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January 6th Committee Refers Trump To DOJ On Four Criminal Charges; New Criminal Referrals Weigh On Trump's 2024 White House Bid; Chief Justice Temporarily Blocks End Of Trump-Era Border Policy; Harvey Weinstein Convicted Of Three Of Seven Charges. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired December 19, 2022 - 18:00   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, the January 6th committee formally accuses Donald Trump of crimes for his role in the insurrection sending referrals to the Justice Department on four federal charges. We're breaking down the legal threat to Trump as prosecutors must decide whether to indict him.

And we're also getting new information about Trump's political peril with his 2024 White House campaign already under way, his team sharing new warnings with the former president about his ongoing fixation with the last election.

And breaking news, Chief Justice John Roberts just ordered a temporary freeze on plans to end a Trump-era border policy this week. We'll go live to the southern border as we assess how this might impact the growing influx of migrants from Mexico.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, the January 6th committee's unprecedented criminal referrals against Donald Trump are headed to the Justice Department, the panel wrapping its extensive investigation with a dramatic final presentation of damning evidence against the former president.

Here's CNN Political Correspondent Sara Murray.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The House select committee investigating January 6th convening publicly one last time --

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): He lost the 2020 election and knew it. In the end, he summoned a mob to Washington, and knowingly they were armed and angry, pointed them to the Capitol and told them to fight like hell.

MURRAY: -- and laying out its case that former president Donald Trump was ultimately responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): No man who would behave that way at that moment in time can ever serve in any position of authority in our nation again. He is unfit for any office.

MURRAY: The committee referring four crimes to the Justice Department that they say the former president committed while trying to stay in the White House --

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We believe that the evidence described by my colleagues today and assembled throughout our hearings warrants a criminal referral of former President Donald J. Trump.

MURRAY: -- including assisting or aiding an insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to make false statements. It believes there is sufficient evidence for two others, conspiracy to injure or impede an officer and seditious conspiracy.

The panel also referring attorney and Trump ally John Eastman to DOJ but saying DOJ will have to determine who else should face prosecution.

RASKIN: Our understanding of the role of many individuals may be incomplete even today because they refused to answer our questions. We trust that the Department of Justice will be able to form a far more complete picture.

MURRAY: Republican lawmakers who snubbed committee subpoenas referred to the House Ethics Committee.

After 17 months of investigating and roughly a thousand witness interviews, the committee determined that Trump knew the fraud allegations he was pushing were false but continued to amplify them anyway.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): The committee has evidence that ex-President Trump planned to declare victory and unlawfully to call for the vote counting to stop and that he told numerous allies about his intent in the weeks before the election.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Say a couple of words.

MURRAY: Even some of Trump's closest allies, like Hope Hicks, worried the bogus fraud claims were damaging his legacy, Trump persisted.

HOPE HICKS, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: He said something along the lines of nobody will care about my legacy if I lose, so that won't matter. The only thing that matters is -- is winning.

MURRAY: Trump worked on a scheme to transmit false Electoral College ballots and replaced Department of Justice leadership would one that would do his bidding, even pressuring his own vice president.

REP. PETE AGUILAR (D-CA): President Trump spearheaded an unprecedented campaign to coerce him to do it anyway, ultimately culminating in a dangerous threat to Mr. Pence's life on January 6th.

MURRAY: The committee also highlighting Trump's $250 million fundraising haul between the election and January 6th, raised primarily off claims of election fraud that did not exist, questioning whether any of the money was used to pay lawyers who may have tried to obstruct the congressional investigation and evidence from one unnamed witness who was urged to stay loyal to Trump.


LOFGREN: The witness believed this was an effort to affect her testimony, and we are concerned that these efforts may have been a strategy to prevent the committee from finding the truth.


MURRAY (on camera): Tonight, an attorney for John Eastman is slamming the committee's work and saying in a statement a criminal referral from a congressional committee is not binding on the Department of Justice and carries no more legal weight than a referral from any American citizen. And, of course, this is not the last we will hear from the committee. We're still expecting their full report to come out later this week. Brianna?

KEILAR: And we'll be watching for that. Sara Murray, thank you for that report.

Joining us now is a member of the January 6th select committee, Congressman Pete Aguilar, a Democrat of California. Sir, thank you so much for taking the time to be with us this evening.

Today, of course, your committee asked the DOJ to charge the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, with four crimes. Do you expect that DOJ will bring charges?

AGUILAR: Well, that's going to be up to them. The Department of Justice is tasked with delivering the ultimate measure of accountability here. Our job was to find the facts, interview witnesses and put together a comprehensive report, which we have done. We have met our obligation, but, ultimately, to have full accountability, the Department of Justice is going have to act.

KEILAR: If DOJ doesn't bring charges against Trump or doesn't bring all of the charges that you think that they should and you waited, the committee waited this long to share all of its evidence, will you second guess that decision?

AGUILAR: No, not at all. The committee work product, we were going through all of that material over the last few months. I understand that folks wanted information out into the public. It will be out in to the public and everyone, including the Department of Justice, will be able to see that byproduct and the information that we have gathered, but there will be no second guessing of the members.

We feel confident in what we have put together. We feel that it meets our obligations within the House resolution that created us, but, more importantly, we feel that it adequately captures all of the information that we have found.

But I would also say the Department of Justice has all the tools that we have and more. And so if they want to continue to gather evidence, they are free to do that and build upon the record that we have put forward.

KEILAR: The committee referred four Republican members of Congress who defied congressional subpoenas to the ethics committee. Why did the committee do that instead of referrals to the Justice Department?

AGUILAR: Well, because we think that this is something that is a House matter. Ultimately, those members didn't want to meet their obligations. They are members of the House and will be members of the House in the future. We feel that we had a responsibility to send that over to ethics.

These are lawful subpoenas that they didn't want to comply with. They are fact witnesses in the information that we were seeking. The fact that they chose to ignore us and avoid us, we think, speaks volumes and is important for the House Ethics Committee to take a look at.

KEILAR: So, send it to the ethics committee even though they won't face any repercussions from the committee?

AGUILAR: Well, that's up to the committee. But we feel that we've met our obligations in this regard.

KEILAR: But, wait, let me pause there. It's up to the committee, but you know very well, sir, the makeup of this committee equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, so there's no expectation that they will face consequences. How does this not say that members of Congress are getting special treatment that other Americans don't get?

AGUILAR: No. What we're saying is that if the Department of Justice chooses to ask these members to comply and to give information, that's something else. This was a congressional investigation, and these members, we feel, had a responsibility to come speak before their colleagues and to share. They chose not to do that, but the Department of Justice has other tools that can compel them to talk if they so choose.

KEILAR: Congressman Pete Aguilar, thank you so much for being with us tonight. We appreciate it.

AGUILAR: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. I want to bring in our panel of legal and political experts to talk about obviously this big day that we've been watching here. Jamie Gangel, first to you. Do you think this final public meeting of this committee following so many hearings that we've watched met the moment?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I do. It was historic. It was significant. We have never seen Congress do this kind of criminal referral, and I think also the breadth of the criminal referral. We have lawyers here who can speak to this more, but there were four significant statutes that they brought.


And I think that in talking to former Justice Department folks, other legal experts, some former federal judges, they think that the evidence, one said to me, was overwhelming.

There's a different question about whether the Justice Department thinks they can convict, whether they have the political will, but I think what Congress did today was absolutely significant.

KEILAR: When you think, Norm, specifically on this criminal referral of assisting or aiding an insurrection, that's a charge that is rarely used. It's hard to prove. What did you make of that being included?

NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It hasn't been used since the civil war. Of the four charges that were brought today, it's the least likely actually to be charged by the Department of Justice, but in some ways, it's the most important. Because, Brianna, part of the reason this committee has been so effective throughout, constant surprises, this was a surprise, but they also meet the moment with drama. This lays down a marker.

And I think it is true. Former President Trump aided and gave comfort to an insurrection. He assisted an insurrection. He was part of an insurrection. And so it lays down a marker and it will be very important, Katelyn and I were talking on the break, very important and one of the big legal battlefronts of the next two years from coast to coast. People are going to try to get Donald Trump removed from the ballot, because under the 14th Amendment Section 3 of the Constitution, I just wrote a big report about this with POGO, under the 14th Amendment, if you give aid and comfort to insurrectionists, you help him, or you're part of an insurrection, you can't run for president.

KEILAR: I mean, that's the overarching case, right, that they're making here that he is unfit to hold office again. But I wonder, Shan, is there's a situation we're you see that this referral is made and then DOJ doesn't even go that direction.

SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Unlikely that they could completely ignore this referral. This is not your dad's referral, like the Oldsmobile commercial. This is extremely comprehensive, and it does set out a roadmap, even in the executive summary, which is like 150-plus pages, it sets out a roadmap, and it really is written for the prosecutors as well as the American public. They've even give a little pep talk pointing out you've just got a big conviction in conspiracies that were not unlike this one.

KEILAR: And, Katelyn, I wonder as people pore over this executive summary, all 150 pages of it, as I know they are going to be doing tonight as part of their evening reading, there's also two additional charges that are mentioned in here that they talk about having evidence of, two possible charges, right, conspiracy to impede or injure a federal officer and seditious conspiracy. Walk us through what that means, why these two are in there, what question that raises.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, if you read it very closely, they are quite clear why they are in there. Today, we're here, we're talking about so much finality, final report, final hearing, the end of this Congress, the end of this committee's work. But they are acknowledging by including those two additional charges that the Justice Department's investigation is ongoing, not Special Counsel Jack Smith's work but the investigations into extremist groups and rioters.

And whenever they write about this, the very last line of that have section says, the Justice Department through its investigative tools that exceed those of the committee may have evidence sufficient to prosecute President Trump under this. They are about rioters. And we even are seeing right now, there's another Oath Keeper seditious conspiracy trial that's teed up for the coming months. The Proud Boys that are charged with seditious conspiracy, they are just starting jury selection this week.

And so those cases are very big cases that there could be a lot of things that happen in them. There could be more cooperators. There could be more investigative findings. That's how the committee is not ready to say conclusively what they found there because there could be a lot of other findings that the Justice Department takes on.

GANGEL: Could I just say what they did was they left the door open for the Justice Department. They didn't have sufficient evidence themselves, but they wanted it out there for the record.

POLANTZ: Totally.

KEILAR: They wanted it out there for the report. Does it dilute the findings at all, in your opinion, Shan?

WU: Not at all. I mean, they have a different focus than a prosecutorial cross-memo would have and so they are doing the right thing and putting it all out there. And there's deference to DOJ here. But they have given them a good lead and even a little bit of encouragement.

KEILAR: Is that -- even some encouragement. Is that how you're reading it, Norm?

EISEN: Well, they were very disciplined. They thought like prosecutors. So, really, the referrals themselves, the core of the referrals, Trump and Eastman, the client and his lead outside coup counsel, this was an attempted coup, not with soldiers but with lawyers.


So, they focus on that. They hit other lawyers very hard, Jeffrey Clark, Ken Chesebro, Clark within government, Chesebro outside of government. Meadows, Mark Meadows, the former Chief of Staff, gets tough treatment, but that -- Giuliani. But that's the short list, there's a lot of discipline there. And then to focus on the ones at the top, I thought it was very effective.

KEILAR: We have more ahead to talk about here. We also have some breaking news just into THE SITUATION ROOM. A jury in California has just reached a verdict in the sexual assault case against disgraced Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein. We are waiting for that verdict to be read inside the courtroom as soon as all attorneys are present, and we're going bring that to you once we get it.

When we return, we are going to discuss the committee's decision to refer four Republican lawmakers to the House Ethics Committee for defying subpoenas, including house GOP leader and would-be speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Also ahead, the breaking news from the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts ordering a temporary freeze on a Trump-era immigration policy that was scheduled to end Wednesday.



KEILAR: And we're back now with our legal and political experts unpacking these historic moves today by the January 6th select committee, the panel recommending the Justice Department prosecute former President Trump on four criminal charges.

So, let's talk about some more of what happened today here. Norm, the committee says later this week it's going to hand over all of its evidence. So, this is a lot, right? We're talking about interview transcripts. They did more than a thousand interviews, and that is what the Justice Department -- that's what they are really interested in, right, getting their hands on here. How much will that help DOJ?

EISEN: I think it will help DOJ. DOJ has been catching up, but they were behind this committee, and you have a bunch of very experienced former federal prosecutors who have steered this investigation. So, Merrick Garland has said publicly, I want those transcripts, and he is a man of his word. He really does want them and so do his prosecutors. It will help a lot.

KEILAR: I was asking Congressman Aguilar about would he have some regrets if they held on to this information until now, didn't give DOJ this time because, this investigation is so far under way, right? No, he did not say that he would have regrets. But I wonder what you think, Shan, about that, if DOJ should have gotten this information sooner.

WU: I think it's wise not to have gotten it to them sooner because it protects the integrity of the committee's work. It doesn't look like they are just a lead or an agent for DOJ, and they needed to complete their own work, complete their own summaries. And now for the public and for DOJ they can hand that off. And so much of the work was so critical for DOJ, not just the transcripts and such, but they have gone through the same legal arguments the DOJ has to go through, thinking about the defenses, pointing out, hey, there have already been court cases that took care of these defenses. That's really valuable, too.

KEILAR: Jamie, what do you make of the committee referring these four Republicans who defied Congressional subpoenas to the ethics committee instead of to DOJ?

GANGEL: So, I think it's probably dead on arrival, because the ethics committee is a 50-50 committee. It's the only one like that in the House. And let's just take a look at who these four are. There are actually five, but Mo Brooks lost his seat, so he was not referred because he's no longer under the jurisdiction. But you have Kevin McCarthy, who may very well be the next speaker of the House. You have Jim Jordan, who is going to be the chairman of the judiciary committee.

I can't imagine that the Republicans on the House Ethics Committee are going to let anything go forward when those two men are in leadership.

KEILAR: What's really going on here, Norm?

EISEN: Well, I will say what is going on is the committee has to do something to respond to this defiance of lawful subpoenas. It's a gesture with one exception. One of the four is Scott Perry, Representative Scott Perry, who was an integral part of these schemes, and in a warning sign, DOJ has seized his phone. So, that is a signal of peril. And depending on what DOJ found on that phone, what they do with Scott Perry, he may have real risk as the case evolves before the ethics committee or not.

GANGEL: But, Norm, isn't it more likely that that's going to be the Justice Department? I mean, Kevin McCarthy is a material witness, Scott Perry, more likely DOJ than house ethics.

EISEN: But the information that DOJ throws off may lead to ethics issues for him, too.

GANGEL: I defer.

KEILAR: I love it. Jamie, Norm, Shan, Katelyn, thank you so much to all of you this evening.

Just ahead, again our breaking news, a California jury has reached a verdict in the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial. We are going to bring you the decision as soon as we learn more.

Plus, a controversial Trump-era immigration policy temporarily saved from the chopping block by Chief Justice John Roberts.



KEILAR: We're following breaking news, a twist in the controversy over the Trump-era border policy Title 42, Chief Justice John Roberts putting a temporary hold on the termination of the extremely contentious rule just a short while ago. Our Chief White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly is gathering new information from his sources and CNN's Rosa Flores is on the ground near the U.S.-Mexican border, the scene of a recent surge in migration.

Let's go first to our Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider for more on this decision. Jess, what are you learning?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, this is Chief Justice John Roberts stepping in to temporarily keep Title 42 in place. This is all while the full Supreme Court decides whether actually these Republican-led states can mount a challenge against the controversial program. So, the bottom line here tonight is that Title 42 likely will not end as was originally anticipated Tuesday into Wednesday at the strike of midnight.

Just a little background for you, you know, Title 42 has been in place since the early days of the pandemic in 2020. What it does is it allows officials to bypass the normal course, and they can expeditiously expel migrants at the U.S. border. So because of that, border states were really bracing for an influx of migrants when Title 42 expired, but now they will likely have at least a few more days here before that expiration happens.


So, what the chief justice is putting in place here, he's asking for more briefing from the Biden administration and the ACLU in this case by tomorrow at 5:00 P.M. And what that means is that the full court here, the full Supreme Court, could likely decide pretty quickly about whether to officially let these Republican-led states step into this case and officially mount their fight to keep Title 42.

That's something the lower courts so far have not allowed, and that's why we all thought that Title 42 would, in fact, end on Wednesday. But what the Supreme Court is doing now, they are extending that timeline.

And Brianna, what this decision means, it doesn't mean that the court is siding with these Republican-led states on the merits. It just means that, procedurally, they are giving them a little more time, might still act quickly, but it looks like Title 42 will not end as planned on Wednesday. Brianna?

KEILAR: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you.

And let's check in now with Phil, at the White House. So, Phil, how is the Biden administration responding to this freeze?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Brianna, I think it's important to note, administration officials have been keenly aware that this is an issue courts are dealing with and this has been a quite legal roller coaster over the course of the last several months.

And the Department of Homeland Security, which is running point on this issue for the administration just a short while ago, put out a statement making clear that their work continues. It says in part, while this stage of the litigation proceeds, we will continue our preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly and humane way when the Title 42 public health order lifts. We urge Congress to use this time to provide the funds we have asked for border security and management and advance the comprehensive immigration measures President Biden proposed on his first day of office.

There're two elements there that I think are important to focus on. One there has been intensive work behind the scenes with the Department of Homeland Security but also senior officials at the White House in preparation for the lifting of Title 42. They are very cognizant of the fact that there will be a surge of migrants at the border, and they need to both surge -- personnel surge, technology and infrastructure but also they are weighing new potential rules related to asylum as it pertains to try to manage what's coming next.

So, the Department of Homeland Security has put out six kind of top line principles that they were using as they prepare for this moment. Those principles include surging enforcement, working with NGOs, kind of setting the stage for processing speed, those types of elements there, as they work through things right now. But I think the bottom line here, that we're hearing from administration officials given the extent of the effort going into this, given the very real concern about what may happen when Title 42 lifts, is that they are still preparing for whenever it lifts knowing that this stay may only be temporary, and they need to be ready when it does lift, if it does in the near term. Brianna?

KEILAR: All right, Phil Mattingly at the White House, thank you.

And Rosa Flores is joining us from along the U.S.-Mexican border. Rosa, it's really important to note here that all of this is happening as we're seeing a surge in migration. What are you seeing on the ground right now?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, there's just so much anxiety on both sides of the border that I want to go straight to live pictures from our drone pilot, Al Meshberg. What you're looking at is here is Matamoros, Mexico. There are thousands of migrants there who are waiting for the lifting of Title 42.

Now, I've been in contact with migrants there as well as a nonprofit organization that is helping all these migrants. And the director of the nonprofit tells me that there's about 2,000 migrants there living in squalor, a lot of them living on the streets or camping out in those tents that you're taking a look at from the air.

Now, according to two migrants who I just got off the phone with who are in that camp, who are living in the streets, they were jumping with joy because the Supreme Court kept Title 42 in place. Now, if that sounds counterintuitive, it is, because what Title 42 allows immigration agents to do to swiftly return migrants to Mexico.

But here's why it makes sense in their mind. They say that the U.S. government has offered so many exceptions to Title 42 that allows them to walk to the port of entry that you see behind me here in Brownsville, Matamoros, that they would rather do that. Because the thing is these migrants say they don't want to enter into the United States illegally. They would rather get in line and allow for immigration agents to process them. They want to seek asylum. They want to be able to do it legally, Brianna. And that's why it's so counterintuitive because they are happy that Title 42 is staying in place is what they're telling.

KEILAR: Yes. No, it is counterintuitive and we appreciate you sharing what you're hearing from them with us. Rosa, thank you for that report.

Just ahead, Donald Trump's 2024 White House bid taking another blow today after the January 6th committee made four criminal referrals to the Justice Department.

Plus, after ten days and 41 hours of deliberation, a jury in the Harvey Weinstein trial has finally reached a verdict.


We are standing by for that decision to be read inside of a Los Angeles courtroom right now.


KEILAR: More now on our top story, the January 6th select committee referring former President Trump to the Justice Department on four potential criminal charges. Trump's growing legal and political woes weighing heavily tonight on his 2024 White House campaign.

Let's discuss this with CNN Senior Commentator, Former Governor John Kasich and CNN Political Commentator Van Jones.

So, Governor, I wonder just how you're seeing Donald Trump's political standing in the wake of these criminal referrals from the committee.


JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR COMMENTATOR: Well, you know, look, Brianna, it's never good when you get referred to the Justice Department because of some criminal activity. I mean, it's a serious problem. And you can find a growing number of people, many of whom, you know, can't be heard five years ago who are now beginning to speak out. It's just weighing on him, one thing after another. There's no question, and a man can only take so much baggage before he start to sink. So, this is again more bad news for Donald Trump.

KEILAR: And, Van, of course, the committee, the whole sort of overarching message here was them making the case that because of their findings Trump is unfit to hold future office, do you think they succeeded in that effort? Was there anything that you wish they had done differently?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think they have done an extraordinarily good job. I wish more Republicans had been willing to serve of on the committee. I think one of the challenges is that I think Kevin McCarthy put forth some names that were just not acceptable names, they weren't appropriate. And so we wound up with too few Republicans on that committee. So, there are going to be some people who will look at the committee with kind of a side-eye glance.

But I think they've had a professional approach. They were dogged. They were determined. And they were also media savvy enough to make sure that the American public who wanted to tune in could understand what they were doing. But the key here is that you cannot run for president, you cannot serve as president if you participated in an insurrection. That's been true since the civil war. And so if this sticks, if the Department of Justice takes this seriously, you could see for the first time ever a presidential candidate disqualified to even run because of what happened on January 6th.

KEILAR: Yes. And, Governor, CNN has learned that advisers close to the former president, they are bluntly telling him I think what's pretty obvious, right, pretty obvious advice, that he needs a new message for his 2024 run, that he can't run on what happened in 2020. But I wonder how is that even possible when you have multiple investigations that are still going on that are going to capture his attention?

KASICH: Well, I think, Brianna, he's definitely going to be saying things, like, I guarantee you you're going to hear him talking about the border and chaos at the border. I understand the Supreme Court stayed this decision about whether you could still send people back, but, you know, one problem there, I think you're going to hear him talk about the border.

And, look, we have to pay attention to the fact that interest rates continue to rise. The Fed just raised rates again and that does not sound good for the future of the economy. You're going to hear him talk about that and the border. And if he keeps talking about 2020, I mean, you know, it just goes nowhere, but it's amazing. He continues to do it, probably will, but I think you'll see varied messages from him.

KEILAR: I wonder, Van, what you think about on the Democratic side, for instance, at least for Biden, you know, one of his top advisers, he's touting the president's strong jolt of momentum heading into 2023, but, of course, as you just heard the governor outline, there are challenges as well. So, I wonder what you think he needs to do.

JONES: Well, I think Biden -- all of the body language now, all of the signaling is that he is planning to run again. And there are people in the Democratic Party who quietly have concerns about his age, but he has earned the right to run again. I mean, it's very hard to find a president in American history that did as much in two years with the kind of slim majority that he had. And so, you know, he's earned the right to drive the car. And you might say, grandpa, we want somebody else to drive. Grandpa is driving the car. And so I think you've got to be -- that's where we are. And so hang on, and that's -- that's going -- that's just reality.

KEILAR: That's where we are. I don't know if you are terribly excited about that. As you say, that's reality. Governor, you know, what do you think?

KASICH: I mean, the age is an issue. But, look, I mean, the Democrats did better because the Republicans really underperformed. And part of the reason why they underperformed is they didn't have a positive message. I still don't know what their message is.

So, here they are about to take control in the House and they talk about investigations but what are they going to do about immigration? Are they going to come up with a plan? What are they going to do about the fact that we have higher interest rates? What are they going to do about health care costs? These are things that Republicans need to be -- they need to have a plan for it. And because they didn't have a plan in the last election, they very seriously underperformed.

And, by the way, in response to the last question, Brianna, I have to tell you. Donald Trump doesn't call me up and ask me what his message ought to be. If he asked me for a message, I would say, why don't you stay a former president. That's the end of it.

KEILAR: He could take some of your advice, but, no, I don't think he will. Governor, Van, thanks you so much to both of you.

KASICH: Thank you.

JONES: Thank you.

KEILAR: And coming up, Russia unleashing a brutal new onslaught across Ukraine knocking out power and water for civilians as Putin ramps up military drills next door in Belarus.

Also ahead, we're standing by for a Los Angeles jury to reveal the verdict in the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault case there.



KEILAR: You are looking here at an energy facility in Kyiv, Ukraine up in flames after Russian drone strikes barreled down there and also on civilian targets across the country. These are attacks coming as Russian President Vladimir Putin visits neighboring Belarus to meet with its president, a close ally of his.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh with details.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: I think it's going to take a while to work out exactly what the results were from this rare meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko.


Rare because Putin went to visit Lukashenko. He really hasn't really done that much before. And this epitomizing really I think the complex relationship between those two countries. Putin came to Lukashenko's aid recently to get him out of protests against his authoritarian rule. Then, Belarus will pay the favor, letting Russia use its territory to invade Ukraine.

Now it seems to be about trying to leave Ukraine on edge. Russian troops on exercise on the Belarusian/Ukrainian border with their Belarusian counterparts. Russia accused of having jets in the Belarusian skies and launching bombing raids on Ukraine from there. That's something Vladimir Putin made a hint of today.

But Putin's comments at the end of their meeting in a press conference really more about trying to reject the notion that Russia was trying to absorb Belarus, although clearly there's a lot of overbearing pressure from Moscow on Minsk. Those comments rarely mocked by the state department. I think we're trying to work out what this visit was about. And it's certainly, I think, about trying to get Ukraine nervous that something may come across its northern border with Belarus, and therefore tie down troops inside of Ukraine that could otherwise be used by Ukraine on its other front lines against Russia.

But this comes after another appalling day in Ukraine. 30 Iranian-made drones launched by Russia and Ukraine. But still said there was significant damage done to infrastructure.

Over the weekend, Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer in a swap recently with Brittney Griner, the basketball star in the United States. He visited Luhansk, a separatist, Russian-controlled area in Ukraine. And I think this is more about trying to sort of show a sense of PR for him, show he was part of the war effort, which he said in an interview he said he hoped peace would come soon, unlikely given the spiraling violence.

But really, today, Monday, seeing yet again vicious attacks on Ukraine's civilian infrastructure and the ongoing damage that's doing to Ukrainians to keep themselves warm in this bleak winter, Brianna.


KEILAR: All right. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you for that report.

Coming up, remembering a member of the CNN family, Drew Griffin, who died this weekend at the age of 60. We'll be right back.



KEILAR: All right. We have some significant breaking news out of California where a jury has reached a verdict in the sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein.

CNN's Natasha Chen is joining us live. She is outside of the courthouse there in Los Angeles with details here.

Natasha, tell us what the jury decided. NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Brianna, the jury

decided that Harvey Weinstein was guilty on three out of the seven counts here. And those three counts are all related to the same Jane Doe accuser. There were four women who accused him in this case, causing the allegations for the seven counts in total. Again, those three guilty counts are all related to the same person.

As far as the other accusers, he was found not guilty on another sexual assault count. And the jury was actually hung on some other scenarios, some other issues. And so, the mistrial was declared on other counts. So, again, three out of the seven counts he was found guilty.

Now, the jury deliberated for 41 hours in this Los Angeles trial. It's much longer than the jury in New York deliberated for that case where he has already been convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison. So, when this trial was going on, he was behind bars in custody here throughout this case.

And, with this case now, they will be looking at a sentencing range if he had been found guilty of all of these counts, he would have been looking at 60 years to life. We'll be looking for more information now about what this means now that only three counts he has been found guilty on.

This is interesting because he's actually appealing the New York case. And so depending on how that appeal goes, this result could be very important for how long he remains in prison, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right. Natasha, if you can stand by for me, I want to bring in our legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers to talk about what this means here. As you're hearing of the three of these seven charges, explain to us what this is going to mean as he's already serving significant time.

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, as Natasha mentioned, it's really more of a backstop than anything. The highest court in New York has taken up Harvey Weinstein's appeal of the New York case. They don't have to take that. That's not an appeal as of right.

So that suggests that there are some reasonably significant appellate issues in the New York case. And if that case were to be overturned, then this case in California then serves as a way to have him serving time notwithstanding what happens in New York. So that's the biggest import of this case and this conviction here.

KEILAR: What does this mean more broadly? I mean, this was the case that started, Jennifer, really me too, that allowed so many people to speak out.

RODGERS: Yeah. I think it's really important. We didn't know what this jury was going to do ten days into deliberations. But with at least one of these witnesses, the jury is saying, yes, we believe her. Even though it's been so long, even though there wasn't a lot of corroborating evidence for what this witness and other witnesses were saying, they believe her. And I think that's really important for women across the nation and across the world.

KEILAR: Yeah, it's very, very significant. And, so, just to remind our viewers what we're seeing right now, Harvey Weinstein convicted of three of seven charges here in the Los Angeles trial in which prosecutors said he used his Hollywood influence to lure women into private meetings and to assault him. So guilty of three of seven charges he was facing after several days of deliberation.

And so that is where we are going to leave it this evening. Thank you so much for joining us.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.