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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Now: Trump In Courtroom For Arraignment; Trump Leaves Court, Heads Back To Airport. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired August 03, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Laura Coates, as a former federal prosecutor, I assume you've worked in that building. What is going on? Donald Trump enters the building. He doesn't have to be fingerprinted because his fingerprints are already there theoretically from the last case, if even they were taken then. There's no mug shot.
What is he doing -- what's the experience?
LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Inside -- first of all, it's an unpleasant experience, the fact that he is there, no matter what he is saying on his truth social. Nobody wants to have the weight of the United States versus and their name on other side of it. It's very significant.
Here's the weight of resources are no longer in your favor, I don't care how much money you necessarily have.
What they're doing now is likely expected a not guilty plea where he will formally tell the court he has notice of all the charges against him, and they will set some date in the future in terms of when he will have to either have discovery provided to him, there likely is not going to be a motion schedule for the things that you would argue about what would come into evidence, that's going to be longer down the road.
But the notion of a rap sheet is so significant with these different indictments, particularly because of this reason -- normally if somebody has charges against them, trials in the same vicinity, you're talking about maybe if they are convicted they're going to run concurrent sentences, meaning this one will run on top of the other and the other. It's not going to be you'll serve five years for this one, then ten years for another, five for the next. It will run together.
But these cases so far are of different natures. So, they're not going to have the same factual basis to provide. So, the court may likely say, if there are convictions, that they would run consecutive. You're talking about a significant amount of time.
And, again, this is the magistrate judge. This is not the judge who will ultimately hear the case. You've heard about that particular judge. But it's significant nonetheless because he is -- right now, being treated, as he should be, as every other defendant in America who has to come before a court, not appear through Zoom, although he could have here, and actually show up.
Now, I will just applaud for a moment -- you know, we joked around about how Jack Smith was at subway getting the subway sandwich shop. He was not hiding. He's in the courtroom today. He's in the courtroom before the person who's called him deranged, before the people that question whether he has a political axe to grind or otherwise.
He is showing up to present and recall what he said when the indictment was unsealed. It is up to the jury to have the evidence tested, and the presumption of innocence is there. Right now, you have the presumption of the credibility of a prosecutor standing behind the decision that he has made.
BURNETT: Yeah. And if you're just joining us, you're watching THE LEAD. We are bringing THE LEAD, and we are bringing you the special coverage of Donald Trump being arrested and arraigned for a third time. This time in a Washington, D.C. courthouse.
And, Carrie Cordero, arguably, this is the most important of all of the cases including the pending possible indictment in Georgia. Certainly a more consequential and taken more seriously than the New York case from Alvin Bragg, the district attorney there, but possibly more significant even than the classified documents case, as well.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It is. I think from a historical perspective, this case is the most important case. It's about the functioning of democracy. It's about the allegations that the former president and his co-conspirators tried to overturn the outcome of an election. It really doesn't get more important than that.
The classified documents case are allegations of serious crimes, with mishandling classified information and obstruction of that investigation. Those are serious federal crimes. But there are other individuals in the country over years who have been charged with those crimes. No former president has been charged with this.
So, I think the historical significance is really important. I also want to follow up from something that Kaitlan and my former national security division colleague David Aaron were speaking about which is the fact in this case right now, the former president is the only defendant.
And while I understand that there may be strategic reasons why the special counsel did that in terms of the case potentially being able to move more quickly, I do think from an optics standpoint and from how the public will understand this case, it is important that they understand it was a conspiracy of more than one person, a conspiracy under the law requires more than one person.
And the fact that we don't yet know who the other named co- conspirators are, from the Justice Department, the reporting can speculate about who they are. But from the Justice Department, they are not named as co-conspirators. I think that matters in terms of how the country understands that this wasn't just about the former president, this was a plot. This was a plot by numerous individuals who were lawyers, who were advisers, who worked together with the former president, the Justice Department alleges, to overturn the outcome of the rightful election.
TAPPER: And, George Conway, the other big difference between this and the fudging of business records to hire up the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels in New York and the classified documents case is there are 330 million Americans who witnessed a lot of this take place on television. Now, obviously, we didn't know the extent of the conspiracy, especially when it came to the fake electors plot. But we did see a lot of it.
How strong do you think the case is?
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: I think the case is extremely strong. I think it's extremely strong because we have so many people -- there is going to be this parade of people, some of whom are conspirators, some of whom are not, who are telling Trump that, you know, he had to -- he lost the election. And there's -- it's going to be -- it's extensive evidence from people who worked for Donald Trump, again.
And that I think is going to make a big difference at the end of the day because the only public relations gambit that they really have is that somehow Trump is being framed for this. But it's his own people preventing -- providing the evidence against him.
Let me go to Paula Reid because I'm curious as to what's going on inside that courtroom right now.
Paula, you're standing outside. What are your sources telling you? What is Donald Trump doing, what is he going through? What can you tell us?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake Tapper, my best sources now are our colleagues who are inside the courtroom, inside the media room. They tell us that the former president and Jack Smith are seated just about 15 feet away from each other. Now apparently the two men have exchanged several looks as they await this hearing to get under way.
We're told it's very quiet in the courtroom right now. The former president is seated with his lawyers. He's been signing some paperwork, talking to them for a little while.
Most of the courtroom could hear what they were discussing because they were on a microphone that was on. When they realized that, they pushed that away. Of course, they don't the assembled media to hear the legal advice that they are giving their client. The prosecutors are seated at a different table, several prosecutors from the special counsel's team.
Again, Jack Smith is not expected to participate in this hearing, but his presence is notable. Again, this is one of the only times that he will come face to face with the former president before this case goes to trial. He also attended the initial appearance down in Florida. Right now our colleagues in the courtroom, they're telling us that they're still waiting for this to get under way.
TAPPER: Okay. Paula Reid, thank you so much.
Andy McCabe, as former deputy director of the FBI, tell us your view of what you think is going on in there now, and are there law enforcement officials beyond the prosecutors from the special counsel's office?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Typically there are. This is obviously not a typical situation. But typically the defendant surrenders at the courthouse, is taken into custody by law enforcement, be they FBI agents if it's an FBI case or U.S. Marshals, and they go through a period that we refer to as processing.
That's where the photographs are taken, fingerprints are taken. And biographical information is taken from the defendant, their name, how they spell it, date of birth, sorts of basic facts. And while it seems mundane, that is actually the information that's put into a system we refer to as NCIC, the National Criminal Index Information Centers.
And that's what forms your rap sheet or your -- your arrest history essentially. So, it's -- you have to have that information, accompanying with the photograph and the fingerprints in order to make that entry. And that's -- that essentially establishes the first official record of the arrest which follows you for the rest of your life.
Eventually there will be a new entry that resolves -- that indicates how those charges were resolved. But if you walk into a gun shop to purchase a firearm and go through the background, the federal background check, it will come up that you were arrested on this date in this courthouse for the following charges and how those were resolved, which could ultimately deny you the privilege of purchasing a firearm.
So it's a mundane process but one that follows you the rest of your life. Whether or not that's happening for the president, we'll have to find out.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I just want to take a step back. We would not be here today if it wasn't for the January 6th committee, for Liz Cheney, the Republican, then-Republican congresswoman, making a break with her party, with Nancy Pelosi. The two of them working together.
DOJ was not anxious to bring this case. We know that from our reporting. But I think we have to look back at those hearings. They interviewed more than 1,000 witnesses.
There were bombshells like Cassidy Hutchinson who spoke out.
[16:10:05] What I'm obviously waiting for here is the trial. I mean, last night, we heard attorney general for Donald Trump, Bill Barr, say he believed looking at the indictment that the evidence laid out there was the tip of the iceberg. What don't we know? Is Mark Meadows cooperating? He was noticeably absent from the indictment. Will Mike Pence be called to the stand?
And just to go back to your point, Carrie, about it being a streamlined indictment, my understanding from justice sources is they are going to try to move this as quickly as possible and go to trial before the election. Whether or not that happens, whole other thing, but that is the goal.
DEAN BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a reason why in the criminal justice system presidents are not in the cross hairs per se. That is because it is dealt with constitutionally through congress, through the impeachment process. We have to remember he was impeached for this very thing. He didn't get convicted by the Senate, but the house did impeach him.
I think that's probably why going back to right after this happened there was some trepidation inside the DOJ about making this a criminal matter, but now it is. Now what we're seeing is many people are numb to the fact that he's getting indicted three times in four months. But this is the only one that has to do with an alleged crime that he committed while in office about his office, and about not just his office but the fundamentals of the democracy that allows presidency to even exist.
TAPPER: George Conway, let me ask you, of the charges -- there are four charges against Donald Trump in this indictment -- what do you think is the strongest one? What do you think is the weakest one?
CONWAY: I think they're all pretty much strong. I think it's pretty clear that he did commit a fraud on the United States, that's the first charge, Section 371. He used lies and trickery and used the false electoral certificates to try to corrupt the process and to try to stop the process.
That also -- you know, basically it's a glove that fits in different ways, you put it on in different ways. You've got the other charges of obstructing a congressional proceeding, conspiring to obstruct a congressional proceeding, and the last one, 241, the charge that was interference with the voting rights of all Americans. All of those fit in different ways, but they fit nicely.
And the Section 371 charge, I think -- it's important to know it doesn't really matter whether Donald Trump thinks that in some broad sense the election was stolen from him. The fact -- what matters is the fact that he used lies to fix what he perceived to be a problem, if he perceived to be a problem.
I agree with Bolton, I agree with Barr that Trump clearly understood that he lost the election, he was told that by multiple people. The fact of the matter is if -- just because you think you were wrong, it's the two wrongs don't make a right thing that Bolton referred to, doesn't mean that you can use lies to overcome the problem.
And the analogy I like to use is the O.J. case. Not the murder case, but the case in which he was sent to jail for in Nevada where he thought these items, these memorabilia items that he was trying to get back, belonged to him rightfully. But he used a gun. He used a gun and held people at gunpoint to take the items back.
Here, Trump -- maybe he thought -- thought so, I don't think he did, but he won the election in some abstract sense, but he used lies and used pressure on the vice president, on Secretary Raffensperger, to compel them to violate the law. And that, you know, that fits all of these counts perfectly.
COATES: First of all, the second that George Conway mentioned glove, I knew an OJ reference was coming. Knew it was coming. We followed the actual vehicle. We knew it was coming.
But to me, the civil rights lawyer within me is saying the fact that --
CONWAY: He had a motorcade, too, you know?
COATES: He had a motorcade, too, and a white car -- fact that the special counsel has prosecuted charges involving deprivation of rights at a time when the Supreme Court although most recently in this term has tried to buttress the power of the Voting Rights Act and gerrymandering and anti-gerrymandering, we're at a time when voting rights have been on the chopping block for quite some time in this country.
And when we talk about the notion of this being a clear and present danger and ongoing threat as former Congresswoman Liz Cheney spoke about beyond, this was clearly their signal to say this could be an ongoing threat. And part of the goal of prosecution is not only just to punish, it's also to deter conduct. So trying to ensure this will not happen again.
It's very significant.
CONWAY: Right, general deterrent and specific deterrents. Specific deterrents of this one individual who, as Bolton pointed out, Secretary Bolton pointed out to Jake, he -- he would try to finish the job if he gets back into office.
TAPPER: Let's throw it back to Anderson in New York.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Jake, thanks so much.
I want to check in with Paula and Katelyn who are outside the courthouse.
Paula, just explain where we're at right now in this proceeding. REID: Well, Anderson, our colleagues who are inside the courthouse
giving us minute-by-minute updates. I have attended dozens and dozens of hearings inside this court. And it's amazing that what they're describing is similar to any other defendant. Just waiting for a judge -- we know judges are typically late.
But picture the scene, you have an empty bench where the judge would sit, and then you have two tables -- one for the prosecution team, and one for the defense.
And our colleague, Holmes Lybrand, describes how Trump is sitting there with his hands folded. He's looking down. He is discussing things with his lawyers.
He has a lot of questions, it appears, about the papers on his table. He's discussing it with his lawyers. But his lawyers are taking great pains so all the reporters in the room can't hear what they're discussing. One of his lawyers is putting his hand over his mouth as he discusses something with the former president.
We're told it's so quiet in the room right now that you can hear someone in there somewhere clicking a pen. Now the only big difference inside this courtroom right now is the significant security presence. They say there are seven, seven marshals guarding the door to the courtroom, while usually have a security presence in a federal courtroom. That is really one of the only details that sticks out right now that reminds us how extraordinary it is that a former president is once again sitting inside a federal courtroom.
All right. It looks like right now they have said "all rise, the judge is in". It appears the judge is on the bench, and the hearing is under way.
So, right now, the hearing appears to be under way. The special counsel prosecutors have begun to speak to the judge, and we'll continue to have updates from our colleagues inside the courthouse.
COOPER: -- attorneys for the former president who are in the room?
REID: One more time?
COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, can you talk about the attorneys for the former president who are in the room?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is really interesting actually. We've been talking about the two who were representing them in the case, Todd Blanche and John Lauro, that are here.
But we're also looking from our reporters in the room that Evan Corcoran is also there. And that's notable because obviously Evan Corcoran, he's a former assistant U.S. attorney, has worked inside here, but he also reported Steve Bannon. Most notably is a witness against Trump in the documents case.
He is the attorney, of course, that Trump, according to the indictment, tried to mislead when it came to whether or not where the documents were placed, he had notes that he took on his phone about interactions he had with Trump about plucking documents out that Trump thought were bad ones. And he had to go and attorney/client privilege was pierced and speak to jack smith's investigators in that case.
That's separate obviously than the reason why Trump is in the courtroom today. It's notable that he is in there today. He has not yet entered his name on this case from what we have seen in the court filings, but he is in the back of the room. That means he's not at the counsel's table with Trump and John Lauro and Todd Blanche. But it is notable that he is in the room.
And just also the fact that Donald Trump and Jack Smith are sitting 15 feet apart from each other right now, occasionally glancing at one another, but the fact that that is happening and that this is a very normal process, as Paula described, even though it's very not normal given Trump has attacked Jack Smith as deranged. He has called him a crack head. He has implied he had something to do with the cocaine found at the White House which obviously we know, Anderson, is not true.
But now, those two men are seated 15 feet apart from one another inside this courtroom right now, just really speaks to the moment that we're in. Obviously, Trump and his allies have been attacking Jack Smith, talking about defunding him, taking away his paycheck essentially.
COLLINS: As even people like Bill Barr were defending him to me last night, saying he's not a partisan actor.
COOPER: Yeah. And, Kaitlan, we're being told that the former president has now been sworn in, in the court.
I want to bring in -- Paula, what are you hearing?
REID: That's right. Following along from our colleagues inside the courthouse, they say that the former president was just sworn in. He put up his right hand and he vowed to swear -- we don't know if we're going to hear him say anything today in terms of whether he has to be truthful. It's likely he may ask his lawyers to enter the plea. But he's being treated like any other defendant.
And the judge also advised everyone before this started that there is no recording. This is a significant issue. There are no cameras in federal courthouses, which is why we are relying now on our extraordinary reporters inside to give us this moment-by-moment updates.
Even this is pretty extraordinary. You don't even get the opportunity to report on hearings live in every federal courthouse.
So, right now, they're asking the former president to state his full name on the record. The judge has said he doesn't have to stand to answer these questions. Now, they're going back and forth about whether he needs to stand up to answer these questions.
Look, Anderson, this is the kind of confusion that you could have in any hearing. This is not specific to the former president. But apparently, he said, quote, yes, your honor, Donald J. Trump, John.
She asked how old he is, he says 77. She also is asking now have you taken any medication or substance within the past 24 hours, he said, quote, no, I have not. He is now being advised of the counts that have been filed against him and the potential penalties.
So he -- right now, that's all we have right now. It's going through the usual steps that any defendant would go through in a federal court. Nothing extraordinary so far except the fact that this is, of course, the former leader of the free world.
But notable we are hearing from him a little bit here. It was unclear if we were going to hear his voice at all today because his lawyers can answer some of these questions. But he has answered his basic biographical information, and that's the last update we have from our colleagues.
But getting these real-time updates, having the opportunity to report from inside the courthouse, that is significant, and that is at least one step towards transparency.
COLLINS: Yeah, just the mundane part of that, the fact that they're asking him basic things like his name, age, whatnot, obviously this is anything but a mundane situation. I did see one comment that was made that the judge addressed him as Mr. Trump. Obviously this is someone who is still addressed by those around him as Mr. President, as the president of the United States.
This speaks to the moment that he's in. And the judge also is the magistrate judge, not the actual judge who is going to be overseeing that case. That is something that is of high interest obviously to Trump and his team because of just how she is -- her kind of situation here, the way she has handled other January 6th rioters.
And the courtroom -- the courthouse behind us I think is also notable in and of itself. We know that Donald Trump is on the second floor now. That is where he is being read his rights. He has been sworn in.
This arraignment is now under way on his second set of federal charges. And this is a courthouse, though, where thousands of people who were prosecuted and charged in the January 6th riot came in through these very hallways. And just the location of it is obviously Trump is complaining about the venue and why he thinks he can't get a fair trial. I mean, he obviously has seen how many of those convictions have happened and how important it was to the Justice Department.
REID: Absolutely. Many people have been sentenced to jail time. And Judge Chutkan, who isn't overseeing today, but will oversee the case, she has statistically handed some of the more serious punishments to people. At least nine times she's gone beyond what prosecutors were recommending.
Now, right now, the magistrate judge, not only is she reading the charges that have been filed against the former president, she's also informing him of the maximum sentence. A reminder that conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, a maximum of 20 years. Obstruction of an official proceeding, 20 years. Conspiracy against rights, ten years.
Now these are, of course, maximums. It's a very complicated formula, as you know, in terms of the ultimate sentence. But it is a reminder of the severity of the charges that he is facing.
Now she is informing him that he has, quote, certain rights in connection to this proceeding including the right to remain silent. She said, quote, if you have already made a statement to law enforcement about the offense which you have been charged, you don't have to say anything else.
She's basically informing him of his right to remain silent. He says that he understands that. He also confirms that as Kaitlan was just talking about, of course, he has a lawyer, he has a legal team there. But these are all the standard questions that you would go through.
What is not standard, though, is of course not only who this is, but also what he's accused of.
COLLINS: Dave, what do you make of what you're watching as this is playing out? They're reading Trump his rights. His legal team is there -- there are basic things that happen, the conditions of release.
They talk about -- I don't know -- he's been attacking the prosecutor in this case saying it was an unfair judge. Is there --
TAPPER: Obviously, we're having problems, technical problems with our video feed outside the courthouse there. But it is remarkable to hear from our correspondents and sources inside the courtroom of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, being advised of his rights, hearing the specific charges that the indictment lays out, and also being told of the maximum penalties for each of those charges.
COOPER: Jake, thanks so much.
Back with the team here in New York.
I mean, Karen, it does seem like any other arraignment, and yet, of course, it is not. The fact that Evan Corcoran is there, he's an integral part, testifying against -- I guess would testify against the former president in the documents case, no?
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah. It's -- Evan Corcoran was one of Trump's lawyers who I think was so concerned with what Trump was asking him that he took really detailed notes of what Trump's facial expressions were --
COOPER: Telling him to pluck out a document that might be wrong --
AGNIFILO: Exactly, exactly. And showing the gestures he was making regarding the documents. I mean, detailed, detailed notes that it's not common for a lawyer to do unless you it think one day --
COOPER: Does it surprise you that somebody -- an attorney who did that would be now still representing the former president in this other cases?
AGNIFILO: I don't know if he's there as a lawyer representing him and that he's put in a notice of appearance or if he's just there watching the trial like anybody else. It's unclear. But yes, that would surprise me because if recall, not only is he a witness in the Mar-a- Lago case, a court has found that they were co-conspirators as opposed to attorney-client, which is why all that information was able to be given to Jack Smith's team because they pierced the attorney-client privilege under what's known as the crime fraud exception.
So, a judge had already found that it was more likely than not that there was a crime that occurred between the two of them and, therefore, the privilege -- at least that Trump was trying to use him to commit a crime as opposed to use him as a privilege. So it makes no sense to me why he's there, but he apparently is there.
COOPER: Try to get clarification of exactly what his role, if any, is there in the courtroom.
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I was going to say, the weird thing about kind of Trump's orbit, though, is he has these people that are in, and then they get kicked out. Some big, bright fashion. Then they're kind of back in again.
COOPER: Though one's ever out forever.
KINZINGER: Right. So if he's there for Donald Trump, it wouldn't surprise me. It would be like one of these -- we have a toxic thing, but now you're here. I just -- it's the weirdest interaction of a group of people I've ever seen.
COOPER: The former president has pleaded not guilty to the charges that he is facing. No surprise there, but that's the latest.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Anderson, the word people keep using I think appropriately is mundane. There's a mundanity to this process. Not used in the pejorative sense, and there is because what we're doing in this process, first of all, we're starting the criminal justice process.
But second of all, we are formally recognizing and in a sense honoring the constitutional rights that any defendant has. And look, it's 2023. We could probably do this by clicking a couple of boxes on the internet.
But, no, the person needs to make an appearance in front of a judge. Before COVID, you had to do it in person, now there's optionality here. That's because these are sacred rights.
And let's be clear about what's at stake for Donald Trump. This is not going to be a finding. This is not going to be a monetary penalty. This is not going to be a report.
If he is convicted he will lose his liberty. He will go behind bars. So, this is a very serious process.
The other thing I want to point out is there's a humbling effect naturally to sitting at that defendant's table. And for all the bombast that we see in every other arena, now he's got his hands folded, his head down. There's something about the court system that humbles everyone, brings everyone down to an equal plain.
COOPER: I want to quickly check in with Paula Reid outside the courthouse, getting details from our folks inside the courtroom.
Paula, what are you hearing?
REID: An extraordinary moment, Anderson. The former president was asked to stand and enter his own plea to the charges that have been filed against him. I'm told he didn't even use the microphone. He just looked straight at the judge and projected his voice and entered a plea of not guilty.
Now again, the hearing down in Florida, when he went through this in a federal courtroom there, he had his lawyer enter that plea. So, to hear him say that in his own voice is significant.
Now the judge is reading the conditions of his release. You may remember that down in Florida, in is actually what delayed the hearing. Here she's saying you must not violate state or federal law, and also that he cannot communicate with anyone known to be a witness about the case unless through a lawyer.
Now that could get tricky because as we know he's listed six co- conspirators, many who are still close associates. So, much like the Mar-a-Lago documents case, the fact that so many people in this inner circle are caught up in this, that will likely be a difficult issue to navigate.
Just looking quickly to see if there are any other significance -- significant things from the judge. She's reminding him that it is a crime to influence a juror or threaten a witness or retaliate against anyone else who provided information or otherwise obstruct justice. Of course, he has been charged not only with obstruction of justice but obstructing his own alleged obstruction.
So she's going through all of these standard things that you would go through with any defendant, but again, taking on a different significance with a former leader of the free world. We are told, again by our colleague Henera Benowitz (ph) who's inside, he's agreed to all of these conditions. He has now sat down, and they are bringing the actual paperwork to his attorney.
COOPER: All right. Paula, we'll check in with you shortly.
Listen, did you have any doubt that the former president would show up in person to this?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, there's this kind of speculation within Trump's orbit, those still with him, that multiple indictments is better than one. And they want to try to use this as they can in the pr space to try to boost his re-election.
And I think because of that, he wanted to show up. He wants to be indignant. And, you know, on the sidelines of this, he's got amplifiers out giving press conferences, you know, talking about things like Hunter Biden that have nothing to do with this. And he's got folks on Capitol Hill defending him.
But I do think it's important to echo something that Van said, to the degree I know the former president, this is a sobering moment. There is this moment that is set, and this is happening again, it is out of his hands. Things are out of his control in this moment and as this legal process carries out.
And I think that we also have to remember this is a man with a lack of self-control. And those words that he was issued by the judge, you know, about what he's able to do, what he can do with witnesses, the jury, and so forth, that I think is when his attorneys start getting nervous because he tends to use his megaphone, say whatever he thinks. We know he's gone after and in some ways I would say intimidated Jack Smith.
So, I think it's also going to be notable to watch how he reacts after he leaves the courtroom if he gets on his Truth Social and says what we expect him to.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, in some ways, this will be a normal person's nightmare and maybe a narcissist's dream, you know, to be martyred, you know, for his cause, for his people, to have to face the establishment. I'm doing this for you, and he goes back and does a rally or something.
But, you know, at some point I would imagine this is not the way that he thought it was going to work out. I think that when you run for office, you know, city council, class president, you have some idea it's going to be a good thing for you. And this is turning out to be something quite different.
You know, I think the other thing is that if you listen to the other network that we never mention, it's the exact same storyline. It's just flipped. Everybody agrees that it's wrong for a president to abuse power to stay in office. I think myself, I look at this, yes, it's wrong. Trump abused power to try to stay in office.
But there's a reverse mirror world narrative that says, no, it's Biden abusing his power by siccing the DOJ on Trump, so that Biden can stay in office. Trump has been quite masterful at getting half the country now to go along with this delusion that he has that somehow he's the victim here when he's not.
COOPER: Let's check in with Kaitlan Collins outside the courthouse -- Kaitlan.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Anderson, obviously we're learning more about this. We are told obviously that the judge is doing as we expected here, not seeking any kind of pretrial detention. But, Paula, as we are learning about what's happening, the judge said she's been -- she talked to Judge Chutkan who is gong to be overseeing the case about what the next steps are here, and what a date could look like.
REID: That's exactly right. This was something we expected could happen, that the judge would back channel and say, hey, this is when I would like you to set the next hearing because you have all the parties there.
So, the judge here says the -- magistrate judge says with respect to moving forward, she's consulted with Judge Chutkan and they have three days that they've suggested, August 21st, August 22nd, and August 28th, giving specific times.
This is so procedural, right? But these little decisions, when they have over time, this adds up. Days turn into weeks. And this could be the difference between whether this gets tried before the election or not. So, right now, the lawyers are talking. Also they want to have their first hearing.
COLLINS: Also, these three dates, August 23rd is the first debate in Milwaukee. The first Republican primary debate. Trump has said he's not going to that.
The idea that he could be in court again for this case right before all of his opponents are on stage is just notable in and of itself.
REID: It is notable. You make a great point because if you look at the calendar for all the things that a potential Republican presidential candidate has to attend, has to do, the deadlines, the events, there's so much overlap with all the other legal issues that he is facing, right?
He has a trial, a civil trial scheduled in January. Another one scheduled in next March. It's almost impossible to find a big chunk of the calendar where you can try to put a trial or anything that doesn't in any way overlap with some of his activities as the presumptive Republican nominee.
So we'll see which date they settle on. But this will be the first hearing before the judge overseeing the trial. It's unlikely that the former president will have to attend. He'll probably have the option, but it will be very procedural. All about scheduling, just like we saw in Florida. And while it's so mundane, right, setting the calendar, here, it's so incredibly significant when so much of the defense strategy is delay, delay, delay.
COLLINS: Yeah. We'll see if the judge goes along about that.
I want to bring in CNN's Evan Perez who was just inside the courtroom.
Evan, I mean, we're now learning that the judge has said and agreed with Trump's attorneys on August 28th, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. That is five days after the first Republican debate is going to happen in Milwaukee. We don't expect Trump to attend that.
But, Evan, can you tell us what it was like inside the room?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yeah. The former president, maybe it's the fact that this is his third time going through an arraignment, but his body language was absolutely a lot different. I mean, he sat with his hands clasped. He appeared displeased about something.
There was something that the pretrial services official who was in the courtroom handed papers to his attorneys, to the Justice Department attorneys there, Tom Windom and John Lauro, on Mr. Trump's side. And then they began discussing whatever it is in perhaps the bail package, that's typically the paperwork that he is handed. And then he is signing it.
There was something in that paperwork that appears -- appeared to displease the former president because he had a couple of -- seemed to be heated conversation with Todd Blanch, who is seated to his right. The former president mostly looked straight ahead. He looked around the room.
There were a few times where he and Tom Windom -- sorry, he and Jack Smith looked at each other. It was absolutely more Jack Smith looking in his direction, but the former president because of the vantage point absolutely saw Jack Smith. There was also -- a lot different from the one in Miami, from the hearing in Miami, where they didn't see each other during the entire hearing.
One of the things that I think was interesting was the former president -- you heard him just a few times he said, yes, yes, I do when the judged him if he understood the charges, if he understood his right to remain silent. And, of course, when he said, he pleaded not guilty, he didn't speak directly into the microphone. He spoke directly ahead.
You know, the demeanor of the former president reminded me a lot of during the presidential debates with Hillary Clinton where candidate Clinton said something to get under his skin. That's the look he had on his face quite a few times as he sat there with his attorneys, having some discussions as he waited about 20 minutes for the judge to take her seat in the courtroom. So, now, we expect obviously, as you have just been talking, that this
is a case that's going to start moving a lot more quickly. Absolutely more quickly than the one you saw in Miami. Again, a sharp difference. There was a lot of sharp differences between the two proceedings, having been in the one in Miami.
You could see how this one is going -- is going to shape up a lot differently -- guys.
COLLINS: And that's so notable, Evan. Just fascinating to hear that perspective, what it's like to be inside the courtroom where Trump and Jack Smith are in the same room. Paula, they set this date of August 28th, but the judge weighed in on whether or not Trump needs to be there and next steps for the prosecutors here.
REID: That's right. She's saying that the former president may be able to waive his appearance and not have to come back for this next hearing at the end of the month. But it looks like there may be a rocket docket here because they have told the government that in the next seven days they need to file a brief and outline how much preparation they need to do for a possible trial.
The same question that came up in Florida, but this is moving along a lot faster. She wants defense attorneys to weigh in, too. And there's a lot that goes into the answer to that question. How much time will it take you to go through discovery, to share it with the defense, but we know the special counsel, Jack Smith, has said he wants a, quote, speedy trial.
Now the defense attorneys, they are going to want to delay this as long as possible. This is a pretty tight turnaround in terms of wanting to get this answered. In Florida it took about a month before they were able to settle on this answer. So this appears to be moving along quickly.
This is what we expected from Judge Chutkan. We expected she was going try to move this along pretty quickly.
COLLINS: What are the options for that given -- John Lauro was saying nine to 12 months to try the case. Is that -- can they push back on that at all, or is Judge Chutkan really the ultimate decider?
REID: Judge Chutkan is going to set the trial date. She's going to sets the schedule if they believe something infringes on the former president's rights they can try to litigate. That we're in this extraordinary situation where he's running for the presidency, but they can't do that for everything. And they may not prevail.
But, again, judges' scheduling decisions, little scheduling decisions like when is your next hearing and the big ones like where does she find time that extremely crowded political calendar to put a possible trial.
I mean, these are going to have an enormous impact. That's one of the primary ways that the judge will influence this trial, because ultimately, the evidence will be heard by a jury.
But we can tell the conversation that Judge Chutkan has had with this magistrate judge, she is keen to move this along quickly.
Jake, back to you. It seems like it's moving a pretty quick timeline happening inside that room where Donald Trump is right now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Indeed. Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.
Let's get some reaction. You, too, Jamie and Andy McCabe, we're talking about things that were being reported in terms of expectations in the case and trial. And first of all, this comports with some of things that you had been told earlier.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, this is what, you know, I have been told by multiple, very senior former justice sources, but these are people who I would just say are aware of what's going on. And what we were told was when we looked at that indictment, it was a very streamlined indictment.
There was a reason that Donald Trump was the only person named. There was a reason that the charges were the way they were set out, that they want to move this very quickly. That they want to get to trial if at all possible before the election, and that sounds as if this first date of August 28th, at least they're pushing it forward.
TAPPER: And, Andy McCabe, you were saying that some of the speculation about how long this would take, you don't think it's accurate.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: No. I think it's important to remember that the speedy trial right belongs to the defendant, right? And that doesn't mean that the defendant can delay things forever. The government also has an important interest in bringing the trial -- bringing a case to trial quickly.
However, a lot of things are built into how it's actually scheduled. And we know from listening to John Lauro just the other night, the former president's new attorney, he's speculated in the media that the trial -- just the trial will take 9 to 12 months. That is an absurd prediction.
TAPPER: Ridiculous. You think it's -- you think it's going to be much shorter than 9 to 12 months?
MCCABE: Oh, certainly.
LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: People give birth in nine months. Not a trial --
MCCABE: Two months maybe, yeah.
TAPPER: And, George Conway and Carrie Cordero, obviously, what we've seen from the Trump legal team in this case will be no different is a desire to delay.
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: Yeah.
TAPPER: To push this off until after the elections. They hope obviously Donald Trump will be victorious and then we'll be able to swat away and dismiss all of these charges.
But beyond that, they don't want this trial bringing out evidence in the midst of a political run for office.
CONWAY: Right. And because -- that's because his ticket to freedom is getting elected president so he can shut this down. That's the -- that's his only way out of this box. And so that requires delay. It requires a lot of other things to happen. It requires probably a third-party candidate or something like that.
But that's his play is to string this out to the point to where in his brain he thinks maybe he can win the election and then he can appoint a new attorney general. And, in fact, the OLC -- the Office of Legal Counsel of the Justice Department has twice held over the last half century that sitting presidents can't be tried, they can't be charged and can't go to jail. So that's his play.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And for the non-lawyers watching, correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not just that it's he can remain a candidate for president --
CONWAY: Yeah, there's no prohibitions.
BASH: Even with a conviction.
BASH: A recent conviction. I think that's importance for people to know.
TAPPER: Well, I mean, Eugene Debs ran for president from prison. That's a whole other story.
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there's an inherent tension here. That the justice department running its process and as Andy was describing earlier, the rights of the defendant are paramount. And this judge that is assigned to the district court overseeing the trial, she is going to make sure that the defendant's rights are protected in this case. And there is a tension between that and the political calendar.
And even though as we heard in your interview with John Bolton from a political perspective, there is a desire, you can make a it interest argument for the trial to move along quickly. The process and discovery and all of the things that go into a normal criminal case with really serious conspiracy and obstruction charges here needs to have its process. And that may or may not line up with the --
TAPPER: Let me bring in, if I can, the former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who worked under President George W. Bush.
General Gonzales, thank you so much for joining us.
I just want to get your reaction to what we saw today just big picture. Donald Trump arrested, arraigned, going before a judge, a federal courthouse, pleading not guilty, the counts being read to him, the maximum sentence for -- potential sentence for each one of them.
What is your take as a former attorney general, as a Republican, as an American?
We're having problems with his audio. We will go back to him as soon as we get that fixed.
Laura Cates, you were making a point.
COATES: You know, one of the things to think about is a lot is being made of the fact that there aren't other co-conspirators listed on the actual indictment or on the actual complaint. But there's always a notion when you have multiple co-defendants, there's always the prospect of severance, where you could ultimately try the different defendants separately and not have them on the same thing.
Normally, you want to have efficiency. You don't want a court or jury to have to hear the same case over and over again because it's the expense of resources. But it's possible one of the reasons it's so streamlined is with the notion to, there would be competing interests of the co-defendants because they might not be truly aligned.
If one wanted to step out and say actually I didn't advise you to do those things and I'm not going to go down in flames for this, that might be part of the reason. And so, we haven't seen who the co- conspirators are from our indictment, not our own reporting. It could very well that they've already anticipated the prospect of severance, and that's why he's alone.
TAPPER: Let me go back to Attorney General Gonzales. I think we got his audio taken care of.
Your response, sir, to what the nation witnessed today?
ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, I think there is something that --
TAPPER: We're still having problems. I do not -- okay. I don't have his audio. I'm sorry, go ahead, sir. Please continue.
GONZALES: Okay. I think what we saw today is something that had to happen, frankly, given what we saw on January 6th. The fact that what we saw that day are scenes that we saw from -- that you would see in a third world country. And so, I think this was important to tell the world, to tell
Americans that we're not a third world country, that we are a nation that believes in the rule of law, and we hold people accountable for their conduct.
So, this was absolutely necessary as far as I'm concerned. I agree with some of your guests that I think the judge here knows what's at stake. I think the judge understands that the rights to be protected for the defendant, but that the American public before they're asked to vote needs to know the full character of Donald Trump.
And therefore, it's one thing -- it's certainly easier to be indicted than it is to be convicted. So I think the judge is going to do everything she can to make sure that this trial occurs and is completed before the election.
TAPPER: You I'm sure have read the indictment. What do you think? Do you think it's a strong case in?
GONZALES: Well, again, yes, it's a strong case. It's -- but it's one thing to -- if an indictment issued by the grand jury, but, of course, the question is how much of the evidence -- and, of course, there's evidence that's not included in the indictment -- but how much of the evidence are you going to be able to get in the trial.
And, of course, all of the testimony, all of the evidence is going to be challenged by the defense. And so, you know, it's -- it's a very strong case. It's a great story. But, you know, I think there is some challenges here for the prosecution and we'll have to wait and see what happens.
You know, it's -- it's unprecedented. People have talked about this as momentous, unprecedented. And it certainly is.
But from my perspective, what I'm most worried about is the fact that, gosh, all of the rhetoric that's out there today in my judgment, the attacks against the department of Justice, the attacks against the rule of law, I think it's very, very dangerous.
And I'm hopeful that we can get our leaders to step up and tell people to calm down, if they're going to -- communicate with each other, do it with civility and respect, and try to come to an understanding. The defense has an opportunity to present its side of the story. Jack Smith will have an opportunity to present the side of the prosecution. And then we'll see what happens before a jury of President Trump's peers.
TAPPER: And just to be clear, those attacks, the rhetorical attacks, are coming from the defendant, and they're coming from House Republicans, even some members of the House Republican leadership.
GONZALES: Oh, I agree. But listen, I also agree, I'm hearing more and more from Republicans, people that I know well, that I trust, who are questioning some of the decisions by the Department of Justice in that they really do view some of the decisions as to be favored -- favoritism toward this administration. And I think that's -- that's dangerous.
You know, obviously whether or not, as John Bolton I think rightly put it, the fact that Hunter Biden might get a sweetheart deal doesn't mean that Donald Trump should get a pass. I think both should be held fully accountable. People should have confidence in the decisions at the Department of Justice that are not biased in any way and that people are held accountable for their conduct.
TAPPER: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, thank you so much. As we can see, the motorcade containing the 45th president of the United States as he proceeds from the Prettyman courthouse in Washington, D.C. back to the president's Boeing on the tarmac at Reagan National Airport in Virginia is proceeding.
Kaitlan Collins, over to you.
COLLINS: Yeah, Jake, after that 27-minute proceeding and one guilty plea, he is now leaving. We do expect him to go to the airport. We'll obviously monitor that.
But we do have Katelyn Polantz here with us, who is one of just about 50 reporters in that room as the former president was pleading to that second set of federal charges.
Katelyn Polantz, what did you see?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: He spoke in court several times. He was addressed directly by the judge who called him Mr. Trump throughout. And he was asked to state his name, Donald J. Trump, John, he said -- that was how he phrased it.
And then he had to say his age. He had to say that he had not had any alcohol or medication before this hearing, knew exactly what was going on, that he was aware of what was going on around him. He also was the person who formally entered his pleading when he was told his charges and said do you understand these, what do you plead to these four counts? He said very clearly, very articulated with a pause, "not guilty".
And that was the bulk of this hearing, it was Trump being addressed directly. He also was told directly by the judge that he should be able to acknowledge -- or could he acknowledge that he has a right to remain silent, that he understands that things that he says, especially to law enforcement could be held against him in a court of law. He said yes, he understood that.
And he also was asked to confirm that he understood it would be a crime to retaliate against any witnesses in this case or even to intimidate some potential jurors. He said he understood that as well.
Just hearing Trump's voice in that court, it is unmistakably his voice. You could hear it. You could even hear him a little bit even before the proceeding as he was whispering. He was quite animated as we were waiting for the proceeding to start. There were several minutes of wait time before the judge took the
bench. Trump was in the room. Jack Smith, the special prosecutor, he was also in the room. They had a clear view of one another. And so, Trump spent a lot of time looking directly at Jack Smith, then speaking to his attorneys.
Jack Smith was also quite animated in conversation, appeared to be extremely relaxed, even had his arm up on the bench. He was smiling afterwards as he sat in the counsel table in the well.
But Donald Trump was in court. He didn't seem to be in as foul of a mood as he was whenever we witnessed him in court in Florida for his previous arraignment. But this really was a somber proceeding where he was asked to be directly engaged with what was going on there, with the charges he faces.
Actually, one more thing that I noticed is as he's waiting for the judge, there was a large stack of papers sitting in front. He started sort of fiddling with it. He was fidgeting around and then he looked down and was clearly reading what was on the paper and then lifted it up in front of him and I could see it was the indictment itself.
COLLINS: Evan said he seemed a bit angry about something he saw on that paper he was referencing Todd Blanche on there.
What's the biggest headline coming out of this is how very clearly the judge was talking about the speed of what this trial could look like. She's not the judge who will oversee it but she had consulted with that judge and there was a back and forth with her and Trump's attorney over that. What did that look like?
POLANTZ: That's right. So that was a back and forth that happened at the end of the hearing and it was a dispute that's going to bubble up a couple times in this case, in that there is right now the Justice Department wanting this to be a speedy trial. They're ready to hand over evidence to the defense, even evidence they're not entitled to yet.
And the defense, they clearly are saying in court we want this to be a fair and just process. We need to know about the magnitude of evidence. And we want to be able to take our time to prepare ourselves and our client to go to jail.
Now, this was not something that was resolved today. They are going to talk about it in this next hearing. It is going to be set before Judge Tanya Chutkan. She's the one that's ultimately going to be setting a trial date. They have a hearing scheduled before her for the end of August.
And at that hearing, she is going to want to address setting a trial date. That was made quite clear in court by the magistrate judge today, that that date for a trial, we will get it very, very likely by the end of this month.
And, Anderson, that's just 25 days from now, of course.
COOPER: Yeah, it is a quick timeline.
Let's go to Kristen Holmes, who is in the motorcade that we are seeing some of her shot right now. Kristen, explain where you are. What's going on?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, yeah, we're on the fastest ride to the airport I've ever had. They've closed off all the streets. We're in the back of the motorcade.
We saw Trump's vehicles pull out from the courthouse. He was underground. We were staging out behind him. And we are heading to DCA, the airport here, to hear him give remarks.
I talked to an adviser who (AUDIO GAP) giving remarks but they did say we don't know which Trump is going to show up. And that is because at times Trump has been defiant when it comes to these arraignments, these indictments. At times, he's been angry and frustrated. At times, he's ignored it altogether and just focused on the 2024 campaign.
Now, they said he was ramped up, which we saw on the plane ride here. He was watching the media coverage, talking to his lawyers. And we saw that because of his tweets on truth social, or his posts on truth social. Kind of snarky, almost making light of the fact that these were indictments.
But they say that obviously that could change. And as we heard our colleague Evan Perez say, he seemed to be almost upset at times during his court appearance. He had his hands together.
I think I heard another guest say that he seemed like he might have been humbled. Now, I don't think we're going to see a humbled Donald Trump deliver remarks. I've been covering him for a long time and that's not one of the personalities that we see. But it will be interesting, will we get a good read on how this went for him and what he feels from seeing these remarks.
COOPER: And, Kristen, just to be clear, you said he's going to be making remarks where, at the airport before taking off?
HOLMES: Yep. We will be getting out of the motorcade as soon as we get there. We believe -- on -- deliver remarks -- and again, Anderson, this is very different to what we've seen the last two indictments. He's had these big parties at Bedminster, at Mar-a-Lago with hundreds of guests, biggest fans, where he's delivered, you know, a speech and had guests drinking, hanging out.
That's obviously not what he's doing here --
COOPER: All right. We're having problems with Kristen's audio. We'll check back in with her. Joining me now is Neal Katyal, the former acting U.S. solicitor
general during the Obama administration. He's the host of "Courtside" podcast on Substack.
Neal, thanks very much for being with us.
The judge signaled she wants this trial to move quickly, set the next hearing date for August 28th. Realistically, do you think this trial will commence and be over before Election Day?
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: I do. I think this trial doesn't have the procedural complexities of classified information and the other things that are an issue in the Florida stolen documents case. And I do think that this judge was signaling -- this magistrate judge had talked to the presiding judge, Judge Chutkan, over this case. And I think all indications are that they wanted to move this thing more quickly.
She's going to hear from Donald Trump's lawyers on the 28th, or I think there's going to be a brief filed even before that, for why there should be some delay. But there's no argument for much delay here, certainly not, you know, something past decide say of this year.
Trump's lawyers have been signaling that, well, it's been 2 1/2 years that the prosecution's gotten to investigate, so we should get 2 1/2 years also. And the criminal law does not work that way for obvious reasons. Investigations sometimes take time but there's no parallel requirement that the defense gets the same time.
So I do think all indications are this thing is going to be tried just as, you know, any other criminal case would be tried in the next year.
COOPER: The arguments we're hearing from Trump's legal team as well as his supporters and backers on Capitol Hill, essentially, they say he has a First Amendment right to say things that are not true, that no one can prove he didn't actually believe the election was stolen and that he was listening to bad advice from his lawyers, advice of counsel.
Do they work?
KATYAL: Yeah. So far I haven't heard a credible story for any of those arguments, Anderson. So, the First Amendment has been litigated a lot in conspiracy cases. Defendants all the time say it was just speech. All I was doing was speech.
And what the courts routinely do is they say if it has some sort of action component to it. Like if I order you to murder someone, that's just my speech. But it's of course a crime. It's a crime committed through speech.
And here the indictment starting at page 2 says look, we are not punishing Donald Trump for his speech. He can say whatever he wants. It's what he did with that speech, it's the commencement of actions, it's the fake electors plot, it's trying to interfere with the counting of votes on January 6th and the like.
Then, as for the state of mind defense, that Trump legitimate will I thought that he won the election, I think there are two big problems with that.