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GOP's McCarthy Delays Vote with Marathon Speech on House Floor; Closing Arguments Set Monday in Trial over Ahmaud Arbery Killing. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 19, 2021 - 06:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Berman on this NEW DAY.


And Congress just pulled an all-nighter, or at least some members of Congress did. Kevin McCarthy's epic speech to stop Democrats from holding a major vote.

Plus, the Rittenhouse trial entering day four of deliberations. The one thing the jury wanted to take home with them.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The defense rests in the trial of the man accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery. Why putting a defendant on the stand might have backfired.

COVID boosters for all, at least all adults, maybe as early as today. We are waiting for a possibly huge announcement from the FDA.

KEILAR: Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is Friday, November 19.

And some breaking news. Kevin McCarthy finally done talking on the House floor, finally done making history, as well. The Republican minority leader delivering a more than eight-hour-long speech, essentially a filibuster, with the goal of preempting passage of President Biden's enormous social spending bill.

And it worked, at least for a while. Democrats scrapped their plans for a vote last night. And unlike Kevin McCarthy, they got a full night's sleep. Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling McCarthy's speech nothing more than a temper tantrum.

McCarthy, though, breaking her record, giving him the longest House floor speech. His airing of grievances went far beyond the Build Back Better plan, railing against Democratic opponents, the Biden agenda. He talked about Afghanistan, defunding the police. Carrots. You name it.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): I don't know if this speech is going to make a difference. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Well, it did make a difference in sleep schedules but probably not outcomes. In just a couple of hours, House Democrats say they will hold a vote. And they say they do have the votes to pass the Build Back Better plan.

The Senate's a different story. That's a matter for another morning.

I want to bring in CNN's Jessica Dean, who is alive and awake, which is a feat in and of itself, on Capitol Hill this morning.

This was history making last night. That much is, you know, objectively true. Beyond that, it's interesting to talk about what was accomplished there.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, John. This went on for 8 hours and 32 minutes, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy starting at about 8:38 p.m. last night.

And we were all here and kind of settled in, and then settled in a little longer. And it just wrapped up. He just wrapped up not too long ago.

So here's where things stand right now. The House is set to reconvene at 8 a.m. We are expecting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to wrap it up with some remarks. They do have some debate time left. They -- she also has unlimited time. But she's going to want to move this process along.

And then, after that, there could be more Republican procedural votes kind of slow this down. But ultimately, we do expect that this bill will be voted on and pass the House sometime this morning.

And once that happens, it of course, will then go to the Senate.

But again, hearing from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy last night, overnight, just railing against -- Brianna got at it -- just a number of things. Take a listen.


MCCARTHY: In a desperate attempt to save face and appease their extremist left-wing base, Speaker Pelosi has crammed even more radical policies into a partisan bill that costs trillions in dollars we don't have. For government-run programs that nobody wants, not even Democrat voters.

What the Democrats are proposing is out of touch in the extreme. What we have before us isn't a social spending bill. It's a pathway to socialism.


DEAN: Now, of course this is the second plank of President Biden's massive domestic agenda. And it includes things like pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, the expansion of Medicare to cover dental, and hearing, and vision; climate provisions; a number of things that Democrats really see as major priorities and that a lot of voters and Democratic voters support across the country.

So this is very important to the Democrats, very important to President Biden.

But John, as you mentioned, it faces a long and winding path once it goes to the Senate. And all eyes now go to Senator Joe Manchin. They need all 50 senators. He has expressed a lot of concern about a ton of these issues. The bottom line is what will he accept? We're going to find out, but we're keeping our eye on the House floor for the rest of the morning -- John.

BERMAN: Yes, Jessica Dean, please stand by. Because this vote could happen during this broadcast. And in and of itself, a big moment for the White House. But Jessica, thank you very much.

KEILAR: All right. Let's talk about all of this now with CNN political analyst and "New York Times" Washington correspondent Maggie Haberman; and CNN chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins.


I wonder if the White House, Kaitlan, thinks anything of this. Do they see this as an obstacle, what we saw overnight? Or is this just Kevin McCarthy sort of screaming into the wind; no one's listening at the White House?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think they're not surprised that Republicans wanted to delay this -- this vote for them. Because it's a victory for them. It's one step in the process, as Jessica was noting. But it's a big step for them, and it's been months in the making. And they would like to get it done sooner rather than later so they can move this on to the Senate and start getting that process started.

I don't think they think in the long run it's going to really change anything. Of course, they do still expect to have the votes when they do reconvene at 8 a.m. this morning. They're still hoping to get this passed before lawmakers start leaving town.

But I do think they were maybe expecting some Republican objections and attempts to delay this vote. I don't know that they're expecting 8 hours and 32 minutes of it from Kevin McCarthy. But I don't think it's that surprising to the White House.

And in the end, the result will be the same. But obviously, McCarthy was trying to make a point.

BERMAN: Maggie, if we could put up on the screen some of the things that McCarthy addressed in his more than eight hours of speaking out loud. He talked about baby carrots, McDonald's, Alcatraz, and "Red Dawn," which is a great film. "Wolverine." I'm all for it.

Be methinks for Kevin McCarthy, this might not have been as much about the Build Back Better plan in general or "Red Dawn" as about something else.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, No. 1, it is new to see people filibuster. It is new to see this kind of a House floor speech. That's different.

Clearly, this was not only about the bill. It was about a load of grievances. It was about food. And I clearly missed a bunch of it.

But what this is about, I think, for Kevin McCarthy is he wants to be speaker. And I think that the Republican Party has been defined by this ethos now that Trump put in place, which is fight, fight, fight, fight, fight. And so look like you're fighting. And even if it's not really going to delay passage of this bill, look like you're trying to keep it from -- from going through. So I think that's what McCarthy was doing.

And remember, McCarthy is facing blowback over the fact that there were 13 Republicans who voted,, you know, in favor of this bill to advance it, and he has been getting pressure to have, you know, kept them in line. Trump has been telling people privately he's frustrated with McCarthy.

So I think that you are -- take all that together and look at what McCarthy wants. If Republicans retake the House next year, we know he wants to be speaker. That's what his -- his goal is.

KEILAR: Yet, McCarthy wants to be speaker, but his former colleague and Trump ally Mark Meadows, he's not so sure. He's thinking, you know, maybe someone else should be speaker. Let's listen to that.


MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I would love to see the gavel go from Nancy Pelosi to Donald Trump as -- you talk about melting down. People would go crazy. As you know, you don't have to be an elected member of Congress to be the speaker. Wouldn't -- wouldn't you see -- She would go from tearing up a speech to having to give the gavel to Donald Trump. Oh, she would go crazy.


KEILAR: Yes, Kevin McCarthy is saying message received. Message received, Meadows. Don't you think, Maggie?

HABERMAN: I do. And I think that, you know, frankly, watching that interview, you know, you can almost see Steve Bannon, you know, as the ventriloquist moving Mark Meadows's mouth. Because this is Steve Bannon's, you know, whole dream. And Meadows was talking about enjoying this.

I think that Meadows was taking a shot at McCarthy. I think that Meadows is trying to help his own standing with Trump. And, again, playing to Trump's, you know, idea that McCarthy should have done more to keep this bill from passing, because it gives Biden an accomplishment.

BERMAN: Just to be clear, is Trump complaining about McCarthy behind the scenes?


BERMAN: That is interesting.

HABERMAN: Trump -- I also just wanted to clarify, I think. Trump complains about almost everybody behind the scenes at various points. So it doesn't necessarily mean he's going to do anything to try to block McCarthy, but that is what he's talking about now.

BERMAN: All right, Kaitlan. Over the next few hours, we expect the House will pass the Build Back Better agenda, maybe losing only one Democratic vote. It's a big -- it's a big day for this White House. They've been working a long time for this.

What about the Senate, what about this being the first day of the rest of the White House's life? How are they going to handle this going forward?

COLLINS: Yes, this is a big day, but it's not the biggest day for the White House. Because they know that they have a lot of -- a long road, essentially, once this is in the hands of the Senate.

Because it seems to actually be, with regards of, you know, the exception of Kevin McCarthy speaking for 8 and a half hours, pretty simple road to get this passed right now. It had not always been so before.

But the Senate is where the real challenges remain. Because there are still a lot of issues with this. And one is, as Jessica was noting, just getting this bill off the ground.

Because you've seen Senator Joe Manchin. He is not really hiding what he is thinking here. He's making very clear that he's not completely convinced that he is ready to take up this bill once it makes it to the Senate right away. I know Democratic leaders would like to get all of this wrapped up by Christmas. That timeline seems very iffy if you are talking to Democrats and to people inside the White House. But of course, we shall see what happens there.

But it's not just Senator Manchin who has the issues with maybe passing more federal spending at this time. You also see people like Senator Bernie Sanders complaining about the state and local tax deductions right now in their current provisions.


Because they think instead of this being a boost for the middle class, it's a big tax cut for a lot of wealthy families. And of course, that goes against exactly what the president has been selling on the road.

The White House views it as, Well, we want to get this bill passed and there are some Democrats who say they will not vote for it unless that provision is in there as it stands now.

So there are still basically a lot of things, is what I'm saying, that they still have to work on in the Senate going forward. The White House is well aware of that. So this is going to be, essentially, just jump-starting that process once the vote does get passed through the House.

BERMAN: All that, plus Mack Jones had a great game last night.

COLLINS: And roll Tide, of course. John and I, in every segment, it always comes back to Alabama.

KEILAR: As we Chyron you the chief Alabama correspondent.


KEILAR: Maggie and Kaitlan, consider yourselves invited to our NEW DAY potluck. There will definitely be baby carrots and probably some throat lozenges, as well. Thanks, guys.

BERMAN: So this morning, jury deliberations continue in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. What the judge allowed them to take home as they weigh their decision.

Plus, the defense resting its case in the trial of the man charges with killing Ahmaud Arbery. What the man who shot Arbery admitted on the stand.

KEILAR: And today, the CDC will debate boosters for all adults. And this could get FDA approval as early as today.


BERMAN: The jury in the homicide trial of Kyle Rittenhouse set to gin day four of deliberations. So far, the panel has been talking for 23 hours, and they've asked the court a handful of questions but stayed silent for most of yesterday.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz live in Kenosha with the very latest. And they wanted to take something home with them last night, Shimon.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was really interesting. First of all, the fact that we didn't hear anything from them yesterday is really fascinating, given how complicated some of these issues are, given how much is at stake here.

We heard nothing from the jury yesterday. They spent the entire day behind closed doors. We didn't see them until the end of the day when they wanted to go home.

But even something more interesting happens as they -- as they are being dismissed for the night. One of the jurors seated in the back, a woman. She raised her hand. The judge asked her if she had any -- if they had any questions. She raised her hand, and she asked the judge if she could take the instructions, the jury instructions, which is all about the law and the self-defense and the provocation, all the instructions on the law. She asked to take that home.

Very, very bizarre. Because that's something that I certainly have never seen, lawyers that I talked to, even some of the defense attorneys were saying that they had never seen anything like that.

So the judge allowing her to take these instructions home. And so he did. He said that's fine. You can take them home.

The jury is due back this morning. And we'll see. As you know, covering trials, Fridays are a day that juries usually like to come back. Obviously, we have no idea what's going on. But the fact that they've stayed so silent is really, really interesting, John.

BERMAN: It is interesting. Yes, Friday is a day that juries often come back with a verdict.


BERMAN: But you just never know. You just never know. We're watching. You're there. We appreciate you being there. Keep us posted, Shimon.

PROKUPECZ: Thank you.

KEILAR: Now another high-profile trial, a murder trial over the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Lawyers for the three men, who have been charged in Arbery's killing, have rested their case but not before one of the defendants, Travis McMichael, who shot and killed Arbery, returned to the witness stand, where he was grilled by prosecutors over his version of the deadly shooting.

CNN's Martin Savidge, live for us in Brunswick, Georgia. Martin, this may have been the most consequential day of the entire trial. Tell us about it.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I think you're absolutely right, Brianna. Good morning to you.

You know, the prosecution used eight days and 23 witnesses to use their case. The defense used just two days and seven witnesses.

But as you say, it's the last day of testimony that could make all the difference in this trial.


SAVIDGE (voice-over): Closing arguments will begin Monday in the state trial of the three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery outside Brunswick, Georgia.

Travis McMichael taking the stand for the second day as the prosecution finished their cross-examination of the man who fatally shot Arbery.

LINDA DUNIKOSKI, PROSECUTOR: Didn't brandish any weapon?


DUNIKOSKI: Didn't pull out any guns?

MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am. DUNIKOSKI: Didn't pull out any knife.

MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.

DUNIKOSKI: Never reached for anything, did he?


DUNIKOSKI: He just ran?

MCMICHAEL: Yes. He was just running.

SAVIDGE: Lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski pressing McMichael on why he and his father, Gregory McMichael, would think that Arbery would be trying to get into their truck.

DUNIKOSKI: So you're telling this jury that a man who has spent five minutes running away from you, you're now thinking is somehow going to want to continue to engage with you, someone with a shotgun, and your father, a man who's just said, "Stop or I'll blow your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) head off," by trying to get in their truck?

MCMICHAEL: That's what it shows, yes, ma'am.

SAVIDGE: McMichael giving this reason when the prosecutor challenged inconsistencies between his testimony and what he told police right after the shooting.

MCMICHAEL: I just killed a man. I had blood on me still. It was the most traumatic event of my life. I was -- I was scared to death.

SAVIDGE: She also asked why McMichael and his father did not initially tell police they were trying to make a citizen's arrest.

DUNIKOSKI: During your statement to the police, did you say that you and your father were trying to arrest Mr. Arbery? Did you?

MCMICHAEL: In the statement?

DUNIKOSKI: Yes, to the police.

MCMICHAEL: No, ma'am.

SAVIDGE: The prosecutor pushing for details of McMichael's self- defense claim.

DUNIKOSKI: And you were right there, and you just pulled that trigger immediately?

MCMICHAEL: No. I was struck. And he was -- we were face-to-face and being struck, and that's when I shot.


So he came up, I think is when we were hit. He started striking. He was on me. He had his shirt (ph), or you know, something to that point. And I had the gun. And I was too close to draw him in.

DUNIKOSKI: So you're saying that all of that took place, he's got your shirt, he's striking you. You've got the gun up in this thing, and you can't draw down on him, and it's just -- it's a struggle, and he's on you, and you're going back and forth in front of the truck. Is that what you're saying?


SAVIDGE: The defense calling neighbors to testify about perceived crime in the area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With that understanding, we rest.

SAVIDGE: Then resting their case in just two days. But before that, defense attorney Kevin Gough, who represents William "Roddie" Bryan, filing a motion for a mistrial after a state prosecutor asked a witness this.

LARISSA OLIVIERRE, PROSECUTOR: Do you believe that someone stealing is deserving of a death penalty?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection. Irrelevance, your honor.

SAVIDGE: The judge admonishing the prosecutor, calling the question inflammatory and irrelevant, but denying the mistrial request.

And Gough's third motion about people in the public gallery during the trial, specifically calling out civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, who was inside Thursday seated close to Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper Jones. Meanwhile, outside --.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter what he say, we're going to pray anyway.

SAVIDGE: Hundreds of black pastors and members of the community gathered with the Arbery family for a prayer wall.

REV. AL SHARPTON, FOUNDER, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: I did not come in the courtroom to protest. I came to pray.

SAVIDGE: After the day in court, Cooper Jones saying she wanted to hear Gregory McMichael testify, though he will not. But she's optimistic about how the trial will end.

WANDA COOPER JONES, MOTHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY: I want to remind you it was 74 days that we went without an arrest. Things happened. And now we're here. And I'm very confident that we will get a guilty verdict.


SAVIDGE: And a reminder: all three defendants in this case have been charged exactly the same. The most serious charges they face are malice murder and felony murder. And if convicted, they could all face life in prison -- Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Martin Savidge live for us in Brunswick, Georgia. Thank you.

BERMAN: Joining me now, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson and criminal defense attorney Stacey Richman. Joey, always a risk to put the defendant on the stand. Now that we have been through it and seen it all, how do you evaluate that decision?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Listen, hindsight 2020. It's always a game time decision. You evaluate. You see how the case is going.

I think that the defense made no headway with respect to the actual people's case, right? In the event that you're a defense attorney, you want to challenge, raise reasonable doubt. Challenge the case. I think they didn't do that.

And so I think you have to do the hail Mary. You have to be -- you know, there was something desperate about it.

Now, what are the imperatives to do that, John? I think there were three.

No. 1, you want to explain, if you are in the defense, what was going on and what led you to that critical moment. You want to explain why you availed yourself of the citizen's arrest law. Right? Crimes in the neighborhood, everything going crazy. Heightened alert. So that's why he's the guy, we had to chase him.

No. 2, I thought it was interesting. The judge denied the use of an expert witness as it relates to use of force. And essentially, they used this witness as an expert witness. He was talking about the use of force continuum. He was talking about escalation, de-escalation.

I think the third thing that they tried to do in a tricky way is really imbue him with the authority of law enforcement, trying to paint him as law enforcement. We know people don't like to convict police officers. So if you can give your client the sense of, hey, he's a cop, you know, he really is. He's one of us, the reality is, is that perhaps that plays favorably.

Remember who you're talking to. Right? The jury, 11 white, one black, perhaps it plays.

But on the issue of the cross-examination, devastating. Too many things that he really had to concede. And you don't know that he's grabbing for the barrel of a gun? You didn't tell the police officer that? So what was your justification, sir, for actually using self- defense in the first place?

You say he bolted when you said, Hey, I'm going to call the police. You didn't mention that. You said that to the jury. You didn't happen to mention that the day of.

So too many inconsistencies, too much to explain. I thought, ultimately, it hurt. But they have to take the risk. I understood the analysis in doing it. It just didn't work to the effect that it could have, should have, and I think that they hoped that it would. BERMAN: Stacy, and the subject, what Joey is talking about,

concessions that the prosecution forced out of the defendant there, I sort of saw three.

No. 1, that he had other options along the way, other than to chase him in the truck and ultimately pull the trigger.

No. 2, never brought up the idea of a citizen's arrest. He had to admit he never brought that up at the time.

And No. 3, exposing the discrepancies between what he told police and what was testifying on the stand. What's the most important thing, do you think, she got out of that?


STACEY RICHMAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think what they got as a whole is they completely deconstructed the concept of self-defense. It demonstrated that they were the initial aggressors, and they did nothing to step back to say, Hey, he is now the aggressor on me.

They held the line. The prosecution held the line and took that away from the defense. So I think this is extremely problematic for the defense.

BERMAN: Any points scored by the defense? Did they get anything out of this? If you're the defense lawyers, what are you hoping the jury saw in all this?

RICHMAN: The goal here was that the jury saw that he was afraid in the moment, and he reacted in self-defense in that moment. But in New York, the jury instructions are very clear on what you must consider. And one of those things is, if you are the initial aggressor, you do not have the right to self-defense.

But if you are the initial aggressor, and then the person that you are assailing comes upon you, then you may still avail yourself of self- defense. The question is did they turn that tide?

BERMAN: Joey, you've got about 30 seconds left. Chances that the jury looks at the three defendants differently?

JACKSON: And you know, I think that's always certainly could be the case, where they look and they evaluate. But birds of a feather, right, flock together. And the reality is that all of them have and are looked at and these people who should not have engaged in what they did. And looking and detaining and finding him very quickly, John.

I don't even think they should get an instruction, the jury is, on citizen's arrest law. If you looked at the defense that they made, they were talking about there was a burglary this day, that day, the other day, three weeks hence. Look, the reality is, is what was the crime committed at the time? That's what the law says. Nothing more.

RICHMAN: And there was nothing to connect Mr. Arbery to those crimes, and they ultimately admitted that.

BERMAN: Well, they didn't get it. They don't get an instruction on citizen's arrest, that would be devastating --

JACKSON: Devastating.

BERMAN: -- for the defense. Joey, Stacey, thank you.

RICHMAN: Thank you.

KEILAR: So this just in: Press secretary Jen Psaki at the White House just tweeting that President Biden is going to have his physical today. She says this is his routine physical, and the president will head to Walter Reed Medical Center later this morning.

BERMAN: All right. A major announcement in Europe. Austria is going into a full lockdown as COVID cases surge there.

KEILAR: And GOP candidate J.D. Vance, who is vying for an Ohio Senate seat, says he regrets being critical of Trump. Why he's trying to transform his image now.