them Americans, abducted in Haiti. The United States on the ground there trying to get them back tonight.
So, what in the world happened and who are the kidnappers?
BURNETT: Tonight, pray, pray, pray. We don't know where they are taking us.
That's a terrifying message and according to "The Washington Post", it's the message that was sent from one of 16 Americans as they were being kidnapped by a ruthless gang in Haiti on Saturday. They were last seen in the commune east of the country's capital Port-au-Prince.
The FBI and U.S. State Department tonight on the ground in Haiti, and still even trying to figure out where they are.
Joe Johns is OUTFRONT.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A city descending into lawlessness. Many businesses and schools were closed Monday in port-au-prince in an indefinite strike to protest the worsening security in Haiti. Gangs rule the streets here, and kidnapping is big business for them. A brazen abduction on Saturday, 17 missionaries were taken just north of the capital after visiting an orphanage, 16 Americans, one Canadian, five of them children.
The missionaries were part of a group called Christian Aid Ministries based in Ohio. U.S. officials say they do not know where they are being held, but the State Department says a small team now on the ground in Haiti is working closely with Haitian authorities to secure their release.
Security sources say this is the man behind the surge of kidnappings in Haiti. He is said to be the leader of one of Haiti's most powerful gangs called 400 Mawozo. Authorities believe they kidnapped the missionaries. Despite a warrant out for his arrest on charges of murder and kidnapping, the gang leader often boasts publicly about his gang.
WILSON JOSEPH, GANG LEADER, 400 MAWOZO (through translator): The reason why I am proud to be a gangster is because this is what feeds me, because we don't have a country. Guns are a form of power.
JOHNS: A human rights group in Haiti says the number of kidnappings in the country is spiraling out of control. Rising nearly 300 percent since July. It also says 400 Mawozo, its leader shown here in a white face covering, is behind many of the kidnappings, abducting Haitians and foreign nationals, and typically demanding ransoms of about $20,000.
The United Nations, recently, extended its political mission in Haiti. The country still raw from the assassination of its president, and a powerful earthquake earlier-this year.
But some officials blame the rise of the armed gangs on a security vacuum left after U.N. peacekeepers ended their mission in Haiti just two years ago.
LAURENT LAMOTHE, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF HAITI: The United Nations had a military component, a military force for over 14 years, spent over $14 billion and left in 2019, creating a -- a huge security void. Basically, they trained the police and the police is under 16,000 police officers, and is not really equipped to fight off the type of gang activity, the type of gang warfare that is going on right now in Haiti.
JOHNS (on camera): Tonight, U.S. officials are quietly trying to help out on the situation involving the American missionaries. But the big pictures that we have seen, yet another serious international incident involving the poorest, most unstable nation in the western hemisphere, and it's just not clear how things are going to get better for Haiti until Haiti figures out how to get control of the streets -- Erin.
BURNETT: Incredible. Joe Johns, thank you very much, once again, on the ground in Port-au-Prince.
And thanks so much to all of you for being with us.
"AC360" starts now.