tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN November 19, 2021 2:00pm-3:00pm PST
cnn. on sunday, tune in to "state of the union." among the guests, dr. anthony fauci, virginia's next lieutenant governor, winsome sears, governor chris su nunu and beto o'rourke. that's at 9:00 and noon eastern. i'm pamela brown in for jake tapper. our coverage continues now. happening now, breaking news. kyle rittenhouse is found not guilty of all charges after claiming he fatally shot two racial justice protesters and wounded another in self-defense. we're getting new reaction to this polarizing verdict. another major story we're following, president biden's landmark spending bill is approved by the house of representatives after months of delay. the nearly $2 trillion centerpiece of the president's agenda now faces serious hurdles in the u.s. senate. and cdc vaccine advisers just endorsed covid-19 booster
shots for all americans. we could get a final decision from the agency's director at any moment. stand by. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. >> let's begin with our coverage tonight with the very latest on the kyle rittenhouse verdict. i want to go straight to our senior national correspondent sara sidner just outside the courthouse in kenosha, wisconsin. update our viewers, sara. >> there was relief on the part of the defendant, kyle rittenhouse, and disappointment on the part of the prosecution. it was a dramatic day in court when the jury read all five counts and came up with not guilty verdicts. here's what it looked like in court. >> state of wisconsin versus kyle rittenhouse. as to the first count of the
information, joseph rosenbaum, we the jury find the defendant kyle h. rittenhouse not guilty. as to the second count of the information, mcginnis, we find kyle h rittenhouse not guilty. as to the third count of the information, unknown male, we the jury find the defendant kyle h. rittenhouse not guilty. as to the fourth count of the information, anthony huber, we the jury find the defendant kyle h. rittenhouse not guilty. as to the fifth count of the information, gaige grosskreutz, we the injury find kyle h. rittenhouse not guilty. >> the reaction there, you see kyle rittenhouse becoming unstable. he kind of falls onto the desk, filled with emotion. his mother, i heard her gasp. i was in the courtroom as this was being read, and then eventually her head fell into
her hands and she appeared to be crying. there were also family members of those who were shot and killed that day and injured. very upset with this verdict, feeling like justice was not done. but for kyle rittenhouse and his attorneys, they were pleased with this verdict, though it took about 25 hours for this jury to deliberate and get through to this not guilty verdict. here's what kyle rittenhouse's defense attorney had to say about the verdict. >> it's been a long three weeks. we're very happy with the verdict. we're happy that the jury took the time, put in an incredible amount of effort. there were times we doubted the case. there were times we were confident. and to say that we were relieved would be a gross misunderstatement. >> the star evidence in this case for anyone who was sitting and watching the trial really
was the video that was taken not only from those who were on the streets that night, live streamers showing kyle rittenhouse and his actions that night but also from a very clear high definition drone video that the jury requested to look at. and they did relook at that evidence after the case was done. we do know that there has also been reaction, as you might imagine, from the prosecutors in this case. they said that they were disappointed, but that they respected the jury's decision. and they wanted to make sure that others respected the jury's decision as well. this means that kyle rittenhouse is a free man at this hour. a person who is relieved, though his attorneys say that he is suffering from ptsd from all of this and hasn't been sleeping and has been getting counseling. as for those who lost loved ones, they are furious about this verdict and they feel that justice was denied their loved ones. >> what's it like outside the courthouse where you are? >> you know, this is the calmest
it has been in all the weeks that we have been here. the 2 1/2 weeks of this trial, there was a little bit of arguing going on outside as soon as the verdict was known to the public. you had the uncle of jacob blake, justin blake out here. he had been here every day of the trial. but what ended up happening in the end is it dissipated in the last couple of hours, and there are far fewer people on those court steps than there have been in the last two-plus weeks. >> i want you to stand by, sara. i'm going to bring into this conversation, i also want to bring in defense attorney shan wu and elie honig. shan, not guilty on all charges. what's your reaction to this verdict? >> not surprised, wolf. i really think this case offers us a glimpse and a reminder of everything that's wrong with our criminal justice system. the prosecutors here did themselves no favors. they had a lot of self-inflicted
injuries. yet i think starting right off the bat, why did they even choose to try in a small community that was obviously impacted by these demonstrations and even riots. they had an uphill battle. the judge was very difficult for them. even appeared to demonstrate bias, but the real takeaway is all the things that are wrong with our system and those need to be paid attention to. >> let's follow up. elie, what do you make of this verdict? would you have expected rittenhouse at least to have been found guilty on some of those lesser counts? >> no, wolf. i would not have expected that. and i found this jury verdict to be not surprising. at its core, this case was about two things. the law of the state of wisconsin and the facts of this particular case. and that's by design. our criminal justice system is supposed to take this kind of decision and insulate it from any politics, any emotions, any outside influences. and all indications are, that's just what happened here. and an important point to keep in mind here. the law requires the prosecutors in this case to disprove
self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. that's a very high bar. and so if the jury found themselves back in the deliberation room and said this is a close call, that's it. that's reasonable doubt and that leads to a not guilty verdict. that's what we saw today. >> sara, the shootings unfolded at the height of the racial justice protest last year over there in kenosha. does the community feel there's still a very long way to go to see racial justice right now? what are you hearing? >> there is a sense that there has been justice denied and that there 24 different justice systems, one for black americans and one for white americans but that has been said throughout this because that is coming mainly from justin blake, jacob blake's uncle who was very disappointed that the officer in that case, that by the way was the precursor to the protest. the reason for the protest that turned to riots in the first place. that has been a thread throughout all of this. and this is just another moment in that belief for some people.
for others, i think elie honig hit the nail on the head. it was about the evidence in this case. it was about the details of this case, not the details of what people think or believe or want to believe, but the details in this case. that's what the jury had to work with. and they worked with it for three-plus days. they alonged at it. they went over it. they went over it again and again, and they deliberated for more than 25 hours over the past 3 1/2 days. in the end, there were a lot of things that were learned in trial, wolf. we learned the ar-15-style rifle, it turned out, actually was possessed legally by kyle rittenhouse, even though he was 17 and a minor because the measurements of the gun matter in the laws here in wisconsin. and it was under the specific measurements that allowed him to possess it. the prosecutor clearly did not know that or did not look into that because it was one of the charges. and then eventually a charge the
judge ended up dropping in this case. we also learned that rittenhouse was staying at his father's home, and there are other family members here in kenosha. the night of this, he was here staying with a friend. so he didn't come into town with this rifle from illinois where he lives with his mother. he was already in town, the rifle was already here in the state of wisconsin at his friend's family's home. there were lots of different things that we learned in this trial, and that the jury learned and then took back, looked over all of the evidence and came up with a not guilty verdict. and in this country, you cannot be tried twice for the same crime once you are acquitted. so he is a free man tonight. >> no double jeopardy as they say. shan, the jury clearly believed rittenhouse was acting in self-defense, but he wouldn't have needed to act, let's say in self-defense if he hadn't been there armed himself with an ar-style -- an ar-15 style rifle. is that simply not relevant from
a legal standpoint. >> no, it's quite relevant. that was the burden, as elie and sara pointed on, was on the prosecution. they needed to establish their narrative of the provocation beyond a reasonable doubt. and they didn't do that. the jury could only work with what it's been given. i viewed this case as evidence of the problems with the justice system. the judge's antics. he seemed biased to me, but there's no accountability for that. it starts with the u.s. supreme court that refuses to adopt its own code of ethics. but the jury worked with what it had. i give them credit for being out three days. they tried to work the case. it's the hand they're dealt with. >> rittenhouse broke down in tears today. we just saw the video. and all of us remember he broke down on the stand during his own testimony. it was a pretty big risk to have him testify. but clearly, i suspect you agree that paid off for the defense, didn't it? >> it was a risk, wolf. it was also a necessary risk. i think in a self-defense case,
it's awfully hard to make a self-defense case without calling the defendant himself. it's worth reflecting here. the prosecution really did not do much on the cross-examination of kyle rittenhouse. i don't think they undermined his credibility. i don't think they undermined his fundamental story. wolf, as to that show of emotion, it's worth keeping in mind, the most solemn event we have in our criminal justice system is when a jury delivers a verdict. particularly in a murder case. the stakes are just unimaginable for everybody. you have a defendant, his liberty is on the line, whatever anyone may think of him. you have the family of the people who were killed. again, whether this was legally self self-defense, legally not self-defe self-defense, you have to empathize for the people who lost family members here. >> shan, it was never going to be necessarily what they call a slam dunk, but how much of this verdict do you attribute to the performance by the prosecutor and the, let's call it, unorthodox approach by the
judge. >> i would attribute a fair amount to that. prosecutors, lawyers, we have to deal with tough judges sometimes. but this judge did some things that gave signals to the jury that he somehow seemed sympathetic. even that very unusual situation of having rittenhouse pick out who the alternates were, that shot video of him having hith rittenhouse right by his side. they definitely had a lot of self-inflicted wounds here. they needed to carry their narrative and did not do that. i agree on cross, they did not make a dent in him and basically, they were overwhelmed by a pretty solid defense team. they seemed well funded. had a legendary jury consultant on their side. that's the way it goes. when you are a prosecutor, you have to overcome that, and they obviously didn't. >> the defense team was very, very strong in this particular case. shan wu, elie honig and sara sidner, thank you.
we'll have more on the kyle rittenhouse verdict after a jury found the 18-year-old not guilty on all charges. plus, a pivotal win for president biden today after the house of representatives passes his sweeping spending bill. now it goes to the senate. stay with us here in the situation room. now we've created a brand-new way for you to sell your car. whether it's a year old or a few years old. we wanna buy your car. so go to carvana and enter your license plate answer a few questions. and our techno wizardry calculates your car's value and gives you a real offer in seconds. when you're ready, we'll come to you, pay you on the spot and pick up your car, that's it. so ditch the old way of selling your car, and say hello to the new way at carvana. i thought i was managing my moderate to severe crohn's disease. then i realized something was missing... ...me. my symptoms were keeping me from being there for her. so, i talked to my doctor and learned humira is the #1 prescribed biologic
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a huge win. the house passage of his nearly $2 trillion spending bill. let's go to our senior white house correspondent phil mattingly. the president is calling this vote a giant step forward for a key part of his domestic agenda. where do things go from here? >> it is a significant step. no question about it. related to a $2 trillion proposal that would touch nearly every corner of the economy filled with democratic priorities. not just of the last year or couple years but in some cases several decades. however, there are still many steps to come, and they are complicated. most notably with two centrist democratic senators, joe manchin and kyrsten sinema. we've talked about them almost constantly over the last five or six months. they've still not just signed on to the house proposal or the president's framework which was slimmed down. that's where work is going to be over the next several weeks. chuck schumer made clear the senate wants to move quickly on this but in a 50/50 senate they
cannot afford to lose a single democrat. that means they can't go anywhere without manchin and cis sinema signed off on. take a listen to speaker pelosi. >> whatever comes out of the senate will be working together with them so that we have agreement when it comes back to the house. i have absolutely no doubt. the biggest hurdle was to get the bill there. the biggest challenge was to meet the vision of president biden. >> now the challenge for president biden will be to get sinema and manchin on board. something he said he believes he can do. now the reason he needs everyone is there are not going to be any republicans in the senate who support this proposal. no republicans in the house last night or this morning, sorry, who supported this proposal. in fact, house republican leader kevin mccarthy set a new record for longest house remarks. more than eight hours and 30 minutes, breaking speaker nancy pelosi's record when she was minority leader a couple of
years ago. just tearing into every aspect of the bill and perhaps most importantly, getting a compliment from former president trump. clearly leader mccarthy trying to rally his troops for his own internal positioning inside the conference. >> at the same time there was, i think, a rather notable and historic moment today for 85 minutes, the vice president, kamala harris, actually became the first woman to hold presidential powers. tell us about that. >> that's exactly right. look, white house press secretary jen psaki said everything this white house does with the first female vice president is historic. the hour and 25 minutes, president biden was receiving a colonoscopy was the first time a woman has held those powers, even on a temporary basis. the president went through that colonoscopy as part of his annual physical exam. he called at 11:35, both the vice president and his chief of staff ron klain and made clear
he was out okay and feeling well about things. we also, wolf, just got a copy of the summary of the president's physical. which we're still going through, but the bottom line right now in the first read through from kevin o'connor, the physician to the president is president biden remains a healthy, vigorous 78-year-old male fit to successfully execute the office of the presidency to include those at head of state, chief executive and commander in chief. president biden earlier today told reporters he thought it was good and nothing had really changed from his last examine in 2019. the president is 78 right now. he turns 79 tomorrow. >> happy birthday tomorrow. we'll have a lot more on this physical exam the president took. dr. sanjay gupta will be joining us later so we'll get a full assessment of how he did. thanks for that, phil mattingly at the white house. i want to bring in chief political analyst gloria borger and david axelrod. gloria, more work to be done, but take a look at what's in
this sweeping climate and social spending bill that passed the house of representatives. will this be a transformational moment? >> if he gets this through as phil mattingly was saying. but when you take a look at everything that's on this graphic, wolf, you see that even if they get part of it, they are affecting younger families in this country, older families, families in poverty. and they're talking about the future. they're talking about fighting climate change. they're talking about things like child tax credit. paid family leave, which as we all know, joe manchin objects to. who knows if that's going to remain or not remain. but given the struggle to get this through, what is remarkable about what happened this morning is the virtual unity of the democrats in supporting this. we all know what they went through with the progressives
and the moderates and there was only one democrat voting against this. all republicans voted against it. but hats off to nancy pelosi for shepherding this through. ron klain, the white house chief of staff, just tweeted that she is the g.o.a.t., you know what that stands for, the greatest of all time, and look at what went on, on the floor when this was finally done in the morning hours today. so they now have something they can take to the voters. if they get it through the senate. and no votes to spare. they just have to learn how to sell their story and how to tell their story to the american people about what they are trying to do for them. >> yeah, the democrats were all very, very happy. applauding, screaming, standing up. the republicans were all sitting, as you can see. one side versus the other side. david, the president will need to get some moderate democratic
senators on board to get it through the senate. then it's going to have to go through the house one more time. how much of an uphill battle in the coming weeks is he facing? >> well, it's going to be complicated. first, wolf, if you'll have a physical, no better way to lower your blood pressure than to get a really big vote out of congress. so good for him. it was a really big win. and i agree with gloria. nancy pelosi is a master at this. and i experienced it myself when i was in the white house. she puts these things together like a rubik's cube and somehow manages to assemble it. it's not going to be as easy in the senate. manchin and sinema and particularly manchin lately have been pretty stubborn about details of this plan. there are progressives like bernie sanders who are unhappy, particularly about a tax break that was included for property tax deductions from income taxes. cap was raised. that would benefit wealthier
people. done mostly for high wage areas, new york, new jersey, california, a lot of people object to that. that was one of the relatasons didn't get all the democrats in the house to vote for it. one representative didn't on that particular issue but that's how they got some of the other moderates to come along from these high wealth states. these are things that have to get sorted out. things as gloria mentioned, family paid family medical leave that manchin has raised questions about. he doesn't want to add costs to medicare. so it's going to be a really challenging month, and they have to do this in such a way that it comes back to the house in a way that it can pass the house. so, you know, i think the president should celebrate tonight, and then roll up his sleeves tomorrow because the hill just gets steeper from here. >> celebrating his birthday tomorrow. he turns 79 years old tomorrow. >> i think he should invite joe manchin to his birthday party.
>> that would be nice. gloria and david, thank you guys very much. coming up -- we're going to have more reaction on the kyle rittenhouse verdict today after his acquittal in kenosha, wisconsin. plus, another high-profile trial we're following right now. this one in georgia. three men are charged with killing ahmaud arbery. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." d tier 2 prescription drugs. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ $0 copays on primary care visits. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ and with unitedhealthcare, you get access to medicare advantage's largest provider network. ♪ wow! ♪ ♪ uh-huh. ♪ most plans even have a $0 premium. so go ahead. take advantage now. ♪ wow! ♪ why hide your skin if dupixent has your moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis under control? hide our skin? not us. because dupixent targets a root cause of eczema,
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for all americans 18 years and older. all american adults. final approval from the cdc director could come at any moment. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is joining us right now. as the author of the new book "world war c: lessons from the covid-19 pandemic and how to prepare for the next one." sanjay, thanks, as usual. did the committee, from your perspective, make the right call? >> yeah, it sounds like it, wolf. they looked at this data. they have been making the case that the vaccines continue to work really well. but there was some indication that some of the effectiveness was starting to wane a bit. they've been talking about this for a while. let me show you, wolf, what we've been seeing in the united states first and then show you what's been happening in israel. first of all, the vaccines work really well. if you look at who is hospitalized with covid here in the united states, you find the vast majority of those folks are
unvaccinated. but the number of people who are vaccinated also developing severe illness started to increase a bit. i can show you what happened in israel up until november 1st. they found that an increasing percentage of those in the hospital were people who had had two shots. but when they got a booster, the protection really was significant. far less likely to actually end up needing hospitalization. you can see there. that's an important graph on the screen. the primary problem, as far as people getting sick with covid are the unvaccinated. but increasingly, people who had even received two doses were ending up in the hospital and when they got the boost, they were really well protected. so it does seem like the right call. listening to the meeting, wolf, something else that was interesting, they said that the adverse events, the side effects from the third shot, in their trials was actually less so than as compared to the second shot. that comes up as a question a
lot, how am i going to feel after the third shot? as a general rule you'd feel better. >> i felt fine with all three of those shots and i hope everyone feels fine after all three shots as well. let me turn to another issue, very important one. i want to get your thoughts, sanjay, because you've done a lot of reporting over the years on this. talking about president biden's health. the white house just released a medical summary after his first annual physical as president of the united states. he was over at the walter reed medical center today. first of all, what can you tell us? >> on the screen is what we had known about president biden before this. a history of atrial fibrillation. takes medication for cholesterol. he had brain surgery in the late '80s for an aneurysm and this fracture of his foot. we now know there's a detailed report, six-page report from his doctors talking about what the president had done today.
examining his cardiac rhythm, and they say his atrial fibrillation is stable. a full exam of his lungs as well. a colonoscopy which we knew about. that was something that required sedation. that is when transfer of power occurred. but we also know at the time he had that done he had an upper endoscopy as well, looking for evidence of reflux. something that has been bothering the president and they did find some evidence of reflux. also looked in his sinuses as well to see if there was some explanation for what people may have heard more recently with the president. lots of throat clearing when giving his speeches. and what the doctor seemed to have indicated in this report is that this is probably due to some reflux that he's having. they also have noticed, his gait, his walking, they said has changed a little bit. a little less fluid as they described it. a little more stiff. they wanted to find out what was causing that.
and what they are saying here, seems to be a combination of this foot fracture he had had but also some evidence of what's called spinal stenosis. some arthritis in his lower back. so these are two new things that sort of came about that they were investigating as part of the president's physical today. but the big procedure, the colonoscopy, then do endoscopy, looking for the reflux and sinuses. his heart, these other issues we've known about appeared stable. his cholesterol is still good. very low on the current medication. so overall they say they started the letter by saying he remains fit for duty. >> i was impressed a colonoscopy and endoscopy. that's up higher. he was, what, sedated for at least an hour, maybe even longer. yet when he got to the white house, for the pardon of the turkeys, he looked fine. sounded fine. i've had those procedures. and i sort of wanted to rest a
little bit afterwards. i know you have as well, right, sanjay? >> yeah, i mean, not oversharing, but i had a colonoscopy yesterday so, you know, very recent experience. and you're right. the night thing about some of these medications is that they are very quick on and quick off, as they are described. they work very quickly to put someone to sleep and then they come off very quickly as well. so you often do feel a little groggy for a little bit afterwards, wolf. he turns 79 tomorrow. maybe even more so for him. he looked pretty good when he got back to the white house. >> i was very impressed. dr. sanjay gupta, thank you. you feel okay after your colonoscopy, i assume, right? >> i feel fine, thanks, wolf. >> just ahead, we're getting more reaction to the not guilty verdict in the kyle rittenhouse trial. we got more reaction coming up. ♪ superpowers from a spider bite? i could use some help showing the world how liberty mutual customizes their car insurance so they only pay for what they need.
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also heard some inflammatory comments today in georgia from a defense attorney representing one of the three men charged in the killing of ahmaud arbery. cnn's martin savidge is in brunswick, georgia, covering all of this. what did we hear today, martin, from this attorney? >> once again, the attorney involved here is kevin goff. he represents mr. bryan here, who is one of the three defendants in the case. the man that took the video. here's what happened. kevin goff is in court today. the jury is not present. he jumps up and again makes a motion for a mistrial. his argument this time is the large crowd of primarily african-american pastors that showed up yesterday for a prayer vigil and support of the family of ahmaud arbery. he took offense. he felt that the loudness of the crowd, the size of it could somehow influence and impact the jury. but, remember, this is the language he uses and this is a trial involving three white men
accused of killing a black man. listen to how he makes the complaint. >> third parties are influencing this case. they've been doing it from the gallery in this courtroom. they've been doing it from outside. this is why a public lynching looks like in the 21st century with all due respect. just because they haven't put a gallery up, a -- they haven't put a podium up outside with a hangman's noose on it doesn't mean that this isn't a trial, despite the best efforts of this court. this isn't a trial that's been infected by mob violence of a woke left mob. >> so he is essentially accusing a crowd of primarily african-american pastors of somehow being involved in what he describes as a lynching of his white client who is charged with the murder of a black man. you could imagine that there was already immediate outrage to those comments but, meanwhile,
this case is expected to go to the jury on monday. the there will be closing arguments starting 9:00 a.m. monday morning. >> martin savidge in brunswick, georgia. thank you. let's bring in lee merritt, an attorney for the mother of ahmaud arbery. thank you very much for joining us. how hard is it for the family to hear the defense attorney -- >> ahmaud arbery was lynched by his client and two of his friends, gregory mcmichael and travis mcmichael. and so for him to turn around the peaceful gathering of black pastors that came to support ahmaud arbery and call that a lynching is really a slap in the face. mr. goff has been targeting the parents in a way i've never seen. the parents who are attending the murder trial of the men who killed their son are being
harassed by the attorneys for the defendant. >> this same attorney as you well remember, lee, who publicly said he doesn't want black pastors in the courtroom. now he's actually filed for a mistrial because of the demonstration yesterday of the pastors, the clergy, others supporting the arbery family. do you agree with the prosecution that this is a strategic -- this is strategic. it's calculated. it's an effort on the part of the defense? >> it certainly is an effort to preserve the record so that they'll have a shot on appeal. we know that mr. goff feels like he's in trouble. personally, because the prosecutor had to come to wanda cooper, ahmaud's mom yesterday and say he was looking for a plea deal. he wants to turn state evidence. a proposition which we outright rejected because his client, william "roddie" bryan shares
just as much culpability as anyone else. this is certainly desperation. >> it comes as a jury in wisconsin acquitted kyle rittenhouse on all counts earlier today. does the arbery family have any reaction to that verdict? >> it's deeply troubling. it's very scary for that family. kyle rittenhouse was a vigilante who instigated an encounter with people. then he used the danger that he created to justify the use of deadly force. that's very similar to what happened in glenn county there in south georgia. ahmaud was the victim of vigilante justice. misidentified as someone who may have been responsible for petty thefts in the area, and instead of allowing law enforcement to look into it, these men decided to take the law into their own -- >> i think we just lost our connection with lee merritt. >> that's their defense. >> lee, can you hear me okay?
i think we just lost you for a few seconds. i want to make sure you can still hear me. >> i hear you fine. >> go ahead. finish your thought. >> no, it is so similar. kyle rittenhouse case was a case about vigilanteism. this case is a case about vigilanteism, and i'm hoping that the jury doesn't take the same course as the rittenhouse jury. >> what's your sense of the justice system here in the united states right now. >> well, it doesn't work well when the victims involved -- i'm sorry, when the assailants are white. right now, you know, there's a long history of racism that exists within our courts. it's a reality. it's a statistical reality that we see playing itself out. we saw a successful outcome for the civil rights community in the conviction of the officer who murdered george floyd. but this kind of outcome is something that we have become more accustomed to than justice.
and it's, you know, it's just a scary proposition as we approach closing statements in south georgia on monday. >> lee merritt, thank you very much for joining us. we'll clearly stay in touch with you. appreciate it. coming up, we're getting more reaction in the kyle rittenhouse verdict after a jury found him not guilty on all charges in the 2020 shootings in kenosha, wisconsin. plus, a civil trial under way in charlottesville, virginia, right now, of white supremacists and neo-nazis who organized that deadly unite the right rally back in 2017. we are investing to bring tech and connectivity to underserved schools across the country. making high-quality connectivity more affordable for low-income families. and expanding access to rural communities. it's all part of our $3 billion commitment to help those who need it most and close the digital divide. because we believe no one should be left behind.
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we're following another high profile course playing out in charlottesville, virginia. a jury is just wrapping up the first full day of deliberations in the unite the right civil lawsuit. cnn's brian todd is on the scene. he's been following every step of this trial. this is a wide-ranging case with 14 people and 10 organizations being sued in this civil case? update our viewers. >> that's right, wolf. it is wide-ranging in the number of defendants. much as you mentioned, 14 individuals, 10 groups, all white supremacists. the question is did the defenda defendants, did they conspire to plan violence on that weekend of august 11 and 12 of 2017. as for the jurors, they broke for the day. they'll resume deliberations on monday. no verdict reached yet in this case.
this was the first full day of deliberations. and the plaintiffs' attorneys presented a trove of evidence in this case that they say shows the defendants did plan this violence in advance. among the evidence were videos of the violence, but also secret communications that the plaintiffs' attorneys laid out with the defendants according to them talked about the possibility of violence, discussed bringing people who are known to be violent white supremacists to the rally and also were they engaged in private communications over an app called discord over twitter, over other social media where according to the plaintiffs' attorneys, they discussed possibility of violence thecht discussed whether it is legal to drive a vehicle into a crowd of protesters which we know happened on that weekend when james field drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters killing heather hire and hurting several other people. did the defendants engage in a conspiracy for all of that to happen? the defendants claim they did not do that. they didn't plan this. they didn't want violence that weekend.
wolf? >> what damages, brian, are the plaintiffs asking for? did they name any specific amounts? >> it's an interesting question, wolf. they d one of the plaintiff's attorneys asked the jurors to award the people who were hit with james fields' car, several were injured, to award them $7 million to $10 million each in damages. and to award other plaintiffs who were injured that weekend $3 to $5 million each. as for punitive damages, roberta caplin did not put a number on that. what would it take to make sure the defendants never did anything like that again? we'll see what kind of punitive damages are leveled at these defendants if they are found to be libel for this pain and s suffering caused that weekend. >> brian, we'll be in it close touch with you. important trial under way there. there is more breaking news straight ahead here on "the situation room." we're getting reaction on the ground in ken osha, wisconsin,
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happening now. breaking news. kyle rittenhouse's family raising concern for his safety after he was found not guilty on all charges including homicide. cnn is on the ground in kenosha, wisconsin, covering this bombshell verdict. also tonight, president biden is touting a giant step forward for his agenda after his sweeping spending bill finally passes in the house of representatives. now he's turning his focus to the senate where the bill's prospect are uncertain.
and just minutes ago, the cdc director gave the final green light for all adults in the united states to be eligible for covid-19 booster shots. we're going to tell you how that could impact the pandemic amid deep concerns about a potential winter spike in cases. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." . >> and we begin this hour with a breaking news out of wisconsin. the acquittal of kyle rittenhouse. i want to go straight to our senior national correspondent. she is there on the ground for us. rather emotional day for all sides, sarah, in this trial. what's the latest? absolutely. a big day here. a jury has come back and returned not guilty verdicts on all five counts against kyle rittenhouse. there was acceptance b