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New Day

Trump Defends Threats to Hang Pence During Insurrection; Rittenhouse Defense Rests, Closing Arguments Monday; Defense Attorney Complains About Black Pastors in Courtroom. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired November 12, 2021 - 07:00   ET




And finally, in the NBA, things getting heated between the Pacers and the Jazz, fourth quarter, India Center Miles Turner blocks Rudy Gobert. Gobert then decided to take Turner down, grabbing him by his shorts. The then two kind of acted like they wanted to fight but really just gave each other some aggressive hugs. Four players ended up being ejected there. Pacers beat the Jazz, giving them their first home loss of the season, 111-100.

And, Brianna, it kind of reminded me of my boys when they get in a fight. I kind of say, hey, stop it. Hug it out. I think that's the way the NBA should approach those situations, just make them hug it out.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY: Aggressive hugs. I love it. Andy Scholes, thanks.

SCHOLES: All right.

KEILAR: New Day continues right now.

Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Friday, November 12th. And I'm Brianna Keilar along with John Berman.

This morning, deadline, Mark Meadows, Donald Trump's former White House Chief of Staff has three hours to show up before Congress or face contempt charges. And the committee investigating the insurrection has demanded to see him and they say they're done waiting. Meadows' attorney issued a statement saying he would not cooperate until courts rule on the former president's claim of executive privilege.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: And breaking moments ago, brand new audio of former President Trump defending supporters who threaten to hang former Vice President Mike Pence.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were you worried about him during that siege? Were you worried about his safety? DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: No. I thought he was well protected. And I had heard that he was in good shape. Because I heard had he was in very good shape. But, but -- no, I think --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because you heard those chants. That was terrible. I mean, those -- the --

TRUMP: He could have -- well, the people were very angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were saying, hang Mike Pence.

TRUMP: Because it's common sense, Jon, it's common sense that you're supposed to protect -- how can you -- if you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?


KEILAR: With us now, CNN Legal Analyst, retired Ambassador Norman Eisen. He was the House Judiciary Special Counsel in former President Trump's first impeachment trial. He was previously a White House ethics czar as well.

This is former President Trump defending these calls to hang former Vice President Mike Pence. What do you make of this?

NORMAN EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Brianna, he says it's common sense to chant, hang the vice president of the United States? It's more disturbing evidence of former President Trump's state of mind that brought about the insurrection on January 6th. And it goes to why the litigation and the effort to subpoena individuals and the Mark Meadows case that is percolating up in the January 6th committee is so important.

Not only did we have the terrible events and the long run-up of Donald Trump's incitement of those events on January 6th, he's still doing it. The big lie continues. As you heard, he's totally unrepentant. That's why we have to get at the truth of what happened on that terrible day.

KEILAR: He, as he's talking about the vice president, makes it clear that he was getting updates about the vice president. So, he was getting updates about what was happening on the Hill in real-time. Is that problematic for him?

EISEN: Well, it's part of the reason. You know, we said in Watergate, what did the president know and when did he know it? The mantra of the Trump era and the January 6th committee investigation is what did the president do and when did he do it, and when didn't he do it, Brianna? How could he?

Look at another false statement he says. Oh, Mike Pence was fine. No. We know the rioters, the insurrectionists chanting, hang Mike Pence, came very close to him. We have seen that chilling footage in the second impeachment of Donald Trump. We know the danger in which others were placed. And you still hear from Donald Trump, a complete disregard. He continues to be a danger on this country. And that's why the January 6th committee is ripe to be moving with great urgency. We've got to get to the bottom of this.

KEILAR: The courts are moving with great urgency, at least one is, the federal court of appeals here. They put an administrative stay on these documents from the federal archives that we would think would illuminate the actions and the thoughts of former President Trump on January 6th. They put an administrative stay on that. But they are actually going to act pretty quickly, having a hearing by the end of the month. I know this is what you were calling for.

EISEN: Yes. I wrote yesterday in CNN Opinion that these questions are too important for delay, the kind of delays that we encountered in our court cases in the first impeachment.


So, I was very gratified. We thought there would be a short administrative stay. I was very gratified to see that the D.C. circuit will have fully briefed and heard oral argument before the end of November on the 700-plus documents that will shed additional light.

There's a reason, Brianna, that Donald Trump is fighting so hard to keep these documents out of the public view.

KEILAR: Worth noting, all judges are Democratic appointments.

EISEN: Well, we don't look as we evaluate judges as Democratic or Republican. We really don't, Brianna. If you see how the courts responded to Donald Trump's incitement of insurrection to 2020, with his 60-plus bogus cases, the judges he appointed and other Republican judges were heroes. These, however, are good judges. They are three stars of the D.C. circuit, Judge Jackson, who was the judge in our Don McGahn, also a subpoena fight with the White House, gave a favorable ruling there. Judge Millet and Judge Wilkins, wonderful panel, they will not tolerate these crazy trump arguments.

Their variation on his big lie, Brianna, he argues that he still has presidential powers. It's the same refusing to admit that he lost the election. He's now dressing it up in legal garb. So, they're going to see right through that, and I think they're going to reject his arguments very briskly.

KEILAR: All right. We will be watching. And soon, we'll be watching soon. Norm Eisen, thank you.

EISEN: Thanks, Brianna.

BERMAN: Both the prosecution and defense have rested their cases in the trial Kyle Rittenhouse with closing arguments set to begin on Monday. Over the course of the proceedings, there have been several tense moments between Judge Bruce Schroeder and the lead prosecutor in the case. And also overnight, Rittenhouse's mother spoke out on television praising the judge.


WENDY RITTENHOUSE, KYLE RITTENHOUSE'S MOM: The judge is very fair. People that I talked to that lives 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.


BERMAN: Joining me now, Early Start Anchor and Attorney at Law Laura Jarrett and Assistant Law Professor of Brooklyn College Alexis Hoag.

Professor, the mother of the defendant likes the judge. What does that tell us?

ALEXIS HOAG, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF LAW, BROOKLYN LAW SCHOOL: Clearly. And I would expect as much from any mother. But I think it was going over and above to make that sort of public statement. And it then questions is this judge actually fair if the mother proactively is going on air to speak and vouch for his fairness? To me that gives me pause and reservation, and I question his fairness, which is clear.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, part of the problem is that from the very beginning, this trial has been so fraught because the judge from jump says you cannot call the people who were killed victims in the case but you can call them rioters, looters, arsonists. And so that's where the issues of fairness, I think, have been fundamentally at play from the very beginning. Whether or not it has any impact on the actual jury's verdict remains to be seen. So, much has actually happened outside the presence of the jury.

But we were just talking about during break. The judge has everybody clap for one of the defense witnesses yesterday, albeit he's a veteran. That's wonderful. But when you are clapping for just one man in the room who happens to be the defense witness, it bolsters his testimony in the eyes of the jury, at least arguably.

BERMAN: I want to come back to the judge in just a second. I do want to talk about Monday in the closing arguments. What does the prosecution now need to do given that there is a wide feeling that the defense put on a good case, that Kyle Rittenhouse may have been a convincing witness to this jury? So, what does the prosecution do?

HOAG: The prosecution has an uphill battle. And what's happening today outside of the presence of the jury is that the parties are deciding what the jury will receive as an instruction. And so what happens in this case and pretty much any prosecution is that the prosecutors indicate they want the top charges charged in the indictment. We have intentional homicide, intentional attempted homicide. And I think the prosecution knows they're not going to be able to prove those top charges.

And so they're going to be asking the judge for a lower, lesser included offenses, because for each of those criminal charges, the prosecution has to prove a mental state, an action and a causation. And when you have to prove specific intent to kill, that is the highest levels of intent. And so what is happening today, I think the prosecution is taking a hard look at their case. They've put on witnesses in the first five days of trial that actually supported the defense's case.


And we just had, as Laura mentioned, this defense expert who is being vouched for, which would have been okay if it wasn't in front of the jury.

And so I think the prosecution knows that they have to be focused and measured on the lower, lesser charges that are available.

BERMAN: The reckless charges.

HOAG: Exactly.

BERMAN: And for that to be successful, I guess what needs to happen? A lot of it would depend on what this judge then says to the jury.

JARRETT: That's why all the jury instructions which are typically such a slog for any trial glare (ph), and jury won't have to sit through but it's going to be really important to see what exactly the jury is instructed, because they go back to the room with a physical stack of instructions and have to try to work their way through all the elements. But they also have to -- in the closing arguments on Monday, the prosecutor has to prove these elements by reasonable doubt. It has to be beyond a reasonable doubt.

And the defense attorney, I think, has done, at least a pretty effective job at injecting some amount of doubt, maybe not every single charge as to every single person who was shot and those who were killed. But at least on some of these folks, I think the defense has injected a little bit of doubt when somebody rushed at him, somebody pointed a gun at him. The prosecution has not rebutted that. They have to show he was not in fear for his life. And I'm not sure that they have done that with all of these victims.

HOAG: Exactly.

BERMAN: Counselor, Professor, thank you both very much. I appreciate it.

HOAG: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee revealing she was pepper sprayed in a racist attack.

KEILAR: Defense attorney for one of the men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery told a judge.


KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR WILLIAM RODDIE BRYAN: We don't want any more black pastors coming in here or other -- Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week, sitting with the victim's family trying to influence a jury in this case. And I'm not saying the state is even aware that Mr. Sharpton was in the courtroom. I certainly wasn't aware.


KEILAR: We will speak with one of the black pastors who was there.

And ahead, Meghan Markle apologizing for misleading a British court, what she failed to tell a judge.



KEILAR: New this morning, Olympic Gold Medalist Suni Lee says she was pepper sprayed in a racist attack in Los Angeles recently. The U.S. gymnast says it happened in October when she was in the city for an appearance for Dancing with the Stars. CNN's Brynn Gingras is joining me now. Brynn, what happened?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brianna. I mean, Suni Lee essentially saying she felt powerless when she says this racist incident happened to her last month. In an interview, she said she was waiting for a ride after a night out in Los Angeles with friends, who were also of Asian descent, when a car drove by and people started yelling racist slurs at her and apparently told the group of women to, quote, go back to where they came from. Lee says she was pepper sprayed on the arm before that car took off.

And she said in this interview, quote, I didn't do anything to them. And having the reputation, it's so hard because I didn't want to do anything that could get me into trouble. I just let it happen. Lee, of course, is an Olympic gold medalist and the first Hmong-American to compete in the games. And this incident, Brianna, sadly yet another attack against Asian-Americans which we know skyrocketed during this pandemic. About 9,000 incidents have been reported the group, Stop AAPI Hate from March 2020 to June of this year. Brianna?

KEILAR: It's horrible. Brynn, thank you for that report.

Up next, the unusual objection from a defense lawyer in a high-profile murder trial in Georgia.


GOUGH: We don't want any more black pastors coming in sitting with the victim's family trying to influence a jury in this case.


KEILAR: One of those black pastors, as he put it, from the courtroom is standing by to respond right now.

BERMAN: And how a Nazi-looted Van Gogh painting not seen in decades will now help the heirs of its original Jewish owners.



BERMAN: The trial of the three men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery turning its focus to the owner of the unfinished home that's at the center of much of the case. Meanwhile, a defense attorney complained about black pastors in the courtroom.

CNN's Ryan Young live in Brunswick, Georgia with the latest on this. Ryan?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, John. Talk about a strange day in court. First of all, that testimony that you were talking about was on video. It was a video deposition. In fact, some of the jurors were having trouble keeping their eyes open. But the most exciting thing that happened in court yesterday was this outburst from the defense attorney that happened with the jury outside of the courtroom. In fact, take a listen to some of the things he had to say.



YOUNG (voice over): A day unlike any other in the trial of three men accused of murdering 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.

GOUGH: We don't want any more black pastors coming in here or other -- Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week.

YOUNG: Marked by a racially loaded request by Defense Attorney Kevin Gough, at one point misidentifying Reverend Al Sharpton who had been in the courtroom Wednesday to support the Arbery family.

GOUGH: We want to keep politics out of this case. So I'm asking the court to take appropriate steps to make sure that the gallery, which is already limited in this case, isn't being utilized for a purpose that could be viewed as improper.

YOUNG: Gough objected to nationally recognize civil rights leaders sitting in the courtroom beside the victim's family. The judge seemingly confused about what the defense wanted.

ROBERT RUBIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR TRAVIS MCMICHAEL: It is a reminder of the court's previous instructions to keep outside influences outside the courtroom.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a public courtroom.

YOUNG: At one point, Gough argument made a bizarre, racially-charged turn.

GOUGH: If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Col. Sanders with white masks sitting in the back, I mean, that would be --

YOUNG: And Judge Timothy Walmlsey cut him off, dismissing the request.

WALMSLEY: As long as things are not disruptive and it's not a distraction to the jury or anything else going on in the courtroom, so be it.

But I'm not going to blanketly exclude members of the public from this courtroom.

YOUNG: In a case where race has played a central role from the beginning, the request from the defense touched a nerve.

WANDA COOPER JONES, MOTHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: I'm very surprised to know that he frowned upon anybody, any pastor that would come in to sit with the family, to keep us encouraged, it was just insensitive.


YOUNG: In a statement, Al Sharpton characterized Gough's comments as pouring salt into the wounds of Arbery's family, saying it underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need spiritual and community support.

On Thursday, the state presented only one witness. Larry English Jr., the man who owned the unfinished Satilla Shores home Arbery was seen in the day of the shooting, was not able to testify in person due to a medical issue.

PAUL CAMILLO, PROSECUTOR: It seems to be a true and accurate representation of your house maybe in May or roughly thereof in 2020?


YOUNG: Instead, English testified in a deposition recorded in September that he put up cameras while his home was under construction out of liability concerns for people on his property.

ENGLISH: I have three or four cameras in front of the house, and one inside the living room and one inside the garage.

YOUNG: He testified that surveillance footage at the home captured people on the property several times in late 2019 and early 2020. In some instances, he called 911 about the intrusions.

ENGLISH: I got a trespasser there. He's a colored guy, got real curly looking hair. He's tattooed down both arms. And he's there kind of pondering around.

CAMILLO: Have you ever seen that person take anything that night?


YOUNG: English also called police when he saw a couple trespassing in the property in late 2019. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many were there?

ENGLISH: There was a male and female.

YOUNG: Gregory McMichael, his son, Travis, and William Bryan Jr. were accused of chasing Arbery in their vehicles and killing him in the neighborhood after Arbery was spotted inside English's home on February 23rd, 2020 by a neighbor. English told the defense he took up a neighbor's offer to keep an eye on the property.

RUBIN: And you received that message. And you were aware that Diego Perez was offering to essentially be a neighborhood watch for your property?


YOUNG: But he testified he did not make the same arrangement with the McMichaels.

CAMILLO: And at any point during your interactions with the McMichaels, did you ever give them permission to go on your property, express permission?


CAMILLO: Did you ever tell them (INAUDIBLE) your property?


YOUNG: Defense attorneys say the defendants suspected Arbery of burglarizing English's home after the neighborhood learned of the string of trespassing incidents and were attempting to make a citizen's arrest.

RUBIN: You made your neighbors aware, the one we have mentioned, that you had stuff stolen out of the boat, right?


RUBIN: And you wanted your neighbors, if they could, to help you catch the guy that had done it?


RUBIN: You never told them at any point that it wasn't stolen while the boat was on the property. It was stolen while it was parked at Sullivan's Heating and Air.

ENGLISH: I never told them that.

RUBIN: Because they were left with the impression that stuff had been stolen from your boat at 226 Drive.

ENGLISH: I guess so.

(END VIDEOTAPE) YOUNG (on camera): John, I've got to tell you, watching that video deposition yesterday all day long was very tough, especially for those who were in the courtroom. Because at some point, it just sort of dragged on. It was just hard to keep your attention to it. But I will tell you those comments have really sparked some outrage across the country of what was said in court.

Let's talk about today though, 9:00 court is starting again. Another police officer who arrived on scene will be in court facing questions about exactly what happened as the defense and prosecution try to move this case forward. John?

BERMAN: It was something. It was said out loud in court. I know it wasn't in front of the jury but it was for the country and the world to hear. Wow. Ryan Young, terrific reporting, thank you very much.

KEILAR: Let's talk now with one of the black pastors inside the court yesterday, Reverend William Barber. Okay.

Reverend, first of, I do just want to play again what the attorney said here. Let's listen.


GOUGH: If we're going to start a precedent starting yesterday, we're going to bring in high-profile members of the African-American community into the courtroom to sit with the family during the trial in the presence of a jury, I believe that's intimidating and it's an attempt to pressure, could be, consciously or unconsciously, an attempt to pressure or influence the jury.

We don't want any more black pastors coming in here or other -- Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here earlier this week, sitting with the victim's family trying to influence a jury in this case.

Would a bunch of folks came in here dressed like col. Sanders with white masks sitting in the back --


KEILAR: I mean, Reverend, what did you think when you heard that comment?

REV. WILLIAM BARBER, PRESIDENT, REPAIRERS OF THE BREACH: Well, first of all, thank you for having me on.


It's a bizarre comment by a lawyer who doesn't really have a case because his own clients had the -- their actions, their killing, their lynching were filmed.