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January 6th Committee Focused on Coup Plot with New Subpoenas; Family of Man Who Died During Concert Seeks Justice; Lone Survivor Says He Thought Rittenhouse was Active Shooter. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired November 09, 2021 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: With Brianna Keilar.
And the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection now targeting six top members of Trump's re-election campaign with a new round of subpoenas. They include Campaign Manager Bill Stepien, former Senior Campaign Adviser Jason Miller, National Executive Assistant Angela McCallum and former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who attended campaign meetings and worked with Rudy Giuliani.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Now, also subpoenaed is John Eastman, who is the lawyer that crafted that six-point plan of Trump's for having Vice President Pence overturn the election, and helped whip up the crowd into a frenzy ahead of the Capitol riot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN EASTMAN, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: And all we are demanding of Vice President Pence is this afternoon at 1:00 he let the legislatures of the state look into this so we get to the bottom of it, and the American people know whether we have control of the direction of our government or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Finally, there's former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who floated invoking martial law after the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER TO TRUMP: If he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: The big question is how far will the committee go to enforce these subpoenas if, like others, Steve Bannon, in particular, will not comply?
BERMAN: Joining me now, CNN Senior Legal Analyst and former federal prosecutor, state and federal prosecutor, he's done it all, Elie Honig is her with me now. Walk me through these new subpoenas.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, John. Some big names, some controversial names in this new batch of six people who have received subpoenas. First of all, Michael Flynn, yes, that Michael Flynn. He was one of the biggest proponents of the big lie, and he was part of one of the craziest meetings of this whole thing in December 2020 when he met in the Oval Office with Donald Trump and others. They talked about seizing election machines, imposing martial law.
Speaking of crazy theories, John Eastman, the attorney who wrote out a memo explaining how, in his view, his wrong view, but his view, the vice president, Mike Pence, could throw the election by simply deciding not to take certain electoral votes.
Bernard Kerik, former NYPD commissioner, he was behind that secret war room meeting at the Willard Hotel. He was part of the Stop the Steal messaging, and then three former Trump campaign officials, Bill Stepien, Jason Miller, and Angela McCallum, all were part of spreading the big lie and reaching out to state legislators to try to get them on board with throwing this election.
What unites all six of these people, according to Representative Bennie Thompson, the committee chair, he said, quote, in the days before the January 6th attack, the former president's closest allies and advisers drove a campaign of misinformation about the election and planned ways to stop the count of Electoral College votes.
BERMAN: Now, the recipients of subpoenas, how likely is the committee to ever hear from them?
HONIG: Well, I do think we're going to see some variation, John. For example, Bill Stepien is a career political operative. I think there is a decent chance they hear from him. But Michael Flynn, I mean, no way. All six of these people have worked for Donald Trump, have loyalty to Donald Trump. Two of them, Flynn and Bernard Kerik, were pardoned from federal crimes by Trump. If they do not comply, then the question is going to be what does the committee. Do they hold them in contempt, they send them over to DOJ for potential prosecution?
BERMAN: And what's the status of those pending decisions about Steve Bannon?
HONIG: Lots of balls in the air here for the committee. Steve Bannon has been held in contempt by Congress, then sent his case over to DOJ. It's now been almost three weeks that Merrick Garland has had the case, no decision yet on whether to prosecute.
We have also got Jeffrey Clark now, who came in last week on Friday, said he was going to testify and then stonewalled with no legitimate justification. The committee has the same decision to make now about Jeffrey Clark. Are they going to hold him in contempt send him over to DOJ, his former employer, for potential prosecution?
We have also got these three, Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino and Kash Patel, who were in that first batch of subpoenas. Now, they've reportedly being engaging and negotiating with the committee, but we're going on six weeks now since they got their subpoenas. So, the committee is going to have to make a yes or no decision on these guys.
And then we know the committee subpoenaed the National Archives seeking documents. Donald Trump filed a lawsuit trying to block that subpoena. There was arguments last week. We could get a ruling from the judge really any day now.
BERMAN: We have to look get a ruling from the judge. And I'm looking at the calendar, yes, by November 12th, the next three days, we have to hear from them.
Just very quickly, who have they spoken with?
HONIG: Yes. So, Representative Cheney has told us that they've spoken with over 150 people. We heard, of course, public testimony from four police officers who defended the Capitol that day. The committee has spoken with certain former DOJ officials, Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donoghue. And we know the committee has spoken with at least five former Trump White House officials, including Alyssa Farah.
BERMAN: All right. I want to ask about a separate issue completely here which has some quasi-legal significant here, which is that Congressman Paul Gosar yesterday tweeted out what AOC calls a fantasy video of him killing her. It's this anime video where he superimposed his face and her face, where he kills her.
And then also in this video, a similar thing, he apparently brandishes swords at Joe Biden.
First, just the legal consequence here.
HONIG: Yes. First of all, it goes without saying this is unbelievably dangerous and irresponsible. Now, Paul Gosar is going to get a visit from the Secret Service, there's no question about that. The other thing to keep in mind, the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, gives the House of Representatives and the Senate the power to expel, kick out its own members by a two-thirds vote. Now, that is very, very rarely done, but you have to ask, if not now when? I mean, what person at what company in the United States, public or private, would not get fired for doing something like that?
So, Congress has that constitutional power. We'll see whether there's any will to exercise it.
BERMAN: Yes. A lot of that is on the Republican leadership, what they choose to do with Paul Gosar. So far, as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez notes, Kevin McCarthy has done nothing but stand behind Gosar.
All right, Elie Honig, thank you.
HONIG: Thank you very much.
KEILAR: The family of a Texas man who died during the deadly crowd surge at the Astroworld concert in Houston is seeking justice for their beloved brother and son. 27-year-old Danish Baig died while protecting his fiancee, Olivia, from getting trampled by the crowd. Baig was at Friday night's concert with his fiancee, as well as his younger brother, Basil, who witnessed the horrific scene while Travis Scott was performing on stage.
And with me now are Baig's brothers, both Basil and Ammar, as well as their father, Mujahed (ph). I just want to make sure that I'm saying that correctly. Gentlemen, I want -- Mujahed. Okay. I apologize for that. I want to thank you. I want to thank all of you for being with us. I am so sorry. I am so sorry, Basil, for what you have lost. I'm very sorry, Ammar.
Can you tell us, Ammar, just a little bit about your brother as you are remembering him after this?
MIRZA AMMAR BAIG, BROTHER DIED AT ASTROWORLD CONCERT: I just want to start off by taking a quick five seconds just to --
A. BAIG: -- remember my brother, all the people that lost their lives, all the people that were injured. So, if everyone could just take five seconds and just pray with me real quick in their minds, please.
My brother, Danish, he means the world to us. And now he is not here no longer with us. He's not here with us, and we're just here to ask for prayers for my brother, Danish. We want all the prayers, not just for my brother but all the people that lost their lives, all the people that are injured, children that are in hospitals that are injured. And we wanted the families of this horrific event that happened to know that we're there with them. We're here by their sides. And we want to unite with them and let them know they're not alone, because we lost a loved one. We lost our brother.
And it's really hard for us to be here right now at such short notice, but we put -- we're doing this for our brother, Danish, and to spread the word. We don't want anything like this to ever happen to anyone else. We just want everybody to remember our brother as strong, handsome, beautiful person he is.
BASIL BAIG, BROTHER DIED AT ASTROWORLD CONCERT: We want you guys to know we're grieving with all the families that were involved in this incident. It is a very crucial time for all of us. We need to stay together, stay united and bring eyes to this event and all these horrendous things that occurred.
KEILAR: Basil, you were there. And I think what has become so clear from the accounts of people who were there is how this didn't need to happen. And that there were some signs that things were going in a very bad direction. Can you tell us what it was like?
B. BAIG: Absolutely. I just felt traumatized. I was hurt. I'm scarred. I was trying to save my own life. I didn't have room to breathe. I can't sleep at night. It's just horrible. A. BAIG: We're here for Danish.
KEILAR: You're here for your brother. And can you speak -- and, Basil, look, you were there so you have this firsthand account. Can you speak to where you think this went wrong?
B. BAIG: Not at the moment. I would not like to make any comments on that.
KEILAR: Okay. You don't want to make any comments on that. Ammar?
A. BAIG: I don't have any comments to say. Our family is grieving. It's a horrific, traumatic event.
And we just don't know anything at this moment. All we know, we've lost a loved one. There's been multiple people that have lost people that they love. And our focus here is just to be here and let them know that stuff like this doesn't need to happen. When people go to events like this, they need to enjoy and be able to come back home alive and not be left there and not be able to unite with their family again.
Every single person that held this event need to be held accountable and get justice for every single person that's lost their life or who is in the hospital or who has been injured. And that's what we are here for. We want to hold anyone and everyone accountable and get justice for all these families that are grieving right now.
KEILAR: And you want to make sure that this doesn't happen again. I assume, Basil and Ammar, Basil, as you were there, but Ammar as well, your expectation was just this was going to be a fun event that probable was one that your brother hadn't really had a chance to enjoy. And I'm sure he was incredibly looking forward to it.
B. BAIG: Yes, he was. He was absolutely looking forward to it because he had his brother. He had his love of his life right next to him. And, you know, you go to these places to have a good time and We're just trying to stay strong. I'm sure you all can see the pain in our eyes. I'm sure you guys can see we're grieving. We're trying to stay strong. We're using all the platforms we can to bring awareness to this cause, to this event that was just horrible.
KEILAR: Ammar, I think it says a lot about your brother, that he was trying to protect his fiancee.
A. BAIG: Anyone who loves anyone would do something like that. To go further into it, how it happened, what happened, we don't feel comfortable talking about it at the moment because it's just not the right time to speak about this.
B. BAIG: We want you guys to know he was brave, courageous, for everything that he did in his life and until his last breath. There's just -- A. BAIG: If there was anything else to where anything could be prevented or helped, that situation wasn't there. And we just want prayers for everybody to remember my brother as the beautiful person he is and the son he was to my father, the son he was to my mother, the friend he is to everybody, the role model he is to everybody. He was buying a house for my parents by the end of this month and he's not going to be able to get that for them anymore.
There's so many memories attached that it is unbearable, it's unspeakable. But we can't talk about everything and just try to tell the whole world about him in just a few seconds. He's more than that. And I'm sure there's people who lost loved ones, and they're more than that. And this event, it's just not right, what happened. We want to find all the people and hold them accountable that did wrong to them. And that's what we're here for and just make awareness.
KEILAR: Look, he should still be there with you. But he told us a lot about who he is just in his final actions. And I think a lot of people take that away from this.
Basil, what would you say to Travis Scott, the performer?
B. BAIG: I'd like to not comment on that. I don't want to direct anyone.
KEILAR: Okay. So, can I ask you about that? Look, I understand, there are a lot of legal proceedings that are going to be going on, whether it's with your family or other people who were involved in this and have suffered this incredible loss. You talk about justice. I understand if you can't speak specifically about that, but what can you say about wanting justice here?
B. BAIG: I just want everyone to know that people who lost their lives shouldn't have lost their lives in this festival. All the parties that were -- that set up this event should be held accountable. It's just justice for them, justice for Danish, justice for the victims, and justice for the families, that's what we want.
And in terms of that, if that means rules and regulations need to be changed, how they do things, how they act and how they make these events, they need to do something about it. They have blood on their hands.
KEILAR: And finally, before we go, I know -- I'm sure that in the middle of this, as you're grieving your brother, you wish he was there. He is someone who would be such a part of going through anything that is tough. And it's him that you've had to say goodbye to. What are you going to miss the most as you're trying to tell people about who your brother was?
B. BAIG: His smile. He used to light up the room, and his jokes, his -- everything that he used to do, his little things. People at work are going to grieve, are grieving for him that we worked with, my family, just how he used to be as a person, his heart, everything that he used to do for everyone. Anything that he did, he put everyone before himself, and that's what he did until he died, until his last breath.
And I want the world to know that. I want everyone to know that we're confident in my brother's life and he did not deserve to die, just like all the other victims that were included in this event. He did not deserve to die.
But what we want to remember him by is his smile, his great, great work ethic, his love for my family. He took care of my father. He took care of my mother. He took care of my brother. He took care of my niece and nephew, my son, my four-year-old son. He took care of them. I want the world to know that. He had the biggest heart in the world -- in the entire -- I can't explain to you. But what I can tell you is that person was a genuine person. He was the most amazing person to us. He was the rock. He brought everyone together. He lit up the room.
KEILAR: Ammar, I want to make sure I give you a chance to say something, if you'd like.
A. BAIG: My brother is gone at this point, and there's nothing that can bring him back. But I just want everyone to remember that life is short. And if you have family, if you have brothers, sisters, tell them you love them. Take this time. Take this event and just take this moment to love your family because we don't know what's going to happen when things aren't well organized. And we just want to bring that awareness.
And I love my brother, Danish. I'm the older brother, but he was the older brother to me. He led this family in a direction that I couldn't have done in any other way. And he used to pull -- he's everything to our family, and that person is not there anymore. To wake up and not be able to hear his voice, to touch him, to kiss him, to tell him how much we love him, it's not going to happen anymore.
And the way he left this world, it's not just. It's not right. It's inhumane, what happened to him. And we just want to -- there's nothing we can do to bring him back.
B. BAIG: So, when all you guys that are watching at home go home or when you sit next to your loved ones. And when you hold your loved ones, tell them that you love them. Tell them that you're going to be there for them, and hold them and love them until you can. You never know, like myself, when it is going to be the last moment.
But we all want you to know, and this is specifically for all the families that were involved, injuries and that lost their hives, we're here for you. We're grieving with you guys. We feel your pain. We laid our brother to rest. I'm sure all of you guys understand what we're feeling and we want you guys to know that we're here for you.
A. BAIG: Thank you.
KEILAR: And, look, I have no doubt that your brother, Danish, knew, knows, how much you love him, and I thank you for being with us. He was clearly a gift. He was clearly a gift in this world. I want to thank you both and your dad for being with us.
A. BAIG: Thank you.
B. BAIG: Thank you.
KEILAR: We're back in a moment
SCIUTTO: New testimony in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial, the only man to survive being shot by Rittenhouse taking the stand to recount how he unintentionally pointed his gun at the defendant after the bloodshed started. He says he never wanted to kill Rittenhouse, but he did think Rittenhouse might kill him.
CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live in Kenosha with the very latest here. Some key testimony for the prosecution, Shimon, but also maybe the defense.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, perhaps very significant for the defense here, John. And, really, what this shows is just the challenges and the difficulty that prosecutors could potentially have in proving that Kyle Rittenhouse didn't act in self- defense.
PROKUPECZ (voice over): The only survivor of the men Kyle Rittenhouse shot had his turn to testify. Gaige Grosskreutz describing the moment he came face-to-face with Rittenhouse and his AR-15 style rifle last year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What was going through your mind at this particular moment?
GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, KENOSHA SHOOTING VICTIM: That I was going to die.
PROKUPECZ: Grosskreutz telling jurors he is a trained EMT and paramedic. He says he was in Kenosha to help provide first aid during protests and was armed that night.
GROSSKREUTZ: I believe in the Second Amendment, and that night was no different than any other day. It's keys, phone, wallet, gun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sounded like gunshots. It sounds like multiple gunshots.
PROKUPECZ: Shortly after this video was taken, Grosskreutz testifying he came into contact with Rittenhouse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You shot somebody? Who is shot?
GROSSKREUTZ: People were then pointing out the defendant, saying that he'd just shot somebody, that he is trying to get away, get him. [07:25:01]
I thought that the defendant was an active shooter.
PROKUPECZ: He says he ran toward Rittenhouse, playing out in this video showing the chaos before Rittenhouse shot Anthony Huber in the chest, killing him. Grosskreutz says he raised his hands to surrender.
GROSSKREUTZ: The defendant pointed his weapon at me. And I put my hands in the air. By re-racking the weapon, I inferred the defendant wasn't accepting my surrender.
PROKUPECZ: Prosecutors asking why he decided not to shoot Rittenhouse first.
GROSSKREUTZ: I was never trying to kill the defendant, I was never -- never something I was trying to do. In that moment, I was trying to preserve my own life.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why didn't you take your own gun and shoot the defendant first?
GROSSKREUTZ: Like I said, that's not the kind of person that I am. It's not why I was out there. It's not why I was out there for 75 days prior to that.
PROKUPECZ: The defense pressing Grosskreutz on what happened after he lowered his arms, a gun in one hand.
COREY CHIRAFISI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: When you were standing three to five feet from him with your arms up in the air, he never fired, right?
CHIRAFISI: It wasn't until you pointed your gun at him, advanced on him with your gun now your hands down pointed at him, that he fired, right?
PROKUPECZ (on camera): And that moment, John, when the witness says that he lowered his hand could potentially prove very, very significant for the defense. Of course, this only relates to one of the charges. There are still two other victims that the defendant certainly is facing potential conviction on. But, of course, all of this giving some, some help to the defense in trying to prove that Kyle Rittenhouse acted in self-defense.
As for today, we expect perhaps the prosecution will wrap up their case. And then will we hear from Kyle Rittenhouse himself? It is expected that he will testify but we have yet to hear from the defense team if, in fact, they're going to put him on the stand.
BERMAN: Always a big risk. Shimon Prokupecz, thank you very much.
KEILAR: All right. Let's talk about this now with Judge Glenda Hatchett, Founder of the Hatchett Firm and Host of The Verdict, and also Robert Bianchi, former Head Prosecutor of Morris County, New Jersey, and host of the Law and Crime Network.
Judge Hatchett, to you first. What did this day's testimony do when it comes to the defense that this was all self-defense? JUDGE GLENDA HATCHETT, FOUNDER, THE HATCHETT FIRM: I think it did a
lot to bolster it, quite frankly. In Wisconsin, under the law, the law really revolves around the question of who was the aggressor. And what happened yesterday in this testimony is that you had the only survivor of the three people involved in this situation who then, at that very last clip that we just heard, said that Rittenhouse didn't fire until he lowered his arm and he did have a weapon. It also didn't help yesterday that we found out that he had -- although he had had a license to carry, it expired.
And so you have got a situation where you have a trio. You have the first victim, and I know that the judge says not to call them a victim, but I am going to call him a victim, and the videos clearly show -- and that's what the defense is going to rely on -- that he was then cornered, quote, unquote, that the second victim, who was fatally shot, then he hit Rittenhouse in the neck with a skateboard. And so you have got really a situation where the defense has to -- the only thing that they can stand on in this situation is that he acted in self-defense.
So, the prosecutor, I think, has an uphill climb in this case, but what they're going to say is that he was out there with this gun, with this shotgun, and that he was in a volatile situation, and that he was not trained to use the gun. But this is going to be, I think, a very, very difficult case for the prosecution.
ROBERT BIANCHI, FORMER HEAD PROSECUTOR IN MORRIS COUNTY, NEW JERSEY: The prosecution had a horrible day yesterday, with all the things the judge said. Let's add to it that there are gunshots that are being fired when this is happening. Two witnesses have testified, eyewitnesses. One of them was a journalist.
I actually asked -- I was in the middle of the show when I started hosting a show. I actually asked my producer, is this a defense witness that got called out of turn, or is this a prosecutor's witness? Because both witnesses, even the victim, were saying Kyle Rittenhouse was doing an interview, he was talking about how he was there to be a medic and help people and protect some property, that this crowd started going after him and that he was trapped.
He was running. He was trying to get away. Shots are being fired.