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At This Hour

Fulton Co. Special Grand Jury Completes Trump Election Investigation; Bolsonaro Backers Storm Brazil's Govt. Building; Hundreds Arrested; Biden In Mexico After Visiting Border For First Time As President; Thousands Of Nurses On Strike At Two NYC Hospitals; Source: Hamlin To Be Released From Hospital In Coming Days. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired January 09, 2023 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks for being here at this hour. We are going to begin with breaking news on former President Donald Trump. CNN has learned that the special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia has completed its investigation now into Trump's efforts and all of those around Trump to overturn the 2020 election results in that state.

We do not yet know the results of this special grand jury's findings, but we do know that there is now a hearing on the books. The judge has scheduled it for later this month to decide whether the grand jury's reports should be made public. The final decision on whether to bring any charges against Trump or anyone for that matter, will be made by the Fulton County District Attorney, you see right there, Fani Willis.

Sara Murray has been tracking this. She's been tracking this investigation from the very beginning. She joins us now. Sara, what are you hearing about this? What is this judge saying?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, we knew they were working on this final report, and now the judge is saying their work is completed, that the special grand jury has been resolved. They were seated in May of 2022. They had the power to subpoena witnesses. They had the power to gather evidence.

They have been doing this and they have now completed this final report that again, prosecutors will get to see. But it's an open question whether the public will get to see it. That's something we're going to be talking about later on this month in that hearing.

But look, this is an investigation that started with the now infamous phone call that former President Donald Trump made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, asking Raffensperger to help him find the votes. Take a listen to a portion of that call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more that we have.


MURRAY: Now District Attorney Fani Willis has said after that call she felt she had to open this investigation. It is expanded, though, well beyond the call to include the fake elector scheme, to include making presentations that were riddled with conspiracy theories about the election before state lawmakers, to include efforts by unauthorized people to access voting machines in at least one county.

So there is a lot that this grand jury has been pouring over. You know, everyone's very eager to see what's in their final report and also to see if they recommended any indictments. If so, the District Attorney can then pursue those charges, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Sara, if you would, stick with us. Got a lot to discuss and you've got some great perspective on this long investigation.

Also with joining us right now is Michael Moore. He's a former U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. It's good to see you, Michael. What --


BOLDUAN: What do you think could be in this final -- in this grand jury's final report? Of course, it has not been made public, but could charging recommendations be included?

MOORE: Yes, well, I'm glad to be with you both. I think it's likely that there are charging recommendations in the report. Remember that the report is really an instrument not just to the grand jury, but that the DA and the prosecutors have had their hands all over it.

The grand jury is not sitting in there with notepads, you know, listed out, everything they want to have, and somebody's typing this up at night. This is something that's done in conjunction with the prosecutor's office getting down by the wishes of the grand jury and any specific questions or comments they may have about the evidence that was presented to them.

So, the prosecutor knows what's in the report, no question about it. But at the same time, I also want to kind of put the cautionary instruction out there, and that is that, you know, this is just the beginning of the process. The evidence presented to this grand jury, the witness testimony presented to this special purpose grand jury has not been challenged, has not been tested by cross examination or other defense counsel efforts.

And so, this is the beginning of what we would see in a normal case that is that the prosecutor now has to make a decision about whether or not she's going to seek actually a criminal indictment from a regular grand jury in Fulton County. Again, I don't think that we're going to see a special report with no recommendations in it. The question will be, who have they recommended that she charge and on what charges?

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. And, Michael, also there, as Sara was laying out, there's a court date set for kind of the parties involved to argue over whether the report should be made public. Do you, Michael, think it ultimately will? What do those arguments look like?

MOORE: Well, I think it's a dangerous precedent for the judge to make it public in this case. In Georgia, we have an open record statute, and one of the reasons that we don't see investigative materials and investigative reports in any pending criminal case is because the statute says, the law says that that's a reason not to disclose information until the case is concluded.

So this would really change Preston (ph) and sort of, I guess, be an argument that you would see media organizations, and defense counsel making from now on, saying, look, if it's the normal thing now to release investigative materials before we even get to a grand jury, that we're going to ask for that in every case.


So, there's a strong argument to be made that this ought to remain in the breast of the prosecutor, that she could consider it, and that she could then make her decision about moving for the regular grand jury. It's, you know, it's a double-edged sword for her.

On the one hand, if it's comes out public, it will justify her effort and expense thus far. At the same time, it also puts an inordinate amount of pressure on her to follow the specific recommendations of the special purpose grand jury that she has to be convened in the case.

So my guess is that while she may make some statements about making the report public, secretly, she's probably hoping that it remains private and she can make her decision about what she does decide to present to the regular criminal grand jury.

BOLDUAN: Well, that's very interesting. And Sara, can you remind people also the very long list of the big names who were called and some of them forced after legal battles to try to avoid it, to appear before this special grand jury?

MURRAY: Yes, I mean, we have seen a lot of big names go into this grand jury. Obviously, we don't know everyone who has gone in there, and they've heard from many witnesses. But, you know, we know that Rudy Giuliani was one of the people who showed up before the grand jury.

We know that Boris Epshteyn, who is an attorney to -- another attorney to former President Donald Trump was there. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham fought this tooth and nail. He appeared before the grand jury. Brad Raffensperger was there. Brian Kemp was there. Mark Meadows was ordered to appear after he had been fighting a subpoena for his appearance as well.

So, look, they got information from a number of these people. And one of the things we heard from witnesses is that the grand jury was very involved in sort of asking these witnesses follow up questions. They had very clearly been read in on the materials.

So, you know, as Mike was saying, they work with the District Attorney to pull together this final report. But witnesses have described a very active grand jury throughout this process.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. And Michael, of course, as you mentioned, the big question will be, you know, how and when anyone learns if this year's long investigation leads to an indictment. Just on that question of timing, when do you think we would know?

MOORE: Well, I think the District Attorney has probably been working on the indictments as we speak, since they've known what's in the report. So it's pretty simple to call together a grand jury. She could do this in a regular criminal term and make a fairly concise presentation to a grand jury.

To make a case before a regular criminal grand jury, she didn't have to lay out every witness and every piece of evidence. She could do that in the summary presentation. So she can bring in a couple of witnesses and some recorded statements if she wants to, some documents if she has them, and basically lay out the findings that were made by this special purpose grand jury and any other investigative finding that she's made.

She could really get an indictment within a couple of days, I think. And my guess is, you'll see, her team will take a month or two to develop their case a little further once the decision is made about the reports. And then if indictments are going to come out, I think you'll see them certainly by spring.

BOLDUAN: It was also, Sara, just to wrap it up, it was said by a lot of smart legal minds kind of throughout over the last year, that this really was the investigation that the people around Donald Trump were most nervous about, most concerned about.

And a lot of legal analysts saying that they should be most concerned about in terms of Donald Trump's exposure, if he, you know, any kind of legal exposure that he does have. I'm curious as to how people are feeling now as this wraps up and things are going to move into this next phase.

MURRAY: Well, look, I think that has shifted somewhat because a lot of that concern was before we knew the Justice Department had such a robust investigation going on into efforts to overturn the 2020 election efforts around January 6. We now know a lot more about the scope of that DOJ investigation.

And also that was before the Mar-a-Lago investigation became a problem, that Donald Trump was at the center of, you know, sort of hoarding these sensitive documents at Mar-a-Lago. I do think one thing is very clear, though. Donald Trump has always been at the center of the District Attorney's case in Georgia.

You know, the federal case may reach to Donald Trump, and Merrick Garland may have a decision to make. But I think it was always very clear, at least in Georgia, this was an investigation into the former president.

BOLDUAN: Yes, great reporting as always, Sara, thank you. Michael, thanks for jumping on. I really appreciate it.

Let's see --

MOORE: Great to be with you.

BOLDUAN: -- what comes next. Two weeks from, I think, tomorrow, though, this hearing is scheduled for we'll definitely be covering that. Thanks, guys.

So, scenes eerily similar to January 6. An attempted coup, this time in Brazil. Hundreds arrested after protesters stormed government buildings. The very latest from Brazil, next.



BOLDUAN: Hundreds of people have been arrested in Brazil. Supporters of Brazil's Former President Bolsonaro in custody now after wild scenes that you're seeing on the screen storming government buildings in the country's capital. The images eerily reminiscent of the January 6 insurrection.

The rioters in Brazil attacked the Presidential Palace, Congress and the Supreme Court building. Rafael Romo is joining me now. He's been tracking this for us. Rafael, things have calmed down, but are things settled?

RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's the real question now. And Kate, it's hard to overstate the seriousness of what happened. Imagine for a moment that the January 6 mob here in the United States had not only breached the Capitol, but also the White House and the Supreme Court building. That's exactly what happened Sunday in Brazil.


An insurrection that ended with the arrest of at least 400 people. And that figure may dramatically increase. It left the main public buildings in the country inoperable and deepened a political crisis that has been brewing for months. And the similarities don't end there.

There's also a former president by the name of Jair Bolsonaro who lost the runoff election in October but has yet to concede. This has emboldened his supporters who camped out in Brasilia, the capital, for weeks. On Sunday, they breached security barriers and occupied the country's Congress, Presidential Palace and Supreme Court. Masses of protesters, Kate, flooded the country's seat of power, many dressed in the colors of Brazil's flag yellow and green, fueled by anger and distrust over Bolsonaro's defeat. Bolsonaro was by less than two percentage points to current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Sunday's chaos was but one example, Kate, of multiple instances of this polarization in Brazil. Back to you.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Lula da Silva saying, promising that people are going to be held accountable, but they've got a lot of work to do now. It's good to see you, Rafael. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Also at this hour, President Biden is in Mexico City, where he's attending an important summit with other north American leaders. And just before that, Biden made his first trip as president to the U.S.- Mexico border.

Priscilla Alvarez is following the President's trip, is in Mexico City for us. So, Priscilla, that trip to the border, it's getting quite a range of reactions. What's happening with that and also what's in store today?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, that and migration in particular, which has been a hot button issue, are going to be among the slew of issues that these three leaders are going to discuss at the summit, including what you heard there from Rafael about what transpired in Brazil over the weekend.

In fact, just moments ago, we received a joint statement from President Biden, Mexican President Lopez Obrador, as well as Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, in which they say that they condemn attacks on Brazil's democracy. They stand with Brazil, and they will continue to -- or they look forward to working with President Lula.

Now, this is the type of unrest in Latin America that has contributed to mass movement across the western hemisphere landing at the U.S. doorstep, and it has become a major political liability for President Biden, who, as you mentioned there, went to the U.S.-Mexico border just yesterday for the first time as president.

And he is now in a position where he's trying to find solutions at home while also seeking assistance in Mexico. And that is what we're expecting to hear while he is here for the summit. Now, the U.S. has historically looked to Mexico to try to stem the flow of irregular migration, looking to them to also enforce their own borders.

So we'll hear about that today. Administration officials that I've been talking to leading up to this say that they have been emphasizing the coordination between the two countries and hoping that the discussion between the two presidents will reinvigorate that type of coordination.

But really what these two stops do here in Mexico and yesterday at the border is really show the predicament that Biden is in. It is a very tough issue to solve, that issue of migration, especially at a moment like now when there is unprecedented to seek those -- domestically, particularly in Congress, and trying to call for reform, but also down south and with partners like Mexico. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely. It's good to see, Priscilla, thank you very much for that.

In New York City, more than 7,000 nurses are on strike as of this morning from two major hospitals. This is after failing to reach a deal with their bosses over a new contract. Vanessa Yurkevich is outside one of those hospitals. She's joining us right now. Vanessa, have been watching you all morning out on the streets. As you see, all those nurses have been out there all morning. What's happening with this?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. There have been hundreds of nurses lining Madison Avenue between 99th Street all the way up to 101st Street outside of Mount Sinai Hospital. They are at four locations around the city striking this morning. And Mount Sinai and Montefiore were unable to reach deals with the union over one key issue, and that is staffing.

Nurses tell us that here at this hospital, staffing right now it's about one nurse per 20 patients. It should be about one nurse to four patients. And that is creating difficult working conditions and that ultimately leads to labor shortages. Hard to attract nurses to the profession. It's a vicious cycle.

I want to introduce you to Rachel, she's an oncology nurse --


YURKEVICH: -- here at Mount Sinai. You work throughout the entire pandemic. Why are you here today?

BARRETT: I mean, you've really said it best. We're out here fighting for our patients' safety, for their lives. We have close to 4,000 nurses out here today specifically for that alone. It's not about wages. It's never been about wages. It truly is about the safety of our patients.

And, you know, to be completely honest, we have no medical benefits right now. We're not getting paid. That's how important this is to us. And we really care about our patients and we want the community to know that this fight is for them really.


YURKEVICH: Thank you so much, Rachel.

BARRETT: Thank you.

YURKEVICH: So Mount Sinai says that they offered the Nursing Association the same exact deal that other hospitals and the union agreed to, but that it was rejected. Now, because of this strike, the hospital has made other plans re-routing ambulances and patients to other hospitals, moving NICU babies to other locations, and canceling any elected surgeries. But the nurses out here, they tell me that they would rather be inside, Kate, with their patients, but they feel like that being out here fighting for what they deserve will ultimately make care better for their patients in the future. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Wow, we'll see what happens in the coming hours. Really appreciate it, Vanessa. Thank you so much for being there and bringing that to us.

But also this, a storybook ending to an emotional week in Buffalo.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got an alley down the right sideline to the 40, 50. Down to the 40, 35, 30.


BOLDUAN: The Bills honoring Damar Hamlin and delivering a win that game. And the latest on Damar Hamlin's condition is next.



BOLDUAN: Calling it a storybook ending to a rollercoaster week for the Buffalo Bills really is not overstating it. Days after safety Damar Hamlin's collapse and cardiac arrest on the field, the team was back on the field for their final regular season game against the New England Patriots.

And from the opening kickoff, it was clear the Bills were back.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to be short, fielded at the four by Hines coming straight up the middle to the 20. Cuts it back in the 25. He's got an alley down the right sideline to the 40, 50, down to the 40, 35, 30, 20, 10, 5. Touchdown. Nyheim Hines.


BOLDUAN: The Bills went on to win the game ending a week none of them will ever forget for sure. Now, Damar Hamlin, he watched the game from his hospital room. Adrienne Broaddus is live in Cincinnati for us once again for an update there. And Adrienne, there's new reporting on how Hamlin's doing and the progress that he's making. What are you hearing?

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate, good morning to you. Doctors are calling Damar Hamlin's neurological function excellent. And I tell you, witnessing the journey of Damar Hamlin has been incredible. Those frightening moments happened one week ago today and the days following have been remarkable.

I want to share with you and our viewers what Damar posted on his social media account ahead of the game. Listen to the lyrics.




BROADDUS: It's a video of Damar before the accident, of course. And the caption says, "It's game day. And there's nothing I want more than to be running out that tunnel with my brothers." And he says, "God is using me in a different way today. Tell someone you love them. Hashtag, pray for 3." And 3, of course, is the number Damar wears on the field.

So many people have shown support and Damar is showing an abundance of gratitude tweeting play by play reaction throughout the game. That was something cool to watch as well, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. It's good to see. Adrienne, thank you so much for that update.

Joining me now for more on this, on what we all saw last night in that game, Katherine Fitzgerald, she's a reporter for the Buffalo News and CNN's Coy Wire is a former safety for the Buffalo Bills, of course, both were at last night's game. Coy, what was it like in that stadium?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: What was it like? It was bone chilling, according to star quarterback Josh Allen, and that chilling because the sub-freezing temperatures here in Buffalo. He also called it spiritual. It was this magical culmination of moments that built up of a week that started with tears of fears, that became tears of joy as you started getting these positive updates about Damar Hamlin's health status throughout the week.

This team, this city, just absolutely erupted with joy on the first play that they stepped back out on that field since that tragic injury, and it's a kick-off return for a touchdown that never happens, right. The last time it happened here in Buffalo for the Bills was three years ago.

Three months, three years and three months ago. Damar Hamlin's jersey number is number three. It is just absolutely unreal.

BOLDUAN: Even watching it, I mean, it just looked like he hit, like, turbo jets, you see like -- after he'd gone, like, 20 yards. I mean, it was, like, unbelievable watching him pick up speed as he was heading towards the end zone.

I mean, Katherine, what are you hearing from people in Buffalo about last night and what this moment means for the city?

KATHERINE FITZGERALD, REPORTER, BUFFALO NEWS: Yes, I think it was really needed, obviously, for Damar Hamlin, who was watching for his teammates on that field, but for Western New York as well. This community has been through so much lately, and they cling to the Bills. They're so important for them. And I think this was really meaningful for people who have absorbed a lot lately just to see a moment like this when everyone is rooting for Damar in a remarkable recovery.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Coy, you spoke with Damar's teammate Dion Dawkins just after the game.