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David Schoen is Interviewed about Bannon's Verdict; Woman Stabbed by Sailfish; Karrin Taylor Robson is Interviewed about the Arizona Race for Governor. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 25, 2022 - 08:30   ET





REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think it's very clear that Steve Bannon has important information that the committee needs.

When he was on the air on January 5th making the predictions about what would happen on January 6th, and if you - if you listened to what he has been saying publicly about those events, he obviously has information and knowledge.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The January 6th committee still seeking testimony from Steve Bannon, who was just found guilty of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the committee.

Joining me now is an attorney for Steve Bannon, David Schoen. He was also one of former President Trump's defense lawyers during the second impeachment trial.

Councilor, thanks so much for being with us this morning.


BERMAN: You say your client has a bulletproof appeal. Why?

SCHOEN: Absolutely. Well, let me read you what the judge says about that, which is truly remarkable. Let me encapsulate the story in a second.

Steve Bannon's lawyer gets a subpoena, tells Bannon executive privilege has been invoked, your hands are tied. You may not comply with the subpoena. Bannon says to Congress, not -- through the lawyer. Bannon never had any contact with the committee. Says to the committee through his lawyer, I will comply if you either work out privilege with Trump or take me before a judge and the judge determines privilege is invalid or it's not so broadly applied and so on. I want to testify. Go before a judge. They refused to do that. So -- by the way, if Representative Cheney is right and they think he

has important information, they should have gone to a civil enforcement proceeding, had a judge say, privilege doesn't apply, testify. He would have applied.

The reason the appeal is bulletproof is this, the statute charge willful conduct. The court relied on a 1961 decision. The government filed a motion to bar any evidence to the jury of the reason Steve Bannon didn't comply with the subpoena. The judge granted that based on this 1961 decision called Licavoli. That says essentially, did you get a subpoena and did you comply? It doesn't matter the reason. Doesn't matter if executive privilege was invoked, doesn't matter if your lawyer tells you, you cannot rely on advice of counsel.

So the judge said this, this is about the sixth time he commented on this. As I've stressed many times, I have serious reservations that the court of appeal's interpretation of willfully is consistent with the modern understanding of the word. It's not consistent with modern case law surrounding the use of that term, let alone the traditional definition of the word. And as I've previously held, I reiterate again today, I am bound by Licavoli and its holdings.

There have been six decades of authority since Licavoli that at least require, especially in a statute that holds a jail sentence at the end of it, that a defendant have some reason to believe that his conduct is either wrongful or criminal. In this case, Steve Bannon listened to his lawyer and believed he did the only thing the law permitted.

BERMAN: Let me ask - let me look at two aspects of what you just said there. Number one, advice of counsel.

SCHOEN: Yes, sir.

BERMAN: So, Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro are being charged for contempt of Congress because they didn't cooperate at all and Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino not charged. They both did cooperate, at least they had discussions with the committee hearing.

Now, this was before your time, so take that with a grain of salt.

Did Steve Bannon get bad legal counsel when the counsel told him not to cooperate?

SCHOEN: I wouldn't say so for this reason. There's a whole body of authoritative opinions from the Justice Department called office of legal counsel opinions. They're binding on the Justice Department. What this lawyer relied on is, again, six decades of those opinions that say, if a current or former member of the executive branch is subpoenaed to Congress, and executive privilege is invoked, then that person doesn't have to show up. So the quest (ph), doesn't have to show up, period.


SCHOEN: Which is very odd.

BERMAN: Under -

SCHOEN: Because, you're right, when we think of -

BERMAN: You know, you said - understand.


SCHOEN: I'm sorry.

BERMAN: So, just to be clear, that office of legal counsel memo, the one you're referring to, when it talks about former advisers, in this case it would be really an outside adviser. It would be someone who does not work at the White House. That has never been put in front of a court before. That specific office of legal counsel.

And the second thing here, again, and this is what I was going to get to, the president's lawyer says they never invoked executive privilege. It is the -- if you believe that - well - well, I will read you - I will read you --

SCHOEN: That's not what he said at all, by the way. With all due respect. What he said is, you don't have immunity. It clearly -

BERMAN: Well, he says - he says - OK, he - this is an October 13th letter. He writes to Steve Bannon's counsel, just to reiterate, our later reference below didn't indicate that we believe there is immunity from testimony for your client. As I indicated to you the other day, we don't believe there is.

SCHOEN: Totally different concept. That --

BERMAN: Now -- now, you may have a different interpretation now. Again, this is what the FBI said in their interview with Justin Clark.

SCHOEN: Well, if I - just - (INAUDIBLE) one second.

BERMAN: Go ahead.

SCHOEN: That's immunity. Different concept from executive privilege. Executive privilege - there's a full letter that he wrote without any question, the president has invoked executive privilege. You must honor it to the full extent of the law.

He came back then and said, you don't have -- we don't believe you have immunity. Immunity is not his to give or take away. Immunity is a different concept. Related, but different concept. There's no question executive privilege was invoked.

BERMAN: The - the FBI says in their conversation with Justin Clark, who is the president's lawyer, the FBI wrote in their filing to the court that the former president never invoked executive privilege over any particular information or materials and that the former president's counsel made clear to the defense attorney that the letter provided no basis for total non-compliance in the first place.

SCHOEN: Let me say this, John, you have a letter in the file, in the record now, from July 9th in which President Trump wrote in and said, as you are aware, Mr. Bannon, I invoked executive privilege.

BERMAN: Backwards looking. That's backwards looking. That's July 9th.

SCHOEN: That's right. Absolutely.

BERMAN: That's backwards.

SCHOEN: Read the - read the letter Justin Clark wrote invoking -- it's the exact same letter word for word that he wrote, Meadows, Scavino and Navarro. Exact same wording. Except, in those letters he said, you have immunity. So here's a question about -

BERMAN: Let me -


BERMAN: So let me ask you this. So, even if - and, again, it's disputed by the FBI, disputed in some cases by the president's own lawyer. Even if you say there is privilege over some things, why didn't Bannon talk to the committee about things over which there is reasonably clearly no privilege, his podcasts, his conversations with people outside the administration?

SCHOEN: So that - yes.

BERMAN: Why not talk to the committee about that?

SCHOEN: There's a fair question. That, number one, is why Bannon said, let's go before a judge. My hands are tied. It's not my privilege. Please, though, John, don't make the mistake of saying, he didn't invoke executive privilege. No one has said that. Parse the words of the FBI is saying, he didn't pick out specific documents he's invoking it for.

There's no question -- everyone acknowledges -- he invoked executive privilege. Now, the committee says, well, he didn't invoke it to us and so on.

But your question's an important one. The reason for that - and you're right because usually when we hear privilege invoked, we think provide a privilege log, provide those documents that it doesn't apply to. This is where the lawyer felt he relied on the OLC opinions. The OLC opinions are based on the concept of separation of powers. If a president or former president invokes privilege, it's presumptively valid, period. Not for Congress to say it's not.

And what they say, very oddly, is, you don't appear. Congress cannot compel you to appear. And you say, well, he's a private citizen, not a former - not a current executive branch member. And the lawyer says, no, the rationale of the opinions apply.

Think of it this way, President Biden calls in Henry Kissinger, private citizen, not a member of the executive branch. And I'm not drawing a parallel, Henry Kissinger and Steve Bannon. But he calls in Henry Kissinger and he wants advice. He has the right for that advice to be privileged for the private citizen. BERMAN: Well, the issue is if Mark Meadows calls in H.R. Halderman

(ph) to talk about campaign strategy, something that doesn't have to do with the White House in particular, is that privileged? And that's where it gets into an area where it seems less likely.

SCHOEN: But - but it's not Meadows. It's the president. It's the president. It's not Meadows.

BERMAN: Well, except that Steve Bannon refused to talk about conversations he had with other people who aren't the president.

I do want to play something that your client, Steve Bannon, said before Election Day and have you explain it, if you can. This only came to light a few weeks ago. This was before November 3, 2020.



STEVE BANNON: What Trump's going to do is just declare victory. Right? He's going to declare a victory. He - but that doesn't mean he's the winner. He's just going to say he's the winner.


BERMAN: So, he's going to declare a victory.


BERMAN: Doesn't mean he's the winner. He's just going to say he's the winner. That was before Election Day. What did he mean?

SCHOEN: Yes. First of all, you know, I'm not plugged in during that time period. It had nothing to do with the case at all.

However, I have had a conversation with him about it. Apparently this is part of a speaking tour. And their view was - now, this is before Election Day you say. Their view was, there was going to be fraud in the election. The Democrats were going to claim -- make a certain claim and, therefore, they made these claims.


I don't have any idea, quite frankly, about a lot of the rhetoric that went on. That's kind of, you know, beyond my purview in all of this.

BERMAN: But doesn't it matter? He says he's going - he's going to say he's the winner even though he's not the winner.

SCHOEN: Yes. Yes. I think you'd have to ask him that one in context. But I'll say this -

BERMAN: But you agree, it does raise - it does raise questions about his state of mind and the mindset before actually Election Day.

SCHOEN: So, again, what I would say is, then the committee should have taken him up on his offer to testify. Go -- civil enforcement proceeding is what they've done for decades. Go before a judge. He says privilege doesn't count. Wasn't properly invoked. You must testify. He said, I want to testify. Let me testify. My hands are tied. I'm a pawn in your fight between Trump and Congress.

BERMAN: Does he - I want to end where we began. Is he going to testify before the committee?

SCHOEN: I don't know. If he does it now it would be on a voluntary basis because now the subpoena has been extinguished based on - based on this -

BERMAN: Sure. If he wants to talk as much as you say he wants to talk, is he going to go appear before them?

SCHOEN: He has indicated that he wants to talk. That's all I can tell you.

BERMAN: Is he currently speaking with the committee, negotiating with them over an appearance?

SCHOEN: Well, they wrote a letter asking him to provide his documents during his trial. Oddly. So he couldn't focus on it then. But that will be up to him now if he decides to.

BERMAN: David Schoen, great to have you on this morning. Thank you so much for your time.

SCHOEN: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, this just in, former Vice President Mike Pence set to offer a road map for conservatives in a speech in Washington, D.C., tonight, just one day before Trump returns to the nation's capital for the first time since leaving office.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And a 100-pound sailfish, which is, you know, akin to a swordfish, emphasis on the sword part, impaling a woman in Florida. We'll have details ahead.



KEILAR: A 73-year-old woman is recovering this morning in Florida after a 100-pound sailfish just jumped out of the water and stabbed her while she was aboard a boat.

CNN's Carlos Suarez is in Miami with the details.

Carlos, tell us what happened here.

CARLOS SUAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, just a bizarre story. Good morning.

That 73-year-old woman, she was on a fishing trip last week with a group just off the coast of Stewart (ph), which is north of Jupiter. Now, the group, we're told, was in the process of trying to reel in that 100-pound sailfish when that fish jumped out of the water and stabbed that woman near the groin area.

Now, the men that she was with on board that boat, they were able to quickly apply pressure to the groin area and they made it back to shore where we're told that help was already awaiting them.

The woman was taken to a hospital where we're told she's expected to be OK. She remains in that hospital after this experience.

As for the two others that were on board that boat, I was able to talk to one of the men yesterday. They told me they're doing OK. They were shaken up by the entire thing and they said this entire ordeal played out in a matter of seconds. Brianna, we're told that sailfish, they're among the fastest swimming fish in the ocean, according to the Ocean Conservancy.


KEILAR: Yes, what a scary, freak accident.

Carlos, thank you for that update.

Former President Trump versus Mike Pence in Arizona. Whose chosen candidate will win the GOP nomination for governor? We're going to speak to one of them, next.



KEILAR: Dueling campaign rallies in Arizona over the weekend for Republican gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake and Karrin Taylor Robson. Donald Trump has endorsed Lake, a former television journalist, while Mike Pence, Chris Christie and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey have endorsed Taylor Robson, who is a real estate developer and former state university regent.

And Karrin Taylor Robson is joining us now.

Thank you so much for being with us today. You hear how people are talking about this race you're in. It's being billed as a proxy war. Trump on one side, Ducey, Pence, Christie et all on the other. Do you see it that way?

KARRIN TAYLOR ROBSON (R), ARIZONA GOV. CANDIDATE: You know, this election is about Arizona and the future of Arizona. And I'm just proud to have the endorsement of people like Vice President Mike Pence and a long lineup now of governors and former governors who know -- they know specifically what it takes to lead a state. And so I'm just honored to have their support and their endorsement.

KEILAR: So, policy wise, what sets you apart from Kari Lake?

ROBSON: The biggest difference is I have a 30-year record of accomplishment in the private sector, building businesses, managing budgets, running teams, signing both sides of paychecks. I have a long, long history and record of supporting Republican candidates and conservative causes. And that's why I'm in this race, to move Arizona forward and bring a conservative vision to our state.

KEILAR: Which is really a difference of experience that you're bringing to the job, right?

ROBSON: That's it.

KEILAR: But on policies, let's talk about immigration, for instance. You're both in favor of building the wall. You're in favor of surging the National Guard. Are there differences there?

ROBSON: Well, I think -- last week we - we obtained the endorsement of the U.S. Border Patrol Council. And the main difference is the Border Patrol Council knows that I'm the candidate that can get it done because of my record of accomplishment. Kari Lake supported amnesty for 11 million people. And so that is a significant difference between she and I. Not only did she support amnesty for 11 million people, she walked doors and supported Barack Obama while I was out supporting and working for conservative candidates.


ROBSON: So we just have a long history of differences.

KEILAR: And now she's talking about sending armed National Guard to the border. Is that what you're talking about when you say, in your platform, that you want to surge the National Guard, sending armed National Guard to the border?

ROBSON: We will send National Guard to the border and they will be there in a support role for our local law enforcement. Our local law enforcement in Arizona are being overrun. We are on the front lines of what is really a 50-state crisis with the surge and illegal immigrants crossing our borders. Our local communities along the border, they're hitting - they're getting the brunt of this. And so we will do everything in our power.

In fact, the first thing I will do as governor is call an emergency session of our legislature to make sure that we have the resources necessary to support our local communities down there, including surging the National Guard.

KEILAR: Let's talk election integrity. Your opponent says she wouldn't have certified the election if she were governor, as Governor Ducey did. Would you have certified the election?

ROBSON: Well, I'm a lawyer. I'm a trained lawyer. And I can't sit here and tell you without having been presented all the evidence. But there has been investigation after investigation. And are there things that need to be fixed? Absolutely. We've got to -- we have to require voter ID and increase penalties for ballot harvesting.

But I'm looking forward. I'm looking at 2022 and doing everything I can to keep Arizona's governor's office in Republican hands. And that requires us to look forward and articulate a vision for the future of this state. And that's what I've been focused on.

KEILAR: Well, it's important, looking forward, of course, but looking forward, is Donald Trump very likely running for president again? So this is an entirely pertinent question. Would you have certified the election as governor?

ROBSON: Again, like I said, I wasn't sitting there, as Governor Ducey was, presented with all the evidence. I have to assume, based on his looking at the evidence, that he did what he believed was right. My -

KEILAR: But, I mean, you've seen the evidence. You've seen the results of audits. You've seen - you've seen -- we've all seen the information coming out of Arizona.


He endorsed you.

ROBSON: And there -- there are investigations - there are investigations that are ongoing. And I tell everybody, when asked this question around the state of Arizona, my focus is on looking forward. I'm not going to get stuck looking in the rearview mirror. I am focused on looking forward and making sure we do everything we can to elect a Republican governor in Arizona, to nominate a Republican that can win in November. That is my focus.

KEILAR: OK. But, you know, it's important -- this is an important question again that isn't necessarily a luxury that we have of just looking forward in this case. Do you accept the outcome of the election of 2020?

ROBSON: We have the wrong guy in the White House and I don't like who is in the White House.

KEILAR: Do you accept that I'm - OK, sorry, go on.

ROBSON: So, I -- you know, our Constitution provides for one president at a time. And I believe the wrong president is in the White House. In fact, that's why I have given up my career, I'm giving up my family time and treasure to run for governor, because I want to get rid of Joe Biden.

KEILAR: OK, but wrongfully elected - yes, but let - I just want to be very clear about this, you think he's the wrong guy in the White House?

ROBSON: Absolutely he's the wrong guy.

KEILAR: Wrongfully elect - wrong - wrongfully elected or rightfully elected wrong guy for the job?

ROBSON: OK, the 2020 election, at a minimum, was not fair. And that's my consistent answers. We had the media suppressing news. And I don't need to say anything other than Hunter Biden. We had big tech silencing conservative voices. We had judges across this country changing the rules in the days and the weeks and the months leading up to the election under the - under -- because of Covid and the chaos that surrounded Covid. At a minimum, it wasn't fair.

We also had Mark Zuckerberg spending nearly a half a billion dollars to increase voter turnout in heavily Democrat areas across this country, including in Arizona. All those things together conspired to have 78 percent of the Republicans in Arizona thinking something was wrong with the election.

I also am quite concerned about what President Biden and the Democrats are going to do in upcoming elections. Now that he has signed an executive order directing every agency of the federal government to increase voter turnout and registration in the same types of precincts that Mark Zuckerberg spent a half a billion dollars.

KEILAR: But just - but really quickly -

ROBSON: I'm focused on what they're doing in the future.

KEILAR: OK. But before I let you go, do you accept the outcome of the 2020 election?

ROBSON: We have the wrong guy in the White House. And that's all I'm going to say on that. That's why I'm running for governor, because I don't like who's in the White House. And Arizona needs to stay in Republican hands so that we can kick him out of the White House in 2024.

KEILAR: All right, Karrin Taylor Robson, we do appreciate you joining us this morning. Thank you so much.

ROBSON: Thank you.

There's a massive wildfire burning near Yosemite. Thousands of acres torched there as people are forced to evacuate. And CNN is live on the ground.


BERMAN: It is time for "The Good Stuff."

Good Samara tins helping the homeless in this heatwave. Members of Utah's Volunteers of America are going out in this extreme heat to hand out supplies, including water, sandwiches and sunscreen to those without shelters in Salt Lake City.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I couldn't imagine what it would be like living in a tent, or under a tarp, or in your car when it's 100 degrees outside or just super hot. It's unimaginable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Small gestures like water and food means a lot.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: It does mean a lot. That was Gideon Nemen (ph), who is currently experiencing homelessness. He says he is grateful for the volunteers because people like him deserve care and compassion.

CNN's coverage continues right now.