Return to Transcripts main page

New Day

January 6th Panel Votes to Hold Bannon in Contempt; Biden Lowers Spending Bill Price in Effort to Lure Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ); CNN Reports, FDA to Recommend Boosters for People as Young as 40. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired October 20, 2021 - 07:00   ET



JAKE BERMAN, JEWISH FORMER STUDENT WHO'S SPEAKING OUT AGAINST DISTRICT'S HOLOCAUST REMARKS: But, ultimately, I think that from all accounts, she's a very capable administrator and she was put in a really difficult situation.

And so I think the fact that the school district came out and said that there aren't two sides was obviously the right move. But it really calls to attention in my opinion to the larger issue here that she was put in that situation, that the teachers were put in that situation and that I felt the need to sort of speak out that, you know, this is possible for students to endure today of not just, you know, anti-Semitic bullying but obviously on the race, religion, creed, gender identity, whatever that may be.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Your issue is with the law. The idea that someone could interpret this law as meaning that there could possibly be an opposing view to the Holocaust worth teaching.

JAKE BERMAN: Yes, that's exactly correct. You know, I think that she was trying to do her job. And she stepped in a huge pile of mud. And from all the other testimony that was there the night at the school board, again, she seems like an incredibly capable and even exemplary administrator who I haven't met. But it was pretty compelling the number of people that backed her.

And for somebody that is apparently that good at their job to be put in that position and step in a pile of mud, you wonder what happens throughout the rest of the state with administrators that aren't that capable. And for situations trying to be whitewashed in the state, I think, in a state. And I think I wanted to draw attention, if this can happen to somebody like me, what is happening to somebody that is trying to be -- whose history is trying to be sort of overwritten in a revisionist way.

JOHN BERMAN: Jake Berman, I appreciate this. Sorry for what happened you back at school. Sorry you had to hear this take place in Texas. But we appreciate you speaking out.

JAKE BERMAN: Thank you so much.

JOHN BERMAN: New Day continues right now. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. It is Wednesday, October 20th. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

So, Steve Bannon was directed to comply with a lawful subpoena. Instead, he chose to defy lawmakers. And that is why the House committee investigating the January 6th insurrection is recommending that Bannon be charged with criminal contempt.


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.


JOHN BERMAN: This is just some of what Bannon said on his radio show the day before the Capitol riot.


STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL ADVISER: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. Just understand this. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.

It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen, okay. It's going to be quite extraordinarily different. And all I can say is strap in. The war room, a posse, you have made this happen. And tomorrow, it's game day. So, strap in.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Donald Trump is determined to hamstring the committee by blocking the National Archives from turning over documents next month. Those documents may reveal Trump's actions around the insurrection. And the former president's legal team is asking for an injunction in the hearing within 21 days to keep them under wraps.

Joining me now is Whitney Wild, CNN Law Enforcement Correspondent, and Peter Strzok, former FBI Deputy Assistant Director and former Chief of the FBI's Counterespionage Section.

Let's talk first about the big headline here, what Liz Cheney said. Tell us about these serious allegations.

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, what she's basically saying is if you have got nothing to hide, why are you fighting so hard? And it's comments like what we just heard from Steve Bannon that have put him at the very center of this. In fact, it was that quote that was cited in their report to try to move forward on this citation for contempt of Congress, this criminal citation.

And so what the committee knows, or thinks they know at least, is that Steve Bannon has communications with President Trump over a very critical time leading up to this riot. And they want to know exactly what those comments were. And, again, Liz Cheney making a point that if neither one of them has anything to hide, if the records are clean, then why are they both fighting so hard to actually cough up this information that the committee thinks is critical.

KEILAR: What do you think, Peter, about what she is alleging?

PETER STRZOK, FORMER FBI DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, I think these are extraordinarily serious allegations. The fact of the matter is the comments by Bannon point to some foreknowledge of what happened on January 6th, that this was not some spontaneous event where people on their own decide in a spur of moment to storm the Capitol.


When you listen to those comments by Bannon and when you see some of the other information that's coming out of the January 6th committee, it clearly points to a higher level knowledge or indicating that there might be some foreknowledge of what actually occurred later. And that points to a much larger potential conspiracy and coordination in advance of what actually occurred.

KEILAR: Is there another way to read his comments? Is he vague enough there's another way?

STRZOK: No, not in my opinion, no. And it's absolutely clear that what he is talking about is not just a protest but a protest with a point, a protest with an intended goal of exactly what we saw on January 6th, that is people storming Congress to interrupt the certification of the presidential election.

KEILAR: Whitney, can you tell us about Trump, the Trump team's request for an injunction here?

WILD: Well, the Trump team is basically trying to look at the calendar and figure out how they can squeeze the president out of this requirement to hand over documents. And so the National Archives have previously said, if a court doesn't intervene, they are going to hand over these records that Trump is fighting to keep secret by November 12th. So, now, the Trump team is trying to speed up the calendar going to the judge to get a recommendation basically that it favors them not to have to give up the documents.

So, right now, this is, you know, another -- really, another point in the calendar which is driving how much information actually comes out of the committee. So, the key dates here, they basically want a ruling in the next 21 days, which would presumably be prior to that November 12th date when the National Archives say, if the court doesn't tell us no, we're giving it over.

KEILAR: Is this referral, Peter, for contempt charges for Bannon moves to the DOJ, what do you think the DOJ is going to do? STRZOK: I think that's a great question. So, DOJ has a very difficult decision on its plate. The fact of the matter is there are a lot of new and complicated legal issues that come along with this referral assuming it's voted out on Thursday. First and foremost is whether or not a former president can assert privilege. There is some similar former opinion out of the Department of Justice that he can. I expect this is going to be the beginning of a lot of litigation not only on the part of President Trump but also on the part of Bannon. And, of course, their goal is not necessarily to win. Their goal is to delay this long enough so that if Congress does flip or otherwise change their focus, that they can run out the clock and not have to produce either Bannon as a witness or any documents from it

KEILAR: Can they run out the clock?

STRZOK: I think so, unfortunately. I think that we will quickly see that there are any number of things that they are going to -- even assuming DOJ decides to investigate and prosecute this, which is not a certainty. I think you're going to see a lot of legal hurdles and obstacles that are going to really slow down the process.

KEILAR: Peter, Whitney, thank you so much to both of you.

STRZOK: Thanks.

JOHN BERMAN: Potentially major developments in the efforts to pass a huge social spending plan that could change the lives of millions of workers, elderly, children in the country. We have learned that President Biden is discussing a $1.75 to $1.9 trillion price tag. That's a big reduction from the $3.5 trillion originally proposed or most recently proposed, I should say.

And now we also know where some of the proposed cuts could come from. Two years of free community college, that's something President Biden ran on, that could be out. A proposal for paid family leave could be cut from 12 weeks to 4 weeks. The child tax credit, which exists now, could now be means tested going forward and only extended one year, and funding for home care reduced by $150 billion.

Joining me now, CNN Political Director and the host of the CNN Political Briefing podcast, David Chalian. David, I know that, for instance, on community college, Joe Biden ran on that. That was a proposal that Candidate Biden pushed hard. What does this tell you?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And early on, John. I mean, two years ago he was all over the country touting this proposal. And you'll remember some of the more liberal Democrats that he was running against in that race, they were proposing a much more robust, free four-year public university education. Biden was like, no, this is what we should do. I promise you I'm going to deliver two free years of community college. And now that is going to be a promise unfulfilled. According to all the reports, Biden is conceding that.

So, this is a huge concession here, and why I think it shows you a couple things. One, campaigning is very different than governing. And I think we learned that again and again as do occupants of the Oval Office. That's first and foremost. But also it's deal making time. This is now a president who feels the urgency of getting this done now. And there have been months of conversation, months of intraparty battling over this, and this Joe Biden, I think, clearly saying, this is how we're going to get to yes and be done with this and get this money and investment out to the American people.

JOHN BERMAN: That last point I find really interesting, David. I woke up to the specifics this morning. I was frankly surprised because they have been at this for a long time. And we haven't heard this type of specificity about where the savings would come from. And now, all of a sudden, the president is -- in the White House is getting pretty specific about this.


CHALIAN: Yes. And, remember, we're getting this now after a series of meetings. I don't mean just yesterday's meetings. I mean, over the last several weeks, we have gotten lots of reports of Biden meeting with Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema, meeting with House progressives. He has now done a few cycles of this. So, clearly, the list was building where Biden could see the potential for a deal.

And I agree with you. I think some of these things are just enormous gives here in many ways. I mean, we don't yet know how the climate provisions are going to work out. But the child care tax credit, let's just think about that for one second, John. You see there on the screen, it says from 12 weeks down to 4 weeks. Now -- sorry, that's paid family leave. The child tax credit getting extended only for a year, John.

Here's the thing. If you have listened to the vice president, or the president or the speaker over the last six months, they have touted the child care tax credit as the most successful thing that they have done to slash childhood poverty in half.

Now, the program is only going to get extended as is for a year in this deal. So, that is taking what they think are their biggest accomplishments and not extending it very far into the life of the future of the country. I just think these are pretty significant and it shows you in the evenly divided Congress that Joe Biden is dealing with in a 50/50 Senate, how much power Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema actually have here.

JOHN BERMAN: Yes. And the child (INAUDIBLE), I'm wondering if their political maneuvering is to force Congress to take another vote on it a year from now and then accuse people of taking it away, that's curious in and of itself.

Who is the pressure now on, David? I was sitting here yesterday with Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman, two very progressive members of the House of Representatives, and they were warning the White House and more moderates don't leave us with, quote, crumbs, they say here. But then Ro Khanna this morning and Pramila Jayapal, other progressives, seem to be open to some of the suggestions that Joe Biden was making. I'm wondering where they have to apply more pressure. CHALIAN: It's a good question. John. I do think when you step back and look at $1.9 trillion in the American rescue plan, $1.2 trillion in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that will get through as a part of this, and then let's say they end up at, I don't know, $1.9 trillion here at the end of the day in this build back better program. You're talking about $5 trillion of investment into the American economy this year.

So, the investment is unprecedented. And I think that's going to be the argument that the White House and congressional leaders make to the progressives who may not love that it had to get pared back here. But the reality is there are no votes for a more robust program. So, this is the moment. And every Democrat from across the spectrum understands that their political success and their policy success rests on getting these bills through.

JOHN BERMAN: I got to let you go, David. This week, we think movement this week?

CHALIAN: Yes. I think everyone is suggesting we're going to see some kind of a framework by the end of this week. The president clearly has said he wants to go overseas touting some success on the climate issue.

JOHN BERMAN: Well, good news there , we get to talk to you again later this week. David Chalian, thank you very much.


KEILAR: A new CNN exclusive, President Joe Biden taking questions from the American people. Our Anderson Cooper will be moderating a CNN presidential town hall with Joe Biden. And that begins tomorrow night at 8:00.

JOHN BERMAN: Coronavirus boosters could be available for people as young as 40. What we are now learning from the FDA.

Plus --


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: I just want to be straight with you. I think you're crazy.


JOHN BERMAN: CNN's Drew Griffin telling off an anti-vax doctor who took an oath to do no harm. The eye-rolling outrageous claims he is spreading about the COVID vaccine.

KEILAR: And CNN's John King sharing a secret with the world and a message for vaccine critics about how they are endangering other people. He'll join us live.



KEILAR: New this morning, CNN has learned booster shots could soon be recommended for people as young as 40 who received either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine.

And joining us now to talk more about this is CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, it is great to see you this morning. What can you tell us about this likely recommendation?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, where things stand now, and we have been talking about boosters for some time, is that they have been recommended for people in certain groups, people over the age of 65. You heard that people who are 18 and older, who have high risk for severe disease, and people who are at risk for high exposures. The high risk category, by the way, is a very large group of people, Brianna, as you know. I mean, it could be 150, 160 million that fall into the second group there.

But what they are seeing now -- let me show you sort of what's been going on with people who are developing severe illness who are -- based on their vaccination status. What you see, the blue line there, the unvaccinated. That is still the biggest part of the story. The unvaccinated are far and away more likely to develop severe disease. But that green line at the bottom, who are those people that are vaccinated and still developing severe disease. They are primarily over the age of 65 or have these preexisting conditions.

But what they're starting to see increasingly is there are people between the ages 40 and 59 who are also developing severe disease, who have been vaccinated. It could be that they are increasingly further out from their first shots and this is just evidence of the vaccine waning.


But these are signals. Again, you can see the disparity here, Brianna. Still, this is much more the story of the unvaccinated. But this is likely to come up, the idea of sort of expanding the eligibility of boosters. We'll see what happens over the next couple of days, but it is a possibility.

KEILAR: Yes. I almost said, what green line, because it tracks so closely along the bottom there. I mean, we do really need to be clear here, Sanjay, even with that slight uptick. It is so rare that vaccinated people die of COVID.

GUPTA: Yes. No, that is absolutely true. I mean, we're talking about boosters, talking about providing even more protection to people who already have good protection. But let me show you, Brianna, because this comes up again and again. Crunch the numbers here. We have about 188 million people or so that are fully vaccinated. 7,100 have died due to breakthrough infection -- breakthrough cases, and the vast majority of them, as we've just talked about, over the age of 65. So, that's the data.

And I think it's really important because I've talked to so many people who say, look, what do the vaccines really do? What do they really accomplish? Well, you just saw what they really accomplish. They dramatically reduce your risk of getting sick or dying.

KEILAR: Do you want to be on the green line or do you want to be on the blue line? You want to be on the green one for sure looking at that. Sanjay, thank you.

Coming up, a CNN exclusive interview with a top doctor spreading who is disinformation about COVID-19.



GRIFFIN: That is not true.

You are raising doubt about a vaccine --

BUTTAR: I hope I am because I hope more people take heed of the warning that is necessary.

GRIFFIN: And if you are wrong and they die?


KEILAR: His outrageous answer, next.

JOHN BERMAN: And race playing a central role in the murder trial of the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery. His father on concerns of a fair trial.



JOHN BERMAN: It's bad enough to hear politicians spread disinformation about COVID and life-saving vaccines, but coming from doctors is both frightening and dangerous.

You're about to hear from one doctor who makes outrageous statements about COVID and vaccines that are just wrong. And while the vast majority realizes this, too many people believe the lies.

CNN's Drew Griffin joins me now. Drew, this stuff is just breathtaking.

GRIFFIN: Yes. And as you mentioned, these are the worst type of COVID disinformers, John. They are using medical credentials to discredit science and facts all for their politics or their profits.


GRIFFIN (voice over): Dr. Rashid Buttara, at one time, had more than a million followers and is considered one of the top spreaders of disinformation about COVID-19. BUTTAR: More people are dying from the COVID vaccine than from COVID.

GRIFFIN: That is not true, neither is his tweet that the Red Cross won't accept blood from people who have had the COVID-19 vaccine. He posted, most who took the COVID vaccines will be dead by 2025.

But his biggest whopper is the overarching conspiracy theory that COVID was a planned operation, which was politically motivated as part of a secret global plot to depopulate the Earth

GRIFFIN: Do you believe the pandemic was planned?


GRIFFIN: Okay. But you don't know by whom?

BUTTAR: I have no idea.

GRIFFIN: And you don't know why?

BUTTAR: Well, I suspect there's the research that's coming now that would indicate that it's probably something to reduce the population or minimize reproduction rates.

GRIFFIN: It would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous. Buttar compares COVID and vaccine to World War II and Dr. Anthony Fauci to Adolf Hitler.

BUTTAR: Fauci is a criminal when you talk about Hitler. Okay.

GRIFFIN: Whoever Dr. Fauci is in your mind, he is a government bureaucrat and you are comparing him to Hitler, to Nazis.


GRIFFIN: Who killed 6 million Jews.

BUTTAR: I think this number is going to be higher.

GRIFFIN: Do you think Dr. Fauci is involved in some kind of plot to kill millions of people? I just want to make sure I understand this.

BUTTAR: Again, Drew, I'm a reasonably person. You're asking me what I think, and I said it could be this. But I can tell you that Dr. Fauci is not an innocent by stander. He is very well aware of what he's doing. And the extent of it and his involvement, I don't know, I'm not privy to that information.

GRIFFIN: As atrocious as Dr. Buttar's fake conclusions and conspiracy theories are, he is just one of the doctors spreading dangerous COVID disinformation to millions of people across social media, according to the Center for Countering Digital Hate.

IMRAN AHMED, CENTER FOR COUNTERING DIGITAL HATE: Let's be absolutely clear, lies cost lives in a pandemic. If you're encouraging people not to vaccinate, you will cause people to lose their lives. GRIFFIN: Buttar is encouraging people to distrust life-saving vaccines. And Llke other disinformers, he is using false, twisted information and unproven conspiracies to do it.

Do you think the COVID vaccine works?

BUTTAR: I think it is very effective at what it was designed for perhaps but it's not preventing death, certainly not

GRIFFIN: It's not preventing death?


GRIFFIN: Even faced with undisputable facts, Buttar doubles down on his belief that life-saving vaccines are more dangerous than the virus itself.

BUTTAR: People don't die from COVID. You can go and see the data. So, why are we getting a vaccine that causes more deaths than the problem itself?


GRIFFIN: 6.34 billion doses of this vaccine have been given. If you're right, people would be dropping dead all around us.