Return to Transcripts main page

The Situation Room

Kyle Rittenhouse Testifies, Sobs On Bombshell Day Of Homicide Trial; January 6th Committee Wants Information From At Least Five People In Pence Inner Circle; Biden Admits Rising Prices Unsettling As Inflation Hits 30-Year High; Houston Police Chief: Production And Entertainer Had Ultimate Authority To End Astroworld Concert; U.S. & Israel At Odds Over Reopening Jerusalem Consulate For Palestinians. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 10, 2021 - 18:00   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. If you ever miss an episode of the show, you can listen to The Lead wherever you get your podcast.

Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer right next door in the little place I like to call THE SITUATION ROOM. See you next tomorrow.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, a bombshell day in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial. Rittenhouse sobbing on the stand, insisting he acted in self-defense when he killed two people during unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. On top of that, the judge yelled at the prosecutor and the defense asked for a mistrial.

Also tonight we're learning the January 6th select committee wants information from at least five members of former Vice President Mike Pence's inner circle. I'll ask a key member of the select committee what these potential witnesses might reveal and whether they're likely to cooperate.

And President Biden just tried to convince Americans he understands their anxiety as inflation here in the United States hits a 30-year high. We'll break down the growing burden on consumers who are struggling with soaring prices for basics like food and fuel.

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

Let's get straight to the breaking news, the riveting and very emotional testimony in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse as he took the stand in his own defense.

Our Senior National Correspondent Sara Sidner is in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for us tonight. Sara, lots of fiery exchanges today in court.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Those fiery exchanges were actually between the judge and the prosecution. There was a call for a mistrial. The defense saying that the prosecution acted in bad faith and that whey will be filing for a mistrial. In the meantime, this is all happening outside of the jury. In front of the jury, we saw Kyle Rittenhouse for the first time tell his own story.




SIDNER (voice over): Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense for the killing of two men and wounding of another last summer during the unrest that exploded in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

RITTENHOUSE: I knew there was protests, demonstrations and riots going on in the later evening.

SIDNER: The next day his friend suggested they go to help protect businesses, and they did. That led to his first deadly shooting.

RITTENHOUSE: I hear somebody scream, burn in hell. And I replied with friendly, friendly, friendly, to let them know, hey, I'm just here to help.

SIDNER: He said he noticed a dumpster fire, went towards it and was approach by two men.

RITTENHOUSE: I look over my shoulder and Mr. Rosenbaum was now from my right side. I was cornered from Mr. Ziminski and there were people right there.

SIDNER: His sobbing prompted the judge to call for a break. Rittenhouse returned completely composed.

RITTENHOUSE: Mr. Rosenbaum was right there at the corner of the Duramax starting to chase me. A gunshot is fired from behind me and I take a few steps, and that's when I turn around. And as I'm turning around, Mr. Rosenbaum is coming at me with his arms out in front of him. I remember his hand on the barrel of my gun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you see him lunging at you, what do you do?

RITTENHOUSE: I shoot him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how many times did you shoot him?

RITTENHOUSE: I believe --

SIDNER: Says he begin to run.

RITTENHOUSE: People were screaming, get his ass, get him. Get him. Get him.

SIDNER: Rittenhouse then describes how and why he shot the other two men saying he was defending his own life.

RITTENHOUSE: Mr. Huber, his holding a skateboard like a baseball bat, and he swings it down and I block it with my arm trying to prevent it from hitting that, and as I block it, it goes flying somewhere off in the distance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And did you stop them?

RITTENHOUSE: No. I get lightheaded. I almost pass out and stumble and hit the ground. I'm on my back. And Mr. Huber runs up. He -- as I'm getting up, he strikes me in the neck with his skateboard a second time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then what happened?

RITTENHOUSE: He grabs my gun and I can feel it pulling away from me and I can feel the straps starting to come off my body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what do you do then?


RITTENHOUSE: I fire one shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After you fire striking we now know Mr. Huber, what do you do?

RITTENHOUSE: I lower my weapon and I see Mr. Grosskreutz. He lunges at me with his pistol pointed directly at my head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you reload your weapon?


SIDNER: That contradicted Gaige Grosskreutz's testimony where he said Rittenhouse tried to reload his gun. Rittenhouse said he only fired at him when his life was in danger. The prosecution also tried to bring in evidence that Rittenhouse have said he wish he had a gun to shoot shoplifters in the days before he arrived in Kenosha.

THOMAS BINGER, KENOSHA COUNTY ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Do you agree with me that you're not allowed to use deadly force to protect property. Correct?


BINGER: But yet you have previously indicated that you wished you had your AR-15 to protect someone's property, am I correct?

SIDNER: The judge suddenly sent the jury out and barked at the prosecutor admonishing him for his line of questioning which the judge said went against a pretrial motion about what evidence can come in.

SCHROEDER: The problem is, this is a grave constitutional violation for you to talk about the defendant's silence. You're right on the border line. You may be over, but it better stop. SIDNER: Before the end of the day, Rittenhouse claims he wasn't only defending himself but others.

RITTENHOUSE: If I would have let Mr. Rosenbaum take my firearm from it he would abuse it and killed me with, and probably killed more people if I would have let him get my gun.


SIDNER (on camera): And the testimony ended for Kyle Rittenhouse today though there are other witnesses, including his friend whom purchased that AR-15 for Rittenhouse who is expected to take the stand tomorrow. As for the mistrial, the judge said that he would take it into consideration. The defense saying they are making a motion, not just because of that evidence that the prosecution talked about that the judge had said could not come in pretrial motions but also because the prosecution brought up that Kyle Rittenhouse when he went to turn himself in to the police asked for a lawyer which is his constitutional right. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, Sara, I want you to stay with us. I also want to bring in our Senior Legal Analyst Laura Coates and Defense Attorney and former Federal Prosecutor Shan Wu.

Shan, the defense took a risk putting Rittenhouse on the stand today, as you know. Which side do you think benefited most from his testimony?

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It was a tough day for the prosecution. It's a challenging case, very challenging judge and a challenging defendant to cross-examine. He is young. He looks young. You have to make sure the jury doesn't think that you're bullying him. And I would say at the end of the day, I don't know that they scored that many points, the kind of points they needed to do in a case like this.

BLITZER: Yes. He's 18. He was 17 years old at the time of the shooting.

You know, Laura, a key moment today was when Rittenhouse broke down on the stand earlier. Watch this.


RITTENHOUSE: There were -- there were people right there that put on -- that's when I run.


BLITZER: Laura, what did you make of that moment and what impact do you think it will have on the jury?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, tears certainly garner sympathy of already sympathetic jurors. It can also persuade others to look at the defendant in a more sympathetic light. And you know, if I was the defense team, I would question the judge's decision to derail that opportunity for the jury to continue to see this. And so there's that issue.

But ultimately, although tears can be quite compelling, they don't otherwise transform a claim of self-defense that is not present into one that is actually there. Remember, Kyle Rittenhouse has asserted the issue of self-defense. And so he has to demonstrate in some clear to use self-defense for the lone lethal force.

And so while he can be very met the heart of the mad point. Were you entitled and justified in your belief that you could use self-defense or lethal force? And that is with respect, not just to the first victim, but for every one thereafter. So his tears, while compelling, do not address the full heart of the matter of his defense.

BLITZER: You know, Shan, as you know there were several very tense moments between the judge administrator and the prosecuting attorney. I want you to listen to some of them. Watch this.


SCHROEDER: I was astonished when you began your examination by commenting on the defendant's post-arrest silence.


That's basic law. It's been basic law in this country for 40 years, 50 years. I have no idea why you would do something like that.

Don't get brazen with me.

You know very well that an attorney can't go into these types of areas when the judges has already ruled without asking outside the presence to give me that.

I don't believe you. There better not be another incident. I'll take the motion under advisement.


BLITZER: How much of that, Shan, was war executions (ph) performance today?

WU: I would say his demeanor is not warranted. He may have valid legal points. He has to watch over the trial, but a lot of that did take place out of the presence of the jury, but he's got to be very careful. Coming across that way, the jury is very influenced by judges. And if they pick up on the idea that he thinks the prosecution is doing something wrong, they're going end to up holding that against the prosecution. So I think his demeanor is very questionable here.

BLITZER: Laura, what did you think?

COATES: I mean, judges often give tongue lashings to prosecutors because, in theory, you know, you're talking about due process and wanting to give a defendant a fair trial, and that often requires the judge to be deferential to the experience and defense of a defendant, particularly because, of course, the weight of a jurisdiction versus an individual is quite impressive. So, I think in one way, he was trying to demonstrate that he wasn't going to do any favors for the prosecution.

On the other hand, however of course, it is quite clear in the law that you are not supposed to allude to the choices that a defendant makes to remain silent. Remember the memorandum warnings, we can all probably will sight verbatim here. It doesn't say anything you don't say will be used against you in a court of law. It's what you will say. It's the idea of the right to remain silent is actually something we think is sacrosanct in our justice system for good reason.

But the judge is, I think in many ways, trying to demonstrate that he's not going to do the heavy lifting for the prosecution. And if there is a conviction, it better be according to the letter of the law, above board and thorough.

BLITZER: And very quickly, Sara, what's next?

SIDNER: So we're expecting to hear from the friend who actually purchased that AR-15 and was with Mr. Rittenhouse while he was here. I should also mention that there are about 20-some odd protesters who are now outside of the courthouse and that protest being partially led by Jacob Blake's uncle, Justin Blake.

BLITZER: All right guys, thank you. We're obviously going to stay on top of this trial. There's more news here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The January 6th select committee sets its sights on the inner circle of former Vice President Mike Pence. CNN has learned that multiple former staffers could have information that the committee clearly wants.



BLITZER: Right now we're getting new information about the focus of though January 6th select committee that's going beyond the Trump allies to include the inner circle of former Vice President Mike Pence. Our Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel is here with her exclusive reporting. Jamie so, who is the committee targeting right now in Pence's inner circle?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the committee is interested in at least five members of the Pence inner circle, according to three sources familiar with the effort. I worked with our colleagues Mike Warren and Zach Cohen on this.

We are told that some individuals close to Pence may actually be willing to either voluntarily or under the guise of a friendly subpoena talk with the committee. According to our sources, some Pence aides are actually proving more willing to engage with the committee than has previously been made public. Among the aides, Wolf, are former Chief of Staff Marc Short, former Chief Counsel Greg Jacob, former National Security Adviser Keith Kellogg. We reached out to the aides who either did not respond or declined to comment. Clearly they want to keep a low profile. But we did hear from House Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson who went on the record and said that some are cooperating. He said some yes and some no. But clearly, Wolf, the committee wants to talk to these people and for the first time we're hearing that some Pence aides are engaging with the committee.

BLITZER: You know it's really interesting because there are some people out there who were very close, very close to the vice president. And their information potentially could be very, very critical, right?

GANGEL: So let's talk about these three. These are the inner circle. They have critical information. They were firsthand witnesses in the days leading up to January 6th and January 6th about how former President Trump and his allies were trying to pressure Pence to overturn the results of the election.

Just take a look. Marc Short, Chief of Staff, Pence's closest aides with him in the days leading up to January 6th, the meetings actually with him on January 6th, up at the Capitol. I'm told there's a lot of interest in him. Second, Greg Jacob, Former Chief Counsel. Jacob was critical in pushing back on one of Trump's lawyers that we now know about, John Eastman, who wrote that two-page memo trying to justify Pence stopping the certification.

I'm told Jacob played a critical role in countering those efforts and is a person of significant interest to the committee. And finally, among the group, Keith Kellogg, former National Security Adviser to Pence who actually was with former President Trump most of the day on January 6th because National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien was out of town.


Kellogg observed firsthand exactly what Trump was saying and doing during the Capitol insurrection. The committee really wants to talk to him, and he was just subpoenaed. Wolf.

BLITZER: Is this problematic, all this excellent reporting of yours, for Pence's political future?

GANGEL: No question. This is a political tightrope. Look, it's no secret that Mike Pence wants to run for president or is exploring that. But any public cooperating with the January 6th committee is not going to be popular with Trump's base.

So what we're seeing here in Pence world is clearly they are engaging with the committee, and there's no question the committee wants to talk to them, but they don't want it to be public, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jamie, I want you to stay with us, I want to bring in our Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, he's the Author of True Crimes and Misdemeanors, The Investigation of Donald Trump. Also with us, CNN Political Analyst Maggie Haberman, the Washington Correspondent for The New York Times.

Maggie, there's been serious tension as we know between former President Trump and former Vice President Pence since the attack that day. Will the level of cooperation from Pence aides reflect that?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Wolf, there's less tension between Pence and Trump directly despite everything that happened than there is between the two camps. I do think that this is going to cause more friction. I think that Trump in particular does not want to see Pence's folks go talk to the committee.

These are not all identical advisers. Keith Kellogg, yes, he was in the oval office. But Keith Kellogg is widely seen among Pence's aides and among people outside Pence's circle as candidly more loyal to Trump than he is to Pence.

And so -- and among the questions people had, I understand that Robert O'Brien was at southcom that day and was not available and that's why Kellogg was ostensive there. But the fact that Kellogg was there in the tent and the rally and observing all of these things, and not really focused on Pence raised a lot of questions for Pence's folks. So I think you're potentially going to see his schism within the aides. And I don't quite know what that looks like.

BLITZER: That's a good point. You know, Jeffrey, the committee says Pence's national security adviser has what they call direct the information on former President Trump statements about and reaction to the Capitol insurrection. How useful could these witnesses be to this overall investigation?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they could be very useful, but the key issue is, as Jamie was pointing out, some of them may actually be willing to testify because of the legal structure of how this investigation is proceeding. Anyone who decides to fight these subpoenas in court is likely to be able to run out the clock.

And if -- but if these Pence aides willingly testify under subpoena or just without a subpoena, that could be of enormous benefit to the committee. But they are going to have to decide whether they want to risk the wrath of Trump and participate in the investigation and talk to investigators.

BLITZER: You know, Maggie, on Trump's White House documents, you heard that forceful rejection of Trump's arguments from the judge saying, and I'm quoting now, presidents are not kings and plaintiff is not president. That has to be hard for former President Trump to wrap his head around, doesn't it?

HABERMAN: Look, I don't think that Trump ever likes being reminded he's not president and I certainly think that hearing it in a legal decision is not going to sit well. I think unsurprisingly you'll see Trump continue to try to fight this as Jeffrey said. There's a running out the clock strategy here. You know his folks talk about the importance of trying to set legal precedent related to former president's executive privilege and that's fine but this is also a strategy Trump has had many times. None of this, you know, is helpful to Trump in terms of simply reminding him that he is not president anymore. He has, however, Wolf, I would point out, begun this very aggressive effort to try to rewrite what took place January 6th, rewrite what was happening at the Capitol, rewrite why it was taking place, rewrite whether there was violence or not, and I think that that is -- that's taking place in front of our eyes as opposed to just with committee witnesses.

BLITZER: You know, Jeffrey, the Trump legal team clearly is appealing all of this. How will that work? Will they be able to stop these documents from being handed over to the House of Representatives by Friday?

TOOBIN: You know, this is the first moment where the committee really has the upper hand legally because they now hold in their hands a decision from the district court in Washington saying that the national archives has to start turning over these documents on Friday.

So the status quo means the committee gets the documents. The issue here is what will the D.C. circuit court do, the court of appeals for the D.C. circuit. They will be asked to issue a stay. And it's enormously important because if they don't issue a stay, it means the committees start to be -- the documents start to be produced.


If they do issue a stay, it likely means months of delay. So in the next 24 to 48 hours, we should know whether this stay is issued, and it's enormously important for the future of this investigation how that goes.

BLITZER: You know, Jamie, even if some of these high- profile witnesses don't cooperate, how revealing could it be for this committee to see those White House documents, call logs, schedules, even hand written notes?

GANGEL: Absolutely critical. It's exactly the kind of pieces of the puzzle that could lead them some place. And I just want to say one other thing about engaging with the committee. Some people may agree to testify. Some people may come up with subpoenas. But we may see some of these people, not only in Pence world but other witnesses quietly talking to the committee and pointing them in the right direction.

BLITZER: Very interesting indeed, great reporting, guys. Thank you very much.

Coming up, President Biden touts his new infrastructure bill while addressing growing concerns over inflation here in the United States. Does his administration have a plan to bring down soaring prices after the biggest jump in 30 years? Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.


[18:30:00] BLITZER: There's more breaking news we're following. President Biden facing startling inflation numbers, they are at a 30-year high tonight here in the United States.

Our Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly is working the story for us. Phil, it was notable tonight in Baltimore, the president open his remarks by addressed the very real concerns over inflation. Tell our viewers what he said.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Wolf. The president laid out an honest assessment of a reality that inflation is not temporary. The price increases are problematic and at least at this point they're not decelerating. At least based on the last report they are accelerating. And that is a significant problem for the administration. Both on political and policy grounds. And the president is making clear his administration sees it and is trying to address it.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Today's economic report showing unemployment continuing to fall, but consumer prices remain too high. The American people miss this economic crisis, of recovery that is showing strong results but not to them. They're still looking out there. Everything from a gallon of gas to loaf of bread costs more and it's worrisome, even though wages are going up. We still face challenges and have to tackle them, we have to tackle on head-on.


MATTINGLY: And the way the White House is trying to do that, Wolf, is really through two fronts on. The recognition of the supply chain bottlenecks coming out of a pandemic economy that created significant problems, driving some of those price increases. You've seen a series of efforts, particularly around ports. Some trucking from the administration over the course of the last several weeks.

The president at the Port of Baltimore today, in part to tout that $1.2 trillion infrastructure proposal he will sign into law on Monday. It includes $17 billion for ports, and waterways. Something the administration thinks will help unlock some of its issues.

But it's also pressing on the $2 trillion economic and climate package the president once passed by the house and Senate in the coming weeks. Republicans are pointing to that and saying given the inflation, a package that large is simply isn't tenable at this moment in time. The president countering that, saying the way the package is designed with long-term spending to broaden productivity is exactly what the economy needs to help address some of those price increases.

However, one senator in particular not sold yet. Senator Joe Manchin tweeting that he still has major concerns about inflation and efforts to address them. You know very well, Wolf, the White House can't afford to lose a single Democrat in the Senate. Manchin's not on board yet. Doesn't seem like this is going to help but administration officials making clear they believe they have an argument to give to the senator and they plan on making that in the days ahead. Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes. His vote is clearly critical. Phil Mattingly at the White House, thank you very much.

There's the politics of inflation but nearly all Americans are experiencing some sticker shock at the price of almost everything right now. CNN's Brian Todd is working the story for us on so many products, the prices are going up.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. To put it bluntly, the American consumers is getting the short end with just about anything they want to buy. We have new information tonight on the pain we're feeling with rising prices and how long it will go on.


TODD (voice over): Motorists getting crushed at the pump.

DAVID ROMERO, GAS CUSTOMER IN LOS ANGELES: It would be one price one day and then tomorrow it's like up 30 cents.

LEAH LAUBACH, GAS CUSTOMER IN LOS ANGELES: No more Starbucks. No more like those shoes are cute. It's, no, it's like okay, I have to get to work and I have to have gas. So --

TODD: Gas prices according to the government were almost 50 percent higher in October than they were a year earlier. This kind of pain is almost universal in America. New government data shows inflation has skyrocketed over the past year. Rising more than 6 percent. The biggest increase in 31 years.

RANA FOROOHAR, GLOBAL BUSINESS COLUMNIST AND ASSOCIATE EDITOR, FINANCIAL TIMES: We've gone for a couple of generations now without seeing this kind of inflation. So people just aren't used to this kind of hit in their pocketbook.

TODD: Almost all of this expert say is related to the pandemic. Consumers are taking a hit at the grocery store.

ROYCE CALDWELL, GROCERY SHOPPER IN NEW YORK: It went up $2. Like from $0.99 to $2.99. That's kind of high.

TODD: The average price of meat, poultry, fish and eggs has gone up 11.9 percent from a year ago.

FOROOHAR: So what that means is that people are not going to be eating as well. They're certainly not going to be eating out as much. They'll not be buying expensive items in the grocery. And food, fuel, rental prices, these are what most people spend most of their money on.

TODD: Rent for the average urban American rose 2.7 percent from a year ago. The cost of electricity went up 6.5 percent. Home prices have soared due to tight inventory and low interest rates, new car and truck prices up 9.8 percent and used cars are up 26.4 percent, caused in part by growing demand and supply chain problems. [18:35:11]

DAVID WILCOK, PETERSON INSTITUTE FOR INTENATIONAL ECONOMICS: Ports are backed up. That means that you get more containers stacked up. There aren't enough truck drivers. So, more containers get stacked up. They don't get delivered.

TODD: And tonight, growing concerns about prices and supply for the holiday season.

What about the holiday season? Are we going to be able to buy the gifts that we want?

WILCOK: There probably are going to be shortages. It's too late now to produce something that isn't available in supply in stock on the store shelves now and ship it from China or elsewhere across the globe.


TODD (on camera): And was there any price relief on the horizon? The economic analysts we spoke to say that could come in 6 to 12 months but only if the pandemic eases significantly, if more people get vaccinated, get back to working in stores and offices.

As for the high price and shortages of cars, experts say that will probably take longer to solve since the computer chips used to make cars are so specialized and there's not enough of those chips coming into the United States. China is holding it up very significantly.

BLITZER: All right, Brian Todd, excellent report as usual, thank you very much.

Just ahead, we're tracking new developments in the Astroworld investigation. Police have just revealed new details about what may have caused the deadly crush.



BLITZER: Right now we want to get some reaction to CNN's exclusive reporting today on the January 6th select committee, seeking information from members of former Vice President Mike Pence's inner circle.

Let's discuss with a key member of the select committee, Congressman Pete Aguilar. Congressman, thanks for joining us. And as you know, CNN has learned your committee is looking at this inner, inner circle of former Vice President Pence advisers. So what sort of information are you asking them to provide?

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): We're asking for a series of documents, as well as to sit down for interviews. And it's important to know that the committee is making significant progress, 16 subpoenas that went out this week, over 150 interviews that we've had since the beginning of the committee's work.

We continue to make progress, but we want to know specifically what was happening at the White House, who knew what, what level of coordination was going on. And if there were efforts to stop or mitigate the violent attack on the Capitol, did that happen? And if it didn't happen, why didn't it happen?

So, those are some of the questions that we seek to answer, and that's why it's important that we hear from these individuals.

BLITZER: What's the level of cooperation you're getting from the Pence aides, at least so far?

AGUILAR: I can't comment on the specific level of cooperation, but I can tell you that we're engaged with a significant number of individuals who were in the administration previously, as well as people who know details about the events that led up to January 5th and January 6th. That's our focus. That's our legislative focus that was set out in house resolution 503. We want to tell the full and complete story. But in order to do that, we have to hear directly from individuals who were in and around the White House at the time.

BLITZER: Sources tell CNN, Congressman, that at least some of these witnesses may cooperate with you guys under what's called a friendly subpoena. Why would that be necessary? Are they worried about backlash from former President Trump?

AGUILAR: I'm not going to talk about the specifics of the individuals or what their motivations might be. But what I could say is that it's our expectation that individuals comply with the lawful subpoena that is handed to them. It's the responsibility. And it's what every American should do. And so I hope that these individuals cooperate. I can tell you that a number of individuals are engaged with the committee and their work. And we're going to continue to build this legislative and this framework of what happened and what transpired on January 5th leading into January 6th.

BLITZER: A federal judge has now ruled that your committee can get Trump White House documents from the national archives, including call logs, schedules, handwritten notes among other documents, the former president is appealing this. So, realistically, Congressman, when do you expect to actually see these documents?

AGUILAR: Well, we hope that these can start to be transmitted on Friday, which is exactly what the judge has indicated. And absent any external activity, that's what we plan to hear. And so the national archives has indicated they have the material ready, ready to transmit, and they are following the president's request to turn those over to the January 6th committee and it's important that this president, President Biden, is the president that gets to decide what is privileged.

And so he's indicated that the national archives should cooperate. As you mentioned, Judge Chutkan also agreed with that and said that this serves our purpose. And that it's important work that we're doing. And so our expectation is that on Friday, we can get this documentation and start to go through it.

BLITZER: We'll see how this legal battle plays out offer the next 48 hours. You're right, these are critical couple of days. Your Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson says you have a, quote, problem if the Justice Department doesn't prosecute Steve Bannon for refusing to cooperate. How much of your committee's investigation hinges on the Department of Justice's action and acting expeditiously on this?

AGUILAR: Well, we just hope that they follow the law. And that's what the Department of Justice should do. And the law says specifically that they have a duty to bring this in front of a grand jury. That's the language. And so when the House of Representatives voted to hold Mr. Bannon in contempt, that's transmitted to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and the law says exactly what the next step should be.


So we expect them to undertake their work but to perform the duty that the law requires, which is to move forward and have -- and hold Mr. Bannon accountable.

BLITZER: It will be a critical Department of Justice decision. No doubt about that.

Congressman Pete Aguilar, thanks, as usual, for joining us.

AGUILAR: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Coming up, why are Houston police pushing back on calls for an independent probe of the Astroworld Concert disaster? We have details, and we'll share them with you, right after the break.



BLITZER: We are following breaking news on the deadly crowd surge at the Astroworld concert in Houston.

The Houston police chief giving an update just a little while ago.

Our senior national correspondent, Ed Lavandera, is in Houston for us.

So, Ed, what did the police chief reveal about the investigation?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, the police chief mere in Houston saying they are continuing to review hours of the video footage of the concert at the Astroworld Festival last Friday night where eight people were killed, dozens more injured. They say they are not ready to announce whether or not there will be criminal charges filed in this.

But it's clear, from the answers that the police chief gave here this afternoon, that they are taking a much closer look at Travis Scott's production team. The police chief here says they are the ones that would have been responsible for shutting down the show. There are still a great number of questions about the timeline of events, and why it took so long for the concert to come to an end.

Even more than 30 minutes, after a mass-casualty event was declared. This is what the chief said when asked about that this afternoon.


CHIEF TROY FINNER, HOUSTON POLICE: The ultimate authority to end the show is with production, and the entertainer. Okay? And that should be through communication with public safety officials.

I want us to review the tapes. Okay? Because if -- if -- if a tape's showing even somebody from my agency doing the wrong thing, you know what? And the most important thing. I'm telling you, as chief of police, this is my agency. We're going to hold people accountable. And I think that the family -- we owe that to them.


LAVANDERA: The police chief says that the producers and the production staff of the -- of the show were told to shut it down, after the first reports of CPR being administered to people in the crowd. But it's not exactly clear at what point during the show that happened. Travis Scott performed for an hour and 15 minutes, roughly, and this is why the county judge here in Houston is calling for an independent third-party investigation of all of this. The police chief says he doesn't believe that's necessary.

BLITZER: All right, Ed, thank you very much. Ed Lavandera on the scene for us, as usual. Appreciate it.

Just ahead. Will plans for a U.S. consulate serving Palestinians drive a wedge between President Biden and the new Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennett? Stand by. We have new details on the growing controversy.



BLITZER: The Biden administration says it recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has no plans to undo the embassy's switch from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem made under former President Trump. But it does want to re-open a separate diplomatic consulate in Jerusalem that looks after U.S. relations with the Palestinians.

As CNN's Hadas Gold tells us, Israel's new government isn't having it.


HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When then-President Donald Trump recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital in 2018, what had been the consulate serving Palestinians was shut down.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: We took Jerusalem off the table. So we don't have to talk about it anymore. They got to get past Jerusalem. We took it off the table. We don't have talk about it anymore.

GOLD: But with President Joe Biden, Jerusalem is very much back on the table as the administration seeks to re-open the consulate.

As Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in May --

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States will be moving forward with the process to re-open our consulate in Jerusalem.

GOLD: And repeated in October.

BLINKEN: We'll be moving forward with the process of opening a consulate as part of deepening those ties with the Palestinians.

GOLD: New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has worked to create a smooth and drama-free relationship with the Americans.

But he was blunt when asked by CNN, whether he was heading toward a conflict over the consulate and other issues.

NAFTALI BENNETT, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: No. Our position is -- and it was presented very clearly and openly to our American friends -- that there is no room for another American consulate in -- in Jerusalem.

GOLD: The historic building that housed the consulate was folded into the broader American embassy when it officially moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Many Palestinians want to see the sign on this building switched back because an American consulate in Jerusalem is seen as a precursor to what they hope will, one day, be an American embassy in East Jerusalem, capital of a potential future state of Palestine.

The Israeli intransigents on the issue, even suggesting the Americans open the consulate instead in Ramallah seen as a direct challenge to the Americans.

MOHAMMED SHTAYYEH, PRIME MINISTER OF THE PALESTINIAN NATIONAL AUTHORITY: By all means, Ramallah is not Jerusalem and is not the capital of Palestine in the same way that Abu Dis is not and therefore, for us, the consulate to east Jerusalem -- it has a lot of political significance. We want this consulate in Jerusalem to be the future American embassy to the state of Palestine.

And therefore, when we say that we want it to be there, of course, we want it to be there.

GOLD: A choice then for President Biden, pick a fight with Israel's new government, or quietly and not in so many words, accept what Trump said that, for the U.S. at least, Jerusalem is most definitely off the table.

Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Thank you, Hadas.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @wolf Blitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNSitRoom.

And THE SITUATION ROOM, by the way, is also available as a podcast. Look for us on or wherever you get your podcasts.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.