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Biden Meets with Pope; SEC Investigating Sen. Richard Burr; Cuomo Charged with Sexual Misconduct; Packers Beat Cardinals. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired October 29, 2021 - 06:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: So, should have been a fact check



AVLON: They said, well, we can't publish this as an op-ed. Let's publish this as a letters to the editor and then not comment on it.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The fact that this is all happening in broad daylight. It's happening in broad daylight. Tucker Carlson is putting that out in broad daylight. Rupert Murdoch is letting it happen and wants it to happen. Right before our very eyes, a rewriting of history here. This is dangerous. We know historically how dangerous this is. And it's just happening before our eyes.

AVLON: And everyone particularly in positions of power who enables it or rationalizes it or excuses it is 100 percent complicit.

BERMAN: John Avlon, thank you very much.

Happening now, two of the world's most notable Catholics are meeting inside the Vatican. Two of the world's most powerful people. President Biden face-to-face with the pope.

Chris Cuomo joins us live from Rome. The third most powerful person in the world, Chris Cuomo, in Rome this morning.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You know, John, you guys are talking about things that are obvious and what's going to be done about it. That is a theme that's going to carry into what's happening right here, right behind us here in Vatican City.

You see St. Peter's Basilica. You see a gathering crowd of people because this was a big moment. The United States president made some show when he showed up here. There were dozens and dozens of vehicles. Interestingly, the president and first lady were in one of the first ones. You know, their vehicles, they call them the beast, those huge Cadillacs or whatever they are. A couple of them came. The president came out, obviously excited. Now, that's not the pope. That is the regent, the man who overseas all

of the main buildings within the Vatican. This, of course, a lot of pomp and circumstance here. So the first lady and the president met him and then met the seniority, the men who are in high positions here at the Vatican. And then they go inside and they meet with el papa, Pope Francis.

Now, interestingly, there had been a little bit of misdirection. We thought we were going to get to see this meeting. And that would have been unusual, right, because the Vatican, the holy sea, despite its name, usually you don't get to see that much. But we thought this was going to be different. No, it's going to be as it usually is. You'll get some clips afterwards and some kind of reckonings from both sides of what it meant.

But it will mean a lot. And here's why. On a political level, and, yes, you do have to talk about the papacy in terms of politics. And this pope especially want to have a political footprint. These are men who are strained with their objectives. Pope Francis has division within his ranks. Joe Biden, as president of the United States, we're seeing playing out at home, the Democrats, divided ranks, absolutely. It's not a good argument. It's not a robust debate. This is a problem that they have, and he has to fix it because he's at the top of the party.

And then they have what joins them both, not just being Catholic, but concerns about the world, about the extension of loving mercy and suffrage. And that's what I think you're going to hear coming out of this meeting, John and Brianna is, the pope and the Vatican and the president and the White House talking about what brought them together and the universality of purpose and helping the human condition in climate and in poverty.

BERMAN: Yes, talking about kindness, talking about charity, which, you know, it's always important. And it's nice to see a focus on that.

Chris Cuomo, stand by there. We will come back to you soon.

Republican Senator Richard Burr under investigation for insider trading. What the SEC says his brother-in-law did just seconds after speaking with the senator.



BERMAN: All right, we do have breaking news.

We are hearing for the first time from the armorer who was working during the deadly incident on Alec Baldwin's film set "Rust." Attorneys for Hannah Gutierrez write in a statement that has just been released, quote, safety is Hannah's number one priority on set. Ultimately, this set would never have been compromised if live ammo were not introduced. Hannah has no idea where the live rounds came from. The whole production set became unsafe due to various factors, including lack of safety meetings. Not the fault of Hannah. So the statement comes amid allegations that Gutierrez had mishandled

weapons on a previous project.

KEILAR: Now, 20 months after being launched, an insider trader investigation involving Senator Richard Burr and his brother-in-law remains open. Both men allegedly sold large quantities of stock after the lawmaker attended a classified briefing on the emerging pandemic.

Evan Perez is in Washington with the latest on this.

Evan, tell us what we know so far.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, this takes us back -- these are new documents that were just unsealed from the Securities and Exchange Commission, and they take us back to February of 2020, right at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. And this is about a week before the stock market crashed as a result of the emerging pandemic.

And Richard Burr, we learned from these new documents, we learned that Richard Burr, then the top senator on the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold $1.65 million in stock. Again, this is on February 13th.

What we're also learning from these documents is that he calls, according to the SEC, he calls his brother-in-law, Gerald Fauth, who the next minute places a call to his broker. In the end, Fauth and his broker sell about -- between $97,000 and $280,000 in stock. According to the SEC, they're investigating whether Burr sold stock based on material non-public information.


And there's a law called The Stock Act which makes it illegal for senators and Congress -- members of Congress to sell stock based on insider information. And according to the SEC, that's what they're looking at. They know that, obviously, Burr was, you know, as you said, privy to information from classified briefings, both in the Intelligence Committee, as well as in the Health Care Committee.

So this is now an investigation that is still ongoing. According to the SEC, they're trying to get -- they're trying to get enforcement of a subpoena of Fauth to get more information about these stock trades, Brianna.

KEILAR: And DOJ also investigated this, right, Evan?

PEREZ: Yes, that's what's unusual. So, the Justice Department was investigating this in -- alongside the SEC. And that investigation, the Justice Department investigation, closed just days before the change of administrations, so just before Joe Biden takes office.

And, you know, from covering theses type -- these types of investigations, it's unusual. Usually you have both the SEC and the Justice Department wrap up their investigations at the same time. It's not clear why that -- this case is still ongoing. We know, Brianna, that there is a hearing on Friday. Again, the SEC is trying the get enforcement of their subpoena on Gerald Fauth. They say he's been dodging that subpoena.

I should mention that Burr and his side -- has -- his side has said that he traded stocks based on public information, not anything that he received from his position in Congress.

KEILAR: All right, Evan, thank you so much for that report.

Coming up, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo accused of sexual misconduct in a criminal complaint now. His legal battle, ahead.

BERMAN: Plus, happening now, President Biden and Pope Francis talking about an array of issues as his domestic agenda back home, the president's, hangs in the balance. This meeting going on as we speak. We have live coverage from Rome.



KEILAR: New this morning, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo facing a criminal complaint for allegedly forcibly touching a woman's breast at the governor's mansion last year. And this is coming after he resigned from his post after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment.

CNN's MJ Lee is joining us now on this.

What do we know about this new complaint, MJ.

MJ LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna, this criminal complaint alleging a sex crime has now been filed against the former New York governor. It details an incident that allegedly took place in December of 2020 inside the governor's mansion. The complaint says that Andrew Cuomo forcibly placed his hand under the victim's blouse and touched her breast. The victim's name is redacted in the complaint which was filed by the Albany Sheriff's Office yesterday.

But, interestingly, the DA's office saying in response that it was surprised to see the filing, this sort of seeming lack of coordination seems noteworthy given that it is now up to the DA to decide whether to pursue this charge.

And as you'll all remember, multiple women accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. Their complaints were detailed in an AG investigation that led to Cuomo's eventual resignation. And he has repeatedly denied the sexual misconduct charges. And last night we heard Cuomo's lawyer saying again that Cuomo has never assaulted anyone and he also questioned -- the lawyer questioned the Albany sheriff's motives.

And just in terms of what's next, Cuomo has been summoned to appear in court on November 17th. So that's a date that we're looking out for.

KEILAR: All right, we'll be watching that.

MJ, thank you so much for the latest.

LEE: Thanks.

BERMAN: All right, joining us now, CNN's senior legal analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Elie Honig.

Elie, first let's talk about the charge here and the possible penalties at play.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So the charge, as MJ said, is forcible touching. That means when a person touches another person without content either for the toucher's sexual gratification or in order to degrade or humiliate the other person. Arguably both of those could apply here based on the facts as we know.

Now, this is a misdemeanor. There's felonies, which are the more serious crimes. There's misdemeanors, which are the less serious crimes. But within the world of misdemeanors, this is the most serious misdemeanor. It's an a-level misdemeanor.

And what's most important about that, first of all, is the maximum penalty is one year in prison. But also, because it's a class a misdemeanor, the former governor is entitled to a jury trial here. So that's where this could, could end up.

BERMAN: All right, it's very unusual how this went down, that it happened through the sheriff's office, through the police, not the DA. A statement from the DA is worth reading here because it shows you how unusual they think it is. Like the rest of the public, we were surprised to learn today that a criminal complaint was filed in Albany City Court by the Albany County Sheriff's Office against Andrew Cuomo.

HONIG: Yes, this is really an unusual situation. An often overlooked feature of our criminal justice system is that police officers, and that includes sheriffs, have the authority to start a criminal case on their own. And that's what happened here.

Now, most of the time we like to think police officers sit down and consult with prosecutors. And you should do that if you have time. When police start cases on their own, it's because they don't have time, something's happening on an emergency basis. Here, a, they had all the time in the world to meet with the prosecutor. B, everybody knows this is a high-profile case. So it looks like what happened here is the sheriff went out on their own, the sheriff's office, without consulting with the DA. That put the DA in a really difficult position because, ultimately, this case only proceeds if the DA signs off on it.

BERMAN: All right, Elie, Brianna and Evan Perez were just talking about Richard Burr and the SEC investigation into possible insider training.


What's the difference between an SEC investigation and a criminal investigation, which the DOJ dropped before, and could this, once again, cause that to reopen?

HONIG: Yes. So an SEC is civil, meaning nobody goes to jail off an SEC case. The penalty really is just going to be financial. Of course, a criminal case, much bigger stakes, hyper burden of proof.

But this is really important. The fact that DOJ closed down its investigation, not a charge, an investigation, of Richard Burr does not mean it can't come back to life. There's nothing magical or binding about closing an investigation.

When I was at DOJ, if I closed an investigation, I'd call up the office manager. He'd come up with a hand cart. He'd take away the files and the boxes. But if I found something new, new information, I'd call him back up. He'd get the hand cart and he'd bring the boxes right back up. So that can happen.

BERMAN: But it would take an affirmative decision --


BERMAN: From an attorney general and a Justice Department that doesn't seem to like to court political controversy.

HONIG: Exactly. Right. Merrick Garland would have to come in and essentially reverse the decision made by the prior administration.

I think the key -- the only real way to justify it is going to be if they come up with some significant, new information that they didn't know before.

BERMAN: Elie Honig, great to see you. Thanks for helping us understand this.

HONIG: Thanks, John. All right.

BERMAN: So, Facebook just got a face lift.


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: To reflect who we are and what we hope to build, I am proud to announce that starting today our company is now Meta.


BERMAN: All right, this actually -- this actually happened. This was a real thing.

KEILAR: That's real.

BERMAN: What does it even mean? Why is it happening? And how will the rebranding work?

KEILAR: Plus, right now, President Biden is meeting with Pope Francis in Rome. We'll have our live coverage ahead.



BERMAN: The Packers hold on to beat the Cardinals, leaving the NFL with no unbeaten teams.

Coy, I fell asleep with my iPad watching this game and woke up to find out that it was a crazy finish.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I couldn't fall asleep, John. About three hours of sleep.

But, look, traveling across country on a short week without rest, their defensive coordinator, their top three wide receivers out due to COVID and injury issues. This is the most impressive win of the season.

Aaron Rodgers needed some other guys to step up. How about 31-year-old long trusted target Randall Cobb. Just three catches for 15 yards, but two in for touchdowns. Now Rodgers's face, John, became an instant meme after this. This is the face of a legend right here, illegally blasted to the turf, hanging tough, touchdown. Touchdown, baby. Awesome game.

Down to the wire. Cardinal down three with a chance for the win but Murray's pass is intercepted in the end zone. Rasul Douglas wasn't even on the Packers' roster until about 22 days ago, signed off the practice squad from the Cardinals. He waves bye-bye. The Packers win their seventh in a row. 24-21. Murray can't believe it. His receiver, A.J. Green, never even turned for the ball. And the only remaining undefeated team in the league goes down.

And, John, World Series shifts to Atlanta for tonight's game three. First pitch just after 8:00 Eastern. There is some rain in the forecast. Nothing going to dampen the spirits of these fans. First World Series here in Atlanta since 1999. It will be a good one against the Astros.

BERMAN: Hope you have fun there. All right, Coy, thanks so much.

WIRE: You got it.

KEILAR: It's a name changer, but will it be a game changer?


MARK ZUCKERBERG, CEO, FACEBOOK: I am proud to announce that starting today our company is now Meta. Our mission remains the same. It's still about bringing people together.


KEILAR: Or is it just a lame changer. That was Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg announcing his company is changing its corporate name to Meta. And, of course, this comes after just this huge wave of negative press about failures for combat hate speech and misinformation on this social media platform. Zuckerberg says that his company is refocusing on the metaverse.

CNN's Christine Romans is here to explain.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It feels a lot like, look over here, folks. Look over here. Facebook papers? What Facebook papers? Mark Zuckerberg wants you to look over to the virtual future he sees for his company, a rebrand from Facebook, a name, of course, now synonymous with an algorithm that spreads disinformation and anger and critics say threatens democracy, to Meta, for metaverse. It's an augmented reality world that Zuckerberg imagines as the next iteration of the Facebook experience.

Zuckerberg calls it a set of -- you can see it there -- a set of virtual spaces. What? Imagine your avatar going to a concert with your best friend who is there in person. That's one of those potential virtual spaces.

Now, if Zuckerberg thought that that dystopian product announcement would distract from Facebook's real world image problem, well, then he is already living in augmented reality. He says Facebook is just one of the company's products. It, quote, doesn't encompass everything we do.

You know, Google did this. It changed its parent name to Alphabet, putting the search engine under a bigger umbrella. But Zuckerberg's move drew comparisons, instead, to Philip Morris, the tobacco giant, which changed its name to Altria.

December 1st, Facebook's ticker symbol will change from FB to MVRS. The company will be known as Meta Platforms Inc. But the problems are still there. They are the same. And social media, which Zuckerberg invented, was unsparing in its mocking of the Facebook chief for this move.


ROMANS: Probably beta not meta.

KEILAR: Right.

ROMANS: That's what --

KEILAR: OK, Berman was up watching a game and I was up watching Twitter go crazy.

ROMANS: I know. Donie O'Sullivan had some really insightfully, funny tweets.

KEILAR: I know. It's --

ROMANS: So, I would encourage you to head off into the unreal world of social media (INAUDIBLE).


BERMAN: I don't even know how to handle it. There's nothing that I can say. There's no joke that that can be made that wasn't made better on social media in the last 24 hours.

ROMANS: Do you think it was successful, though, in distracting from the real serious conversation about.