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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Trump En Route To Airport After Not Guilty Plea; Officers Who Defended Capitol On Jan. 6 React To Hearing; Trump Heads Back To N.J. After Not Guilty Plea; Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Is Interviewed About Trump's Hearing. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 03, 2023 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NEAL KATYAL, FORMER ACCTING SOLICITOR GENERAL: Then as for the state of mind defense that Trump legitimately thought that he won the election, I think there are two big problems with that. One is the factual problem that the indictment really lays out, which is everyone who's anyone told Donald Trump he lost. That includes the attorney general at the time, his top lawyer at the White House, the White House counsel, the national intelligence officials, the election security officials, all sorts of people. And indeed, Donald Trump himself, according to indictment, believes he lost that there's lots of indications with that, including telling Vice President Pence, the problem with you is you're too honest.
The other is a practical problem. You know, as an attorney, if I wanted one of my -- to put on one of my clients to say I had a reasonable, good faith belief in something, I'd put them on the stand. But you can't if you're an attorney for Donald Trump. Risk putting Donald Trump on the stand, you'd have to worry he's going to perjure himself. And so there isn't a viable way, really, to put this defense, I think, forward.
And that's why we see, Anderson, a pivot toward new arguments that Donald Trump is making today about venue, that this trial shouldn't take place in Washington, D.C. It should take place in West Virginia because people politically like him more in West Virginia. That is not a legal argument, that will go nowhere. Kind of version of that argument was tried in the George Floyd case in which I was special prosecutor, that you couldn't try it there because the community was biased against the officers, and the courts routinely rejected that, and they will reject it here every day of every week.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you expect more charges to be added later, as we saw in the classified documents case? I mean, obviously there are six coconspirators cited in this. None of them, as we know of yet, have been charged.
KATYAL: Yes, so there's something called the superseding indictment, and that is what Jack Smith used in Florida. And what that means is it's essentially an updated set of charges. And you can have more charges that is, more crimes. You can also have more people added to it. So, Jack Smith did both last week in Florida, signaling he's willing to do that.
And I suspect here at least we're going to see, Anderson, some more defendants in the days to come. That is, this indictment was lean and mean, it just went after one person, Donald Trump. It was a pared down indictment. And I think that was done because Jack Smith wants the timing of this, as you were asking me earlier, to be soon for this trial. And when you have multiple defendants, as we saw in the George Floyd case, there's a risk it can slow things down. So Smith wants to move quickly in this one particular case.
But those six people are named or identified in the indictment as committing very serious crimes. And I suspect that if they don't flip, which means to go and help Jack Smith build the case against the currently indicted person, Donald Trump, we will see indictments for those people as well. And then, if any of them do flip, that will provide new information, possibly for new charges against Donald Trump. And of course, Jack Smith may uncover more evidence of other crimes that Donald Trump has committed as he continues his investigation and prosecution.
ANDERSON: Neal, I just wanted to tell our viewers, the former president is expected to speak. We are not going to bring those comments live. We're going to monitor what he says and anything that's newsworthy, we will turn that around and bring it to our viewers.
Just finally, Neal, if you believe that this will go to trial before the election, looking at the indictment as you've read it now, how strong a case is this against the former president?
KATYAL: Incredibly strong. The charges are straightforward. They're narrow, but boy, they pack a punch. And the indictment is really clean and calculated, and I think almost certain to result in a conviction. Of course, Donald Trump is entitled to the presumption of innocence, Anderson, and all the criminal protections that our system gives, which are overwhelming.
So Jack Smith has to prove to a jury of 12 people that Donald Trump committed these crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the highest standard in our law. It means it's more than 50 percent, it's very sky high, and he's got to do it for every one of the 12 jurors. If one of those jurors says, no, I don't believe Trump did it, Trump goes free. And yet, having read this indictment and having listened to Trump's lawyers for last several days, I've seen no real legal defense. I've seen a very strong political defense that the Biden just firm and just going after --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, thank you very much. This is a very sad day for --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KATYAL: But that's all I see.
COOPER: We just saw the former president actually being handed an umbrella by his coconspirator, Walt Nauta, in the documents case, which is just an interesting detail to note.
Neal Katyal, I appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.
KATYAL: Thank you.
COOPER: Back with the panel here in New York. Congressman Kinzinger, I mean, given all your work on the January 6 committee, all, you know, as a, I assume, a lifelong Republican or a very long term Republican, what do you make of what we've seen this morning or this afternoon?
ADAM KINZINGER, (R) FORMER MEMBER, JANUARY 6 SELECT COMMITTEE: Well, I mean, it's -- first off, I'm happy that justice is happening. I'm sad that my party is where it is now, you know. And I think anybody, whether you're a Republican, Democrat, or something else should be sad about this because this country needs two strong parties. And what you see is a party that is not worried about the Constitution is totally focused on the wishes and the whims of one man. And to me, it's very sad.
I'd be frankly just as sad if this was the Democratic Party doing it. I was struck by something as we were sitting here and kind of watching the motorcade go, which is there were a lot of Metro Police out and there were, I even think, even some Capitol Police out kind of guarding that area, those are the people that fought to defend the Capitol on January 6. I mean, the Capitol Police were fighting hard, Metro PD came in at literally exactly the right time to be able to stop, you know, the further violence and to then watch them because they're so good and professional and do their jobs, but standing out there kind of making way and guarding the former president who launched that attack, it goes to show their professionalism but it's also the whole irony and the sadness of what's happened.
COOPER: To see Walt Nauta, we were wondering earlier, would he be there today? I mean, it's the strangeness of Trump world that his coconspirators are around him.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Oh, absolutely. And, I mean, I have to wonder how he could even be staying in the boundaries of what the judge in Florida had restricted him to when he's spending all of this time with a man who's still working under him, whose attorneys he's paying for. But going off of something Adam said, like, I just feel myself coming back to the fact that this is such a significant day. I don't want us to ever take for granted the fact that Mike Pence did the right thing, democracy hung in the balance. And what if he had not?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.
GRIFFIN: What if this had gone back to the states? I mean, the indictment reads with some -- one of the attorneys warning, there would be violence in every major city. People have fought wars, they have bled in this country for the right to vote, for the right to be represented, and I just don't know that we've thoroughly, as a country, wrapped our heads around how close it got. And I highlight that because, again, he is likely the nominee for the Republican Party, and there's no promise that if he loses to Joe Biden he might not try to incite something again or, of course, if he wins, what that could look like.
COOPER: The former president did make a brief statement before getting on the plane, which he's on now. I just want to play you what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. This is a very sad day for America. And it was also very sad driving through Washington, D.C. and seeing the filth and the decay and all of the broken buildings and walls and the graffiti, this is not the place that I left. It's a very sad thing to see it.
When you look at what's happening. This is a persecution of a political opponent. This was never supposed to happen in America. This is the persecution of the person that's leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot. So if you can't beat him, you persecute him or you prosecute him.
We can't let this happen in America. Thank you very much, everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want these trials to happen --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We should point out that when the former president left office and left Washington, D.C., the city was on lockdown because of the attack on January 6. That is the city he left behind.
ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF N.Y.: Yes.
COOPER: Elie, your turn.
HONIG: Well, we've heard this from Donald Trump every single time. He just used the phrase persecution. He continues to and will continue to attack the prosecutors, law enforcement, the judge, and anyone else who may hold him accountable.
I think it's our job to call it out every time, first of all, for being irresponsible, reckless, and potentially dangerous. We've seen, Adam knows firsthand, that people listen to these words, act on these words. Ultimately, though, there will be accountability. And again, one of the things about our criminal justice system, there's a resolution. There's not many arenas, professions in this world where at the end, somebody says, you win, you lose, we will have a verdict. I don't know --
COOPER: We heard -- we heard the acting former acting --
COOPER: -- solicitor general under President Obama, Neal Katyal, saying he believes this will go to trial before the election and will resolve itself before the election.
HONIG: I don't know about that. I mean, Donald Trump's team has estimated the trial will take nine months. That's high. However, I've tried cases nowhere near this level of importance or scope that took four, five months. So, let's cut that in half, let's say four months, five months, I don't know where there's a four or five month gap.
Let me say it differently, there is not a four or five month open gap on the calendar, given the way things stand right now. Manhattan, the hush money case that has March and April. Right after that, the Mar-a- Lago case has May, that'll take into June and July. There's not a four or five month gap to realistically try this case on either side. However, those trial dates can move.
Trial dates move all the time. Jack Smith could certainly prioritize which of his cases he wants to put first. It's ultimately up to a charge.
COOPER: Karen, what do you think about the timeline?
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, FORMER CHIEF ASSISSTANT DA, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: Yes, I think the judges are going to talk? I think it's common for judges to talk and work out schedules and --
COOPER: Certainly seems like the New York case, Alvin Bragg would be something that they would put on hold.
AGNIFILO: Again, it's up to the judges. But Judge Merchan is a reasonable judge. And I'm sure if Judge Chutkan asked Judge Merchan to allow their case to go first, I'm sure Judge Merchan would absolutely do that and allow that to occur. So, we'll see what happens on August 28 when they set a timeline and set a trial date and they'll also set dates for motion practice, which means you have to have all of your defenses and the things you want me to look at, you know, the sufficiency of the grand jury, the First Amendment, the venue, all of the things that the advice of counsel and all the things that they're going to argue about this indictment, the judge will give Donald Trump's lawyers a deadline to have to submit those written motions, and then they'll give the prosecution a deadline to submit those motions, and then a deadline to respond to the motions, and then they'll set a hearing date. And that will all happen probably between September, October, November.
But by December, I think there's no reason this case can't go to trial around the first of the year. And like somebody else was saying before, there's no procedural issues involved with classified documents the way there are in the Mar-a-Lago case, with top secret clearance and all of that. So, I think that Jack Smith will turn all the discovery over, they'll highlight for them. This is where, you know, this is -- this much evidence, but these are the important parts, look here, and we're ready to go.
COOPER: It seems like Jack Smith's team is ready to hand over an awful lot of evidence and documents that they have to the defense. AGNIFILO: Yes, again, in the Mar-a-Lago case, a lot of those documents haven't been turned over because they're classified. And so, until the lawyers get top secret security clearance and that's a whole application and interview process, they can't even turn over some of the discovery in the Mar-a-Lago case. This case doesn't have those issues, so everything can be turned over right away. And the attorneys have plenty of time to prepare between now and whatever date they set. I would suspect it's early next year, maybe January, February.
COOPER: How does one estimate how long a trial, once it begins, actually will last?
HONIG: There's no science to it. You ask both sides. I think the judge will ask both sides how long to put in your case prosecution, defense, how long do you think it will take to put in your case? But judges have a lot of say over this, too. I mean, I've seen judges who have determined, we're going to get this thing tried.
I know everyone wants all the time in the world, we're going to get this thing tried in two months, in three months. So, it's this push pull between the defense and the prosecution, and the judge, though, ultimately does have some influence, a lot of influence over that as well. Look, this is going to be so crucial when it comes to the issue of timing. I mean, do we get a verdict before an election? And you know, will that change anything politically?
You all are the political experts. I don't know. Will a guilty verdict change anything? Certainly I agree that a not guilty verdict or a hung jury will change things quite a bit.
GRIFFIN: But assuming that team Trump will just base on what we're hearing is going to utilize every delay tactic they have from venue change and so on, what would is -- are you able to make any kind of an estimation of how long this could end up going?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: All I know is this is just bizarre, man. Like, we're talking about an election year where we can't talk about election stuff. The credit of the country has been downgraded, can't talk about that. The country's on fire, weird weather, can't talk about that. UFOs, can't talk about that.
There's 300 Lily Putins (ph) running against Trump in this primary. None of them are on the air today talking about anything they care about, because this strategy is working, like Trump is the only person getting any oxygen even in a year like this.
COOPER: I got to go back to Jake. Jake.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks so much, Anderson.
In the back of the courtroom today, we learned that there were some judges watching. We also know that some of the police officers who defended the Capitol against that January 6 mob incited by Donald Trump were also inside the courtroom watching Donald Trump be arraigned. We're joined now by two of them, former U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn. Both of them are familiar faces at this point to our audience, and, in fact, I would think to the American people. They were the first to testify, along with two other colleagues, including Mike Fanone, before the January 6 committee. Thanks so much for joining us, gentlemen. Appreciate it.
Officer Dunn, let me start with you. What did you see in the courtroom today? What did you make of the significance of seeing Donald Trump be charged over his relationship to those who tried to overturn the election and his role in leading that effort?
OFC. HARRY DUNN, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: Well, thanks. Good talking with you, Jake.
It was what I expected. I didn't expect a guilty verdict. I didn't expect to find out any facts of the case or anything like that, so I went in there with pretty low expectations. But it was what I -- what normal people go through when they're facing accountability and justice. Those are the steps that are required, whether it's the president, whether it's a guy who works at Walmart, it doesn't matter. Anybody commits any crime, they need to be treated fairly. And it was great to see that the former president is being treated like any other American.
TAPPER: Equal justice under the law, indeed. And former Capitol Police Sergeant Gonell, because of what happened on January 6, you had to end your career as a police officer earlier than you wanted. Do you still have injuries from that day? Maybe even some other things that you have to deal with? What was your reaction?
AQUILINO GONELL, FORMER U.S. CAPITOL POLICE SERGEANT: Thanks for having me. And yes, because of the injuries I sustained, I have made some recovery to the best I could. However, seeing the former president being arraigned today is a good start. It's the beginning of a long process where everyone should be aware that the law of the land applies to everybody. The rule laws apply to everyone.
And I hope the other side, especially the Republican side, they see that the allegations are serious and that these allegations should be taken in consideration to prevent anybody else from doing the same thing. And I hope that Mr. Trump gets a fair trial. However, it's good to see him being held accountable for it.
TAPPER: And Officer Dunn, it's obviously interesting that this is all taking place in the same courthouse, and I believe even in the same courtroom in some cases as the hundreds of others of January 6 rioters and defendants, hundreds of whom have been facing serious criminal penalties as a result for their actions on January 6. What do you make of that? It's the same judge for some of them, it's the same courtroom for some of them.
DUNN: Ironic, isn't it? You know, you just think about it, like, that is -- I guess that's one of the remarkable things, the truly remarkable things about it that he's being treated just like anybody else. And I guess that's the way it should be, and that's sending a good sign.
You know, a lot of people are upset about it on the other side, but you know, are they really for, you know, fairness and equal treatment under the law? It's good to see that was a good sign.
TAPPER: Former Sergeant Gonell, here's something that you said outside the courtroom, quote, "Our democracy is worth fighting for. Not prosecuting is far riskier than having no consequences for your alleged power grab attempts." Explain what you mean and why you think it's important to get that statement out there.
GONELL: Well, you know, given the fact that myself and my colleagues, we risk our lives defending the Capitol and everybody inside, regardless of their political affiliation. Many times we hear from the Republican side that they support the police officers and law enforcement officers in terms of backing the blue, and yet they had the perfect opportunity to shy away from the former president, to condone him and dispose his political life away from any liability -- brutality, and yet they chose to embrace him, they chose to endorse him, they chose to go along with all these nonsense that we would -- those people were peaceful protests and including defending some of the rioters to call them political prisoners or political discourse.
In terms of what I meant by that is, many people argue that he should not be prosecuted for the things that he's alleged to have done. But I counter that with, what if Joe Biden and Kamala Harry decides to do the same thing that he did? Would they be OK with that? And not prosecuting him would let -- lead to somebody else doing the same thing either next year or beyond in the future. And what we did, my colleagues and I, we protected the Capitol and everybody else who was in there, no matter who they were. And that's what I meant by that statement.
TAPPER: Yes. And we thank you and salute you for holding the line that day. Former U.S. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell and current Officer Harry Dunn, thanks to both of you.
Coming up next, we're going to talk to a key advisor to former Vice President Mike Pence, one who spoke with Special Counsel Jack Smith in the investigation into Trump's attempts to overturn the election. Our live coverage continues right after this quick break.
TAPPER: Donald Trump is in that plane you see right now there, his Boeing 757. He's about to fly back to New Jersey. He was released from custody after his arrest and arraignment in D.C. Federal court here in Washington, D.C. Trump pleaded not guilty to the four criminal charges he faces, all of them related to the January 6 attack and various other efforts to subvert the decision of the American people in the 2020 presidential election when they voted in a free and fair election for the current president, Joe Biden.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for August 28. We are told that the judge intends to set a trial date. Then we're joined now to discuss with the former chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, Marc Short.
Marc, good to see you. You testified in front of the grand jury. What is your reaction as a former member of the Trump administration, as a Republican, as an American, to seeing Donald Trump arrested and arraigned today for his attempts to overturn the election?
MARC SHORT, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO VP MIKE PENCE: Well, Jake, thanks for having me. I think that January 6 was a tragic day for our country and I think today is an incredibly sad day. I don't think any of us would cherish seeing President indicted and arraigned. And you know, I think that the events of January 6, I'm not -- I don't know to what extent there is evidence for criminality, but I do think that Donald Trump was wrong, he was foundationally wrong about suggesting that the vice president should throw out his oath to the Constitution. And I think that as well the President clearly was derelicting his duty on that day and days leading up to it.
TAPPER: Your former boss, the former Vice President Mike Pence, he fought having to testify, but ultimately he did order to do so. He is repeatedly cited in the indictment. Would he testify at trial if called to do so?
SHORT: I think that the Vice President has always complied with the law and I think that he would in that case, I think hypothetically don't know if we'll get to that point yet, Jake, but I think even in the first case he did fight grounds on separation of powers, and I think he won round from -- in that. But ultimately where there was parts that he was compelled to testify, he complied with that subpoena.
TAPPER: Obviously, the vice president took a lot of contemporaneous notes, he used them when he wrote his memoir that came out last year.
TAPPER: They also play a role in this indictment. Were you and were -- was the vice president, Mr. Pence, were you expecting his testimony to play as important a role as it did in the indictment?
SHORT: You know, I think obviously he was a central figure in this, so I think we expected it. To what extent? Wouldn't know. I think that, you know the role of vice president of the United States contains a lot of heavy responsibilities from national security to domestic policy to managing a COVID task force, and so, he did take contemporaneous notes. But as you say, most of that I think, was already reflected in his book.
I don't think there was that much new. But I do think what's different is at this point, I think the prosecution probably has testimony from people around the president himself, from the campaign, who testified that there was not evidence of fraud that would have had a material difference to the election result. Or they've had people testify from the White House Counsel's office who said, you know, the vice president has no such magical authority to overturn the election nor do we want Kamala Harris to have that authority in 2024.
And you know, I think one name that's obviously not in the indictment is Mark Meadows, who was kind of the ringleader of all of this. And I think presumably there's a lot of testimony from him as well. And so, I think a lot of those things are probably in the prosecution's hands as well.
TAPPER: So you think you don't know for a fact, but you think that Mark Meadows cooperated and did testify?
SHORT: Well, I don't know.
SHORT: I don't know, Jake. But I would imagine that certainly, if you look at the list of coconspirators, you know, Mark was the ringleader, bringing the various lawyers in who had random theories about what the vice president could do, organized most of those meetings, organize the meetings with members of Congress. And so, was a leader in much of those efforts that the president pursued in trying to convince the vice president of this magical authority. And so, the fact that he's not mentioned, I think, would lead one to say, well, in light of so many of the other coconspirators, there must be some level of testimony that they have from Mark.
TAPPER: One of the interesting pieces of evidence in the indictment is Donald Trump telling your former boss or your boss, Vice President Pence, that he's too honest when he is refusing to go along with this scheme to send the results back to the States and overturn the election and subvert the will of the American people. Too honest. I saw on social media today that the vice president's campaign for presidents is using that in some campaign swag, too honest on a shirt, too honest on a mug. Do you think, beyond being a clever swag, kudos on that, but do you think that that proves that Donald Trump knew that it was all a lie?
SHORT: I don't know if it proves that, Jake. As I said from the start, I don't know the evidence of criminality here, but I do know that the president was wrong in pursuing this legal notion. I do know that he was wrong in trying to pressure the vice president to do something beyond his constitutional authority that had been explained to the president. The extent to which, again, he had been informed of his defeat or the failure of the legal efforts, I think there's campaign testimony to that effect, and they'd probably have better evidence of what the president's state of mind was of that. And I -- it'd be wrong for me to try to have that conjecture, but I think the evidence would certainly stack up to suggest that he was at least informed of that.
TAPPER: What do you think too honest means, though?
SHORT: Well, I think that, as I interpreted in the moment, it was that the former Vice President was saying, this is what my constitutional limitations are, and that's what I'm going to pursue. And, you know, I think there's some of this notion out there you're hearing from the President's defense counsel that they just wanted the Vice President to return it to the states, which, of course, the Vice President has no such authority to do, and nor has any Vice President for 50 years.
But I think it's important, Jake, to know that the request was for the Vice President to simply unilaterally dismiss the electors. And the prosecution has notes from the President's senior advisor who said, look, since Pence isn't willing to go along with that, perhaps we could pivot to this other plan.
TAPPER: Oh, OK.
SHORT: And that plan was pushed in the last 36 hours, but even that obviously was unconstitutional. And no one would say Kamala Harris should have that ability to choose which Republican states she send back to states in 2024.
TAPPER: Now, I'm sure Al Gore would have liked to have had that power back in January 2001. Marc Short. Good to see you. Thank you so much.
Donald Trump is on his way back to his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club after pleading not guilty to a criminal indictment for the third time in just four months. Coming up next, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the lead impeachment manager in Trump's second trial just after the January 6th attack, will join to discuss the charges against Donald Trump. Stay with us.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: We are breaking down everything that happened inside the federal courthouse just a few moments ago, where Donald Trump pled not guilty to the four criminal charges. The second set of federal charges, I should note, that he is facing. The former president came face to face with Jack Smith, the special counsel who is overseeing this investigation. He actually sat just about 15 feet away from him in this moment, a climactic moment, of course, in this investigation of January 6th and the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Someone who knows that very well, of course, is a former member of the January 6th Committee, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin who joins me now.
Congressman, thank you for being here. I mean, to see Trump in court today issuing that not guilty plea. As someone who worked on the January 6th Congressional Committee, what's that moment like for you?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), RANKING MEMBER, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Well, it feels like a great vindication of the rule of law in American democracy for me. You know, for more than two years, people have been asking me, wherever I go, will there really be legal consequences? Is he going to be able to escape this like everything else?
And it's good to know that, you know, the wheels of justice turn slowly, but they turn. And the Department of Justice, with the grand jury rendered an indictment. And, of course, Donald Trump is entitled to every presumption of innocence and all the due process of law that he has wanted to deny to other people who he considers his adversaries.
But the beauty of our system of justice is that everybody's entitled to that. And he's got a judge who's a former public defender, a former criminal defense lawyer, who's extremely attuned to the rights of defendants.
COLLINS: Yes. And they made pretty clear is what it seemed like from the magistrate judge who had, you know, talked to that judge, Judge Chutkan. And that's going to be overseeing this, about how quickly this trial is going to move. Are you more hopeful after hearing that back and forth between Trump Attorney John Lauro and the magistrate judge, that this could potentially happen relatively soon, before the 2024 election at least?
RASKIN: Well, I think the fact that Donald Trump's conspirators are unindicted at this point make it far more likely that the trial will move quickly and that the, you know, constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial with due process will be observed. So I think we've got a good chance of seeing that. I think the facts are known. And, you know, I don't know exactly what Donald Trump's defense would be, whether it's an alibi defense that he really wasn't there, or that he was misunderstood in the things that he was doing and the things he was saying or whether, you know, he is going to maintain the pretense and fiction which he was perfectly well aware of, that he had actually won the election.
We'll see if he goes that route or if he, you know, tries to deal with this as a constitutional matter and claim that all he was doing was engaging in free speech, which, of course, is phony. The First Amendment does not give you the right to try to overthrow the government, to engage in an insurrection, to obstruct a federal proceeding, or to defraud the American people out of an election.
COLLINS: Well, and we know what his at least public response is going to be here, his public defense, as he was just leaving the courthouse and getting on his plane at Reagan National. He said that this is a political persecution. Given you're someone who spoke to witnesses here, you looked inside at the fake elector scheme, which is part of, obviously, what led to this indictment. What do you say back to that?
RASKIN: Well, if it's political, it's coming from Republicans, because the overwhelming number of witnesses that we heard from on the January 6th Select Committee were Republican in the Trump administration, were in the Trump family. Those were the people who were closest to the criminal events that took place, and they saw exactly what Donald Trump was doing and the activities that he was engaged in.
But in any event, that's a transparent attempt by the former president to denigrate and to run into the ground the American system of justice. I mean, the reason that we have faith in it is precisely because we don't believe in just Trump judges or Republican judges or Democrat judges the kinds of things that Donald Trump talks about. It really comes down to him, in his case, to people who will do his will no matter what, and then people who actually stand up for the rule of law and for our system of justice in our Constitution.
He obviously has an autocratic, dictatorial frame of mind, which is totally opposed to legalism in the American system of justice.
COLLINS: We'll see what that defense looks like. Congressman Jamie Raskin, thanks for joining us during our special coverage.
RASKIN: You bet.
COLLINS: And right now, we have the first court sketch of Donald Trump's arraignment that happened. Obviously, there were only reporters in the room, no cameras in there. This is the moment when he pleaded not guilty to four felonies in the January 6th investigation and into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The former president directly addressing the judge as he entered that plea in a remarkable moment here.
Donald Trump remains the dominant frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, despite the three indictments, with another one potentially on the way in just a matter of weeks in Georgia. Former Congressman Will Hurd, who is now turned to one of Trump's 2024 rivals and his fiercest critics will join us next as our live coverage continues right after a quick break.
TAPPER: And we're getting new reaction to the third arrest and arraignment of the former President of the United States, Donald Trump. Now the Republican frontrunner in the 2024 race for the White House joining us now to react to all the news, former Congressman from Texas and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Will Hurd of Texas, a former CIA officer. Congressman Hurd, let's bring up the photo, the courtroom sketch of Donald Trump.
I believe that is the moment that he pleaded not guilty to the four federal charges for which he has been indicted. As a Republican, as somebody who at both with the CIA and Congress, swore oaths to preserve the Constitution. As an American, what's your reaction when you look at that image?
WILL HURD (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact that a former president is in our nation's capitol in front of a judge, having to plead in a contest about trying to overturn an election is just outrageous. I'm like most Americans, I'm upset, I'm annoyed, I'm pissed. Earlier today I was talking with my friends at the BBC and they're saying, what's going on? The rest of the world is worried about what's happening in America.
I also know our adversaries like China and Russia are laughing. But here's the great thing, Jake. We can do something about this. Here's the reality. I don't want the folks that are watching your show to be concerned or scared or upset about the fact that Donald Trump has a lead right now. These are polls that only sample about 800, 900 people. We have a chance to say enough is enough, and defeat him in an election.
Only 23 percent of Americans vote in primaries. If I'm hoping some of that other 77 percent are watching your show. And if you're sick and tired of what's happening, if you're tired of Donald Trump, then guess what? We can do something about it. Vote in primaries. We only need 95,000 votes in New Hampshire to beat Donald Trump. You need a little bit more than that in South Carolina.
Then you get to California and Texas and you can start putting things together. Let's not get afraid about this lead that he has right now. It's only a snapshot in time. And for those of us that are sick and tired and are frustrated and angry that Donald Trump is running for president in order to stay out of jail, let's do something about it. It's within our hands. Make the commitment today to say, hey. I'm going to register to vote in primaries. I'm going to vote in those primaries. And I'm going to make sure this bum never gets back in office.
TAPPER: So many Republicans, Republican officials, your former colleagues in Congress are still defending Donald Trump today, even though as of now, he's been charged with 78 felonies, though who's counting? You worked with a lot of these individuals in Congress. Help us understand why so many of them are still sticking with him.
HURD: Well, they're afraid of Donald Trump. They're afraid of their voters. They're afraid of getting criticized on social media. They're afraid of getting booed at an event. They're afraid. And unfortunately, many of them talk about being constitutional conservatives, but they're not defending the Constitution. And that's upsetting. That's sad. I'm sure, you know, Adam is going to give you some insights on that and has been giving insights about that tonight. And it's a problem.
But guess what? We can do something about it. And more Americans and here's what I've learned crisscrossing the state. More Americans are frustrated with the direction the country is going. More Republicans are glad people are speaking up about Donald Trump. More Republicans believe in personal responsibility and service to their country and adhering to the Constitution. More people believe that.
And that's why I'm actually hopeful. This is a sad day for America, but I also think this is the moment that America is going to say, enough is enough. And we're going to see this over, and we're going to see for the next 240 series what we've seen -- 247 years, what we've seen for the last 247 years, and that's America uplifting humanity.
TAPPER: We'll see, I suppose. Republican presidential candidate Will Hurd, congressman from Texas, thank you so much, sir. Appreciate it.
Coming up, much more on the historic third arrest and third arraignment of Donald Trump accused in court today of attempting to subvert American democracy. We're going to squeeze in a quick break. We'll be right back.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The next hearing in January 6th. Prosecution of former president Donald Trump is now a little over three weeks away after historic court appearance in Washington today. Just in terms of the next court appearance, that's going to be in front of the new judge.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Judge Chutkan and it's been scheduled for August 28th. That's going to be crucial because that's when we're going to get a sense of what the timeline will be. And even if the judge does set a trial date, sometimes they will set a trial date right up front, sometimes they won't. But we will definitely be able to get the posture here. Is this judge pushing both parties, or is she sort of more tolerant of delay?
A couple things here, first of all, Judge Chutkan is a former defense lawyer. She spent over a decade as a defense lawyer, so keep that in mind when you hear some of these criticisms that are already coming her way from Donald Trump. I mean, she understands the importance of protecting constitutional rights. And from Jack Smith's perspective, he ought to be ready to go.
He ought to turn over discovery, which is all the documents you have to turn over between now and August 28th so he can go in that courtroom and say, we've already given them everything we have, so let's get this thing moving.
COOPER: And it seems like, Karen, he's ready to do that?
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, he's ready to do that. And he's also going to be filling out a form for the court that talks about how long does he think this case is going to go for. So we'll get a sense does he think this is a short trial, a long trial. How many -- it gives an indication to the court, how many days should the court set aside when they're doing their calendar for a trial. So we'll get a sense if Jack Smith thinks this is going to be a couple of weeks or a couple of months, and when the judge sets a court date, a trial date for this trial.
COOPER: We should also point out this is not the last time we are going to be seeing the former president likely going to court.
HONIG: Yes, well --
COOPER: I mean, in yet another case in a --
HONIG: Right. I'm going to say that, in couple of respects. But, yes, 0I mean, it seems all but certain that there will be a fourth indictment within the next couple of weeks coming from the Fulton County District Attorney down in Georgia, Fani Willis, who's investigating the effort to steal the election in Georgia. She has more than signaled in a not so subtle manner that indictment will be coming soon, and that will add a fourth contender to this log jam for trial space. ADAM KINZINGER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: And I think an interesting point about this is he's going to be running for president again. And kind of when you're at trial, they kind of want you there, you know, if you're the defendant. So like he's not going to have any time, it doesn't matter. He just flies around on his plane, lands at FBOs, and gives speeches anyway. But that's going to be a significant drain on his time to run for president.
AGNIFILO: He also has a civil case in October, early October, here in New York, there's a $250 million civil case that the Attorney General Letitia James, has brought against Trump and his family, which is starting in a matter of a couple of months.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You're acting like that's a distraction from the campaign. This is the campaign. This is the campaign. I am a martyr for you. I am fighting for you. The establishment is trying to take me out, help me, give me money, believe in my cause. He's turning this case into a cause, the cause of his own cult. And so we would say, oh, jeez, you can't. But this is his campaign.
COOPER: He also knows, I mean, a former president on trial, I mean this is unprecedented, it's reality television. It has to be covered. I mean, this is one of the most important trail reality T.V.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: He's clearly banking on the earned media strategy and the fundraising strategy, which in the prior indictments have worked in his favor. However, I don't know that we have enough data yet to say. In fact, that indictments boost his numbers in a big way. We saw initial bumps after the first two indictments came down, But we're going to actually see this case litigated. We're going to see it play out in public opinion.
And it's going to remind people of what they saw with their own eyes on January 6th. Even if you're somebody who's gone back to supporting him, like a lot of members of Congress who are Republicans, you know, were folks at home who are like, yes, I'm not really loving how the state of the country but Trump seemed like things seemed like they were better. They're going to be reminded of that day. So it's -- he can't bank on this helping him.
AGNIFILO: But what was so I think critical was that the January 6th Select Committee was public and that we all got to watch it and we all got to see it, and we all got to live it together. Federal courts aren't public. And typically, there are no -- there are -- I shouldn't say they're not public. They are public, but there are no cameras in the courtroom. And so we won't be able to see it and live it the way we did during those hearings. And I think that does a disservice to the voters.
JONES: I'll take it a step further. Even during the hearings, all the media wasn't covering it. Some media was, and some media wasn't. And even today, you see a big split in the coverage. It's -- we are in a kind of a mirror world. So people are covering this as if it is the persecution of Donald Trump on. You know, there's a fuzzy predator mammal that has a T.V. station named after it. I never say out loud what that furry predator T.V. station is, but if you turn, you shouldn't. They are -- this is completely different planet.
AGNIFILO: It's split screen America. Yes.
JONES: It's split screen America.
HONIG: Federal courts have to step up here because, as Karen said correctly, the federal courts do not allow cameras in the courtroom or they can.
COOPER: Should that change?
HONIG: Yes, 100 percent.
HONIG: The federal courts have got to get over themselves. And if you ask a federal judge why is that the policy, they'll say, well, decorum, it's beneath our dignity. We don't want the parties acting up. Look, it's 2023. If we don't have cameras in that courtroom, the way we're going to have to cover this is with those sketch drawings. Like, we just hope -- it's a great sketch drawing. She did a wonderful job. It's very accurate.
But the notion that we will have to cover the most important criminal trial in U.S. history with sketch drawings is preposterous. The federal courts have to come through that.
COOPER: I'm not sure how accurate that --
HONIG: That's fair.
COOPER: That's somewhat glorified.
GRIFFIN: He's also a deeply dishonest defendant. So we'll hear only if we don't have cameras in the courtrooms, Donald Trump's interpretation of events espoused on cable news and on his Truth Social. So I think it isn't a vital public interest.
KINZINGER: But I -- so I want to see the cameras in the court. I fully agree with you. They need to be careful. I don't want to see them necessarily in the Supreme Court, because that's already politicized enough as it is. But I think when he goes through this, this is my hope is when the details of these indictments come out, not just the narrative's pretty intense, but when it's like, here's stuff that we're backing, we don't know who's coming out and testifying against him now. Is Mark Meadows a cooperating witness?
When you start having people like what we did on the committee, where you have actually folks would tell us, oh, this is a partisan thing. I'm like, yes, it's only Republicans that are testifying kind of is partisan. That might change things a little bit.
COOPER: I'll be back at 8:00 p.m. Eastern with Jake Tapper and Kaitlan Collins for AC360 in special coverage of today's historic arraignment. We continue now in "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett.