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Secret Service Provides Only 1 Text Message To Jan. 6 Committee; Ukraine's First Lady Addresses U.S. Congress; Judge Orders Rudy Giuliani To Testify Before GA Grand Jury. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 20, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: A single text exchange. That is what the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security got from the Secret Service after requesting a month's worth of records from two dozen people. The details first reported by CNN, highlight the concerns raised by the government watchdog in a recent letter to Congress where he accused the Secret Service of not keeping records requested for the January 6 investigation.

Joining me now for more on this is Jim Helminski. He's a former Deputy Assistant Director of the U.S. Secret Service. He knows that agency inside and out. Jim, thank you for being here. I want to ask you first about the timeline because what we've learned now is on January 16, Secret Service got the request to preserve communications.

On January 25, employees were told by staff at the agency that there was going to be a cellphone migration. And that migration that the agency says is the reason these messages were deleted or lost, that didn't start until January 27. So does this make sense to you that somehow, all these messages were then lost and nothing is turned over?

JIM HELMINSKI, FORMER DEPUTY ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, U.S. SECRET SERVICE: Well, Kate, the way I look at this is -- you know, the Secret Service is the premier agency for domestic cyber and telephone fraud. As a matter of fact, I ran a large office that had electronic Crimes Task Force, and I know their capabilities. And this is sort of the agency's version of the dog ate my homework. It's -- when you are the premier agency like this, I mean, you have to make a choice. I mean, this is ineptitude or malevolence, on the part of the agency. It may be a little bit of both.

You may have an agency that was told to put together document retention, which -- that we're required to do by the federal retention act. And apparently, they didn't do it, which would be an act. And then they told their agents, which in this case, was 24 agents that they ended up focusing on to upload those things. Now, if you're an agent that has something that you don't want personally, read, you might take the time to get rid of that information.

BOLDUAN: You seem highly skeptical of what we -- what has been said so far and why this has happened and how these were not preserved. Do you think the agency's -- your former -- your former agency, do you think the credibility is on the line here?

HELMINSKI: Well, the motto of the Secret Service is Worthy of Trust and Confidence. Now, one of my biggest problems of this specific incident is one agent that was detailed over as a Secret Service employee, he remained with the United States Secret Service and became Deputy Chief of Staff at -- under the Trump administration.


Now, he wasn't sent over there because of his political acumen. I would say the only reason that you would do that is to have undue influence over the Secret Service in terms of security matters. I mean, just look at Lafayette -- the Lafayette Park incident. That was not a stellar moment for U.S. Secret Service. And it Mr. Ornato, who I'm speaking of, he and the Deputy Secretary of home -- or Deputy Secretary of national security, went over and looked at Lafayette park before sending the Secret Service over there. And that indicates to me there were some undue influences because I doubt if Secret Service headquarters understood the scenario, they would allow that situation to have.

BOLDUAN: If they are going to clear this up, how quickly do they need to move here?

HELMINSKI: Well, you know, the January 6 committee is starting to wrap up their hearings. Now, even though that you don't have the texts themselves, you do have the agents, and those agents also probably text people outside the system. And from that, you still can bring those agents up to -- bring those agents up to the Hill and have them testify, specific agents that you want answers from, put them under oath.

BOLDUAN: Jim, real quick, if you were back at the agency still, what would you be saying to leadership and even -- and rank and file in this moment?

HELMINSKI: Well, I do think what -- the agency has been, in my opinion, has been politicized. You know, I spent a 27-year career with the United States Secret Service and served presidents on both from the Democratic side and the Republican side. And, you know, nobody ever came to me and asked me to become Deputy Chief of Staff. I think that the agency itself has been overburdened with its mission. We have an investigative side and a protection side. I think also that they have not been given support from Congress in terms of funding. They have huge problems with retention and hiring. And I think is, all these things add up to a critical mass that leads to this level of ability to manipulate the agency into political means.

BOLDUAN: I'm seeing comments --

HELMINSKI: I think what really needs to be happening is a top-down change in which the Secret Service hires a new director from outside the agency.

BOLDUAN: Wow. Jim, thank you for coming on, it's really great to have your perspective on this. HELMINSKI: Well, Kate, thanks for having me. I appreciate the talking.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. Coming up for us. The White House now warning that Russia plans to annex even more parts of Ukraine just like it did with Crimea eight years ago. We're going to discuss with a top lawmaker next.



BOLDUAN: Moments ago, Ukraine's First Lady is addressing members of Congress on Capitol Hill, thanking them for military aid and also reiterating the need for more help. At the very same time, the White House is now warning that Russia is planning to annex large swathes of Ukraine using some of the very same tactics it did when seizing Crimea in 2014.

Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna of California for more -- for more on this. Congressman, thank you for being here. Just as Ukraine's First Lady is speaking to Congress, we saw -- we got word that Russia is about to roll out its annexation playbook. Is that how the White House has called it? The White House is warning that the United States will respond with more sanctions if it happens. But is that enough in your view, considering how ineffective sanctions have been in stopping Russia to this point?

REP. RO KHANNA, (D-CA): Let me first say that the First Lady was so passionate, so eloquent, and she detailed young women, young children who were being brutally murdered by Putin. It was really heart- wrenching. She asked for more weapons so that Ukraine can defend itself. We still need to continue to provide Ukraine with these weapons so that they can stand up to Putin. That I think is the most urgent. And then we need to continue to work on the diplomatic front to try to get a ceasefire. And both of those efforts, I think is what -- are needed.

BOLDUAN: The war in Ukraine is one of the drivers of inflation that the United States is facing. President Biden is facing some very tough numbers as a result. I mean, we -- there's a new CNN poll out that I'm sure you've seen with Biden's approval rating standing at 38 percent. And his approval ratings for handling the economy and the inflation -- and inflation are even lower than that. Inflation is at 25 percent.

Nearly seven in 10 voters, Congressman, currently call the economy extremely important to their congressional vote, 67 percent saying the same about inflation. Why are those numbers so bad?


KHANNA: Because gas prices are up, food prices are up. I penned an op- ed about a month ago in the New York Times saying that the president needs to do more to tackle inflation. Here are three things in this issue --

BOLDUAN: Why hasn't that happened? You were on my show talking about that. I was going to ask you. You have been sounding the alarm that more needs to be done. Why hasn't it been done?

KHANNA: It should be done. I mean, the president ultimately makes the decision. But here are three simple things they could do. They could have a ban on exports of gas except, except our European allies. They could actually be buying up food at cheap prices and selling it back to the Americans at cheap prices.

Look, the baby formula issue. I mean, I was talking to moms this weekend. We still don't have baby formula on our shelves. I don't understand why we're not buying more European baby formula. The whole operation fly is only produced one week a baby formula so we just have to be far more aggressive. And I have said in the morning, afternoon, and evening every day we have to be talking about the economy and driving down food prices, gas prices, and making more things in the U.S.

BOLDUAN: It's another -- something happened -- is happening on Capitol Hill that I -- that I want to highlight. The House yesterday passed a bill codifying the right to same-sex marriage into federal law. 47 Republicans joined Democrats in backing the bill. And my colleague, Manu Raju, is reporting now that in the Senate, of course, which would be to pass it, the Republican senator from North Carolina, Thom Tillis, tells Manu that he probably will support the bill. Do you take that as a sign that this may actually pass the Senate?

KHANNA: I'm hopeful. It's mind-boggling to me that 157 Republicans in the year 2022 still have a bigoted view toward people who are gay in this country. I mean, it's unconscionable, and I was shocked that we only had 47 Republicans. Hopefully, the Senate will do better and we can get at least 10 senators -- Republican senators to pass it. But they are so out of touch. So out of touch, frankly, with young Republicans around this country, that they are still saying that two people who love each other cannot get married if they're gay.

BOLDUAN: Well, it will be interesting to see what happens in the Senate, maybe another area of rare bipartisanship even on an issue that it's surprising. We're still talking about that it is controversial. It's good to see you, Congressman, thank you for coming on.

KHANNA: Always great to be on.

BOLDUAN: Thank you. Coming up for us. We have this just in. Rudy Giuliani was ordered to testify in the Georgia election fraud investigation.



BOLDUAN: Developing right now. A judge has ordered Rudy Giuliani to testify before Georgia Grand Jury investigating election fraud. CNN's Jessica Schneider, back with us with this. Jessica, what are you learning?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, this is really a significant step for the Fulton County DA. She's been trying to get Trump allies in before the special grand jury to testify. And now, in fact, Trump's former personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. He has just been ordered to appear before that special grand jury next month in just a few weeks, August 9. So this is all part of that sprawling investigation into possible election crimes. It's coming from the district attorney Fani Willis.

Now Rudy Giuliani has been fighting this subpoena in the New York court but it turns out that when he failed to appear in court for a hearing last week on the subpoena, the judge then ruled that Giuliani must, in fact, appear and testify before the special grand jury in Georgia next month on August 9. So we haven't gotten any response from Giuliani yet or his lawyers, but this really is a significant move forward for the DA's investigation.

You know, we know that she began her probe investigating that phone call from Trump to the Georgia secretary of state when he asked him to find more votes so Trump could win the state. And we know that in addition to Giuliani, the DA here has also asked for a number of other people connected to Trump, including Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. He's fighting his subpoena as well. So this is all part of this active and very aggressive criminal probe that's going on right now.

And Kate, I mentioned it earlier in the hour. But this is moving pretty quickly, aggressively, and it begs the question, how much further is she going to push this here? Will she subpoena Trump? Could she eventually charge Trump or his allies? But this is all unfolding rapidly as we're seeing now that Giuliani, being forced to testify, Kate.

BOLDUAN: This at the very least, that's up for a very interesting moment next month. Let's see --


BOLDUAN: Let's see what his response is to this. It's good to see you. Thank you, Jessica. Really appreciate it.

This also just in. Uvalde school superintendent is recommending that the school district police chief Pete Arredondo be terminated over the failed response to the elementary school massacre that killed 19 children and two teachers. The school board will decide whether or not he keeps his job at a special meeting that will be happening this coming Saturday.

And also this. The race to become the next Prime Minister of the UK is narrowing, now down to two candidates, former chancellor Rishi Sunak and foreign secretary Liz Truss. Members of the Conservative Party, they're now going to be deciding which of the two becomes the party's leader, and therefore, Prime Minister -- outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson channeled Arnold Schwarzenegger in his final questions before parliament this morning. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Mission largely accomplished for now. I want to thank you -- Mr. Speaker, I want to thank all the wonderful staff of the House of Commons, I want to thank all my friends and colleagues, I want to thank my friend opposite, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank everybody here, and hasta la vista baby. Thank you.



BOLDUAN: There you have it. Johnson announced he would step down earlier this month after a series of ethical scandals sparked mass resignations in his government. Before we go, I do want to tell you about a remarkable heist that happened on a California highway. More than $150 million worth of jewelry stolen from a Brinks truck at a highway rest stop in the overnight hours last Monday. The stolen merchandise which includes diamonds, gemstones, and luxury watches, was in transit between two trade shows. Now, the FBI is investigating the heist along with the LA County Sheriff's Department. A lot of jewelry just gone.

Thank you all so much for being here at this hour, I'm Kate Bolduan. "INSIDE POLITICS" is next. It starts after the break.