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House January 6th Committee Subpoenas Some of Those Involved in Former President Trump's Reelection Campaign; Operations Planned for Astroworld Music Festival Did Not Include Specific Contingency for Surging Crowd; Americans May Travel at Pre-Pandemic Levels for Thanksgiving Holiday; GOP's Hawley Tries to Make Masculinity a Political Issue. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 09, 2021 - 08:00   ET



SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's absolutely true. And I think that's where some of the frustration lies. And I will be honest with you, when I was talking to Daniel Robinson's father David, I apologized. I said, we should be paying attention. And I take some of that responsibility myself as a reporter at CNN, that we do need to highlight these cases, and there is a bias that is out there. A lot of times these families are told, oh, well, your child was a runaway, or oh, well, your child -- or this is an adult, so we can't really do anything. And in the end, what ends up happening is there are lots of these cases of black and brown people that go un-talked about, unnoticed, and unsolved. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Sara Sidner, thank you. Thank you for the focus on the report. Appreciate it.

NEW DAY continues right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Tuesday, November 9th, and I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman.

The House January 6th Committee digging deeper now into the Trump orbit with a new round of subpoenas. The six targets here are top members of his reelection campaign who helped spread the big lie that fueled the capitol insurrection. And they include campaign manager Bill Stepien, senior campaign adviser Jason Miller, national executive assistant Angela McCallum, and Bernard Kerik, the former New York police commissioner who took part in campaign meetings and worked with Rudy Giuliani to investigate voter fraud that never existed.

Also subpoenaed, attorney John Eastman who drafted that six-point plan to have Mike Pence invalidate the election results, and also Michael Flynn, Trump's former national security adviser who discussed invoking martial law after the election.


MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER FOR TRUMP: If he wanted to, he could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election.


BERMAN: Now that the committee has issued subpoenas, the big question, will these folks comply? Will they take a page from the playbook of Steve Bannon, the Trump adviser, who has defiantly refused to testify? And the Justice Department has yet to decide. They've had three weeks. They've had yet to decide whether to charge and prosecute him for criminal contempt.

KEILAR: Joining us now is Bob Woodward, associate editor at "The Washington Post." He is also the co-author of the new book "Peril" which chronicles the fraught transition of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Always wonderful to have you, Bob.


KEILAR: And you bring some new information as well, because I know that as we were looking at these subpoenas, let's talk specifically about John Eastman, the attorney with that six-point plan at first. Tell us what you discovered about a podcast that he did earlier this year in May.

WOODWARD: Well, Robert Costa and I didn't discover this, but our assistant, who is a lawyer, Claire McMullen, is just bombarding us with research and information. And she discovered on May 5th, John Eastman, in a podcast -- now, this is before our book came out -- specifically talked about the war room in the Willard, and he said it was kind of coordinating all of the communication.

And then in a very important legal point, he said I would not normally talk about things like this, but I have been directed by the president of the United States, at that time was Trump, to tell and to talk. So he's waived the privilege. And traditionally judges will look at this and say, hey, wait a minute, you're out talking about it, but also you're saying your client, the president of the United States specifically said talk, explain. So how do you justify not talking to this committee or a grand jury? And so you're kind of -- you've got one-and-a-half feet in the door already.

KEILAR: It is really fascinating. The Willard, for those, the uninitiated, it's the Willard hotel here in Washington, D.C. It is near the White House. And he's referring to this war room, this kind of coordination center that we heard Steve Bannon actually refer to before as well.

I do want to talk about Michael Flynn. You've reported extensively about some of what Michael Flynn has said that is obviously very interesting to this committee and that has to do with his discussion of invoking martial law.

WOODWARD: Yes, he is the hardliner in the Trump orbit, and would be a key witness in this.

[08:05:00] Now, as we have discussed, the January 6th committee does not have a strong hand because there will be delaying moves, and traditionally congressional committees can't get this kind of information, and this goes back to the Nixon tapes case in 1974. So this is in the hands of the Justice Department. And, again, Claire, our assistant, has been saying, look, go back and look at the Supreme Court decisions. This is a clear case of a violation of what is called 371 section conspiracy to defraud the U.S. If this is not a conspiracy to defraud the U.S., I don't know what is.

KEILAR: What are you thinking about timing here? Because when you have all of these folks associated with Trump trying to delay things, they might not really have the grounds to do it, but it's effective. Is this just going to run the clock out?

WOODWARD: Well, it could. It could. And that's why the Justice Department needs to kind of step in and say, look, this is, to put it in its real terms, this is about democracy. The certification of who is going to be president, it's one meeting that the president of the Senate, who is the vice president, holds, and in that meeting he looks at the certificates from the states, because the states submit the electors, and then he counts them. And the law is very, very clear.

And, again, it's -- we wrote about it in the political context, the Eastman memo for first time. Jamie Gangel of your network dug into it and looked at it and said, what is the substance here? And the substance is it really is a coup memo. And there is no basis in fact in that -- where Eastman says, well, seven states have submitted alternative electors. There is zero evidence of that.

And people go -- when Robert costa and I were working on our book, we talked to Republicans, what do Republicans think of this? And we found that two of the biggest Trump supporters, Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, investigated these matters. I have the stack of Lindsey Graham memos that he got from Giuliani. And if you go through this, it's just B.S. And Lindsey Graham had his chief counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee look at this, and very systematically, and there is no truth, no fact.

And so we now have Trump out there, essentially making the rationale for a future candidacy that the 2020 election was stolen. Zero evidence.

KEILAR: Zero evidence. This comes down right now in these subpoenas to, and other matters of the committee. What is Merrick Garland, the attorney general, going to do? Are you surprised he hasn't acted yet?

WOODWARD: No, he's careful. But this is -- I'm sure there is political reality. The White House doesn't want to be seen investigating the prior president, quite frankly. And so --

KEILAR: Let me ask you a question about that. Is it sort of not wanting to be seen doing it and maybe pulling a punch also making a political calculation?

WOODWARD: Yes, it is. But if there is no investigation, you have no scrutiny. And what this needs is scrutiny. And the January 6th Committee is, I think, just as a process issue is to be commended for lots of subpoenas, lots of we want to talk to people. And the business of trying to find out what happened, you have to take a primary figure like Bannon or John Eastman, and you ask, who are the satellite witnesses, who are people in their orbit? Keep going around, and eventually you may find somebody who really knows something, has secret tape recordings, will cooperate. This is what happened in Watergate with Alexander Butterfield disclosing the secret taping system, which literally a handful of people knew about.


And he was out there, and he was willing to cooperate when everyone else remained silent.

KEILAR: Yes. The onion has many layers indeed here. You've got to peel them back. Bob Woodward, thank you so much for being with us.

BERMAN: New developments this morning in the Astroworld concert tragedy. Detailed operations planned for the music festival did not include a specific contingency for a surging crowd, and that's despite three people being trampled and hospitalized at the same festival in 2019. So far at least 18 lawsuits have been filed against Travis Scott and the festival's organizers. Moments ago, we spoke with Ammar and Basil Baig whose 27-year-old brother Danish died while protecting his fiance from getting trampled in the crowd.


BASIL BAIG, BROTHER DIED AT ASTROWORLD CONCERT: 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.

MIRZA AMMAR BAIG, BROTHER DIED AT ASTROWORLD CONCERT: He left this world. It's not just -- it is not right. It's inhumane what happened to him.


BERMAN: Your heart breaks for that family.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Houston with the latest on this. Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, there are so many unanswered questions. The basic question, why was this concert not stopped sooner, and who had the power to stop this concert? We're learning more from a 56-page document, the operations plan, that said that two individuals actually had the power to stop this concert, the executive producer and the festival director.

Here's what this plan does not show. It does not show a contingency plan for a crowd surge. Now, it does say that there is some key concerns, potential concerns, like a mass casualty event, a weather event, a riot, but it does not have a plan for a crowd surge. Now this as at least 18 lawsuits have been filed here in Harris County against the organizers, against Travis Scott, some of these clients alleging negligence and also that their clients were trampled on, including a nine-year-old boy who is fighting for his life right now. His grandfather telling CNN this nine-year-old boy is in a medically induced coma with damage to his heart, his lungs, his live, multiple organs. His grandfather telling CNN that this little boy was there with his father and that he was on his father's shoulders.

Aand I heard this description from so many concertgoers, that at some point they just couldn't breathe and they were swaying with the crowd, that's what this grandfather says was the case here. And so this man, this dad passed out, and the little boy fell on to the crowd and was actually transported to the hospital as a John Doe.

Again, I heard from concertgoers just how difficult it was to breathe in that crowd. Well, now, some disturbing reporting, this morning from "The Wall Street Journal" saying that police are investigating the possibility of a bad batch of illegal drugs playing a role in some of these deaths. Now, according to the paper, this is based on the account of an individual familiar with the investigation and that the police are looking into possible overdoses. Now, CNN has not been able to confirm that information. We're trying to get that information. But, John, very disturbing details here, especially knowing that there are children still fighting for their lives here after this immense tragedy. John?

BERMAN: It sounds like a horrific scene. Rosa, thank you so much for your reporting.

KEILAR: Well, gas might be expensive, but that will not keep people from jumping in the car and hitting the road this Thanksgiving holiday. AAA is telling CNN that they estimate that travel by land and by air will look a lot like it did before the pandemic, pretty busy.

CNN's Pete Muntean is at a gas station just outside of Washington this morning. People are -- they're ready to get going. They're ready to be on the road and see family and friends, Pete.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. We're about to see a huge rebound in Thanksgiving travel according to AAA. In fact, it anticipates the biggest jump in Thanksgiving travel that we have seen since 2005. It thinks that 48 million people will drive, and the number is so interesting because it's really not all that far off from back in 2019, pre-pandemic. The big headline here is that the traffic will be back, and so will the expense. The average price for a gallon of gas now $1.30 higher than what it was a year ago. We have reached about a seven-year high for gas prices. And what is so interesting is that AAA says that will not stop people from getting out.


ANDREW GROSS, AAA SPOKESPERSON: A lot more confidence, people are feeling better about traveling. And no matter what the gas prices are, and they are quite a bit higher than last year, people are still going to take that trip.



PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: The national average for a gallon of gas now, $3.42, $3.27 here in Alexandra, Virginia. The price a year ago was about $2.11 on average.

And AAA says it is really not the demand that is on the horizon that is driving these costs up. It is really more a supply issue. It says that oil producing countries might actually be constricting the supply a little bit, trying to recoup some of the pandemic losses, and now top Democrats in Congress are pushing for the nation's strategic petroleum reserve to be uncorked to try and get some of the prices down, Brianna.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Pete Muntean live for us in Virginia. Thank you so much for that.

Senator Josh Hawley is waging a war, not against COVID or poverty or misinformation, but against the decline of masculinity.

Plus, hear the disturbing voice mail sent to a Republican congressman after he voted for the infrastructure bill.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And he battled COVID in the hospital for nearly a month, why he's now back there with an apology.


BERMAN: Men are no longer men. That is the lament of Republican Senator Josh Hawley who is really trying to make masculinity a political issue.



SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): The left wing attack on manhood says to men, you're part of the problem. It says your masculinity is inherently problematic, is inherently oppressive. As conservatives, we've got to call men back to responsibility. We got to say spending your time not working and we have more and more men who are not working, spending your time on video games, spending your time watching porn online while doing nothing is not good for you or your family or this country.


BERMAN: All right. Joining me now is CNN political commentator, S.E. Cupp. Mother of a boy -- you're raising a boy, I'm raising two of them. We're all perfectly willing to talk about the right way to raise boys in this society, I think, S.E. I'm just a little confused by Josh Hawley. This interview with "Axios" was based on a speech he gave a little

while ago where he says there is an attack on what he calls masculinity from the left and traits like courage, independence and assertiveness.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Listen, he's harkening back to some things that conservatives have talked about in the past. It is not new. It is just that no one elected him to do this. This is not why he was sent to the Senate. And I think what is important to realize here is that I don't even think Josh Hawley believes what Josh Hawley is selling.

I think he knows it is BS and it is really just so he can go out and get his, which are, you know, votes, popularity, leaning into the Trump cult, pleasing Trump. It is manipulative and it is funny, I actually -- I asked Congressman Adam Kinzinger about this very thing a couple of days ago for an end view in "Rolling Stone". I said, does Josh Hawley believe what he says? And Congressman Kinzinger said, I don't think any of them really believe what they're saying with few exceptions.

So I think in a way that makes it worse. If Josh Hawley were just kind of ignorant, and didn't know that, you know, the election wasn't stolen and yet was saying that it was, and really earnestly believes he was elected to bring masculinity back, that would be one thing.

But I don't think he's ignorant. I think he's smart. And so, I think it is manipulative.

BERMAN: By the way, the interview you did with Kinzinger in "Rolling Stone" is terrific and it gets to the idea of outrage as being this thing that politicians are clinging to.

CUPP: The only thing. It is the only thing on the menu, John. I don't mean to interrupt you, but rage is the only thing Republicans are selling right now. As someone who, like Kinzinger, was part of the, like, movement conservatives, and, you know, liked to talk about policy and principles, that's gone.

BERMAN: So, on this point, Fred Upton, who is a Republican a long time, Republican, conservative, from Michigan who voted for the infrastructure bill, went on Anderson last night and talked about the threats he has received. Listen to this.


MAN: (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitor. That's what you are. You're a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) traitor. I hope you die. I hope everybody in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) family dies, you piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED) (EXPLETIVE DELETED).

You're stupider than he is. He can't even complete a sentence. You dumb (EXPLETIVE DELETED), traitor, piece of (EXPLETIVE DELETED), piece of trash.

(END AUDIO CLIP) BERMAN: That was for voting for roads and bridges. And punch bowl this morning is reporting there are some Republicans who want these 13 Republicans who voted for infrastructure stripped of committee assignments.

CUPP: Yeah, hard to listen to. And, you know, if you ever have been on the receiving end of those, you hear the palpable rage. And anger. But it is not just that lawmakers for as you point out doing their job. It is a public health officials who are getting these kinds of threats for, you know, enforcing mask mandates. It is for election officials who are doing their jobs, you know, certifying elections.

The rage has been so cultivated over the past few years by Republicans, by Donald Trump, this is, of course, where it was going to go. This is the consequence. It is, A to B, it is cause and effect.

When you spent four-plus years telling the electorate that the political opposition is literally the enemy of the people, the journalists are the enemy, that public health officials, that intelligence officers are the enemy, it is no surprise when people get angry and in some cases turn violent and very ominously I don't think that violence is over. I think you're just going to see it get worse.

BERMAN: That's troubling to think about. By the way, if you want to argue against the infrastructure bill and say it is money not being spent wisely, have at it. That's not the issue. It is threatening somebody for a vote that they made like that.

And you talk about you fear this violence will get worse, that's an interesting segue to Paul Gosar, the Republican congressman who posted this video meme, which he treated, of him killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


It was a cartoon anime thing where he superimposed his face and her face. She calls it a fantasy murder video, basically. He also on this video shows himself brandishing swords at President Joe Biden. You know, and so far I haven't heard from Republicans at all about this.

CUPP: No, and listen, conservative women in particular have been frequently the victims of this kind of misogyny, the death fantasies, in some cases rape fantasies, I've been on the receiving end of that and it is really gross.

Conservatives used to stand up to people like Keith Olbermann from his misogynist attacks. But when they come from the right, when they come from Paul Gosar, when they come from Donald Trump, it's crickets. And so, it really undercuts what are legitimate arguments against misogyny, which are bad for all women, regardless of your party, when you're silent about the misogyny coming from your own.

Paul Gosar is a cancer in the party, I think. I can't believe that, you know, he's frankly that he's still there.

BERMAN: Think about the message it sends when you talk about punishing people for infrastructure but there is silence for someone who posts a murder fantasy video.

S.E. Cupp, thank you for being with us this morning. Nice to see you.

CUPP: Thanks. Yeah.

BERMAN: So like a good neighbor, State Farm says it is still there for spokesperson Aaron Rodgers. So why then did it also cut become on nearly all of his commercials?

KEILAR: Plus, we'll meet a COVID survivor who returned to the hospital where nurses and doctors saved his life to apologize for not being vaccinated.