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Former FTX CEO In Bahaman Court, Likely Facing U.S. Extradition; Soon: January 6 Committee Holds Final Public Meeting; Source: Woman Known To Police Broke Into Robert De Niro's NYC Home. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired December 19, 2022 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Sam Bankman-Fried is giving up his fight, or at least part of it, it appears. The man who founded the now-bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX is in a courtroom in the Bahamas saying that he's no longer going to be fighting extradition to the United States to face charges that include criminal fraud. Kara Scannell is watching all this for us joining me now. So, Kara, what is happening in this courtroom?

Jean Casarez, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, so this extradition hearing is underway and that sources tell us that that's why he's there today he wants to waive extradition so he can come to the U.S. and face these charges. Remember last week, eight counts, including wire fraud and conspiracies.

So, our colleague, Patrick Oppmann is in court, and what he's telling us is that they're in a recess and the judge called a recess because there's some clash between the Bahamian prosecutors and the local council for Bankman-Fried.

That local counsel saying he doesn't understand why he's in court. He hasn't had a chance to talk to his client because since Bankman-Fried was arrested last Monday night, appeared in court on Tuesday, he has been held in a Bahamian prison.

So, it appears there's some miscommunication about what is going on and what Bankman-Fried's desires are, so they're in a recess so he -- the attorney can talk to the client and figure out what's happening, then this will resume. So, now assuming everything goes according to plan from what our sources tell us.


SCANNELL: This will get back on track. And once Bankman-Fried does waive extradition, he will return fairly swiftly to the U.S. I mean, possibly appearing in court today or tomorrow.


SCANNELL: Where he will go before a judge. It's possible he'll be arraigned and then they'll discuss bail.

BOLDUAN: All right. So, first and foremost, what's happening to his behavior in the courtroom? We'll figure that out, and then we'll see how quickly he ends up back in the United States. I'm glad you're tracking it. Thanks, Kara. I really appreciate it. And our Patrick Oppmann is in the courtroom. We'll see what he brings out when he gets out of that courtroom.

But there's also this today that I want to bring to you. A rare visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Belarus. He arrived in Minsk this morning for talks with President Alexander Lukashenko, a man who has become a close ally of Putin.

Belarus, of course, has not only become a big supporter of Putin's Russia, Belarus also obviously shares an important border with Ukraine, and Russian troops utilize that northern border as a launching pad for their February invasion. But today, the war with Ukraine not discussed in any of the public comments coming during Putin's visit to Belarus.

All eyes remain on Capitol Hill at this hour where the January 6 committee is about to hold its final public meeting. What this all could mean for Donald Trump? His former Chief of Staff joins us next.



BOLDUAN: Something of a countdown is underway. The January 6 House committee is meeting in about 90 minutes for its final public gathering, the focus to consider criminal referrals against former President Donald Trump. The culmination really if you will of 18 months of work to investigate the riot on the U.S. Capitol. Following today's meeting, the committee will issue its full report on its investigation of the insurrection and that'll be released on Wednesday.

Joining me now is former Republican congressman and Trump's former acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. It's great to have you here, Congressman. What do you think, the -- we will see what happens in 90 minutes and what -- and what we learn and what they present, but what do you think the lasting impact will be of the January 6 committee and its investigation?

MICK MULVANEY, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes. I think what the -- with the stories to be told is it's the first time that a former president was given a criminal referral by Congress. I don't think that's really the story, though. That's what the history books will write.

I think what the real-world takeaway from the January 6 committee hearings was that number one, it was not a peaceful rally. It wasn't. There's lots of folks out there, including former President Trump saying it was a peaceful rally, and certainly, by all indications, there were some peaceful people there but you can't see the videos that the committee put out and said, oh, yes, that's a peaceful rally. That's simply not -- that's not reality.


Secondly, I don't think any ordinary folks or rational folks could watch what the January 6 committee has put on, especially the sworn testimony of Republicans, and still think that Donald Trump won the 2020 election. I think those are the two practical takeaways was that folks who watched it with an open mind, they don't love Trump, they don't hate Trump, they actually wanted to know what happened, have got to walk away from these hearings thinking it wasn't a peaceful rally and Trump didn't win the election. I think that's the practical takeaway for these committee hearings over the last several months.

BOLDUAN: There's also a handful -- you know, we'll see the criminal referrals that are expected against Donald Trump and where that leads, but there's also a handful of Republican members of Congress who refuse to comply with the committee's subpoenas and a lot of talk about what the committee could be -- could try to do with them and what they should face. What do you think should happen to them?

MULVANEY: I think it should be handled internally. And I think that's the way it will be handled. I saw that previous segment you did with a panel and there were suggestions, maybe the FBI gets involved.

My guess is that the executive branch is going to look at this and say, look, legislative branch, this is your problem. You have to deal with this internally that the courts are not going to sort of get involved in this cross-branch fight. I think that's the right way to handle it.

Do I think that the Democrats will likely ignore subpoenas from the upcoming Republican control of various committees? Yes, I do. And I think that would have taken place in any -- in any Congress. Members of Congress don't want to be -- don't -- they don't -- it's not -- there's that something different in that nature that says, look, we shouldn't be putting our own people under subpoena come and talk. That's not -- that's not the way the body works. So, I don't think there's going to be any much that comes up that after this hearing today.

BOLDUAN: Yes. For better or worse or for right or wrong, that definitely is how the House and the Senate do operate in terms of investigating around. There is also another -- there's a leadership fight I do want to ask you about playing out among your former colleagues in the House.

So, you have Kevin McCarthy, he still doesn't have the votes yet to become a speaker. He also is one of the members that we're talking about here that refused to subpoena. But aside from that, what do you think about this challenge to McCarthy coming from Freedom Caucus members? What's your assessment of it?

MULVANEY: Yes. I don't get it. And I think that language is important. I don't think it's a Freedom Caucus challenge.

BOLDUAN: OK. MULVANEY: Certainly, the five guys who said they can't vote are in the Freedom Caucus. But keep in mind, the Freedom Caucus only operates as a group after I think 80 percent of the people approve it. So, yes, they're members of the Freedom Caucus but it's not a Freedom Caucus challenge.

Jim Jordan, for example, a Freedom Caucus member endorsed McCarthy and will be voting for him. I think it's very interesting. I -- ultimately, I think McCarthy probably wins because I think this is a personal challenge. I don't know why these five guys don't like McCarthy but this is not like when we challenged John Boehner almost a decade ago. Back then, we had objections to the policies and the practices that John Boehner was using and putting in place as the speaker of the House. We thought conservatives were being mistreated.

Conservatives are getting treated great under Kevin McCarthy. Jim Jordan, again, is going to be the chairman of the powerful judiciary committee. That was beyond our wildest dreams when Boehner was speaker. So, I'm not really sure what the objection is since it feels personal, it feels like a vendetta, I just don't think those types of objections have as much strength and as much legs as the ones that are based on principle. They -- ultimately, these -- the rebellion falls apart if McCarthy becomes the speaker.

BOLDUAN: Yes. You know, Congressman Mike Gallagher actually told CNN yesterday that the speaker's fight could actually impact how you all govern -- the party's ability to govern, at least, you know, if it's going to be a -- if it's going to be a messy fight, if it's going to "waste time," in the early days of the new majority, he's concerned that could actually impact the party's ability to govern as a majority. Do you think that this could get in the way in that -- in that manner?

MULVANEY: Yes. I think in a couple of different ways, in a very practical way, the Congress can't do anything without a speaker. It can't even swear in the new members, so it can't vote. So, if it has to vote on a short-term funding bill, if it has to vote on something for the National Defense Authorization Act, it has to vote on anything, it can't vote without a speaker. So, there's that practical impediment of this fight getting in the way.

But then there's also the political impact. You've got -- Republican voters across the country got to look at themselves and say, look, we gave these folks control of the House and they can't even elect a speaker. That's dysfunction at the highest level. So, yes, I think there is the potential here to have a negative political impact on the party if they can't get their ducks in a row in time for the election on January 3.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thanks for coming in.

MULVANEY: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it. All right, so it is a flight that is now under investigation. Extreme turbulence aboard a Hawaiian Airlines Flight, dozens of people were injured, even sent to the hospital. Details on that next.



BOLDUAN: This just in to CNN. The NYPD is investigating a burglary at Robert De Niro's Manhattan home. Now sources telling CNN that the suspect, a woman who's known to police. Jean Casarez, has the details that are just really coming in at this hour. Jean, what happened here?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, here's what we're learning. We're learning, first of all, that Robert De Niro was at home, but he was on an upper floor so he did not come face to face with this alleged burglar. But what a law enforcement sources telling CNN is that at 2:45 this morning that police officers of the -- of the 19th precinct were actually observing this woman as she was trying various doors of commercial businesses. She gets to a residence and she gets in. And so, they followed her in. They saw her bagging up Christmas presents and an iPad and this is the residence of Robert De Niro, and she was obviously arrested by them.


But here's the other part to the story. A law enforcement sources telling CNN that this is one of the top five burglars in the 19th precinct. Now, of course, she is innocent of anything until proven guilty in court but the source does tell us that she was arrested two different times this month alone. December 8, for seven burglaries in New York City. She was also arrested on the 13th of December for a burglary in Queens. Released after all of them. This is a no-bail offense.


CASAREZ: We do not know though what the level is of the burglaries that she was arrested for. However, she was released and she was able to do this again. Obviously, they saw her, knew who she was, and caught her. And many people say that this is a victimless crime. But when items are taken by a commercial business, someone has to pay for that, the customer or the business and office, obviously a residence there is a victim involved here.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean a lot of -- a lot more to see, a lot more to learn but this -- I mean at the very least you can be very thankful for very good police work today.

CASAREZ: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: It's like what -- how they were able to follow that and track her.


BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

CASAREZ: Thank you. BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it, Jean. My goodness.

I want to read for you how one passenger put it. It felt like freefalling. Passengers describing what it felt like when severe turbulence hit a Hawaiian Airlines Flight. Almost 40 people were injured, some even in serious condition. Pete Muntean has been following this for us. He joins me right now. Pete, this happened minutes before the flight was getting set to land. What are you learning about this?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: This all reinforces, Kate, why flight attendants and flight crews tell you keep your seatbelt on even if the air is smooth. Look at the mess in the aftermath here on board Hawaiian Airlines flight 35. This flight from Phoenix to Honolulu encountered severe turbulence, according to the airline, in the last half hour of that six-hour flight.

Imagine the terror that passengers were going through. Ambulances met the plane on the ramp there in Honolulu. In total, about 36 people were hurt, 20 of them, 17 passengers, and three crew members likely up doing their duties were hurt according to Hawaiian Airlines.

I want you to listen now to passenger Kaylee Reyes. She was on board this flight with her mom and she says her mom was not wearing her seatbelt. The extreme forces of that turbulence threw her up to the ceiling of the plane.


KAYLEE REYES, PASSENGER ON HAWAIIAN AIRLINES FLIGHT: The plane shook, and then like it went into a sudden drop. Kind of like how you would go into a drop on a roller coaster. Like my mom wasn't buckled and so I turned to my right and I saw that she was like she hit the ceiling and she hit the floor.


MUNTEAN: Let's put it in context how big these forces were. An Airbus A330, the plane here, 275,000 pounds, Kate. Of course, the FAA is investigating, the airline investigating, the big question here is what caused this turbulence. It's becoming a worse problem as the climate crisis gets worse. There's wind shear that could be an issue. It could have been thunderstorms here, in this case, lots of big up and down drives.

I know a lot of people are afraid of turbulence. The forecasting is getting better with new technology. Although it's still something that can be very hard to see for pilots, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. You're still dealing with the forces of nature. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it, Pete. Thank you.

We do have some sad news to report at this hour. Our CNN colleague Drew Griffin has died, passing away suddenly over the weekend at home surrounded by his family. Drew had been battling cancer, but this really is a true shock for all of us here. He was such a good person. He was a real friend, and a rock-solid reporter, so good at his craft, an extraordinary storyteller, and a talented investigative journalist for over two decades at CNN.

Drew has relentlessly pursued the tough stories, making the connections, working the phones, poring over documents, chasing people down even when they wouldn't agree to sit down with interviews for him because he had the facts. So many doors slammed in his face, all of it to bring the story to life and to tell the truth. His work has been recognized by the most prestigious awards, the Emmys, the Peabody's, the Morrows.

It was Drew and his team who exposed delays in medical care at VA hospitals which led to fundamental changes in how veterans' appointments are handled. Months of work went into uncovering reports of sexual assaults and other crimes by Uber drivers that led to the company changing its policies and adding new safety features. That's just two mentions among so many.

For 19 years, Drew has been a critical part of the team here at CNN. And he's much more than just a journalist, of course, a husband, a father to three, a grandfather to two, and as I mentioned already, a real friend to many of us. Our hearts go out to his wife and his family in these very hard days ahead. We have lost a good one, everyone. And Drew was just 60 years old.



BOLDUAN: Euphoria and Buenos Aires as thousands of fans poured into the streets after Argentina capture the World Cup title over France in a match that is being called the "greatest ever." And if you saw it, you know that there's nothing short of the greatest ever. This is Argentina's third World Cup title, the first since 1986. That when finally adding World Cup champion to Leonel Messi's illustrious resume and all the accolades he is well deserved.

The French team is expected to return home sometime this morning after that heartbreaking penalty goal loss. Mbappe's hat trick that powered the match into extra time and penalty kicks earning him the tournament's Golden Boot Award. Truly amazing to watch. And in Buenos Aires, they probably haven't even stopped celebrating as the World Cup champions will be heading home again later today.

Thank you all so much for joining me at this hour, I'm Kate Baldwin. CNN's special coverage of the January 6 committee's final public meeting ahead of the release of their final report in this year-and-a- half-long investigation into the Capitol insurrection. CNN's special coverage starts right now.