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Republicans Trying to Hide Information on January 6th; Fiona Hill is Interviewed about the Climate Summit; Supreme Court Takes up Abortion Ban. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 01, 2021 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And don't forget to download the "Five Things" podcast every morning. Go to You can also find it wherever you get your podcasts.

So what's the president trying to hid from January 6th investigators. We now have a list and it's quite revealing.

John Avlon with a "Reality Check."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Rewriting history is something usually associated with communists and confederates, but we're witnessing an attempt to rewrite history around January 6th in real time.

Now, sometimes it's blatant, even beyond Trump's chronic lies, like Tucker Carlson's Fox Nation docs suggesting it was all a false flag operation, or Trumpite congressmen pretending the attackers were tourists and then calling them political prisoners, or this jackassery (ph).



BILL MAHER, HOST, "REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER": Did Trump win or lose the election?


MAHER: Well, there you go, because the world does.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because here's the problem, if you --


AVLON: Yes, but sometimes the rewriting of history comes in more subtle forms, like the talking point that it's time to turn the page, parroted by Mike Pence, who the mob wanted to murder, or Mitch McConnell's decision to kill the initial January 6 commission, or the 200 Republicans who voted to save Steve Bannon from a contempt charge because, according to one member, they were afraid of the wacko birds in the base, or Glenn Youngkin's playbook in Virginia, sidestepping the big lie by admitting that Biden won only after his own primary was in the bag, and even then declining to say whether he would have certified the election.

Right now inside the GOP there seem to be two primary ways of dealing with Trump's attempted coup, disinformation and downplay. Neither is acceptable because every day we get more information about why this fight over the facts matter so much.

A court filing this weekend suggests that Trump's trying to block approximately 750 pages of records from being released. Now these include White House records and phone logs around January 6th, as well as speech drafts, emails, and talking points around his attempt to overturn the election.

Now, first, administration records belong to the American people, not the ex-president. Second, the fact that he's trying to stop their release has little to do with executive privilege and everything to do with trying to hide evidence. Trump knows that the truth will not set him free because the new details that do emerge paint a damning picture. Read Sunday's massive "Washington Post" investigation which provides new evidence that the attack was not spontaneous but spurred by Trump's lies, provoking extremist supports to plot a violent attack on the Capitol with online threats that were far earlier and far more extensive.

This was a coup attempt based on a lie spread by the ex-president and there's nothing more serious. And the vast majority of Republicans who have rolled over to enable the big lie are complicit because there's no middle ground here, you either care about democracy or you don't. But attempts to muddy the waters may be unwittingly aided by the Biden Justice Department's tepid charges to date (INAUDIBLE) the 650 or so people arrested. Now, that was the message sent by Judge Beryl Howell in a blistering statement from the bench late last week where she accused the DOJ of sending mudded and schizophrenia messages about the attack. Quote, no wonder parts of the public in the U.S. are confused about whether what happened on January 6th at the Capitol was simply a petty offense of trespassing with some disorderliness or shocking criminal conduct that represented a grave threat to our democratic norms. Let me make my view clear, the judge said, the rioters were not mere protesters.

The judge is right on this one, treason must be made odious, as Andrew Johnson said during the Civil War. And the charges must fit the crime, not trespassing and obstruction of congressional proceedings, but at least in some cases a conspiracy to commit insurrection. There must be truth before there can be reconciliation, solidified by the passage of laws like reform of the Electoral Count Act to make sure that nothing like this plot can ever be pursued again.

Rewriting history to protect the guilty was a civic sin, so is enabling that rewriting to occur out of fear and greed in pursuit of short term political gain. And that's what we're seeing play out right now. The fever of the big lie will break only when Republicans realize that it is a deal with the devil that leads to political defeat.

And that's your "Reality Check." BERMAN: Yes, rewriting history is one of the biggest symptoms of totalitarianism. It's something that should alarm everybody.

AVLON: That's right.

BERMAN: John Avlon, thank you very much.

AVLON: Thank you.

BERMAN: Some New York City fire companies shut down, the companies, not the firehouses, but the companies have been shut down over staff shortages. What will happen later today when a vaccine mandate goes into effect?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, Southwest Airlines is investigating a pilot for what he said over the intercom about President Biden.



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Underway right now, the opening ceremony for the United Nation's climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. We saw President Biden arrive just moments ago. Noticeably absent from this global event, though, is the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Putin also did not attend the G-20 summit in Rome over the weekend.

Joining us now to discuss is Fiona Hill. She's the former top Russia adviser for President Trump, and the author of the new book "There is Nothing for You Here."

Fiona, thanks so much for joining us.

As you know, Putin skipping trips to the G-20 in Rome, now the climate summit in Glasgow. What's this calculation for sitting all this out?

FIONA HILL, FORMER TOP RUSSIA ADVISER FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, I think the biggest calculation, Wolf, is the pandemic, because if Putin leaves right now, it's sending a very bad signal at home. Russia actually has its highest infection and mortality rates from the coronavirus, highest than any other point in the last couple of years. So this is really quite a test for him on the home front. So I think there was no choice really about, you know, whether he stayed or came to Glasgow. But, of course, in his absence, there's going to be a lot of scrutiny on what might Russia do on the climate change agenda.

BLITZER: President Biden says it's disappointing that Russia and China, for that matter, aren't showing up with climate commitments.


How much can world leaders actually accomplish, Fiona, in Glasgow without their specific participation?

HILL: Look, I think it can do a lot in terms of tone. They need to find some kind of inspirational message here. This can't be just yet another high level leaders meeting, you know, all bureaucracy and process and, you know, people talking to each other about grand plans. They have to strike a chord. You know, we've already heard from people like Greta Thunberg, you know, who's at the head of a youth movement, you know, that kids, the next generation, you know, President Biden's grandchildren's generation are extraordinarily worried about what's happening. We've even heard an older generation, the queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, who can't be there in person today, caught, you know, kind of off guard on an open mic basically saying how frustrated she is with all the politicians just talking and not doing anything. So we're getting messages all -- from all sides here, show us you can do something.

So I think what President Biden's going to have to do is find that inspirational tone, dig deep and, you know, get some momentum there that China and then Russia will have to respond to.

BLITZER: We'll be hearing from President Biden very soon. Opening remarks at this summit.

The president is showing up, as you know, Fiona, without a finalized deal on his economic and climate plan back in Washington. How do world leaders view the dysfunction of American politics, what we've seen in recent weeks?

HILL: Well, unfortunately, look, that's a very big black mark for us here and it does undercut Biden's ability to mobilize everyone else because the United States has always shown leadership on these issues. The rest of the world is well aware that during, you know, the previous administration there was a complete denial about the climate change and a refusal really to do very much about it. They're extraordinary worried about the midterms here in 2022 and then again about the presidential election in 2024. Wondering if any momentum that Biden gets on the global stage is going to be undercut here back in the United States.

So I do think, again, when he's trying to get this inspirational message for collective action globally, he's going to have to make some commitments. He and secretary -- former Secretary Kerry, who's in charge of the whole -- of the climate change agenda are going to have to show that they can deliver something in the United States because it's not just setting a rhetorical tone but it's also setting a policy tone, what are we going to do concretely here in the United States as a populous as well, not just a set of politicians.

BLITZER: Fiona Hill, as usual, thank you very much for joining us. Appreciate it very, very much.

Brianna, back to you.

HILL: Thank you so much, Wolf.

KEILAR: Wolf, thank you.

The Trump lawyer who laid out the plan to overthrow the election makes a stunning admission. The damning new audio ahead. BERMAN: And could Justice Brett Kavanaugh be the deciding vote on abortion rights in America? The monumental case heads to the Supreme Court today.



BERMAN: Minutes from now the Supreme Court will convene to hear oral arguments on the controversial Texas law that effectively bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Joining me now, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, they're going to hear arguments -- two, frankly, separate arguments on the Texas abortion case, which is interesting because they let this stand for the time being, just about six weeks ago. So, what's going on here?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, you know, what's going on here is somewhat of a mystery because the court is acting out of character in the way they have handled this case. First of all, they made this very important decision on the merits, letting the -- letting the law go into effect with just a two-paragraph opinion. But then deciding to hear a challenge to the law in lightning fast speed by the Supreme Court standards.

I mean I don't want to get too much into the weeds here, but usually when the Supreme Court agrees to hear a case, they grant certiorari, agree to hear it, and then weeks or months later hear the actual argument. Here, they took -- granted certiorari and set the argument just a week later, which suggests that they realize the magnitude of the case they're dealing with.

BERMAN: "The New York Times," in their writing of this, said, maybe there was a justice who had, if not a change of heart, felt like he or she needed to hear more about this right away and that person could be Brett Kavanaugh.

TOOBIN: It certainly could be and that could have happened. I don't know that it did happen.

If you look at the voting patterns of the justices and the history of the justices, it certainly looks like there are four justices who want to overturn Roe v. Wade. Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito have said so explicitly. Neil Gorsuch has all but said so. Amy Barrett, her entire history suggests she would vote that way.

Brett Kavanaugh has been very careful not to express an opinion. Susan Collins, the senator, who voted for him from Maine, she said, he believes in precedent. I believe he will not overturn Roe v. Wade.

He did allow this Texas law to go -- he voted to allow this Texas law to go into effect, which suggests a hostility to abortion rights. He seems like the only hope for Roe v. Wade to survive at this point. BERMAN: Whatever happens with Texas today, there's a Mississippi case,

which is actually a pretty straightforward challenge to Roe.

TOOBIN: Exactly. What makes today's argument a little weird is that it is mostly, it seems, about the procedural aspect of who has the right to challenge the law, not about the law itself. When they hear the Mississippi case, which is a 15-week abortion ban, that's a straight- up challenge to the law. That will be heard December 5th -- December 1st, and that will really decide the fate of Roe v. Wade, even if the Texas case doesn't.

BERMAN: Where can we watch this -- the arguments on TV today?

TOOBIN: Are you listening? Nowhere because there are no cameras in the Supreme Court.

However, there is live video. You can go to, which is, I know, it's not satisfactory to you and to me, but it's certainly better than it used to be where you couldn't listen to live audio at all.

BERMAN: It's only an historic decision. You know, the American people should get to see it.

Do I have time to ask him about John Eastman, guys?


All right, so, John Eastman, who was the guy who wrote the blueprint for how Mike Pence could overturn the election on January 6th that Mike Pence did not follow on January 6th, he is the president's lawyer or at the center of a lot of what happened on the insurrection. He gave an interview to Steve Bannon on January 2nd, OK, four days before the insurrection, that's pretty revealing.

So, let's listen.


STEVE BANNON: Is there a way, an alternative way, that you see the power through this using either the Electoral Control Act or some decision that made that the vice president of the United States grows a spine and understands his constitutional duty as you interpret it, Mr. Eastman?

JOHN EASTMAN: Those slates of electors are invalid. And I think if the vice president, as presiding over the joint session, would at least agree that because those ongoing contests have not been resolved, we can't count those electors.


BERMAN: What do you think of that?

TOOBIN: Well, it's just so shameful. You know, he -- he, in recent weeks, has gone back, Eastman has said, well, I wasn't saying the election should be overturned. He couldn't have been clearer than in that interview with Steve Bannon, that he was saying that the vice president should have now certified the vote and what he said in that statement was a lie. I mean there was no contest about those electors. Those electors had been awarded by the states. And, again, it just shows how close we came to a constitutional crisis the likes of which this country has never seen if his argument had prevailed with Vice President Pence.

BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much.

TOOBIN: All righty, Berman.

BERMAN: Brianna.

KEILAR: And here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 9:30 a.m. ET, Biden addresses Climate Summit.

10:00 a.m. ET, SCOTUS hears Texas abortion case.

1:30 p.m. ET, VP Harris speaks in New York.


BERMAN: It is a sad, sad day for Red Sox Nation as we say good-bye to a Boston legend.



KEILAR: A tick-borne illness ended one fighter pilots career, but it didn't stop her from helping others in today's "The Human Factor."


COL. NICOLE MALACHOWSKI, U.S. Air Force (RET.): My name's Nicole Malachowski. I spent 21 years in the United States Air Force as an officer and a fighter pilot.

I was selected to be the first woman Thunderbird pilot in the fall of 2005. I got bit by a tick and overnight I went from being this very healthy, high-performing fighter pilot to someone who was completely broken.

I found myself bedridden 22 to 23 hours a day. For nine months I struggled to walk, talk, read and write.

They diagnosed me with late stage neurological tick-borne illness.

So I was medically retired from the military and I remember thinking to myself, what am I going to do?

I had an opportunity as an outgoing fullbird colonel to make things better for airmen who are dealing with complex and chronic illness.

Guess who took the stage? This gal.

I could still lead people in a different way a professional speaker and now to give voice to the voiceless as a patient advocate.

I also serve on the congressional directed medical research program tick-borne disease's research panel. We currently don't understand what the scientific mechanism is for why we stay sick. Twenty-percent of people who get lime disease never fully recover. And I'm one of those people.

I need to respect them with the honor and the dignity and the respect that they deserve.


BERMAN: So, finally, hearts are heavy throughout Red Sox Nation this morning following the loss of beloved Red Sox broadcaster and former star second baseman Jerry Remy. He died this weekend after a long battle with lung cancer. It's his voice that we hear in our heads whenever we think about our team, and it's his joy that brought us so much joy for more than 30 years.


JERRY REMY: They played hard all season long. They played the game the way it's supposed to be played. And this is the result, a nice, new parade today.

When I was a kid, we were used to losing every year. Now we win every year.


BERMAN: He was born in Fall River, grew up in Somerset, Massachusetts, began his career with the California Angels but was traded back to Boston to play in 1977. Imagine how great that must have been for him.

He had to leave the booth earlier this season for his latest cancer battle. But, last month, Remy made an emotional return to Fenway, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the American League Wildcard Game. He threw it to Dennis Eckersley, his former teammate and one of his partners in the broadcast booth. Jerry Remy was 68 years old.

KEILAR: I'm so glad he had that moment, you know, to share with Boston, and that they had it to share with him as well.

BERMAN: He was just so good at what he did. He was smart and explained the game to all the fans, and he had the joy and enthusiasm from growing up as a Masshole, and I use that term with the greatest love. In 1967 -- he won the pennant in '67. And then 10 years later, he's playing for the team. Imagine what a thrill that must have been for him.


KEILAR: Must have been. Going back home.

BERMAN: All right, a lot going on with the president in Scotland for a key climate summit.

CNN's coverage continues right now.