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Pivotal Day for Insurrection Probe: Will Trump Aides Show Up?; Trump Tells GOP Not to Vote in '22 or '24 Until His Bogus Election Fraud Lies are 'Solved'; FDA Vaccine Advisers to Vote on Moderna, J&J Boosters Gas Prices Skyrocket Across Nation. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired October 14, 2021 - 06:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman on this NEW DAY.


A pivotal day in the investigation of the Capitol insurrection. All eyes on Capitol Hill. Will Trump allies show up to testify?

Plus, the former president telling Republicans, Don't vote in 2022 or 2024. Hear why.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A crucial day in the fate of COVID boosters as the FDA gets ready to make a big decision.

And on the day the Biden White House releases its report on whether the Supreme Court should be expanded, Justice Stephen Breyer sits down with CNN. A big ask he has for the American people.

KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Thursday, October 14. And today we're going to find out how aggressive the January 6th Committee will be as the standoff with Donald Trump's former aides is about to come to a head.

Depositions are scheduled this morning for Kash Patel and for Steve Bannon. Overnight, Bannon's lawyer confirming that his client will refuse to provide testimony.

Now, former President Trump has been urging his loyalists to ignore these subpoenas from this committee. Lawmakers, though, say they are prepared to pursue criminal charges for noncompliant witnesses.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're not willing to allow them to play rope- a-dope in the civil courts that way. That's why we're going to go straight to criminal content and expect the Justice Department, unlike the last one, to uphold the principle that no one's above the law. No one gets to say, I'm not going to comply with the subpoena, because I don't want to, and there's nothing you can do about it. In fact, there is something that can be done about it, and they can be prosecuted, and they can go to jail over it.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: Meantime, a new subpoena has been issued for former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark. It was Clark, you may recall, who drafted that letter falsely claiming that the Justice Department found voting irregularities in Georgia.

BERMAN: The January 6th Committee met for eight hours yesterday with the man Clark wanted to sign that letter, former acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen.

There's also a battle now over executive privilege. The former president is trying to block the release of documents from the National Archives.

Let's talk about this with CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig.

Elie, we know at least two of these people who have been subpoenaed are supposed to show up and testify today. Where does this put us in the whole process?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, John, today is deadline day. The committee is going to have to make some big decisions.

Now, a couple of weeks ago, when the committee first sent out its subpoenas to these folks, it gave them very short deadlines on purpose. It wanted the documents last week, on the 7th. Reportedly, they haven't gotten any or very few of those documents.

And today is the day when Steve Bannon and Kash Patel are supposed to testify. Tomorrow, Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino. If, as we expect, Bannon and Patel do not testify, the committee is going to have to make some important decisions.

Now, here's why these particular witnesses are so important. Adam Schiff told you, John.

BERMAN: There I am, right there.

HONIG: Look how young you look. Two days ago, told you these four witnesses in particular are really in position to know exactly what the president was doing, what the response was like, why we weren't better prepared and the role of the administration in this attack on the U.S. Capitol. These witnesses go right to what was happening in the White House on January 6th.

BERMAN: One of the things that Adam Schiff right there told me right there was that they're ready to do a criminal referral if these guys don't show up. What's that process?

HONIG: Indeed. And the big word that Adam Schiff said to you is this four letter word, we will. "We will refer it to the Justice Department." Not the usual politician hedging. We might. We'll consider all our options.

If they do that, the big decision will come down to Merrick Garland. It's his decision, not the committee's. Adam Schiff, by the way, has been very conspicuously putting pressure

on Merrick Garland, saying, Well, the reason we couldn't get this done last time was because we had Bill Barr, and we had a lousy DOJ. Now we have Merrick Garland. A lot of pressure on him.

Now, if you look at the history, will Merrick Garland charge? On the one hand, yes, it is a federal crime to commit contempt of Congress, punishable by one year, up to one year. A minimum of one month, actually, in prison.

However, if we look at the history, it's been over 50 years since DOJ has criminally charged anyone for this. In the last decade or so, we've seen administrations of both parties get contempt referrals. Barr and Wilbur Ross under the Trump administration. Lois Lerner, Eric Holder under the Obama administration. Both times, all of those times, DOJ said no charges.

So we'll see if Merrick Garland recognizes that we're in new territory here.

BERMAN: So the criminal path is one track. There is also a civil track here. What's that?

HONIG: Absolutely. So they could go into court and try to compel these witnesses to testify and try to compel documents. Now, we're going to have a battle in the courts over executive privilege.

We know from the new letter now, Joe Biden has said, with regard to these disputed documents, I'm not asserting executive privilege. Meaning those documents can go over to the committee. Unless Donald Trump objects -- he has made noises that he will object. But now he's got to go into court.

Now the legal question is, well, who gets to exercise executive privilege? And the weight of the law tells us logically, it will be the current president, Joe Biden. So Donald Trump is going to have a major uphill battle there.

Anything that ends up in the courts, you have to watch the clock. You have to watch the calendar. They're already nine months into this investigation. They've only got about a year and change until we have a new Congress. Could be a Republican House in January 3rd of 2023.

And just for perspective how long this can take, should take, the Don McGahn subpoena dispute took almost two years. That's unacceptable. Now, this was a long time ago. But just for historical perspective, Richard Nixon, from subpoena to Supreme Court, took three months. So our judges need to do better. They need to act more quickly here.


BERMAN: So while this is all going on, we learned that former Justice Department official Jeffrey Clark has received a subpoena and that former acting DOJ attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, actually testified yesterday to the committee. HONIG: Yes. This is really important, because DOJ is an inextricable

part of the bigger picture here. Rosen was the one at DOJ who stood up. He said, No, we're not going in for this bogus election fraud stuff.

Jeffrey Clark, however, remember, tried to get DOJ to send a letter to the state of Georgia saying, quote, "We have identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including Georgia."

That's just not true. That's a fraud. That's false. So that's why Jeffrey Clark has now been subpoenaed by this committee. And one thing that I found so notable, in the letter sending the subpoena to Jeffrey Clark, here's what the January 6th Commission said.

They said they have "credible evidence that you attempted to involve the Department of Justice in efforts to interrupt the peaceful transfer of power." I mean, as a Justice Department alum, that's such an alarming and arguably true alarming statement that this high- ranking DOJ official tried to use the department to interrupt the transfer of power.

BERMAN: All right. Elie Honig, the clock is ticking. We'll know in a few hours what direction this is headed in.

HONIG: We shall see.

BERMAN: Brianna.

KEILAR: You're not helping. That is what a lot of Republicans are thinking this morning, after former president Trump released this statement. Quote, "If we don't solve the presidential election fraud of 2020, Republicans will not be voting in '22 or '24. It is the single most important things for Republicans to do."

Of course there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. President Biden won a free and fair election.

Let's talk about this statement with CNN political analyst and Washington correspondent for "The New York Times," Maggie Haberman.

You know, it's interesting, Maggie, because obviously, Trump is aware of what happened in Georgia, of his possibly depressing the vote there. And yet, here he is again.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Here he is again. And he is saying something that most Republicans, as you say, you know, most Republicans in positions of authority in congressional committees and Senate committees would like him not to be saying.

But, Brianna, they're not saying publicly he's got to stop doing this, for the most part. They're just averting their gazes and hoping this goes away and hoping not to amplify it. And having, basically, the same reaction we have seen Republicans have for six years, which is, you know, what's the harm in humoring him? Or what's the harm in ignoring this? I don't want to go through, you know, short-term pain, because I think it won't be worth it.

When actually, what ends up happening is, Trump just takes that and continues on. And it did have an impact in Georgia, as you note. In the two runoffs for the Senate, his statements about election fraud did impact turnout in those races. The Republicans lost both of those races.

Trump is now setting up a litmus test on something that most Republican relationship would rather not be what the midterms are going to be about. You know, they have a pretty good landscape for next year for a bunch of reasons: one on COVID, one on the economy. This is not something that appeals to general election voters the way it does to Trump supporters.

And the more he continues this, the more it is problematic for his party.

KEILAR: Does this tell you anything new about his prospects for a run for another term?

HABERMAN: It does not. I saw that there was some chatter last night on Twitter that maybe he was saying the quiet part out loud, and this means he's really not running. I don't think that's true, and I think that we have seen him, you know, kind of slip in tweets or in statements repeatedly over the last five, six years, and it didn't really have any impact on what he was doing.

I think he is going to act as if he is running, and I think he is going to leave himself an escape hatch, as he almost always does. You know, in 2015, he had some thoughts about what he would do if his poll numbers went down in the fall of that year, which you know, his folks had candidly expected was going to happen.

This time, he's talked about if I get a bad doctor's note, I won't run. That's his phrase. That meaning it's about his health, because he will be close to 80 years old

But I think what ends up happening, at least last time, is things just kept rolling along in his favor, and he, at least within the party, and he rolled along with it.

So I expect that's going to continue. Could he decide at the last minute he's not running? One hundred percent. But it's going to have a chilling effect on much of the rest of the GOP field, until he says for sure what he's doing.

KEILAR: My colleagues on the Hill, Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona have been tracking down Republicans, especially those who are vulnerable in 2022. Some who are seen as more establishment or more moderate. And they are still rallying around President Trump for a potential bid.

I wonder what you think about that, if that's different in the House versus the Senate. And if that is just what they're saying publicly versus privately.

[06:10:07] HABERMAN: So it's a great question. And in terms of what they're saying publicly versus privately, there are certainly a number of members who are supportive of Trump who will still say privately, as I said before, that they wish that he was saying something different. But that's been, you know, a theme for five years.

It is different in the House, because a number of these districts are set up in such a way that Republicans are going to most likely win, regardless, you know, of who the Democrat is on the other side, you know, barring Trump saying something that becomes very problematic for them or barring a change in the landscape.

The Senate is different. The Senate includes, you know, some states where Trump is not popular and where Trump's comments are going to be more problematic. But I think it's not surprising that you are seeing Republicans publicly, anyway, hitching their wagon to him, because he is still pretty popular with Republicans.

You know, it doesn't mean that all Republicans want to see him run for president again. There is actually some sense of mixed feelings about that among Republican primary voters. But he is still very, very popular with Republicans. And they need Republicans to turn out in order to win their seats again.

So it's not a surprise. He is -- one thing that we saw in 2018 was that, and -- and in other races, he's a good turnout generator for himself among new voters. Remember in 2016 and 2020, he got a bunch of new voters who had not voted before.

He's not a great, you know, turnout generator for people down ballot when he is not on the ballot himself. And so that is, I think, the risk there.

KEILAR: Yes. Indeed not with statements like this one that we just saw him make overnight. Maggie, thank you.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

KEILAR: Is it safe to mix and match coronavirus booster shots? We have the reports of a new study, ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, Republicans now arguing to ban all vaccine mandates. We're talking measles, rubella. How dangerous would this be for public health?

And a brand-new interview between CNN's Sanjay Gupta and the host of one of the most popular podcasts in the country, Joe Rogan.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So would you now, with what you know now and having had COVID, would you have -- would you have wished that you had been vaccinated?


BERMAN: His response ahead.



BERMAN: The FDA's Vaccine Advisory Committee is expected to vote today on whether to recommend boosters doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Moderna is asking for a half dose booster for people who've received two full doses at least six months ago and who work in high-exposure settings, or 65 and older, or are otherwise considered high-risk.

Joining us now, a member of the FDA's Vaccine Advisory Committee and the director of Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Dr. Paul Offit.

Dr. Offit, always a pleasure to speak to you. You're going to be considering booster doses for Johnson & Johnson and Moderna. We've been there for Pfizer already. The panel advised, basically, for people 65 and older, yes. For people younger than 65, don't need it right now. We'll see if that's where this is headed.

I think one of the more interesting discussions that's going to come up, though, is this new research on mixing doses for the boosters. If you've had Johnson & Johnson, getting a booster of Moderna or Pfizer. If you've had Pfizer, getting a booster of Moderna. Talk to us about why this might be advantageous.

DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHOP: Right. And so that's going to be a discussion that happens on Friday afternoon.

And I think why it might be advantageous, there was recently a study published in "The New England Journal of Medicine" looking at people who got the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is actually very similar, in many ways, to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Then they took those people and divided them in half. One half got a second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine. The other half got a dose of mRNA vaccine. It was actually the Moderna vaccine.

And what they found was that the group that got the Moderna vaccine actually had a much higher tighter (ph) of virus-specific neutralizing antibodies and a much broader response against all different kinds of variants.

So there was an advantage to getting the mRNA boost on that AstraZeneca vaccine. So those are the kind of studies you need from which we can make the best recommendations, I think, regarding mixing and matching.

BERMAN: That will be interesting.

And in terms of just the raw booster issue for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson today, what will you be looking at?

OFFIT: Well, we're going to be looking to see whether or not there actually was a clear booster dose response to -- for that third dose, as compared to the response after the second dose.

I think people should be reassured, though, that -- that right now all the evidence is that if you've gotten two doses of an mRNA containing vaccine, it still protects against serious illness, the kind of illness that causes you to seek medical attention, or go to the hospital, or the intensive care unit or worse. It's holding up. It's holding up against the Delta variant. It's holding up for both mRNA vaccines, and it's holding up for all age groups.

So if you've gotten -- if you've gotten two doses of mRNA containing vaccines, you are protected against serious illness. Which is really mediated by immunological memory cells, which are generally very long- lived. So people should be reassured by that.

BERMAN: I want to ask you about something that's happening in society, Dr. Offit, because it does seem as if the vaccine hesitancy or the antivax rhetoric that has sprouted up in regards to COVID is spreading, is spreading to all vaccines.

So you now have Republican congressman of Ohio, Jim Jordan, writing, "Ohio should ban all vaccine mandates." Of course, that would mean the requirements that have existed in schools for generations for things like measles and rubella, vaccines that have been shown to work there. What's the impact of this?

OFFIT: I think it would be tremendous and awful. We've had school entry vaccine mandates since the 1970s. They were borne of outbreaks of measles in places like Los Angeles and Detroit. And they work.

I mean, what we found is that, because of school vaccine mandates, we basically eliminated measles from this country by 2000. We basically eliminated rubella, or German measles, from this country by 2005.


If we roll back those mandates, I think we're going to take a giant step backward in time.

There's probably no better example how vaccine mandates work than the state of Mississippi. I mean, Mississippi probably has one of the lowest, if not the lowest rate of COVID-19 vaccinations. It's sort of in the mid 30 to high 30 percent range.

The answer to the question what state in this union has the highest rate of vaccines for children, and the answer is Mississippi. And the reason is that they have never had in their school mandates a philosophical religious exemption. They're one of only two states that haven't had that. They have a 99 percent vaccine rate for your children. So you can compel by mandates people to do the right thing.

BERMAN: What happens if all of a sudden, in schools in Ohio, they go from -- I don't know what they're at now. I assume they're at 95 percent and higher, in terms of vaccinated children. But what if it were to go down to 75 percent? What happens if there's a measles outbreak in a school like that? OFFIT: So measles is the most contagious of the vaccine-preventable

diseases. It is the sort of canary in the coal mine. So when immunization rates start to drop, measles is always the first disease to come back. And that's what you'll see.

You really need to be in the 90-plus percent range of measles vaccination rates to prevent the spread, because it is so contagious. It's much more contagious than the Delta variant. I mean, the Delta variant has a so-called contagious index of 5. Meaning if I'm infected, I will infect five other susceptible people during my day.

Measles has a contagiousness index of 20. I mean, it is a highly contagious disease. And that's what will happen. It will come back. Again, children will suffer measles.

Before there was a measles vaccine in 1963, every year, there would be about 48 million -- 48,000 children who would be hospitalized by measles. Every year, there would be 500 children who would die from measles. So we get to go back to that time. It's just giant steps backwards. It's really hard to watch.

BERMAN: Dr. Paul Offit, it has to be frustrating for you. You devoted your life to this. I appreciate you being with us this morning.

OFFIT: Thank you.

BERMAN: We have a brand-new interview with Kyrie Irving. Why he says he would rather be benched than get vaccinated.

KEILAR: Plus, gas prices surging across the country. When should we expect some relief at the pump?



KEILAR: I know it seems like we are paying more for everything during the pandemic. And one of the biggest pains is at the gas pump. It will cost, on average, an extra $16 to fill your tank. So what is going on with this?

Let's talk to CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich. She is live for us at a gas station in New York City.

I almost did a double take the other day, driving by the gas station and seeing that it was no longer those lower prices that I've been enjoying.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. We are seeing over $4 a gallon in some states. Right behind me here in New York City, $4.15 a gallon. We haven't seen that in so long.

And we're not even at the peak yet, which means Americans can likely expect to pay even more at the pump.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) YURKEVICH (voice-over): From coast to coast, there's a consensus.

(on camera): What do you think of the price that you're seeing right there on the pump?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's getting pretty high.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gas is bad. Prices are really high.

YURKEVICH: The price of gas per gallon the highest in seven years, topping $4 in some states.

The price of crude oil, the largest driver of gas prices, went negative last year. And now over $80 a barrel this week. And it may only get worse

ROBERT SINCLAIR JR., SENIOR MANAGER, AAA PUBLIC AFFAIRS: We haven't peaked this year yet. We're seeing the highest price of the year right now.

YURKEVICH (on camera): We're not at the peak. What does that mean for you?

GARY CHRISTIANSON, TRAVELING: Well, that means I might travel closer to home.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Gary Christianson stopping for gas in New Jersey while on a road trip to Maine.

CHRISTIANSEN: This is another 50 cents higher than what I paid for in Virginia.

YURKEVICH: He says it's only gotten more expensive as he makes his way north.

(on camera): Do you remember a time in history when gas prices were this high?

CHRISTIANSEN: Oh, I remember Jimmy Carter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have to close earlier than usual.

CHRISTIANSEN: Jimmy Carter, you were waiting, even odd days, going in, trying to get gas.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): That was in the 1970ss, when an Arab oil embargo and conflict in Iran led to a shortage of oil, doubling the price of gas from under 50 cents a gallon to over $1 in just a few short years.

In 2008, global demand for gas and supply change concerns sent prices to a record.

And in 2014, more global unrest in the Middle East sparked another gas shortage, sending prices sky-high.

SINCLAIR: We're in a very different place. There's plenty of gasoline, plenty of product. You just can't get to it.

YURKEVICH: That's because OPEC, the biggest oil producing nations, aren't increasing the amount of oil they release into the economy. So as demand rebounds in the U.S., Americans are paying about $16 more to fill up their tanks than a year ago.

LEAH LAUBACH, LOS ANGELES DRIVER: It's getting kind of ridiculous. Because people are still trying to get back to work. It's like all of a sudden, now I have to pay more for gas just to get to work.

YURKEVICH: California leads the way, with the highest gas in the country. With rates in Washington, D.C., Kentucky and Indiana up as high as 17 cents a gallon in just the last week. The pain at the pump is very real.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like do you want to eat steak or do you want to fill up your tank?


YURKEVICH: And that simple choice between paying a little bit more for food or gas is exactly why President Biden has said he is making addressing these high gas prices a priority.

But, Brianna, there's very little he can do except to release more oil from our nation's oil reserve. The administration says it doesn't plan to do that. So until --