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Erin Burnett Outfront

Awaiting Jan. 6 CMTE Vote On Holding Bannon In Criminal Contempt; Full House Vote Expected Thursday, Would Then Go To DOJ; Soon: Rare Criminal Contempt Vote In Congress After Trump Ally Bannon Defies Subpoena; Prosecution Could Take Years; Biden Makes Major Concessions On Economic Agenda; As Climate Change Threatens West Virginia, Sen. Manchin Blocks Key Components Of Biden's Climate Change Agenda; Jan. 6 Panel Votes, Finds Trump Ally Bannon Criminal Contempt. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 19, 2021 - 19:00   ET


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The more risk there could be for miscalculation.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yes. Lots of tension right now. We'll stay in close touch with you, Will. Thank you very, very much. 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 holding Bannon in contempt. The January 6 Committee will vote on the charge in this hour, then it's ultimately in Merrick Garland's hands. Will he charge Steve Bannon?

Plus, President Biden making a major concession tonight while negotiating another component of his spending plan, will he use the progressives over this key concession?

And proof that Trump supporters are more loyal than ever, a video from a Trump rally that you won't see to believe? Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news, we are awaiting a vote this hour by the January 6 Committee to try and hold Trump ally, Steve Bannon, in criminal contempt. Bannon failed to comply with the Committee's subpoena claiming executive privilege.

Now, that vote, as I said, going to be happening live. We're going to bring it to you as soon as it happens. You will see it live and you will also hear from both the Chairman of the Committee, Bennie Thompson, and one of the only two Republicans on the Committee, Vice Chair Liz Cheney. Both are going to speak live here in primetime and so you're going to see them live.

Of course, Cheney one of only 10 Republican House members who voted to impeach Trump for his role in inciting the riot on January 6th is on the Committee along with Republican Adam Kinzinger. This is a critical moment for the Committee. Their first public chance to fight back against attempts by the former president and his allies to completely stymie their investigation.

The Committee hopes, in part, that this threat against Bannon and will persuade other witnesses to cooperate and they hope the threat pushes Bannon to cooperate as well.

Now, it's obviously really important to know here that Bannon very likely has crucial information about how the insurrection happened, who did what, who knew what, when and what role Trump played in it all. According to the book Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, it was Bannon who pushed Trump to return to Washington from Mar-A-Lago for the January 6th rally.

Just days before the insurrection, Bannon called Trump and said, "You've got to return to Washington and make a dramatic return today. People are going to go, 'What the eff is going on here?' We're going to bury Biden on January 6th, effing bury him." And it's confirmed that call happened. And in case it's unclear what Bannon was intending to happen on the 6th, he actually spoke about it on his podcast the day before for everyone to hear.


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


BURNETT: Paula Reid is OUTFRONT on Capitol Hill to begin our breaking coverage tonight as we await this live vote and the speeches. Paula, what more are you learning about what to expect tonight from the Committee and where this goes then.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Erin. Well, tonight the Committee is expected to adopt a report it has compiled detailing what they wanted to know from Bannon, how they tried to get him to comply with the subpoena and how he refused.

Now, included in that report is a resolution. So once they adopt the report, that resolution would go to the full House for a vote and we are told that that would likely happen by the end of this week. Now, if it is successful on the House floor, which is expected to be then we'll move on to the Justice Department. And this Erin, this is where things get really interesting, because that resolution is expected to go to the U.S. Attorney in Washington to bring the matter before a grand jury, but clearly this is a very politically fraught matter.

And the decision on whether to proceed ultimately lies with Attorney General Merrick Garland. And it's just not clear at this point based on our reporting what exactly he is going to do, but we know he is under considerable political pressure. Late last week, President Biden weighed in saying he believes, yes,

Bannon should be prosecuted. But the Justice Department has pushed back on that. The Justice Department is, of course, supposed to be independent and they say they will make this decision independently based on the law and the facts.

BURNETT: All right. Paula, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Laura Coates, former Federal Prosecutor, Norm Eisen who served as Counsel to House Democrats during the first Trump impeachment trial and was also the White House Ethics Czar during the Obama administration, and Gloria Borger, our Chief Political Analyst, as we get ready for this vote and these live speeches by, of course, Chairman Thompson and Vice Chair Cheney.

So Laura, as Paula lays it out, you go from Committee to House floor vote handing it over to the Department of Justice really quickly. But then all of a sudden, the glue gets into the system, gums up the works. This whole process could take a long time, right?


LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It could. I mean the glue is really the due process aspect of it and referring it to the grand jury, of course, does not mean that it ultimately will result in a conviction. You still have a process to undergo at that point in time of whether there actually will be an indictment and if there is an indictment it will proceed to trial.

Now, there has been really rare cases where a criminal referral has led to a trial and, of course, has led to then an acquittal. Back in the 80s, there was an EPA official who had this very process used against her and ultimately she was acquitted. Now, this is a very different instance here, because part of the reason for Bannon's refusal to want to appear is he is premised on the idea of executive privilege.

Now, he is not somebody who I am quite confident will not be able to be able to assert a valid assertion of privilege. He was not a real adviser to the president in the sense of being somebody with whom the executive privilege is meant for, having that forthright candid conversation that you want the President of the United States to have, to make decisions of a matter of extraordinary importance.

You have somebody who already publicized the very conversations he may have had and just a bald assertion of privilege is not going to be enough to prevent you from actually having to show up after a subpoena.

BURNETT: Yes. And Norm, I guess this is the differences between attorney-client privilege, you share something of deep secret with a lawyer before you fully retain them, you can you can be under that, obviously a doctor. This is a different standard in terms of executive privilege.

But as Laura points out, a conviction would be rare and while the situation was different. The last time you got an indictment for criminal contempt was in 1983 and a jury did go on to find that person, not guilty, so it's not a slam dunk here.

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's not, Erin. But the circumstances are different here. As Laura points out, there's no legal basis for any assertion of executive privilege here. It's really a silly legal claim. That will speed things along.

The Lavallee case that last, precedent in 1983, only took four months from the contempt vote to the jury verdict. The one before that, the G. Gordon Liddy case was also completed in less than a year, so they can move quickly. And I have confidence having known the Attorney General for a very long time that this kind of naked defiance of the law.

And Bannon gets a subpoena like any of us. He needs to honor that subpoena. He can't just say, I'm not going to do it on a baseless ground. This kind of defiance of the law is not going to sit well with the Attorney General. So I am expecting that those criminal contempt charges are likely and then we'll see if Bannon's delay game works or not.

BURNETT: So Gloria, part of the issue here for Merrick Garland is, and Norm makes a very strong case for why you don't want the precedent of people just being able to defy a subpoena, a first spurious reason. So even though you don't want to seem political, you may just go ahead and go for this anyway.

And I give that context just because President Biden has weighed in on this on what Merrick Garland, the Department of Justice should do. Here's what he said the other day.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What's your message to people who defy congressional subpoenas on the January 6th Committee?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope that the Committee goes after him and hold him accountable to begin with.

COLLINS: Should they be prosecuted by the Justice Department?

BIDEN: I do, yes.


BURNETT: So I remember talking about this that night, Gloria. And then the DOJ came out with a statement and they responded, "The Department of Justice will make its own independent decisions in all prosecutions based solely on the facts and the law. Period. Full stop."


BURNETT: Okay. So does President Biden need to stay out of this?


BURNETT: Okay. Yes, go ahead.

COATES: Absolutely. He shouldn't have said that. I think there are probably people over at the DOJ pulling their hair out a little bit over that. You don't want Joe Biden to turn into some version of what Trump did which was saying I want my Justice Department to do this, I want my Justice Department to do that. And then, of course, he would always complain when the Justice Department didn't and that was one of the reasons he, of course, fired Jeff Sessions. But he should stay out of it.

Merrick Garland needs to make his own decision. He has lots of good reasons to rule, as Norm Eisen says, but it's got to be the ruling of the Department of Justice without any undue pressure from the President of the United States.

BURNETT: So Laura, Steve Bannon's lawyers asked the Committee to delay tonight's vote for at least a week because of Trump's lawsuit, which was filed last night, when Trump is suing to prevent 45 unknown documents from coming out from the National Archives to the Committee. And Bannon's lawyer saying, okay, we got to wait to see how that goes and the Committee needs to wait on that before talking to Bannon. The Committee denied their request.

Does that change this at all in terms of do you think they'll be some successful of getting more delays because of Trump's lawsuit?


COATES: The Committee should have denied his request, because remember when you get a subpoena, you have an assertion of privilege. If it's valid, you've got to prove it. But it doesn't mean that you can't show up and answer questions that might be responsive to things to which the privilege would never attach.

Remember, some of the categories of information that the Select Committee is asking for are the podcast themselves, are conversations, I believe, with right wing media, I think it's one of the categories as well.


COATES: Discussions that are already in the public square and conversation that might not even relate to or be directly with the former President of the United States. So the idea that there might be some documents to which former President Donald Trump wants to assert the privilege has really very little, if nothing, to do with Steve Bannon.

And so he's essentially trying to shield himself from the responsibility to comply with a congressional subpoena, thumbing his nose with a bald assertion and you simply can't do that. When I was a prosecutor, if I subpoenaed somebody to come and testify, it wasn't with a piece of candy. It came with a squad car if you did not actually comply with it. You can do this with a congressional subpoena that's in the interest

of oversight and separation of powers. And you can just say, no, I don't feel like because somebody might have a winning case in the end, what is that have to do with you? I mean, even former President Trump has to prove his case.


COATES: He can no longer veto legislation, Erin. He's not the commander-in-chief and the assertion of executive privilege is not a foregone conclusion for a former president.

BURNETT: So when I mentioned the 45 documents, there's been a development on that front, Norm, just in the past few moments. And that is we know the federal judge who's going to be involved in this lawsuit, Tanya Chutkan. And I know you know her as well.

Judge Chutkan strongly criticized the January 6th insurrection. She handed down prison time to some of the convicted rioters. And now she is the judge who is set to hear Trump's challenge about those 45 documents that he doesn't want to handle handover related to the insurrection. What's the significance of that and obviously you know her?

EISEN: Well, Judge Chutkan is well known in the D.C. Bar, in the federal court here, Obama-appointee, serious. She is not one who is going to kick the can down the road on this. It is a good first start in dealing with the delay step strategy here that we've seen Bannon and his lawyer's try, again apropos of Laura's comments, Bannon's lousy arguments, plus Trump's lousy arguments in his lawsuit, zero plus zero equals zero. That is not going to slow Judge Chutkan down.

But the same would be true of any of the mainstream judges. They need to move this along. This cannot be delay as we sometimes saw during the Trump years. The stakes are too important in this committee understanding what caused the insurrection so that we can prevent another one from going on, particularly with the big lie continuing that causes these terrible events.

BURNETT: And Gloria, of course, the vote tonight coming and we're going to see it live. But coming in primetime when you're going to hear Chairman Thompson and Vice Chair Cheney speak. It's a big moment for the Committee. We're going to see them all. We're going to see them cast their votes and we're going to hear Thompson and Cheney speak live. There's a lot at stake here for them.

BORGER: There is. There's a tremendous amount at stake, because, yes, it's about Steve Bannon and what Steve Bannon knew and who we spoke to and where his money came from for the rally and what Trump told him and what he told Trump and what he said to Rudy Giuliani and all the rest of it.

But what it's really about, if you step back, is a question about a constitutional separation of powers.

BURNETT: Yes. BORGER: And that is what we are all about in this country, whether one

co equal branch of government, the Congress, can hold another branch accountable and that is what they are trying to do. They are trying to see if they can hold Donald Trump accountable for the insurrection and all they are doing is trying to do their due diligence and get to the bottom of the January 6th event.

BURNETT: All right. All of you, thank you very much, stay with me.


BURNETT: We are going to be bringing that key vote to you live as soon as it happens as I said some time here in the next few moments and those live speeches.

Plus, President Biden making major concessions on that sweeping massive spending bill tonight. So what's he doing and is he giving up too much?

Plus, Iowans who really believe Trump did win the election in this daily show segment.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he's been flying around the world in Air Force One says something.


BURNETT: And a once prominent South Carolina attorney remains in jail tonight, denied bond. Charges stemming from an alleged scheme to steal millions from the family of his former housekeeper who died at his home.




BURNETT: Breaking news, President Biden making major concessions on his stalled economic agenda, including eliminating tuition free community college and likely his clean electricity plan. And also floating reducing the time of paid leave from 12 weeks to four, this after a flurry of meetings at the White House as Democrats admit the time and patience are running out.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We got to get it done and want to get it done this week.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT): It is now time to fish or cut bait. We have something that the American people want and they want now.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): There is an increasing feeling of the need to get this done, sooner the better.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Enough talking, it's time to get this done.


BURNETT: Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT. I mean, Phil, okay, first this is far from the first time we've heard that there's a deal and it's not been through any other time. But these are major concessions, so maybe that indicates there is a deal but then you know, you think Bernie Sanders hears those things and goes, wait a second, or Congresswoman Jayapal and goes, wait a second, no way. I mean, what's the status?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think today was the best window we've gotten up to this point of the scale of the work that's been going on behind the scenes between White House officials, Democratic leaders and senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, the two moderate holdouts. And where you've seen concessions from the President as sources told CNN told us that he read out to these progressives in this meeting, this nearly two-hour meeting his areas of major concerns that have been raised by senators Manchin and Sinema.


And I think the most interesting part of the entire day was not necessarily what happened behind closed doors, but what those progressive members said when they came to reporters after that meeting, after the President laid out the scale of some of these concessions and made very clear they were on board up to this point.

Pramila Jayapal, the Chairwoman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, saying she is more optimistic than ever that the President would be able to deliver on a 'transformative plan'. They know what's been going on behind the scenes. They know that $3.5 trillion plan is at best going to end up somewhere around $2 trillion.

But what they've been pressing for is not to go much lower than that and also to ensure that the vast majority of the programs the President has put on the table and progressive support are at least in the bill in some way, shape or form, perhaps reduced in duration, perhaps reduced in funding. And that, at least, based on what the President laid out today with negotiation very much still ongoing, was what the President said he was planning to do.

Now, something to keep in mind here, there are still a lot of details to be worked out particularly on the climate piece. But Democrats, with a level of momentum, we simply have not seen up to this point, Erin, you've been following this very closely, want a framework by the end of this week. They are pressing for a framework by the end of this week and one top line message that the President delivered to those progressives today, when he gets to the UN Climate Conference at the end of the month, start of November, he wants to have a framework in hand and the infrastructure proposal passed.

Those are the two things he requested, didn't set a deadline, but made clear he wants them. Those now seen within his grasp, so long as they can get the details ironed out, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Phil, thank you very much.

And standing in the way of a key component of President Biden's agenda his plans to combat climate change is Sen. Joe Manchin, whose own state of course is facing the severe impacts of climate change. Rene Marsh is OUTFRONT.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our house is about ready to fall and there's a set of babies here and one, two, three, four, five adults. We're in a car.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the car is flooding full of water.


RENE MARSH, CNN GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Floodwaters submerge people cars and homes in what was dubbed the thousand-year flood. The town of Clendenin, West Virginia almost wiped off the map in 2016. And this past summer, parts of the state saw more flooding.

From raging deadly floods to widespread drought, West Virginians over the past few years have faced weather whiplash and scientists predict it will get worse.


JIMMY RAIDER (PH), CLENDENIN, WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENT: It was rising about a foot an hour.


MARSH(voice over): Jimmy Raider (ph), a retired Iraq war veteran survived the deadly 2016 West Virginia flooding, but his home did not. Five years later, he's still rebuilding. In the meantime, he, his wife and three dogs called this camper home.


RAIDER: It's really tough with my PTSD being in such tight quarters.


MARSH(voice over): Look around the small West Virginia town of Clendenin and it's still without a grocery store, bank and elementary school. Yet Sen. Joe Manchin is blocking the most aggressive climate change legislation in U.S. history.

This neighborhood lost safe access to their homes after the 2016 flood weakened the foundation of this bridge and rusted it out.


MARSH(on camera): If someone dials 911 could not come across this bridge ...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They'd be afraid that they wouldn't make it that the bridge might collapse.


MARSH(voice over): This bridge is Connie Richard's (ph) lifeline to everyday life, including medical care.


CONNIE RICHARD (PH), CLENDENIN, WEST VIRGINIA RESIDENT: You just keep moving along and praying you get to the other side.


MARSH(voice over): But even in the face of severe weather and it's costly destruction, neither Raider (ph) nor Richard (ph) blame climate change.


RAIDER (PH): I'm not buying the whole climate change thing.

MARSH(on camera): So if somebody said in order to make sure a flood like this never hit your community again, we need to get rid of coal. What would you say?

RICHARD (PH): Let is flood again.


MARSH(voice over): In the second largest coal producing state in the nation, climate change is a complicated issue. Sen. Joe Manchin, one of the key lawmakers blocking the most aggressive parts of climate legislation that would drastically curb greenhouse emissions linked to climate change is currently ranked the top congressional recipient of campaign donations from the coal mining and fossil fuel industry. Manchin's personal investment in Enersystems, a coal brokerage company he founded and later put in a blind trust is valued between $1 million and $5 million.


MARSH(off camera): Will you be okay knowing that West Virginia could continue to get hit by severe flooding because we as a country failed to curb greenhouse gases?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the premise is filled with malarkey, I really do. Now, again, we're sensitive to the fact that if we're contributing towards climate change, which you can't blame every undesirable weather event on West Virginia coal. We don't have serious droughts here. We don't have serious fires here.

MARSH(off camera): You do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a little bit of flooding.


MARSH(off camera): The Governor ordered a state of emergency because there were multiple counties going through droughts and almost every county in West Virginia has seen massive flooding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None. But it's very, very difficult to blame that on coal, because again we've cleaned up every airborne constituent.


MARSH(voice over): Sen. Manchin echoed this Monday.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): We want to make sure we have reliable power. We have basically cleaned up the environment more than any other time in history of this world.


MARSH(voice over): West Virginia University Professor, Nicholas Zeg (ph), has studied the state and climate change for 11 years. He says breaking through the complexity of the issue feels impossible.


NICHOLAS ZEG (PH), WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Climate change is so complicated here in West Virginia, because West Virginians perceived it as a direct attack on their livelihoods. But it's also interesting too that inaction of our business leaders and inaction of our decision makers is also a direct attack on livelihoods.



MARSH(on camera): Well, Erin, there are cheaper energy sources and coal has quite frankly become very expensive. That means extremely high electric bills for people in West Virginia. And that woman in a piece there who said let it flood, that is an example of a commitment to coal in the face of climate change. I mean, she says that this is because historically coal has provided jobs for the state.

But the reality is the industry is really just shedding jobs due to automation. It's a dying industry and when we reached out to Sen. Manchin's office, we got no comment. Back to you, Erin.

BURNETT: Right. Rene, thanks very, very much.

And as President Biden tries to save his agenda, don't miss the Presidential Town Hall right here on CNN, President Biden will take questions on Thursday night at eight.

And OUTFRONT next, these Iowa voters living in Trump fantasyland.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's running the government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the military.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he's running the military, so we should blame him for what happened in Afghanistan.



BURNETT: And the drama continues tonight in the life of a once prominent South Carolina attorney. His wife and son were murdered, but judge keeping him behind bars tonight, why?

And we'll take you live to the January 6 Committee meeting, as I said, that crucial vote on holding Steve Bannon in contempt will have to live and you will hear the speeches.



BURNETT: We are just moments away from the crucial vote by the January 6th Select Committee to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt. Bannon has repeatedly refused to comply with the committee's subpoena to find out what he knows about Trump's actions in the lead-up to January 6th.

It comes as some of Trump's most fervent supporters refuse to believe he played any role in inciting the insurrection. Here is what they told "The Daily Show's" Jordan Klepper about who they claimed actually stormed the Capitol that day.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, Antifa. Like the corrupt FBI. Um, basically, RINOs, corrupt politicians, the deep state, all of that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe it was people like me and people like you see over there in that crowd that did it.

JORDAN KLEPPER, THE DAILY SHOW: Who -- who was behind if?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: FBI, CIA, Antifa were used. Other -- other groups like that.

KLEPPER: It seemed like a lot of them were going into the Capitol to attack Nancy Pelosi and perhaps hang --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who? Who? Which one. The one with the bullhorns? He is not a Trump supporter. I don't care what his resume says. He's

not a Trump supporter. In fact, do you remember the picture in Afghanistan with all the people running next to it? If you look at the pictures of the real plane, there is pieces that are missing from the real plane to that plane.

KLEPPER: So, you are saying there is a conspiracy around the Afghanistan withdrawal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I am saying there was one guy there, the only guy who turned to the camera and waved his hands. Do y'all remember that? Everybody remember that? He is the guy with the horns on his hat.

KLEPPER: He was in Afghanistan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, go look at the pictures.


BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, John Avlon, CNN senior political analyst. And Scott Jennings, former senior adviser to Mitch McConnell.

So, John, just to be clear here because I guess you need to be clear given what we just heard. The guy with the horns is Jacob Chansley, the Trump supporter, and he is not in Afghanistan right now, he is actually in jail.

So what is your reaction when you hear this stuff?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's sad because you need to point out obvious truths after hearing people make up completely delusional lies. But it's a function of the fact they have been misled.

It's a function of the fact this, you know, interview by Jordan Klepper is -- these folks -- it is hard not to use the word cult when you see the way they have embraced this alternate reality completely. And it's the downstream effect of the big lie, and it's why Republicans need to recognize and confront the fact they are dealing with a cult.

And when they play footsie with the big lie because they think they can benefit politically, they are playing footsie with fanatics and these folks will turn on them. This is dangerous lies being disseminated to our body politics. It doesn't represent Iowa. It represents a cadre of folks who were at this Trump rally.

BURNETT: So, Scott, you know, that's not the only conspiracy show 'The Daily Show" heard out there in Iowa. Listen to this.


KLEPPER: Wasn't Q's whole thing that Trump would be reinstated as president?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's never left. There is no doubt in my mind, 150,000 percent.

KLEPPER: That he is still president of the United States? Really? Does he still hold the powers of the presidency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he's been flying around the world on Air Force One. It says something.

KLEPPER: I thought Joe Biden's technically on Air Force One. No? So they are faking it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, it's not even a presidency.

KLEPPER: Who is running the government right now?


KLEPPER: He's running the government?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the military.

KLEPPER: And he is running the military. So we should blame him for what happened in Afghanistan?



BURNETT: Scott, how does your party move on? When, you know, you -- you have some of Trump's supporters, right, and the vast majority of Republicans believe, right, that Trump -- the election was stolen. But you have got people, specifically -- I know this may be a small group but they're there -- that believe he's still running the government.


SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I sort of put these two groups into different camps, Erin. You know, there is a group of people in America who cannot get over the fact that their candidate lost an election. And that's not new. Terry McAuliffe still thinks Al Gore beat George W. Bush. Stacey Abrams think she won. Trump people think he won.

What is new and different and frankly crazy is the -- is the people who believe that Donald Trump's still the president or, you know, some of these other sort of loony tunes conspiracy theories. It's sort of weekly world news, I don't know if you remember that old news that you get at supermarket checkout lines. Bill Clinton's a space alien. I mean, there is a group of people who are desperate to believe fanciful, fantasy stories like that and I am not own sure it's a political ideology, as much as it is, you know, some sort of mental illness.

So, I really do put these kind of people into two different camps, and that latter camp of the folks that think Donald Trump's flying around on Air Force One. I mean, I don't know what to say about it. I mean, there -- they're sort of behind -- I would say reasoning with, John. I don't know what you think. That's what I think.

AVLON: I mean, you know, um, you know, my dad used to tell me when you reason with a fool, you got two fools.

But the problem here is, is the dichotomy you just created is totally false. There is no comparison between folks who fixate on the fact that Bush won Florida by 537 votes and were sore about it with an outright lie being perpetrated by the ex-president, right? I mean, you know, the delusion you just described people being in the second camp includes ex-President Trump. And there is just no moral equivalence and it's a cancer that is eating at the heart of your party.

And there is no precedent for how mainstream it's become and it needs to be confronted, clearly. And I know you have done that but there's -- there's no moral equivalence at this level because the ex-president is the one perpetrating the lie.

BURNETT: I mean, Scott, just you guys know the committee members are walking out here for this vote. So we are just monitoring this because, obviously, we are going to take it live as well as the -- the speeches introductory here from Chairman Bennie Thompson and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney. As they are seated here, Scott, are we ready here, guys?

And it looks like we are about to start so I'm sorry, I'm stalling with you guys because I don't want to have you start answering and then interrupt you in two seconds. We don't have audio, yet. I will ask you, Scott, I guess, because I won't mind interrupting you on this how important do you think this is, right? They're doing this here in prime time about Steve Bannon?

JENNINGS: Well, I am not sure what his claims on executive privilege really are. I think they are kind of crazy. There is obviously a system called the legal system to adjudicate these kinds of things. Some people may have legitimate privilege claims along the way. I am not certain he is one of them in this case because he hasn't worked in the White House since 2017. So, Godspeed but I don't think he is going to win this one.

BURNETT: All right. And they have just gaveled in. Let's listen to Chairman Thompson.

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): --on the United States Capitol will come to order. The select committee is meeting this evening to consider a report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representative find Steven K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena dually issued by the select committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol.

Without objection, the chair's authorized to declare the committee in recess at any time. I will now recognize myself for an opening statement.

Let me start by saying that it gives me no joy that I've been forced to call this meeting. I think my colleagues feel the same way. The expectation of this committee is that all witnesses will cooperate with our investigation. Witnesses who have been subpoenaed have a legal obligation to do so.

And when you think about what we are investigating -- a violent attack on the seat of our democracy, perpetrated by fellow citizens on our Constitution and attempt to stop the certification of an election -- it's shocking to me. Shocking that anyone would not do anything in their power to assist our investigation.

So it's a shame that Mr. Bannon has put us in this position but we won't take no for an answer. We believe Mr. Bannon has information relevant to our probe, and we'll use the tools at our disposal to get that information. I expect that the House will quickly adopt this referral through the Justice Department and that the U.S. attorney will do his duty, and prosecute Mr. Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress.

Our goal is simple. We want Mr. Bannon to answer our questions. We want him to turn over whatever records he possessed that are relevant to the select committee's investigation. The issue in front of us today is our ability to do our job. It's about fulfilling our responsibilities according to House resolution 503. To provide the American people answers about what happened on January 6th, and help ensure nothing like that day ever happens, again.

We fulfill our responsibilities by discovering the facts behind the January 6th attack so that Congress can consider legislation with a full understanding of the activities that led to an attack on Congress, itself. I want to make it clear just how isolated Mr. Bannon is in his refusal to cooperate with the Select Committee. We have reached out to dozens of witnesses. We are taking in thousands of pages of records. We are conducting interviews on a steady basis.

This is the work of conducting a serious, focused investigation. It's not flashy but it gets results. It's essential that we get Mr. Bannon's factual and complete testimony in order to get a full accounting of the violence of January 6th and its causes.

Mr. Bannon stands alone in his complete defiance of our subpoena. That's not acceptable. No one in this country, no matter how wealthy or how powerful, is above the law. Left unaddressed, this defiance may encourage others to follow Mr. Bannon down the same path.

For folks watching at home this evening, I want you to think about something. What would happen to you if you did what Mr. Bannon is doing? If you were a material witness in a criminal prosecution or some other lawsuit, what would happen if you refused to show up? Do you think you would be able to just go about your business? We all know the answer to that.

There isn't a different set of rules for Mr. Bannon. He knows this. He knows that there are consequences for outright defiance. And he's chosen the path to criminal contempt by taking this position.

And there are better matters at stake. One of the major questions the select committee is dealing with is whether the rule of law will be able to endure as a pillar of American democracy. After all, we've seen the rule of law put to the test repeatedly in our recent past. While we don't know all the facts, we do know that there was a

powerful push to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election. Americans have been and continue to be lied to about that. We know that ultimately there was a violent attack that interfered with the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another. We know that lies about the outcome of that election haven't gone away.

And now, we have a key witness who's flat-out refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena and cooperate with our investigation. The rule of law remains under attack right now.

Is there no accountability for these abuses? If there are different sets of rules for different types of people, then our democracy is in serious trouble. As chair of this committee, I want to-- won't allow further harm to the rule of law in the course of our work.

Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation, or he will face the consequences. Maybe, he's willing to be a martyr to a disgraceful cause of whitewashing what happened on January 6th, or demonstrating his complete loyalty to the former president. So, I want our witnesses to understand something very plainly. If you thinking of following the path Mr. Bannon has gone down, you are on notice that this is what you'll face.

The process we begun tonight is a grave one. It seldom happens. And we'd rather avoid it, altogether. But it's not reserved just for Steve Bannon. If other witnesses defy this committee, if they fail to cooperate, we will be back in this room with a new report with the names of whoever else mistakenly believes that they are above the law.


We hope no other witnesses put themselves in the situation Mr. Bannon has, through his conduct but we cannot allow anyone to stand in the way of the select committee as we work to get to the facts. The stakes are just too high.

We won't be deterred. We won't be distracted. And we won't be delayed.

I urge my colleagues to support the favorable adoption of this report. It is now my pleasure to yield to the distinguished vice chair, my friend, Ms. Cheney of Wyoming, for any statements she would care to offer.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

On January 6th, a mob breached the security perimeter of our Capitol. Assaulted and injured more than 140 police officers, engaged in hand- to-hand violence over an extended period, and invaded and occupied the United States Capitol building. All in an effort to halt the lawful counting of electoral votes, and reverse the results of the 2020 election.

The day before this all occurred, on January 5th, Mr. Bannon publicly professed knowledge that, quote, all hell is going to break loose tomorrow, end quote. He forecast that the day would be, quote, extraordinarily different than what most Americans expected. He said to his listeners and his viewers, quote, so many people said if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington. Well, he said, this is your time in history.

Based on the committee's investigation, it appears that Mr. Bannon had substantial advanced knowledge of the plans for January 6th, and likely had an important role in formulating those plans. Mr. Bannon was in the war room at the Willard on January 6th. He also appears to have detailed knowledge regarding the president's efforts to sell millions of Americans the fraud that the election was stolen.

In the words of many who participated in the January 6th attack, the violence that day was in direct response to President Trump's repeated claims -- from election night through January 6th -- that he had won the election. The American people are entitled to Mr. Bannon's firsthand testimony about all of these relevant facts. But as the chairman noted, Mr. Bannon is refusing to provide it.

Preserving our constitution and the rule of law is a central purpose of this investigation. The plain fact here is that Mr. Bannon has no legal right to ignore the committee's lawful subpoena. So far, Mr. Bannon's excuse is that former President Trump wishes to invoke some form of executive privilege for a subset of the relevant topics. President Trump's direct communications with Mr. Bannon regarding the planning for January 6th.

This information should not be subject to any privilege at all. And certainly, there is no basis for absolute or unqualified privilege for presidential communications. More important now, there is no conceivably applicable privilege that could shield Mr. Bannon from testimony on all of the many other topics identified in this committee's subpoena.

Because he has categorically refused to appear, we have no choice but to seek consequences for Mr. Bannon's failure to comply. Those consequences are not just important for this investigation. They are important for all congressional investigations.

Mr. Bannon's and Mr. Trump's privilege arguments do, however, appear to reveal one thing: they suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th. And this committee will get to the bottom of that.

Let me add one further thought principally for my Republican colleagues. We all agree that America is the greatest nation on the face of God's earth. Truth, justice, and our constitution have made America great. Almost every one of my colleagues knows in your hearts that what happened on January 6th was profoundly wrong. You all know that there is no evidence of widespread election fraud sufficient to have changed the results of the election.


You all know that the Dominion voting machines were not corrupted by a foreign power. You know these claims are false. Yet, former President Trump repeats them almost daily. And he has now urged Republicans not to vote in 2022 and 2024. This is a prescription for national self- destruction.

I ask my colleagues, please consider the fundamental questions of right and wrong here. The American people must know what happened. They must know the truth. All of us who are elected officials must do our duty to prevent the dismantling of the rule of law, and to ensure that nothing like that dark day in January ever happens, again.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

THOMPSON: Pursuant to notice, I now call up the report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Steven K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena dually issued by the select committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol. The report was circulated in advance, and printed copies are available. The clerk shall designate the report.

CLERK: Report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Steven k. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with the subpoena dually issued by the select committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol.

THOMPSON: Without objection, the report will be considered as read and open to amendments at any time. I will recognize myself for the purpose of offering an amendment in the nature of a substitute now at the desk. The clerk shall report the amendment.

CLERK: Amendment and the nature of a substitute offered by Mr. Thompson of Mississippi.

THOMPSON: Without objection, amendment will be considered as read and considered base text for purposes of further amendment. I will now recognize myself to explain the amendment. Yesterday evening, counsel to Mr. Bannon requested a one-week adjournment of our response to a letter I wrote on October 15th which stated that Mr. Bannon's willful defiance of the select committee's subpoena would lead to tonight's hearing.

Without objection, I included my October 15th letter in the record as well as yesterday's letter from Robert J. Costello, Mr. Bannon's attorney. Mr. Bannon's attorney said they needed time to, quote, assess the select committee's request in light of litigation filed by former-president Trump in the District of Columbia district court yesterday.

However, the former president's lawsuit is immaterial to Mr. Bannon's defiance of our lawful subpoena. I made that clear in a letter to Mr. Costello this morning. Without objections, my full letter is in the record.

Furthermore, White House yesterday issued a letter to Mr. Bannon's attorney stating, quote, we are not aware of any basis for your client's refusal to appear for a deposition, end quote. The select committee further said, quote, President Biden has already determined that an assertion of executive privilege is not in the public interest and, therefore, is not justified with respect to certain subjects within the purview of the select committee, end quote. Without objection, I include the full White House letter in the record.

This amendment and the nature of a substitute updates the report to reflect these developments. And it's now even clearer that Mr. Bannon has no lawful grounds not to comply with our subpoena. If there is no further debate, the questions on agreeing to the amendment and the nature of a substitute.

Those in favor, say yea. Those opposed, say no.

An opinion of the chair is the ayes have it and an amendment and the nature of a substitute is agreed to.


I now recognize the vice chair, Ms. Cheney, for a motion.

CHENEY: Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee favorably report to the House the committee's report on a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Steven K. Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena dually issued by the select committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol as amended.

THOMPSON: The question on the motion is favorably report to the house. Those in favor, say aye.


THOMPSON: Those opposed, no. An opinion of the chair is the ayes have it.

CHENEY: Mr. Chairman, I request a recorded vote.

THOMPSON: A recorded vote is requested. The clerk will call the roll.

CLERK: Ms. Cheney?


CLERK: Ms. Lofgren?


CLERK: Ms. Lofgren? Aye.

Mr. Schiff?


CLERK: Mr. Schiff. Aye.

Mr. Aguilar?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): Aye. CLERK: Mr. Aguilar, aye.

Mrs. Murphy?


CLERK: Mrs. Murphy, aye.

Mr. Raskin?


CLERK: Mr. Raskin, aye.

Mrs. Luria?


CLERK: Mrs. Luria, aye.

Mr. Kinzinger?


CLERK: Mr. Kinzinger, aye.

THOMPSON: Has the chair recorded?

CLERK: Mr. Chairman, you are not recorded.

THOMPSON: I vote aye.

CLERK: Mr. Chairman, aye.

THOMPSON: The clerk will report the vote.

CLERK: Mr. Chairman, on this vote, there are nine ayes, zero noes.

THOMPSON: The motion is agreed to. Vice chair is recognized.

CHENEY: M. Chairman, pursuant to Clause 2L of Rule 11, I request that members have two calendar days in which to file with the clerk of the committee supplemental or additional views on the measure ordered reported by the committee tonight.

THOMPSON: So ordered.

Without objection, staff is authorized to make any necessary technical or conforming changes to the report to reflect the actions of the committee. There being no further business, without objection, the select committee stands adjourned.

BURNETT: And there you have it. Obviously, unanimous and our Laura Coates, Norm Eisen, and Gloria Borger back with me.

Gloria, pretty important moment there with Vice Chair Liz Cheney wanting that voice call-out. That vote as she made her point of view very clear and, you know, telling her fellow Republicans this is a matter of right and wrong.

GLORA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICLA ANALYST: Yeah, she also said that you all know better. And you know what you believe and you don't believe that this election was rigged. And then, she called it a prescription for national self-destruction for the Republican Party to go on believing this garbage -- my words, not hers.

And then, she also said that all of this suggests that Donald Trump was involved in everything. So, she was quite direct, talking to her party, talking about the former president, and talking about what they need to do in terms of the stakes for all of this.

BURNETT: So let me just read an operative line here, norm, to you from Liz Cheney. Mr. Bannon's and Mr. Trump's privilege arguments do appear to reveal one thing, however. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th.

Norm, it's a pretty incredible thing to come out and say directly from the Republican vice chair here.

NORM EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: History will look favorably on Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for their strong voices. You heard it from Liz Cheney tonight. But it's true, Erin, and it's so important for all the drama of this moment.

It's so important that in talking about Bannon's criminal contempt and the procedures, that we don't lose sight of the substance. What's really going on here is that Trump and his cronies -- first among them, Bannon -- are trying to hide. And as a matter of law, that allows the inference. And there is a lot of other evidence.


EISEN: I believe that there is more damaging information that has yet to come out about the incitement of insurrection. That's what they are hiding.

BURNETT: Laura, a very significant statement, though, from the Vice Chair Cheney.

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. So was the one from Bennie Thompson to say and ask the million dollar question everyone knows the answer to. What would happen to the average person if they tried to do what Steve Bannon did and thumb their nose at a congressional subpoena?

We all know we would not get the same privileges and if we are going to have equal justice under the law and over companies sight oversight and functioning Congress, they can't allow it either. They won't take no for an answer, as they've proven.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.

And thanks very much to all of you for joining us for that live vote. "AC360" starts now.