Return to Transcripts main page

The Lead with Jake Tapper

Trump's Co-Defendants Begin To Surrender At Georgia Jail; Trump Looms Over GOP Debate; Biden Admin Appoints New White House Counsel; Chicago Woman Charged With Threatening To Kill Former President Trump And His Son; New York Knicks Sue Former Employee & Toronto Raptors Personnel Over Alleged Stolen Proprietary Information. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired August 22, 2023 - 16:00   ET



ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake Tapper.

We begin this hour with breaking news. A flurry of activity in Georgia today, including a brand new legal filing just moments ago from former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. These are live pictures here of the Fulton County jail.

Today, the first of Donald Trump's codefendants surrendered and were arrested. Among them, former Trump lawyer John Eastman who was released after being processed, finger-printed and having his mugshot taken.

Scott Hall was the first to turn himself in this morning. Hall was charged over his alleged involvement in the breach of voting machines. As for Eastman, as you may recall, he served as Trump's lawyer, and advised the former president on ways to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 election results.

And as we just mentioned here at the top of the hour, moments ago, another codefendant, Mark Meadows, filed a request for an emergency court order. He's trying to avoid being arrested while he fights to have this case moved from Fulton County, Georgia, into federal court.

Meadows, Trump and the other defendants have until noon on Friday to turn themselves in. We do expect the former president, though, to do so before then. In fact, he announced on Truth Social, he'll be going to Atlanta on Thursday to be arrested.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is outside the Fulton County courthouse.

Talk about a busy day in Atlanta. Bring us up to speed on all of these developments today, Katelyn.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: A flurry of activity is more like a blizzard, even though it's quite hot in Atlanta. What's happening is there are ten defendants that we know at the least who are negotiating their bond or have negotiated their bond already with the district attorney's office here so that they can be arrested quite smoothly or hopefully for their hope, smoothly, as they go through the jail system for their arrest.

So, right now, we're looking at a few that had come in yesterday with their negotiated bonds, first and foremost, Donald Trump's of $200,000, and then several other people that were at the top of that pyramid around Donald Trump working to maintain his grasp on the presidency. After the election, John Eastman, Ken Chesebro, some other lawyers, Jenna Ellis, who were all around the effort with Trump, are accused of being part of the racketeering, criminal enterprise scheme in the state of Georgia in this case.

They all are getting their bonds set, and those terms for the more senior people around Trump, they are six figure bond terms and the more junior people, people like fake electors in the state, and others accused of crimes related to this racketeering scheme are getting lesser bond amounts, but many are negotiating that so that they then can be processed at the jail.

At a future point, the deadline is Friday, though. That is when all of these people need to respond to this indictment in some way, or else there will be warrants for them to be issued and picked up by authorities and arrested.

HILL: In terms of that warrant, there's some concern by Mark Meadows, at least according to this latest filing, that a warrant could be issued for his arrest. He wants to make sure that doesn't happen because there is a pending hearing on Monday?

POLANTZ: That's right. What Mark Meadows is doing, he's trying to prevent his arrest. The reason he's doing that is because he says he's taking the steps necessary to put his case on hold in state court. He doesn't need to have his case go forward in state court right now because he was a federal official at the time that he was doing these things that are alleged to be part of the criminal enterprise here, and he says that that means his case can be in state court now. He's filed the paperwork there.

And what's happened behind the scenes apparently and we're learning this just through court filings that are becoming public now is that the district attorney's office has told Mark Meadows if he doesn't come in before Friday to do the arrest process here with Georgia related to the state charges just as the other defendants are doing, they intend to arrest him before Monday.

But he has a hearing before a federal judge on Monday who is looking at exactly what should happen to his case should it stay in state court. Can it go to federal court? And he's not the only person that's seeking that route of responding to these charges.

HILL: Jeffrey Clark, another one, right, who's charged in Fulton County. He's actually moving here. He wants to get the entire case moved to federal court. A slightly different ask.

POLANTZ: It is. It's a slightly different ask, but he's using the same mechanism in the court system to try and get his case moved out of state court to a federal judge.


Meadows, when he made his ask, it was about him and him alone. He was chief of staff in the White House. There was another man that made a similar filing today, a defendant named David Shafer who did have his bond negotiated and theoretically would be consenting to the arrest and processing at the jail.

But David Shafer is also trying to get his case moved from state to federal court. They all say that because they were acting in some sort of bounds of the federal government, Shafer as an elector under the Constitution at that time after the election, and then Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official, Meadows in the White House as chief of staff for Donald Trump.

But Clark is taking an aggressive approach here. He's saying the entire case at the state level should be put on hold, and all 19 defendants should have their case moved to federal court. Donald Trump hasn't done something like this yet in this case, but we fully expect that he may try some sort of legal tactic that is similar to this.

A lot to watch here, and no finality on how the next couple of days are going to play out especially leading to that hearing on Monday.

HILL: Yeah, that's why you blink and the blizzard strikes up again.

Katelyn, appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, as Katelyn just laid out here, it's been a busy day, not a flurry, she said, but a blizzard of activity there in Fulton County, Georgia. And there is an expectation that a number of codefendants will be trying to negotiate their surrenders with the district attorney over the next day or two. That's already happened.

Today, yesterday, as we walked you through as well. Why in the next few days, because as a reminder, as Kaitlan just noted, that deadline for them to turn themselves in is looming. It is this Friday at noon.

So, for those who have not negotiated that surrender agreement, this is the time for them, of course, for their legal teams to make their way there to negotiate with the district attorney on terms of that surrender on their potential bonds.

Joining us now to discuss perhaps with a little bit more inside knowledge as to how all of these negotiations will be happening and have been happening behind the scenes. There is Charlie Bailey, who previously served as a senior district attorney in Fulton County.

Charlie, good to have you with us.

You know, as Katelyn just pointed out for us, what's interesting is some of these more senior folks here in terms of this alleged scheme are looking at these six-figure bond agreements.

Jenna Ellis, her team the latest to negotiate the terms of her surrender, a $100,000 bond. She's charged with two counts. But then you look at a Ray Smith, his bond amount is half of that, it's $50,000. He's facing 12 charges.

So what is actually going in to this negotiation in terms of determining the amounts?

CHARLIE BAILEY, FORMER FULTON COUNTY SENIOR ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, you know, usually not all counts count the same. You know, it's not just the number of charges you're looking at. It's the severity of certain charges. So I imagine what's going into it is the D.A.'s office, they've got their thinking about the severity of these different charges and the involvement of these different people, but it's not as simple as just adding up 12 to 2 to 5. It has to do with the nature of the alleged acts.

HILL: We also have been talking about, we learned about this filing just before the top of the hour here from the Mark Meadows team. He doesn't want to surrender by Friday at noon. He is asking a federal court, an arrest warrant from being issued if he does not do so by the district attorney.

You know the district attorney, give us a sense, how do you imagine she and her team are reacting to that request?

BAILEY: How do I imagine the judge reacting?

HIILL: How do you imagine -- how do you imagine the district attorney is reacting? Clearly the negotiations there have broken down.

BAILEY: Sure. Well, I think Fani is going to treat Mr. Meadows like she's treating everybody else in this case, like she treats every defendant that the office prosecutes, and I don't understand why these people have such a difficult problem coming to grips with the fact that they're not any better or any lesser than anybody else.

You don't get special preferential treatment. This isn't a request. You've been indicted, and so Mr. Meadows is just right up the road in North Carolina. He don't even have to get on a flight. He can just drive down.

So, you know, I don't imagine knowing Fani as I do, that she's going to be swayed by, hey, just treat me differently because I'm me. That's not the way the law works, and that's not in my experience the way Fani prosecutes her cases.

HILL: In terms of how people are being treated. John Eastman said he spent an hour, hour and 15 minutes inside the jail today. Fingerprints, mugshots -- walk us through what's going to happen for these defendants when they surrender.

BAILEY: Well, since they already have, you know, all of those so far, they've got consent bonds in place, and that's key.


You know, the role of the jail and the sheriff, there's active arrest warrants. They've got to process those arrest warrants, that takes some bit of time, not too terribly long, but they have to process that. The reason being, you don't want somebody out there, driving, gets pulled over for speeding and they've got an active warrant. It's a very, in some ways, mundane kind of task.

But you have to process them through. You got to make sure you got in your hands the person that's on the other end of that indictment. So you take the weight. You take the height. You take a picture.

All of that goes into a data base that's available across the state and with the prison system so that you've got a proper catalog of the people that are coming through the system here in Fulton County. So, you know, because he's got the consent bond, you know, and most of these people have, I don't imagine it takes that long.

You know, normally, if you don't have that and you might be going into jail, then you might have to go through a medical exam. So they can, you know, figure out, do you need any kind of special medical treatment. But these people with consent bonds, that wouldn't be happening.

HILL: Already taking care of some of that.

Charlie Bailey, great to have your perspective on this. Thank you.

I also want to bring in now Tm Dupree, who served as the principal deputy assistant attorney general under President Gorge W. Bush.

Tom, good to see you this afternoon.

I just love to get your take on the latest filing from Mark Meadows' legal team. Do you think he's got a strong argument here?

TOM DUPREE, FORMER PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY: Well, it's an untested argument. I'll put it that way, and we'll see what the federal judge does. I think that he would have a better argument about saying, look, this case can't go forward against me because I was a federal officer, so you can't take it to a jury. You can't prosecute me for it.

But on the other hand, saying, well, this prevents me from even (AUDIO GAP) a state criminal prosecution move forward against me, that's a tougher argument to make. I could see a federal judge saying, look, I will sort out your federal removal request in due time, but for present purposes, you still need to turn yourself in to the local authorities in the next few days.

HILL: So, even though, right, that deadline is Friday but the hearing is Monday, you think that's enough for the federal judge to say you're just going to have to roll with this?

DUPREE: I think -- I could see a federal judge saying that, to say, look, deciding whether or not your case needs to move ahead in state or federal court is a complicated question, and I'm going to need to their briefs, I'm going to need to hear argument, that could take a while to sort out. In the meantime, I don't see a basis for basically ordering the state judge and the state proceedings to be stayed while I sort all of this out. So turn yourself in, but then in due time, I'll decide whether or not

I'm going to hear your case.

HILL: So, Mark Meadows is pushing for his case to be moved to federal court. Meantime, former DOJ official Jeffrey Clark is making a much broader claim that the entire case, we're talking about a whole named defendants, the entire case should be moved to federal court.

What do you make of his argument?

DUPREE: That's also a big swing. Look, we'll see what the federal judge says. I could see a universe in which a federal judge says, look, I may hear your case, hear the case of a few more defendants, if, and this is a big if, Clark or others could persuade that federal judge that they were actually acting as federal officers when they did the conduct that's alleged in the complaint. That's a big hurdle for him to get over.

But even if he is able to surmount that hurdle, I think the other hurdle is saying, look, there are other defendants who aren't presenting the same arguments who aren't presenting the same defense, but bring them along too and adjudicate this case involving 19 defendants. That's asking a lot of any judge.

HILL: And, Tom, just remind folks at home, why would Mark Meadows, Jeffrey Clark, why would they want to push for their case to be moved to a federal court versus a state court? What is the perceived advantage for them?

DUPREE: Good question. Two advantages. Number one is that you would get a different judge presiding. I think that the defense is not so much worried about the judge that they have right now in state court in Georgia who I think from the defense's perspective is a perfectly good choice, but at the same time, they are probably looking the next step ahead about who would hear an appeal of any criminal conviction, and I suspect the Trump defense team would rather have the federal courts of appeals evaluate any conviction than a state court.

The other reason you would do it is you get a different jury pool. If you're in federal court in Atlanta, you sweep in a lot of the Atlanta suburbs, but there's a lot more pro-Trump sentiment than you would if the case moves forward in Fulton County where you're going to get a lot more Biden voters.

HILL: Tom Dupree, great to have you. Thank you.

DUPREE: Thank you.

HILL: With Donald Trump about to be the center of attention when he turns himself in on Thursday or at least when he says he will turn himself in, just what are the other Republican presidential candidates need to do at tomorrow night's debate to breakthrough that noise?

And there is plenty of noise because there's so much attention, live pictures again here at the Fulton County courthouse where there has been so much activity today, live pictures of the jail as well, codefendants surrendering today. Others setting up their bond agreements.

So who could show up next? Stay with us to find out.



HILL: We're back with a live look. This is, of course, outside the Fulton County jail in Georgia. That's where we anticipate more of the 19 codefendants, including Donald Trump, to surrender in the coming days. The deadline to do so, of course, is Friday at noon. Two surrendered earlier today.

Every step of this indictment involving the former president in Georgia is really casting a pretty dark shadow on what Republicans are trying to focus on this week, which is their first presidential debate. It is, of course, tomorrow night in Wisconsin.

Joining us to discuss, two conservative voices, Scott Jennings, who's special assistant to President George W. Bush, and Erick Erickson, host of "The Erick Erickson Show".

Good to see you both this afternoon.

Scott, we look at -- we have the lineup now. We have the placement on stage that Fox has released. Right there in the center, we see Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and Vivek Ramaswamy, they are sharing center stage. Chris Christie off to the side.


Does that make them the two main targets, do you think, tomorrow night?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, certainly DeSantis is going to be a main target, and he's got the most riding on this debate, in my opinion, because he's been the principle alternative to Donald Trump since we started. And there's a little bit of blood in the water, and I suspect the other candidates are going to be gunning for him.

This is a real opportunity for DeSantis, in my opinion though, to rise above the noise. Everything above his campaign that people hear comes from people other than Ron DeSantis, Trump, never Trump, Democrats, media, this is a chance for him to tell his story, who am I and why am I running.

If I were him, I wouldn't get too drawn into fights with other candidates, although I suppose they're going to be lobbing grenades at him all night.

HILL: There's a good chance, fighting may be up for a lot of folks.

Erick, you spent time with a lot of candidates last weekend, your event in Georgia, among them, Ramaswamy. So, last night, he was with my colleague Kaitlan Collins who asked how he plans to beat Trump if he rarely criticizes him. Take a listen to his answer.


VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The reason I don't want to criticize Trump is because everybody else from, you know, networks like the one we're on right now on down are doing plenty good job of making up attacks that shouldn't even exist. Prosecutors across this country charging cases that should have never been brought. I think he was a good president, but I want to build on his agenda to take the America first movement to the next level.


HILL: So, Ramaswamy told Kaitlan he thinks he's going o win in a landslide. I'm curious, based on what you heard, Erick, from the candidates over the last weekend, would you agree with his assessment?

ERICK ERICKSON, HOST, "THE ERICK ERICKSON SHOW": You know, I don't know that I would. There was the ABC news report that came out that Ramaswamy decided he was in the race to stop Ron DeSantis more than anything. He's got a compelling message. The crowd at my gathering this week, again, really curious about him. Very popular.

But at the same time, he is 37, 38 years old, and that sort of will impact both him and his prior record. He's got a lot of conflicts that he's going to have to reconcile and may be drawn out on stage. The DeSantis super PAC has encouraged DeSantis to point out those contradictions.

HILL: It is impossible, I think, to overstate this expectation that Donald Trump will, in fact, dominate the conversation on Thursday night despite not being there on stage. He has already made clear that he intends to turn himself in to surrender in Fulton County on Thursday, the day after the debate.

Scott, how do you think -- or I should say, what do the moderators here at Fox need to do to keep this debate focused more on policy and positions of the candidates on the stage as opposed to Donald Trump?

JENNINGS: Well, one of the things they should not do is try to turn all of these candidates into pundits. You know, that's Erick's job. That's my job.

And I think there's a temptation in politics these days to make everyone into a pundit. They should let them be candidate asks let them talk about what they want to do as president, what is their motivation for running, but asking them all night long to comment on Trump this, Trump that, how would you handle it if Trump said this. That is not useful information, I think for the average voters.

So, keeping it focused on policy would be great. Obviously you can't keep Trump out of the debate, and also, I think Mike Pence is going to play more of a role in this debate than many people are talking about, because to me, one of the best questions the moderators could ask is if anybody else on this stage had been vice president on January 6th, what would you have done, and that could get some conversation going. Obviously Trump is involved in that. But it would get Pence involved

in the mix up as well. But, honestly, these folks need to not get focused on polls and punditry. They really need to focus on their own narrative and personal policy statements. That would be of most benefit to the Republican voters.

HILL: Let's see if they take up your suggestion. I think it would be fascinating.

Eric, how about you? These were your discussions over the weekend. How do you keep this more focused on the policy, on the positions, and not on the elephant in the room?

ERICKSON: You know, I thought it was funny this weekend. I explicitly told the candidates and the press I wasn't going to talk about Donald Trump, and a lot of press in the room was upset that I didn't. In fact, we got some angry re e-mails from a few reporters that I didn't want to ask about the indictments.

The press, of course, wanted to ask about Donald Trump. I realize he's the elephant not in the room, and is doing some PR to overshadow the debate with the way he's arranged to surrender in Fulton County. But there are huge policy dynamics and differences between these candidates on issues within the Republican Party from how do you approach social issues to how do you approach the free market and use free market or government regulation to fix the economy.

There's a wide range of opinions. Mike Pence and Chris Christie talked about reforming entitlements and contrasting with Biden and Trump. Pushing candidates on those issues I think would at least allow us to see the differences.


HILL: And you talk about social issues. My colleague John King has been out there, he's speaking with a number of folks, speaking with several Republicans in Iowa which, of course, will hold the first contest in 2024. It was really interesting to hear what they told him when asked about the views on abortion. Take a listen.


LISA MCGAFFEY, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: When you've got babies, you've got to give them a chance to grow up.

CHRIS MUDD, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: I'm a pro-life guy. But I think it's a losing issue for Republicans. I think that was a mistake for them to try to govern that. I don't think they should have done that.

BETSY SARCONE, IOWA REPUBLICAN VOTER: For somebody to put judgment on these women who feel like they can't have a baby or another baby, you know, I don't feel that it's my place to judge. I think that's up to them.


HILL: It's a divisive issue. We know that. We have known that for decades in this country.

Each GOP candidate debating tomorrow does support some level of restriction when it comes to abortion.

Scott, do you anticipate there will be a question as to whether they would support a federal ban?

JENNINGS: I do, actually. And this could be revealing because apart from the technical aspects of how you feel about abortion should be limited from our conservative perspective, there is also just the federalism perspective. Obviously when Roe v. Wade was tossed out, part of the theory was it would go back to the states and we're seeing that play out in a lot of states right now.

And so, to me, and this may not make for the most entertaining of television, but for me, what I'm listening for is do these candidates believe in federalism or not, and if you are for federal laws versus letting the states work it out, I think that conversation could be instructive. But, yeah, of course, abortion is going to be a big issue in this debate. It's going to be a big issue in the election next year because Democrats want it to be.

So, I do think Republican voters need an idea of how these candidates are going to approach the topic.

HILL: Well, to your point, you look at federalism, you look at states rights. It would be very telling as to where these folks stand in the Republican Party of 2023.

Scott Jennings, Erick Erickson, great to have you both here this afternoon. Thank you.

ERICKSON: Thank you.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

HILL: Well, right after tomorrow's debate, you know where to be for the conversation. It is right here on CNN. Anderson Cooper and Dana Bash will moderate the post-debate analysis. You can catch it starting at 11:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.

Just ahead, Donald Trump preparing for his fourth arrest. Meantime, President Biden's White House is bringing in a new lawyer. That's next.

And as we take a quick break, a live look here at the entrance to the Fulton County jail where any moment, more of Trump's codefendants could turn themselves in. Two have already done so today.

Stay with us.



HILL: Half past the hour, live pictures of the Fulton County jail as we await the surrender of Donald Trump's codefendants in the Georgia election case.

Two of those codefendants have turned themselves in today, among them, former Trump lawyer John Eastman, who advised Trump on ways to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 election results, and Scott Hall who was allegedly involved in a breach of voting machines. That leaves 17 others to surrender, among them, of course, Donald Trump who has said on his social media platform that he plans to turn himself in on Thursday.

This afternoon, one of the codefendants, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows filed an emergency court order. He's actually trying to block his arrest as he fights to move his charges to federal court.

As we wait to see how that develops and all of these other developments involving the former president, legal issues are front and center for the current president. President Biden has tapped Ed Siskel to serve as a new White House counsel. If that name sounds familiar, it's because he's an attorney who helped managed the Obama administration's response to Benghazi and Solyndra investigations.

And this news comes as President Biden could be questioned in the classified documents investigation, and also, of course, is that investigation into his son Hunter Biden ramps up again.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is with us now live from Washington.

So, Jeremy, is there any sense, too, in the White House about this signals in terms of how the administration feels about these investigations and these looming legal issues?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, there's no question that this White House is entering a really critical period right now in terms of both the congressional and the judicial investigations confronting the president, his family, and his administration. And there's a recognition inside the White House of that very fact, and that's why a source familiar with Siskel's selection told me that his experience in managing those congressional investigations by House Republicans in 2011 and 2012 into the Benghazi investigation, that that was viewed as an asset and a key reason for his selection here because keep in mind, President Biden is not only facing that special counsel investigation into his handling of classified documents. His son, Hunter Biden, is also facing a special counsel investigation now as of a few days ago as that investigation evolved. And more broadly, House Republicans who have been carrying out a number of politically charged investigations into the White House are considering launching a more formal impeachment inquiry.

And so, Siskel's experience, not only as -- in the White House counsel's office under Obama managing those congressional investigations but also his time as a federal prosecutor and his time at the Department of Justice makes him prepared, according to former colleagues to handle all of these various matters and the interplay, the complex interplay between those various institutions at a really critical moment -- Erica.

HILL: Yeah, absolutely. Jeremy, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

Also with me now, CNN anchor, Abby Phillip.


Abby, as we look at how all of this is playing out, and Jeremy's reporting there about how the White House is preparing for the ramp up in investigations and questions for the president, this is also happening, of course, amid a reelection bid.

What are the conversations behind the scenes? What have you been told about the concerns of the impact on that campaign and that push for a second term?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. Well, you know, I think the Biden White House is very much aware this is going to be a constant drum beat, and it's going to be coming from inside of Washington and on the campaign trail.

And look, the White House counsel's office is the first line of defense for the president as he faces the prospect that Republicans are going to try to weaponize his son, Hunter Biden against him and also the prospect that there is this documents investigation that is still out there and has not been wrapped up, that is going to take up some of the president's time.

When I talked to White House officials, they are pretty clear eyed that this is not going to go away anytime soon but I don't get the sense, any sense of panic. I think they recognize that they just have to be ready to deal with it, ready to deal with it without engaging too deeply, and then when the campaign is really in full swing, then it becomes a political challenge for the president's campaign aides to respond to the political attacks that will be coming from the other Republican candidates as they run in the primary and then later the nominee.

HILL: Look, we have already heard some of those attacks, right, we're hearing them across the board from the candidates. I'm sure we'll hear more of them tomorrow night at that debate. Is there more conversation happening about when and how President Biden should engage? Should he be more forceful in the attacks and talking about the indictments, for example?

PHILLIP: There's not a sense in the Biden world that the president should be engaging in this conversation at all. I think that they believe that this needs to just simply play out and, I mean, when you take a look at it, Trump has now been indicted four times. Biden doesn't really have to say anything. That is going to speak for itself.

This White House and President Biden's campaign, they are happy to let Republicans sort out their primary without having President Biden engaged in it. They want him to remain involved in the work of the president of the United States, and frankly, to stay above the fray on this stuff. So, there's no eagerness that I have heard to get in there and join in on the attacks because the message that they want to carry forward into this 2024 race is that Biden is the president, and he's doing work on behalf of the American people, not getting involved in some of this political stuff.

HILL: That push from pundits to perhaps be a little bit more forceful, being ignored. When we look at where things stand, though, I mean, look, it's sort of a lackluster campaign at this point. I was struck by this recently AP poll, which was 75 percent of American adults don't want to see President Biden run for reelection.

And there's been a struggle, I think, to put it mildly. Bidenomics is not really catching on, not really lighting a fire under folks. We know there's this big new ad buy that's rolling out in key battleground states. Publicly, there's not going to be a conversation about it, but privately, how much concern is there in the White House and the campaign about this lack of enthusiasm for Joe Biden?

PHILLIP: Yeah, look, there is definitely concern that President Biden doesn't engender the same kind of enthusiasm that they would hope that he would, that his age is pretty persistent concern not just for people on the other side of the aisle but even among Democrats and independents, these are real things that are out there. I think the perspective that they have on it, though, is that it's baked in the cake. This is the candidate that they have, and they have to run the campaign, not based on what they wish for, but what actually is.

But it's a real concern. They have to run a campaign with a president who is 80 years old, who is going to have different needs. He's going to have to have a certain pace.

They're saying publicly that they're going to follow the play book as President Obama who didn't really start campaigning in earnest until much later in the year. You'll see that. But I think there's also a recognition that President Biden, at his age, is not going to be able to do the same kind of frenetic pace you might see from younger candidates as well.

HILL: Abby, appreciate it. Great to see you. Thanks.

PHILLIP: Thanks, Erica.

HILL: Terrifying threats aimed at the president and his youngest son. Just ahead, a look at the increase in threats aimed at people involved in this Fulton County case and this, of course, as we are keeping a close watch on the courthouse and the jail as you see here, awaiting more information on potential surrender agreements or surrenders by those codefendants.

Stay with us.



HILL: A Chicago woman has been charged with threatening to kill former President Trump and his 17-year-old son. Prosecutors say Tracy Fiorenza sent e-mails to the head of a Florida school saying she wanted to shoot Trump and his son Barron. The rest comes just two weeks after FBI agents shot and killed a Utah man while investigating his threats against President Joe Biden, and a Texas woman was charged with threatening to kill Judge Tanya Chutkan, the federal judge overseeing that 2020 election case.

I want to bring in now, CNN chief law enforcement and intelligence analyst John Miller, and Charlie Bailey is back with us, the former Fulton County senior district attorney.

So, John, this was apparently on the FBI's radar. There are a lot of people as I know from you on the radar, but in terms of the broader impact, how do you stay on top of all of these people? It feels like there's an increase in the concern over these threats and the number of threats.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: You know, it's a toxic environment, and some is driven by social media. But you have the Texas woman who threatened the judge in Washington.


You have a Chicago woman who was arrested yesterday for reaching out to the headmaster of young Barron Trump's school in Florida and threatening to shoot him and Donald Trump directly in the face. She was known to the Secret Service for other threats. And on the flip side of that, you've got numerous threats coming in to the district attorney in Georgia, to the sheriff and their employees at the jail.

So, yeah, what we're seeing is a lot of energy, negative energy.

HILL: You mentioned those threats specifically in Georgia. The District Attorney Fani Willis had actually, when telling people to be on alert and more vigilant had actually shared some of the threats she and her office received.

When we're looking at the jurors having to be concerned, Charlie. Employees of the sheriff's office having to be concerned, how do you protect them? What do you -- what do you tell folks in Fulton County, especially those even just reporting for jury duty?

BAILEY: Well, it's of utmost importance that the judge and the D.A.'s office in this case set down a line early that this kind of conduct is not going to be tolerated. You know, threats and prosecutions, they happen. You know, it's not common, but it's not rare.

But it cannot be the case that regular folks are just going around and living their lives come under threat as jurors. And so when it happens, I'm confident that the Fulton County sheriff's deputies, the Atlanta Police Department, they'll track down who's doing this. If appropriate, they'll prosecute those folks, and you have to lay that line down that it's not going to be tolerated. If you don't, then that's when you encourage further conduct.

HILL: John, you and I have talked on numerous occasions over the years about this shift, it seems, in this country of people dealing with a disagreement, perhaps, even a person they don't know, but disagreeing with how they may feel on a particular issue. Turning to violence to try to, I guess, somehow make their point known.

Is there a sense that we can come back from that, John?

MILLER: I certainly hope so. I mean, when you look at the issues we're facing and the debates there, whether it was people showing up at polling sites with long rifles and folding chairs and sitting there to intimidate others, and whether it's the Proud Boys showing up in full camouflage with AR-15 rifles at drag queen story hours where children are present, we're seeing a acting out of not just sentiments and words but bringing dangerous props like loaded weapons and taking advantage of laws that allow that, strictly for the purpose of intimidation. There's no other reason for that.

The threats are, you know, a subtext that goes on in this, which is just routine harassment, including the grand jurors in this case, who brought the indictment being doxxed, their photographs used, their social media inundated with comments and threats. It's a -- it's a thing where those examples need to be set with arrests.

HILL: John Miller, Charlie Bailey, appreciate you both joining us this afternoon. Thank you.

We are continuing to keep a close watch on both the Fulton County courthouse and the Fulton County jail where more of Trump's codefendants could show up at any moment.

Still to come here on THE LEAD, a story of alleged espionage involving two NBA teams.



HILL: In our world lead, a harrowing rescue in Pakistan. Take a look at these images. A cable car, you see it there, hanging by a single wire after another snapped. You see a rescuer there trying to help.

Officials say six children and two teachers were trapped inside the cable car for more than 12 hours. They were dangling some 900 feet over a mountainous region. All eight were safely rescued either by helicopter or zip liners. Remarkable.

In our sports lead today, the New York Knicks are suing a former employee as well as staff for the Toronto Raptors for allegedly stealing proprietary information. The Knicks claim that Raptors head coach and other personnel actually conspired with that ex-Knicks employee to give them the confidential information, including scouting videos, research on other teams.

CNN's Coy Wire has more for us.

So, Coy, I mean, it sounds pretty serious. But also, what specifically could they get? Could the Raptors gain from getting all this information?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: A lot. A lot, Erica. You know, the Raptors and Knicks, they're Atlantic division rivals. They play each other at least four times a season. As a former NFL player, defensive back, if I knew what types of routes my division rival were to run against me, if you have the game planning intel from your rivals, scouting reports on individual players, it could be a big advantage potentially.

According to the lawsuit, the Raptors defendants directed former Knicks director of video analytics and player development, Ike Azotam, quote, to misuse is access Knicks subscription to Synergy Sports, to create and then transfer more than 3,000 files consisting of film and data to the Raptors, and that the stolen files were accessed more than 2,000 times by the Raptors defendants.

The Knicks found a way, Erica, for example, to slow down Celtics star Jason Tatum and the Raptors can now use those tactics while they play Boston. That would be a potential good advantage for them.

HILL: Yeah, certainly would. What about in terms of the Raptors? What's their response here?


WIRE: Yeah, the Raptors have responded through a company that owns the team which says, quote: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment responded promptly, making clear our intention to conduct an internal investigation and to fully cooperate. The company strongly denies any involvement in the matters alleged. MLSE and the Toronto Raptors will reserve comment until this has been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, unquote.

We'll see how far, how deep this potentially goes and who may be involved, Erica.

HILL: Yeah, allegedly accessing 2,000 -- more than 2,000 times. That is a lot.

Coy Wire, really appreciate it. Thank you.

WIRE: Got it.

HILL: As we move on to the top of the hour here, another live look for you outside the Fulton County jail in Atlanta. Two of Donald Trump's co-defendants turned themselves in today. More struck surrender deal agreements.

So, what else could be coming tonight? Who else could make their way there?

CNN's Wolf Blitzer picks up our live coverage next in "THE SITUATION ROOM."