Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

January 6th Panel Moves To Hold Steve Bannon In Criminal Contempt; FDA Advisers Unanimously Recommend Moderna Boosters; New Union Strike Adding To Economic Pressure On Biden; White House: Biden Likely To Campaign For Democrats In Critical Virginia Campaign As Trump Inserts Himself Into The Fray. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired October 14, 2021 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, the January 6th select committee is now moving to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt after the Trump ally defied a subpoena deadline. I'll ask the panel's chairman, Congressman Bennie Thompson, about what comes next and when his team expects to get answers.

Also tonight, Moderna booster shots just got a green light from FDA vaccine advisers. They unanimously recommended a third dose for older and at-risk Americans. This as the president warns we're in a very critical period right now of this pandemic.

And a huge new union strike is adding to the pressure on President Biden. He's now facing multiple blows to the U.S. economy at once. Is his messaging part of the problem?

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We begin with the criminal contempt charge in the works for Trump loyalist, Steve Bannon, over his defiance of the January 6th select committee. Bannon ignoring, ignoring a subpoena deadline he faced today.

Our Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is following the investigation for us. Paula, it looks like, as they say, they're not messing around at all.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: No, they are not messing around. In fact, Wolf, they're sending a message to Bannon and the other witnesses they're targeting in this investigation that if you don't comply, they will try to force you.

But criminal contempt is a lengthy process. It has to go through the committee, then the House and then it's ultimately up to the Attorney General Merrick Garland whether to actually prosecute.


REID (voice over): Tonight, lawmakers investigating January 6th move to hold long time Trump adviser Steve Bannon in criminal contempt after he defied their subpoena to sit for a deposition today. In a statement, the committee chairman, Bennie Thompson, said he will not tolerate defiance of our subpoenas, so we must move forward.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): So, we're not fooling around. We expect people to fulfill their lawful duties.

REID: Bannon has repeatedly said he will not comply unless ordered by a court, noting that former President Trump has said he will invoke executive privilege and has directed Bannon not to participate. In a letter to lawmakers, Bannon's lawyer wrote, that is an issue between the committee and President Trump's counsel, and Mr. Bannon is not required to respond at this time. While lawmakers took to the airwaves to say they are seeking to truth, Bannon didn't address it in his podcast out today, instead just repeating the big lie.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST TO DONALD TRUMP (voice over): Stolen elections have catastrophic consequences and that's what we're seeing in this country right now.

REID: Bannon was not the only no show on Capitol Hill today. Sources tell CNN the committee agreed to a short postponement of a scheduled deposition with former Trump Pentagon Official Kash Patel. Multiple sources tell CNN Patel continues to engage with lawmakers, but in a podcast interview Thursday, Representative Adam Schiff referred to Patel as an evil zealot who was willing to do anything Trump wanted.

SCHIFF (voice over): And he rose Phoenix-like through the Trump administration one position after another, even being contemplated to take over the CIA.

REID: Schiff also emphasized the committee is interested in how Trump tried to pressure Justice Department officials to overturn the 2020 election. Yesterday, the committee sent another subpoena to former Justice Department Official Jeffrey Clark. Investigators cite credible evidence that he was involved in efforts to interrupt peaceful transfer of power, even proposing the Justice Department send a letter to state legislators in Georgia and other states suggesting they delay certification of election results.

A source familiar with Clark's discussions with the committee say it is likely he will testify. On Wednesday, former Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who pushed back on Clark's efforts to overturn the election, spoke with investigators for eight hours. Trump can still file a legal challenge to try to block requests from the committee, but it's unclear if he will be successful. On Wednesday, he issued a statement suggesting Republicans won't vote in 2022 or 2024 if 2020 election fraud is not, quote, solved.


REID (on camera): Trump released a statement today attacking the committee saying it should hold itself in criminal contempt. Now, former Trump Advisers Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino were subpoenaed to appear tomorrow, but the committee has agreed to postpone those depositions. But, Wolf, it's unclear if either man will cooperate, but they saw today what happens if they don't.

BLITZER: Yes, criminal contempt, very, very serious, potentially. Thank you very much, Paula Reid, reporting for us..

Let's discuss all of this with the chairman of the select committee investigating the January 6th attack, Congressman Bennine Thompson.


Mr. Chairman, thank you so much for joining us.

I know you're moving ahead with holding Steve Bannon in criminal contempt. How will this work? I know you'll be meeting Tuesday with your committee and then this becomes, what, in the hands of the Justice Department?

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Well, it's a process, Wolf. By the way, thank you for having me. The process starts with our business meeting on Tuesday evening. We will entertain a motion to hold Steve Bannon in criminal contempt. That process then will be forwarded for consideration by the House of Representatives. If the House of Representatives agree with the standing committee's recommendation, then the speaker will be authorized to transmit that document to the attorney general of the United States. And it's then his job to pursue the criminal contempt claim.

BLITZER: Has the attorney general, Merrick Garland, Mr. Chairman, told you he is willing to prosecute a criminal indictment if it's referred by the House to the Department of Justice?

THOMPSON: No. We have intentionally kept ourselves separated from Justice. We don't want anyone saying, well, you all were colluding together. This is what the law requires us to do. I hope that attorney general, once they get it, he will look at it and say, we need to expedite this indictment before grand jury.

So, we kept arms length away. We've shared committee's wishes. We've actually tried to negotiate with all our individuals we subpoena to work this out. But Steve Bannon and his advice from former President Trump leaves us no choice. And so the committee will do what we're required to do in the legislature that says we have to find the facts.

We think Steve Bannon has information as germane what happened on January 6th. And if he refuses the subpoena, like we expect him to continue to do, then we're left with no other choice than to ask the Justice Department, lock him up and hold him in contempt and, clearly, that might send enough of a message that he will agree to talk to us.

BLITZER: But as you know, Mr. Chairman, prosecuting Bannon or other witnesses for that matter, could take a long time, maybe years. So, realistically, what's the goal of criminal contempt? Do you really think you'll compel testimony or is this meant to send a powerful message to other witnesses?

THOMPSON: Well, I think it's both, Wolf. What we want to do is get to the facts. We could support a criminal contempt or we could look at a civil contempt. There are other things available to us, but we think the criminal gets us to where we need to be in the shortest period of time.

We have to get all the information. We have received thousands of pages of information from different agencies about what they were doing during this process. The platforms, Facebook, Google, all of them have really cooperated substantially in providing us information to do our work. But now we have to talk to some of the people who actually started this process.

BLITZER: I know you've agreed at least for now to postpone the appearances by Mark Meadows, Dan Scavino and Kash Patel. Is it a mistake to allow these key Trump allies to potentially, potentially, run out the clock on your investigation?

THOMPSON: Well, we don't expect them to run out the clock. We're going to make the case that we negotiated in good faith with the other three. If we decide that the negotiations, in fact, running out the clock, we'll stop it. But if we have to make our argument that we gave the process every attempt to work, that's what we plan to do. We have in Mr. Bannon's instance, he's just defied everything.

So we are moving expeditiously on the criminal contempt.


We expect that process to go forward this coming Tuesday night. We've established a time of 7:30. The committee will meet. We expect we will take action on him at that time for consideration for the full House of Representatives to be brought up sometime after that.

BLITZER: As far as the other three that you've subpoenaed, what is their level of engagement actually look like, Mr. Chairman? How long are you willing to, quote, engage before considering criminal contempt for them as well?

THOMPSON: Well, I think our lawyers are talking to them. They all have counsel and we're trying to establish to get information, we're trying to establish a time to take deposition. And if our team tell us that those three individuals are not bargaining in good faith, then we go in another direction.

But for right now, we are attempting to negotiate. If the negotiations fail, then we will not hesitate one bit on moving on a criminal or civil referral on this matter.

BLITZER: Former President Trump just put out yet another statement attacking your select committee, calling it, and I'm quoting him now, the January 6th unselect committee. He says, once again, I'm quoting, that people are not going to stand for your investigation. Beyond all the rhetoric, have you heard anything from the Trump, the Trump legal team?

THOMPSON: No. All we've heard is from the president's statements. But, Wolf, everybody that I know saw what happened on January 6th. So, clearly, that's not who we are as Americans. If former President Trump thinks he can get away with what happened on January 6th by being cute with his press releases, then he has another thing coming.

Our committee, the bipartisan committee, takes our work very seriously and we will pursue it. And so his attempt to deflect our work will not work. We will continue. We'll be deliberate in how we do it, but I assure you, I assure the public, that at the end of the day, the committee expect full cooperation of everyone that we subpoenaed.

BLITZER: What are the chances you'll subpoena Trump?

THOMPSON: Well, let me say, I appreciate the White House agreement to look at executive privilege and give us consideration on a lot of the information we want. A lot of what we decide on former President Trump is dependent on what we find in this information. But I am -- I believe the Biden information and deliberate efforts to make sure we have access to certain information. It's crucial to what we do.

So I'm more supportive of Biden's effort to make sure that our committee has access to all the information that we request. And those individuals who are trying to hide behind executive privilege, it won't occur. So, can't say to Steve Bannon should hide behind executive privilege when we wasn't in the government just because former President Trump says it. It's not the law. So we'll follow the law. We'll make sure that in every instance, that's what we do.

BLITZER: Just want to be precise on this matter, Mr. Chairman. Sorry for interrupting. I want to be precise. Are you ruling out or ruling in the possibility of eventually subpoenaing Trump?

THOMPSON: Well, I would say this at this point, Wolf. Nobody is off limits to a subpoena from this committee.

BLITZER: I assume that means the former president as well.

As you know, the Biden administration is waiving executive privilege. How soon potentially do you think, Mr. Chairman, you'll start getting the documents from the final days of the Trump White House?

THOMPSON: Well, the process is kind of cumbersome. They will have -- they have sent some of the information to the Trump people to look at.


They'll have so many days to locate it and get it to us. But the clock is already ticking. Some information we've already received. And so we are moving forward.

So, we anticipate a cooperative relationship. All we want is to follow the direction of what Congress said this committee should do. We want to follow the facts. We'll pursue the information. And based on that, we'll come back with what we consider the right recommendations for Congress to consider.

BLITZER: Yesterday, your colleague, Congressman Adam Schiff, told me you subpoenaed former Trump Justice Department Official Jeffrey Clark, in his words, because we couldn't get voluntary cooperation. How critical is Clark's testimony to your investigation? THOMPSON: Well, his testimony, Wolf, is very essential. As you know, he was a key player in terms of what was going on with the election and how the big lie was being promoted. So we need to hear from him. And Congressman Schiff is absolutely correct, all those individuals that we have subpoenaed so far, their testimony is important as well as their documentation, if it's available, it's critical to our committee's work. So, in order to get it, we have to put those individuals on notice.

Everyone is under consideration. And, again, our work will be work that we will not push back on anyone as we pursue to get to the truth. So, I can assure the listeners and the viewers that our committee is committed to following the information and just as we are pursuing the criminal contempt on Steve Bannon, it is just the beginning. You will see more of this type work coming. But we'll start it. We've put our staff together, investigators working night and day, Wolf. So, it's a work in progress.

BLITZER: I know you guys are working fast on all of this.

CNN has learned that your committee did hear from the former acting attorney general, Jeffrey Rosen, during the final days of the Trump administration. He had testified, he appeared in person for, what, about eight hours yesterday. Was he able to elaborate on what we learned -- have you been able to elaborate on what we learned from the Senate Judiciary Committee report that Trump pressured him, pressured him, to try to, quote, overturn the election? Is that what you heard from Rosen?

THOMPSON: Well, that was some of the information. The Senate's report, as you know, we have in its entirety, basically said just that. The eight hours of testimony yesterday, more or less, validated what the Senate report said. So, the investigators on our staff pursued any and all questionings and they feel very solid that the information we have, both from the witness and the Senate hearing is solid.

BLITZER: Yes. Well, that's significant what we just learned from Rosen -- from what Rosen told you yesterday during his eight hours of questioning. I assume at some point, Mr. Chairman, we'll get a transcript of that? Is that right?

THOMPSON: Oh, absolutely. You know, transparency at some point is important. But, Wolf, we're right in the middle of an investigation. A lot of things that we have discovered I'm not at liberty to tell you or other members of the public right now, but we are on a daily basis getting information that we think will absolutely support our effort to say who was responsible, what participants created January 6th and, basically, we will tie all of the strings together so that once our report is done, anyone will be able to understand exactly how close we came to losing our democracy on January 6th.


BLITZER: Yes. It's -- you know, when you look back, it's an awful, awful situation. Before I let you go, one quick follow up. Are we going to hear from these witnesses in public testimony? Will the cameras be there so the entire American public will be able to hear what Rosen and these others are saying?

THOMPSON: Well, you know, you'll have access to the deposition and obviously a lot of what we are uncovering. It's on tape. So, you will probably have access to that. It won't be in real-time, obviously, but you will have access to it, absolutely.

BLITZER: All right, Mr. Chairman, we'll stay very, very close touch with you. Thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it very much.

THOMPSON: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you. Let's get more right now on all of these developments. I want to dig deeper with CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel and CNN's Senior Legal Analyst Preet Bharara.

Jamie, you just heard the committee chairman, Bennie Thompson, say. Explain why they're so interested in Steve Bannon and what message they're sending by pursuing potential criminal contempt charges. What's your reaction to that?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I think that was an extraordinary interview. Chairman Thompson doesn't do a lot of interviews. And just to go back to a couple of things that he said about former President Trump. If he thinks he can get away with being cute with his press releases, he has another thing coming. When you said to him about whether he would call the committee -- might call Trump, he said quote, nobody is off limits.

Steve Bannon is clearly a warning shot. They want Bannon to know and they want other witnesses to know that they're not fooling around. It can be a very long process, as Preet will tell you, but I think it speaks to the tenor of the message they're trying to send, and especially with Steve Bannon, who they see as a critical witness to January 5th, someone who had many phone calls with President Trump, especially that December 30th call we know about where he tells him to come back from Mar-aLago, and then the night of January 5th when he's in the Willard Hotel, this war room with Rudy Giuliani, Jason Miller, and their calling back and forth to the White House, Wolf.

BLITZER: I thought it was also significant, very significant and news worthy, Preet, what he said about Jeffrey Rosen, the acting attorney general during the final days of the Trump administration, who appeared and answered questions yesterday behind closed doors, but eventually we'll get the public transcript, for eight hours. What was your reaction?

PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's very significant. I mean, we are right to focus on the people who are going to be obstructing and evading process and not appearing to testify in front of the January 6th committee, including Steve Bannon and others. So that's the glass that's half empty. The glass that's half full is about people like Jeffrey Rosen and others who are coming forward and probably giving more information than you and I are aware of.

And on top of that, as you also discussed, their documents about which President Biden is not exerting executive privilege, including communications, my guess is that they're pretty substantial and noteworthy and we'll be seeing those. So, they're going to have gaps that need filling in over the course of time whether criminal contempt. Get someone like -- if it's put in place and get someone like Steve Bannon to testify or not, we'll see. But they are still going to have some substantial evidence based on testimony and based documents even if some of the other things take a few months.

BLITZER: Very quickly to both of you, and I'll start with you, Preet. He also left open, very open, the possibility of eventually issuing a subpoena for Trump himself. What was your reaction to that?

BHARARA: I think he's right to do that. Nobody should be off the table. Nobody is above the law. And Trump might need to see process at some point.

BLITZER: What did you think, Jamie?

BHARARA: I also think it opens up the Trump family. Remember, Ivanka Trump was with her father on January 6th. She was in and out of the Oval Office. I think that there are going to be a lot of people who are, fair game, very close to the former president.

BLITZER: Lots going on right now, this story clearly not going out. We got to learn what happened back on January 6th so make sure it doesn't ever, ever happen again. Guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, a boost for COVID-19 booster shots, how soon a third dose of Moderna's vaccine could be available for high risk Americans.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Tonight, many Americans who got the Moderna vaccine are a step closer to being eligible for a booster shot. FDA advisers have unanimously recommended a third dose for certain high risk groups.

Let's get details from our National Correspondent Nick Watt. Nick, tell our viewers more about this recommendation.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there was a lot of debate, a lot of questioning, but in the end, it was a 19-0 vote. They are going to recommend Moderna booster doses. Remember, Pfizer booster doses already out there. They're going to recommend Moderna for everybody 65 and up, for adults with at risk of severe disease and for any adult who's at risk either where they work or live, at high risk of contracting the virus.

[18:30:01] So, they heard today from Moderna that the rep said listen, our virus holds up pretty well, but with delta, the boosters are definitely beneficial. They also heard from officials in Israel where they have rolled out the boosters far wide and early. And the Israeli officials said, listen so far, it is safe and proving to be very, very effective. Now, of course, the CDC still has to sign off on this. This is a recommendation from this FDA committee.

Now, after they took the vote, they also talked for a while about whether they should recommend boosters for all adults all adults in the U.S. And it was very, very clear that they are not at all in favor of that as a recommendation right now. They say there's just not the data. There's just nothing to show that that would be beneficial. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right. Nick, thank you very, very much, Nick Watt reporting for us.

Let's bring in Dr. Paul Offit. He's a member of the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee. He's also the author of the new book, You Bet Your Life, From Blood Transfusions to Mass Vaccination, The Long and Risky History of Medical Innovation. There you see the cover.

Dr. Offit, I know you and your fellow FDA advisers voted unanimously today to approve Moderna boosters for certain people. Was this an easy decision, Dr. Offit, based on the data you reviewed?

DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY BOARD: I would say, yes, it was an easy decision and that's why it was unanimous. So, the people who have gotten two doses of Moderna's vaccine, which is 100 micrograms per dose separated by four weeks now, we are recommended to receive under certain circumstances, as Nick said, a 50 microgram dose at least six months after that second dose.

But it's interesting what Nick was talking about how there was concerns about sort of making this a universal recommendation, meaning a booster dose as a universal recommendation for everybody over 18. And I think the reason for that is we have to define what's the goal of this vaccine. If the goal of this vaccine is protection against serious illness, meaning, the kind of illness that causes you to seek medical attention or go to the hospital or go to the ICU, the current vaccines, as two-dose vaccines, are doing exactly that. It's true for Pfizer's vaccine. It's true for Moderna's vaccine, both the mRNA vaccines do that, and it includes delta and it includes all age groups. So, really, you don't need a booster dose at least as far as those data are concerned.

So then the second issue is what is invariably true with, frankly, any vaccine is, over time, the level of neutralizing antibodies in your bloodstream will decline. And with that, you will have an increase in asymptomatic infection or mildly symptomatic infection, where you'll be, to some extent, contagious. Do we want to prevent that? And that's really where this booster comes in. And that's really sort of behind this recommendation.

BLITZER: Is there any harm, Dr. Offit, in people younger than 65, for example, who aren't necessarily at high risk getting a booster dose?

OFFIT: No. I do worry about this sort of 18 to 29-year-old, because that's the group that has a higher risk of myocarditis, this inflammation of the heart muscle. And so without sort of clear benefit that that third dose is necessary, I think we've created this kind of third dose fever in this country because of the way this has played out.

And I think the biggest mistake we made, frankly, communications-wise, with this vaccine and virus is using the term breakthrough infection to describe an asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic infection. I mean, for example, Brett Kavanaugh recently, who was fully vaccinated, had an asymptomatic infection, that was described as a breakthrough. You listen to that, it sounds like he was in the ICU or something, but it's really -- breakthrough implies failure. That's not a failure. That's a success. That's exactly what you want the vaccine to do.

BLITZER: You want to be fully vaccinated and not have any serious problems. All right, Dr. Offit, as usual, thank you so much. Thanks for all you're doing as well.

Just ahead, mounting U.S. economic pressure causing growing problems for President Biden right now. We'll have a closer look at the challenges and how the White House is now scrambling to confront them. That's next.



BLITZER: A looming strike, a supply chain crisis, inflation woes, slow job growth, all of it putting growing economic pressure on President Biden and his team.

Our Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly has all the late breaking developments.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, the White House scrambled to put in place solutions to perilous economic pressures.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We've been working on these pieces. They've been in process.

MATTINGLY: Even as they are in large part outside of their control.

PSAKI: We're at this point because the unemployment rate has down and been cut in half because people are buying more goods, because people are traveling and because demand is up and because the economy is turning back on.

MATTINGLY: Supply chain bottlenecks and price increases directly affecting critical consumer goods. Gas prices up across the country due to both geopolitical and demand issues drawing direct attention. PSAKI: The president is very focused on this. He has asked him team about it. There are number of people, senior members of the White House team, from the NSC, from the NEC, working on this every single day.

MATTINGLY: Now, 10,000 union workers going on strike against farm and construction equipment maker John Deere.

LIZ SCHULER, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: This is about basic fairness and respect along with pay.

MATTINGLY: The White House not directly responding to the strike but emphasizing Biden's long held support for unions.

PSAKI: The president and the vice president often say that this is the most pro-union administration in history and they will continue to govern and lead with that in mind.

MATTINGLY: As the president kept his focus on countering the pandemic that has served as the accelerant to each issue.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: It's working. We're making progress.

MATTINGLY: Yet, behind the scenes, White House officials acknowledging that the easing of supply chain choke points and the deceleration of inflation will likely take months, if not, longer.

Biden moving to take on one of the critical impediments, ports this week.

BIDEN: This is the first key step.

MATTINGLY: And pledging more action in the weeks ahead, as officials point to a range of positive indicators that signal a robust economic recovery, from wage growth and average monthly job gains to unemployment claims last week dropping to a pre-pandemic low. Consumer prices have jumped more than expected in September, matching a 13-year high as Americans pay more for meat, eggs, milk, homes, gas, and electricity.

Adding clear political pressure, at the moment, Biden is desperately trying to unify Democrats behind his sweeping domestic agenda.

PSAKI: We're eager to act. I wouldn't say it's impatience. I would say it's an interest in moving forward.

MATTINGLY: As those same Democrats openly question the effort to sell that very plan.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I wish we could go through and talk about each element and spend, you know, ten minutes on each element so that people would actually understand what is in the bill. So I agree, there is a messaging problem.


MATTINGLY (on camera): And, Wolf, while there is palpable frustration with messaging issues on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, there's also the very real problem of trying to figure out what the policy is that Democrats can actually agree on and get across the finish line in the House, in the Senate.

The reality here at the White House is this. Officials made clear the time to make decisions, the time to move forward is now. There is not an unlimited amount of time. Something is going to have to get done soon, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, they've got to move quickly indeed. Phil Mattingly reporting from the White House, thanks very much.

Let's get some more on all of this. CNN's Senior Commentator, former Ohio Governor John Kasich is joining us.

Governor, would you look at all these economic challenges, especially rising prices right now, inflation, how much trouble does this spell for President Biden?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: Well, it's early still, Wolf, but, look, they can't spin this. They've got to acknowledge they have real problems. Here I think is the fundamental problem, Wolf. Joe Biden didn't run for president to try to remake America or to be LBJ or FDR. He ran for president to bring us together, to stop the name calling and fighting. And then Mike Donilon, who is one of his closest friends and senior advisers, wrote a memo and he said they should pass the infrastructure deal, not the big thing they talk about, but the roads and the highways, and that the two parties should meet in the middle. And that will appeal to swing voters.

So, look, I endorsed Joe Biden. I expected him to be able to get people in a room, Republicans, Democrats, and work things out. They've had two tries. The first one was the stimulus package, where they had it their way and the Republicans, they never met. Then we had the infrastructure package, where Republicans helped. And then the president comes out and says, well, we're not going to do that one until we get the other one.

Frankly, Wolf, honestly, you've covered Washington for a long time. For those Democrats in this party who are extreme and out there, he needs to get rid of them and appeal to Republicans to take their place to get the votes to get something done that helps Americans, the infrastructure package, wildly popular, doing something about the rising cost of prescription drugs, they can work that out, being able to deal right now with this problem of you know, of trying to get these products into the country.

Inflation, you're not going to fix inflation by having more spending. You're not going to fix it by having more taxes on business right now. They need to listen and they need -- and Joe needs to reach out. He's an executive. And you know the problem is when you've been a legislator all your life, and I was, to switch to being an executive is tough. You've got to figure out when you're an executive what you're for and you can't let people talk you out of it. You've got to show toughness and firmness.

Former Ohio Governor John Kasich, as usual, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, as former President Trump is becoming a factor in the closely watched Virginia governor's race, we're told President Biden is likely to step in.



BLITZER: Tonight, the close and critical Virginia governor's race may be turning into a Biden-Trump proxy war. The White House says the president will likely campaign for Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the coming days. Former President Trump already has inserted himself big time into the race, but he's not necessarily being welcomed by the Republican candidate.

Here's CNN national politics reporter Eva McKend.


EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: With less than three weeks to go until the votes are counted, Virginia's Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin is continuing his delicate dance, embracing issues that animate the Republican base while carefully navigating the support of former President Donald Trump, who called in to a conservative rally Wednesday to praise Youngkin, even though Youngkin didn't attend.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I hope Glenn gets in there and he'll straighten out Virginia. He'll lower taxes. Do all of the things that we want a governor to do and I really believe that Virginia is very, very winnable, but everybody has to go out and vote.

MCKEND: The former president spoke about you last night. Said Glenn is a great guy. I hope he gets in there. You have any thoughts?

GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Well, he is a great guy. I think I'm a pretty good guy. I'm going to work for all Virginians. And so, I appreciate those comments and I appreciate everybody's support.

MCKEND: As Youngkin works to pull off an upset in the increasingly blue Old Dominion against the Democratic nominee, Terry McAuliffe, who served as governor from 2014 to 2018, he's trying to appeal to moderates and independents, and is walking a tight rope.


As the former president embraces him, Youngkin hardly says his name, but he's campaigning on issues that animate conservative voters, like the role parents should play in Virginia public schools.

YOUNGKIN: Over the last many years, we have seen our curriculum all of a sudden being fused to the political agenda as opposed to the academic curriculum.

MCKEND: McAuliffe blasted Youngkin for turning a blind eye to what he said where some of the rallies' darker moments, including when attendees recited the Pledge of Allegiance using the flag that the event emcee said was at the quote "peaceful rally with Trump on January 6th."

TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: They literally brought up a flag up there, led a pledge of allegiance to a flag that used to bring down the democracy.

MCKEND: Pressed today about the use of that flag, Youngkin said if it had ties to the January 6 attacks, it should not have been part of last night's rally.

YOUNGKIN: I wasn't involved so I don't know. But if that is the case, then we shouldn't pledge allegiance to that flag. And, oh, by the way, I have been so clear, there is no place for violence, none, none in America today.

MCKEND: McAuliffe has long sought to tie Youngkin to Trump.

MCAULIFFE: For months, he indulged Donald Trump's theories that -- and thoughts that he could actually be reinstated as president of the United States. He laid that out there.

MCKEND: Trump lost to President Biden by 10 points in Virginia in 2020, though the latest polls show McAuliffe and Youngkin locked in a tight race.


MCKEND: Meanwhile, McAuliffe is bringing in heavy hitters to ramp up enthusiasm, including First Lady Jill Biden tomorrow, Stacey Abrams on Sunday and former President Barack Obama next weekend. The White House suggests President Biden will be back out on the trail soon as well -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Evan McKend, welcome to CNN and welcome to THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll be seeing you here early and often. Thanks very much.

MCKEND: Thank you.

BLITZER: We'll have more news right after this.



BLITZER: It was one of the most revealing stories to come out of the Second World War, to pursuit, capture, trial and execution of the man known as the architect of the holocaust, Adolf Eichmann. And with the world now facing the renewed threat of hate and intolerance and anti- Semitism, a new documentary recounts the events of 60 years ago when key players who were still alive.

It film is the work of CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, who's joining us right now.

Elie, I want to show our viewers at least part of this very powerful documentary you put together. Let's watch.


MICHAEL GOLDMAN-GILAD, EICHMANN INTERROGATOR: It was in my investigation room and when he entered the room, I saw a poor, frightened person shaking. And in comparison to Eichmann in his SS uniform, this man I couldn't believe it, it was the same person standing in front of me, responsible for the death of my parents. But when he opened his mouth -- I cannot forget this -- when he opened his mouth, I saw the doors of the crematorium open.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST (voice-over): Goldman-Gilad and the investigative team, many of them Holocaust survivors themselves, interrogated Eichmann over course of several months. They went through thousands upon thousands of documents, piecing together the horrific events and building a volume of evidence that could they hoped could prove Eichmann's role beyond a shadow of a doubt.

GOLDMAN-GILAD: One of the documents was from Poland, documenting a single transport to Auschwitz, in November, 1943. It has a list of numbers of those who arrived, those who were sent to the camps, those who were sent to the crematoriums. I realized my number is part of that list, 161135.

So I look at them, and I said, you need to look elsewhere, the proof is here, because I was part of that transport. The number is still on my arm.


BLITZER: Elie, so how do the lessons of the Eichmann trial resonate now 60 years later?

HONIG: Wolf, so I think there's a tendency to view the Holocaust as something in the distant past as history. No doubt it's an enormous part of our collective history. But it's also living history, and I think the two men who I had the honor to interview here are the embodiment of that. Michael Goldman, we just saw, 96 years old, survived Auschwitz, and one of the prosecutors from the case, Gabriel Bach (ph), 94 years old, they are living history, and they stress to me that we have to remember the lessons of the Holocaust in the Eichmann trial. We are seeing a rising tide of hate and extremism in this country and around the globe. We saw Charlottesville. We've seen mass shootings in Pittsburgh, Charlottesville, Atlanta, and this continues to this day.

So they stress to me we can never forget these lessons.

BLITZER: This history is very personal for both of us. You are the grandson of Holocaust survivors. I'm the son of Holocaust survivors.

What did it mean to speak to these men and women who fought for justice for millions? HONIG: Wolf, it was a remarkable experience. Like you said, my

grandmother, there with me as a toddler, was liberated by the Allies in from a concentration camp. My grandfather as well who I'm named after. And most of their families were murdered in the Holocaust.

And so, getting to speak to these man who's stood up for justice I felt like they stood for justice for their own families, for my family, for yours, Wolf, and really for millions more.

BLITZER: Well, thank you so much for doing this documentary, Elie Honig.

And to our viewers, you can watch Elie's new documentary on our website Very, very important.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.