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Meadows Gets Ultimatum: Show Up Today or Risk Contempt; Rittenhouse Defense Rests, Closing Arguments Monday; Biden Nears Decision on Federal Reserve Chief. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 12, 2021 - 06:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Friday, November 12. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

[05:59: 54]

And this morning, deadline. Mark Meadows, Donald Trump's former White House chief of staff, has four hours to show up before Congress or face contempt charges. The committee investigating the insurrection has demanded to see him and says it's done waiting.

Meadows's attorney issued a statement saying he would not cooperate until courts ruled on the former president's claim of executive privilege.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: In the meantime, that decision is now being delayed after a federal appeals court agreed to halt delivery of the requested presidential records Thursday, handing former President Trump his first win in the matter after a series of losses at a lower court.

Now a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, all appointed by Democrats, set oral arguments for November 30.

Let's go now to CNN's Kara Scannell. She is live for us at the D.C. Circuit Court with more -- Kara.


The -- the pressure is really intensifying against Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows. The House Select Committee giving him a deadline of today at 10 a.m. to show up with the documents and be prepared to testify as part of their investigation.

Now, this letter to Meadows came after the White House informed his attorney yesterday that President Biden would not assert executive privilege over any of these documents. That caused his lawyer to say he would not cooperate.

His attorney, George Terwilliger, issued a statement saying that Biden "is the first president to make no effort whatsoever to protect presidential communications from being the subject of compelled testimony. Mr. Meadows remains under the instructions of former President Trump to respect long-standing principles of executive privilege. It now appears the courts will have to resolve this conflict."

And that is where this is heading now. Yesterday, a panel, a three- judge panel of the federal appeals court here in Washington, D.C., had agreed to give a momentary stay or pause the production of documents from the National Archives to the House committee. That's a momentary victory for former President Trump.

But the three-judge panel, which are all Democrats, as you said, appointed, two of them by President Biden, one by President -- excuse me, two by President Obama, one by President Biden. They said that this decision should not be construed in any way to reflect their feelings on the merits of this case.

Now, the issue here, of course, is the former president is trying to prevent these documents, 46 documents, from being turned over. Those include White House visitor and call logs. Also includes three handwritten memos from Meadows. So a lot at stake here for Meadows in particular.

The House committee has already referred Steve Bannon to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution. We are awaiting decision on that. The question here is does Meadow join him?

This three-panel judge [SIC], as far as timing, has said that they will hold oral arguments on this on November 30. So we could have a decision in early December -- Brianna, John.

KEILAR: All right, Kara, thank you so much. Kara Scannell.

BERMAN: All right. Joining me now, chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeffrey, there are a few things all tied together here loosely. But basically, we're in this period of limbo. And let's start with Mark Meadows, who I don't think is going to show up at 10 a.m., because he told us he's not going to, and that he could be in the Steve Bannon situation, which is that Congress has voted him or referred him to the Justice Department to say, charge him with criminal contempt. We're waiting on Merrick Garland to decide.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Correct. And the one theme that is consistent throughout this is that time is passing. And this congressional committee does not have an unlimited amount of time. In fact, they want to wrap up this investigation at least by the middle of next year. And by not get being the witnesses they need, by not getting the documents they need, they are losing.

And even though this decision by the D.C. Circuit yesterday to -- was a brief delay, it's a delay. And delay hurts this committee.

BERMAN: Let's take these in sequence. Merrick Garland needs to decide what to do with Steve Bannon.

TOOBIN: Correct. And that's -- that's enormously important for all the witnesses who are defying the committee in various ways at this point. And frankly, I find it really bizarre that the Garland Justice

Department has now taken almost a month and counting to make what is really a fairly straightforward decision, which is should they prosecute him for contempt, even though he has clearly shown contempt in a literal and legal sense for the committee's subpoena.

BERMAN: If they decide to prosecute him, then one can reasonably assume that Mark Meadows could be next. So one can see how this decision with Steve Bannon has a huge impact on everyone else.

Then there's the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has agreed to hear this. This was three Democrats on the panel who said, Hang on, the Archives doesn't have to turn over the documents today, but they are going to hear the case in a much more rapid fashion.

TOOBIN: Right. Basically, what they said implicitly was, if we didn't issue this stay, that would be, in effect, deciding the case. That would be saying to the Archives, turnover the documents today.

What they did was they issued what's called an administrative stay. And the difference between an administrative stay and a stay on the merits is that the court is not saying there's any merit to the Trump position. It's just that we want to hear this case.

And what they did was, by court of appeal standards, this is a lightning-fast schedule. Exchanges of briefs, and then an argument on November 30. They clearly understand the time pressure here. So I have to believe there is going to be decision in early December.

If Trump loses that decision, they will certainly ask the Supreme Court to hear it, which could lead to a delay of many months.

BERMAN: It could, although couldn't the Supreme Court do it as quickly as the Court of Appeals did?

TOOBIN: Or they could simply not -- refuse to hear it at all, which would -- which would make it a final decision, and the documents would have to be turned over.

BERMAN: Does the fact that the Court of Appeals is doing more due diligence, hearing these arguments, increase the likelihood the Supreme Court would say, You know what? This has been discussed?

TOOBIN: Not really, I don't think. Because an administrative stay is -- is everyone in the court system understands that is really not a decision on the merits at all.

So you know, look, I think if this case winds up before the Supreme Court, if -- the conservatives will want to hear it anyway. I don't think what the D.C. Circuit did yesterday affects that calculus at all.

BERMAN: Again, the first likely shoe to drop is Merrick Garland deciding what to do with Steve Bannon, which could lead to any number of other things, as well, at least for these witnesses.

TOOBIN: But you know, the witnesses, the documents, they are not being produced, and time is passing.

BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin, thank you.

TOOBIN: All right.

KEILAR: The testimony is done, and now the prosecution and defense in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial have the weekend to prepare their closing arguments.

For eight days, more than 30 witnesses, including the defendant, described what happened last year during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Rittenhouse shot three people, two of them fatally. He claims that it was all in self-defense.

CNN's Adrienne Broaddus is in Kenosha after a very dramatic week, Adrienne.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed. We saw some clashing inside of the courtroom. But keep in mind, members of the jury were excused during those testy moments.

And on Monday, when the closing arguments take place, we know the prosecution will show video clips, totaling at least 30 minutes from that night Kyle Rittenhouse shot three people, killing two of them.


BROADDUS (voice-over): The end of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial likely days away, with closing arguments set for Monday.

BRUCE SCHROEDER, JUDGE: We are going to break for the weekend at this point.

BROADDUS: Three final witnesses testifying before the defense rested its case Thursday afternoon, including media commentator Drew Hernandez.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see, in reviewing your videos, did you see Mr. Rittenhouse on the 25th?

DREW HERNANDEZ, DEFENSE WITNESS: Yes, and then at that point Kyle Rittenhouse came out of car source two (ph), and he attempted to de- escalate the situation.

BROADDUS: Hernandez taking this video of Joseph Rosenbaum, who is wearing a red shirt, before Rittenhouse shot and killed him. Hernandez described Rosenbaum this way.

HERNANDEZ: Rosenbaum was charging Kyle Rittenhouse from behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you hear that real-time?

HERNANDEZ: Hear it and saw it in real time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Rittenhouse? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your contact with Kyle that evening was just in

terms of what you observed, I'm asking. Did you observe him acting in an aggressive manner to anyone that you observed?

HERNANDEZ: In no way, shape or form. The first time I saw Kyle, he actually de-escalated the situation.

BROADDUS: During cross-examination, prosecutors asking Hernandez, who works for a right-wing media outlet, this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you ever posted anything on social media --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- in support of Kyle Rittenhouse?

HERNANDEZ: One could argue yes.

BROADDUS: A use of force expert also testifying for the defense, focusing on the time between the two fatal shootings, when an unidentified man went after Rittenhouse.

MARK RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: What occurred first, the kick to the face by jump kick man to my client or the first gunshot?

JOHN BLACK, DEFENSE WITNESS: Based on my analysis, the kick to the face occurred prior to the gunshot.

BROADDUS: The defense also asking John Black about the time between Rittenhouse's killing of Andrew Huber and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz.

BLACK: I apologize, 2.223 was the time between the third and the fourth shot.

RICHARDS: So the total between the two events, the shooting is less than 7 seconds.

BLACK: Are you asking me if you were to put both those figures together?


BLACK: Yes, it's about 6 1/2 seconds.

BROADDUS: Prosecutors pressing Black on how long it took for Rittenhouse to shoot all three victims.

THOMAS BINGER, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Can you tell us the amount of time that passes between the first shot of number 8 to Joseph Rosenbaum and the final shot to Mr. Grosskreutz?

BLACK: Approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds.

BINGER: In that one minute and -- approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds, the defendant fires all eight shots that we see. Is that correct?


BLACK: Yes, sir.

BROADDUS: Judge Bruce Schroeder lashing out at the prosecution for the second day in a row, this time about admissible evidence.

SCHROEDER: Is there something that I'm seeing that draws the face that you're making? Go ahead, say what you want to say.

BINGER: I have to say, your honor, yesterday, I was the target of your ire for disregarding your orders. I was under the court's ire.

SCHROEDER: What I want to talk about --

BINGER: Well, fundamental fairness on the issue, your honor.

SCHROEDER: All right. Say what you want to say.

BINGER: If I'm being held to obey the court's orders, I'm asking that the defense be held to that, too.

SCHROEDER: I was talking yesterday about the Constitution of the United States and how the Supreme Court has interpreted it for 50 years.

BROADDUS: The judge also making an offensive comment about the lunch selection.

SCHROEDER: I hope the Asian food isn't coming -- isn't on one of those boats on long -- Long Beach Harbor.

BROADDUS: Thirty-one witnesses taking the stand over eight days of testimony, including Rittenhouse, testifying in his own homicide trial.

KYLE RITTENHOUSE, DEFENDANT: And there were -- there were three people right there --

BROADDUS: His mother, who was also in the courtroom Wednesday, was asked if she believed Rittenhouse had a fair trial during an interview.

WENDY RITTENHOUSE, KYLE'S MOTHER: The judge is very fair. People that I talked to that lived in Kenosha all their lives, they told me that Judge Schroeder is a very fair judge, and he doesn't allow no nonsense in his courtroom.

BROADDUS: The only man to survive the shooting speaking out about Rittenhouse's turn on the stand, after serving as a witness himself Monday.

GAIGE GROSSKREUTZ, SURVIVED KYLE RITTENHOUSE SHOOTING: Specifically to the defendant's testimony, I can't say that I was, one, particularly impressed, nor convinced. To me, it seemed like a child being upset because they were caught, not upset because of what they had done wrong.


BROADDUS: And on Monday, the judge has given both sides two and a half hours for closing arguments, and that includes rebuttal time. The judge says he will spend about 45 minutes reading those instructions to the jury before the fate of Kyle Rittenhouse is in their hands.

And, Brianna, at the end of the day, it comes down to whether or not this jury believes Kyle Rittenhouse was the attacker, or whether they saw him escalating the situation by firing on unarmed men who possibly perceived him as the threat -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Adrienne Broaddus live from Kenosha, thank you.

Coming up, we will analyze what each side needs to do here in closing arguments.

Plus, more on Kyle Rittenhouse's mother weighing in on her son's homicide trial.

And also, it's the most important job that most Americans have never heard of. Who will President Biden pick to make key decisions on the economy?

BERMAN: And if you're fired in Iowa for refusing to get a vaccine, you may qualify for unemployment benefits.



KEILAR: So both the prosecution and the defense have rested their cases in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, with closing arguments set to begin on Monday.

Joining me now is former prosecutor and former attorney for George Zimmerman in the defense in the Trayvon Martin case, Mark O'Meara. And assistant professor of law at Case Western Reserve University, Ayesha Bell Hardaway.

You know, I just wonder, first off, Ayesha, what you thought in this Rittenhouse case of the mom going on FOX News, going on "Hannity" and what you heard from her?

AYESHA BELL HARDAWAY, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW, CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY: So it's really clear that this mom is comfortable in this courtroom. That the judge's efforts to hold court, if you will, in the way that he has throughout this trial has reassured her, in many ways, that her son is going to get what she deems to be a fair trial. And of course, I think that equates to an acquittal here.

And so those conversations that she's been having with those particular jurists, I think, just reinforces for us how -- how, in many ways, polarized this -- this trial has been. KEILAR: You know, Mark, looking at what legal experts are saying here,

even if maybe they want to say that Kyle Rittenhouse really appears to have a lot of blame here, they say that when you look at what's happened in the court, the defense has done a good job. And that right now, things are looking good for Kyle Rittenhouse. What do you think?

MARK O'MEARA, FORMER PROSECUTOR: They truly are for me. Judge's initial pretrial rulings, to his behavior throughout.

But even from the first state witness. You look at that first state witness, and it helped the defense. The first person who was videotaping.

And all the way through, there's no question that there's an extraordinary amount of reasonable doubt here. The only thing the defense needs to do is make sure they get that jury to the jury box.

The only thing the prosecution can hope is to focus on a couple of the jurors and see if there's a way to mis-try the case by a hung jury, learn their mistakes from this trial, if they get a chance to try it again.

KEILAR: You know, Ayesha, I wonder, some of the colorful moments here involving the judge, I wonder what you think about them. We played one, where the judge made a comment during lunch, about it hopefully not being the Asian food that is out there in Long Beach Harbor. What did you think of that joke?


HARDAWAY: Well, that joke, you know, outside the hearing of the jury, you know, in many ways probably won't have an impact on the outcome of this trial.

I've heard throughout this trial a lot of people speak to the fact that, in his nearly 40 years of trying cases there that -- in Kenosha that -- that, you know, it's his custom and his practice to operate in this way, to not do sidebars and to have a very open courtroom.

I would say at the point where, you know, in the presence of the jury, the judge is -- appears to be impartial [SIC], appears to be partial and doesn't have the appearance of impartiality. And in many ways seems to be favoring one side over the other, that that causes some real questions and problems with people having confidence in the overall outcome of the case.

I say that primarily because, as we saw yesterday, this judge decided to open court by applauding, essentially, the defense's first witness for the day, Dr. Black, who is going to testify about the -- the camera footage and the length of time it took for certain things to happen.

In that -- you know, in that moment where everyone is applauding for Veterans Day and he announces that Dr. Black is, in fact, a veteran and, apparently, the only veteran in the room, that really, I think, sends a strong message to the jury that this judge favors the defense, and in some ways, he may end up being the head juror, even if he's not back in the deliberation room.

KEILAR: What do you think, Mark?

O'MEARA: Wholly inappropriate. The judge has got to maintain impartiality. And particularly in a case like this with the social implications, the political implications, he suggestion by this judge that he's not going to allow politics into his courtroom would be great if he could actually accomplish it.

But you can't when it's imbued in everything that's happened. And you can't make believe it's not there. And certainly, he needs to be more careful to be impartial. And I haven't seen it.

I like when a judge says you can't call victims victims until the crime is over. But you also can't call people arsonists and looters and liars in the same breath.

So it was frustrating to me, not as a defense attorney, but as someone watching a trial, knowing the rest of the country is watching and has to believe in the jury's verdict, whatever it is. But he really needs to be careful putting his thumb on the scales.

KEILAR: And all of this, Ayesha, kind of goes to the same point, which is if the judge in the court of public opinion. I mean, even if it's outside what the jury sees, appears to favor the defense. And then you also have Kyle Rittenhouse's mom going on FOX News.

The judge saying this is not a political trial. It's really hard to agree with that.

HARDAWAY: Yes. Absolutely. On the point of the political trial, you know, he can't conflate sort of his desire for the trial not to be political and at the same time, you know, take away the prosecution's right to attack the credibility or the motives of any particular witness based on, right, their political viewpoints or the agenda of a political party, if you will.

This is -- this is really troubling. And I think in many ways, just regardless of if there's reasonable doubt here on the intentionality piece of this, it's going to cause folks to walk away, questioning how an individual could go across state lines, illegally buy an AR-15, and carry it while purporting to be a medic on a particular night, and -- and walk away without some severe consequences.

KEILAR: Ayesha and Mark, thank you so much. This is such an important case as the entire country watches. And we appreciate your perspective.

HARDAWAY: Thank you.

KEILAR: Up next, new reporting on who President Biden will pick for what is being called the most important job in America.

BERMAN: And Olympic gold medalist Suni Lee, revealing she was pepper sprayed in a racist attack. Those details ahead.



BERMAN: With inflation at levels not seen in 30 years, President Biden has a mammoth decision to make. It could have a huge impact on the economy, on prices, also politics.

CNN's chief business correspondent, anchor of "EARLY START", Christine Romans, joins us now -- Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: John, this may be the most important job that most Americans have never heard of. President Biden is nearing a decision on his pick to lead the Federal Reserve, with Jerome Powell seen as the front-runner for another term. He was, of course, appointed by former President Donald Trump.

Now, this decision is critical. The Fed is the official inflation fighter with the tools to raise interest rates to cool off the economy, an economy that has been bouncing back from the COVID crash.

Jobs and wage growth have been strong, but inflation is running hot, a 30-year high.

There are kinks in the global supply chain and surging demand for goods. The Fed chief has called this inflation transitory, continuing to back the Fed's easy monetary policy.

But inflation has persisted, raising questions about whether Powell and the Fed, John, made a bad call and will have to raise interest rates more quickly to prevent a bigger flare-up in inflation, a bigger problem in the economy.

Senator Elizabeth Warren has said she would oppose Powell's renomination. She calls him a dangerous man to head up the Fed. And some Democratic lawmakers actually want Biden to nominate the current Fed governor, Lael Brainard, to the chief position.

The hope is she would be more aggressive on regulating banks.

Still, Powell has generally earned high marks for having handled the pandemic crash, preventing the coronavirus recession from becoming a depression. And he has expertly telegraphed to the markets the Fed's tapering of all the stimulus.

President Biden expected to announce that pick as early as next week, John. His term, Powell's term, expires in February.

BERMAN: It could get bipartisan support, even though Elizabeth Warren.