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At This Hour

FBI Searching Biden's Delaware Home; Biden and McCarthy to Meet Today on Debt Ceiling; Tyre Nichols Family Holds Funeral and Demands Justice; Interview with Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York on Police Reform. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired February 01, 2023 - 11:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. AT THIS HOUR we'll begin with breaking news. The FBI is searching President Biden's home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, right now.

This is part of the ongoing investigation into his handling of classified documents. Biden's attorney put out a statement saying the search was planned in advance and that the president is cooperating.

Today's search now makes it the third known location that federal agents have gone through to look for classified material at the properties associated with President Biden. Paula Reid is joining us with much more.

This all started really unfolding just a little while ago.

What are you learning?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Pool cameras spotted the federal agents. And we had very much expected that there would be a search of that property. And it is in cooperation with the president's attorneys.

But to explain why we expected this, let's go back to the beginning of the situation.

They uncovered classified documents at the president's former office back in November. Several weeks after that, the president's own attorneys decided out of an abundance of caution to search his homes in Wilmington and this property in Rehoboth.

They did find classified documents in Wilmington but not Rehoboth. So that became the subject of a full-blown special counsel investigation. And it was expected that the FBI would want to do its own searches.

Roughly two weeks ago the FBI did its own search of the president's Wilmington home and they uncovered additional classified materials. So we're expecting them to show up in Rehoboth eventually. And that is today.

It is unclear how long the search will take. The one in Wilmington lasted 13 hours. But the big question, whether they will find any additional classified materials. As of now total classified documents found is characterized as dozens known to date.

So big question, will they find additional material?

And if so, will they share that information with the public?

There has been a real push and pull in terms of transparency here. They confirmed the search after we caught it on camera. They have provided some details but most of the information in this investigation has come out through the press.

BOLDUAN: That is what I was going to ask you, how quickly it is expected, if there is something found, when the public will learn. Thank you so much.

And joining me now for more, legal analyst Elliot Williams, former federal prosecutor.

Thanks for jumping on.

What do you make of the search and the statement coming out from Biden's attorney?

And let me read just part of it.

The statement, "Under DOJ standard procedures and the interests of operational security and integrity, it sought to do this work without advance public notice and we agreed to cooperate."

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, it is a little confusing because it is the Justice Department in Joe Biden's administration that is putting it out. There are two different entities.

You have the Justice Department that kind of operates independently. And then you have the White House. Look, they have different interests here. And the Justice Department's key interest is maintaining secrecy around its searches.

That is why they did not publicly announce it -- the Justice Department didn't publicly announce the search and so on.

Why they were able to come to some consent agreement to search the home is that the Justice Department assumed that they wouldn't have gotten into a fight with the Biden team. I think the Justice Department operated under the assumption that they weren't expecting the president or his aides to conceal or hide or tamper with evidence.

That is why they came to some agreement as to the search here. But again, it can be a little confusing because, yes, it is an independent entity but it is not the same thing as the White House, even though it is the same president. BOLDUAN: And we know to this point that, when Biden's team went

through the Rehoboth home, they did not find any classified documents there.

If the FBI, through this search, does find more documents at this home, at this point how problematic is that?

WILLIAMS: It is problematic if the FBI uncovers evidence that there was intentional taking or mishandling of documents.


WILLIAMS: Look, Kate, I had top secret clearance for many years and it can be easier than you think or hope for classified documents to get out. Most of the time that it happens, it's inadvertently. Someone takes a document out accidentally. That may have been the case here now.

If the FBI uncovers evidence that someone -- and not just the president but someone around the president, on his team, voluntarily, knowingly took documents away from the White House, away from the scrutiny of the National Records Administration, then, of course, it should be alarming because that can be a federal crime.

But most of the time it is simply, whoopsie, an accident.

BOLDUAN: We also have been reporting that the special counsel, Robert Hur, is now officially on the job. And he obviously is the special counsel who will be overseeing this investigation into Biden's handling of classified documents.

Watching from the outside, is there anything that we're going to see that changes now that he is running things?

WILLIAMS: I really don't think so. And I really don't think it should be the case. Look, in any well functioning organization, not even government -- or the Justice Department, moving in and out, the head, the principal, ought not to change the work they were doing.

They were proceeding beforehand with investigations and searches and going through evidence even prior to Bob Hur coming on. Having somebody as a figurehead at the top can help steer the ship and make sure things are handling and proceeding effectively.

But the direction shouldn't really change. I mean, I think that would be quite bad for government if, every time a new U.S. attorney or a new special counsel came in, things fell apart or changed dramatically. So I'm not anticipating things will be much different.

And at a minimum, you can be certain that the Justice Department will not start talking about the investigations they are doing now, simply because someone else is coming in. Their M.O. is simply to keep their mouth shut.

BOLDUAN: That is right. Great to see you, Elliot. We'll continue to follow this as the FBI is now searching President Biden's home in Rehoboth.

Also this we're tracking, Donald Trump has a new challenger. Nikki Haley is about to enter the race for the White House. A source telling CNN that she is preparing to make the big announcement in a couple weeks. Kylie Atwood has the details on this.

What is Nikki Haley planning here?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Two weeks from today, we're told by sources, that she is planning an event in Charleston, South Carolina, to announce her presidential bid.

Of course, South Carolina is the state where she was born and where she lives now and where she was governor for about six years before she went on to be the ambassador to the United Nations under president Trump.

And this is squarely pitting her against the former president. And it will be interesting to watch because many other candidates who have considered getting into the race were concerned about being pitted in the ring solely with the former president. And she did say previously that she didn't plan to get into the race if Trump was running.


QUESTION: In 2024 will you support him?


QUESTION: Would that preclude any sort of run that you would possibly make yourself?

HALEY: I would not run if president Trump ran and I'd talk to him about it. That is something that we'll have a conversation about at some point if that decision is something that has to be made.


ATWOOD: Of course they have had that conversation. We learned from president Trump just last weekend, he told reporters that Nikki Haley had called him, she said she was considering running for president.

And he told her that she should do it but, of course, the dynamic between the two of them will be something that we'll watch incredibly closely.

BOLDUAN: That is for sure. Good to see you, Kylie, thank you.

And also this afternoon, President Biden, Kevin McCarthy are sitting down together for the first time since McCarthy became House Speaker. The main focus of the face-to-face is the looming debt crisis as Republicans and Democrats stare each other down over raising the debt ceiling. MJ Lee is watching this from the White House for us.

What is expected to happen in this meeting today? MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you take the White House at its word, there will not be a negotiation, because the White House has been pretty clear all along that, when it comes to the issue of raising the debt ceiling, that they are not going to make any concessions, that there will be no strings attached on this issue.

Whereas, of course, for speaker Kevin McCarthy, he definitely wants to negotiate and he has made that very clear. And we know that he has been consulting with his colleagues and facing a lot of pressure from some of them to extract deep spending cuts in exchange for potentially raising the debt ceiling.

So going into this meeting this afternoon, the two sides are pretty far apart.


LEE: And I think that is essentially why the expectations are being set pretty low at this point.

I also just wanted to share a notable moment from last night, when President Biden was speaking at a fundraiser in Manhattan. He was talking about how Kevin McCarthy had become speaker by needing to get and make commitments to various members and to win them over.

And he called those commitments just absolutely off the wall.

And then he turned to Chuck Schumer and he says, "Chuck, I can't imagine you making one of those commitments."

So sort of seeing the president take a bit of a jab there at Kevin McCarthy and basically saying that the new House Speaker is compromised in his role. So that sort of sets the table in an interesting way as the two men head into their face-to-face meeting of the new Congress.

BOLDUAN: Sure does. Good to see you, MJ.

Joining me now for this is David Chalian.

So what is going to come out of this meeting?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN HOST: Not much. I mean, I think it is pretty clear that --



BOLDUAN: David, don't oversell it. Don't oversell it.


CHALIAN: Sorry, Kate. I just mean I think it is pretty clear that we won't have any tangible results. I think what could come out is the beginning of a relationship to form, an important one. And just early positioning and setting the lines of where they are at

the outset of this. But we are months away from this. It will play out over these next weeks and months until we get close.

You know Washington loves nothing better than an actual deadline. And that is when resolution to this matter of the debt ceiling will come into play.

But we should all welcome the president and House Speaker sitting down and discussing something as critical as avoiding default for the United States and upholding the full faith and credit of the country.

BOLDUAN: That's right. And the way it is kind of falling right now, the posturing feels like this, sounds like this.

You are holding the country hostage by demanding spending cuts you won't even specify and, from the other side, you're holding the country hostage because you're saying you won't negotiate when it comes to the country's spending.

One more intellectually honest than the other. But both of these arguments do work with their respective bases.

What is the incentive to do anything anytime soon?

CHALIAN: The incentive is to avoid default and they both want to do that. This is not a purely partisan kind of exchange here. Mitch McConnell himself has sought to assuage markets and countries around the world that this is going to get done and that the debt ceiling will be raised.

Of course getting there will be bumpy. And we've seen bumpiness can have its own real world impact, like when the United States was downgraded a decade or so ago in its credit rating. So there are consequences to a rough and tumble exchange as we go through this.

But ultimately, yes, they may play to their party's bases; they may play for the middle in their messaging. But ultimately they have the same goal, which is to make sure that they raise the debt ceiling.

BOLDUAN: And Mitch McConnell is making it clear that right now he is not taking the lead on those negotiations.

CHALIAN: Just commenting from the cheap seats.

BOLDUAN: Exactly. Let's talk presidential politics. Nikki Haley will soon an to be the first official challenger to Donald Trump. Let me play what Trump said about the prospect of her as of her as challenger.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Nikki Haley called me and I said, go by your heart, if you want to run. She said, I'd never run against my president, he was a great president.


BOLDUAN: Trump saying that he told her she should run.

What do you make of that whole thing?

CHALIAN: First of all, as we know, due to the rules of the nomination, Trump welcomes a crowded field. So I'm sure he wants folks to get in, especially folks that he doesn't consider all that much of a threat.

But he wanted to get the dig in and the reminder to everyone that she had said she wouldn't do this if he was running. Of course, she only said that in the spring of 2021, because she was trying to get back in his good graces after publicly stepping away from him in the immediate aftermath of January 6 and realizing the party was not following her.

She quickly tried to adjust. But all of that is not operative anymore, because we now know that she'll be the first one in here to try to take him on.

BOLDUAN: First in February and we'll see the succession after that and what it is like to be the first challenger to Donald Trump. Great to see you, David.

CHALIAN: 'Bye, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

We'll be watching very closely Memphis today, because later today, Tyre Nichols will be laid to rest. Thousands are expected to gather to honor him, including Vice President Kamala Harris. We'll take you to Memphis next.





BOLDUAN: In Memphis, the funeral for Tyre Nichols is expected to draw thousands, including the Vice President, Kamala Harris. It is a day that the family wants to spend remembering the life of the 29-year-old man, who died after being brutally beaten by Memphis police officers.


BOLDUAN: Ryan Young is outside the church in Memphis where this is all going to be happening.

What are you hearing about today?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, a bit of a delay. If we weren't covering the funeral, we'd probably be talking about the winter storm that has hit the city pretty hard. Crews are working to clear the streets to take all the people expected here for this funeral.

This whole city though has been sort of under a cloud. Everyone we talked to, even down to officers, say the video has been disgusting. And we talked to a man, who came here all the way from L.A.

Najee Ali, you said it was important for you to be here.

What was so important?

NAJEE ALI, LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Well, being from L.A., when I saw the video, I was reminded immediately of Rodney King. I'm a friend of King's family. And so his daughter had sent a card of condolences to Nichols' family but also LAPD chief Michael Moore sent a card, either. So I have a card from them both.

YOUNG: And when you watched this video and you saw the pain obviously this young man went through, how did that strike you as a man, to see this young man hurt so badly?

ALI: It was traumatic, horrifying to see another young Black man beat on videotape. But he was beat to death. It's something I will never forget and so I'm just devastated so I want to show my support.

YOUNG: Do you think the police department has handled this to your liking so far?

ALI: Well, they fired the police and they are being prosecuted. So we are seeing progress with police being held accountable quickly.

YOUNG: Perfect. Thank you so much for your time.

So you see people have traveled from around the country to be here. And with this winter storm, it sort of delayed the process here. But we do believe everything will get started around 1 o'clock Central time, 2 o'clock Eastern. But so many heavy hearts with the focus back on the young man who lost his life in that brutal video.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. So many people learning the name Tyre Nichols from the horrible video, showing his tragic beating that led to his death. And what so many want to try to remember today is the man that lived such a long life but cut too short.

Just before air, I talked about all of this with Democratic congressman Jamaal Bowman, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.


BOLDUAN: So this will be another very tough day no doubt in Memphis and far beyond.

What do you think today means?

REP. JAMAAL BOWMAN (D-NY): It means continued pain and suffering for the entire country and particularly for the African American community. I can't tell you how many friends still won't even watch the video, because the trauma is overbearing, the trauma is too much. You know, the first video I saw like this as a very young kid was the

Rodney King video. And fast forward now all these years later, we're seeing this video of Tyre Nichols; obviously, we had the George Floyd video. And then so many other murders; Philando Castile comes to mind.

It's just a reintroduction or reliving of the trauma as Americans and even more specifically to the African American community. So today is just more pain and suffering and, you know, a reason to continue to demand and fight for justice and change, which is decades long overdue.

BOLDUAN: And I do want to talk about that. What you are describing, though, is felt so specifically, of course, to so many mothers, the mothers in the Black community across the country.

This morning two of those mothers, whose sons were also killed by police, spoke to CNN about the support that they are offering and trying to offer Tyre Nichols' mother.

This is Marion Gray-Hopkins. Her son, Gary, was killed by police 23 years ago in Maryland.


MARION GRAY-HOPKINS, GARY'S MOTHER: Many of the things that I heard on this video I heard 23 years ago. And it has not changed. I think we, the people, need to stand up, I think we need to stand up and fight back. But the system is broken. It is working the way it is designed to. It needs to be revamped because training is not enough.


BOLDUAN: You know very well that policing reforms failed to pass Congress in 2020, despite a lot of efforts, largely over disagreements in the Senate over ending qualified immunity for police officers.

Do you see real momentum forward, renewed effort to take this on now?

Should these mothers have hope?

BOWMAN: I see momentum from the Congressional Black Caucus. I see momentum from Democrats in the House. I don't really see momentum from anywhere else.


BOWMAN: And to that mother's point, there has to be a national and international movement for justice and equality for all people and specifically focused on the area of police brutality, police reform and criminal justice reform overall.

When she mentions the system is behaving and acting in the way in which it was designed, that is absolutely true. From the slave patrols of the 1700s to now, whenever jobs were taken away from Black and Brown communities throughout American history, new jobs didn't come in. Policing came in. And also policing and mass incarceration is big business for the

private sector. What taxpayers don't really understand, your taxpayer money is not just paying for police salaries and pensions, it is paying to defend them in court when they are being charged for a heinous crime that they committed.

It is also paying for the settlements that come, because the majority of lawsuits against police are paid for in settlements that come from taxpayers. Insurance companies have to pay for this. Wall Street bonds have to pay for this. Cities are going into debt to pay for police brutality cases and all of this falls back on the taxpayer.

So it is on all of us to mobilize a movement across the country to change this.

BOLDUAN: And it also requires real leadership. I know the Congressional Black Caucus has called for a meeting with President Biden in the wake of Tyre Nichols' beating death.

Do you see Joe Biden as leading on this issue?

BOWMAN: It is absolutely going to happen and Joe Biden needs to be the leader on this issue.


BOLDUAN: Do you see him as a leader now?

BOWMAN: No. We need him to provide historic leadership in this moment. And when I say historic, I'm talking Roosevelt and Lincoln type historic leadership on this issue and so many issues.

We cannot just paint around the edges because that maintains the status quo. We have to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. We have to introduce and pass the People's Justice Guarantee so community members can reimagine and restructure public safety in our country.

The research shows we need a public health approach to public safety.

You want to make us safer?

Invest in ending poverty, invest in housing, invest in climate, invest in education. That is how we make our country safer. What we're doing is adding more police and feeding the prison industrial complex. And that has to stop.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thank you for coming on.

BOWMAN: Thank you for having me.


BOLDUAN: Much more ahead on Tyre Nichols' funeral.

Next up for us, Tom Brady's big announcement and this time he means it apparently. What the seven time Super Bowl champion says about his decision to retire after a 23 season career.