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Cheney Lays Out Possibility Trump & Bannon Plotted Capitol Attack; Biden Floats $1.9T Spending Price Tag for Deal; All 21 Passengers Survive Fiery Plane Crash after Takeoff. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired October 20, 2021 - 06:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman, and it is Wednesday, October 20.


Breaking overnight: Donald Trump's legal team asking for an injunction and a hearing within 21 days in a last-ditch effort to block the National Archives from releasing documents to the January 6th Committee. Unless a federal judge intervenes here, those documents about Trump's actions around the insurrection will be turned over on November 12.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So the House committee voted unanimously for charging former Trump aide Steve Bannon with criminal contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena.

And more than that, Republican Liz Cheney, in the strongest terms she has used yet, raised the possibility that both Bannon and Trump were in on planning January 6th. And as for Bannon, she said the committee has uncovered evidence.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): 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'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.


BERMAN: As for Steve Bannon, you may recall he said this the day before the Capitol riot.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER DONALD TRUMP SENIOR ADVISOR: 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. OK? It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in. The war room, a posse. You have made this happen. And tomorrow it's game day. So strap in.


BERMAN: Tomorrow it's game day, so strap in. A vote on contempt is expected in the full House tomorrow. If the recommendation to charge Bannon is approved, then Attorney General Merrick Garland will have to decide whether to prosecute him.

Joining me now is CNN political analyst and Washington correspondent at "The New York Times," Maggie Haberman. Good morning, Maggie.

I want to start with what Liz Cheney said --


BERMAN: -- about Steve Bannon. That evidence that the committee has uncovered indicates that he certainly had knowledge, she said, of the insurrection plans before January 6th and likely, she says, was involved in the planning. How significant is that?

HABERMAN: It's certainly a significant statement, John. It's hard to assess what's behind it without knowing what the evidence is. But it's a big deal that a member or this committee is making this statement and making it so forcefully.

It's coming at a time, obviously, when they are trying to add weight to their argument as to why they should have access to records and why Bannon should be held in contempt for defying this congressional subpoena that he is refusing to comply with.

So it's hard to -- it's hard to separate these things out. I think that they are related. But look, they have been investigating, you know, for a while now. They clearly have amassed some information. We'll see what it looks like when it comes out.

BERMAN: And based on the public record already and things that Steve Bannon has said out loud --


BERMAN: -- we know he was talking about this stuff. What's your reporting on what he was doing in the days at the end of December and beginning of January or how close he was to the president, for instance?

HABERMAN: We know that he was speaking to the president, right? And we certainly know that he had a pardon at the very end of the Trump White House tenure. Bannon and Trump spoke the day of that pardon. In between, I believe that there were other phone calls. But there were also intermediaries who were close to both who were having conversations.

You know, Bannon was very clear, as you note, on his podcast, on his show, that you know, this is going to be different than people think on January 6th. It's not dissimilar from Trump doing a tweet that says -- said something like it's going to be wild, you know, the rally that they were planning.

So look, we've seen this over and over again over the last five years. Right? Which is that Trump or some people around Trump say these things. And then when people press them on what exactly did that mean or this looks as if this was, you know, some tie-in to what actually happened on January 6th, they say, No, no, no. Or, Why would you think that? And you know, it's not surprising that people are looking at their own words.

BERMAN: There's another interesting legal reason why Liz Cheney may have tied in the executive privilege claim from the president to this, as you and I both know because of our vast legal training.

You know, executive privilege doesn't cover potentially illegal actions. If you're doing something that is outside the purview of either the law or your presidential responsibilities, it doesn't cover that. So what she may be saying there is that all these claims of executive privilege, there's nowhere near an application to what was going on there.

To that end, Maggie, this --


BERMAN: Go ahead.

HABERMAN: Right. No, no, no. I think that's a very good point.

BERMAN: And that has to do, I think, with the injunction that has now been filed or the request for an injunction filed by the Trump legal team to stop the National Archives from releasing these documents, which they will do by November 12. What are we seeing here from the Trump team?


HABERMAN: So the Trump team is filing a lawsuit, which as you know, John, we have seen the Trump team do over and over and over, over the last five to six years. It's not a surprise. That is certainly Donald Trump's go-to.

In this case, what people around him say to me is, look, there is little established law on what exactly is covered by executive privilege for former presidents. That is true. There is not a ton of, you know -- there is not a ton of established law on that matter. So they are basically attempting to try to create new law, or at least create new determinations.

They may lose. They realize they may lose. But that is what they're trying to do.

Whether it portends, you know, a deeper meaning about what is in these documents, whether there's actually incriminating evidence that they don't want to have out there, I can't speak to that. I haven't seen it. You haven't seen it. But certainly, they right now are trying to keep the committee from having access to documents that could show something, one way or the other.

BERMAN: Finally, Merrick Garland, the attorney general of the United States, has a key decision to make. Once Congress votes, as we expect they will, to refer criminal contempt charges to the Justice Department on Steve Bannon for defying a subpoena, it's up to Merrick Garland to decide whether to pursue these charges.

So what kind of pressure do you think he feels?

HABERMAN: Look, I think you saw President Biden say the other day that he believes that people who were involved in -- you know, who are not complying with subpoenas who are involved in this inquiry should be prosecuted. And then the White House clarified later that he's not trying to pressure Garland. But Garland certainly heard that.

I think Garland is also hearing what a lot of Democrats, most notably Congressman Adam Schiff, is saying pretty loudly, which is that he thinks that this ought to be prosecuted and gone forward with.

Schiff was very adamant this week to Yahoo! News that he is disappointed that the Biden Department of Justice is not going further, at least as far as we can see. Maybe they are and there's stuff we're not aware of. But on the surface, they do not appear to be moving ahead on Trump probes. Schiff made clear he's very upset about that.

So I think that Garland is hearing all of this. But to your point, he has a choice he has to make on a matter on which people have not been prosecuted in decades.

Now Democrats have said over and over again what happened on January 6th should set a new bar, because it was so terrible. And so we'll see if Garland goes along with that.

BERMAN: Maggie Haberman, always a joy to see you early in the morning. Thanks so much for being with us.

HABERMAN: Thank you, John.

KEILAR: So also breaking overnight, President Biden prepared to make major concessions to get a sweeping social spending bill over the finish line, one that would define his legacy.

The president telling Democratic lawmakers he is ready to drop the price tag by about $1 trillion, maybe more, and remove key priorities like tuition-free community college and pare down things like paid family leave.

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty, live for us on Capitol Hill. How is it shaking out, Sunlen?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, things, Brianna, are very fluid at the moment, but the contours of a deal are likely coming together. Now notably, many of the Democrats' top priorities are going to have to be cut or scaled down significantly in order to bridge this divide that has existed between moderates and progressives within the party.

Now, sources telling CNN free community college, that was a major White House priority. That will likely be dropped. Climate change provisions, they are still being worked out. But right now, the sense is those will have to be significantly scaled back.

And the child tax credit -- this is a major Democratic priority -- now will likely be extended for only an additional year, much shorter than many Democrats wanted. And it will also be means tested. That was a specific ask by Senator Joe Manchin.

Funding for home -- home and elderly and disabled people will likely be reduced, as well.

Now, sources telling CNN that President Biden is really zeroing in on a new price tag: $1.75 to 1.9 trillion. That is notable. That is much decreased than the $3.5 trillion initial price tag he had wanted and more in line with what Senator Joe Manchin wanted, as well.

Up on the Capitol Hill, Brianna, there certainly is a renewed sense of urgency. Democrats really wanting to get a deal this week. House Democrats will be caucusing up here on Capitol Hill in just a few hours. Certainly, a key moment to get a temperature on how these new details, Brianna, are being received.

KEILAR: All right. Sunlen, thank you so much for that update. As you said, there are still details to be worked out, but these are the contours of an agreement here. Thank you.

Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California is with us now. He is the deputy whip of the House Progressive Caucus.

OK. So much closer to an agreement this morning, for sure, than we saw in the last couple days. Do you think we'll see a vote next week? By next week?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Brianna, I'm optimistic. When we met with the president yesterday, he emphasized that he wants to get this done before going to Glasgow. He needs this for our leadership to tackle climate change. I think that message got through to members of Congress.


KEILAR: So $1.75 to $1.9 trillion, down from $3.5 trillion. Is that enough?

KHANNA: Well, obviously, the House progressives would want more. But let's look at what is in this.

It's the first time ever we're going to have universal preschool. Every American kid is going to get to go to preschool. We're going to have child care. We're going to have elder care. We're going to have vision, dental, hearing. So the exact details are still being worked out. I believe that

Senator Sanders, Senator Manchin are meeting. If Senator Sanders signs off on something, I think the progressives will follow.

KEILAR: A number of those things you mentioned will be pared down. Free community college is out. You did not mention that. But that's out.

Paid family leave cut down to four weeks from the 12 weeks that you wanted in this -- these contours of an agreement here. As you mentioned, universal pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds in. You wanted that. Climate change provision still up in the air.

Are you settling? Are you progressives settling on this, essentially, being a kids and climate bill?

KHANNA: No. I mean, the seniors are in there with dental, vision, and hearing.

And this is transformative in making an investment on children in education and making an investment on health. It's something that we haven't done.

And so yes, would we want 12 weeks of paid leave? Absolutely. But is it good that our country is finally saying we need paid family leave? Again, the details will be worked out. I don't think anything has been decided.

But progressives understand we have to compromise to get 50 votes -- 51 votes. That's the reality.

KEILAR: Let's talk about women. Because when you're looking at four weeks of paid leave in the context of maternity leave, instead of 12 weeks, that is a woman going back to work less than a month after having a baby. So a tiny newborn at home.

Better than nothing, I'm sure you would say. But is that really delivering for poor and middle-class women who have really borne the brunt of this pandemic?

KHANNA: I think you're right: four weeks is not enough. And we, as a progressive caucus, are pushing for more weeks. In fact, what we have said is even if we can't do it for as many years, let's set the precedent at 12 weeks. Let's certainly do it more than four weeks.

And that's why there's an ongoing negotiation. I don't think four weeks has been settled. We understand, though, that we have to compromise to get something done. And right now, we have no paid family leave. And that reality is something that progressives understand.

KEILAR: And the child tax credit, right? So if you're seeing that being pared down, it's not going to be extended beyond an extra year, how is that not, you know, parents and particularly women, really paying the price of these cuts here? KHANNA: Well, first of all, there was no child tax credit extension

before President Biden came. Now, we -- with the Democrats in Congress, have said 300 bucks a month for people with kids, most working-class and middle-class families are getting that. We extend that at least through 2022. And then we'd extend it again. I mean, I want 10 years.

But the question is, how much can we extend it? And I think the president and many people feel once we extend this, the Republicans won't be able to take it away.

But one of the questions we have to ask is why is there not a single Republican in the Senate or the House willing to help American families and vote for something like a child tax credit?

KEILAR: You don't need Republicans.

KHANNA: Well, it would be nice. You know, there used to be Republicans who were for Social Security, for Medicare.

KEILAR: Of course.

KHANNA: I mean, who is -- How can you be pro-family and not for the child tax credit? So we're in a reality where we don't have a single Republican vote. We're going to extend it, but we -- we expect that, once people have it, it will be hard for Republicans to repeal it.

KEILAR: Theoretically, if you were to get to Republican votes, you would need to win over Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin first. Right?

And you've heard on climate, which is so important to progressives like yourself, on climate change provisions, Joe Manchin is adamantly opposed to the carbon tax. That appears to be a red line for him. So in that case, what do you need to preserve here, realistically, that you can get Joe Manchin to sign onto that is going to deliver, that it is really going to be something you can genuinely say, Hey, this is a big step towards staving off environmental calamity?

KHANNA: Brianna, the first part that's in the bill is over 300 billion of tax credits for solar and wind. That is important.

But what we need to do is make sure that we reduce emissions by 50 percent in 2030. That is the president's commitment. We need more. If he doesn't want the clean energy program, we need alternatives.

I believe -- I have a good relationship with Senator Manchin. I've been to Beckley, West Virginia. I believe we need to say 100,000 new Green jobs are going to be in West Virginia. West Virginia is going to become the pilot for these new jobs.

His concern is mining families. He doesn't want then to have a handout. He wants them to have new jobs and opportunities. He doesn't want them all in California. And we have to convince him that his state will benefit.

KEILAR: So when you're looking $3.5 trillion down to 1.7 trillion or 1.9, much closer to that Joe Manchin number of 1.5 trillion, did progressives make a calculation, in the end, that something is better than nothing?


KHANNA: Progressives said, this is one of the most transformative agendas of investment in health and education. And it's less than 1 percent of our GDP. It's not a big number.

Finally, this country is saying let's invest in the working class, let's invest in the middle class, not in the very wealthy. And the progressives say this is progress. We can build on this.

KEILAR: It seemed, obviously, this is a move from where progressives were, where they were very entrenched, and they were very clear here in recent weeks that this actual price tag wasn't going to be enough for them. That they didn't feel like they could do enough with this and that they felt like Joe Manchin wasn't giving enough.

Has this changed? It seems, in a way, that progressives have said, actually, we're going to manage that number. It is better to have something.

KHANNA: Brianna, I can't speak for all progressives. I can speak for myself and many others who said that President Biden, this is his agenda, and we want him to make a fair compromise and a fair proposal. And we want to make sure that Senator Sanders is on board with it. And if that happens, we'll get on board with it. That's what we're working towards.

Senator Sanders is still negotiating. So we're still pushing to make sure progressive priorities are there. And I think getting his support is going to be critical.

KEILAR: He's close?

KHANNA: He's -- he's committed to getting something done. I mean, he has been a very loyal soldier for this administration, because he understands what's at stake. He wants to make sure we deliver as a party.

But he also cares about his priorities. And I think for the progressives, having his support is going to be critical.

KEILAR: All right. Congressman, thank you so much for getting up early and talking to us about this incredibly piece of legislation.

KHANNA: Brianna, it's great to be back in studio. Thanks for having me.

KEILAR: It sure is, isn't it?

A CNN exclusive. President Joe Biden taking questions from the American people on this very topic of what we've been discussing here. Anderson Cooper will moderate a CNN presidential town hall with Joe Biden. That begins tomorrow night at 8. And coming up, a miracle survival story near Houston, where this plane

crashed during takeoff. How did all 21 people on board make it out alive?

BERMAN: A new report that the FDA is gearing up to lower the age recommendation for coronavirus booster shots. In other words, boosters for younger adults.

And Charles Barkley sounding off about Kyrie Irving and his refusal to get vaccinated.


CHARLES BARKLEY, NBA HALL OF FAMER/SPORTS BROADCASTER: You don't get vaccinated just for yourself.




BERMAN: A remarkable sight I want to show you right now. A plane, this plane, carrying 21 people on board, erupted in flames after striking a fence during takeoff at Houston Executive Airport in Waller County, Texas.

All passengers and crew managed to exit the plane safely, with only two suffering minor injuries. Look at that.

The plane was headed to Boston for game four of the American League championship series between the Astros and the Red Sox. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are now investigating this crash.

Joining me now is CNN aviation analyst Justin Green.

Justin, we're just looking at that picture, that remarkable picture of not much of a plane left. How is it that everyone was able to survive?

JUSTIN GREEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, I don't like using the term "miracle," because accidents on takeoff, accidents on landing are very often survivable.

In my practice, I've -- I've represented dozens of people, passengers and aircrew, who have survived airplane crashes. And I think the takeaway is pay attention to the flight attendants. Know where the exit door is.

And if there is an accident, it may happen on takeoff. And be ready to follow the instructions, get off the airplane.

BERMAN: Survivable on takeoff, more likely, because what, the velocity isn't as high? And the impact?

GREEN: It's really -- it's really the forces, the energy. So most airplane crashes, the people die from blunt force trauma. So they've never had a chance.

When you have a landing accident like the Asiana 214 accident in San Francisco, a takeoff accident like this, the -- the forces are not so great, and survivability is a verry high likelihood.

You know, the post-crash fire is what we're seeing. And -- and I think what you have to say is, well, how did they get off, all those people get off so quickly? There may be a heroic flight attendant in this -- in this accident.

BERMAN: The post-crash fire here. Again on takeoff, a plane is still fuel of fuel.

GREEN: Yes. That's the biggest issue. On takeoff, the airplane is heavy. It's full of fuel. It's going slow. It's near the ground. All of those factors raise the possibility of a takeoff accident.

BERMAN: On takeoff. The key is to get out quickly, listen to the flight attendants who, hopefully, their training will guide them.

One of the things that's interesting about this particular accident is the plane went about 500 feet on the runway before this all happened. What questions do you have about this?

GREEN: Well, I mean, first of all, the runway itself is over a mile long --

BERMAN: Right.

GREEN: -- down here. So they had plenty of runway. Generally, you know, 500 feet doesn't seem that much. I'm not sure -- I haven't really gone and measured what -- you know, how far they went down the runway before they tried to take off.

But the key is pilots on takeoff, they're always ready to abort the takeoff. They get to a point of V1 speed, what's basically decision -- decision speed. They have to go or don't go. And after that point, unless the airplane is unflyable or unsafe, the pilots are going to take off.

So a problem late in a takeoff roll that doesn't really threaten the safety of the flight is not going to cause a pilot to abort.

So the big question is, is you know, did they abort too late? Were they not aggressive enough in how they did the abort? Those are the big questions to the NTSB.


And one thing I say is the NTSB is going to find this out real quick. Because there's cockpit voice recorder. There's a flight data recorder. And you've got two live pilots.


GREEN: So it's going to -- it's going to come out real quick. BERMAN: Finally, as a passenger, just things you should be aware of

when you get on a plane that increase your likelihood of survival.

GREEN: Yes. I think -- the takeaway I think everyone should know is airplane crashes can be survivable, especially on takeoff, especially on landing. So pay attention to where you're sitting. Pay attention to what you're wearing. Have sensible shoes on. Know where the -- know where the exit is. It might be behind you. And -- and pay attention to the flight crew.

BERMAN: And sometimes you have to think about even the clothes you're wearing. Wear stuff that, you know, isn't flammable.

GREEN: That's right. That's right.

BERMAN: Justin, always great to see you.


BERMAN: Thanks so much for coming in. Nice to see you in person.

GREEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: So if you're as young as 40, you could soon be eligible for a coronavirus booster shot. Brand-new CNN reporting.

Plus, we have breaking news about the queen's health. Why she suddenly canceled a trip.