Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

FBI Searches Former President Donald Trump's House; Former Trump Cabinet Secretary Testifies at January 6th Committee Today; President Biden Signs Bipartisan Legislation, the CHIPS Bill. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired August 09, 2022 - 11:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. At this hour, a major escalation. The FBI searches Trump's Florida home in their classified documents probe, and another Trump cabinet secretary testifies before the January 6th Committee today. Plus, CNN captures police in a shootout with gangs in Haiti as the country devolves into chaos. This is what we're watching at this hour. Thank you so much for being here. I'm Kate Bolduan. An unprecedented move by the FBI, no doubt, searching the home of former -- a former U.S. president. An escalation of the investigations into Donald Trump and his inner circle that would require approval from the highest levels of the Justice Department.

Sources are saying that Monday's search at Trump's residence in Palm Beach is part of DOJ's probe into his handling of presidential records. Some of the documents were classified. CNN has learned that agents left Mar-A-Lago with additional boxes of items and sources also tells CNN investigators visited Trump's home previously, then meeting with his attorneys about the material taken from the White House. Trump wasn't there at the time of yesterday's search however but he definitely has plenty to say about it. Let's start with CNN's Leyla Santiago live in Palm Beach, Florida. So Leyla, what more are you learning about the FBI search?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Kate, I can tell you that here at Mar-A-Largo it's been pretty quiet. We still see some law enforcement at some of the entrances to -- for Mar-A-Largo and then out where we are right now. The bridge behind his home. There are some protestors. There are some supporters that have become very vocal -- vocal about the execution of this search warrant. As for the search warrant itself, what we know at this point, we know that President Donald Trump was not in the house when it was executed.

We understand that law enforcement agents went in, were focused on the personal quarters as well as the offices of the former president. And we also understand that this is all related to presidential documents, potential classified records, that have been an issue for quite some time now. Remember in recent months, the National Archives responsible for collecting and sorting presidential records came in and took out about 15 boxes of records from here at Mar-A-Largo. Here's how Eric Trump, his son, described the search.


ERIC TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP'S SON: The purpose of the raid from what they said was because the National Archives wanted to, you know, corroborate whether or not Donald Trump had any documents in his possession. And -- and my father has worked so collaboratively with them for months, in fact the lawyer that's been working on this was totally shocked, because I have such an amazing relationship with these people. And, all of a sudden on no notice they send, you know, 20 cars and -- and 30 agents, Sean, I mean, this -- this is just more political persecution of Donald J. Trump.


SANTIAGO: And again, that is indicative of what we're seeing out here in terms of supporters. Those who are echoing those same sentiments out here saying Trump won, or Trump 2024. You're really seeing how this is, sort of, riled up the base here near the former president's private residence. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Leyla thank you for that. So Donald Trump, he was actually the first to announce the search had happened. Angrily lashing out over the FBI search calling the operation a raid. The Republican party is already moving to fundraise off the situation. CNN's Gabby Orr is live in Washington with this part of the story. Gabby what more are we hearing from Trump and his allies and supporters.

GABBY ORR, CNN REPORTER: Well Kate, Trump was the first person to tip us off to this raid -- this FBI search at his Mar-A-Largo residence yesterday, claiming that it was a raid in a statement he put out, and saying that they even searched his personal property, part of the personal presidential quarters at Mar-A-Largo. We do know that he has been complaining to aides about this and the way that this went down. He was very caught off guard as we just learned by Eric Trump's interview on FOX News last night, saying that he was the one that actually alerted his father to this raid happening.

But we also know that Republicans are taking steps to fundraise off this FBI search warrant. Let's just show you a graphic of one of the fundraising texts that came out overnight that was sent out by the Republican National Committee. It says, you know, it calls this unprecedented. It -- it says that it was Biden's FBI raid. References the mid-terms saying it's time to take back Congress. So this is a familiar move that we've seen from Republicans in -- in moments where Former President Trump has come under fire, especially found himself in legal jeopardy.


But -- but fundraising off of this itself is fairly unprecedented.

BOLDUAN: I would say so, and it's good to see you Gabby. Thank you very much. Joining me right now CNN Chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins. CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and CNN Legal Analyst and Former Prosecutor, Paul Callan. Andy, would it have to be something that they saw in those 15 boxes that were already recovered of documents that would have forced the FBI to take this step? Or do you think it's something that they didn't see when that all was returned?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST AND FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Kate, I think it's the latter. Let's remember that Trump took boxes of materials to Mar-A-Largo. This was ultimately discovered by the archives. There was some back and forth and eventually Trump turned over -- sent 15 boxes back. We also know that the FBI served a subpoena on the archives to review those materials, which is very standard, part of the FBI's responsibilities to conduct a damage assessment when classified information has spilled outside of a -- of a authorized facility.

So, but I -- I really don't believe that the department would have taken such a significant step as getting -- pursuing a search warrant for the president's residence about information that they already had back. There had to be a suspicion, a concern, and indeed specific information that led them to believe that there were additional materials that were not turned over. And -- and by virtue of the fact that he turned over 15 boxes and maybe not some additional, that would make that seem like a very intentional act, a willful act of retaining or withholding classified. So that's my guess. We don't know this yet because we haven't seen the affidavit but that's my strong suspicion.

BOLDUAN: Andy, but -- just really quickly, when you say like specific suspicion or do you think that it was -- they had to be told by someone? There was something specifically in a specific location?

MCCABE: There's no question that that affidavit had -- likely includes information that there is specific information in Mar-A-Largo and where that information comes from is a really good question. It's likely a source, someone in Mar-A-Largo who is familiar with what the president had or where he was storing things or things like that. We know that they pursued, you know, were very directed in their search. They were focused pretty much exclusively on his office in the residence as we've heard from reporting. We know that they looked in things like his safe according to the president's own comments. So it -- it appears very directed, very focused. That would mean they were looking for something specific and they had some reason to believe it was there.

BOLDUAN: And Kaitlan, you also have reporting that this isn't the first time that investigators have gone down to Mar-A- Largo. What more have -- have you learned here?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No, and we're told that they were aware. There were still documents being held at Mar-A- Largo, because what I am told is that several months ago a hand full of Federal investigators went to Mar-A-Largo. They met with Trump's attorneys. He was actually on property at the time. He stopped by and said hi and greeted these investigators. He did not stay or answer any of their questions we are told, but these attorneys showed the investigators where the documents were being stored in Mar-A- Largo. One thing we do not know about this interaction is what those documents were. How many boxes of documents were in them?

Of course what was classified, what was not potentially? So those are still open questions that are remain, but I am told that the investigators looked around the world in the basement of Mar-A-Largo where these were being stored. They then left and a few days later Trump's attorneys got a letter from these investigators saying that they needed to further enhance the room, the place where these documents were being stored and that Trump's aides then applied a padlock to the door of this room.

So that is what we do know. That there still were documents there, but of course it appears the Trump team did not seem to have any questions about them still being there. That's really the big question and a lot of unknowns is what happened in the two months since those investigators paid that visit to Mar-A-Largo, that then led to this search warrant that happened on yesterday -- that happened yesterday.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. I think one thing we all -- we -- everyone agrees on is there are a lot of questions here Paul. A lot of questions, not a lot -- more answers to come. We've heard a lot about the Presidential Records Act now and have for quite some time. If this becomes a Presidential Records Act violation, not more, do you think it is enough to warrant all this.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: No. It's not enough to warrant all this, and this is a daring and dangerous move by the Department of Justice to serve a warrant on a former president and to raid his personal residence. So, I have to think that the Department of Justice must have something more than an argument about what kind of records have to be saved for a presidential library or the Library of Congress at some future date.


They must -- there's more to this than meets the eye and I have to think that there's something a lot more serious that they think is being withheld from the presidential collection.

BOLDUAN: You know, Andy, given the unprecedented nature of this. The fact that Donald Trump himself is talking about the search openly. Do you think that we will hear directly from the Justice Department?

MCCABE: I think it's unlikely that we'll hear anything specific from the Justice Department until they make the decision to go public with something like an indictment or a charge. And we don't -- we are not there yet, to be very clear, we don't know that that will ever happen. They may not decide to take any action but this Justice Department is going to speak only through the public, legal documents that might become known if this investigation goes in that direction.

And if I could just to tag onto what Paul said, I completely agree, like, this is such a bold, such a disruptive, such an aggressive move. The idea that they would do this simply because they weren't getting the, sort of, compliance they were looking for out of securing the room with the documents and things like that seems really unimaginable to me. I -- it seems that they must have, I hope they had more than just that. BOLDUAN: Yes. Kaitlan, you know, Trump is -- was -- has obviously as

I just said speaking about this publicly. The RNC is fundraising off of this now, they think this is good for him for them. But do you think this impacts the timing of his announcement to run again? I mean, what are you hearing?

COLLINS: I think it could potentially and -- and yes you are hearing that from a lot of his allies saying they actually think this is only going to bolster him. That is why you saw this very lengthy statement coming from Trump yesterday confirming this. This wasn't something that they were reluctant to really put out there and make sure the people did know that this search had been conducted at his -- his own property. You're hearing from people like Eric Trump who is publicly urging his father to run last night, saying that they're so fearful, they being obviously his political opponents, are so fearful he could win in 2024.

That's why this is being conducted. That's what you are hearing from the former president's family members and his allies. Of course, whether or not that's true and whether or not it does actually help him remains to be seen. There are numerous investigations being conducted into his behavior, not just when it comes to these classified documents which is what we know this search warrant had to do with. But also the January 6th investigation as well, so that's still isn't something that is not yet settled about how this will actually turn out for him.

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely. Good to see you guys. Coming up, Trump's former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo set to testify today before the January 6th committee. What he could reveal about the cabinet level talk about removing Trump from office after the insurrection, and what it means for the committee's investigation going forward. Details in a live report.





BOLDUAN: Another top Trump Administration official will be testifying today before the January 6th Committee. This time is the Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. CNN's Sara Murray, she's tracking this for us at this hour. Sara, what are you hearing about Pompeo's testimony and what they're -- they could be going over?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well he is expected to appear today and obviously he held significant positions in the Trump Administration as the former CIA director, you know, leading the State Department. But one of the things that they have really focused on with these high ranking officials is what the discussions were around January 6th and afterwards, particularly about the 25th Amendment. You know, (inaudible) potentially tried to oust Donald Trump from the White House. That is one of the things that they have really wanted to get to the bottom to -- of with some of these high ranking officials, who frankly, you know, had a -- had a lot of concern after what they saw on January 6th.

You know, we know that a handful of high ranking officials have already spoken with the committee. U.S. Steve Mnuchin, Treasury Secretary, you know, we know they spoke to Mick Mulvaney who was a special envoy to Northern Ireland and, you know, he resigned after January 6th. (Inaudible) Eugene Scalia, who was the Labor Secretary, you know, and even highlighted some of his testimony in their hearings of him explaining to Donald Trump that he thought that the -- the former president should concede after he lost. So I think that's what they really want to try to get to the bottom of with Mike Pompeo, what the sentiment was around January 6th and afterwards and what the concerns were.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. It's good to see you Sara. Thank you so much for that. Back with me now, Kaitlan Collins, Paul Callan and CNN's Dana Bash. Dana, focusing in on the Trump cabinet and as Sara was laying out specifically on the conversations around the 25th Amendment. What do you -- what does that tell you about where the committee is -- what path the committee is headed down now? As it's now, kind of, entering this next chapter.

DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT AND NEWS ANCHOR: Well so much of what we've seen is about connecting the dots and giving new information and testimony about what actually happened in -- in the past, on January 6th and what it means for Donald Trump as -- as a president then. Looking at the 25th Amendment and the notion that some of this cabinet members were effectively thinking about or talking about the idea that he was so dangerous that they should invoke something that has not been and get rid of him right, then and there is a question of looking ahead. It's a question of looking ahead to whether or not he should be president again. It's also for history's sake but it's because they understand that this isn't just history. This is about the future.

BOLDUAN: And -- and Kaitlan, also being brought before the committee now is the current Republican nominee running for Governor in Pennsylvania Doug Mastriano. He -- he's going to give an interview with the committee as well. I mean, we'll see, what if anything that he, you know, says and gives to the committee. But, what are the chances that he tries to use this to his advantage in a race where he needs a Trump base to turn out in a big way, kind of jumping off our conversation of the last block.


COLLINS: Well it didn't appear that that appearance by Doug Mastriano really yielded much information because, of course, our colleagues had been reporting Sara and Zach about the idea that he wasn't expected to say much because they were in a huge disagreement over how that interview was being conducted. Mastriano wanted it video taped so he had his own recording and own accounting of what happened in that interview, which is typically done behind closed doors. And we know the committee itself has been taping them as we've seen from many of the hearings that have been airing but it appears they could not come to an agreement on that front.

But I do think there are a lot of questions for Mastriano that the committee likely had about, of course, the efforts he spearheaded to try to overturn the election. Remember there was that hearing that he held just a few weeks after the election had ended. He helped charter buses to the January 6th Rally at the Capitol at the Ellipse and then also he was in charge for technically a little bit of the audit that they were conducting. I use audit in quotation marks of course since they said that there was no fraud.

There -- that there was widespread fraud that happened there and I think that just shows though, the level of how widespread this is. That there are Trump allies not just people like Mike -- Mike Pompeo and those who were in the cabinet at the time but it's also these officials who were spread out throughout states who have a lot of sway and significance when it comes to whether or not they cast out publicly on the result of an election.

BOLDUAN: And speaking of another investigation underway Paul, in Georgia, Rudy Giuliani is now asking to postpone his testimony to the Georgia Grand Jury investigating 2020 election interference. What do you think he's going at here?

CALLAN: Well I think that this Georgia investigation is very dangerous to Giuliani and I think it's also very dangerous to President Trump. This is the investigation that seems to the farthest along in its development and Giuliani is just trying to stall the investigation, I think and push it off as far as possible.

BOLDUAN: And we'll see how much benefit that brings him, yes, and also as first reported on CNN in another wrinkle of the January 6th committee. Two years worth of text messages from the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, they've just been turned over to the committee. What are you hearing about this? I mean, what new avenue could this potentially open up for the committee?

BASH: Alex Jones went before the committee and didn't say anything. He invoked his 5th Amendment rights, so it doesn't seem like they got much from him in their interview. This is a treasure trove potentially if he has two years worth of texts and there is a fair amount dealing with January 6th or even just a little bit dealing with January 6th. We know his role because we've heard it publicly. He's -- they were very -- he was very open about it on his various media platforms. His role in stoking and encouraging the insurrection. He was there. He didn't go into the building but he was very much part of amplifying what was going on.

BOLDUAN: And Paul, an interesting -- no -- did-- this is so unusual about this situation in particular is how this came about is the attorney for the Newtown families who just won a civil suit against Jones. This attorney is the person who is turning over this -- these text messages over to the committee. Jones' attorney -- Jones' legal team tried to actually stop that from happening, asked the judge to have the material destroyed and the judge said in response. I'm not standing between you and Congress to the -- to the attorneys. What do you think of that? CALLAN: It was a very unusual ruling by the judge. Usually, when materials have been accidentally disclosed to the other side. This happens all the time in big lawsuits where somebody sends a trove of documents that was sent in mistake. Usually the court will issue a protective order saying don't publicize this until we straighten out and go through the material you should have received as opposed to the attorney-client privilege materials. This judge though, I think is so fed up with what went on at that trial by the defense. She said, I don't care, turn it over to Congress and it is a treasure trove and if it ties Alex Jones to Donald Trump, that's going to be a big development in these hearings going down the road. That tragedy in Sandy Hook, you'll never get that out of the minds of voters across America.

BOLDUAN: I mean, how it came about is very interesting. And I thought the judge's move there was interesting as well. It's good to see you guys.

CALLAN: Great to see you.

BOLDUAN: And thank you Kaitlan. Coming up for us, President Biden signs a major piece of bipartisan legislation, what the CHIPS Bill means for you, for U.S. manufacturing, for the whole country. Next.




BOLDUAN: New this morning, President Biden just signed into law a bill that gives a much needed boost to the U.S. chip manufacturing industry. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House who joins us now with the very latest. Jeremy, what does this law now mean for the country?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well President Biden as he prepared to sign this bill into law, hailing it as a way of getting the U.S. semi-conductor industry back to where it should have been all along. Pointing out that it was America that invented the semi-conductor chip and that now the U.S. is so reliant, overly reliant on semi-conductor chips from around the world. Something that the president said jeopardizes both U.S. economic as well as National Security.