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Judge Sentences "QAnon Shaman" to 3 Plus Years in Prison; Jury Asks Questions in Kyle Rittenhouse Trial; Greene Warns McCarthy He's no Shoo-in for House Chamber; House Voting Today to Censure Rep. Gosar Over Violent Video. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired November 17, 2021 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello and welcome to "Inside Politics". I'm John King in Washington. Thank you for sharing a remarkably busy news day with us.
Right now a big January 6 decisions a federal judge just moments ago, handing down prison time for the so called QAnon Chairman, who stormed the Capitol on insurrection day. Plus confrontation and cowardice and the House of Representatives Democrats move this afternoon to censure Republican Paul Gosar for a vile video that depicted him killing a colleague and then preparing to attack the president.
Many House Republicans though again, shrug off extremism in their ranks. And this week, we expect a giant FDA decision on whether to OK COVID vaccine boosters for all adults. We begin though with January 6th, and the accountability question.
Just moments ago, a judge sentencing the so called QAnon Shaman, Jacob Chansley to 41 months in prison, Judge Royce Lamberth calling Chansley's actions "Terrible" he said, you made yourself the epitome of the riot the sentencing caps a remarkable morning in the U.S. District Court.
Chansley spoke directly to the judge for more than 30 minutes; he insisted he's a good man who broke the law, not a domestic terrorist, he said, not and insurrectionist. Let's get straight to CNN's Whitney Wild outside the courthouse here in downtown Washington. This is a big sentencing.
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: It's very significant, John, and the reason it's so significant is 41 months is the very same sentence that Judge Royce Lamberth handed down to another Capitol, Capitol rioter just last week, that Capitol rider convicted of punching a police officer of violent crime and assault on the very people who were protecting democracy that day.
Jacob Chansley is not convicted of a violent crime. And so the judge still believes, however, that the effects of his actions are comparable with a violent act. So as we look at the grand scheme of all of these riot defendants 660 defendants charged around 100 - well now 132 defendants indicted, you know, three dozen having been sentenced at this point.
The significance of this sentencing cannot be understated John because it simply sets a watermark for how the DOJ and judges may approach other highly visible people who are charged with highly serious felonies but did not commit a crime of violence.
So now we're starting to see this new phase of the sentencing of these insurrectionists. The judge did say that he was the epitome of the riot. However, John in a remarkable moment the judge also said that Jacob Chansley's remarks his 31 minutes of telling the judge at how regretful he is? How much he's changed in jail? How he never wants to reoffend?
He called those the most remarkable remarks he had ever heard in his 34 years on the bench. Clearly he was moved clearly he accepted what Jacob Chansley has said, which is that he is remorseful however, still handing down this very harsh sentence, although I will say it's 10 months less than the Department of Justice had asked for.
So now the final word here John Jacob Chansley, the QAnon Shaman the man seen parading through the Senate Chamber in bullhorns face paint and for it will be sentenced or has been sentenced to 41 months in prison with 36 months of supervised release, John.
KING: This is remarkable Whitney Wild appreciate the breaking news and the hustle outside the courthouse here in D.C. Let's bring it into the studio with me to share their reporting and their insights CNN's Nia- Malika Henderson Tarini Parti of "The Wall Street Journal" POLITICO's Laura Barron-Lopez and the Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Wehle.
Kim, let me start with you. In many of these cases, we have heard the judges criticized the Biden Justice Department saying they didn't think the Justice Department was being tough enough. In this case, the judge went a little lower than what the Justice Department asked for.
But 41 months is still a significant prison time for a man who has Whitney rightly pointed out he was an instigator. He led the charge, but he was not convicted of any violence inside the building.
KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes, it's a shot across the bow for potential insurrection that's going forward, right? We're seeing more calls to violence. We're seeing vigilantes in the street. This is the Rittenhouse case; this is the Ahmed Arbery case.
And I think this is symbolically very important to tell people listen, this kind of taking the law into your own hands is not going to fly. And Judge Lamberth, as indicated, he's a very seasoned judge. He's a very serious judge. Old school understands government understands Washington.
So I think he did want to send a message and but the fact that he was moved by the defendant here also, I think, raises the question, what was Donald Trump's role in this because this defendant also is indicated that he was following the what he understood to be the orders of the president. So the next phase I think, is will adjust the Justice Department actually step in to take action around those within government who participate?
KING: That's a great question. Will the Justice Department go there and will the committee - the House Committee be successful in getting more information about that the House investigation of January 6? What about Trump? What about the people around him?
KING: Well let's come back to Mr. Chansley for a minute because the Justice Department they knew, you know, no, he was not convicted of any actual violence against another human being in the building. But they also knew and we've seen the pictures you just saw him inside the Senate Chamber.
There are also pictures of him parading through the halls chanting as he went through. The Justice Department says he said this was a leader. We want him punished because he's a leader. The sentencing memo noted he had a six foot long spear as he went through, they said brazenly marching past dozens of law enforcement officials.
They said he was riling up other members of the mob was screaming obscenities about our nation's lawmakers, the opportunity to rid our government of the traitors. This was a determined effort by the Justice Department to say a leader put him behind bars send a message.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And probably the most familiar person who participated in that insurrection to the general public right? Because of what he's wearing, and because of what he was doing and shouting there so yes, I think if you're a member of the general public, you are kind of wondering what was - what happened to these people?
What is going to be their penalty in their consequence on now you have this man who was remorseful before the judge that worked in probably decreasing some of his sentencing? But still, this is a significant time that he's going to spend.
LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And in their argument for the 51 months that they initially asked for, yes, they got 10 less, but it still is the most severe sentence that any of the rioters have been served so far.
But what they noted the U.S. Attorney noted was that Chansley yes, well, he may not have engaged in a direct act of violence against another person at the Capitol. He left a note for Mike Pence sat in the Chair that Mike Pence was sitting in the Former Vice President was sitting in just like an hour before and left a note for him saying justice is coming.
So threatening and taking on what a lot of the other rioters were chanting throughout that day, when they were swarming the Capitol.
KING: We hit the pause on this conversation about a very important federal case to take you now to Kenosha, Wisconsin. The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial has asked a question of the judge, this is the judge speaking.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE SCHROEDER, JUDGE: --the clerk, the government official drew the name out of the tumbler. It was a blank the blank, the only plan. There was nothing wrong with it. It was all OK. But what did they talk about optics notice is that the word for things that was a bad optic, I thought.
I think people feel better when they have control. So ever since that case, I have which was well, ever since that case, I've had an almost universal policy of having the defendant do the things where it really had nothing to do with anybody's race or anything like that.
And I never had a complaint about it before. In fact, they haven't ever complained about it here. But some people seem to be dissatisfied with that and people who want to undermine the result of the trial. So that's today's statement on that subject.
BINGER: Your Honor is why I do my best to avoid reading anything anybody's writing. What happens in here? They don't.
SCHROEDER: Well, and I don't always have that luxury, though, because I've got to but anyway. And, yes, and some of the things that have been said to I guess I'll count on that, too. These are five very reputable attorneys that I've practiced with for years.
And I think it's shameful some of the things that are being done to these people. And I - when I talked about problems with the media when this trial started that's where they're in part, not fully, but in part because of grossly irresponsible handling of what comes out of this trial.
I will tell you this. I'm going to think long and hard about live television betrayal again, next time. I don't know I've always been a firm believer in it, because I think the people should be able to see what's going on. But what I see what's being done is really quite frightening, frightening, that's the right word for it.
But back to the subject today and I've discussed my disdain for the rule. I'm not going to box you guys into accepting what I think is the better way and I sense from the statements of a maid that I think that in some respects, you may even agree with me that it would be better if the jury could.
We're going to now have - the jury will come down here to the courtroom, and everybody will be shut out of here as they shouldn't be. And I don't - I'm not even sure we're going to have to review the procedure that's been outlined. But they get to watch it once is that what the rule is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they should be allowed to view what they want to view as often as they want to view it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Subject to my other objection I don't have a problem dealing with it multiple times at a certain point. I don't think that's three or four times, I don't have a problem to sit here, just keep playing it, playing it playing it. I don't think that's the right way either than it's giving more emphasis to one piece of evidence.
SCHROEDER: Well, and but sometimes, there's one piece of evidence, which is absolutely critical. And I talked about those numbers are and if case I, I talked about the attempted murder case that I had in here. And I don't know how we're going to police this anyway.
And the other thing is when they're - when it is being policed, and someone's watching them talk about it, well, can they freely talk, which is what we want. We want freedom of expression between the jurors and so as they watch these videos, and to me if they want to watch it 100 times.
That's them, if it were a bench trial, and I've said this before, if this were a bench trial, and I put in my decision that I thought that exhibit 486 was critically important. But I didn't want to overemphasize concentrating on it. So I left my - with questions in my mind about it, and decided I better not look at it anymore, I should get reversed. That's an outrageous thing.
Yes, but that's what we're forcing the jury to do. Because the disrespect that the courts have had in this country, for the juries. These are intelligent people, they get treated like there was a time when the people - educated people in the town where the physician and the lawyer and maybe the school teacher and the preacher and the rest of the people were.
So obviously they weren't as smart as those educated people, right? Wrong. That's never been the belief of the founders of our country. It's never been true. And I think these people are as competent as the educated people. And many of them are educated to make these decisions, and that's where the founders of our country put the power not with us.
So I think it's insulting to the jury to tell them that they have to have these restrictions on their viewing but we're going to - we're going to have sit down with the books we're going to find out what the exact procedure is. And we'll wait what they want to do but for now, I will answer do we view the videos in private or in the courtroom? And the answer will be in the courtroom?
Do you need to know the exact exhibit number or video or photo? Well, we - there's two options. One is we can just what you can have all of them. Anyone gasping you can have whatever you want, you can pick and choose and you can - you can describe generally what you want.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think the exact exhibit number would be helpful. But if they can give us just a title or a description, we can also figure it out. I agree. SCHROEDER: Alright, so what I'm going to write you've got copy. So I'm going to what I'm going to write on here is in courtroom I better read. General description - general description of what you would like, is that right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The only thing I was asked about with regard to your answer, Your Honor?
SCHROEDER: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure I've heard you correctly about if we bring the jury back; you mentioned something about kicking everyone else out of the courtroom. And I don't know what you're planning to do.
But if you are planning on doing that might be helpful to tell the jury that so they understand that they will be viewing it without the public around. I don't know what you'd like--
SCHROEDER: It's a good point. Something I don't know exactly who is going - who are going to be the kick? Certainly all the media and the officers other than yes, media and the officers and the question is whether they the lawyers and the defendant I don't know what the answer is we'll have to check that.
SCHROEDER: And I don't know if I'm supposed to be in here. I get the impression and it's been a long time since I've read one of these cases. I got the impression it was actually supposed to be the bailiff. But I'm not even sure about that. So we'll have to look at that.
So I guess I'm going to - I understand the good suggestion that you've made but I'm afraid I don't know enough of an answer right now. I'm going to send this upstairs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're listening to the proceedings inside the courtroom of Kenosha, Wisconsin Judge Schrader, making note that he got a question from the jury they want to review some of the drone footage. The drone footage showing some of the first shooting at least that Kyle Rittenhouse admits that he should he says it was in self-defense.
The State of Wisconsin says it was a homicide. Kim Wehle is with us. We'll get later in the conversation to the judge deciding every time he's in a proceeding to criticize the media to make other social commentary. Let's talk right now about the substance of the case.
Not surprising the jurors on the second day of deliberations. We want to go back and see what was a key piece of the evidence where the shooting began in this case?
WEHLE: Yes, I actually think it's a good sign that the jury is doing this that means they're taking this very seriously. They want to be very precise. And I it's also though not necessarily a great sign for the defense. And you could see the defense lawyer sort of pushing back and unlimited access to that information.
Because remember, there are two alleged murders or deaths here. There are two deaths. The first is Mr. Rosenbaum and he was we understand mentally ill he had just been released from a hospital. He was running towards the defendant and threw a plastic bag at him than someone who had fired a gun.
So the argument is listen, he was worried Mr. Rittenhouse was worried he has a stronger self-defense argument there. Then he left that person on the ground and with a loaded weapon started running and people were worried about an active shooter. Then he killed Mr. Huber, who went after him with a skateboard.
So I think the jury is asking, listen, what happened in that moment? What's he actually in legitimate fear, reasonable fear of a safety such that he could use that kind of lethal force.
KING: And Caroline Polisi also joins the conversation. Caroline, we talked about this the other day, during the closing arguments that that's this is key for the prosecution to say no, he was never so threatened that he has the legal right to self-defense.
The prosecution used it differently that the jury wants to come back in and see the drone footage from - see the beginning - see the drill of the beginning of this episode. What does that tell you?
CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL AND WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, a lot to unpack there, John, as you noted. But I think one of the key issues here, even beyond self-defense is remember, the prosecution got a favorable ruling with respect to the jury instructions about provocation and provocation under that states law effectively takes away the self-defense claim.
It then sort of gives it back to you if under certain circumstances. But I think what we're seeing here and I agree with Kim, that the jury is absolutely taking their civic duty incredibly responsibly going through piece by piece, and they're really, you know, wanting to parse out that footage.
I had suspected that there was a very high likelihood that the jury would get back there throw up their hands and just acquit on all counts, because they couldn't understand the jury instructions. Not so they clearly are taking this seriously and going through element by element.
KING: Let's bring in our CNN's Shimon Prokupecz. He's there covering the trial for us. Shimon again day two of the deliberations, the jury wants to review some of the key video evidence. The judge himself this was a bit of a shock to me, saying he's not quite sure the exact law, the Wisconsin law, who can be in the courtroom, should he be in the courtroom? But clearly the jury will at least get to see this video evidence once the judge clears all that up.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, because John, normally, you know, certainly in cases that I've covered, what happens is if a jury wants something, they come down, they play it, and then they leave the room that you do this in open court.
What it sounds to me like and I think what the judge is thinking that they actually want to sit there together, watch this video, maybe talk about it as they're watching the video, maybe make notes, maybe kind of deliberate over the video.
And so that's why the public couldn't be present. That's why the judge couldn't be present. That's why the lawyers wouldn't be present because they would actually be deliberating which they're supposed to do in the jury room so there's a lot of confusion.
Again, the fact that the judges confused over this again, there's been a lot of this during this trial. But let's see what he ultimately decides here.
KING: We'll watch it play out and we'll see obviously, that's the key moment day to deliberation. Shimon Prokupecz, Caroline Polisi and Kim Wehle thank you very much. We'll continue to watch this obviously as the judge makes this decision with the jury proceeds with the deliberations.
KING: Just ahead for us though back here to Washington at a pivotal moment on Capitol Hill. This afternoon House Democrats set to vote to censure Republican Congressman Paul Gosar.
KING: A bit later today the House takes a rare vote to censure one of its own Arizona Republican Paul Gosar. Gosar last week you probably remember posted an anime video online depicting a cartoon version of him attacking and killing Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio- Cortez then turning to attack President Biden.
Democrats filed the censure resolution after the House Republican leadership made clear it had no plans to discipline Gosar. This is a rare step and it's been 11 years since a member of the House was censured.
KING: Our panel is back with us now along with our Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona. We can show the video you tried to ask about Mr. Gosar about this today as he went to his office. He refused to answer questions. Then does he understand how big of moment this is? A, for him, but B, institutionally, this is incredibly rare.
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: I don't know if Gosar understands that. I mean, certainly Democrats on Capitol Hill are viewing it this way. This is an extraordinary step. Only 23 members of Congress have ever been censured before last time was in 2010, when Charlie Rangel was Democrat of New York was transgendered by his own party. And it's supposed to play out in this really dramatic fashion where he's required to stand in the well of the House as they read this verbal reprimand. But it's unclear whether he's going to show up? I mean, he's been pretty defiant. He hasn't actually apologized.
He's only tried to explain his actions behind closed doors. So it is possible that he either doesn't show up or Democrats or Republicans try to make some procedural moves to try to derail things. But there is also going to be another impact here other than the symbolic censure vote, and that's getting kicked off his committees.
I mean, that is a really big deal, especially when you're trying to run for reelection, those committee seats really matter. So he's going to be kicked off both Oversight and Natural Resources. And Democrats are saying, you know, this is such an emergency. This is beyond the pale we have to go this route.
And we don't care if Republicans are threatening pay back if they went back to majority they feel like they have to do this.
KING: And the reason I asked if his tone had changed today? If he understands the gravity of the moment if he's willing to say I'm sorry, what I did was horrible, reckless, vile, is because yesterday listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL GOSAR (R-AZ): I did not apologize. I just said this. This video had nothing to do with harming anybody. It's exactly what you're talking about. It's an anime. We were trying to reach out to the newer generation that likes these anime these cartoons fabricated in Japanese likeness. To actually tell them with this harmfulness in this bill they're missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Sorry, Congressman, you did not take a sword to a bill, you did not take a sword to the build back better plan or to some piece of legislation, you took a sword to a Democratic member of Congress and then he turned on the president.
When he talks about reaching out to a younger generation reaching out to spread a message of hate and how to confront the people you disagree with to a younger generation?
BARRON-LOPEZ: And this isn't one instance with Gosar. There is a pattern of pushing hateful rhetoric of inciting violence. I mean, Gosar has repeatedly said that the January 6th was a false flag, you know, operation he has also has affiliation with white supremacist and white nationalist. So this is not a one-off or Gosar.
It's no surprise to me that he isn't apologetic because he hasn't been apologetic about any of the past instances where he has affiliated himself with hate groups. This also is, as you noted John a really big story in a big issue because of the fact that majority - Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, excuse me, he's not you know, they aren't in the majority yet.
But he is pretty much building what could be his potential speakership by giving a pass to members who are inciting violence and by not holding them again.
ZANONA: That's why Gosar doesn't apologize because he doesn't have to do face consequences within his own comfort.
KING: Right. Marjorie Taylor Greene putting that in clear, stark words just yesterday, why won't Kevin McCarthy, this might not happen Democrats might not have the votes to censure Mr. Gosar if Kevin McCarthy had reprimanded him.
If the Republicans had disciplined him, if they had insisted demanded he go to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez and apologize to say this was mistake. Marjorie Taylor Greene, telling CNN yesterday warning McCarthy isn't a shoo-in for the speakership by saying Trump's opinion is going to matter big and who gets the gavel if the GOP wins back the House?
Essentially that's his message to McCarthy. If you hold Gosar are accountable. If you hold Marjorie Taylor Greene accountable if you hold the Republicans who won't wear masks who try to carry guns on the House floor, if you hold them accountable, we will go complain to Donnie, and Donnie won't make you speaker.
HENDERSON: And listen, he doesn't even need to hear that from Marjorie Taylor Greene. He knows that instinctively, and that's how he has been behaving. And he is close to getting the speakership because of the way the margins are, we'll see if he ultimately gets it/
But that's certainly why these folks are feel like they just have a free rein to do any number of things, the things that you've already lined out. And it's so important, I think for Democrats to send a message because the Republicans won't, because we just saw January 6 happen, right?
This violent insurrection, words about bringing harm to folks in that chamber. And here we have Gosar doing that very thing and cartoon version a bit still hinting at the kind of violence that folks on January 6th wanted to happen to members of Congress.
KING: And we could - I don't know if we have a live photo but they just started debate on the rule on the House floor. First they have to pass the rules for the debate then they move on to the actual censure resolution. So you see them now starting to debate the rule this process will take at least an hour perhaps a little bit more.