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Meadows No Show for 1/6 Committee, May Now Face Contempt; Trump Says He Wasn't Worried About Pence During 1/6, Despite Chants of Hang Mike Pence; Appeals Court Rules Trump Won't Have to Turn Over Docs to Jan 6 Committee for Now; Progressive Dems Play Pacemaker to Pass Biden Agenda; Source: Biden's Call with Progressives "Really Woke People Up". Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired November 12, 2021 - 12:00   ET




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KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Go to to learn more. Thanks for being here everybody. "Inside Politics" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello and welcome to "Inside Politics". I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

The court gives Donald Trump the delay he wants. The Insurrection Committee threatens the Former Trump's Chief of Staff with contempt and listen here the former president embraces the January 6 rioters who threatened the life of his Vice President.


DONALD TRUMP, 45TH U.S. PRESIDENT: because it's common sense. It's common sense that you're supposed to protect. How can you -- if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? How can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Plus the reporting out this hour reveals a split among House progressives over how to deal with Joe Manchin? And time runs out today on a big global climate summit. Scientists say a failure to strike a deal on emissions means that not too far away future of pain, misery water shortages, starvation, essentially the end of life as we know it.

We begin the hour though with the January 6 Committee no show the; Former Trump White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows ignored at 10 am today deadline to appear before the committee. Meadows now will likely face contempt of Congress vote.

It's another test of the committee's power to force cooperation, a challenge that also includes a court showdown with the former president himself. CNN Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is live with the latest. Paula what is it?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: John, this is a dramatic escalation in negotiations between the House Select Committee and Mark Meadows in just the past 24 hours as the Former Chief of Staff defied a deadline to show up for a deposition today.

Earlier this week, the Biden White House informed Meadows that it would not assert privilege to protect him from requests from lawmakers investigating January 6. Meadows legal team has made it clear he has no intention of cooperating until the courts rule on Former President Trump's claims of privilege in this investigation.

Meadows' Attorney George Terwilliger said in a statement, legal disputes are appropriately resolved by courts. It would be irresponsible for Mr. Meadows to prematurely resolve that dispute by voluntarily waiving privileges that are at the heart of those legal issues.

But the committee notes there are a lot of matters they were asking him about, which would not be covered by privilege, even if he had it, like questions about his personal cell phone and email use. So lawmakers urged him to show up and raise privilege on any questions where it could be relevant, but instead he is defying the subpoena entirely.

Now the committee and Trump are currently in court fighting over whether lawmakers should have access to Trump White House records related to January 6, a lower court judge sided with the committee concluding that as a former President Trump does not have power to keep records secret when the current President Biden of course, once they released.

Trump appealed that decision and the case will be heard by the D.C. Court of Appeals. And Trump scored a minor victory when the court at least agreed to grant him a brief delay in handing over some of these disputed docs which would have begun going to the committee today. John arguments on that historic case will be heard on November 30th.

KING: -- wait a little bit for resolution of that. Well, Paula Reid appreciate kicking us off with the latest. With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights CNN's Lauren Fox Toluse Olorunnipa of "The Washington Post" Jackie Kucinich of "The Daily Beast" and our Legal Affairs Analyst Carrie Cordero I want to come back to the legal challenge in a minute.

But if you needed any more evidence of why it is important for the committee to get those Trump records that are disputed the executive privilege case to get what was the president doing in the days before January 6, and then that very day, that very day, was he picking up the phone? Was he trying to help? Was he worried about his Vice President, remember; remember this outside of the Capitol on that day?

Now listen to this. This is the Former President of the United States in an interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News as part of a book project saying I understand that.


JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS: Were you worried about him during that that siege? Were you worried about?

TRUMP: No, I thought he was well protected. And I had heard that he was in good shape. No because I had heard he was in very good shape but no --

KARL: -- chance that was terrible.

TRUMP: He could have other people were very angry --

KARL: -- hang my --

TRUMP: Because it's common John. It's common sense that you're supposed to protect.


TRUMP: How can you -- if you know a vote is fraudulent, right? How can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?


KING: Common sense -- common sense to have violent outrage against the sitting Vice President of the United States, despite whatever anger you might have, whether you think it's legitimate or not, with the election results, really?

And so that to me is if you want to understand the mission of this committee to find out exactly what the president then president knew, in the days leading up to this, and in the hours as that was playing out, there's your reason for it right there.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: I mean, who was informing him? I mean, that that was my first that he said, he said, oh, I -- you know, I was I was getting information. I was being told that he was OK, who was talking to him?

I mean, just even like little things like that. But you saw I mean these comments are shocking, even with a former president that it seems impossible to shock at this point, because it does show where his head was at. And it wasn't with Mike Pence, it was all about Trump.

KING: Well, the people were very angry. Well, it's common sense. It's -- it is -- it's stunning, stunning for any human being to say that about the potential life of another human being, let alone the President of the United States at the time against his loyal vice president.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And why were they angry, John, because the president was lying about the results of the election, his deputies were going out publicly and lying about what had occurred during a fair and free election.

The president is not addressing here that he has culpability and responsibility for why these people are standing outside the Capitol, screaming that his vice president should be hung. I think that is what is remarkable here to me is not just that the president wasn't worried about the vice president.

But he seems to ignore the fact that it's a serious problem that he was lying to the American people for months after the election.

KING: He was embracing the anger of people who are screaming hang Mike Pence and others were saying let's find the speaker and putting at risk the leadership of the United States government and attacking a key institution of the United States government, which gets us back to the legal challenge.

Mark Meadows today said I'm not showing up. If you were his lawyer, you might tell him the same thing with this case pending in court. At least let's wait and see how the court decides now the appeals court decides this question.

Does the former president have any such privilege? Does he have even limited privilege to deny documents and testimony to the committee? Here's what the D.C. Court of Appeals said yesterday, the purpose of this administrative injunction is to protect the court's jurisdiction to address a pellets claim of executive privilege, and should not be construed in any way is ruling on the merits.

These were three judges appointed by Democrat saying, OK, Donald Trump, we will give you a hearing. We don't -- they're not saying they agree. They say we'll let you make your case.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. So they went out of their way to make sure that this is not cast as a win for Donald Trump. This is simply part of the procedure. They're going to take up his case.

But I do wonder whether there is an argument here, that the continuation of this process may end up weakening executive privilege in the end, you know, the president, the former president's team wants people to think the opposite. They want to think that they are the ones supporting executive privilege. But President Biden has already made the decision. He has already decided that the disclosure of these documents by the archives to the committee is in the public interest. So by continuing to litigate this, I think there's an argument that that actually is weakening the current president's authority to make this decision.

KING: It's an interesting take, because my take was actual process. Donald Trump attacked judges attacked courts attacked institutions attacked process for a long time. My take on it was here, you have three Democratic appointed judges saying, OK, Former Republican President, the case law actually is against you. But it's a big issue. We're going to essentially hit pause for two weeks and hear it out your view is different?

CORDERO: Well, I think -- I just think that there is an argument and then I think your institutional point is completely credible. And I think there's many, you know, in the field here who would agree with you on that.

But the President Biden has already made the decision. He's the one who is supposed to decide that he has decided that the January 6 Committees' work is on par with other historical significant events. The way that administration's cooperated in the 9/11 investigation, the way that the courts decided in the Watergate era, Iran Contra where executive privilege was an issue.

And so the January 6 Committee is that important and he's already made the decision. Now the Appellate Court might be able to issue an opinion once they consider it, and the decision may end up consistent with the District Court.

But there is a possibility that they also will say, actually, we want to it to go back and look at issues of accommodation. Maybe there's a scope issue in the scope of the request that they want the executive and the legislature to work out.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, POLITICAL INVESTIGATIONS & ENTERPRISE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: And it's not completely clear that this is all going to be resolved just in a matter of a couple of weeks. We've seen over and over again with this -- with a former president. He has a strategy of tying things up in the court.

When different lawmakers want to get access to his records want to get access to what he was doing while he was president? He says I'm going to sue and then they spent you know months on end in court.


OLORUNNIPA: And I think that's his strategy here. He realizes that if he can drag this out long enough, maybe the Democrats will not be able to get everything they need in order to complete their report before the midterms. If the Republicans take over they can quash this entire thing. And his, you know, delay strategy could work. And I think that's what he's trying to do.

KUCINICH: And here's another reason why it's important that this committee does this work. He's not -- this isn't over. The former president continues to spread misinformation. He was doing it just this week -- just this week at it NRCC, National Republican Congressional Committee Fundraiser.

KING: With the embrace of the leadership of the party. Sorry to interrupt --

KUCINICH: yes, exactly that. Yes, exactly -- he was invited there by Kevin McCarthy. So who is someone who could end up the Speaker of the House if Democrats lose, lose the House in the midterms? So this isn't over this continues. And that's why it's so important that this committee does this.

KING: And to that point, the witness who refused to testify today, the Former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, one of a half dozen, plus people who were close to the former president just about every day. So they had eyes on his mood, they had eyes on his calls, they had eyes on his visitors, they had eyes on the specific actions he did and did not take.

And so you might be asking why Mark Meadows, why do they want the White House Chief of Staff? He says, you know, anytime I'm around the president, it is privileged, but why would you want to understand everything he knows, listen?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, everybody is on the line. And this is Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff.

TRUMP: All I want to do is I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we want to say --


KING: That's the call with the Secretary of State of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, in which the president's essentially saying help me cheat, my take. But it's that's a fair take. That helped me change the election, Mark Meadows is helping facilitate the president -- or even just organizing the call. He knows what the former president or then president is going to do.

He's part of this. And so that's why his testimony is so critical, because he probably almost more than anybody, he's one of the three or four people with the most steady, consistent access to Donald Trump.

OLORUNNIPA: And the former president continues to sort of rule by fear. You know, you hear what he talked what he said about his former vice president, one of the most loyal people that, you know, stood by him for four years, and he essentially says, you know, the folks that were saying, hang Mike Pence, I'm all -- I'm all good with that.

He realizes that he has a stronghold on the party. And that's why people like Mark Meadows, other people within his orbit that are being called to testify are saying, you know, I'm going to stick with the former president. I'm not going to follow the some of these subpoenas and listen to what the lawmakers are saying because they realize if they want to have a future in the Republican Party, they have to stick with Donald Trump because he continues to have a stronghold around the party.

KING: The access to that information now appears to rest with the D.C. Court of Appeals. We'll watch how that process plays out and go from there? Up next for us a Biden White House reboot today's Cabinet meeting is about implementing the new infrastructure law and it's about a whole lot more.



KING: President Biden holds a rare Cabinet meeting today just the third of a presidency about to hit the 10 month mark. The policy topic is implementing the new bipartisan infrastructure plan which the president will sign into law at a big ceremony on Monday.

And the political imperative well, it's beyond obvious Team Biden hopes a rush to repair roads and bridges will also help reboot the president's slumping poll numbers as we get closer and closer to the midterm election year. CNN's Kaitlan Collins joins us now live from the White House Kaitlan, big day for the president?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, this is the first Cabinet meeting that they are holding since they got this bipartisan, massive piece of legislation passed of course about a week ago, just a week ago, close around midnight on Friday night that they actually got that passed.

But this is the first time that you're going to see the president's entire cabinet sitting together in the room with the president, as they are talking about the two things that they have now left to do. In addition to that signing ceremony that they are going to have here at the White House on Monday where the White House says it will be both Republicans and Democrats who helped craft this bill and voted for it that will be invited to that where the president actually signs it into law.

But of course, next is the hard part, which is implementing this plan, which is about a billion dollars of this bipartisan infrastructure plan that they have to actually put into place which we know is going to take quite some time and the president is predicting it might be about two to three months before people start to see the effects of that.

But also selling this bill is going to be just as important as implementing it when it comes to the political aspect for this White House. Because of course, this is something they will hope will bump up the president's poll numbers.

Of course, you've seen those erode as there were these negotiations back and forth between Democrats on Capitol Hill in addition, of course, to some other factors. And so they are really counting on this.

And so what you'll see after that signing ceremony happens on Monday as the White House says they are going to be going out into the country and selling this bill talking about how it is going to benefit individual states and what it's going to look like as it is implemented.

And of course it is going to take a really whole of government approach, John, because this is something that ranges from the Transportation Department to the Commerce Department, it's going to really be a big effort to actually get this big of a bill implemented. And so that is going to be a big focus that you'll hear from the president.

And of course, John, this is all looming in the background of the other economic issues that the president has going on when it comes to inflation when it comes to the supply chain. All of these things that he is tying back to this infrastructure bill.

KING: Kaitlan Collins live for us at the White House big day. I always loved cabinet meetings, so I was covering the White House don't know why but to get all the stars in the building it a chance to talk with some folks. Kaitlan Collins appreciate it very much.

Up next for us, some brand new CNN reporting on the progressives split over Joe Manchin. Some call it like they say it accusing the Senator of being anti-black or beholden to big energy others though, think a more polite diplomacy is the path to winning his vote.



KING: We have some new behind the curtain CNN reporting now on a question pivotal to the fate of the Biden agenda. How to deal with Senator Joe Manchin? You have lived this repeating cycle the past few months Democrats believe they settle a big issue only to have Manchin say no or to quickly raise some other objection.

It infuriates progressives, some of whom are not shy about attacking the way West Virginia Democrat. Anti-black for example says the freshmen Congresswoman Cory Bush a personal financial interest in protecting the coal industry is one swipe from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


KING: But some new CNN reporting details how other progressives see such attacks as counterproductive and they favor diplomacy instead. Our Chief Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju joins the panel here with his new reporting.

So not that they necessarily disagree with some of the things said by their progressive colleagues but your reporting is fascinating and that others say, well, you know, what, if we won't actually get to the finish line. Ro Khanna of being among them, I want to read a piece from your reporting "Rather than publicly berating Manchin and demanding he agreed to their priorities many Democrats say the way to win him over is to give him space, avoid the personal attacks, engage in an open dialogue with him. And let him ultimately come to a conclusion that passing the bill is crucial, not just for the president's political future, but his deep red state as well".

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, look, he's made very clear Joe Manchin has that he will not be jammed. He's not going to be jammed. He's going to be publicly pressured into doing something he does not want to do. And he's prepared.

He says to vote no, if he feels like he has to vote no. So the attacks from people like Cory Bush, who essentially called him a racist for his opposition to the larger spending package that did not go over particularly well with -- progressives, Ro Khanna being one of them.

He was on national TV soon after, I'm told and said that Joe Manchin is not a racist. And then he was invited Khanna was to a meeting the next day with a handful of other House Democrats, and Manchin thanked him for not -- for defending him and not calling on racist.

There are other conversations as well, that have been very cordial. Some of them have with Pramila Jayapal, the Head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, but I'm told the Manchin told her explicitly, she does not have any leverage over him, and he ultimately is going to make the decision on what to do.

And John, ultimately, the question is going to be assuming this bill gets out of the House could happen as soon as next week. What will happen with Joe Manchin because there's a belief that Kyrsten Sinema will be there, she has reassured Democrats that she could get there get -- yes.

So now it's all about what Joe Manchin will do? And a lot of folks believe, Biden, Joe Biden is the one who's going to have to get him over the finish line it just the way he did on Friday. And I'm told also at that Friday meeting with a Congressional Progressive Caucus, we tried to urge them to vote for the infrastructure bill.

He warned them that they had whole agenda could collapse. They could pull the whole agenda, if they don't get behind this said, trust me, I will get Joe Manchin. And ultimately, they did trust him. Now the question is --

KING: Let me read that piece. Because as we go into this potential House vote next week, and then the whether the Senate meaning, whether Manchin and Sinema?

This is from your reporting as well, at one point the president suggested that House Progressives -- that if House Progressives couldn't trust him, it wouldn't get behind the infrastructure bill last Friday, they should just abandon the entire agenda, according to four sources familiar with the remarks that really woke people up. So the president essentially saying, look, it's time to fish or cut baits; do it or dump it all.

FOX: And this has been House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is argument to her Caucus as well. If you cannot trust Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema that's fine; I understand that. But do you trust your president? Do you trust our president that has been her argument for the last three weeks in caucus meetings?

So I do think that that is a very consistent argument that the speaker has made, and obviously now Biden has to deliver, he has to get Manchin, and there's going to be some work and some changes that are likely going to happen to this House bill, if they can get it passed next week, if they can get it across the finish line.

KUCINICH: But you do I mean, you you've heard progressive lawmakers say that they'll -- they'll tank it. Do we know whether they're bluffing or not? I think that remains to be seen. But one of the things I think they're running into a Joe Manchin is every time a progressive goes after him, he gets stronger.

No one's going to beat Joe Manchin to the left in West Virginia. He's always going to get attacked from the right. So every time Bernie Sanders tries or starts to run an op-ed in a local paper that just makes Joe Manchin stronger, and it strengthen his resolve.

KING: And lawmakers get mad that he gets so much attention. But he's exercising power that they all have actually. He just decides to exercise it publicly all the time when you have no votes to spare in the Senate, because it's 50/50 and two or three to spare in the House because you have a three or four seat margin.

Everybody's Prime Minister, if you will, everybody can make demands. And you see that there's a headline from "The Hill" just this week. "Manchin objections to tax credit for Union made EVs and spending package" meaning the longer this is on the vine.

This is from a Democratic Senator from Michigan, Senator Stabenow says, let me try to do this, because the negotiations are still open and Manchin says no, that's where we live until they get to the finish line or less, they get to the finish line. This is an everyday happening.

OLORUNNIPA: And the point in the piece about leverage is so key. He has leveraged there are not many people who can threaten him, as Jackie said, in terms of a primary and West Virginia, he knows that there's no one who's going to be able to put pressure on him.

Maybe that relationship with Joe Biden, the fact that they had been together, they worked together for so many years and they talk lovingly about each other. Maybe that's some leverage, but in terms of actual political pressure, he does not subject to that.

He basically says I'm going to do what's best for my constituents or what's best for my own political fortunes given the fact that he believes that West Virginia is much like Southwest Virginia that we saw during the Virginia Governor's race that went incredibly for Republicans and he believes that the country is the same. [12:30:00]