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At This Hour

Judge Unseals Detailed List Of Evidence Seized From Mar-A-Lago; President Biden Addresses Jobs Report As Hiring Slows. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired September 02, 2022 - 11:00   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. At This Hour, a judge releases the full list of what investigators found in their search of former President Trump's at Mar-a-Lago home a few weeks ago. A new jobs report just wanted to tell us about the impact of the Federal Reserve's moves on the U.S. economy. And caught on video, the shocking assassination attempt on Argentina's Vice President, this is what we're watching At This Hour.

And thanks for joining us. I'm Erica Hill in today for Kate Bolduan. We are following two big stories at this hour. First, there's this new data on the state of the U.S. economy, employers slowing their hiring 315,000 jobs added in August, but that's less than half or less than the half a million jobs added in the month prior. The unemployment rate rising, just touched to 3.7 percent. In just minutes, President Biden's set to address this jobs report, we'll bring you those remarks live when they begin.

We are also following breaking news. The federal judge has just unsealed a detailed inventory of what the FBI removed from Donald Trump's Florida home last month. And it reveals a number of classified documents were in there, stored in lots of boxes, 30 some odd boxes. And in those boxes were also mixed in other random documents, press clippings, even clothing and gifts. We'll have more on that in just a moment.

But let's begin with seeing as John Harwood, who's live at the White House. We're just moments away now from hearing from the President on the economy jobs. So as we wait, John, rather, as we wait for that, John, this jobs report that we got earlier this morning. What does it tell us about where things stand and how these moves from the Fed are actually working?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's actually good news, Erica, and I think President Biden will welcome it. Why do I say good news? Well, first of all 315,000 jobs is a lot of jobs. On the other hand, it's fewer than last month, that's what they're aiming for, to slow down the pace of job creation, the unemployment rate ticked up. And that was for good reasons, because more and more people went into the labor force. That eases wage pressure. So you've got a balancing act between wanting to have the maximum number of people employed, you don't want people to lose jobs, because that hurt affects them very negatively. But on the other hand, you don't want inflation across the economy, because that affects everyone negatively. So this is a report that suggests that the Fed moves to raise interest rates are doing what they intended to do, but not too abruptly.

And so it suggests that there is at least a chance this is very difficult, hasn't been done before, but there's at least a chance, Erica, that the Fed may be able to pull off what we call a soft landing, which is to taper off the pace of demand in the economy, the pace of job creation, loosen that labor market a bit and do it without triggering a recession that throws millions of people out of work.

HILL: Right, which is obviously the goal there. We will see. John Harwood, appreciate it. Thank you. And as we mentioned, we're waiting to hear from the President at moment.

Meantime, this breaking news, a federal judge has unsealed a detailed list of the property which was seized in the FBI search of former President Trump's home in August. CNN's Kara Scannell joining me now with what it reveals. So it's a number of pages, 30 some odd boxes, Kara. There was a lot of stuff in here.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There was a lot of stuff. And there was a lot of stuff all commingled together from what we're seeing from this, I mean, this breaks it out into 33 boxes, or storage containers. And just as an example, to show what this tells us kind of how haphazard things were stored together. This one, box 18 has magazines, newspapers, press articles, a government document with a secret classification marking than 1,500 U.S. governments without the classification marking to empty folders that were labeled returned to staff.

And then other boxes showed that there was clothing and gifts kind of strewn within this. So you get a sense that it was just jumbled together and that these secure, these top secret, these classified documents were not maintained in the way that they're supposed to be maintained.

HILL: I said to you, when I was first going through the list, what first came to mind is somebody's really messy desk, maybe mine where you would say, oh, I have to clear all this stuff up or I have to pack it. So you almost swipe your arm across and everything just ends up in the same box. And it looks like it was sort of similar for every box. Every box is haphazard here. And that's what we heard too about the initial recovery of documents, those boxes from January were also commingled.

SCANNELL: Right, commingled, some of them even torn and ripped up. I mean, it's also interesting because, you know, remember the FBI first began this process with a subpoena and they'd gotten some records they went in, they weren't allowed to look in the storage room boxes. Now these are the storage room boxes. So we're getting our first glimpse of what was in there and how it was set up. [11:05:05]

I mean another thing that we were talking about is, you know, there's 11,000 pages here of non-classified government records. And so that group, we're talking about a special master, that gives you a sense of just how -- this is a much bigger volume than what we thought. We thought there were like 300 or so classified documents. Now we're seeing that this was actually a bigger trove of records.

And then interestingly, we were talking about this, that there is 90 empty folders in here. And some, you know, have classified marking some say returned to staff Secretary slash military, we don't really know what that means.

HILL: Which I think is important to point out, right? It's important to not jump to conclusions about what is and isn't in there. Because while this is a detailed list, there is still a heck of a lot that we don't know here, because we don't know what those specific classifications for these documents were used for, what kind of information could be in them? And in terms of empty folders, I mean, could it be that there were empty folders that were also just hanging out, right?

SCANNELL: Right. I mean --

HILL: -- took the documents out and never put them back?

SCANNELL: Exactly. It sounds a bit chaotic. So you could get the sense that maybe records were removed and not returned. But we don't really know what that means. But it is interesting, just to have a sense of what kind of records the former president took with him to Mar-a-Lago.

HILL: Right. And I want to bring in Elliot Williams, who's with us now. When you look at this list, you know, and as Kara and I were talking about, on the one hand, it's not entirely surprising that we're seeing all of these materials commingled, because we had a sense that that had happened in the earlier boxes and records that were recovered. But is there anything that really stands out to you, and that gives you pause, in what we're seeing here.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Erica, it all gives me pause. Let's be clear. And I know Kara pointed to box 18, just in this box number two, what you have is top secret classification marking. So they're top secret documents, documents that if released, could cause exceptionally grave harm to the United States. That's the definition for Top Secret, some of these empty folders that the two of you were talking about and then newspaper clippings.

So what we're having here, to me, it's the mixing and matching of extremely sensitive information, along with personal effects, which is itself intensely problematic, and, frankly, a national security risk to the United States, depending on what's in those documents. And there are extensive regulations on how these documents should have been maintained. So that's the big problem here.

HILL: And so to that point, does that then raise larger questions for you about how documents were maintained, perhaps during the four years of the Trump administration, how those documents were handled? Were they handled correctly in a skiff? Or were they taken to the residence more often than perhaps people realized?

WILLIAMS: Right, and I don't -- and I want to make clear, this isn't about nitpicking on following rules and regulations and the kinds of things that people get mad at the government, no doubt, frankly, are frustrated with sometimes. There's actually real national security or public safety risks involved in mishandling and not properly securing documents. I had a top secret clearance for virtually all of my time in government. And the manner in which even rooms in which these documents are meant to be secured.

There's just a lot governing how you look at the information, how you perceive it, how you -- what you do with it, when you have it, how you destroy it when you're done with it. And what you see here is a gross violation of frankly, the norms of government, setting aside the fact that mere possession of some documents can be a criminal offence, depending on how -- what the document is. So there's all kinds of problems here, Erica.

HILL: And what about the volume because it's not just about, as Kara point out, 300 some odd, you know, classified documents here. We're talking about more than 11,000 pages of other government documents, the fact that there was so much, what does that tell you, or I should say, perhaps, maybe it's more about what questions does that raise for you, Elliot?

WILLIAMS: Sure, of course. I mean, again, there's a few different questions. There's the criminal question which one page can be the criminal offense depending on if it involves information pertaining to the national defense and you're mishandling it or destroying it, right? The volume question just speaks to a more systemic problem of how the people's papers are maintained after someone leaves the presidency and the day any president, no matter, whether it was Donald Trump or not, the day they leave, all this reverts to the possession of the American public and how had been maintained by a custodian.

So there's sort of practical prudential questions of well, you know, were they behaving in a sloppy manner, but also were crimes committed based on how egregiously some documents were mishandled or intentionally destroyed or hidden.

HILL: In terms of this list to, Kara, so the judge, as I understand it, said, you know, said to both sides, we're going to release this list unless there's some objection. There wasn't an objection.


SCANNELL: No, neither side objected. I mean the first order of business was the government had to give this list over to Trump's legal team and then the judge asked them, does anyone want to object to this? No one did. So it was said yesterday in court that she would unseal this, as well as this, a very brief investigative status report that was also unsealed. And just we're talking about the kind of chaotic way that these documents were handled in this investigative report the prosecutors, right that the handling and storage of these documents is something that they are considering as part of their investigation. So it really just underscores the point Elliot was making that, you know, this is -- it's not just the documents, it's the whole manner in which they were maintained.

HILL: And Elliot, what is, I mean, give us sort of the 30,000 foot view here in terms of making this detailed list public? What is the benefit to that?

WILLIAMS: Oh, look, every single filing that we're seeing publicly in this matter is making it worse for the President. Now, I'm not saying that this is, you know, making charges more likely. But it's building a clear narrative of number one extreme and profound sloppiness in the mishandling of documents but also giving the Justice Department yet another avenue for laying out its case publicly before even having to go to court. And the President, the former presidents who have invited this, number one, this fight over special master that we've been having over the last several days, gave the government an opportunity to lay out its case and in a beautifully written document.

And here's this list of, this inventory, is sort of doing the same thing. You're seeing the kinds of information materials and how they were mishandled and how they were improperly stored. So it's sort of, you know, point for the government once again today, in this case.

HILL: Elliot Williams, Kara Scannell, appreciate it. Thank you both. Meantime, in a separate investigation, two former Trump lawyers, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and his former deputy Patrick Philbin set to appear today before a grand jury investigating the Capitol insurrection. CNN's Evan Perez is live at the courthouse in Washington with the latest. So they are set to appear. What more do we know about what will happen?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica we already saw a short while ago Pat Cipollone, the white -- the former White House counsel under former President Trump, he already appeared he was met by Tom Windham the prosecutor who is overseeing this part of the investigation, and they were taken up to the grand jury, we're still expecting to see Patrick Philbin, who was the deputy White House counsel.

And the importance of these two witnesses is, you know, this is the part of the January 6th investigation that is looking at, you know, people beyond the rioters, beyond the violence that happened over at the Capitol. These are looking at people -- this is looking at people, the former president, people around him who were involved in trying to organize these fake collectors, the whole effort to try to maintain Trump in the office of the presidency, despite the fact that he had lost the election.

And one of the things that we don't know right now is, you know, what sort of questions they're going to be able to answer. We know that there were some discussions between Cipollone and Philbin, their legal, their lawyers, and the Justice Department about executive privilege. The question is, are they going to answer every question or are they going to raise executive privilege for some of those? That's what's happening behind the scenes in the courthouse right now. Erica?

HILL: Evan with the latest for us from outside the courthouse. Appreciate it. Thank you.


President Biden issuing a call to action blaming Donald Trump and his allies for endangering Americans democracy, takeaways from the President's primetime speech next.


HILL: We are moments away now from hearing from President Biden, set to speak on the economy. We're going to bring you those remarks live when he speaks. Last night the President delivering a different speech, his most stark warning yet that democracy is in severe danger. White House officials insists that primetime speech was not political. President Biden framing the upcoming midterm elections is a choice between democracy and extremism, a choice for which he directly blames his predecessor and its supporters.


BIDEN: I want to be very clear, very clear up front. Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know because I've been able to work with these mainstream Republicans. But there's no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.


HILL: Joining me now is CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny. So Jeff, you know, as I noted, the White House said, this is not a political speech, it felt a lot like a stump speech. The message there -- is this the message of Biden and Democrats have now settled on moving into November?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, I think one of the reasons it felt like a political stump speech because it was delivered in Pennsylvania where the President was just a couple days ago and is going back. And it's really one of the epicenters of the midterm election campaign. But as I was sitting in the audience during that speech watching this, of course, it felt political.

Presidents give political speeches. This is not unusual. This is not a criticism. It's just a fact. But it was bigger than that as well. It was about democracy. And you, I certainly heard the President sort of moderating his tone a bit by saying not all Republicans. He said not even a majority of Republicans are part of this extreme movement, but he of course focused his time and attention on this the extremes in the party. And really, you know, trying to issue a clarion call, if you will, for elections have consequences and calling out election liars.


And really this is something I'm told the President has been wanting to give this speech for quite some time. He has been watching the primetime, or the primaries as they've been unfolding throughout the summer. And he's really quite worried about some of these nominees for secretary of state races, for governor's races, and others who are falling, you know, into this, the Trump path of election denialism. So that is something that's certainly worrisome.

So yes, it was a Democratic led speech, no question. But it was more than that, as well. It was quite nuanced, actually, in the messages he was making.

HILL: So is he's focused in on that, right? And we're getting more of a taste of what is going to be coming for the President, the White House from Democrats. Republicans want to keep a focus on the economy, and inflation, specifically House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy offered a pre battle to this primetime speech yesterday, here's a little of what he had to say.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Our economy is now in a recession. Here are the facts. Fact, our supply chains are collapsing. Our transportation system is completely dysfunctional. Air travel has never been more unpredictable. Fact, families go to the grocery store to find empty shelves. If you can find what you need it to store the cost more, a lot more.


HILL: We know it's about how Americans feel right? Whether there's a great jobs report or not, your own personal economy is really what matters at the end of the day for most voters. Why does the White House think that this focus from President Biden is going to cut through this focus on the real threat to democracy, cut through over what you're hearing from Republicans?

ZELENY: Well, they're certainly hoping it will. But look what both sides are trying to do, Kevin McCarthy there was trying to turn the attention back on the president and make this midterm election a referendum on the president. And of course, you know, we all know well, the supply chain issues, the inflation, the price of gas, but that speech might have resonated a little bit more had it been delivered a couple of months ago.

The reality is things are slowly improving. A president is not in control of the supply chain, necessarily, or gas prices, but they certainly are responsible for the political implications of all of that. So look that, you know, both sides kind of trying to change the subject, if you will, both sides are trying to point to, you know, the fact that this election, like all elections are a choice, no question about it. But the reality here is that history would show that the President's party almost always loses seats in midterm elections. That's just how it goes. Voters sort of blame the party in power. We'll see if history is the best guide here, because we have never seen a former president sort of hang over a current administration as much as this one have. So of course, that's what President Biden is trying to do sort of raise the stakes. Again, and Erica, I can just tell you being at that speech last night, a bit of a deja vu feeling. Of course, Joe Biden and Donald Trump their names will not be on the ballot in November at all. But boy, they're hanging over this midterm race, like anything that we've ever seen.

HILL: I mean, he's talking about elephants in the room, right? They could not be larger. You're right. So as we wait, and if I have to cut you off, I know, you'll understand, Jeff. But as we wait for the speech of the President on the economy, it's also really, to your point, I would say, you know, just over 12 hours after this big primetime speech, here comes the President talking about the economy. The White House is also really trying to walk both of those lines, right, to balance and effectively message in both lanes. Can they do that? Have they been able to?

ZELENY: That will be the challenge for the next eight and a half weeks of this midterm election campaign and beyond? Of course, this is just halftime of the Biden presidency. But look, there's no question this jobs report shows the economy is resilient, it, you know, is slowing somewhat no doubt that that is what is needed. And they want to sort of slow down inflation and the economy. There is no question at all some 315,000 jobs added to the economy. That is something we are going to hear President Biden talking up right now. We're going to hear him talking about his legislative accomplishments. That was one of the things that was missing from the speech last night.

HILL: And Jeff, I'm going to stop there because the President is just starting speaking. Let's listen in.

BIDEN: Before we begin, I'd like to speak very briefly about today's jobs report that was just been issued. We received more good news. In August, the economy created 315,000 new jobs. The great American jobs machine continues its comeback. American workers are back to work, earning more, manufacturing more, and building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out.

But with today's news, we have now created nearly 10 million new jobs since I took office, nearly 10 million jobs, the fastest growth in all of American history.

In August, we also saw that the share of Americans who are working in our economy went up. Economists call that the labor force participation rate. Working-age women are now, for the first time, back at work at rates not seen since before the pandemic.


Wages are up. Unemployment remains near a 50-year low. And, yesterday, we got that -- we got data that showed that manufacturing orders were up but cost increases of supply chain items were beginning to ease.

The week before that, we got data showing that price increases may be beginning to ease as well. The bottom line is, jobs are up, wages are up, people are back to work, and we are seeing some signs that inflation may be, may be, I'm not going to overpromise you, may be beginning to ease.

Couple that with the fact that gas prices have now fallen 80 straight days, the fastest decline in over a decade and the price at the pump is now $1.20 a gallon less than it was the beginning of summer.

America has some really good news going into Labor Day weekend. But we're also seeing something else critical to the backbone of the American economy, manufacturing. Manufacturing is roaring back.

Since I took office, the economy has created 668,000 manufacturing jobs, the strongest manufacturing job recovery since the 1950s. And just last week, we've seen major American companies from First Solar to Corning to Micron, announce plans to invest tens of billions of dollars, tens of billions, that's not a misstatement, tens of billions of dollars, expanding manufacturing in America.

We've seen major global companies like Toyota and Honda, announce that they are choosing America to invest and build. None of this is happening by accident. These investments and this recovery are a direct result of my economic plan. Some people gave up on American manufacturing. Not me. Not the Secretary. Not the American people.

Make It in America is no longer just a slogan, it's a reality in my administration. I'm committed to building an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. You've heard me say that a thousand times. But that's what's happening. And that's what we're here to talk about today.

Now, a big part of the American Rescue Plan that I signed once, a month after we got in office, we were facing a once-in-a-century pandemic, historic joblessness, businesses struggling to stay open, remote learning for our children.

But thanks to the American Rescue Plan, we have come a long way. We got vaccine shots in arms. We helped people who needed it the most. We kept teachers in the classrooms, cops on the beat, firefighters on the job because the local communities didn't have the money to pay for them.

And as a result, COVID no longer controls our lives. More Americans are working than ever. Businesses are growing. Schools are open. And today, we're celebrating a signature program the American Rescue, and all the American, within the American Rescue Plan that's going to help communities that need it most.

Look, it's called the Build Back Better Regional Challenge. It's centered around a vision that, as our economy recovers and modernizes, as science and technologies accelerate and change the nature of how we manufacture, we want workers and small businesses leading this transition, making sure they're a part of it, not just being shunted aside, instead fearing that the transition will be leave them behind. We're going to help them get retrained and many other things. And thank, think, look, think of the 55-year-old small businessman who has been making a single screw, this is literally true, for a combustible engine for cars for decades. He and his workers are worried. Why? Because we're moving to high-tech electric vehicles, we're going to help them and their businesses with training and new technology to help them make parts for electric vehicles and lead the transition to a clean energy economy so they're not left behind.

This is about investing in them, believing in them, helping them transition to a new world. They can do these jobs, just like they did the ones they had before. This is about jobs in their communities for them, not having to leave or not having to go on unemployment.

As new enterprises are created in the communities, they should have, they shouldn't have to leave. They should be the ones being able to fill in for those jobs. So we designed this program by thinking about people and places in a really important way. And I know I got all of you up on the screen here in 21 different communities.


This American Rescue Plan program invests $1 billion, a total of $3 billion, but $1 billion to create jobs and opportunity for people in the places where they live and where they've worked their entire career so they don't have to leave.