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Audio Released of Former President Trump Defending "Hang Mike Pence" Chants Made by January 6th Capitol Insurrectionists; Judge in Kyle Rittenhouse Murder Trial Draws Controversy for His Treatment of Prosecution. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired November 12, 2021 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
AMINATOU SOW, HOST, CNN AUDIO'S "WHEN DIANA MET" PODCAST: That is the understanding of that relationship. But I think that even today with a lot of hindsight, I know that I certainly have very different feelings about what that lunch meant. And so we really just look at tiny moments like that and try to -- and try to make them a little fun and a little more accessible to the public.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Well, look, it's fascinating and I will say, even for people who are not into the royals, there is something so interesting about Princess Diana, and we really are excited about this podcast, and I think everyone who gets a chance to check it out will be looking at this through a different lens. Aminatou Sow, thank you so much.
SOW: Thank you so much. Have a lovely day.
KEILAR: You, too.
And so new episodes of CNN Audio's "When Diana Met" podcast are going to premiere on Wednesdays. You can find them on CNN Audio or anywhere that you get your podcasts.
And the finale of the CNN original series "Diana" is airing Sunday night at 9:00 eastern on CNN.
NEW DAY continues right now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar. It is Friday, November 12th. And breaking news, newly released audio this morning of former President Trump defending the threats made by the January 6th Capitol insurrectionists to hang Mike Pence. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
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 heard that he was in good shape, no. Because I had heard he was in very good shape. But, no -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You heard those chants. That was terrible, the --
TRUMP: He could have -- well, the people are very angry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were saying "Hang Mike Pence."
TRUMP: It's common sense, John, it's common sense that you are supposed to protect -- how can you -- if you know a vote is fraudulent, right, how can you pass on a fraudulent vote to Congress?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Trump's remarks were made during a taped interview with Jonathan Karl of ABC News for his new book "Betrayal" which is going to be out next week. Pence was, as you may recall, in the Senate chamber during the insurrection, and then after refusing to stall the certification of the election, he had to, as you can see here, be rushed to safety as rioters breached the Capitol, eventually getting into the Senate chamber, some of them chanting this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Joining us now, CNN senior political analyst John Avlon and CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig. First, John, to you, Donald Trump is justifying the calls to hang Mike Pence.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. We have hit something new in American history. Never before has a president been on record approving of a violent mob trying to kill his vice president. And the reason I think you'll want to pull that back is because we get numb to Donald Trump's insanity and lies sometimes. But this is an ex- president effectively endorsing and rationalizing the murder of his vice president as a means to overturning an election to keep him in power. This is so sick that it is worth stopping and paying attention.
And also, for any Republicans who are listening, if you are still backing this man for president in 2024, you're endorsing this. You own this if you still support it.
BERMAN: This is -- there is no ambiguity in what he just said there. It's a single entendre. These people are saying "Hang Mike Pence!" and Donald Trump says, yes, man, I understand why.
AVLON: More than that, it's common sense. It's common sense usually in most sane people's minds to defend the Constitution, defend your vice president. He says it's common sense to want to hang Mike Pence.
BERMAN: Elie, I think in hearing this there is a whole legal can of worms that has been opened here, maybe on several fronts. First and foremost, the very first part of what Donald Trump said was that he was being updated on the vice president's condition. And we've had some reporting that Donald Trump was watching the insurrection on TV, and Maggie Haberman and others are saying he liked what he saw, but this is the former president saying he was being updated as to what was going on there. How significant is that?
ELIE HONIG, SENIOR CNN LEGAL ANALYST: John, that's a crucial fact. Big picture, first of all, this is a constitutional nightmare. This is a constitutional worst-case scenario. The utter madness of a president, as John just said, who is endorsing supporting these people who are attacking his vice president.
Now, to the specific point, what it goes to is the president's intent. And this is what investigators in Congress need to be thinking about and in the Justice Department.
People who are defending the president and said when he stood in front of that rally, when he said be there January 6th, we'll be wild. When he said we're going to go down to Congress, and we're going to -- we're going to fight like hell. Defenders of the president have said, well, what he meant is go down there and picket and carry signs and exercise political speech. However, this shows that they were doing -- when they were in there breaking windows and attacking the vice president, they were doing exactly what Donald Trump wanted, and hoped, and intended. And that issue of intent should be at the heart of any congressional inquiry or any prosecutorial inquiry.
BERMAN: It has specific relevance to things that are being considered or deliberated today, right now. It has to do with the executive privilege claims and the possible contempt by former chief of staff Mark Meadows, former adviser Steve Bannon, not to mention these documents that the January 6th committee wants to get its hands on. How does this new audio impact all of that?
HONIG: Oh, it is an absolute reminder of the vital importance of what Congress is doing today, right now, at this hour. This is why it is so important that we, the public, hear testimony from the inner circle. I don't care how loyal they are to Donald Trump, Meadows, Scavino, Bannon, all the people who were physically with him on January 6th, they need to come forward. They need to be compelled if necessary. And if they're not willing they need to be prosecuted, because it is vital we know what Donald Trump was doing during the attack on January 6th. That will tell the story. All the spin in the world doesn't matter. If he was there cheering them on, pleased, supporting them, like we just heard in that tape, that's obviously a violation of his constitutional duty, and I argue that's criminal as well.
AVLON: Fundamental violation of the constitutional obligation, of course. And look, the issue of a president, cheering on, in effect, a violent mob trying to kill his vice president is nothing that is remotely covered by executive privilege. This is everybody's business. This goes to the heart of our democracy, and all the documents must be released, and all the testimony must be compelled. There is nothing more serious than this, and any Republican who tries to put their head in the sand. And I'll mention, by the way, what Mike Pence says about this, because his impulse has been to say -- BERMAN: You want to bet? You want to bet?
AVLON: Yes, I think, unfortunately, we're both going it take the under, right? Because Mike Pence is going to find a way to rationalize his boss calling for his own execution. And if that's not emasculating and disqualifying in addition, I don't know what is. That's just pathetic.
BERMAN: We say this day differently.
AVLON: Yes. I don't hear this tape the same way as some people. He cares about my feelings.
BERMAN: It is like the song from "Chicago," and I can't remember the exact name, like, I saw him as living -- he saw himself as living, I saw him as dead. That's how they see things differently here. Again, single entendre, the former president of the United States justifying those who wanted to hang the former vice president. That's what just happened. John, Elie, thank you very much.
AVLON: Thanks, John.
KEILAR: Still ahead, a judge throwing the book at a Capitol rioter who punched a cop. His lawyer will join us live. Plus, a black police officer targeted by his boss with a KKK sign breaks his silence. He says a lot more happened besides this. You're going to hear from him right here live.
BERMAN: And the mother of Kyle Rittenhouse defending the controversial judge as that trial heads to closing arguments. Who is here? Don Lemon. Don Lemon is here to talk about two high profile cases now captivating the nation.
BERMAN: This morning, two trials capturing the nation's attention. We're awaiting closing arguments in the case against Kyle Rittenhouse that are set for another day of testimony as three men face charges in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Joining us now, the host of CNN's DON LEMON TONIGHT, Don Lemon. He is the author of "This is the Fire, What I Say to My Friends about Racism."
DON LEMON, CNN HOST, "DON LEMON TONIGHT": Good morning.
BERMAN: There is a lot going on in these two trials.
BERMAN: And there are people who will make comparisons between the two, and you're welcome to do that if you'd like. But first, in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, as you're watching this, Don, I know you've got some pretty strong emotions about what you're seeing.
LEMON: I think people think it is normal. I listen to our political pundits and political pundits on all channels, and they seem to -- I guess they're used to giving deference to a judge. BERMAN: The judge's behavior.
LEMON: The judge's behavior. And most people are not in courtrooms every day like that. And if that is the behavior that is happening in courtrooms every day, Houston, we have a problem, Kenosha, we have a problem, America, we have a problem.
I think people are afraid to -- especially I have people on, on my show, who are still actively pursuing cases that are -- are fighting cases that are in front of that judge, and maybe they don't want to say anything about it. But his behavior is at the very least unusual, and concerning, because we talk a lot about civility. And you look at the segment you had before, with the former president seeming to say it's OK for people to, want to hang the vice president, and that sort of behavior and what has happened to us in society now.
This judge yelling at a prosecutor, anyone in the courtroom, treating anyone the way he treats I think is problematic. And I don't think it's normal. And people -- you can decide or not if you think he's biased. Most of the people I've seen on television who analyze, does some analysis of courtrooms, seems to think there is a bias towards the defense. Usually, this judge is very pro prosecution and now he's sort of -- seems to be very pro defense, treating Kyle Rittenhouse as if he's his grandson, just berating the prosecution. No one needs to be berated like that in the courtroom.
I understand that judges, attorneys, prosecutors, they have very tough jobs. But does that need to happen? Does he need to make jokes about Asian food not arriving because it is on a boat on Long Beach in California? Whether he was being racist towards Asians or insensitive or not, he said in one breath that it shouldn't be political and wouldn't allow a question about a witness's bias because a witness works for a far rightwing publication, but that shouldn't be about politics, but he's making jokes about the supply chain.
It does not compute. I think people see what is happening.
So this is the perfect case, this one, and the one that is happening in Georgia, these are perfect cases to bring life to what happens in our criminal justice system, in the court system, because everybody, most of the people, they think it is normal. I've been dressed down by a judge before, I've been whatever -- maybe it shouldn't be that way. Maybe this is evidence that we need to reform our court system and our criminal justice system.
Just want to leave people with a picture here. Imagine if Kyle Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old black kid --
BERMAN: That's a different issue.
LEMON: -- with a gun. How would people feel, how would the judge treat him, how would
pundits think about this case? What about the people on the right who are making Kyle Rittenhouse out to be a choir boy because he went across state lines and inserted himself into a situation where he had nothing to do with, was carrying a gun that he wasn't supposed to carry because he was too young, it was illegal for him to carry that gun? And he wanted to do it because he was cool, if a black kid did that, killed two people and injured another person.
How would America feel about that? Regardless of what the defense -- once you're in the courtroom and the legal system, what Kyle Rittenhouse says to the defense or whatever, that's a whole other thing. Think about public opinion and public perception, and what would be allowed in our society, I think it would be a completely different feeling about the people who are television talking about this and analyzing how the judge's antics and the legal situation..
KEILAR: When we're talking about the role of race, not only in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial, but also in the trial of the men who shot -- pursued and shot Ahmaud Arbery.
KEILAR: Yes, one of them killed Ahmaud Arbery. There is this theme of white wannabe vigilantism that I think encapsulates both of these trials and I wonder what you think about -- look, laws aside, how is the defense doing aside, what do you think about just this idea that this is something people do, that in some places this is still okay.
LEMON: It is the same idea as I was saying about the judge, this is okay because people are used to it. This is the ultimate entitlement, that, again, you can insert yourself into a situation with a gun that you're not supposed to be carrying, kill two people, injure, and it is -- you're made to be a hero by the public.
You -- you see someone jogging down the street, and you take it into your hands, you think it is your responsibility to stop that person, when you're not even sure if they are committing a crime because, what, it is your street, it is your town, it is your country. It is the ultimate degree of entitlement, when people believe that this is how they're supposed to be.
What the right is saying about Kyle Rittenhouse is that when the government didn't do its job, so it took a 17-year-old kid to come in and do what was right, that's vigilantism. That's not what -- we're not supposed to be vigilantes. We're not supposed to take justice into our own hands.
Imagine if every single person in America did that. Imagine if you called for a black men or black folks to be armed and go out in the streets and, you know, do what they think, justice, take it back, remember what they did to you and slavery and whatever, go and take things -- imagine if people were condoning that or doing that. Would there be a different perception in this country about who should and shouldn't carry guns? Would our gun laws be different? I think so. There is a double standard. There is an ultimate degree of
entitlement. This is what I'm supposed to do because this belongs to me, meaning the street, this town and this country. I think it is tough for people to hear that, it is the absolute truth.
I don't walk down street saying this is my -- I pay taxes here and therefore I -- no, if I see someone breaking the law, I call the cops. That's what they're there for. It is supposed to be law and order. This isn't about law and order. This is about unlawful conduct and disorder.
BERMAN: Brianna had an amazing conversation with the Reverend William Barber in the last hour about what I'm going to play right now. Things that were said out loud and the jury wasn't in the room, and this was in the trial of the man accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, the jury wasn't in the room, but other people were and the cameras were, listen to this from the defense lawyer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEVIN GOUGH, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: We don't want any more black pastors coming in here or other -- Jesse Jackson, whoever was in here this week, sitting with the victim's family, trying to influence the jury in this case.
And I'm not saying the state is even aware that Mr. Sharpton was in the court, I certainly wasn't aware of it until last night. But I think the court can understand my concern about bringing people in who really don't have any ties to this case other than political interests, and we want to keep politics out of this case. If a bunch of folks came in here dressed like Colonel Sanders with white mask sitting in the back, I mean, that would be --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Was that sound bite from 1960? I mean, what is that? This outside agitators and rebel rousers, we don't want them in our town, this Dr. King, these people who are coming in, we're used to running our town, our city, the way we run it, we don't need outside agitators. Come on, you know what that is.
There are many people who go into a courtroom from every day, there are celebrities who sit in courtrooms because they're interested in cases. It is a public right for people to sit in a courtroom. So, I understand they don't want undue pressure. They may think this person is a celebrity, or somehow and may have some influence.
But to say that, and to think that way, it is, it is ridiculous.
BERMAN: And consider this, that lawyer thinks that it is helping his case.
LEMON: Yeah, he thinks it is okay. Again, this is our town, our city, and these are the rules, this is how it should be run, why do we have outside agitators coming in? Jesse Jackson wasn't even in the courtroom.
Jesse, by the way, can't travel, what have you, but -- this is where we are, where we are in America right now. And I think what I feel good about is that people like us, right, who are on the right side of history, who obey the rules, who understands the history of this country, that we have this platform to be able to bring light to this ridiculousness because there are people in America who think it is okay to behave that way and you have someone in the highest office of the land, leading by example.
BERMAN: Don Lemon, thank you.
LEMON: Next time I'll say how I really feel.
BERMAN: Next time, I want you to feel like you can say things, Don. Open up next time.
LEMON: BK, come back.
KEILAR: Miss you.
BERMAN: You can see him tonight on "DON LEMON TONIGHT".
Growing tension between health officials over approving booster shots for all adults.
KEILAR: And the judge handed down the toughest sentence yet to a capitol rioter. We'll talk to the man's lawyer about it.
BERMAN: New this morning, "The Washington Post" detailing a tense debate within the Biden administration over COVID booster shots. Senior health officials are pushing to make boosters available to all adults, but the final decision would come from the CDC director and "The Post" says Dr. Rochelle Walensky expressed caution and wants to scrutinize the data from vaccine makers first.
Joining us now, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health.
Dr. Jha, always a pleasure.
Look, scrutiny and analyzing data, I don't think anyone is opposed to that. Broadly speaking at this point, why not lean into the idea of boosters? What would be the possible risk?
DR. ASHISH K. JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yes, good morning. Thank you for having me here. So, first and foremost, I agree with the premise of your question. I think it is important to understand what is the risk-and-benefit right now? We should be led by the evidence.
And my read of the evidence that is out there is that all adults would benefit from a booster six months after their second shot. Now, obviously, FDA and CDC have a process, they should go through that process quickly and make their recommendations. For me, the evidence is leaning pretty heavily towards making vaccines -- vaccine boosters available for all adults over 18, as long as they're six months out from the second shot.
BERMAN: I want to ask you a big question that weighs on me because cases are at best static, perhaps creeping up a little bit in the country. Vaccination rates are going up. At this point, I don't think tens and tens of millions of more adults are going to get vaccinated if they haven't been vaccinated. More kids might get vaccinated. I also don't think more people are going to start wearing masks in more places than they are.
So it seems we are where we are. And I want to know what happens as we move forward, as fewer people wear masks as the vaccination rate doesn't skyrocket, what is going to happen in America over the next few months?
JHA: Yes, so, the other big thing that is about to happen is thanksgiving and the holidays. Where people travel, people get together with each other, and we know what happened last year, we saw big spikes in cases right after the holidays.
So that's what I am worried about as I look out to the next few weeks. And what is going to happen is in families fully vaccinated, things will go reasonably well and it will be safe, in places where you have people who are unvaccinated getting together, people get infected, particularly in the northern half of the country where the weather has gotten colder, I'm very worried about what will happen over the next six weeks and obviously all of it, at this point, is preventable. There's no good reason why people need to be getting sick and hospitalized and die.
BERMAN: And this will predominantly happen among unvaccinated people, you were saying. This gets to my other question, long-term, something we all need to think about what do we know about breakthrough infections in this case? Those who are vaccinated and get boosters, there are breakthroughs, but what do really need to worry about, if anything, with those?
JHA: Yeah, so I think couple of things. When I say it will be largely among unvaccinated people, that's true. Unvaccinated people who infected, most breakthroughs will be mild, but for higher risk individuals, older people, people with chronic diseases, those breakthroughs can be quite serious.