tv CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta CNN October 17, 2021 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
with jim acosta right now. you are live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm jim acosta in washington. and we're following several top stories, including congress ready to hold steve bannon in contempt. the former trump adviser defied his subpoena from the committee investigating january 6th. will that decision send him to jail? there is a key vote this week. plus, former president bill clinton on the mend and out of the hospital. details of his very nearly week-long battle against an infection, and an urgent situation in haiti. 16 americans and one canadian kidnapped by gang members during a missionary trip. we'll go live to the state department. i want to begin with the subpoena showdown for testimony and documents to the january 6th committee. it's a pivotal week in the investigation as the committee will meet tuesday to move forward in holding steve bannon
in contempt for defying their subpoena. with me is cnn legal analyst eli honig. >> on tuesday the committee is going to vote to hold steve bannon in contempt. then it has to go to the full house, which will vote to hold them in contempt. and then it goes to doj. this specific charge has not been brought since 1983. doj since then has passed on prosecuting this several times. now, we're in unprecedented territory here for sure. will merrick garland break from past president and charge this crime? i don't see how he can't sitting there as the attorney general. there is a flag rant violation
of law, but it's not going to be easy. >> the committee has already extended the deadline so they can continue negotiations they are supposed to be engaging with the committee. how limited are the powers of the department of justice and congress that this type of situation, in this type of situation, and where could we be if we're just waiting months and months -- they could essentially torpedo the committee to some extent by just not complying with this. >> donald trump and the people around him are playing the delay game here. and if we learned collectively any lesson from the last time this happened, congress just has to play tougher here. congress has been slow, they've been timid, they've been indecisive. meanwhile you have trump and his people who are willing to break all the rules. trump has lost virtually every one of these cases. he's never had a final decision
in his favor in court. that said, he has won even while he's losing simply by dragging things out. so congress has to be ready to act quickly. they seem like they are. the courts, our judges can't let these cases sit for years or months. they can get these things done in a matter of a month or two. and doj, again, merrick garland, there's a lot of pressure on merrick garland. joe biden has said he thinks this case should be charged. so all three of those actors need to stiffen up and show some spine here. >> we saw the justice department say that they'll be making the decision, not the president. the chair of the january 6th committee congressman bennie thompson told cnn earlier this week that the committee has not ruled out subpoenaing the former president donald trump in that, quote, nobody is off limits. adam kinzinger was asked about this earlier this morning. here's what he said. >> if we subpoena all of a sudden the former president, we know that's going to become kind of a circus so that's not
necessarily something we want to do up front. but if we need a piece of information, we certainly will. >> some hesitancy to bring him in here and create a spectacle, which is what would happen. >> i'm spectacle they will subpoena the former president. it would be a circus. let's be clear here, the focus of all of this, the central focus here is donald trump. the biggest question is what did he know and what did he do. now if you look at the subpoenas they've already served, it's like these planets orbiting the sun, bannon, patel, meadows. if the committee wanted to hear from donald trump and was determined to have that fight, they would have subpoenaed him already. so i'm highly doubtful that they will do it in the days and weeks ahead. >> what does the law say about trump invoking it to keep his documents from being provided or to keep people from testifying? he is the former president.
do you have executive privilege until you die? that would not make any sense. >> interestingly, former presidents can have some interest in exerting executive privilege after they have left office. barack obama recognized that in an executive order. however, the law and that executive order make clear that if you disagree with the current guy, the current guy prevails because in the end it is meant to protect the institution, the presidency, not any one individual. so donald trump has a mainly uphill battle. i don't see any way he prevails. >> elie honig, thank you so much. my next gez was a key witness in donald trump's first impeachment trial. alexander vindman joins me now. very successful book, colonel. thank you so much for being with us. the very thing that you said
during trump's first impeachment. instead of pressuring ukraine, he was pressuring the department of justice and election officials in places like georgia. both times he faced no legal or political consequences. there is all this hesitancy and trepidation, i suppose, to hall him in front of the january 6th committee. it seems like this works out for him every time. at some point, doesn't somebody just have to stand up to him? you know all about that. >> absolutely. and i think individual actors have and maybe have suffered the consequences, but they've served the general public good. i think what ends up happening is if trump and his cronies are not held accountable, this becomes a rehearsal for future insurrection. we need accountability to deal with the crimes, the criminal activity from the previous administration to be able to
expose the big lie of stolen elections to expose the president's wrongdoing, to expose the corruption of his proxies. and if we do that, we can start chipping away at the big lie. we can start bringing this country back together, and with that move ahead without accountability, we can't do that. >> and i think people at home see how trump's allies are trying to stonewall these proceedings. they see steve bannon doing it right now. they wonder what is the point of this process if it's so easy to get around it. what's the point of issuing subpoenas? why did these congressional subpoenas exist if you can just toss them by the wayside and ignore them? do you think our institutions are built to withstand these types of tactics? >> i don't think so. and i think, in part, what we've experienced over the past four years and maybe even longer is that the legislative branch has ceded some of its authority. it ceded its role as a check on executive power. and i think that this is an
opportunity for the legislative branch to assert its role in the constitutional process, hold the former president and other officials accountable that both through the subpoenas and through an exposure of what happened bring the facts out into the light about january 6th. the other thing is in reality this is also a political endeavor. and it exposes that this former president, president trump was a corrupt actor, that continues to try to steal the election that he lost, which is pretty amazing. now the next -- now it's also in the hands of the american public. we have an election in less than a few weeks. and what i think we need to do is we need to take a look at those people that the president supports, those trump acolytes, those other actors that have proven themselves to be compromised. actually, they've marked themselves with the scarlet letter of president trump's approval, and we need to make sure that those folks do not
make it into office. and that's why one of the reasons i've supported terry mcauliffe against glenn youngkin. he supports the former president's policies with regards to denying the severity of covid, denying january 6th insurrection, denying -- or propagating this idea of a stolen election, and we can't have that. in the state of virginia he's a nonviable candidate. it's just a matter of the population showing up and making their voices heard. >> i do want to ask you a little bit about that in just a moment. if you were advising the january 6th committee, would you advise the committee to issue a subpoena for donald trump to testify, cooperate with that investigation? >> absolutely. and now i have the privilege of doing that because i'm not an attorney, don't have to understand all the difficulties, but on the same note, the president should be brought to justice, he's not above the law. i felt that was the case when i
reported a presidential wrongdoing and presidential abuse of power. and if he lies in front of the commission, then he should suffer the consequences. the problem is that he has not suffered the consequences. he has not suffered the consequences of an abuse of power in the first impeachment. mismanaged covid, attempt to steal an election into the future. and also in the second -- and after the insurrection he was not held accountable. what discourages him from continuing to behave as a future authoritarian leader attempting to entice republican state governments from introducing legislation that allows them to overturn the will of the people that vote in one direction? we need accountability. it's an open wound. without accountability you can't move forward. >> i know you're a terry mcauliffe supporter. this virginia race is becoming a
national race. i want to go to an event that happened last week. you probably noticed this. it was a rally for glenn youngkin, the republican candidate who's challenging terry mcauliffe. and at that event they pledged allegiance to an american flag that they claimed was used or carried during the january 6th insurrection. what was your response when you saw that? >> he's disqualified. he's an extremist. he has no place leading the commonwealth of virginia. in fact, he's probably not -- he's certainly not the best suited to lead the commonwealth of virginia. we have a former governor that's running for another term. he's ready to govern on day one. he's ready to advance the interest of the population of the commonwealth of virginia. he's ready to make sure that we continue to move in the right direction with regards to law enforcement, like he did under his first tenure with regards to economic prosperity, the only people that youngkin have served
so far are himself. >> why does terry mcauliffe need barack obama, joe biden, mrs. biden? why does he need all of these high-flying surrogates, folks like yourself, out there campaigning on his behalf if it's such an open and shut case, as you're saying? >> i think he's preying on fears. and we know that fears are a much, much bigger motivator than the hopes and beliefs in prosperity. his slogans about, you know, critical race theory, which is there is no substance to it. critical race theory is not being taught in school. it's about mask mandates and that undermining the validity of the impact of covid on the commonwealth of virginia. on law enforcement where, again, he has no executive experience and is not prepared to govern the way terry mcauliffe is. but he's still preying on -- the
typical slogans we heard out of president trump and other acolytes and that's what he's preying on. >> do you think if youngkin wins this race that this starts to pave the way, starts to clear the path for donald trump to run for another term in office? what worries you about that? >> absolutely. i think this is a bellwether. just the way we considered a recall in california, a bellwether if larry elder had won that one, then we would be talking about probably a different set of circumstances and a different environment. but this is another critical moment. if a trump acolyte wins in virginia, a purple state that's moving in the direction of progressive, moving in the direction of frankly progress, not progressive, just in terms of progress, being more inclusive, more representative. and there's a reversal there, i think that sets the template. i think we need to defeat glenn youngkin because he is a trump supporter, he represents trump's
policies, he's not prepared to govern. terry mcauliffe is. that's who i encourage people to vote for. >> all right, lieutenant colonel vindman, thanks so much. thanks for stopping by, and please do that again some time. former president bill clinton is after a california hospital after spending a night there because of an infection that spread to his bloodstream, aka, sepsis. fire station natasha chen joins me from outside the hospital. how did he look? we're glad that he's out of the hospital, but what did you think? >> reporter: well, jim, that's right. she was by his side arm in arm. she gave us a wave first across the street. they were coming out from the sliding doors just over there behind us. he was able to walk out of the hospital, but he did walk slowly, gingerly. he took a few steps, and then met with the medical team there
to say farewell, and they thanked the team, shook hands with doctors, and then one of the reporters here shouted, how do you feel? and he gave a thumbs up before continuing on, giving some hugs and then getting into his vehicle. so he was able to do that on his own, perhaps just being a bit careful after of course spending five nights here at uc irvine medical center. the staff here at the hospital, they released a statement through the executive director, and i want to he did part of it. it says his fever and white blood cell count are normalized. we were honored to have treated him and we'll continue to monitor his progress. of course they were in communication with his team of doctors in new york as well this entire time. and he and the secretary are back on their way to new york at
this time. and to keep in mind, uc irvine medical center is the level i trauma center for the region. it was designated as the hospital that would be able to provide the level and type of service that secret service required. so that's why they came here on tuesday when the former president first started feeling unwell. and the reason he stayed this long is partly because of that iv antibiotics treatment that had to be done through iv that we're told typically could take three to five days. so, at least during that time, he was able to get up, walk around. he was slowly improving in the last few days, had conversations by phone even with president joe biden, vice president kamala harris, and former president george w. bush along with his own vice president al gore, according to our colleague jamie gangel. jim? >> okay, natasha chen, thank you very much. we're glad the former president is doing much better. and we're following a developing story now out of
haiti where the state department is monitoring reports that a group of missionaries, 16 americans and one canadian, have been kidnapped by gang members. cnn's kylie atwood is at the state department. kylie, this is a very disturbing situation. i understand you have some new information? >> reporter: yeah. what i'm being told by a senior u.s. government official is that the u.s. does not know the current location of these 16 americans who were kidnapped by a gang in haiti. now, what we are being told from the organization that they were there in haiti a part of christian aid ministries which is based in ohio, 16 of those are americans, five of those were children and they were abducted when they were headed from an orphanage to another location. what is important to notice here is that kidnappings in haiti have been on the rise for the last few years, and particularly in the last few months, a 300% increase in kidnappings since just july alone.
that's according to an organization doing some research based in haiti. that of course doesn't even include this recent situation where there are 16 americans and one canadian who have been kidnapped. now, the state department officially is saying that they are aware of these reports but not publicly saying much. i am told that state department officials and the fbi are tracking this now around the clock trying to figure out what to do about these kidnapped americans. and of course we should note the state department travel advisory tells americans do not travel to haiti, it has been that way for over a year now. they cite the kidnappings that have been happening in the country. of course this is a devastating situation, however, because these mens were there doing missionary work, five children a part of this group. and the u.s. government is working around the clock to figure out how they can secure their release. jim? >> all right, kylie atwood, we know you'll stay on top of it. thank you very much for that report. coming up, why the widow of
kobe bryant may be forced to take a psychiatric exam as part of a multimillion dollar lawsuit over leaked photos of kobe's crash. and as the search for brian laundrie continues, the memory of gabby petito is honored through music. the benefit concert now underway. or judge him by his jacket. while ted's eyes are on the road, his heart stays home. he's got gloria, and 10 grand-babies, to prove it. but his back made weekend rides tough, so ted called on the card that's even tougher. and the medicare coverage trusted by more doctors. medicare from blue cross blue shield. by your side, no matter what. that's the benefit of blue. find your local blue cross and blue shield plan at benefitofblue.com
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gabby petito case. right now a benefit concert is being held in support of the foundation started in her honor just days after a coroner revealed the # 22-year-old died of strangulation. no one has been arrested in petito's death yet. this has to be incredibly frustrating for her family members, her friends, people who knew and loved her. what are folks telling you right now? >> reporter: so emotionally draining i'm sure on everyone, eac even the people here. this is the first benefit for the gabby petito foundation. and they really want to help missing people, they want to give scholarships, they want to help people that are in relationships that are not the healthiest of relationships. and so many people have come out. and this is her community. this is where she lived, where she's from, where her parents
live. they've been in wyoming all week. but the turnout has really been great. there are people that know the family. there was one young man i spoke with that knew gabby. he was friends with her and he said that she was just a wonderful person, that she was kind and she was loving and that she always looked for the best in someone. but there are people of all ages here, and they have a passion for this case, they have a passion for justice. >> i didn't know gabby personally, but she was a young, beautiful girl, she had her whole life ahead of her. and i just wanted to come and support her family, the foundation, and hope that something positive can come from this. >> you think of your own children and what happened to gabby was such a terrible thing. and i think with the parents and the step parents also, what they're doing with this foundation to help other people, you know, that lost their children or the children are missing or any family member.
it's important. >> now, as i told you, gabby's family, her parents have been in wyoming this week, and her father actually tweeted out friday night a tweet that says, i know now why you came here, #gabby petito, has a beautiful view from now on. love you and miss you. and that's from the grand tetons jenny lake. as this is going on and as her parents come back from wyoming, the investigation continues. as you said, no one has been charged in this. there are so many questions and so few answers. and ironically it is four weeks ago, one month ago today that brian laundrie's parents went to law enforcement saying our son is missing, and can you please help us find him. jim? >> it is such a sad, sad case. it's good to see that folks are trying to make something good come out of it. it's a worthy cause.
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as we mentioned at the top of the program, the january 6th committee will move forward to hold steve bannon in criminal contempt for refusing to comply with a subpoena. bannon was fired as trump's chief strategist way back in 2017, but he didn't exactly move on. cnn's tom foreman explains. >> reporter: he is not ready to speak to congress about the
violence of january 6th, but steve bannon is talking plenty on his daily podcast whipping his followers into a frenzy. >> elections have consequences, stolen elections have catastrophic consequences, and that's what we're seeing in this country right now. and we need your blood to boil. we need to be in a situation you're not going to back down. >> reporter: he's done it all along. he appeared to confirm reports that just days before the insurrection he was on the phone with donald trump discussing how to kill the biden presidency in the crib. >> because of legitimacy. 42% of the american people think that biden did not win the presidency legitimately. we told you from the very beginning just expose it, just expose it, never back down, never give up, and this thing will implode. >> reporter: promoting the big lie of election fraud fits bannon's longstanding affection for radical right-wing theories and his apparent appetite for conflict. >> if you think they're going to
give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken. >> reporter: take his fascination with the book "the fourth turning" which argues every 80 years or so, c cataclysmic upheavals are necessary for realignment. bannon was so taken with the idea, he made a movie about it savaging liberals, blasting traditional government, and as one film critic put it, pushing a clear message. >> bring on the apocalypse. there's an almost fetishistic desire to see everything blow up. it's almost like he's inviting a cleansing fire to just raise the edifice, raise the institutions. i think it's that dramatic. >> steve bannon is over here. [ applause ] >> reporter: bannon's turns in the spotlights have not always thrilled his most famous boss, who was reportedly annoyed when bannon showed up on the cover of
"time," which trump clearly craves. >> i would love to know what advice you would give to donald trump if he didn't leave even after he lost. because i saw hillary clinton. >> you're obsessed with this. >> why do you think he's not going to leave? >> wait a second. >> because he's an insane narcissist? >> bannon has been firmly in the losing candidate's corner trotting out guests to insist the riot was the work of antifa and the work of federal agents. >> 226 antifa members were tasked with making what should've been a peaceful protest a riot. >> reporter: and insisting prosecutors are dead wrong to say these are trump's and his people. >> either they're totally incompetent or they're lying to you. they're either totally incompetent or they're lying to you. pick them. >> there are no facts to back that up.
but listen to bannon's podcast, watch his interviews, and you will see he has very little use for facts unless they support this notion that america as we know it must end so america as he would have it can begin. tom foreman, cnn, washington. >> and he made history with his trip to space, and now william shatner is firing a rhetorical rocket at british royalty. why he's at odds with another famous william.
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it's captain kirk versus the future king of england. actor william shatner who just this week became the oldest person to go to space is firing back at prince william for saying trips to the edge of space shouldn't take priority over fixing the planet. shatner said this is a baby step and the idea of getting industry out there so that all those polluting industries especially, for example, the industries that make electricity off of earth. interesting quote there from william shatner. cnn's kristin fisher has more on that and the new age of civilian space flight blasting off before our eyes. >> two small explorers, monkeys and bakers share the nose cone of a jupiter rocket. they landed safe and sound. >> reporter: that was 1959, the space frontier has gotten a
little bit busier since then. and it's no longer just monkeys heading into a galaxy far, far away. now almost anyone can snag a seat on the spacecraft, and the richer you are, the better. billionaires and celebrities from around the world are claiming their chance to make it to space. so far this year there have been more than 20 civilians who've taken the journey on six spaceflight missions. richard branson's virgin galactic made two flights to the edge of space in a matter of months, in may with two pilots and in july which had three passengers and two pilots. >> if we can do this, just imagine what you can do. >> reporter: less than two weeks after that, amazon founder jeff bezos reached the edge of space along with three others on blue origin's new shepherd rocket. and last week 90-year-old "star trek" actor william shatner took an 11-minute trip into space on a blue origin flight. elon musk's spacex made history
in september when it launched the first all-civilian flight into orbit where four amateur astronauts stayed for three days inside the dragon spacecraft. and how about shooting a movie in space? a russian crew recently did just that. a cosmunaut, actress, and director are the first to film a movie on the international space station. >> everything was new to us today. every 30 seconds brought something entirely new. >> reporter: this hot new trend of space tourism may be taking off, but it comes with a hefty price tag. suborbital trips cost between 250 and $500,000 on virgin glak tissue's spaceship two. but not everyone thinks space tourism is a good idea. >> we need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to
go and live. >> reporter: it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for those who fit the bill. but the more popular it gets, the harder it will be to go where no man or woman has gone before. kristin fisher, cnn. legendary tony bennett has just set a guinness world record for being the oldest person to release an album of new material. ♪ at 95 years young, bennett has released "love for sale," his latest collaboration with lady gaga. he has been battling alzheimer's, and on any given day he may forget a lot about his past life. but the minute the music comes on he transforms. the country's obsession with conspiracy theories, lisa ling on why 50% of the country
follows at least one. that's next. or judge him by his jacket. while ted's eyes are on the road, his heart stays home. he's got gloria, and 10 grand-babies, to prove it. but his back made weekend rides tough, so ted called on the card that's even tougher. and the medicare coverage trusted by more doctors. medicare from blue cross blue shield. by your side, no matter what. that's the benefit of blue. find your local blue cross and blue shield plan at benefitofblue.com constipated? set yourself free with fleet. gentle constipation relief in minutes. little fleet. big relief. try it. feel it. feel that fleet feeling. ♪ your new pharmacy is here. to make sure you don't run out of meds here. and with amazon prime, get refills and free two-day shipping. who knew it could be this easy? your new pharmacy is amazon pharmacy.
conspiracy theories have always been around, but now thanks to social media, they go viral, and no one is immune. on a brand-new episode of "this is life," lisa ling explores how al gothms designed to make money control the information you receive. here's a preview. >> when tim kendall was hired by facebook in 2006 to be the head of monetization, it was his job to determine how the platform could make profits. how do social media companies
make money? >> they sell ads. the way they grow is to extract more attention tomorrow than they did today. lisa signs up for the service and it takes in all these inputs about her and your behavior. >> it's collecting my data. >> collecting your data. we have this content, and then we have this notion of who influences you. then we this all-knowing algorithm that knows sort of what your weaknesses are, what your inclinations are, and then the algorithm is given a really clear piece of instruction, get lisa to spend more time tomorrow and a little bit more tomorrow. >> so if you and i have different habits and we consume different kinds of news and information, would you receive different information than i would receive based on -- absolutely. -- the data that's been collected? >> yes. >> lisa ling joins me now. that looks fascinating. it sounds like the whole ball
game what he just laid out for you. the big question is can these algorithms be built to work differently, and can they be built to stop spreading misinformation? and do these social media companies even want that? >> well, jim, thanks for having me on. i asked tim kendall that very question, if these algorithms can be built to spread misinformation, can they also be programmed, right, to do the right thing and to prevent it. and he said absolutely. but there's no financial incentive for social media companies to do that. they make money when people stay on their platforms longer. and, look, as we said in -- as you said in the intro, conspiracy theories have always been around. in our episode we trace them back to medieval times. the difference though is that now they spread like wildfire, and social media companies, they benefit from that. and so because over last four years or more mainstream media
was completely disavowed by the former president and those who followed him. naturally, people will seek out information elsewhere. so they'll g o to sources like youtube or other social media outlets. they'll plug in some information, and their feeds will instantly populate with like information. so they will just continue to go down that rabbit hole of misinformation because that's what their feed is populating, is being populated with. >> right. and as part of this episode, you spoke to one qanon conspiracy theory believer. that has got to be such a fascinating discussion. take us inside his thinking, how does his view about what's happening in our country right now affect things, do you think? >> well, we were in touch with him just today, and he said that he believes that people are still as fervent in believing in these conspiracy theories.
and let's keep in mind that, look, we are just going through a global pandemic, a time of great unpredictability. there is still a lot of confusion. the erosion of trust in government has become quite pervasive. in the last few years. and they actually believe that because so many who they believe speak candidly about things are being deplatformed and are now being forced to comply with vaccine orders and mask orders that this is all part of the big plan. he says that they are sort of laying low at the minute and they've gone underground, but they still, according to him, still very much believe that these conspiracy theories are in fact the truth. >> and what is the end game, do you think, with spreading all these lies and misinformation throughout society? who is benefitting from all of
this? i have my suspicions as to who that might be, but what have you uncovered? >> well, the people who are ultimately benefitting from all of this are the social media companies. i mean, they made record profits in the last few years, and they are financially benefitting from all this confusion. and, again, because mainstream media has been disavowed, people have been pushed to seek out information elsewhere. and we know how quickly things go viral. so when you ask who is actually benefitting, i don't know that those who espouse conspiracy theories really take that into consideration that the people who are ultimately financial benefitting are the social media companies. >> yeah. and the rest of us we're certainly not benefitting at all as a society. lisa ling, such an important topic to tackle. thank you so much for your time. and be sure to tune in, everybody, an all-new episode of "this is life" with lisa ling airs tonight at 10:00 only on cnn. don't miss it.
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-- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com you are live in the "cnn newsroom." i'm jim acosta in washington. it's an important question to ask. what did steve bannon tell then president trump before trump incited a mob to invade the capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election? the house committee investigating this wants to know. this week they'll be sending an aggressive message by moving to hold bannon in criminal contempt for refusing their subpoena to testify instead of complying, bannon claims his conversations with the then president are privileged. a tactic we're told trump instructed bannon and others to deploy. there's one big problem, however, with bannon's excuse. he wasn't part of the trump white house on january 6th. instead he was an informal