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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Giuliani Surrenders At Fulton County Jail, Bond Set At $150K; Russian Media: Prigozhin Listed Among Passengers In Plane Crash; Russian Authorities Say Prigozhin Was On Plan That Crashed, And Wagner-Linked Social Media Says Prigozhin Has Been Killed; Giuliani Booked In Georgia Election Case, Released On $150K Bond. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired August 23, 2023 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And also, of course, watching what's happening in Fulton County where we just saw Rudy Giuliani, the former president's former lawyer, booked on $150 bond.
Extraordinary, booked in jail, and then off to a bail bondsman to secure that process. Something the likes of which you just don't really see.
To all of our guests, thank you so much.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER with much more news on all this starts right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake Tapper.
We are following several breaking stories, including the possible death of Russian warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin who attempted, of course, a mutiny against Vladimir Putin exactly two months ago. Russia state media claims Prigozhin was on the passenger list of a plane that crashed and burned this afternoon. Videos on social media do show plane pulling out of the sky. State media claiming all 10 people onboard were killed.
But it is important to note, CNN does not currently have confirmation that Prigozhin was, in fact, on that plane.
We are also following this other breaking story of Georgia, where Donald Trump's former attorney Rudy Giuliani was just released after being arrested in Fulton County. He stopped to speak with reporters outside of the jail. We'll bring you those comments, but also let you know that Sidney Powell, another former Trump attorney, surrendered at that jail just moments before Giuliani.
They, of course, are just two of the 19 people charged in this 2020 election case in Georgia.
CNN's Nick Valencia is outside the Fulton County jail, and he was right there as Giuliani got out of the car to make some remarks.
Nick, you were able to get in a couple questions. What did Giuliani tell you?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Giuliani seemed to be speaking to us directly here at CNN. He was playing the victim, saying that he had been charged for essentially doing his job to help the former president as an attorney. He said that he was being unjustly charged and challenged anybody to find a prosecutor with his record in the last 100 years.
We asked him several questions. First being who paid for his private jet down here because we were told that he had been trying to get people to help him pay for his legal bills? Listen to him and what he told reporters as he exited the jail after being arrested and surrendered.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY & CO-DEFENDANT: She has violated people's First Amendment right to advocate the government -- to petition the government for grievances, like an election they believe was poorly conducted or falsely conducted. People have a right to believe that in America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: We asked him also why people should believe him now since in a civil suit, he all but admitted making false comments against election workers in Georgia. He pushed back to that claim, calling us liars saying that the media is doing what it does and lying. He then got in his car and took off.
We understand that he stopped by a bail bondsman on his way out of here. We don't understand or know exactly what he's doing the rest of the day. We assume that he is going back to his New York residence. But some dramatic scenes here outside the Fulton County jail as it has been a revolving door of activity here as these 19 defendants continue to turn themselves in -- Erica.
HILL: Yeah, it certainly has. And as we mention, of course, I know have you been monitoring Sidney Powell also reporting there earlier today. Has Sidney Powell emerged at this point?
VALENCIA: No, and we're hoping that we get to ask the same questions to them when they come out. Some have made comments to the media. John Eastman has stopped by our cameras yesterday to issue a statement and also say that he has no regrets in the representing the former president.
So, defendants are speaking and making comments. We were told that Giuliani was expected to speak to the president, that's exactly what he did. We're now standing by potentially for that to happen with Sidney Powell -- Erica.
HILL: All right. Nick, appreciate it. We know that you will let us know as soon as that does happen. Of course, we will be having much more of those headlines from Georgia a bit later in the hour.
But I do want to turn now to this other major breaking news in our world lead. Russian state media reporting that notorious warlord Yevgeny Prigozhin is likely dead. Prigozhin, of course, is the leader of the private Russian mercenary group Wagner, and was a key ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Prigozhin's army helping Putin to carry out some of his bloodiest crusades in Ukraine, especially in the eastern city of Bakhmut, which earned the title of the human meat grinder.
And then Prigozhin, as you recall, now turned against the Russian ministry of defense, claiming it offered insufficient ammunition and resources to his battalion, slamming Putin's generals and that led to a failed armed mutiny to Moscow in June exactly two months ago.
CNN's Matthew Chance starts us off from London on this.
So, Matthew, besides what Russian state media is reporting, what other verifiable information is there at this hour in terms of that plane crash and who may have been in board.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, verifiable information is extremely hard to come by. I mean, state media is the main source of it at the moment because they're being fed information by the various institutions inside Russia that are sort of looking at this crash scene, investigating it, pulling the bodies out.
But the emergency situation's emergency as well and the official investigators at that scene are also issuing statements as well. And they confirm the aviation authorities, for instance, have confirmed that there were 10 people on board. They within the past few seconds issued a list of the passengers on board and Yevgeny Prigozhin's name is on that passenger list.
State media is, of course, saying that everybody on board was killed. But the only eight bodies so far have been retrieved and none of them yet, according to these official sources have been identified positively as Yevgeny Prigozhin. So that's one of the reasons why we're still holding back from saying definitely certainly that Prigozhin was killed in this crash.
And there's one other reason as well, we don't ever really know exactly where Prigozhin is. He popped up on what was meant to be a video from somewhere in Africa a couple of days ago. So he would have had to go back to Moscow to take this flight which was en route to St. Petersburg which is, of course, possible.
But also there was a situation I remember a couple years ago, I think in 2019, when there was another plane crash in an African country. I think it was in the Democratic Republic of Congo in which Yevgeny Prigozhin was meant to be on board as well and meant to have died but actually turned out that he had not.
So, you know, obviously, we're exercising some caution when it comes to saying categorically that Prigozhin died in this crash. But all the pointers, I have to say at the moment are that he was on the passenger list. He may well -- it looks like at the moment, he was on board. You can see from those pictures nobody walked away from that fireball.
HILL: Russia's air transport minister, I believe, also speaking out. There's also this Wagner-linked social media channel that's just announced that Prigozhin is dead. Would that be a more official confirmation at this point?
CHANCE: Well, unfortunately, it's not official. There's lots of pro- Wagner Telegram channels out there that are saying that Prigozhin is dead and they're saying that he was killed by traitors inside Russia. That pretty ominous, pretty worrying for the situation that they follow this event, if indeed, it is the killing of Yevgeny Prigozhin.
But what we have not heard yet is anything from Wagner itself, or from Concord which is the group that runs Wagner that Prigozhin ran. And he, himself, you know, said, look, you should only trust what Concord says. You shouldn't trust all these pro-Wagner Telegram channels. So, he's been saying that for some months now. And so, we're taking his advice I suppose and waiting for Concord to actually issue a statement.
HILL: So I'm just getting word too that Russian authorities are now confirming that he was on board and that he is in fact dead as we wait though for further confirmation. One of the things that I found really remark build as just how many of these details came out so quickly. How much video was out there so quickly after this from different angles and then this quick announcement that there was a Russian-led investigation.
I mean, Matthew, you know perhaps better than anyone right now at this network what that should tell us, right? That this media blitz so quickly happened?
CHANCE: Yeah, I mean, I don't want to go so far as to say Russia media knew this was coming, because I don't think that's the case, but clearly, they have been kept across these developments very carefully. You have to remember that Russia media isn't just some independent journalists going about news gathering. I mean, this is the main conduit by which the Russian state, the Kremlin communicates information to the Russian public. And so, in some ways, there are sort of they're spokespeople and platform, official platform for the Kremlin.
It's interesting that when this crash took place which is approximately 6:00, I think 6:13 is when it disappeared from radar this plane, local time, so that was about 11:00, 11:30, 11:16 in the United States in Eastern Time. Putin was in the city of Kursk elsewhere in Russia, talking about loyalty to the motherland. He was commemorating the 80th anniversary since the Second World War battle of Kursk, which was very famous, big tank battle, talking about how loyalty in that battle and loyalty during what he calls the special military operation, the war in Ukraine was equally important.
It all sort of kind of points to this idea that Vladimir Putin is off their celebrating loyalty, where, meanwhile, the man who led the coup -- or the attempted coup against Vladimir Putin's Kremlin two months to the day before this crash seems to have been on board and to have met his end.
HILL: Yeah, two interesting anniversaries on that same day as we know Putin does enjoy a chance to mark an anniversary. Matthew, appreciate it. Stay with us.
I also want to bring in CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward.
So, Clarissa, you have covered for years the notorious Wagner group. You uncovered, of course, Wagner training ground in the Central African Republic. Give us a sense of what this would mean to these vast operations for Wagner across the world if, in fact, Yevgeny Prigozhin is dead?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a seismic moment, Erica. I mean, the question now becomes who takes this over. This Wagner operation has been taking place not just in the Central African Republic where it really sort of all started when we were there, but also in Mali and Libya. It has strategic importance. It has commercial importance.
And so, the question becomes what is the succession plan? Is there a succession plan? There have been rumblings that the Kremlin has indeed been working on a succession plan and that they have set up another kind of rival PMC to carry out this type of work, particularly in Africa.
But, the real problem is that up until the war in Ukraine, Wagner had something that the Kremlin does not, they had plausible deniability. They didn't even officially exist on paper. And that meant that they could go along and work with whatever kind of leader and participate in massacres and do all the kinds of things the states can't really do with impunity, basically.
So, if the Kremlin is hoping to continue these operations, it will have to think very carefully about how it goes about doing that because it will have lost that veneer that Wagner gave it of plausible deniability or distance from some of the massacres that we know Wagner operatives have been involved in the past.
HILL: It is interesting, too, when you point that out, which is so important to take into account and then also what we see in terms of the warnings that we have heard from leaders from other folks over last couple of months since that failed -- you know, march to Moscow that we saw two months ago with Prigozhin and how Putin feels about traitors, how Putin feels about people who turn on him or who challenge him.
Alexei Navalny, of course, a great example, what happened to him when he returned to Russia, which I think makes it all the more fascinating when we saw Prigozhin turned up in Russia not that long ago, and to be there. It's remarkable that he would be back there after what we saw, Clarissa.
WARD: It's -- honestly, this is something I've asked myself so many times. How is he wandering around casually, coolly, popping up in St. Petersburg, traveling to Africa, back and forth to Belarus seemingly without a care in the world. Either this man has extraordinary amounts of chutzpah, which partially I'm being a little facetious. But partially, I do think that's part of it, and part of the image that he cultivated, or did he possibly have some sense from someone in the security services that he had been pardoned or forgiven.
We know that he did sit down with President Putin in the days after the mutiny. We don't know exactly what was discussed at that meeting. But did he leave it under the illusion that potentially he could live out his life and die of old age. It's hard to believe that he could seriously think that because Prigozhin understands fundamentally that Putin does not accept traitors, that he does not accept betrayal. And by the way, Prigozhin was the same way in terms of espousing that very, very hard-line ideology.
So, this is a question honestly, Erica, that I think will keep people talking on Twitter and online for many, many years, trying to unravel and really fundamentally get to grips and understand why exactly Prigozhin believed that he might get away with this. And frankly, that was a question that was asked just after the mutiny as well. How on earth did he think he was going to be able to pull this off?
HILL: Which is exactly what I was thinking as you were saying that. We can't ignore, too, what else is happening in Russia in this moment, right? I have heard so many people in the last couple hours talk about the importance of this being the anniversary, this two months today, since that failed mutiny -- how much, how much Putin likes an anniversary. And also the state of the war at this point, whether there needed to be something to maybe shore up Putin's image.
How much of all of that do you think could have potentially been a factor if, and a big if, obviously, there was -- this was a planned attack because Prigozhin was on that plane, and because someone wanted him gone?
WARD: I mean, if this was indeed an assassination, I think it's really important that it wasn't just Prigozhin who was killed.
There were others on that plane. Dmitri Utkin was on that plane, one of Wagner's top operatives. So if this was a targeted assassination, then it's clear that the Kremlin is really trying to just draw a line under this whole thing altogether. Because it's important to note, Erica, that Prigozhin has quite a lot of support in Russia, and particularly from these hard-liners who do not feel that the ministry of defense has been executing a good job in Ukraine, who do not feel that they have been harsh enough in their tactics who accuse them of being corrupt and incompetent and ineffective.
And that chorus of voices has become far proper outspoken as Prigozhin has kind of created a space to allow that kind of criticism which frankly would have been inconceivable even a couple of years ago. So what will be interesting to see, I think going forward, is do we continue to hear from those hard-liners. Do they continue to criticize the ministry of defense and the war effort in Ukraine in terms of from the Russian side or whether this fundamentally put a stop to those conversations?
And also, what happens to the remaining elements of Wagner, the operatives who had set up a camp in Belarus. Those who have refused the offer of clemency essentially from President Putin and to officially go and join up with the Russian army. Will they now face repercussions now that it appears that their leader Prigozhin is gone?
HILL: Yes, all such important questions.
Clarissa Ward, really appreciate you being with us today. Thank you.
CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean also with us.
So, Pete, as we look at the videos that have been posted of this crash, these moments, as I have heard a number of times, a plane at 28,000 feet does not just fall out of the sky. What do you see in these videos that have been posted?
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: So many people are looking at these videos, Erica. In fact, the former managing director of NTSB tells me an airplane like this does not come out of the sky like this without some sort of help. Look at the video of this airplane free falling here. You can see what appears to me to be vaporized fuel trailing behind them.
This is what's really interesting. And when you take it a layer further and if you slow the video down, and bring up a still here, this is a little blurry but this is the airplane you can see the fuselage here, you can see one wing here, what is missing is the other wing. That is where this gets really eerie.
And investigations in the U.S. typically investigators would go through and rule things out. Was this a mid-air collision? Was this something like a structural failure where the airplane broke apart mid-flight? Was this another type of emergency or was this airplane shot down?
And that is the thing that investigators will really to look at here if this is in fact a transparent investigation. We'll get to that in a second.
Let's look at the flight path because there's some more real interesting clues here. This is the data from FlightRadar24. And that data says that this airplane was a 28,000 feet going 590 miles an hour on a northwesterly heading, going northwest from Moscow to Tver, then it suddenly stopped. That says that there is something that really went awry here. The airplane was leveled it wasn't climbing or descending. It didn't suddenly fall out of the sky on its own.
So when you start piecing things together that is when things really get interesting. So now the real question here, is will Russia play with international agencies and manufacturers worldwide who may have a stake in this? This Embraer airplane was built in Brazil. The avionics likely come out of the United States. Usually, they would be party to an investigation like this. Will Russia bring them into the fold or will they be shut out?
That is going to be something that will be very interesting to follow here and if they're shutout, it may lead to the worst possible scenario here that this plane was potentially shot down, Erica. A lot of really big questions right now.
HILL: A lot of big questions, and if, in fact, they were brought in, will they be given or would they be given full access?
HILL: Pete, really appreciate it. Thank you.
We are going to continue to follow this breaking news out of Russia. Just ahead, the former secretary of defense and head of the CIA, Leon Panetta, will join us with more.
Plus, new developments out of Georgia. Just moments ago, Rudy Giuliani leaving the bail bondsman office after surrendering at the Fulton County jail.
HILL: Back now with our world lead. Russian authorities say Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin was in fact on board the plane that crashed in Russia earlier today. A Wagner-linked social media account confirms that Prigozhin had in fact been killed.
Just last hour, President Biden was asked to weigh in on the crash. This is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know for a fact what happened but I'm not surprised.
REPOPRTER: Do you think --
BIDEN: There's much that happens in Russia with Putin not behind. I don't know enough to know the answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: CNN's Alex Marquardt joining us now.
So, Alex, President Biden, other U.S. officials have repeatedly warned Prigozhin could be targeted, could be killed by the Kremlin after that failed mutiny just two months ago in Russia. ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SESCURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yeah,
Erica, they have been talking about this saying it was just a question of when. This is not -- this was expected. This was not -- this would be expected, it's not a question of if but when.
We've heard President Biden and others speaking in very blunt almost joking terms. President Biden saying that Prigozhin should not fire his food taster. The Secretary of State Antony Blinken talking about Russia's open windows policy, a reference to Kremlin critics who have mysteriously fallen from open windows and died.
Then there's the director of the CIA, Bill Burns, who knows Russia and Putin very well, a former ambassador to Russia. He said that essentially that Putin was biding his time. He's trying to figure out what to do with Prigozhin and with Wagner.
And that he said that he would be surprised if Prigozhin didn't face further retribution.
Take a listen to a little bit more of what Director Burns had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BURNS, CIA DIRECTOR: I think Putin is someone who generally thinks that revenge is a dish best served cold. So he's going to try to settle the situation to the extent he can, but again in my experience, Putin is the ultimate apostle of payback.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: The ultimate apostle of payback. Burns said that Putin is someone who doesn't like to appear rash. He doesn't like to rush things. And so, as you have noted repeatedly, it has now been exactly two months since Prigozhin launched this failed mutiny that is enough time for that dust to settle.
But, Erica, there is in no way any kind of confirmation from the Biden administration that Prigozhin was killed. I spoke to a spokesperson from the National Security Council just a little bit earlier today who said that if confirmed, however, no one should be surprised, echoing what the president had to say -- Erica.
HILL: Alex Marquardt, appreciate it. Thank you.
Joining me now, former U.S. defense secretary, former CIA director, Leon Panetta.
Mr. Secretary, good to have you with us.
You know as we just heard there from Alex, for most officials it was not a question of if but a question of when, noting that Putin was likely biding his time. Would you agree with that assessment and do you think that Putin was involved? LEON PANETTA, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY, OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Yeah, I
think for those of us who dealt with intelligence this is not very surprising. There was a coup attempt two months ago to basically go after Putin. It was one of the biggest threats he's faced as a leader in the time that he's been a leader of Russia.
And then add to that fact that Putin is KGB. He's the KGB agent who has used vengeance to go after those who have in any way crossed him.
So you begin to put all of that evidence together and as I said, it's not surprising that Prigozhin met this end.
HILL: What has been surprising, Clarissa Ward and I were just talking about this before the break, is the fact that we -- I can remember when Prigozhin popped up and everybody was surprised after that mutiny when he popped up again, and the fact that he would be around Russia seemingly going about his business. We're not seeing him on a regular basis but still just the fact he felt comfortable enough, yes, there's a certain degree of popularity that he enjoys in Russia with the Russian people. But did that surprise you?
PANETTA: I think when you look at the approach that Putin has taken in the past, it's basically to allow those that he's targeting to become very comfortable. And I think he did that with Prigozhin. He basically made him feel at home. No kind of retribution would be paid and as he became more comfortable, he became a better target. I think that's what's happened.
HILL: How much of this is, allowing somebody to be comfortable, sort of waiting, maybe a little bit of surprise here do you think would play into it? What about other current events?
For example, what we're seeing with the BRICS nations, this meeting that, of course, Putin couldn't go to in South Africa. All of this happening at once. Do you I think any of that again, if there's a big if here there was some level of involvement from Vladimir Putin --
HILL: -- and if this was a targeted assassination, how much could those events do you believe have played into the decision?
PANETTA: Well, I think this is much simpler than all of that. I think this goes back to when the coup happened. And when somebody made a military coup that threatened to bring Putin down, I think the dye was cast and that from then on, it was just looking for the right opportunity to be able to get back at him.
You know, Putin has a schedule. He's obviously trying to be in a place that doesn't necessarily tie him to what happened with this plane crash. But, I think in the end, there's no question in my mind that once Prigozhin did what he did, that he was going to be targeted one way or another, and that's what happened.
HILL: As we heard in that bite that Alex shared with us from Director Burns, Putin is the ultimate apostle of payback, he said. I was also struck by the amount of information that was made available
seemingly, so quickly, these different angles the video of the crash on state media. We know where that information comes from, right? As Matthew Chance is pointing, these are not independent journalists out there gathering this quickly to bring it back to Russian state media.
Getting that information out so quickly, announcing that there would be an investigation, again, so quickly -- is that all just part of the playbook?
PANETTA: Well, I don't think there's any question it's part of the playbook because, what the -- what that message was is that Russia was announcing that this plane had crash and that Prigozhin was on it. What that sent is a very clear message that if you try to threaten Putin in any way, as Prigozhin did, you're going to pay a price. That message is loud and clear and the Russians have made it known that you cross Putin and you're not going to be around very long.
HILL: Really quickly, we're out of time just a yes or no. Do you ever believe we'll fully know what happened?
PANETTA: I don't -- I don't expect that there's going to be a kind of full investigation as to what happened with this plane. I would be very surprised if they found some innocent cause of this plane crash. I don't think there's any question one way or another it was blown up.
HILL: Secretary Panetta, always appreciate your insight and your time. Thank you.
PANETTA: Good to be with you.
HILL: So, while we don't know exactly what happened to that plane carrying Prigozhin at this hour, what we do know is that Russia has shot down passenger planes in the past. We're going to take a closer look at those incidents just ahead.
Also, keeping a close eye on all of the developments out of Fulton County, Georgia, where Rudy Giuliani just posted bond and was released from the Fulton County jail. This as another former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell is being processed at that jail.
Stay with us for those developments next.
HILL: Our law and justice lead here following our other major breaking news story in Georgia just moments ago. As you see here, Rudy Giuliani leaving a bail bonds office after, of course, being arrested, processed and released later this afternoon.
The Fulton County sheriff telling CNN Giuliani was treated and processed like everybody else who was booked at that jail. That means fingerprinted, mug shots taken. Sidney Powell also surrendered at the jail today. So that now brings the total to eight, the number of defendants who have so far turned themselves in.
Sources telling CNN Trump is expected to leave his New Jersey home tomorrow afternoon to make his way down to Georgia for his arrest there in Fulton County.
CNN's Paula Reid is live outside the Fulton County courthouse.
So, Paula, Giuliani spoke to reporters after his arrest. Pretty defiant?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: He is defiant. He was in the sheriff's office for just under an hour, Erica, and as part of the processing, the surrender he had a mug shot taken. That should be public within the next 24-hours or so. Pretty remarkable considering at one time he was one of the top prosecutors in the United States. Now, he's a criminal defendant with a mugshot.
Now, before he went to surrender at the sheriff's office, his legal team was here at the Fulton County courthouse meeting with the district attorney and negotiating the terms of his release. He has a $150,000 bond. He has to post a percentage of that in cash. He's also subject to certain restrictions in order not to be detained.
Among those restrictions, he cannot talk about this case with any of his codefendants. Former president Trump is, of course, one of his codefendants in this case. We know the former president, Rudy has pleaded with him to help him with his legal bills. The former president has agreed to help him with some fund-raisers to raise some money towards these bills. It's unclear how they're going to continue this relationship, continue raising money for him and not discuss this case at all.
Now, the mayor is headed back to New York. A source tells me he wanted to get in and out, do his bond and a surrender all today before the former president comes to Atlanta tomorrow.
But, Erica, I want to point out, that Rudy is not headed to Hartsfield Jackson to get on a Delta flight back to Manhattan. He's riding on a private jet, and it's unclear right now how he can afford that considering just last week his lawyers were in court telling a judge that he does not have enough money to pay his legal bills and did not expect to be able to pay those bills any time soon. He was asked about that at his gaggle there and he declined to answer.
HILL: Yeah, our colleague Nick Valencia asking that directly. He ignored that question.
Paula, you mentioned the fact that the former president is expected to make his way down there to Atlanta to surrender tomorrow. What do we have in terms of details on that timing?
REID: Well, Erica, the district attorney's office is adamant that all the defendants here will be treated the same. But there's one big difference. Of course, Trump is a former president he has Secret Service details. So, just logistically, this is a little more complicated.
But right now, we expect that he will come to Atlanta to surrender in the evening. So, after rush hour traffic. I mean, if have you ever tried to drive in Atlanta, it's kind of a nightmare.
So, logistically, it will make easier with his motorcade. He is going to surrender to the Fulton County sheriff tomorrow evening and as of now, it is expected he will go through that same surrender process which involves fingerprints, and likely a mug shot.
Now, he did not have a mug shot taken in his federal cases or his criminal case in Manhattan. But right now in Fulton County, we do expect he will have a mug shot. So far all of those mug shots have been released publicly. So, a significant unprecedented event in American history to have a former president with a mug shot. But we expect tomorrow he will be in and out.
This will be a quick trip to Atlanta from Bedminster, New Jersey.
HILL: Yeah. And as you point out, you do need to time that right. Having lived in Atlanta for five years, I know all about that traffic you reference.
Paula, appreciate it.
Also joining me now, CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins is here.
So, Kaitlan, so when we -- when we look at this, any other time there's been an indictment, anytime there's been any activity here legally, this is a boon for the president, former president in terms of fundraising. He really uses it, plays it off of it, plays it up on social media, even posted that he's going to be proudly arrested tomorrow on true social.
But privately, what are the concerns?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR, THE SOURCE: Well, I think they are trying to use it two-fold. Essentially, one, which is how do they continue to use it as this boon. I mean, that's -- part of the reason why he's not showing up at the debate tonight is because he is so far ahead in the polling and part of that is a surge we saw -- something, you know, Ron DeSantis laments after his first indictment.
And so, they certainly do try to juice it and essentially get as much out of it. He's likely going to speak after he turns himself in tomorrow before he gets on the plane to come back to New Jersey. And so, I think when you see that, there's certainly trying to use it.
But the other part of this is he's facing four indictments. The legal fees are really piling up that they understand that this is going to be potentially extremely protracted case, they don't know what the future will look like. His attorneys in Georgia, of course, are the ones who are going to be there with him tomorrow. So, certainly, it does weigh on him in that sense. And I think it changes the political calculus, which is, you know, what he has -- what he has said privately and acknowledged privately is that this campaign has a lot to do or mainly almost everything to do with the fact that he is running because of these legal troubles as legal insulation. And so, that's a big part of it, too.
Like yes, he enjoys it, yes, to the sense he raises money from it, it boosts his poll numbers but also he feels that he has to essentially because this is his main source of protection when it comes to these trials.
HILL: It's also fascinating when you look at this, and I'm thinking not only of developments out of the Mar-a-Lago case yesterday, but when we look at the inner circle how many people who have been so close to the former president are now facing charges themselves. We're seeing them surrender in Georgia, looking at Rudy Giuliani.
I mean, that's got to weigh a little bit?
COLLINS: I mean, look at all their mug shots. I mean, the ones coming out today --
COLLINS: -- that's what is the most stunning someone who has covered this and was covering this from -- before the election and then in the aftermath of the election, up to January 6th, seeing the mug shots of these people who worked for the Trump campaign, who were inside the Oval Office and now they're negotiating their own bond agreements and showing up to surrender themselves, people like Kenneth Chesebro in a sense. I mean, that is what's remarkable.
Another part is there are a lot of people who aren't personally wealthy that aren't named Trump, that don't have a legal defense fund. Right now, we don't if anyone whose legal fees he is paying when it comes to the Georgia case. And so, these are really long cases the racketeering ones.
And so, the question of course how do they get outside assistance, do they seek cooperation because they can't afford to pay for something like this? I mean, Paula raises a really good question about Rudy's private plane.
COLLINS: The fact that Rudy Giuliani's private plane, the fact that that is such a real issue for him and posting bond just shows you what the havoc this has wreaked on the people around him.
HILL: I want to let you know, too, that Jenna Ellis just surrendered. I mean, speaking of legal fight --
COLLINS: Speaking of financial troubles. HILL: -- and financial questions.
COLLINS: She's the one complaining probably the most about it. She was one of the most prolific pushers of lies about the 2020 election. She's the one who called Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, this elite strike force. She's someone who is out there and now she's complaining that MAGA Inc., you know, this entire movement, is not covering her legal bills, and it's a real issue, and I think she only raised a few thousand dollars the last time I checked for her legal bills.
And so, for people like that, it does raise a real question about what the future holds. But, also, I mean, these are the allegations about their own actions that they chose to take.
HILL: Right, I mean, there's that which we have heard from a number of our own legal analysts. Yes, there can be these concerns. But the reality is if you make certain choices in life, there are likely going to be consequences. Sometimes they come with criminal charges.
Kaitlan, appreciate it.
Well, the charges against Giuliani are just part, of course, of his problems. Just ahead, as we were just touching on he's struggling to find a legal team to help his defense.
HILL: I'm back now with our breaking news coverage. Just moments ago, former Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis surrendered at the Fulton County jail, which we expect she will be arrested, fingerprinted, have her mugshot taken. Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell also turned themselves in earlier today.
So as we take a look at everything that's happened, we also had a little development when it comes to Mark Meadows, who, of course, has filed to have his case moved to federal court. Yesterday said, hey, I want all of my -- I want my arrest to be on hold, don't issue a warrant because we have hearing on Monday. Fani Willis responding this afternoon, saying that the request was, quote, improper, and that he should face the hardship of being booked like any other defendant.
I don't think that's a surprise to anyone based on what we saw in that initial filing.
But, Mike, I'm curious, how do you think the judge is going to respond here?
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: You know, he's called for an evidentiary hearing. So, that's a little unusual at this stage to get these people in this early that's Monday. He might very well give him a little grace period until Monday just to -- because he is actually holding court to make a decision about it.
At the same time, sort of the path of least resistance is let him be processed like everybody else and move on then have the hearing on Monday about whether or not the case should be transferred. I mean, that's the fight. The fight is not over whether or not you get turned or not that's going to happen regardless if he stays a defendant in the case. This is really more about what happens. Does it transfer or does it stay in state court?
HILL: So, when -- I mean, ultimately what -- beyond delaying the inevitable, what's your -- what's your legal reasoning for doing this counselor?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's a smart move by the defendants to try to get over into federal court. We know Mark Meadows is doing that. We know Jeffrey Clark is trying and I'm certain Donald Trump will try.
HILL: Well, everyone's waiting, right?
HILL: That's -- the big question is when will that happen?
HONIG: Exactly. I mean, you do have to do it within 30 days. So, I think we'll see these motions fairly quickly. But if they win these motions, and they have a shot, I don't think they're likely to win these motion but they have a reasonable shot.
That is a game changer. You go from state to federal court if you're Donald Trump a much better jury pool, much more favorable to you based on the 2020 election data, you have a very conservative federal appeals court, 11th Circuit, backing you up.
And most importantly, if you can get this into federal court you're then in position to ask for a dismissal if you can make a very difficult showing in this case that you're acting within the parameters of your job. Prosecutors are going to furiously refute that, but that's the battleground.
HILL: Looking at where else we stand, I almost feel like we're rapid fire such a busy afternoon so get ready.
Rudy Giuliani today, there's been so much made of really the fall from grace of America's mayor, the fact he was once one of the top prosecutors in the country. The fact there are also questions about who is ultimately going to be defending him, David and how he will pay his legal bills?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICLA COMMENTATOR: I think it's a good question, right.
HILL: How much does that figure in do you think in terms of where he will come down? He was defiant outside the jail just a few moments ago with our colleague Nick Valencia. But how long does that last?
URBAN: I think it lasts forever. Michael and I were talking about that. I think today was one of Rudy Giuliani's best performances in the past year or so, right? I mean, he was -- he said all the right things. He was cogent, coherent. You know, his hair color was a normal color, right? That appears in --
HILL: The important thing.
URBAN: Yeah. But no, he was, and he posted some serious questions. If lawyers can't push kind of novel legal theories, right, in defense of their clients, what can they do? It's a question I think that's going to need to be answered.
These cases all kind of impact the intersection of law, public policy, right, and campaigning and politics, right. Where those intersect will be very important here.
HILL: So in that we know is the defense that we're going to be hearing from John Eastman. We're hearing it from his attorneys. I just want to play a little bit from what one had to say last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARVEY SILVERGLATE, ATTORNEY FOR JOHN EASTMAN: His role was 100 percent that of a lawyer trying to come up with creative ideas that push the margin of the law in order to reverse the Electoral College count. So he's unique. He is on trial for being a lawyer who was coming up with creative ideas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: I guess the question is when do -- when do creative ideas and legal advice turn criminal?
HONIG: Yeah, there's a fair point in what Mr. Silverglate is saying there, what John Eastman is saying, what Rudy Giuliani has said. We have to be really careful. We cannot criminalize atrocious lawyering. People lost arguments in court all the time.
I've lost. You probably lost once or twice, Michael.
MOORE: Once or twice.
URBAN: I'm the bond lawyer. You've never lost.
People lose 9 -- people lose 9-0 in the Supreme Court, judges throw out motions, judges say this is frivolous, but that doesn't make it criminal. But what prosecutors are alleging is this was more than just bad lawyering. This was part of a broader conspiracy of fraud and attempt to steal the election.
But, don't listen to anyone who says it's an easy case. This is going to be a really difficult case.
URBAN: Which they need proof beyond a reasonable doubt to 11 people.
HILL: Right, right.
URBAN: Twelve, you can have -- exactly.
HILL: I think we just got in and this is quick, by the way, Rudy Giuliani's booking photo. I believe we have? There we go. I mean, it took a while.
We were told yesterday afternoon we'd be getting them, and it took hours later. So the fact this was released to quickly, Michael, why would you release that photo so quickly?
MOORE: You know, the policy is to let it go public to the media. I think that this is one of those times when the flies in the face of the state's argument that they're treating everybody the same because they're not. They're rolling things out as soon as the printer prints and the film is dry, they're giving the photos out.
HILL: Is that because there are so many codefendants here and they are tired of the media saying when am I getting the picture, or is it?
MOORE: I think probably some of both. Honestly I think this is a joke to say this case is being handled like every other case it's not. I mean, you can look at the courthouse you can see the barriers around the streets and the jail, and you can see the camera crowd and you can find out that Trump will be able to come into a completely emptied jail facility to protect his own safety, the Secret Service is arranging that now.
So it's not being handled different. So I think the same is true when we're seeing this process. The photos -- I mean, they're embarrassing for the people that do that. That's about the end of the day.
But the truth is probably the big photo to come, in fact if in fact they go through with their discussions, that being Trump, is just giving him a cash register.
URBAN: Yeah. I mean, if that's Donald Trump's picture tomorrow we're looking at, it's going to give him a couple of bounce in the points in the next poll and millions of dollars.
HILL: And, look, and the campaign was already fund-raising off of fake booking photos, let's remember not that long ago. So to your point even though the sheriff said everybody will be treated same, how much do you weigh the politics of that?
URBAN: And the reason they do booking photos is because --
HONIG: In case the person flees.
HILL: In case the person flees.
URBAN: They don't know who he is. Rudolph Giuliani is one of the most famous people in the world.
HILL: Well, I'm just going to say. We talk about Donald Trump but did you need Rudy Giuliani.
URBAN: It seems a little bit punitive.
HILL: There's a lot -- there's a lot to get to. And we're just about out of time really quickly look at the fact that Jenna Ellis surrendered just a short time ago we were just told.
She most recently was talking again about her legal fees.
Kaitlan and I were just talking about that. How much of a headline will that continue to be the cost for all of these defendants?
MOORE: I think that's a huge thing. And I think you've got some what I would call normal folks who are wrapped up in this case. They are going to probably bankrupt out of it.
And, you know, there will be some lawyers that want to do it for the sake of notoriety. There's some good lawyers like this new motion for speedy trial that we saw today filed, great motion. So, we'll see where they go.
HILL: All right. Appreciate it. Nice to see you all. Thanks for being here.
Just ahead, that plane crash today in Russia, Russian authorities confirming that Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin has, in fact, been killed. Again that's coming from Russian authorities. Now the question is how, who may have been behind it what will the investigation look like with Russia leading it?