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At This Hour

Trump Lawyers In Talks With DOJ Over Jan. 6 Probe; GOP's Liz Cheney Sits Down To Talk Trump, Pence, January 6th; White House Declares Monkeypox Outbreak A Public Health Emergency. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired August 05, 2022 - 11:30   ET



DEANNE CRISWELL, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: We see these hurricanes form, we will pre-position our resources to make sure that they're ready to respond as soon as it's safe for them to do so.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. And quickly before I let you go, I do want to ask you about you mentioning stopping some of this before it happens and getting adapting but also trying to do something to stop climate change, or at least pause it. We know the Senate is poised to pass the bill that would help combat climate change with the biggest investment in climate change that we've ever seen. How do you think that could impact FEMA's work?

CRISWELL: I think as we continue to invest in reducing the greenhouse gases and all of those things that are impacting the changing climate, it's going to reduce, eventually the impacts that we're seeing the types of severe weather events that we're seeing, but we need to be prepared right now. We have to be prepared to respond to the continuous rise in the types of disasters that we're seeing, from hurricanes to wildfires to the severe weather that we saw across the East Coast and we're seeing in the Midwest with Kentucky. I will continue to be prepared to respond to those types of events and help those communities that are impacted and especially those that need our help the most.

DEAN: Yes. Deanne Criswell, thanks so much for making time. We appreciate it.

CRISWELL: Thanks, Jessica.

DEAN: Coming up, CNN has exclusive reporting on the January 6 criminal probe. Why the former president's legal team is holding conversations with a top DOJ prosecutor? That's next.



DEAN: Now to some exclusive CNN reporting, Donald Trump's legal team is talking with the Justice Department regarding its January 6 criminal probe. Sources telling CNN, those talks are focused on executive privilege issues specifically, whether or not Trump can shield conversations he had as president from federal prosecutors.

In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for the former president said "there is a -- there is clearly a concerted effort to undermine the vital constitutionally routed executive and attorney-client privileges through partisan political persecution." This is just the latest sign the DOJ's investigation is accelerating and turning its focus to the former president.

CNN learned this week the DOJ issued subpoenas for Trump's former White House Counsel and his deputy. And as the investigation has progressed, sources say Trump is being told to cut ties with some of his former staff including his former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. But Trump, according to sources, has so far ignored that advice.

CNN is now hearing from the Vice Chair of the January 6 committee, Republican congresswoman Liz Cheney sitting down with CNN's Kasie Hunt to talk about where the investigation is going, including whether Donald Trump will be allowed to run again in 2024.


KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Do you think that the Biden Justice Department is going to stop him from becoming president again?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): I think that the Justice Department is going to follow the facts and the evidence. I think that they have clearly seen significant activity in terms of you know, the individuals that they now have testifying in front of a grand jury in DC. And I think they're taking their obligation seriously. I think we've certainly seen in our hearings when you have the former Attorney General, former White House Counsel, former acting Attorney General, former deputy attorney general, when you have individuals who served Donald Trump who were nominated by him and who served at the highest levels, you know, who have testified in front of the committee, and made clear, for example, as did Pat Cipollone, that President Trump didn't want people to leave the Capitol.

Now, Pat Cipollone made that point trying to protect executive privilege, but I don't think anybody had any doubt what he was saying. And so I think the Justice Department is, from what I can tell from the outside, committed to following the facts and following the evidence and they're taking it seriously.

HUNT: Some have expressed concern that prosecuting former President Trump would turn him into a martyr and potentially add to his political strength with a base that follows him pretty rapidly. Do you share that concern? Do you have any concern that a prosecution would strengthen Donald Trump's political hands?

CHENEY: I don't think that it's appropriate to think about it that way because the question for us is, are we a nation of laws? Are we a country where no one is above the law? And what do the facts and the evidence show? And certainly, I've been very clear I think he's guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation's history. You've had a federal judge in California say that it's more likely than not that he and John Eastman committed two crimes.

So, you know, I think that we're going to continue to follow the facts. I think the Department of Justice will do that. But they have to make decisions about prosecution. Understanding what it means if the facts and the evidence are there, and they decide not to prosecute, how do we then call ourselves a nation of laws? I think that's a very serious, serious balancing.


HUNT: It sounds like you think that the evidence is there and that if they don't follow that evidence, that's a dereliction of duty on their part.

CHENEY: Well, the committee has been, I think, very thorough in laying out much of what we know. There's much more that we have not yet shared in hearings, and that we anticipate we will share in the fall, but -- and we will also make decisions about criminal referrals and ultimately, the decision about prosecutions up to the Justice Department. But I would anticipate that the committee will have an opinion on that.

HUNT: CNN is reporting that the Pentagon texts from January 6 are missing. This is, of course, after the Department of Homeland Security and the Secret Service seems to have lost text. Do you think there was malicious intent behind the Pentagon's deletion of texts related to that day?

CHENEY: I don't know that that's the case. I haven't seen evidence of malicious intent. I do think, though, that it's concerning that you have text messages, apparently, and this is based on the news reporting, the text messages apparently, of some of the senior officials, people like Kash Patel, apparently not available.

Now, certainly, as a committee will -- we'll get to the bottom of that. We've been working with Secret Service in -- a situation is has been reported where text messages are not available or were erased off of phones. But we've received hundreds of thousands of documents from the Secret Service and significant information from them that the committee is going through and will use in our investigation and as we conduct interviews of additional Secret Service agents.

HUNT: How much would you say you have learned that was unexpected? I mean, you obviously have a lot more information than the general public does in your head about what happened that day, but when you started these hearings earlier this year, did you have any idea how much you would know by this point?

CHENEY: It's been more information and a more sophisticated and broader reaching effort than I understood coming into it. I think all of us on the committee have had that same reaction, which is that there's so much -- there was so much more that was happening in, you know, multiple different areas, whether it was the pressure on state officials or the pressure on the Justice Department or you know the attempt to corruptly pressure the vice president himself. So I think that we've just -- there's -- the volume of information has been more than I expected. And certainly, obviously came into this very concerned and the information itself has not lessened my concern at all.

HUNT: Are you in contact with the former vice president, Mike Pence, as you're learning this new information?

CHENEY: No. We've had discussions with his counsel, obviously about, you know, his interactions with the committee, but not with him personally.

HUNT: What's your assessment of how he's handling potentially running for president because he's out there kind of opposing the former president but unlike you, he's not out there criticizing former President Trump?

CHENEY: You know, what I would say is that Vice President Pence was a hero on January 6 and that it's very clear that there was tremendous pressure from a number of different places on him, and he did his duty, and he didn't succumb to that pressure. And if he had succumbed to that pressure, things would have been very different. And so I think that we owe him gratitude for how he conducted himself and for his refusal to do what Donald Trump wanted him to do, which would have been illegal and unconstitutional.

HUNT: Do you think he'd be an ally in the fight to keep Trump out of the Oval Office?

CHENEY: Let me just leave it where I did. I think that his actions on January 6 are ones for which the nation should be grateful.

HUNT: There's been a lot of speculation about how the committee is or isn't making an impact with the American people, especially when it comes to this question of whether Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee and eventually, potentially president of the United States again. Do you think the committee's work is moving the needle politically?

CHENEY: I don't -- again, I don't think about it that way. I think about it more. And because I think it's important that the committee's work not be viewed through a political lens. And that's not how I think about it. The -- I think about it in terms of whether or not we're reaching people who understand how serious the threat was and continues to be. And I think in that regard, you know, we have done the job that I'm proud of.


HUNT: Did you think -- do you think there are enough people out there in the country who share these concerns that you have, and that many people who are also at the Capitol on that day have? Are there enough Americans out there to move the needle?

CHENEY: I think that there -- the vast majority of Americans understand how important it is that we have peaceful transitions of power and that at the sort of at the heart of who we are as Americans and the heart of our republic, is a peaceful transition of power. And no matter what your party affiliation is, you have to have a president who will guarantee that and Donald Trump did not. And so I do think that as more and more facts become known people are paying attention and understanding how serious the threat is.


DEAN: And CNN's Kasie Hunt joins me now. Kasie, Liz Cheney is facing a primary later this month, and her opponent is endorsed by Donald Trump. What are her chances and what is -- what does she think that means for her career?

HUNT: So honestly, Jessica, her chances aren't very good. You know, and the Cheney team knows that. I mean, the Republican Party in Wyoming has really moved away from where Liz Cheney and of course, her father, Dick Cheney, who just cut an ad for his daughter, in this race sit. And I think that Cheney -- and she's pretty explicit with me about this as well. She sees losing this race as something she's willing to sacrifice because she thinks it's so important to stand up and tell the truth about the election as she's been doing.

So, of course, the challenge for her is staying on the national stage in the event that she does lose. She will be the vice chairman of the committee, as long as the committee exists, at least through the end of the year. We expect Republicans to take over the House of Representatives and the entire committee likely to be disbanded. She, of course, if she does lose her seat, that's about the same time she would be leaving Congress as well. So, you know, there are some real challenges ahead for her in staying part of this conversation, Jessica.

DEAN: Yes, no doubt about it. All right, Kasie Hunt, great interview. Thanks so much.

HUNT: Thank you.

DEAN: And just a reminder, you can see more of Kasie's interview with Congresswoman Cheney, it's today at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Coming up, the White House has declared monkeypox a public health emergency. What that means in the battle against the outbreak? That's next.



DEAN: The White House has declared monkeypox a public health emergency with the outbreak spreading quickly across the country, more than 7100 cases reported so far. CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joining us live now. And, Elizabeth, what is this public health emergency declaration actually mean?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jessica, it means three main things. Let's take a look. First of all, it means more money will be going towards the efforts to control the outbreak. It also tells states that they have to be sending more data to the CDC which helps the CDC figure out where to send resources. It also increases the number of people who will be involved in the effort to control the outbreak.

This is happening at a time when monkeypox numbers are climbing quite rapidly. As of last night, 7100 cases in the U.S. since May. That is a 47 percent increase from the previous week. So, Dr. Ashish Jha, a White House health official had this to say about the government response.


DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We are getting this under control. I want to remind people nobody has died of this yet, obviously, I want to keep that level of serious illness as low as possible. And the strategy is the strategy I was talking about back in May, which is continue expanding testing. It's been two months -- two and a half months since the first case was identified. We have a massive amount of testing capacity.

We -- again, we've acquired more vaccines than the rest of the world combined. We have plenty of treatments that we're making easier and easier to get out. So yes, so this is the effective response that I was talking about back in May and that continues to be our strategy moving forward.


COHEN: So let's take a look at where we are with vaccines against monkeypox in the United States. The CDC estimates that they need at least 3 million doses for the eligible population, which is men who have sex with men or certain subsets of men who have sex with men. So far, 602,000 doses have been delivered and 150,000 more are expected in September.

As you can see, that is not nearly enough. The government is contemplating or is thinking about a strategy where you give the shot in a different way. And that way you can use a lower dose. You could have five times as many doses just for the one dose that we have now.

DEAN: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much for that update.

Finally, today, learning a new language has benefits beyond just communication. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains in today's "CHASING LIFE."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's "CHASING LIFE" podcast. Learning a new language doesn't just open you up to new people in places, can actually help optimize your brain. For instance, bilingual people are diagnosed with Alzheimer's four to five years later on average than people who speak just one language. Turns out all that hard work of learning a new language gives them more cognitive reserve. Think of that like energy store for a rainy day that can help people function even better. But how do you get started if you haven't spoken a second language since high school? Well first, remember, the goal isn't to be perfect. The stakes are high you learn. Second, think of it like exercise for the brain. Just like stretching can make you more flexible, you can also increase your brain's capacity.


Third, incorporate the new language into things you enjoy. Maybe it's baking or listening to music or watching international films. And don't forget, it's never too late to start.

You can hear more about how to optimize your health and chase life, wherever you get your podcasts.


DEAN: Thanks again for joining me today. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts after a quick break.