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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Soon: Trump Heads To Surrender In Georgia; The Georgia Indictment Of Donald Trump. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired August 24, 2023 - 16:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And you're looking at live images right now of the Fulton County, Georgia jail, where in just a few hours former President Donald Trump will be placed under arrest.

Welcome to THE LEAD and CNN's special coverage of this historic event. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C.

Trump is now making his way down to Georgia. Just a few minutes ago, we saw his motorcade leave his New Jersey golf resort and head to the Newark Airport. The former president announcing his plans on his social media posting, quote, arrest time at 7:30 p.m.


Before Trump's surrender this evening, his former chief of staff of the White House Mark Meadows turned himself in on charges including racketeering. His mug shot was just released. A number of other codefendants have turned themselves in today, but as of now there remain eight individuals including Donald Trump who have yet to surrender. They have until noon tomorrow to do so.

Let's go straight to my colleague Kaitlan Collins who's going to co- anchor the show from outside the Fulton County jail this hour.

Kaitlan, you have some new insight into how Donald Trump and his team are preparing for his arrest.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Jake, this was supposed to happen just a matter of hours from now when Trump is going to head here. He is hyping the time on his own social media account, saying it is going to happen around 7:30 p.m. That is what we have been preparing for.

Jake, one thing, though, that still seems to be not clear to at least Trump's team of what's going to happen once he is here and goes into the Fulton County jail behind me is that idea of whether or not he is going to have a mug shot.

Now, the sheriff here has insisted all along every single day that Trump is going to be treated like every other defendant has, like every other defendant is, which, of course, includes processing, fingerprinting, and having that mug shot taken. We have seen it for everyone else who has turned themselves in, including just Mark Meadows a few hours ago. But I was told as of this morning there were still two people who were involved in those discussions and aware of those discussions who said it was not yet clear whether or not there is going to be a Donald Trump mug shot. They had been having these ongoing conversations about that. Now, whether or not that is what happens I mean it seems like if they are sticking with what the sheriff has been saying which is that he's going to be treated like everyone else that that will be the case when he arrives here in just a matter of hours. But that's just one detail that remains to be sorted out, as he preparing to surrender himself here, Jake.

TAPPER: And this afternoon, the Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis proposed starting Trump's trial on the trial of his 18 codefendants really soon on October 23rd. Trump's team, of course, coming out against that proposal.

What are their arguments as to why October 23rd is not appropriate?

COLLINS: Yeah, just basically two months ago is what they wanted -- what she had proposed. That came as a result of hearing from another codefendant arguing for a speedy trial. It seemed to be the district attorney calling that other codefendant's bluff here.

But Trump's team has weighed in saying that they oppose that date that is no surprise they think that is way too soon. They believe that this is something that should happen much further in the future if it even happens before the presidential election. Obviously, that's something they've been arguing in other cases.

But certainly here given the complexity of this case, not just Trump, it's 18 codefendants, and the RICO charges these racketeering charges that he is facing they are arguing that that should not happen. Of course, what it's ultimately up to is the judge here, Scott McAfee, who is a relatively young judge in this case and what he decides about when that hearing when that trial is actually going to take place.

TAPPER: And, Kaitlan, big news this morning when we learned that Trump is ditching one his criminal defense attorney in Fulton County and he hired a different one. Do we know he decided to switch lawyers, defense attorneys ahead of his surrender later today?

COLLINS: It's not -- yeah, it's not totally surprising to people, Jake, who have been talking to Trump. He was unhappy with his legal team here in Georgia because he's kind of had this idea as he has with other indictments that they should be able to prevent the indictment from happening at all, Jake. And, obviously, that has not been something they've been able to do at least with the other three situations.

But here, the legal team that has been handling this investigation that has been going on for two and a half years, Drew Findling and Jennifer Little and a third attorney. Trump was unhappy that essentially they were able to do that. That's part of what led to the fact that he has been asking around for other attorneys. He's now settled on a top criminal defense attorney from the Atlanta area to go with him. Of course, how they handle this, what this looks like if they're the

ones that ultimately take it to trial remains to be seen. But also a notable development. It's something we've seen happen with other indictments where he has decided to shake up the legal team including with his January 6th legal team on that federal indictment. They brought in John Lauro there around that indictment.

So that is going to be the case going forward that will be the new attorney appearing with Trump here in Atlanta.

TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan --

COLLINS: And, Jake, CNN's Paula Reid is here with me.


COLLINS: Yeah. We've been talking about Mark Meadows and, of course, the fact that he is someone that we just saw Paula, surrender himself a few hours ago. He was trying to not turn himself in at all before that noon deadline tomorrow, but the judge ruled and decided that he did have to.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. He was trying to not to have surrender. He asked a federal judge to delay the deadline to surrender, which is tomorrow at noon, until after his federal case is resolved.


Because right now, Kaitlan, he's asking a federal court to remove the Fulton county case in the federal jurisdiction where he believes he will successfully get it dismissed. But the judge denied that request.

So, earlier today, his lawyers arranged bond. He has a $100,000 bond. Let's suppose a portion of that in cash. And he has a lot of same restrictions that other defendants in this case have. He can talk about the case with other defendants or other witnesses except through lawyers.

But, on Monday, he's going to have a hearing in that federal case. And that effort to try to get his Fulton county prosecution moved to a federal jurisdiction. He believes if he can be successful there, that he will be protected under laws that protect federal officials from state prosecutions, and he argues that everything that he did, everything that's alleged here he did in his role as chief of staff.

But just yesterday, the D.A. Fani Willis, she weighed in and said no. What you did was political activity, wasn't part of your job as the chief of staff. And I think the focus on Monday is really going to be that call between former Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Mark Meadows was on that call, seeing the people they want to talk. So that's going to be really be something to watch on Monday because we know other people, including the former president, are going to try to get their cases removed as well.

COLLINS: Yeah. And, of course, I mean, just stunning to see Mark Meadows' mug shot as people who covered the White House, to see the former chief of staff now have this mug shot that has been published, it's just remarkable.

But also, when you hear, it's not just the district attorney who is saying, no, no, that was not just official White House chief of staff deputies. People like Marc Short, who is Vice President Pence's chief of staff at the time. He described Meadows as this ringleader essentially of the activity that happened here in Georgia.

REID: That's exactly right. For the January 6th committee, one of their big conclusions was that every road of this alleged conspiracy went right through Mark Meadows, which is why it was so surprising when he was not charged in the federal case.

Now, I will say he has one of probably the best legal teams. He's represented by George Terwilliger. He is a top former Justice Department official. He has a great team of lawyers and they have artfully managed to avoid him being prosecuted as at the federal level.

So, I think we there were at the time, clearly when you're the chief of staff everything should run through you. But Mark Meadows, you know, he really tried in many ways to enable everything the former president wanted to do, particularly after the election. So to see this mug shot today, again, it's the first time we've seen him be criminally charged for his alleged activities in and around the election.

COLLINS: Yeah, fascinating to see that hearing on Monday, Jake, of course, and what that looks like going to be a big moment for Mark Meadows overall.

TAPPER: Okay, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

My panel is back with me.

Laura, Mark Meadows is fighting to move -- Laura is over there -- move the trial.


TAPPER: Sorry. I'm trying to read it off the prompter. This is just coming in.

Mark Meadows is fighting to move this case to federal court. Do you think a judge would approve that? And if so, what would that mean for the other codefendants? To move to federal case?

COATES: We're just talking about this because there's a bit of a surprise, surprise in the Wild, Wild West in uncharted territories. You can get things removed to federal court, but you have to meet some criteria. The biggest thing is to know that what you're claiming is look it was part of my job. It's called the color of office.

I was doing that which I was required to do and able to do. And so, this ought to be in federal court. I was chief of staff. However, the elections are the purview of the states and there might

be a bit of a hurdle to climb to suggest that as chief of staff, I had some reason or job reason to meddle as it's alleged in this incidence.

Another thing, of course, is the why you wanted to go to federal court. Number one, a different and wider jury pool, right, not just Fulton County, but the northern district of Georgia which was much more expansive. I think you got, of course, the federal docket, meaning it can be a little bit quicker in the process of it.

The rules for the judges are a little bit more developed. They've published their opinions more often so of course they have a case law precedent to build on.

A number of factors are in play. But if your sole motivation is because you do not want a certain jury, that's not going to bode as well as having a substantive basis to suggest I was doing what I'm allowed to do in my job. But he's got to actually to show that, not the highest of burdens to actually meet but it's significant.

We were talking about what will that mean in terms of removal? Does that mean it's now a state violation and a state conviction? Is it pardonable? A little bit of uncharted territory.


TAPPER: Michael, I want to ask you I heard you talking to Anderson a couple of weeks during a previous indictment/arrest, whatever it was, about jury selection in Atlanta, sometimes it can take quite sometime and now, the judge in this case has a reputation for being very good, very efficient, not allowing a lot of crap going on in his courtroom.

But it can take months for jury selection, right?

MOORE: It can take months. There's another RICO case in Atlanta they've been picking a jury for over seven months.


TAPPER: How is that possible?

MOORE: Well, I mean, if you think about it, you're asking jurors, can they take a year off their life to sit on a jury. So that immediately narrows your panel and it means many people cannot. I mean, if you are a hairdresser, you're going to lose your clients.

TAPER: Right.

MOORE: And if you're a doctor, you are going to lose your patients. And on and on and on. So, child care can be a problem. So, it's --

TAPPER: But that's the issue. But that's -- for every trial, that's the issue.

MOORE: It is, but when you're starting to talk about the length of a trial and what it can take, especially in a case with 19 codefendants, you're talking about a significant amount of time.

I will tell you, I think it would take less time in the federal court. Once difference jury selection in the state court pretty much the lawyers get to do it. You get to talk to the jurors you get to know them. You get to let them know you and you sort of start to lay your case out a little bit.

Federal court is a much more rigid process. Oftentimes federal judges do a lot of the voir dire. They really trim back what the lawyers can say.

Federal court is a little bit more rule based. It's a little bit like a gentleman's duel and the state court is a little bit like the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

COATES: By the way, can you imagine, I say voir dire but, you know, I'm not -- I love it, I'm from Minnesota.

But when you talk about the voir dire process, imagine what that jury selection list of questions is. I mean, it's not even do you have to know nothing about the case that would be absurd to even suggest, but can you been impartial juror. What are the questions you're going to have to all agree upon to decide what are the criteria to decide who is impartial? That's going to be a long thing.

MOORE: Absolutely.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: All of this comes back to what we have been discussing all along with this case which Fani Willis made a lot of choices here. One of the biggest ones was deciding to have this many codefendants and Jack Smith simply did not do that, probably anticipating some of those issues. It is going to be something that complicates the road here for her.

There's a public interest certainly in having this tried as quickly as possible. But based on what you all are saying what a lot of our legal experts have said, it just seems highly unlikely, maybe impossible for that to happen quickly and without complications, partly because rightfully so, everyone of these defendants has a right to a fair trial for them, not necessarily for the whole process.

TAPPER: Yeah, and, Jamie, we should note, we have not seen Trump's prior three indictments, arrests, arraignments impact him negatively on the campaign trail at this process, in this time, when he's only trying to appeal to Republicans. In fact, people have seen -- I mean, in some ways even his opponents say he's gotten a bump and Republicans have rallied around him.

Do you think, do you have any reason to expect anything from today's activities?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Certainly, he doesn't think it's any different. That's why he picked today, the day after the debate. He is happy to use up as much oxygen as possible.

Can I just go back to Mark Meadows for one second? TAPPER: Sure.

GANGEL: Being chief of staff.

TAPPER: Let's bring up that mug shot if we can, yeah.

GANGEL: I have known many chiefs of staff having covered Washington for many years. I don't know, and I've called several of them in the last couple of weeks, I don't know any of them who would tell you that this was in their job description of chief of staff.

In fact, when campaigns are going on, and elections are going on, they are very careful to say I'm working at the White House. That's my job description, I'm not working in the campaign.

PHILLIP: And you have White House officials leaving the White House for that exact reason so they can do campaign stuff.

So it strikes me, just from the convention of Washington and perhaps federal election laws as well, that that's going to be an issue, too. Like how much of the picking up the phone and saying we need to find these votes is part of the official duties of a White House chief of staff.

COATES: That's the basis of one of the charges. When you look at what Mark Meadows has been charged with. One is, of course, RICO as part of the enterprise. But the other one is about solicitation and violation of an oath by a public officer.

So, that's the idea -- what I do have to say, is it a phone call? What did I say in that moment, is that going to be enough? That's going to be novel territory as to what was my job description. Was it scheduling a meeting? Was it making a telephone call? That's his defense.

TAPPER: All right. Everyone, stay with me. We'll come back -- I'll come you first. I promise.

We are standing by for Donald Trump to arrive to Newark airport. He's going to head to Georgia flying privately. He'll turn himself in at the Fulton County jail this evening. A former Trump lawyer will join me live next. What is he thinking as his former client is set to be placed under arrest.



TAPPER: And welcome back to CNN's coverage of the Georgia indictment of Donald Trump.

Right now, you are looking at live images from the Fulton County jail where in a few hours, the former president will be placed under arrest on racketeering and other charges relating to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. Tim Parlatore joins us now. He departed from Trump's legal team and

special counsel classified documents case in May. Now he's defending coconspirator number five who has been identified as former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik.

Tim, thanks for joining us.

This is a case -- this current case that we're talking about in Georgia, an enormous case, mountains of evidence to go through. The District Attorney Fani Willis proposed starting the trial October 23rd this year. Is that even physically possible?

TIM PARLATORE: That's laughable. The idea that you can start a trial that quickly. A RICO trial with this amount of discovery and also a case where you have pretty significant pretrial motions to be litigated -- yeah, I think that that's that may be good for press releases, but I don't think anybody in that courtroom thinks that's a real date.

TAPPER: What will be a reasonable -- reasonable date, do you think?


PARLATORE: So setting aside the election entirely, you know, this is a case that, you know, RICO has significant amount of discovery to it. It's a complex case. The trial itself is probably going to take four plus months to try, I would expect.

And so, you know, the average time could take at least two years before you even get the jury selection. So I can't possibly see this going any faster than that. It's one of the problems that you run into when you choose to bring a RICO case as opposed to something more simple like a fraud case, like Jack Smith did.

TAPPER: We know that your client Bernie Kerik traveled with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani yesterday, telling Newsmax that Giuliani was, quote, in good spirits but frustrated and upset and angry, unquote.

Giuliani is tied with Trump at 13 criminal charges in this case. So far, his current attorney -- Giuliani's current trial won't even commit to staying on through the trial. How do you see this playing out for the former mayor?

PARLATORE: You know, a lot of it is going to depend on funding for defense. Like I said, when you have a trial that's going to be four- plus months long as a lawyer I try to fee to set. I have to set aside everything. I can't take on any new clients, I can't take on any new cases, basically shut everything down for four plus months.

It's a very expensive proposition. And I think the prosecutors know that and that's one of the reasons why they bring cases like this is because it does bleed the defendants dry. So, a lot of it's going to come into whether or not he able to find the funding to actually defend himself in this case. TAPPER: Give me a back of the envelope number for how much

representation from a good attorney for four months would cost? I'm not going to hold you to it. I have no idea how much money we are talking about?

PARLATORE: For a case of this magnitude not just the trial fee but also all the pretrial and everything all the motions, all the discovery review it's going to be really, honestly, a million dollars minimum.

TAPPER: We've heard the bond conditions for these defendants state they cannot discuss the case amongst themselves, though their attorneys can. Do you know what level of back channeling might be going on between these 19 defendants' lawyers? Is there a special text chain, an e-mail thread?

PARLATORE: That is something that you do standard in a case like this or set up a slack channel or something like that to try to coordinate between attorneys, have regular zoom meetings. You know, I've been in several cases where it's multi-defendant and you want to make sure that everybody coordinates.

And that's actually one of the things that surprised me about Mark Meadows kind of running the federal court the way that he is. Is you have many defendants that have grounds to make removal motions and it's much stronger if you have them all coordinate and do it together, as opposed to one person running off before everybody else doing himself and potentially running into a ruling that's inconsistent with the others.

TAPPER: As mentioned, you departed from Trump's legal team but you didn't fully leave behind his legal troubles. We're also hearing about all these financial issues with Trump paying his lawyers, not to mention Giuliani's financial troubles. Have you heard any other --

PARLATORE: I'm paid.

TAPPER: Oh, you've been paid?

PARLATORE: I'm good. I'm good.

TAPPER: You're good. Have you heard of any other attorneys representing any of the defendants raising concerns about getting paid?

PARLATORE: Yeah, I mean, I've heard, I've heard that Jenna Ellis has been complaining about that. It's certainly a problem.

But at the same time, when you have 19 defendants in a case where each one of them could require a million or more, I mean depending on how many lawyers and what type of lawyers you pick, it could go up from there. So you're talking about 20-plus million probably even much more when you are going to try to pay for everybody's lawyers in this case.

So, it is extraordinarily expensive if you just forget about the fact that there are also these other cases out there. TAPPER: Yeah.

PARLATORE: The Jack Smith cases and the New York case. So, it's expensive all around. Even Donald Trump is going to have trouble.

TAPPER: Yeah, I interrupt for a second on the images you are seeing from right outside Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey is Donald Trump's motorcade accompanied by police, Secret Service and others making their way to the private airfield from whence Donald Trump and his private plane will take off and go down to Atlanta, and we are seeing the rear of that motorcade on your screen right now.

Tim Parlatore, as always, thank you so much for your candor in joining us today.


We appreciate it.

PARLATORE: Thank you.

TAPPER: Right now, Donald Trump's motorcade as I noted is heading to the airport in New Jersey to a private airfield.

Tonight, Donald Trump will surrender at the rather notorious Fulton County jail. Not a place anybody wants to be. What should he expect to see when he is placed under arrest? I'm going to talk to two former Georgia prosecutors, next.


TAPPER: In just a matter of minutes, former President Donald Trump's plane will be wheels up from Newark International Airport, en route to Atlanta, Georgia, where he will face the music and surrender at the Fulton County jail. With 13 fresh criminal charges related to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.



COLLINS: Yeah, and, of course, this is the fourth time this year, Jake, that we have seen the former president turn himself in to local or federal officials.

Joining me now here to discuss as we are outside the courthouse waiting on that fourth arrival, Robert James, former DeKalb district attorney, and Melissa Redmon, who served in the Fulton County D.A.'s office for more than a decade.

Thank you both for being here.

There'll be a lot of fast-moving developments today, notably with Kenneth Chesebro who is one of the 19 co-defendants here. He had filed basically a speedy motion trial or requested on. It seemed to be almost bluffing to see if the district attorney would do it and now we have just seen the judge, Scott McAfee, here say, okay, it can happen in October.

I mean, that's a really aggressive timeline.

ROBERT JAMES, FORMER DEKALB COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, I think it's too aggressive. And I hope it wasn't a bluff. You would think that a motion for a speedy trial by as early as October that he would be prepared. Because if you're not, it could backfire. You don't have your discovery. You don't have any information, so I don't know how you could be ready to try a case by October if you're a defense lawyer.

COLLINS: So what is his legal team thinking right now? I mean, this indictment just happened a matter of weeks ago. Now is he set do you think it actually happens come October?

JAMES: It's difficult to determine what they're thinking. But, obviously, if they try a case in October, it's going to affect more of the defendants than just him, and I can tell you right now that the other people in the case do not want to go to trial by October.

COLLINS: What is your sense of the moves of how quickly so much of this has been moving, not just with him but with the developments we've seen. I mean, the one thing that Judge McAfee did make clear this only applies to him so that means it does not apply to the other 18 codefendants here, including former President Trump. So his legal team came out said, that's not a date we want.

MELISSA REDMON, FORMER FULTON COUNTY DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Right. So, he can ask for a speedy trial, but he can't force all of the other defendants to ask for a speedy trial. So the judge really doesn't have much of a choice. He has to allow that trial to take place within the terms of court but he doesn't have to force the others into them.

COLLINS: Can we talk about what Trump is going to see. He will be walking into the Fulton County jail in just a matter of hours to surrender himself to post part of that $200,000 bond that he's agreed to. What is he going to see when he walks in there?

REDMON: He will walk in, he will see a lobby. Where other people will go to turn themselves in it's a common occurrence. He will be called up, they will take his identifying information. He'll be fingerprinted, presumably photographed. His bond will be placed into the computer system whatever the bond is for each charge as soon as that information is uploaded, he will be stepped out.

COLLINS: And as you're looking at all of this and seeing how these moments are happening for the other codefendants here, what stands out to you?

JAMES: Well, what stands out to me is just the speed of the process, right? You know, one person is asked for a speedy trial obviously the others do not want a speedy trial. And so, it's just -- it's just really bizarre, right? You know the fact that someone would ask to be tried by as early as October.

What's interesting is that if you do try the defendant that is asked to be tried by October, in October, then you will have to turn right back around and try the others late sorry it's going to have to be done more than once. And so --

COLLINS: So, did that complicate Trump's case here if Kenneth Chesebro, if his case does this trial -- case does go to trial actually in October, what kind of information does that have on Mark Meadows and Donald Trump, and all the others here?

JAMES: Well, you know, it could complicate or give a sneak preview on what the evidence is going to be, right? Which is something that no prosecutor wants to try a case twice because the defense gets an opportunity to see, you know, how witnesses are going to testify, the transcript that it makes the second trial for those that didn't participate in the first trial perhaps easier.

COLLINS: And you worked in the Fulton County district attorney's office, I mean, for more than 10 years. When you've seen the attacks from Trump and others on not just the district attorney here but other prosecutors here, I mean, part of his bond restrictions are not, you know, going after other witnesses.

One big question that I've heard, you know, thrown around Trump's orbit is what happens if, I mean, he violates those. People think there won't be any real repercussions.

REDMON: Well, and the reality, he will probably get in called in front of the judge, the judge will issue a stern warning to him to not to do that again. But if we think about who should be in jail, it's really about for nonviolent offenders. I think that's where that idea comes in and nothing really is going to happening.

Technically, he violates his bond. He can -- his bond can be revoked and he can be placed into custody. But given the nature of the charges, the overcrowding that we have at the jail, I think it's probably unrealistic for there to be any real repercussions.


COLLINS: We'll wait to see what it looks like. Thank you both. Obviously, both great expertise in these areas. You know this area well. Thank you both for joining me.

JAMES: Thank you.

COLLINS: Jake, back to you.

TAPPER: Thanks, Kaitlan.

So Donald Trump is about to surrender in Fulton County, Georgia. His former White House chief of staff was booked just hours ago along with a coast of other codefendants. Do they all plan to fight this case together? We're going to talk to one of the defense attorneys next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: And we're back with our coverage of the Georgia indictment of Donald Trump. Mr. Trump's motorcade arrived at the Newark, New Jersey, airport just a few minutes ago and very soon, he will be wheels up flying privately to Atlanta, before surrendering at the Fulton County jail.

One of his codefendants is a gentleman named John Eastman, an attorney. John Eastman's lawyer, Harvey Silverglate, joins us now.


Mr. Silverglate, thanks so much for joining us.

I want to start by getting your reaction to District Attorney Fani Willis' proposed trial date start of October 23rd. What do you make of that?


TAPPER: What do you think --

SILVERGLATE: They need much, much longer.

TAPPER: What do you think would be a reasonable starting date?

SILVERGLATE: I would say this case will be start trial anywhere from 18 to 24 months from now.

TAPPER: Another co-conspirator in the case, Kenneth Chesebro, is asking for a speedy trial. Do you want this trial to happen sooner or later?

SILVERGLATE: Well, let me tell you what we're going to do. Eastman is in a very different position from every other defendant in that he was acting as lawyer giving legal advice. He was not part of a conspiracy, assuming there even was a conspiracy. We are going to move to sever his case from the others and move for severed trial which means we will be tried alone.

And we believe that the trial of Eastman alone will take about three weeks. It's a very simple case. We expect to win it in three weeks. And we like to have a speedy trial that is -- we like him to be tried right away. It will take three weeks and the whole nightmare will be over for him. That's what we're going to do.

TAPPER: One of the allegations made by District Attorney Fani Willis -- and for our audience, we should remind everyone, that individuals are innocent until proven guilty. But one of the allegations is that your client knew that information he and Donald Trump were submitting in 2021, I believe, September, 2021, in a lawsuit alleging malfeasance in Georgia that Mr. Eastman knew that the information was false in the sworn document.

What is your response to that? SILVERGLATE: Eastman was coming up with all kinds of theories that

were very different, very new, very cutting edge and was tossing them out. I want to point out something, Eastman didn't bribe anybody, he didn't threaten anybody, he threw out legal theories that were turned out were wrong, but at the time, they were perfectly -- that's the job of a lawyer, throw out all kinds of cutting edge theories. Try it and see what flies.

He did not bribe anybody. He did not commit perjury. We expect that he will -- his defense will be he acted his lawyers have been acting for hundreds of years and he did nothing criminal.

TAPPER: Mr. Silverglate, the assertion made by the district attorney is not that there were unproven or false legal theories in this sworn document, it's that there were assertions of fact that Mr. Eastman knew to be untrue claims about alleged election malfeasance in Georgia that were just false and had been asserted to be false by individuals like the Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for months and repeatedly.

That is not the same, correct me if I'm wrong, but that is not the same as a flawed legal theory, a fraudulent assertion of fact?

SILVERGLATE: But tell me what's criminal about it? He didn't bribe anybody, tell me what's criminal, he didn't force anybody?

TAPPER: Well, I believe that the charge, I think making false statements in a sworn document is considered fraud, is it not?

SILVERGLATE: Well, that will be determined in a trial. I don't think that anything Eastman did constitutes fraud and that's for the court to decide. I would like it to be decided sooner rather than later. This is a very, this is a very unusual case. It's the first of its kinds. And it is a RICO case which makes it unduly complicated.

This could have been a very simple case. It could have been 10 pages. This is like a telephone book here. And we will find out, I think he's going to be acquitted and you can call me back at the end of the case and you can either -- I'll say I told you so or you will say I told you so.

TAPPER: Well, be that as it may, I believe what Fani Willis is suggesting in this indictment is that she has written correspondence from your client, John Eastman, suggesting that he knows the information in the document to be false, advising Donald Trump not to sign the document because the information, the assertions are false and then nonetheless he and Donald Trump submit the document even though John Eastman is, at least according to Fani Willis, I believe, on record in documentation saying he knows the information to be false.


SILVERGLATE: Well, he advised his client not to sign it. That was his role as a lawyer. And we will see whether or not that's criminal. I do not believe he acted in any way criminally. But that's to be decided not by you and not by me but by the court.

TAPPER: Are you concerned at all, that other codefendants or any of the 30 unindicted co-conspirators might now be cooperating with District Attorney Fani Willis' office behind your back to get your client in jail, to put him in prison?

SILVERGLATE: Not concerned at all as long as they tell the truth. The problem with plea bargains, as you probably know, is that when a prosecutor says to a defendant if you're convicted we're going recommend 10 years. If you cooperate we're going to recommend probation.

The problem with that is it gets many people to tell a false story. You know, the way we criminal defense lawyers put it the prosecutors cause the defendants not only to sing but also to compose. It's the composing part that's concerning. If they tell the truth we have no fears whatsoever.

TAPPER: Harvey Silverglate, thank you so much for your time today. We appreciate it.


TAPPER: As Trump gets ready to surrender in Georgia, how a group of House Republicans are launching an investigation of their own into the top prosecutor in this case, Fani Willis.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: As Trump prepares to surrender in Fulton County, Georgia, his allies on Capitol Hill helped launch an investigation into what? Into Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee want to know if there is more to this question that our very own Sara Murray asked Fani Willis last week.

Take a listen.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Have you had any contact with the special counsel about the overlap between this indictment and the federal indictments?

FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I'm not going to discuss our investigation at this time.


TAPPER: Joining us now, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a former member of the January 6th Select Committee.

Congressman Raskin, first, tell us your health is okay, you're doing well?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Yes, thank you, I'm hanging tough. So far, I am cancer free. So I'm in remission and my eyebrows came back and my hair is coming back. So, it's been a good summer.

TAPPER: We're glad to -- we're glad to hear that. Is there any merit to the investigation that the House Judiciary Committee has launched into Fani Wills and questions about whether she coordinated it all with special counsel Jack Smith and his office?

RASKIN: No, I mean, I hope people recognize how fundamentally antithetical this is to our system of justice where every time any of Donald Trump's alleged criminal actions are investigated, then immediately, the Republicans launch an attack on the investigators, on the FBI, on the Department of Justice, on district attorney in New York, or Georgia or what have you. And so, it's just an attempt to, you know, just throw grease in the gears and to mess up the possibility of justice taking place.

TAPPER: Are you concerned that Republicans might deploy that playbook against you and be successful politically in any way?

RASKIN: Well, you know they seem to be taking their orders from Donald Trump as if they're not part of a political party but they're part of a religious cult. And when Donald Trump trains his rap on a particular person, then they go after that person with whatever they got. Again, that's a fundamental departure from what American politics has been like and you know, we're living in a scoundrel time of just outrageous demonization and vilification and isolation of people.

Donald Trump has been given every possible due process right, presumption of innocence, even in the mountain of evidence of his criminal wrongdoing. But, you know, those around him have tried to attack anyone who brings Donald Trump to justice. They want to see that he's completely above the rule of law and impervious to the general justice system that everybody else has to deal with.

TAPPER: President Trump is currently on his way to surrender from New Jersey to Georgia. How problematic do you think this case in Georgia is for him compared to the other indictments? I think we can agree that New York attorney general case is probably the weakest. What do you make of the other three?

RASKIN: Well, Fani Willis set forth in granular detail what this attack on the 2020 presidential election meant at the state level. And it meant trying to coerce and intimidate and harass local election officials and trying to get them to abandon their oath of office, trying to get them to essentially, abandon the duties that they had sworn to uphold in their office.

And so, I think that it's a devastating indictment when you look at every component part of it.

TAPPER: More devastating than the other two, from Jack Smith?

RASKIN: Well, I think Jack Smith sets out in a very powerful way what the general overall plan was, when we got to January 6th. The plan was to interfere with a federal proceeding that shut down the ability of the House and the Senate in joint session to count Electoral College votes. It was an attempt to steal away from the American people our election and therefore to defraud the government out of an honest election which Joe Biden had won by more than seven million votes, 306-232 in Electoral College.


So, I think he set forth the very broad parameters to the criminal conspiracy and conduct taking place.

TAPPER: Right, but you're an attorney and a gentleman with strong opinions which case of these three, which case do you think is the strongest one? It doesn't mean you think another two are weak. Which is the strongest of the two Jack Smith cases and the Fani Willis case, which do you think is the strongest?

RASKIN: Well, you know, all of them, you know, provide their own, you know, powerful narrative and also their own complexities. I think the most open and shut case is the government documents case because it was very clear that Donald Trump intended to steal those documents, to pilfer those documents, to hide them, and then even when given the chance to return them, he only returned a small subpart and continued to hold the other ones. So I think that one seems to me absolutely overwhelming.

TAPPER: All right. Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, thank you. We're glad you have good health this summer. Appreciate it.

And we're standing by for Trump to be wheels up from New Jersey as he makes his way there to the Fulton County jail. What he will see once he gets there coming up.