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Fourth Day of Deliberations in Potter Trial; Maxwell Jury Requests Review; House Committee Seeks to Interview Jordan; Some Cities See White Christmas; Holiday Air Travel Takes Off; Families Face Financial Cliff without Child Tax Credit; Texas A&M Out of Gator Bowl. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired December 23, 2021 - 06:30   ET



JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Say that it's a very difficult thing when you look at the process of our system, you're looking at 12 people trying to get something right. We know the jury consists of six men, six women. We know that it has, you know, what is it, two Asians, it has eight whites and one woman. I think that's the math that comes to 12. African-American woman, that is.

But, you know, you have different perspectives. And so what I'm saying is, whenever you ask 12 people to get in a room to come to accord, it's a very difficult thing. And then when you muddy that up with people who, you know, on the one side are very low to convict police officers. She testified very compelling. She was crying. She was contrite. The defense basically saying nullify, jury nullification, forgive her, you know. She admits, of course, to the essential elements of everything that she did.

And I just think, Erica, at the end of the day, in my view it's simple, you have competing factions. One that says we don't want to convict. It was an accident. She didn't mean to do it. Let's just move on. And another faction that says, hold her accountable. She told you she was reckless. She told you she was at least negligent. I'm not going home until you agree with me that she's convicted. And I think that's what it comes down to.

And final thing is, we didn't get one note yesterday. So that means they're really in that room trying to hammer it out. And I think that's a very favorable thing.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: So good that they're trying to hammer it out.

Paul, what do you think the chances are of a hung jury?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Oh, I think that's still a possibility in this case. But just harkening back to what Joey was talking about and the questions the jury has asked, they've only really put in two questions. One, which was, I think, on Tuesday was, judge, what happens if we can't reach a consensus. All right, so they're worried about not reaching a consensus. Now that means hung jury. But they followed that then with a question about looking at the

actual weapons in question. They were zip tied in a box. And the jury actually wanted to handle the pistol that Officer Potter handled and also the Taser. Now that says to me this is a hard-working, diligent jury that has gone back and said, we're going to go through all the facts again to see if we can get everybody on the same page here.

So they're struggling to reach a verdict in this case. And I think you have to give them a lot of credit to do that. And I think it's a tough time on a jury to be deliberating. You know, the holiday season, everybody wants to get home and be with their families, especially in this time with, you know, with the virus spreading throughout the country, and yet they're diligently working.

So I think, in the end, they're probably going to reach a verdict.

HILL: All right we'll be watching for that.

Paul, let's kick off Ghislaine Maxwell with you this time. Joey mentioned, of course, those jurors sent home for the holiday. They'll be back on Monday.

They did request, though, some more transcripts from the accusers, from the alleged victims there. And, Paul, you also noted they requested a binder. Why did that stick out to you? Why is that important?

CALLAN: I -- you know, there's just something about it. I mean I -- I tried cases for a lot of years. So, probably over 30 years, including a lot of murder cases. I never had a jury ask for a binder. And, to me, if you're going to find somebody innocent, you don't need a binder to do that, right? You just have to have doubts about the truth of the charges.

However, calling for the binder really sounds like they're being very, very meticulous in putting together the evidence that I suspect is going to result in a guilty verdict ultimately. It's just speculation on my part, but it's such an odd request.

The second thing, of course, that happened yesterday was, they asked for the testimony of Juan Alessi (ph), who was the butler in this case. There's actually a butler in this case, can you imagine? And he characterizes Miss Maxwell as coming in and becoming the lady of the house, really taking over. But he says some things that really cohobate Jane, the victim, who is one of the people going into that binder probably, because he said she was 14 and she was giving massages to Epstein and she -- he seems to suggest that Maxwell had to be aware of it because there were sex toys actually found in Maxwell's bathroom, which would indicate an awareness that there were sexual activities going on in the massage room.

So, tough stuff to talk about this early in the morning, but I think they're working hard too. And after the Christmas holiday, you might see a verdict in that case.

HILL: Joey, from a defense perspective here, when you are sending a jury home over the holidays for a number of days, I mean what could potentially happen when they come back on Monday?

JACKSON: Yes, you know, I think they're really struggling. And just to take the adverse position to my esteemed colleague, Paul Callan, look, the bottom line is that the defense is really -- has hammered away on the memories of these particular victims, right? They spent a lot of time in cross-examination on the issue of not only memories but also of motivation with respect to money, et cetera.

And so if you're asking for read-back as it relates to testimony of victims, clearly you have some issues with respect to what those victims are saying and whether it's credible and whether or not their memories are indeed perhaps faulty.


Remember, the defense also got a psychologist to speak to that very issue.

So to your question as to what could be happen, you're looking for victim's testimony, you want transcripts read back to you. With respect to the butler or the housekeeper or property manager or however we want to phrase him, yes, he mentioned, I'm sorry, the sex toys issue, but you can have issues and things like that around not necessarily applying them to minors.

And so, of course, the property manager indicated there were all types of women coming in and out of there. So I think I didn't mean to muddy up and confuse the issues, but that's exactly what the jury's doing. They're confused. And they're not -- they're trying -- kind of unsure. And when it harkens back to things that happened in 1994, 2004, they want to get it right. And so as they go home, I think that confusion sticks with them. I think they're trying to focus in on whether we can really add credit to these victims, and if they can, beware, it's a conviction. But if there's doubt, then you know what, Erica, it goes the other way.

CALLAN: Hey, Joey -- hey, Joey, one -- one question before we -- we break for the holidays here. When's the last time a jury asked for a binder in one of your criminal cases?

JACKSON: I concede to the distinguished gentleman in New York. A very good point. Just giving the other point of view.

HILL: We'll leave -- we'll leave it on that happy holiday note.

Great to see you both.

CALLAN: Thanks, Erica.

HILL: You know how much I adore you both. Enjoy your holidays. There will be much more to talk about coming Monday, so get ready. Thanks.

CALLAN: Thank you.

JACKSON: I appreciate you.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Somebody needs to put binders in Callan's stocking.

All right, the House select committee investigating January 6th wants to interview Republican Congressman Jim Jordan. The panel is hoping for him to meet voluntarily so he can provide information on his communications with former President Trump regarding the deadly Capitol insurrection.

CNN's Paula Reid live in Washington with the latest on this.



Well, this is a significant move by the committee and one that could inflame partisan tensions around this investigation. Now, the committee did not issue a subpoena. Instead it sent a letter to their colleague asking Jordan to voluntarily cooperate with the investigation into January 6th.

Now you may remember, Jordan was actually originally selected to serve on the bipartisan committee but that was rejected by House Democrats. Now, in its letter to Jordan, the committee says it has several reasons for wanting to talk to him. First, he was in touch with former President Trump on January 6th, perhaps multiple times. And the committee says Jordan was reportedly involved in efforts to challenge the 2020 election outcome.

Now, the committee has previously revealed that on January 5th Jordan texted then Chief of Staff Mark Meadows forwarding a legal theory for how then Vice President Mike Pence could block the certification of the election results. That forwarded text message said in part that Pence should call out all electoral votes that he believes are unconstitutional as no electoral votes at all.

Now, Jordan has previously threatened political retribution if the investigation were to target GOP lawmakers, but he's actually the second GOP lawmaker and Trump ally to receive a request like this. Earlier this week, the committee sent a similar letter to Representative Scot Perry requesting his cooperation. A request he declined.

As for whether Jordan will cooperate, he said last night he is reviewing the letter, but the committee has used his own words against him, reminding him that he's previously said, he, quote, he has nothing to hide.

BERMAN: So, Paula, a Proud Boys member pleaded guilty to the January 6th attack on the Capitol. This is the first time that this has happened?

REID: That's right. Matthew Green of Syracuse, New York, is the first Proud Boy charged in an alleged conspiracy to plead guilty. He has admitted to one count of conspiracy and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding. Now, he's the first member of the Proud Boys to potentially give prosecutors information about his organization. Now, according to prosecutors, on January 6th, Green and two others

pushed through police barriers on the Capitol grounds and took direction from Proud Boys leaders over the radio during the riot.

Now, he could face up to 51 months in prison and he's agreed to pay $2,000 in restitution for damage done to the Capitol Building.

BERMAN: Paula Reid, thanks so much.

So, if it didn't already feel like 2020, a second Covid outbreak abord a cruise ship in less than a week. Are they more prepared this time around?



HILL: So this is exciting. Some cities that rarely get the chance at a White Christmas could see one this year. As for much of the rest of the country, though, we're just going to have to keep dreaming.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers joins us with the latest snow forecast. I feel like I'm in the dreaming camp.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: You are. you are definitely in dreaming camp. And so is Dallas, Texas. Dallas will be 83 degrees on Christmas Day.

HILL: Oh, my goodness.

MYERS: So, not going to see anything there. But it's the west. It's the west that will actually see all of this snow.

This weather is brought to you by Servpro, the number one choice in cleanup and restoration.

So, yes, West Coast, you are going to see some significant rain and obviously mountain snow. This is the big story of the weekend really because you need the snow out there so, so badly to try to break this drought.

Warm across the east. Record warmth across the mid-south and then the snow and the rain across parts of the west. Lower elevations, think 1,000 feet for so, that's all going to be rain. But if you get up into the Sierra, we're going to see an awful lot of snow, feet of snow. It could be four to six feet in some spots.

And this is only the first storm. There's another one to come next week to put more snow down.

So we will have some impacts. Likely chains are going to be required going over the passes in the west. Going to be difficult probably trying to get to your ski resort. Plan ahead. Plan early. Take all those things that are necessary.

There's even going to be some fog across parts of the south because the morning fog is going to hang around. There's so much humidity in the air out there. But the milder air is here. We are going to break, over the southern plains and even parts -- almost to Chicago, we're going to break 140 record highs in the next three days alone.


HILL: One hundred and forty record highs? That is nuts.

MYERS: Yes, in different cities.

HILL: Anyway.

MYERS: I know.

HILL: All right, a bit of a mixed bag there, that's for sure.


Appreciate it, Chad. Thank you.

BERMAN: So, it's beginning to look a lot like 2019 at the airport. New TSA numbers show holiday air travel is about where it was before the pandemic. And today could be one of the busiest days of the season.

The mayor of Reagan National Airport, CNN's Pete Muntean, joins us now with what he is seeing today in his constituency.

Pete, give us a sense of what's going on.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, things are getting busier here by the moment. In fact, you mentioned the numbers are so, so close to what they were back in 2019, before the pandemic. The TSA screened 1.98 million people at airports across the country on Tuesday. That number is 99 percent of the same day back in 2019, before the pandemic, shy by only about 2,300 people. In other terms, about a dozen fully loaded 737s.

This just barely ends a five-day streak where we saw numbers at airports higher than 2 million each day. But, fear not, the busiest days are ahead. The TSA says today will be one of the busiest. January 3rd will be one of the busiest.

Travelers tell us they feel pretty confident right now despite the omicron variant.

Here's what they're telling us.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can only do what you can do for yourself, you know. What everybody else is doing, you have no control over. So that's the scary part. But just, you know, want to go have fun and be safe and mask up.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MUNTEAN: You know, the TSA says in total 20 million people will travel between today and January 3rd. Airlines continue to insist that flying is safe because of the heavily filtered air on board and the federal transportation mask mandates still in place until March 18, 2022.

By the way, a new partnership between the FAA and the TSA. If you defy the mask rule, you could lose your pre-check status for good. Step out of line, wait in line.


BERMAN: Mr. Mayor, thank you very much.

Just, I want to know, people on Twitter always ask why I call you the mayor of Reagan National Airport, or the world's most interesting man, it's because you cover your beat so well.

MUNTEAN: Oh, thanks.

BERMAN: I've never seen anyone cover anything as well as you cover your aviation beat. It really is astounding.

MUNTEAN: Thanks.

BERMAN: So, thank you for everything you do and I hope you have a wonderful holiday, Pete.

MUNTEAN: Merry Christmas, John.

HILL: Might I also add, Pete Muntean will answer any question you have about aviation quickly, and I feel the smile in the email.

Separately, a bit of deja vu on the high seas. Royal Caribbean announcing a Covid outbreak on the cruise ship. It's the second in less than a week. "The Miami Herald" reporting 55 fully vaccinated passengers and crew abord the Odyssey of the Seas have the virus. The ship has been denied entry to Curacao and Aruba since leaving Florida on Saturday. "The Herald" says the ship will now stay at sea until it's planned return Sunday. The cruise liner's Symphony of the Seas had nearly 50 people test positive earlier this week.

BERMAN: Breaking overnight, Texas authorities are responding to a major industrial accident at the Exxon Mobil plant in Baytown, which is about 30 miles east of Houston. Look at that. The sheriff's office received reports of an explosion inside. At least four people are injured, three of whom have been rushed to the hospital. Authorities there are urging people to avoid the area. Exxon Mobil says it is working to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

HILL: A Colorado district attorney is asking the court to reconsider a former truck driver's 110-year prison sentence. Now, the governor's office says it is reviewing the case as well. In 2019, Rogel Aguilera- Mederos was driving his truck at 85 miles an hour when he says the brakes failed. That led to a 28-car pileup on I-70 near Denver that left four people dead. He was found guilty in October of vehicular homicide and nearly two dozen other charges. The judge said he was bound by the state's mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Aguilera- Mederos' family and supporters rallied at the state capital on Wednesday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our system here at this building has created a situation where a judge, at their own discretion, who doesn't want to issue a sentence, has had to issue that sentence. What we hope to achieve is reforms. That's really what this is all about. We have to reform the system that is creating a situation where we are creating more victims of our justice system. We have to do that now.


HILL: A status hearing is set for Monday.

BERMAN: Thirty-five million families just lost their enhanced child tax credit for next year. We'll show you the real-life impact of the failure of Build Back Better.

HILL: And a Pennsylvania congresswoman carjacked at gunpoint in broad daylight. The troubling new details we're learning ahead.



HILL: Thirty-five million families just lost their child tax credit payments with the sinking of President Biden's Build Back Better Act. Now the plan would have extended those benefits through next year. Now many parents, though, are stuck and they're worrying again about how to make ends meet.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich joining us now.

I know you've been following this. There is so much concern out there about what will happen come January.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erica, families we spoke to were hoping for a Christmas miracle that Build Back Better would be passed before next year. But now these families will not get these enhanced child tax credits. Families telling us that they have to re-do their financial plans right away. One single mother telling us she's probably going to have to pick up a second job.



YURKEVICH (voice over): A window into the Viruet-Lopez (ph) families reveals Christmas cheer.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like the chocolate is gone. I wonder where it went.

YURKEVICH: But come new year's, they'll face a tough financial reality, along with 35 million other families.

JANETTE VIRUET, RECEIVES CHILD TAX CREDIT: We were at a tight budget already. And with this being like removed, it's going to be even a tighter budget.

YURKEVICH: Mom Janette Viruet referring to the enhanced child tax credit. Congress failed to pass Build Back Better in time to extend these critical benefits into next year, up to $3,600 per child. The Lopez-Viruet (ph) family was receiving $800 a month for their three children under nine.


YURKEVICH (on camera): What does $800 a month mean to you?

VIRUET: It's enough to get us by just because the price of food went up. Gas went up. So I feel that that has helped us a lot. And we look forward to that. And we try to stretch it as much as we can.

YURKEVICH: How far does it get you?

VIRUET: Just a couple of days before the next one.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Checks were coming monthly, giving families income they could count on. Last month's checks kept 3.8 million children out of poverty.

YURKEVICH (on camera): What is the plan?

VIRUET: At this point, I don't know.


YURKEVICH (voice over): Single mom Katherine Kern will likely have to take a second job to support her teenage son and daughter, something she did when they were younger.

KERN: Even before, when I had the two jobs, like to not be able to watch his games because, you know, on the weekend I was working. You know, so to not be there for him, that was sometimes a little difficult.

YURKEVICH: She's also getting a master in psychology, just months away from graduating this spring, hoping it will further her career and increase her salary.

KERN: It's going to be really difficult to do that and then also possibly take on a second job.

YURKEVICH: The $500 a month they get in child tax credits help with rising costs, making it easier to drive her daughter Isabella (ph) to routine doctor visits for her complex heart condition.

KERN: We had to spend some time just like, you know, getting there, and getting back, and then, you know, just all the little extras, like taking time off of work and everything. It sort of, you know, adds up. YURKEVICH: The child tax credit is popular across party lines.

Seventy-five percent of Democrats support it and so do 41 percent of Republicans, which makes its failure in Congress even more puzzling for these families.

VIRUET: I feel that if they were put in our shoes for a couple of days, their decisions would be different just because we don't have that freedom to spend our money the way we want to. We have to spend our money planned paycheck by paycheck.


YURKEVICH: And so many American families spend their money that way. They live paycheck to paycheck. And these enhanced child tax credits, Erica, they were helping people cover simple bills. They were helping with these rising costs. They were helping people dig out from the financial hole they were in from the pandemic.

But, Erica, these families are watching. President Biden says that he believes he can pass Build Back Better next year, but they've been watching these last five or so months of negotiations with the White House and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and they are not hopeful that they'll see these enhanced child tax credits anytime soon.


HILL: It is -- it is a reality, as you point out, for so many families in this country, and it's important that their stories and their voices be told.

Vanessa, thank you.

YURKEVICH: Thank you.

HILL: The finale of the college football season is in jeopardy this morning. Get this, the national champion could actually be chosen by forfeit this year. We'll explain in "Bleacher Report."


BERMAN: Texas A&M forced to pull out of next week's Gator Bowl due to Covid issues.


Andy Scholes has this morning's "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.


Yes, you can now add the Gator Bowl to the long list of sporting events that have been affected by Covid this month. This is the first