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Biden's Former Asst. Agrees To Interview With House Panel On Classified Docs; GA Grand Jury Stokes New Intrigues Over Trump's Legal Exposure; Four U.S. Troops Hurt In Syria During Raid That Killed ISIS Leader. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired February 17, 2023 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KRISTIN FISHER, CNN ANCHOR: President Zelenskyy this morning pleading for more weapons, more ammunition as the war with Russia enters a second year. What more could world leaders do? What more would you like to see from world leaders?
JAMIL JAFFER, FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL SECURITY INSTITUTE: Well, look, to be honest with you, Kristin, we should have provided tanks much earlier in this conflict. They want jet fighters, they want more long-range missiles, we should provide those. We should give Ukraine what it takes to win this war. Now, what it takes to fight to a stalemate? That's the only -- there's only bad for civilians, and ultimately bad for all of us who have to pay for the cost of rebuilding Ukraine. The right thing to do is to back a strong force in Ukraine to win.
FISHER: Jamil, you covered a lot of ground for us very quickly. Thank you so much.
JAFFER: Thanks, Kristin.
FISHER: So, coming up. CNN has just learned that a key Biden aide is going to talk to congressional investigators in their classified documents investigation. We'll have the new developments next.
FISHER: CNN has just learned that President Biden's former executive assistant has agreed to sit for an interview with the House panel that's investigating his handling of classified documents. CNN's Zachary Cohen, live in Washington with the very latest. Zach, what can you tell us?
ZACHARY COHEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Kristin. Kathy Chung was one of the staffers who helped pack up Joe Biden's documents and his belongings at the end of his time as vice president. And this is really potentially a key witness for the Republican-led House Oversight Committee as they continue to investigate Joe Biden's handling of classified documents. Now, our sources telling me and our colleague, Paula Reid, that Chung
feels pretty responsible for this whole thing. So, it'll be interesting to see what kind of testimony she is willing to provide to lawmakers when she sits down with them.
Now, they've requested a really wide range of documents and information from Chung. Her lawyer is saying that you know, it's going to be limited in what she can ultimately hand over. But ultimately, at the end of the day, this really is the first firsthand witness that the Republican-led committee is going to hear from as it investigates Joe Biden's handling of classified documents.
FISHER: Yes, it'll be fascinating to hear what she has to say. Zachary Cohen, thank you so much.
So, the latest developments from a Georgia grand jury have some legal experts convinced that there will be indictments and will Donald Trump be one of them. We're going to discuss that next.
FISHER: A special grand jury in Georgia investigating Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election is recommending the district attorney seek indictments of one or more unnamed witnesses. Katelyn Polantz, live in Washington. So, Katelyn, the Fulton County DA has already said the decisions on whether to bring charges are "imminent." So, could the former president be indicted in this probe?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Kristin, that's the question, isn't it? I mean, it is a possibility that the district attorney has a recommendation from this special grand jury that Donald Trump be indicted. But we just don't know if that's what they said in their report so far.
That's because right now, we've only got a portion of this report, just a couple paragraphs that doesn't name any names doesn't specify what recommended charges this special grand jury has at this time that the district attorney, Fani Willis, will be looking at and considering bringing, except for one.
We do know that the special grand jury now in this report says they recommend perjury charges or they recommend the district attorney consider bringing perjury charges against witnesses they believe may have lied to them. We do know that this grand jury in the months of their work, they heard from about 75 different witnesses, everyone from election workers and public officials to people who were election deniers, who were efforting on behalf of Donald Trump in the state of Georgia.
Trump himself, they did not hear from but they certainly looked into that infamous call that he placed. And the other thing that they found after listening to all of these witnesses doing all of their work and putting out this report, we do know that they found unanimously that there was no widespread fraud in Georgia in 2020, a crucial finding that will set up the other recommendations we'll be looking for, Kristin.
FISHER: Katelyn Polantz, thank you. So, joining me now is CNN anchor Chris Wallace, the host of Who's Talking To Chris Wallace. Chris, it's great to see you. So much to talk about today but let's start with the big question on everyone's minds and that is do you think that former President Donald Trump is going to be indicted?
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Obviously, none of us know. I have talked to a number of prosecutors and defense attorneys, and the consensus is if Donald Trump is indicted, and I repeat if, that it is most likely to happen in the Georgia case. And really for two reasons. First of all, as Katelyn mentioned, you do have that phone call, the actual audio tape of Donald Trump calling the Georgia Secretary of State in 2020 and saying find me 11,780 votes, one more than Joe Biden had.
So, that's fairly strong evidence. And I think the other reason is because for the Fulton County district attorney to indict Donald Trump as explosive as that would be, is not as inflammatory as the Justice Department -- the Biden Justice Department indicting the former president who is now running to replace Joe Biden in 2024. So, for a variety of reasons, if there's an indictment, people are looking to Georgia.
FISHER: Yes. So, let's just say that he is indicted. I mean, how would that affect the political landscape as we get closer to 2024?
WALLACE: You know, it -- normally, one would say that if a political candidate running for president were indicted, it would be, you know, perhaps a death knell, but with Donald Trump and the support of his base, I suspect you'd see an awful lot of not only he but his supporters saying this is just one more case of the left-wing, of the Biden, the people that were Russia, Russia, Russia, trying to bring down Donald Trump.
I'm sure there'd be a huge backlash in support of him. Obviously, a lot of other people would want to look at the facts and see where the case led. And, of course, part of it would be the timing of when a trial could happen, which conceivably could be in 2024 right in the middle of a presidential campaign when Donald Trump is running against Joe Biden.
FISHER: Wow. Just when you think you've seen everything, right? Chris, before you go, this week on Who's Talking To Chris Wallace, you spoke with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about calls for his impeachment. I want to play a bit of that clip and then get your take on the other side. Let's look.
WALLACE: How seriously do you take these calls for your impeachment?
ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Oh, I take them -- I take them seriously. It is -- it is the leadership of the House that provided those remarks. I don't dismiss it by any measure. But what I do is I focus on my work.
WALLACE: What do you think is the basis for their calling for your impeachment? Do you think you've done anything wrong?
MAYORLAS: No, I don't. I think it is a disagreement over policy. And I think it is used for political purposes to continue a negative dialogue about a migration challenge that is not unique to the United States, to continue that dialogue to uplift it for political reasons.
WALLACE: So, Mr. Secretary, have you come to a conclusion if these House committees either request you or subpoena you as part of either the investigation or an impeachment proceeding, have you decided whether or not you will appear before those committees?
MAYORKAS: I intend to appear when Congress calls me to do so.
WALLACE: Either for investigation or for impeachment?
MAYORKAS: I don't have any intention of being uncooperative.
FISHER: So, the Secretary is saying he will cooperate in all of those investigations. What stood out to you, Chris, after that whole interview with him?
WALLACE: Well, this is -- Kristin, this is not just a theoretical conversation. There are three House committees that are currently investigating holding hearings on the border as a possible prelude to impeachment proceedings, so this has really been set in motion. And some of the top Republican leaders have suggested either Mayorkas should resign or he will be impeached. He'd be the first Cabinet Secretary to be impeached since the 1870s.
We talked to Mayorkas also about the question of the security of the border. We talked about the balloons and those other objects that have been shot down. And we also have a fascinating interview with Jane Fonda. We talked about our career, we talked about the protests about Vietnam, the nickname Hanoi Jane, her famously troubled relationship with her father, Henry Fonda, and she asked me a question I promise you that no one has ever asked me on Who's Talking To Chris Wallace, and I'm quite low speechless.
FISHER: What was it? You're not going to tell us?
WALLACE: No, that's called a tease, Kristin.
FISHER: All right. Well, that was a good tease. Chris Wallace, thank you so much.
WALLACE: Thank you.
FISHER: All right, be sure to watch Who's Talking To Chris Wallace, Sunday night, 7:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
Well, several class action lawsuits filed after that toxic train disaster in Ohio. Residents are concerned that their air and water may not be safe. We'll have that next.
FISHER: Some breaking news. The Pentagon just announced that four U.S. troops were wounded in a helicopter raid in northeast Syria that killed a senior leader of ISIS. Natasha Bertrand, live at the Pentagon with the breaking details. Natasha?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Yes, Kristin. So, we are just getting the statement in from Central Command, which says that four U.S. troops were wounded in a helicopter raid in Syria that killed a senior ISIS leader on Thursday night, so last night. And the U.S. troops as well as a working dog were wounded during the raid in an "explosion on target." And the raid did kill a senior ISIS leader named Hamza al-Homsi.
Now, the troops according to CENTCOM, as well as the dog they are currently receiving medical treatment at a U.S. facility in Iraq. And we should note that the U.S. carried out this operation according to CENTCOM, with the Syrian Democratic Forces, however, it's unclear whether they suffered any casualties as well. But the U.S. has been carrying out these kinds of operations for quite a bit of time now against senior ISIS leaders. This is the first time in quite a while, however, that we have seen U.S. troops have been wounded in this kind of operation, Kristin.
FISHER: Yes, four troops hurt but that ISIS leader killed. Natasha Bertrand, thank you.
So, now that the toxic train disaster in Ohio. At least eight class action lawsuits have been filed against the railway company running that train. And residents remain really scared that toxins from the crash could put their lives and their families' lives at Risk. Bill Weir, tracking this. So, Bill, Ohio's governor just gave an update to those very concerned residents. What did he have to say?
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristin, the state, and the feds are really playing catch up on this horror show there. And we got our most robust set of facts to date right now as really, Mike DeWine tried to spend the better part of his press conference calming fears and saying the air and water is safe. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE DEWINE, (R-OH): The testing results from East Palestine's municipal water source have come back. And the results are that that drinking water, testing those five wells that go into the community system, those five wells have all come back clean. The water is safe to drink. You do not need --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WEIR: What's interesting is right after that, a local state senator from Ohio Republican Steve Rulli -- or Michael Rulli rather went on Fox News and blew holes in everything his governor had just said, from the Republican administration. Says he doesn't trust them, that he gets a sore throat every time he goes back there to East Palestine.
And so, that not only are they dealing with the uncertainty of this Norfolk Southern's mismanagement of this but we live in this age, Kristin, of political mistrust were telling people not to believe safety officials, especially after COVID, especially after the MAGA wave is now part of our normal here. And so, Governor DeWine not only has to stay on top of what is polluted but convince people of the areas that are safe to go on with their lives.
FISHER: That's such a great point. Bill Weir, thank you so much.
And thanks to all of you for watching. I'm Kristin Fisher. "INSIDE POLITICS" starts right after the break.