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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Separate Manhunts Underway In Two Major Metropolitan Areas For Two Dangerous Men; Ex-Trump Aide Navarro Guilty In Contempt Of Congress Trial; Former Trump Aide Peter Navarro Found Guilty; CNN Poll: Biden, Trump Neck-And-Neck In 2024 Matchup. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired September 07, 2023 - 16:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yeah, that certainly is. Thirty years to life in prison in this rape case, Danny Masterson, the star of "That '70s Show".

Stephanie Elam, thank you so much for the very latest. We appreciate it.

And thank you so much for joining us today.

THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Two active manhunts for two dangerous men in two major metropolitan areas of the United States.

THE LEAD starts right now.

New details just in on the search for Danelo Cavalcante, the killer who scaled the walls of a Pennsylvania prison to escape. He's wanted internationally, the growing questions about the prison tower guard on duty, how did he not see the man slip away?

And in the nation's capital, another suspected killer wanted for breaking loose from a prestigious D.C. hospital.

Plus, Donald Trump's major move today trying to get a prosecution against him moved to what he thinks will prove friendlier terrain. Will this play work?

And President Biden taking off this hour for the G20 in India, major international trip. He's leaving major troubles behind at home. A new CNN poll showing Americans' dwindling confidence in Mr. Biden.

And a breakout Republican more than capable of beating Biden, and it is not Donald Trump.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we're going to start in our law and justice lead today, and two manhunts that are baffling law enforcement and leaving communities on edge with many, many questions.

In the suburbs west of Philly, Pennsylvania state police have given an update on the search for Danelo Cavalcante who escaped from a prison in West Chester one week ago. Police shared new details of reports yet again -- yet another sighting of Cavalcante just this morning.

And in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., it is day two of the search for an accused killer who escaped police custody while at a hospital. Police say that Christopher Haynes escaped during a change of his handcuffs, assaulting an officer in the process.

But, first, let's go to Chester County outside Philadelphia where just moments ago, police gave an update on the frantic search to find this internationally wanted criminal who has been on the run for eight days. Danelo Cavalcante, seen here on the left side of your screen, literally crab-walking his way out of prison. You see him there about to scale the brick wall. There he goes, managing to get through layers of razor wire right after that. The tower guard who failed to see that is now on administrative leave, we're told.

A reminder, this escaped killer was in prison for stabbing his former girlfriend to death in 2021, stabbing her 38 times, all in fronts of her two young children. Cavalcante also wanted in Brazil, his native country, for allegedly killing someone in 2017.

CNN's Danny Freeman is live for us outside the Chester County prison outside Philly.

Danny, are police any closer to finding Cavalcante do they think?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Listen, Jake, police here in Chester County, they're still projecting strengths, they're still saying they believe they are getting closer to capturing Cavalcante. But the reality is, is that Danelo Cavalcante, the escaped inmate, continues to evade capture day after day for a week now since that video of him escaping the prison behind me.

I do want to tell you some of the things we did learn from that press conference that just wrapped up. First, police believe, that's Pennsylvania state police who are running this operation, they still believe that Cavalcante is in the perimeter that they have set up in recent days. The perimeter basically is to the southeast of where we are at the prison. It's now an eight-by-10 square-mile radius.

There are a couple of reasons they believe that. First is because police said there was a potential sighting earlier today just east of Longwood Gardens in this perimeter. And Jake, you know, Longwood Gardens well. It's a large botanical garden area, a popular tourist destination, sprawling, a lot of wooded areas, meadows, also creeks. Right next to there, that's where we actually happened to see helicopters flying low after this reported sighting. Someone came up to police and told them they saw someone running through some of the wooded areas over there. But that is still not a confirmed sighting at this time.

Law enforcement, of course, did not capture anyone. But the main reason police actually still believe that he's inside the perimeter now, Jake, is because they say they have no reports of him popping up outside of that perimeter.

I want you to listen to what Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, though, had to say during this press conference about the challenges when it comes to the question of why aren't police basically going shoulder to shoulder marching through some of these areas. It's not that simple. Take a listen.


LT. GOV. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: Not just a perfect open piece of land that you can march through. You've got businesses, residences, highways, hills, valleys, wooded areas that can't be pushed through. The number of people that it would take to contain that area and be able to walk shoulder to shoulder through that area and squeeze and the amount of time that it would take, it's just simply not realistic to do that.


FREEMAN: And, Jake, Pennsylvania state police say they are sparing no expense and no resource here. They have federal resources, state resources, local resources, horses, they're searching trees, they have boots on the ground, all I should add in this sweltering heat - Jake.

TAPPER: Is the prison now taking extra steps to make sure escapes like this don't happen again?

FREEMAN: Listen, Jake, the acting warden of the prison was not present at this press conference so the last we've heard from him was yesterday. They insist that they are taking precautions to make sure an escape like this doesn't happen.

But I'll remind you and viewers, an escape like this happened four months ago back in May. It was almost identical, another inmate scaled up that wall, jumped off the roof. That prisoner was captured, though, in a matter of five minutes. Police say because the tower guard was able to see him escaping at that time. This is the escape back in May.

But the acting warden said yesterday that they were not prepared for that sort of human failure, that's their words. So, they're looking to boost infrastructure and really review their policies to make sure this -- or another escape like this can't happen again, Jake.

TAPPER: Yeah, I'm no expert, but maybe that wall is vulnerable.

Danny Freeman, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

In the nation's capital, the hunt's on for a murder suspect who managed to slip through police custody yesterday afternoon. Authorities say this man, 30-year-old Christopher Haynes, was arrested in connection with the murder of a 33-year-old man, shot to death. Police say this is what happened when he was taken to George Washington University hospital after complaining about a prior ankle injury. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ACTING CHIEF PAMELA SMITH, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE: While the officer was changing out his handcuffs at the hospital, Mr. Haynes physically assaulted that officer and fled from the hospital.

He got out of the room because one of the officers removed one of the handcuffs from the suspect. The suspect was not securely from my understanding, secured to the gurney.


TAPPER: After assaulting the police officer, Haynes was last seen fleeing G.W. hospital. He is described as having a prominent Washington Nationals "W" tattoo on the front of his neck. Police are asking the public for any information that will lead to his arrest.

Joining us to discuss these manhunts, Michael Tabman, retired FBI special agent in charge, and Bryce Peterson, a research scientist who specializes in prison facilities and correctional safety.

Michael, let me start with you. Police in Pennsylvania say there have been about eight sightings of Cavalcante, they've shifted their search perimeter. It's now eight to ten square miles. Yet they continue to struggle to find him.

Is it fair to say that this is taking too long? Are there certain steps that you're concerned are not being taken?

MICHAEL TABMAN, RETIRED FBI SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE: Well, Jake, I certainly did predict it would have happened sooner than this, but that doesn't mean that the police are doing a bad job. It's not the luck that is involved in the equation, sometimes things don't fall your way. You have the elements of heat that affect the camera.

And now, we've learned on your network this morning that Cavalcante has some survivalist skills, living amongst the trees and the brush. So there's a bit of an advantage there. What they need do now is be secure in the fact that they have him within the perimeter based on credible sightings. There's been a lot more reporting of sightings than these eight or ten. They have to tightening that perimeter and putting the pressure on, meaning, keep the action up.

When he hears the helicopters above, he hears dogs barking, we want to deprive him of sleep, of food, of water, of any kind of comfort, and wear him down to the point where he wants to give up. We have to keep the pressure on, and we also want to do it quickly hoping he doesn't get any more resources such as money or most likely we don't want him to have a weapon.

TAPPER: Bryce, the escaped killer in Pennsylvania was able to break out even after more razor wire had been added in the same area where a different inmate had briefly escaped a few months ago. And in this case, the tower guard failed to see him crab walk the wall. And in D.C. the suspected killer there was able to get away because he was not handcuffed to a hospital gurney because they were swapping out the cuffs. Are these cases of negligence by law enforcement, or is this just what

happens every now and then because criminals going to criminal?

BRYCE PETERSON, RESEARCH SCIENTIST, CENTER FOR NAVAL ANALYSES: Yeah, I don't want to speak on those cases specifically because I'm not involved in any sort of investigation or research in those areas. But this is what happens. We see this -- it's not frequent, but when escapes do occur it's often because there's some sort of security lapse, some protocol wasn't followed, something happens that creates the opportunity for someone to escape.

So, it's not -- it's not completely uncommon. I don't want to blame it on any particular individual in either of those agencies because I'm not familiar with the details of their investigations yet. But this is not an uncommon thing in general.

TAPPER: Michael, there have been several sightings of Cavalcante over several days in and around Longwood Gardens. Why might he consider Longwood Gardens a safe place? Does he not believe that law enforcement knows he's been spotted there, or is there just a lot of cover? Or is it just where he ended up?

TABMAN: It's probably a combination of all three. He ended up there, and we said he might be comfortable within the trees and the brush thinking he can find cover physically from law enforcement. And there's no indication that he had access to the media.

So he doesn't hear on CNN that police may believe they have him contained within the perimeter. So, he may believe now that he's staying safe because he's getting away with it for so long. And the more comfortable he gets the more likely he is to make a mistake that will lead to his arrest.

TAPPER: Bryce, the authorities have shut down two school districts in Pennsylvania. Some of the schools are closed for a third day. We're not seeing the same response in D.C. Is it right for schools and school districts to close? I mean, my immediate response and maybe I'm naive about this, is it's not as though Cavalcante has a weapon, it's not as though he has superhuman powers. Is there a need to shut down school districts?

PETERSON: Yeah, you see the response in jurisdictions. There's no evidence to say one way or the other is best practice, per se. I know that they're taking every precaution necessary.

I can say from the research that we've done that in general it is rare that people use violence when they've escaped from custody. They're too busy looking for food, looking for shelter, looking for places to hide and avoiding recapture to really engage too much crime outside, not to say never happens, but it is a rare event when it does occur.

TAPPER: And, Michael, my general reaction when I hear about somebody on the run is I don't feel like -- I mean, people obviously should lock their doors anyway, but I don't feel particularly vulnerable or think that anybody else should be particularly -- feel particularly vulnerable. These people want to avoid detection and get the hell out of there in general. These aren't necessarily people looking to take hostages or cause damage, right?

TABMAN: That's true, Jake. But in their desperation, we don't know how they'll react. I know there's reporting, someone suspected that Cavalcante had broken into a home and stole food and fled. That's good if he fled.

We might get another situation where he's shoplifting or trying to steal something else and the person maybe not knowing who he is is going to approach this guy. He's not a very imposing figure. He could be taken down easily.

So, if he panics like that and feels he's going to be challenged, he may do something violent. So, you're right, he doesn't want to bring attention to himself. But when backed in the corner, we don't know how he's going to react. Given his violent history, we can only suspect that he would be violent in that situation.

TAPPER: Yeah, absolutely. I just mean people should go on and live their lives, not live in fear.

TABMAN: But be cautious at the same time.

TAPPER: Absolutely. Be cautious, and if you see either one of these criminals, avoid and call authorities.

Michael Tabman and Bryce Peterson, thanks to both of you, and appreciate your sharing your expertise with us.

We have some breaking news for you now. The jury has reached a verdict in the contempt of congress trial of former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro.

Let's go straight to CNN's Evan Perez to bring us the news. What is the verdict?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he was found guilty, Jake, of both counts, two counts of contempt of Congress. One for failing to provide documents that were requested by the January 6 Committee and a second for failing to show up to provide testimony. This was a request that the January 6th committee had for a February, 2022.

So, you're going to remember the committee was investigating the January 6 -- the events of January 6th and Peter Navarro was somebody they wanted to talk to. They also wanted to get access to some of his documents.

If you remember, he has spoken about this whole plan for them to contest the election, right, well ahead of time, they knew that this is what the plan was. So that's something that certainly Congress wanted to investigate, we also know that the special counsel, Jack Smith, has been interested in getting access to some of that same information.

And what prosecutors laid out in this very, very briefcase, in this very brief trial, was that he essentially just ignored Congress, and their request for both the documents and for -- for testimony. Now, part of the problem for Peter Navarro was he was trying to claim that it's complicated because I was an adviser to the former president, so therefore there was executive privilege.


But prosecutors pointed out that Donald Trump never actually asserted executive privilege in his case. And so as a result of that, there was not much of a defense that Peter Navarro could provide as part of this -- as part of this case. And so, we know obviously this is the second aide of the former president to be brought up on these charges.

TAPPER: Right. The first was Steve Bannon, right?

PEREZ: Steve Bannon.

TAPPER: He was -- he was convicted last year on two contempt counts.

PEREZ: Right. Exactly same --

TAPPER: The same counts?

PEREZ: Same counts. Failing to provide the documents and failing to provide testimony. And in his case, he got four months sentence as parts of that. That is still under appeal.

TAPPER: He appealed it. What's the status, where is that case?

PEREZ: That is still pending appeal at this point.

TAPPER: Is there a court date?

PEREZ: To be honest, I don't know what the latest is on it. You know, you get the picture of what Peter Navarro is up against, especially once you take into account the fact that the former president never actually asserted executive privilege as part of why he said he was not turning in these documents and not showing up to provide testimony.

TAPPER: Right. Now the difference obviously, there was a difference between Navarro and Bannon, Navarro at least worked in the White House. Bannon did not. So --

PEREZ: Right.

TAPPER: So Navarro had a slightly stronger argument than Bannon did because he at least worked in the White House. But the jury wasn't buying it for either of them I guess.

PEREZ: Right, the jury doesn't buy it. Also, you know, certainly I think Republicans and conservative legal scholars would say that a president is entitled to have advice even from someone who is not inside the White House. So that is something that Steve Bannon also tried to claim as part of his case.

Look, I mean, this jury started deliberations around 11:00 a.m. or so today, and they appear to have reached a verdict very, very quickly. I should note that right now our team in court says that the legal team for Peter Navarro has said that he plans to move for -- seeking a mistrial based on some various -- various things that happened in court during this case.

So we don't know what that's about. We're just trying to pay attention in little bits to see what exactly the judge does about that. But, obviously, this is going to be appealed. Peter Navarro is probably going to spend time trying to fight this before this is all over.

TAPPER: All right. Evan Perez, stick around.

I want to also bring in CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel.

So, Jamie, this is now the second contempt of Congress conviction. First Steve Bannon, now Peter Navarro. All of the president's men keep getting indicted, and now convicted.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Simple message -- you're not above the law. This was a very straightforward case, as Evan just said. He was asked to provide testimony, he was asked to provide these documents, he refused to do it. He claimed executive privilege, but Trump as the judge ruled, you know, they never came forward with that evidence.

But bottom line, Jake, I think what's going to be interesting is down the road how this may fit into the other January 6th cases. This was about not giving testimony and documents to the committee for their hearings, but there is information. There are documents. There's testimony, there are emails that may be helpful in these other cases.

TAPPER: You have been known to talk to some of the members of the January 6th House Select Committee, Democrats and Republicans. And I know one of the former members, Adam Kinzinger, note to control room if you haven't called him let's get his reaction.

They were frustrated, they were trying to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th and one of their often publicly stated frustrations was that there were individuals who had answers who worked for the American people who refused to abide by the separation of powers agreement as enumerated in the Constitution and answer questions like Steve Bannon, like Peter Navarro. I'm wondering how those individuals, whether Liz Cheney or Bennie Thompson, or any of the members of the January 6th Committee, you might imagine how they feel today.

GANGEL: So, I'm not going to tell you who I've already texted. I'm waiting for the responses. But I think it is fair to say considering, you know, exactly what you just said and the frustration, the discussions, today is a win for the January 6th committee, and you know, even though it no longer exists, it made the point that you do have to show up.


You do have to provide testimony. And then again, the question is going to be, you know, this is delayed. It's taken a long time. But my understanding is from sources close Jack Smith, he is not going to give up. And if there is information here that is relevant, whether it is to former President Trump or his unindicted six co-conspirators, he is going to follow that where it leads.

TAPPER: Very interesting. Jamie Gangel.

And big picture, Evan Perez, when it comes to the investigation into what happened on January 6th and why it happened, we still -- there's still a lot we do not know. Even after the January 6th Committee investigation, even after Jack Smith's investigation, even after District Attorney Fani Willis' investigation, even after the Michigan law enforcement investigation into the fake electors there, there's still a lot we don't know because individuals like Peter Navarro and Steve Bannon and others have refused to answer questions.

PEREZ: Right. And look, this is a strategy that the former president used very successfully previously. And so, people around him also did the same thing, right? They figured that if they just played the waiting game, eventually prosecutors go away, eventually these committees go away, they have to move on, right? Except that in the case of the special counsel, Jack Smith, he has shown that that is not going to necessarily work.

So what we saw today, by the way, we saw the grand jury show up again for first time in about a month, and we know that this is a grand jury that's been looking into the January 6th-related issues, including, of course, the efforts to overturn the election, Jake. And so, we saw the grand jury today, we saw prosecutors working for jack smith there today.

This is a grand jury that has an expiration date next week, as a matter of fact. And so the question remains, are there more charges in the offing? We know, obviously, there are a number of unnamed co- conspirators that were in that indictment against the former president, in the Jack Smith case.

Are those people facing perhaps some outcomes from this grand jury in the coming week? That's one of the big questions that hangs over all of this. And, of course, some of the answers that you're asking -- you're right, there's still a lot of those answers that are pending.

TAPPER: Yeah, especially when it comes to direct links or communications between anybody in (AUDIO GAP) the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers who have been convicted and sentenced to accumulatively maybe more than 100 years or whatever in prison, the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.

I should note that U.S. District Judge Mehta, who's the judge in this case, set sentencing for January 12th. And each count of contempt of Congress carries a minimum of 30 days in a maximum of one year in jail, as well as a fine of up to $100,000. We'll see what happens there.

Let's bring up some other things that happened that I want to ask you about. Another major development in the legal world today, lawyers for Donald Trump have formally notified the judge in the Georgia election case that they may want to move the case from Georgia to federal court. What are the advantages of moving it from Georgia to federal court? They made that motion in court in Georgia today.

PEREZ: Right. And so, the first -- the first advantage is I think they want to get or at least what they think might be a better jury pool. Certainly, (AUDIO GAP) just include Fulton County but includes some of the suburbs. It's not much more red than Fulton county, but you know, they could get perhaps a better jury pool, at least in their opinion.

The biggest advantage, though, Jake, is what this does is it brings the possibility that they can then go for a second effort which is to try to get this case dismissed on the idea that the former president is immune because he was acting as a federal officer. So what will happen if a judge allows this to happen, right, if Donald Trump gets to move his case out of court is they'll have to say that -- the judge will have to find that what the former president was doing was he was acting in his capacity as a federal official, and so that's why the case deserves to be heard in federal court, not in state court, right?

But then the second punch that they will try to do is to try to basically declare that he should be immune and should not -- the case should go away. So that's where this advantage grows certainly for the former president.

We don't know what will happen. Certainly right now, Mark Meadows is trying to do the same thing with his case.


TAPPER: Former White House chief of staff, yeah.

PEREZ: Right and co-defendant. And we know of a few others that are also making the same, Jeffrey Clark is making the same push. So there is a lot of legal fighting that's going to happen in the coming weeks and months to try to pursue this very question.

Now we don't yet have the former president's request. He's just putting it forward to the judge saying that this is where we're headed.

TAPPER: I want to bring in former Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger who is one of the former members of the Select House Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection.

Congressman Kinzinger, Peter Navarro, former Trump adviser whom you tried to get to testify before the committee for your investigation, who refused to turn over documents, who refused to testify was found guilty today just minutes ago on both counts of contempt of Congress. Sentencing will be in January. I'm wondering what your reaction is.

ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR (via telephone): Well, Jake, it's great. I mean, you know, it's -- it's sad that we have to get to this. I mean, the role of the people's house is to do things like investigations, and especially on something as importance as January 6th, as serious as January 6th.

And we have people -- we had many people, he's obviously one of them, that simply refuse today to acknowledge that, that simply tried to hide. You know, we weren't asking them to come in and embarrass themselves or whatever. We were just asking for information, asked what they knew, and they decided to turn against Congress.

I have no sympathy for Mr. Navarro right now. We tried over and over to sets up different times, different meetings, different opportunities, and he refused. And so this is justice. We'll see what he ends up getting, but I think certainly it's vindicating for the committee.

TAPPER: This comes -- he is the second Trump aide who has been found guilty of contempt of Congress. Steve Bannon was found guilty last year of the same two charges. That case is on appeal. Ultimately, do you think that these two men will see jail time?

KINZINGER: Well, you know, I -- I guess I don't know. I don't know the nuances of will they see House arrest, will they plea down. I think jail time would certainly be appropriate.

Again, it's not like somebody made a mistake here and now they're having to pay the price to the Justice Department for a mistake they made. They proactively, over and over, repeatedly and in some cases either fundraised or bragged about it, ignored a legal subpoena of Congress which has the power of the courts, the same kind of subpoena of the courts. We just don't have the enforcement power without going through DOJ.

So I think they deserve, frankly, any jail time they get. And look, there are people that have served time in jail, federal prisons and state prisons, for much less of a crime.

TAPPER: For those of you just tuning in, we are looking at live pictures from outside the courthouse of Trump aide Peter Navarro. He is coming to the microphones right now, and if he decides to speak, we will bring that to you live. It looks like he is trying to decide what to say. And we are talking now with former Congressman Adam Kinzinger, former member of the January 6th House Committee. We are -- defend democracy is what the sign says right there.

So, Congressman Kinzinger, one of the other things that's been going on in the last week beyond the Georgia case is the sentencing of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. They are getting stiff sentences, 17 years, 22 years, 18 years, Enrique Tarrio, Stewart Rhodes, that was a few months ago for Stewart Rhodes, they obviously were the tip of the spear of the actual attempt to stop the count in the Capitol, to commit the riot and more.

What was your reaction to that sentencing?

KINZINGER: Again, I was pleased. I mean, you know, it's tough because we're, what, 2.5, 3 years later, I always wish that the wheels of justice had turned a little faster. But, look, we are where we are, and I think the Justice Department ultimately did a good job on these things. And you know, this is the Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys, this isn't, again, justice somebody that -- just somebody that was out that day and let their emotions overtake them.

Even if your emotions overtake you, you should be held responsible. But these are people that outside of the emotion, outside of the mob action began, planned and frankly intended to overthrow the government. I think that's what people need to remember.

Some of these groups had weapons stashed outside of Washington, D.C., to bring in at the point that Donald Trump would declare the Insurrection Act, so they could be his law enforcement arm, that is chilling because what that says is had Donald Trump really actually declared the Insurrection Act, had anything else had gone wrong, you would have had armed men on the Capitol in a firefight.

And it would have been far more of a coup than what we saw. So, they deserve whatever they get. I have no sympathy for them particularly.

TAPPER: Congressman Kinzinger, stand by.

I want to bring in Jamie Gangel, who's getting reaction from other members of the January 6 Committee about the conviction of Peter Navarro, former Trump aide, for refusing to comply with subpoenas from the January 6th committee, convicted two of charges relating to refusing to comply with the congressional subpoenas.

Jamie Gangel, what are you hearing from other members?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: It just scores just what -- underscores what Congressman Kinzinger said, that you know, they feel that he deserved this.

And I just heard from Tim Mulvey, the communications director, and he said on the record, quote, his defiance of the committee was brazen like the other --

TAPPER: Jamie, I'm going to interrupts you. I'm sorry, we're going to listen to Peter Navarro.


PETER NAVARRO, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: Here we are with one of the most important constitutional separation of powers issues, and people will not let me speak.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is my First Amendment right --

NAVARRO: What I'm going to do now is allow --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's cameras here -- the marshals just saw you. The marshals just saw you. You're in trouble. You're in trouble. You assaulted me. That man just assaulted me. He stuck a flag pole in between my legs --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There you go -- you're in trouble now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Assaulted. No, I didn't. Liar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can go anywhere I want. This is public property.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to press charges. I want to press charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let the man talk. Are you interested in hearing him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and talk. I don't agree with some of this, but go ahead and talk, man. Go ahead and talk.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead and tell them, man. Go ahead.

NAVARRO: Sad day for America. Not because -- not because they were guilty verdicts, but because I can't come out and have an honest, decent conversation with the people of America.

People of America, I want you to understand that this is the problem we have right here, this kind of divide in our country between the woke Marxist left and everybody else here. And this is nuts. So what I want to try to do here is have an interesting discussion about what just happened. That's what you all want to know.

You want to know what just happened. So I'm going to give Mr. Rowley a first crack at this. And there's some issues that each of my attorneys here, Mr. Irving, Mr. Brand, where did these guys go? They're back there.

Let's just do it -- look, I appreciate if you guys can work through -- there's no problem with the print media. You get it, right? I apologize to the pool camera, but maybe it's what editors are for. So, Mr. Rowley, have at it, my friend.


On behalf of Dr. Navarro, we want to express our appreciation to the court, to judge Mehta, and to the jury that considered this case. This is an important case, this is a landmark case. This case while we have a decision and we respect the jury's verdict today, this case won't be decided here finally. It will be decided by the D.C. court of appeals.

This is the first time that a senior presidential aide who has served his president for four years has ever been held in contempt of Congress. There are legal issues here that need to be decided by the court of appeals. Judge Mehta decided based upon an evidentiary hearing last week that there was inadequate evidence to show that President Trump had formally anyone instructed Dr. Navarro to invoke executive privilege.

Respectfully, we disagree with that decision. We think that that the evidence established, that in fact President Trump instructed Dr. Navarro to invoke executive privilege. But in any event, we think that based upon the separation of powers between Congress and the executive, that executive privilege is part and parcel of the office of the president of the United States and that no express invocation of privilege was even necessary.

Otherwise, President Reagan, for example, would have no executive privilege, and any confidential conversations he had with his senior aides at the time would be waived, and you all could ask his aides what President Reagan spoke to about sensitive matters. So we think it's part and parcel of the office.


We're confident that the Court of Appeals will hold to that effect, and this case is not over by a long shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't have anything -- much more to add to what Mr. Rowley said. Yeah, just today was an important step in the direction of a successful appeal. That's about all I have to say.

You seem to have missed the joke there --

NAVARRO: All right. Let me see if I can break this down for you. And you guys -- you're good to go if you want. This is going to be a while.

All right. So let's start with the fact that this is a landmark case. This is a landmark case bound for the Supreme Court. Why do I say that?

This is the first time in the history of our republic that a senior White House adviser, an alter ego of the president, has ever been charged with the alleged crime. It's the first time that this has ever happened. Now, at the same time, what's so remarkable about this case is that even as the Department of Justice was bringing this case, they had a policy for more than 50 years that says people like me, senior White House advisers, alter egos of the president, cannot be compelled, cannot be compelled to testify before congress. Absolute.

Yet they brought the case. This case is a landmark case because it's about the constitutional separation of powers. That goes back to the days of George Washington when the legislative branch --

TAPPER: All right, we're going to cut away from Professor Navarro. I do not know how long there -- this might go. Obviously he feels that this is a landmark case that will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court. I'm not quite sure that legal experts believe this is going to end up at the U.S. Supreme Court. But let's -- let's find out.

First of all, let me check in with Evan Perez.

I think this is probably going to go to the U.S. appeals court and then that's where it will end, correct?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: I suspect it's not going to go too far. Look, I mean, he has the right to make this claim.


PEREZ: But, you know, parts of his problem, according to prosecutors and according to the case here, is he just kind of ignored the subpoena, ignored congress. And --

TAPPER: He didn't respond at all.

PEREZ: Right, he tried to bring the former president in, he wanted the former president to come in and testify. And that got shut down by the judge. So in the end, he didn't really have much of a defense. And then that's partly what I think they're going to try to appeal, right? They're going to try to say that he didn't really have to make this assertion.

Here's the thing -- you know, in every one of the other cases of senior aides of the former president who had this assertion of executive privilege, they brought their lawyers, they responded to Congress, said this is why we're not showing up here, fight this out with the former president, and we will show up whenever you work that out. And so, you saw members of the former president's White House counsel's office, they all came in because they were -- they negotiated a deal with Congress to get access to the testimony that the committee rightfully had -- a right to do.

So that's part of Peter Navarro's problem is that he sort of tried to ignore this issue, and then that's why the Congress -- that's why the Justice Department ended up bringing this case.

TAPPER: And then he wrote a book about it.

PEREZ: And he wrote a book about a lot of things they wanted to know about.

TAPPER: Right. So it wasn't so sacrosanct after all.

Jamie Gangel, I rudely interrupted you before because Peter Navarro was about to speak. You were telling me and our beautiful viewers about what you were hearing from other members of the January 6th Committee, in addition to our own Adam Kinzinger who I'm going to go to after this.

Please, step back, tell us again, what is the reaction? They tried to get Navarro to testify, to provide documents. He refused. He has been found guilty today of contempt of Congress.

GANGEL: So what I've heard is they feel that he deserved to be found guilty today, and we got this statement from Tim Mulvey, who is the communications director for the January 6th Committee and says, quotes, his, meaning Navarro's defiance of the committee was brazen like the other witnesses who attempted to stonewall the committee, he thought he was above the law. He is not. That is a good thing for the rule of law.

And then Mulvey goes on to say, I imagine that those under indictment right now are getting a good reminder of that. So, you know, it's not just that Navarro was convicted today, but it does send a message to other people who may be unindicted co-conspirators or who may be facing the case in Georgia that this is a wake-up call. They can face convictions.

TAPPER: I want to bring in former Judge Shira Scheindlin right now to get her take on all this.

Judge Scheindlin, tell us, first of all, your view of this conviction. Did you think that the -- this was just a fait accompli? Of course, the jury was going to find him guilty of contempt of Congress because that's what he did.

SHIRA SCHEINDLIN, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Absolutely. There was no defense here. And that's why he didn't have anything to say in the courtroom, only outside the courtroom now. If he really had a defense he could have taken the stand and explained his point of view.

But the fact of the matter is there was no defense. He simply ignored this -- the order to come and show up. You have to assert the privilege to every question. Some questions maybe you don't have a privilege, maybe you think you do. But you have to show up and assert it.

He made no effort on the documents, he made no effort on testimony. He just ignored them. And you know, the executive privilege belongs to the executive. It had to be asserted if it was going to be by someone, and it really wasn't because he didn't come to congress.

And so, I agree with others who have said what's important here is the message that it sends -- you cannot ignore Congress, you cannot ignore a grand jury, you cannot ignore a court.

TAPPER: So, in other words, beyond just ignoring it, he could have gone to Congress and said -- and sat and they asked him questions, and he could have said to every one of them but especially to the ones that he thought it was relevant to, I believe it that falls under executive privilege, I'm not going to answer it, and just gone through that procedure that those motions and at least shown that respect to the -- to the legislative branch of Congress even while not answering their questions.

SCHEINDLIN: That's absolutely right. You got it. And that's what goes on in grand jury investigations all the time.

When somebody thinks they have attorney/client privilege, they have to come, they have to assert it. I think you saw when President Trump was testifying recently in the New York state actions, he asserted the privilege over and over again. I think it was hundreds of times. But there's a transcripts of that.

And that's what Mr. -- Dr. Navarro had to do. And he didn't. He just didn't show up.

TAPPER: All right, Judge. Thank you so much. Really appreciate your time.

Then, of course, there are the troubles of President Biden. He is leaving this hour for a major international trip as a new CNN poll shows negative numbers on his approval ratings. Two people who once worked in his administration will join me.

That's ahead. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, moments from now, President Joe Biden will get on Air Force One and fly to India for Saturday's G20 Summit. And one thing that is sure to follow him there, the stark reality that his re-election is anything but guaranteed as evidenced by a brand-new CNN poll out today.

Biden's approval rating stands at 39 percent. Jimmy Carter, a one-term president, is the only other president who had a worse approval rating at this point in his presidency. This, of course, could reopen the oval office door to the current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump as we're finding no clear leader in a hypothetical match-up between President Biden and a man who could be a convicted felon by Election Day. Forty-six percent of voters, in fact, say they would take literally any Republican over Biden.

And the big question, has Biden lost the locker room? Sixty-seven percent of Democrats say they would prefer a different Democratic nominee.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is at the magic wall for us to break down these numbers.

Jeff, what are Biden's biggest liabilities according to our new poll, and are they fixable?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, you mentioned that 39 percent approval rating. When you look inside these numbers, here are some of the reasons why.

The economy. How have Biden's policies affected U.S. economic conditions? Fifty-eight percent say that they have worsened the conditions.

Of course, this is the president's calling card, the legislation, the laws that he has signed into -- from infrastructure to the Inflation Reduction Act to lowering drug prices. Clearly, those examples have not made their way into the consciousness of the American public. Fifty-eight percent say that his policies have worsened the conditions.

When you go a little bit farther, stamina, that is one of the central questions here. Does the president have the stamina and sharpness to serve effectively as president? Seventy-four percent of Americans say no. Only 26 percent say yes.

Go into that a little bit more. You compare this -- Democrats and independents and Republicans, now versus March, these numbers have fallen throughout the spring and summer months. Sixty-two percent in March, now only 50 percent of Democrats.

Of course, independents, a central number here, Republicans, of course, would be lower than that. But these are some of the reasons that the approval rating is so low, and there's a pessimistic mood about this president and the economy, Jake.

TAPPER: In any election but particularly close elections, one cannot overstate the importance of voter turnout. How motivated are the Republican Party's voters and the Democratic Party's voters to get to the polls in the 2024 race?

ZELENY: Jake, that is one of the central interesting findings here. If you look at the GOP motivation, first of all, and they are having a robust campaign. Several candidates are out. Every single day, there's been a debate.

So, there certainly is interest in that. Motivated to vote in the 2024 election, 71 percent of Republicans say they're extremely motivated to vote, 17 percent say they're very motivated to vote.

Look at this compared to Democrats. Only 61 percent say they're extremely motivated to vote. You may not think that that is that big of a difference, but this is where the idea of a third-party candidate could come in.


If there's not enough excitement for the president, for his tickets, could there be an opening for a Green Party candidate or a no labels candidate? That's why enthusiasm here is certainly so interesting. And, of course, we are more than a year away. This can change.

But at this point, this is a good benchmark. We'll certainly keep our eye on this number here over the next year.

TAPPER: And, of course, the election is not going to be held today.

ZELENY: Right.

TAPPER: But if it were, this poll shows, it would be a dead heat between Biden and every Republican candidate except one. Tell us about that.

ZELENY: And that one is former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Look at these numbers here, 49 percent to 43 percent. She's the only candidate outside the margin of error, the only candidate against the president in this hypothetical head-to-head match-up. And she's been talking about this on the campaign trail extensively. That is because of educated -- college-educated voters and women

voters are making up that difference in margin there. But if you look across the board here, there's no clear leader. It's within the margin of error of every single potential candidate. And that is why this is a potential worrisome spot for the president for his team. Of course, he is well known. He has the biggest megaphone of anyone.

But Jake, one thing is clear, we're in a very divided country. This election should be a reality check. It will be very close as all of them have been recently but certainly this one will be as well -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny, thanks.

Perhaps our next guest can find some silver linings in all this. Let's have them smile now because they've had grim faces for the last five minutes. Kate Bedingfield was the Biden White House communications director. Jamal Simmons served as the deputy assistant to President Biden and communications director for Vice President Kamala Harris.

Thanks for bringing the smiles back. I was watching you guys during Jeff's presentation and it was --

JAMAL SIMMONS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I've seen so much worse than this.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: We're just serious people, Jake. We're just serious people.

TAPPER: So, you're going to try to put some silver linings. I was thinking for one, good news for you is that Nikki Haley is not yet beating Donald Trump in the polls. That is the one good news for you.

But seriously, we asked voters if Biden inspires confidence, 28 percent said yes. 72 percent say no. This is an incumbent president. How do you turn that around? Is it even possible?

SIMMONS: Of course, it's possible.

TAPPER: How? How is the question. How?

SIMMONS: We're a year out from election day.

TAPPER: How is it possible?

SIMMONS: You communicate to people about what it is that you're doing. One of the things I think the campaign is doing very well, they are running ads with real Americans telling their story about how they are benefiting from the Biden-Harris administration.

I think that is a very key point because it's not just the president saying it, it's not just the vice president saying it, it's somebody who looks and sounds just like you telling their story about how they're benefiting from the president.

BEDINGFIELD: You also draw the contrast, right? I mean, let's not forget, Donald Trump has three fewer candles on his birthday cake than Joe Biden. He also has 91 more criminal counts on his record than Joe Biden.

So in addition to having the president out showing his vigor, you know, speaking of ads, the campaign has an ad out spotlighting the president's secret visit to Kyiv where he, you know, went and was -- it was a display of force. You spotlight the president's vigor but you also draw the contrast. We're talking about Donald Trump leading a Republican Party that is all about chaos.

And so if the challenge for the campaign and what I think the Biden campaign will do for the next year is to really draw those contrasts. And that is what at the end of the day will move some of these numbers.

SIMMONS: And also remember this, Jake.


SIMMONS: People in remember are optimists, right? So we're always thinking about what deal's coming around the corner. Who's going to be next? And I think what you're going to see, this is not normal times, the numbers aren't normal but these aren't normal times. But as people get closer and closer to a real decision between a real live human being Joe Biden and probably a real live human being Donald Trump they're just not going for the chaos again.

TAPPER: I know you guys want it to be Donald Trump and it likely will be, but we don't know that for a fact. I will say Donald Trump is three years older. He is.

The American people do not see Donald Trump as -- in the same light that they see Joe Biden in terms of his frailty and stamina and vigor. They just don't.

BEDINGFIELD: But, but they see him as a threat to democracy. We've seen that the charges against him that are related to trying to do nothing less than overthrow our government essentially on January 6th moves people. They also see him as somebody who does not care about them. Yes, he has a very -- he has a very fervent base within the Republican Party but --

TAPPER: Dead heat. This is a dead heat election.

BEDINGFIELD: Which is a reflection of how polarized the country is. You have the Republican base that is motivated to get out for Donald Trump. You have the Democratic base which by the way in addition to liking a lot of what Joe Biden's done is also motivated by Donald Trump.

And then you have a slice of people in the middle who reject the chaos, who don't like the fact that Donald Trump put three justices on the Supreme Court who overturned Roe v. Wade. These are real --

TAPPER: And still are not -- you forgot the last part of it, and are still not in Biden's camp. That's the point I'm making. Like you're running against a guy who did -- let me posit that everything you're saying about Trump is right.


And still it's 46 percent Biden, 47 percent Trump. You still don't have those people.

BEDINGFIELD: Because we live in a hyperpolarized environment. The days of a president at a 60 percent, 65 percent approval rating, at least in the foreseeable future probably over.

But look at the midterms in 2022. We have a test case as recently as a year ago where voters were motivated to come out, reject largely the Republican agenda.

And so that's what the Biden campaign, the Biden White House will be putting on display for the next year. By the way, let's not forget we're still a year out from the election.

TAPPER: More than a year.

SIMMONS: I will just say in before we close. I live in a neighborhood where people would ride up to my dad who's kind of a political person in Detroit. They'd ride by and say on Saturday before Election Day, Larry, who are we voting for on Tuesday? And then he'd say whoever the person was that he liked for city council or mayor, whatever it was.

People aren't thinking about this stuff right now. I think we've got to keep that in mind.

TAPPER: That's not a presidential race, though, Jamal. Okay.

SIMMONS: You would be surprised.

TAPPER: We have a year -- we have a year and change to talk about this. To be continued. Thanks for being here, Kate and Jamal. Appreciate it.

Former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro found guilty of contempt of Congress just ban hour ago over his refusal to testify to the January 6th Committee. What kind of sentence might Navarro be looking at? We're going to have more on that breaking news next.


NAVARRO: To have an interesting discussion about what just happened.