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New Day

Defense Lawyers Blame Ahmaud Arbery For His Own Death; Judge: Al Gore "Was a Man" About Election Loss, Unlike Trump. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 23, 2021 - 08:00   ET



ENES KANTER, CENTER BOSTON CELTICS: But when it comes to China, they remain silent. So I am asking all the Americans who are watching right now. Every time you put on these shoes on your feet or you put that t- shirt on your back, there is so much blood and sweat and oppression on those items. So -- but I just believe that before you put your signature on this paper to sign deals with these companies, do some research. Educate yourself. Everybody knows about the labor, and everybody knows about the sweat shots. So to me, principles, morals, and values are way more important than money, and that should be for every athlete in the world.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now, in the process of talking about LeBron James, you also brought up Michael Jordan. You said that you think actually LeBron James is more active in the United States than Michael Jordan has been. I just want to play what you said about that.


KANTER: Not many people talking about Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan hasn't done anything, nothing for the black community in America besides just giving them money. I feel like we need to call out these athletes. I at least LeBron James is going out there and being the voice of all the people who are oppressed in America.


BERMAN: Now, that was a pretty serious swipe at Jordan there. And you did say he's used his money. To be clear, significant contributions to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American National History, The Chicago Boys and Girls Clubs, two family health clinics in Charlotte. So are those fair comments about Jordan?

KANTER: Silence is violence. And what is so crazy, not many people know about this, but black athletes in NBA are the one reaching out to me and telling me to talk about Michael Jordan, because besides giving any money, he hasn't done much. It is important to athletes to have this big platform to talk about some of the issues that are happening in America and all over the world, because they can educate so many young generation out there. And they can't inspire so many millions of kids out there. It is important to educate our kids, so we won't have the same problems we are facing right now. So I feel we should definitely call out the athletes when they care about money and their shoe sales too much.

BERMAN: How much do you care about whether you're stepping on people's toes right now? Because it really does seem like you're naming names.

KANTER: To me, it doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter you are the biggest star or you're this and that. If you are doing something wrong, I'm going to call you out. And it doesn't matter you're in the NBA, you're the biggest superstar, or you're this and that. To me, at the end, we're all human. And if I see as someone's rights are getting abused, I'm going to use my platform to help those people.

So to me it is important because my whole life I never cared about money too much or endorsement deals too much. To me morals and principles is over money for sure. So, it is a fight, but it is a good fight, and people do get uncomfortable. But someone had to do it. You see so many actors, like, John Cena, or so many athletes, or so many singers and rappers are scared to say a word because they care too much about their deals going on, business going on with China. To me, human rights and people's basic rights is way more important than any deal that you can offer me.

BERMAN: I think you're on a one-year deal with the Celtics right now. How do you think this will impact your career? Do you think you'll be playing basketball next year?

KANTER: Good question. I talk about Turkey for 10 years. I did not get one phone call. I talk about China one day, my phone was ringing once every two hours. But the important thing is NBA is the one encouraging every player out there to speak up about all the injustices happening all around the world, not just in America.

So to me it just little set when I get all this pressure from the league or pressure from some of the people, but I'm, like, you guys are the ones that told me to do this. Just because it is going to affect your business that is happening, I'm not going to stop talking about the issues that are happening, because people are losing their lives. I sit down and listen how they were getting tortured and gangraped every day.

So I don't -- you know what, I'm planning to play another five or six years, but if that is the reason I'm not going to play, that's the problem that the NBA should think about, because it's ridiculous.


BERMAN: Enes Kanter, I appreciate you coming on, I appreciate you speaking your mind and the statement you've chosen to make. Thank you.

KANTER: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news. BERMAN: And good morning to our viewers here in the United States and

all around the world. It is Tuesday, November 23rd. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar. And we do begin with breaking news. Just moments ago, the White House announced that the U.S. will release 50 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, part of the Biden administration's effort to fight rising oil and gas prices during the holiday travel season.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And joining us now to discuss is Jared Bernstein. He's a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Jared, thanks for being with us this morning here. Can you just give us a sense, how did the White House come to this number, 50 million barrels?

JARED BERNSTEIN, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: Well, this is Joe Biden doing precisely what he said he would do, using every tool at his disposal to help the American consumer get through this period where production isn't quite up to demand. So 50 million barrels includes 32 million of exchange, that is barrels that will come out of the reserve now, go back in later, and 18 million barrels that were already scheduled to go out from the reserve. And that's the amount that we think would be useful to help middle class consumers get through this period of elevated prices, helping to already push down oil prices. And we're going to see that at the pump soon as well.

KEILAR: So how much relief will this bring and how long will it last?

BERNSTEIN: We believe that it will last until the oil market comes down on its own. And so as I mentioned, we're already seeing some price effects. That's because this is a coordinated effort with numerous other countries -- Japan, South Korea, China, India, the U.K. So it is a pretty powerful punch.

And once that gets out there, we start to see deliveries of oil probably mid-December, but, again, we already have oil markets moving on this news, and so we believe that's going to show up at the pumps, helping middle class, low-income consumers as they get through this period.

KEILAR: OK, but help me out with what consumers should expect. Are we talking weeks? Are we talking, a couple weeks, are we talking several weeks? How much will gas be reduced? Can you get into those details for me?

BERNSTEIN: Loo, it's a global market with lots of different players in it. So I don't think I can give you exactly the number of cents that we should expect the price of a gallon of gas to come down. What I can tell you is that oil is already down 10 percent since this discussion began. That will show up at the pump, and it will show up as not just gas prices stop moving up as they have done, about a dollar up over the past year, but they'll start coming down as well.

KEILAR: OK, so how much are other countries going to be helping here? We're looking, China seems like it's on board, Japan, yes, maybe some limitations, South Korea, India, how much are these other countries releasing?

BERNSTEIN: We don't have a readout on that because I don't believe that information has been released. We're releasing, as we mentioned, 50 million barrels.

KEILAR: Do you think they'll match you?

BERNSTEIN: I think some of them probably will, yes.

KEILAR: You think some of them will match you. I ask, because as you're well aware, in June of 2011, during some actual supply interruptions, when the U.S. released 30 million and some partner countries released another 30 million, there was, as you were aware, a pretty limited dip. Look, a dip is always welcome, but you're talking about a relatively small dip in crude oil prices, and it only lasted two weeks. So what should we be expecting here?

BERNSTEIN: Certainly, more than two weeks. But also, you should think of this really as a bridge, a bridge between the current dynamics where simply the production, the supply of oil isn't enough to meet the demand that is a result of this really quite strong American economic recovery. Because of the rescue plan, the president helping get shots in arms and checks in pockets, we know we have pulled this recovery forward very significantly. We have unemployment down below five percent, 600,000 jobs per month. We have rising wages, we have over 10 million job openings. And this is putting some pressure on the demand side of the economy, well before many forecasters thought that would be the case.

And the supply of energy just hasn't kept up with it. So when President Biden said I'm going to use every tool I have to fix that mismatch between excess demand and supply, this is part of that, and it's going to help bridge us over to a period where prices should normalize on their own.

KEILAR: Jared, when you say that you think other countries will match, do you mean as individuals, or do you mean when you add them up together?

BERNSTEIN: No, I mean as individuals. But, again, this is something we'll have to see as some of this reporting becomes more clear.


KEILAR: OK, but just, you're basically saying that other countries, China or India, could be going for 50 million barrels themselves each?

BERNSTEIN: Again, we don't have that information yet. I think in the past we have seen incidents where they either matched or come close. So I just don't have a readout on that yet.

KEILAR: OK. I do want to ask you, because some Democrats in Congress want the president also to ban U.S. oil exports. Is the White House considering that?

BERNSTEIN: That is certainly not something I have any sort of a readout on at this point. The tool that we're talking about today is 50-million barrel release from the strategic reserve. It's already showing up and dampening oil prices and it's going to be at the pump.

KEILAR: Yes, no, no. And Jared, I hear you on that, but a ban on oil exports, do you have a concern that it would backfire, it actually could make oil cost more? Is that a concern that you and the president have?

BERNSTEIN: I think when it comes to oil, you're generally really talking about a global market. So one country's actions like that may not affect the global price. I think when you get this many countries tapping their reserves, then you're going to see, as I mentioned, I think a bridge price coming down until the global market price normalizes and the supply demand mismatch eventually fades.

KEILAR: All right, let's talk about inflation as you see it, as the White House sees it. What is the role of corporate America in inflation as the president's currently seeing it?

BERNSTEIN: Well, one of the things that the president has said recently, and this also applies to the energy market, is that he's going to be watching very carefully to make sure there is no price manipulation or gouging. One of the things that we have seen, and I just mentioned this, is you see the price of oil, a barrel of oil come down, you see the wholesale price come down, but you don't see the retail price respond quickly enough. And that's something that he's asked our Federal Trade Commission to take a close look at.

So I think the key there is for corporate America to just do what corporate America has historically done well, which is compete. If we see incidents where it looks like there is not the kind of competition that we expect going on, this president is going to say something about that.

KEILAR: So do you suspect -- it sounds like you have reason to believe that corporate America is manipulating prices?

BERNSTEIN: This is a note that the president said to the Federal Trade Commission, which asked them to look at it. It didn't reach a conclusion. It said the kind of facts I just gave you, the gap between the wholesale and retail price, and it said take a look at it.

But one thing economists do know in recent years is that in some industries -- energy, food, healthcare, hospitals -- there has been real concentration in retail, there has been real concentration of a couple of big industry players consolidating power within an industry and having a kind of pricing power that pushes back against the sort of competition that helps keep prices in line. And this is something our economic team at the direction of the president will continue to look at.

KEILAR: The president has renominated Jerome Powell to a second Fed term. Why go for continuity over perhaps a fresh view that could offer a new perspective?

BERNSTEIN: Stability, continuity, is at the heart of this. We're -- as the president said yesterday when he announced the nomination, this is a period of great uncertainty, but it's also a period of great potential. Some of that potential is actually being realized, as I said earlier. We have a very, very strong ongoing economic recovery. We see it in the job market. We see it in paychecks. We see it in consumer demand. I mentioned that earlier when we were talking about energy. And that's been partly the fiscal policy coming out of this White House, President Biden's rescue plan in particular. The building back better plan, the infrastructure plan, these are all pro-growth economic policies.

But they have been complemented by really top notch monetary policy from this Federal Reserve, helped get us through this challenging period, and continuing to do so, that kind of continuity very important to President Biden, which is why he made those nominations.

KEILAR: Jared, such an important time to be talking about this and to be talking about gas prices just ahead of the holiday here as people are getting ready to get on the road. Jared Bernstein, really appreciate you joining us this morning.

BERNSTEIN: My pleasure.

BERMAN: So just a few minutes from now, prosecutors will get the last word in the murder trial of the three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery before it heads to the jury, and that will happen today. They'll deliver the rebuttal following a controversial closing argument from defense lawyers that some say evoked racist images of the antebellum south.

This is what happened. First, the lead prosecutor argued the three defendants initiated the deadly encounter with Ahmaud Arbery and were not, as they claimed, acting in self-defense.


LINDA DUNIKOSKI, PROSECUTOR: All three of these defendants made assumptions, made assumptions about what was going on that day, and they made their decision to attack Ahmaud Arbery in their driveways because he was a black man, running down the street.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Lawyers for Travis McMichael, his father Greg and William "Roddie" Bryan painted them as concerned neighbors worried about reports of burglaries in the area and said it was Arbery's actions trying to avoid capture that led to his death.


JASON SHEFFIELD, DEFENSE LAWYER FOR TRAVIS MCMICHAEL: He told you about the thefts and the burglaries. The totality of the facts, why he believed what he did, he wanted to follow him, he wanted to talk to him, he wanted to stop him for the police to detain him. Don't be fooled by this word arrest. You don't have to announce you're under arrest.

KEVIN GOUGH: Why isn't Mr. Arbery asking for help? Why isn't he calling out, hey, somebody call 911? There's crazy people after me. Maybe that's because Mr. Arbery doesn't want help.

LAURA HOGUE, DEFENSE LAWYER FOR GREG MCMICHAEL: Turning Ahmaud Arbery into a victim after the choices that he made does not reflect the reality of what brought Ahmaud Arbery to Satilla Shores in his khaki shorts, with no socks to cover his long dirty toenails.


BERMAN: Joining me now is civil rights attorney, former New York prosecutor, Charles F. Coleman Jr.

Charles, I want to talk to you about what we're going to see today in the rebuttal, but, first, I have to ask you about what we heard from that defense attorney there, the long dirty toenails, because I know for you, it was evocative of some very specific and painful imagery.

CHARLES F. COLEMAN, JR., CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Absolutely right. What we saw was racism used as a legal strategy. What we saw in that moment was George McMichael's attorney deciding to evoke images of a runaway slave and how she chose to characterize Ahmaud Arbery in that moment.

And for the life of me, I can't understand why that may be, but the only answer I have is that when you're an attorney, you're trying cases, you have to know your audience. So something about that venue, something about that forum, something about that jury has given her the inkling that she may be able to trigger something latent, some sense of bigotry or racism somewhere in that courtroom that is going to be to her client's advantage.

But what I saw in that moment, like so many others was reprehensible, and it is unquestionable that in that moment, what she tried to do was characterize Ahmaud Arbery as if he were some runaway. And as if her client and the other two defendants were part of a slave patrol intended to track him down and bring him in. And I find that to be extremely problematic, I have no idea why she would have engaged that other than she feels like it is going to resonate with the jury somehow.

BERMAN: But that's it, reprehensible as you said there, but she clearly thinks it will work or might work or that she needs it to work.

COLEMAN: I think one of the things that is very interesting about this is that the prosecution has stayed away from race, where as the defense particularly yesterday during the summations really dug in to that issue. And, again, when you're a trial attorney, you have to know your audience.

So being -- thinking about the demographics in Brunswick, Georgia, the fact you have 11 white jurors, one black juror, it really may be that they think they have a better chance to deal with race in that way than the prosecution does in terms of pointing out that Ahmaud Arbery was a black man who was hunted down and gunned down by three white men. They mentioned it yesterday, very briefly during their summation, very briefly. If you think about the totality of the trial, it was the first time that the prosecution ever named it. Never called it out for what it is.

So I don't think that's by accident. Again, being here in New York, that may be a dynamic we don't necessarily understand given the demographics and the cultural makeup of that jury and that town, but something about that courtroom made them feel comfortable doing it.

BERMAN: So we're just 20 minutes or so now from the rebuttal. This is the prosecution getting the last word, getting a chance to react directly to the defense closing argument, so what do you think they need to do in just a few minutes, the prosecution?

COLEMAN: I think they need to take a moment to address all of the technical issues that were brought up during the defendant's summation, I think they need to answer the questions or address the issues as to why the arguments made during closing arguments do not matter, why they are not things that the jury needs to be hung up on and I do think they need to close the door on this issue of race. It has been an elephant in the room. It has been the 13th juror since this trial began.

And so I don't necessarily know, now that it has been placed front and center by those defense attorneys, I don't see any use in the prosecution looking to avoid it. They have to have the conversation, even if they only touch on it, in as much to acknowledge that it exists.


It has to be addressed during the rebuttal for the prosecution in order to finally close the door on this issue and effectively sell this case to the jury.

BERMAN: We'll see, in just a few minutes.

Charles Coleman, thank you very much for being with us.

COLEMAN: Thanks, John.

KEILAR: More Trump allies subpoenaed by the House January 6th Committee, what we're now learning about Roger Stone and Alex Jones' alleged role.

And stunning new video of insurrectionists attacking police as they defended the Capitol on January 6th.

BERMAN: And just in, a new criminal flash mob looting and ransacking a Nordstrom store. What's going on with this trend?


KEILAR: At a plea hearing for January 6 rioter Adam Johnson, who you may remember as the guy who smiled for cameras as he carried Nancy Pelosi's lectern, the judge in the case offered his personal feelings about former President Trump's integrity as a man, comparing him to former presidential candidate Al Gore. He said, Al Gore had a better case to argue than Mr. Trump, but he was a man about what happened to him, he accepted it, and he walked away.

Joining me now to discuss is Kaitlan Collins, CNN chief White House correspondent and David Gregory, CNN political analyst.

You know, this was a really interesting moment, Kaitlan. It is worth pointing out this judge was appointed by George W. Bush, right?


He wasn't appointed by a Democrat.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I think that was actually fascinating about that, because he was talking about, of course, that election loss which did lead to Bush being in office and, of course, appointing this judge. But I think the broader point the judge is making, we have seen play out throughout a lot of these January 6th defendants coming out is saying these people were used as pawns of the former president. And that they were used to advance of course his false claims about the election on that day.

He himself did not go up to the Capitol that day, but they all went and in part of the remarks I was reading from the judge, in addition to saying Al Gore had a better case than Trump did and he did not act anywhere near in the way that the former president responded, he was talking about this person, you know, kind of being naive, and just believing what the former president said, and coming to Washington because of that, and going and committing that act and saying he's concerned, this was someone who could do something like that, again, because he's under this belief of what the former president had been arguing.

KEILAR: Yeah, because the judge here, David, he draws this line directly from this guy, to the big lie, and he points out that, you know, President Trump hasn't -- he's not only not abandoned it, he's still going full throttle with the big lie.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and I think Kaitlan's point about deterrence, right? Talking to this particular defendant in sentencing him as if to say, you know, don't be fooled again is an important point because there is a lot of public consumption in all of this.

There is another side to this, though, which is I don't think it is helpful, I don't care who appointed the judge, to have judges offering their political statements or saying something is personal about this about the president. I think one of the things that has been really important about the conduct of our institutions during the Trump era is that they held strong.

And I just don't think it is helpful for, you know, for a federal judge to be giving that kind of verbal support to, you know, people out there who want to get on their soap box about all this anyway.

KEILAR: Look, I think that's a really interesting point to discuss. I will say though, David, some of the institutions that held have been dismantled since the election.

GREGORY: Well, not the federal judiciary. I mean, you know, the Supreme Court held firm, federal judiciary held firm, I mean, you know, I think it is important to recognize that, and I think that these partisans, look at what Steve Bannon is doing, he wants to use the indictment against him, which is with regard to Congress, to use it as a soap box and I think, you know, Justice Department officials have been wary about that.

And they understand, even in the charging decisions, you know, and they're getting it from both sides, they're going strong or not strong enough, but the extent to which, you know, these folks have all -- January 6th, tried to use this to advance their political aims is something that I think judges ought to be mindful of.

KEILAR: Let's talk about a Senate candidate backed by Trump or I guess formerly backed by Trump, Sean Parnell, right? He just got a ruling in his child custody case, and with his -- he's getting a divorce.

And he has partial physical custody, right, but a minority, and he has no legal custody. His wife now has sole legal custody of the children. He's pulled out of this race. What does that tell us about, you know, where Trump's word, where his endorsement and maybe where the line is for him on who he can be okay with?

COLLINS: Yeah. So, this is who former President Trump endorsed back in September. This is a very competitive seat that Pat Toomey is going to be leaving when his term is up in Pennsylvania. Of course, there are a lot of Democrats who would like this seat. There is a big question about whoever the candidate is going to fill this spot, what that's going to look like.

And I do think this is a battle that has been playing out in courts with these allegations made very public, you know, sadly for these children who are very young when it comes to that situation. But when you look at it from the Washington point of view and who has been endorsing Sean Parnell, of course, former President Trump did, you've seen some Republicans, though, not want to do so.

Like Senator Rick Scott, you interviewed about this, kind of hedging and saying, we'll see how this primary process plays out before we make any decisions on this. But if you look at the allegations in and of themselves, they're really disturbing.

And, Sean Parnell has denied them and said he'll appeal this decision by the judge, but they're very disturbing. But it also fits a pattern of what you're seeing from other candidates. Herschel Walker, in Georgia, is trying to run for Raphael Warnock's seat and he's had a series of allegations made against him as well.

So I do think it raises broader questions about who they're willing to endorse if they think they are politically viable and this is someone they believed was, of course now he's suspended his campaign, and we'll see where it takes them. This is a very competitive seat in Pennsylvania.

KEILAR: David, what are you reading in this?

GREGORY: Well, obviously Donald Trump doesn't care if you're accused of sexual assault since he has been and his position is just always deny everything.