Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Trump on Tape Talking about Classified Documents; NATO Chief on Ukraine Membership; DeSantis Campaigns in New Hampshire; JP Morgan CEO Denies Meeting and Talking to Epstein. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired June 01, 2023 - 09:00   ET



RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN ANCHOR: Trump on tape acknowledging he kept a classified document after leaving the White House. What it could mean for the ongoing DOJ investigation.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: One of the most powerful bank CEOs in the world deposed for hours in a lawsuit over Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking crimes. What lawyers want to know about JP Morgan's longtime relationship with Epstein.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Amazon will shell out more than $30 million after being accused of violating user privacy for years.


SOLOMON: We begin with a story you saw first on CNN. Federal prosecutors now have a tape of former President Donald Trump acknowledging he held on to a classified Pentagon document and suggesting he wanted to share it but had a limited ability to declassify records after leaving office. The tape is from a meeting at his New Jersey golf club in the summer of 2021 with the team working on Mark Meadows' autobiography. While CNN has not obtained the recording, multiple sources have described it, saying the tape will be an important piece of evidence for Special Counsel Jack Smith and his investigation.

This new audio undercuts the Trump legal argument that he declassified everything. Just last month the former president told CNN this.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I have no classified documents. And, by the way, they become automatically declassified when I took them.


SOLOMON: CNN's Katelyn Polantz joins us now.

So, Katelyn, what do we know about the recording and this document?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Rahel, we've actually learned quite a bit of detail about what happened, though we haven't actually listened to this tape or seen the exact words that Donald Trump would have been saying on it.

But the Justice Department certainly has this audiotape right now and it is an audiotape that reveals a couple different things from what our sources are telling Paula Reid, Kaitlan Collins and myself. So, on this tape Donald Trump is discussing a plan from the Pentagon, from the joint -- chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, that was maybe not written by him but somehow given to Trump. And it is about a strike on Iran, the plan for the U.S. to take military action in Iran. Something that there were reports after Trump's presidency that Donald Trump really wanted to do that and people like General Milley had to talk him out of that, especially at the end of the presidency, after he lost the election. They were telling him he would start a war.

And so Trump, at that time, July 2021, in Bedminster, at his golf club, he's meeting with people working on a book for Mark Meadows, his former chief staff. He also has some communications aides or at least one communication aide, Marco Martin, in the room with him. And he's very mad at Mark Milley and he wants to undermine him.

And so at that time, in this meeting that is being recorded, that the Justice Department now has testimony about, they also have the audiotape, Trump is referring to a document, he can be heard on the audio referring to the document, he can be heard waving it around, that there's the sound of rustling paper. And then, on top of that, a very -- more significant thing too than just the paper himself - the paper itself that he's referring to, is that Donald Trump is acknowledging that it's classified. It's the sort of document that has national security secrets that should be protected, that he wants it out there more widely, and that he doesn't have the power to do that at that time.

So, those are all very significant pieces that the Justice Department appears to have been able to get from this audiotape in locking it down.

And, you know, just yesterday his -- we did get a statement from the Trump campaign. We also got a statement from one of his attorneys who was on CNN, essentially not denying that this tape exists or that this happened, but instead calling it a leak.


SOLOMON: Just really incredible details here, Katelyn, and reporting.

Katelyn Polantz, thank you.


BOLDUAN: Joining us now for more on this is former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams.

So, Elliot, if and when you could listen to this tape, what would you be listening most closely for?


I would say, one, does -- where does the former president indicate that he knows what's in the document. Two, is it a real document? Is he merely waving around a piece of paper or is it the thing that he says it is. I say that because there are a few different crimes that could be implicated if, in fact, he's in possession or receipt of a sensitive document. Number one, mishandling or retaining defense information - defense specific information -- we gather that this is related to military information -- is itself a crime. Number two, the fact that it's a government record is itself a separate crime that one could be charged with. So, there's a lot going on here. And if the document is real, this is potentially quite bad evidence for the former president.

BOLDUAN: You and others have pointed to the Espionage Act related to this.


BOLDUAN: I want to read for everyone how the Espionage Act describes this kind of document. It's Section 793 of the Espionage Act. Relating to the national defense or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.

Do you think there's actual legal exposure here?

WILLIAMS: Assuming the document is what has been reported, absolutely. Kate, I would note that there's a very important word you did not use there when reading from that statute, and it's the word "classified." It does not matter whether the former president classified or declassified the document. He sort of opened up this question of saying that because I declassified the documents, and I have the right to do that as president, then I can't be charged with a crime. That's simply inaccurate based on any number of statutes and certainly the statutes that the Justice Department appeared to be investigating when they searched Mar-a-Lago. They bolted out what the statutes were and none o them had anything to do with classification.

What matters here, at least for that Espionage Act, is, was it defense information. And by every account, at least based on what's been reported here, it seems that this information was.

BOLDUAN: You had me for a second. I thought you said I like pulled the wrong quote, which would have been a real great moment for me.


BOLDUAN: I'm just messing with you.

But there are also two things here. There are two - I see there are like two points of this I wanted to ask you to kind of clarify here. Having a document when it was not supposed to be removed and not declassified, and disclosing the contents of the document, a defense document, to people without clearance. Which is more potentially problematic here?

WILLIAMS: Oh, goodness, they are all potentially problematic because those are two different provisions of that statute, 793, that you've identified. Number one, retaining the information after it's been requested of you to turn it back, once you knew you were in receipt of it, that's - that is itself a crime. And then, separately, disclosing the information to someone else who didn't - who wasn't properly cleared to see it is itself a separate crime.

And so back to your very first question here, what could be concerning to you, what would you be looking for in the video. If he actually knows that it is defense information and when he does - he is waving it around, if somebody else sees it, that itself triggers a different section of the statute. So, there's a few different things here.

And like - you know, there's very few smoking guns. I hate that term. It's a TV term. A fictional term. But this is real evidence if, in fact, it is what it has been reported to be and could, you know, be used to really support criminal exposure for the former president, or those around him, if they knew what it was.

BOLDUAN: I have heard you and your distaste for smoking gun, the term before, which is why I try to avoid using it whenever we speak. And there you go, and then you use it.

So political trouble and legal trouble can be two different things of course.


BOLDUAN: As we have seen, especially when it comes to Donald Trump. He's been caught on tape saying things in the past. The "Access Hollywood" tape. That was during the campaign. The call with the Georgia secretary of state when he was president saying that he needed to find 11,780 votes in order to change the election results in the state of Georgia.

As a prosecutor, when you add all that up to also now add this recorded conversation reportedly, as a prosecutor, what do you see just kind of in all of this?

WILLIAMS: Well, and something you should also add to that is just sort of distasteful conduct. And we had General Hertling on talking about this last night that even setting aside the criminal questions, there's serious national security and prudential (ph) questions of whether someone - even someone who has the entitlement to information is showing it to other people or being cavalier with it. It's just generally poor form.

Now, some of that may not be able to be brought into court.

HARLOW: Right.

WILLIAMS: Some of these political questions are national security questions. What matters is, do you know it's a document or not. Either way - you know, so there's a few different ways to look at it. There's legal questions, prudential (ph) questions, but also as citizens of a country, how is our information being secured. That's certainly not specifically a legal question but it's troubling and ought to be for anybody sort of viewing the case.


BOLDUAN: That's good to see, Elliot. Thanks for coming in to talk through this.

WILLIAMS: Thanks, Kate. Take care.


BERMAN: So, the debt limit bill is now in the hands of the U.S. Senate. In theory they could vote today, but it needs to clear a few hurdles. First, it needs unanimous consent to get to the House floor. Unanimous. Which means every single senator needs to agree on a timeline before the vote can begin. Any one person could hold it up. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, they are pushing for a speedy resolution. Now, for that to happen, the bill needs more than 60 votes to overcome any filibuster attempt. They also need to make sure that no amendment gets 60 votes because if an amendment were to pass, the whole thing would have to go back to the House again. Then they would miss the June 5th deadline. So, for leadership to review, yes on 60 for the bill, no on 60 for amendments.

CNN's congressional correspondent Lauren Fox up on Capitol Hill in the middle of it all for us now.

Your attention now turns to the Senate, Lauren. What are you seeing?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean that overwhelming vote last night in the House of Representatives now sends the momentum over to the other side of the U.S. Capitol where we are waiting to see whether or not Republican and Democratic leaders can come together on some kind of time agreement, that means unanimous consent of all 100 senators who have to agree to advance this bill expeditiously. That is the huge question right now, how quickly are they going to be able to move? Are they going to be able to salvage their weekend? Are they going to be able to make sure that they do not hit or run up against that Monday deadline.

Here's what minority leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I can tell you what I hope happens is that those who have amendments, even votes, will yield back time so that we can finish this Thursday or Friday and soothe the country and soothe the markets.


FOX: And there are a number of senators on the Republican and Democratic side who are hoping to get a vote on their amendment. Two of those members, Rand Paul and Mike Lee, argued that if they get the votes on their amendments, they are not going to hold this up any further. But you have to secure that agreement to make this all move more quickly, John. That's what we're waiting on this morning. We'll keep you updated on the drama up here on that time agreement.


BERMAN: All right, keep us posted. It's not over yet. Thanks so much, Lauren.


SOLOMON: Well, John, Russia again bombarding Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv overnight killing three people, including a mother and her one- year-old child, and injuring more than a dozen others. Ukraine's armed forces say that they destroyed all 10 missiles launched toward Kyiv. Debris from that damaging a children's health care clinic and two schools according to the city.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken underscoring the, quote, extraordinary solidarity of NATO members as one of the main reasons for Ukraine's success against Russia's invasion. Blinken is in Norway for a NATO meeting to discuss Sweden's membership and also support for Ukraine.

CNN's Sam Kiley is in eastern Ukraine.

So, Sam, Putin's original goal of this so-called special military operation was to actually stop NATO expansion, but it seems like the opposite has actually happened. I mean what could all of this mean for the war?

SAM KILEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, from the NATO perspective, they've reiterated their decision that ultimately Ukraine will be joining NATO. That was a decision essentially broadcast out last - end of last year, reiterated by Jens Stoltenberg, endorsed by Mr. Blinken. So, that is going to be treated with extreme concern by the Russians. Not that they kind of need it or would find it unexpected because, of course, what is tipping the balance or holding the Russians back is the significant supplies of NATO standard weaponry, high tech weaponry and, of course, the enormous amount of financial support that has come to this country.

But this is all coming at some cost and not least in terms of the potential for the Russians to exploit the fact that Ukraine is now attacking locations inside Russian territory. Just in the last day, for example, eight civilians allegedly injured during Ukrainian bombardment of Russian territory. This is as claimed by the Russian governor inside Belgorod province, and him saying that the large numbers of civilians are having to evacuate border villages.

Now, the bombardment of border villages has, over the last 16 months, been uniquely a Ukrainian experience, not a Russian experience. But Ukraine has the moral high grounds. That's a very important strategic position, makes it very, very easy for NATO to be fulsome in its support. It won't be ultimately totally undermined by attacks, albeit potentially accidental attacks against civilians, but it is something I think that the Russians are certain to exploit in the coming element parts of the war.


SOLOMON: And, Sam, you know, not just the border. Of course another targeted attack on the capital city of Kyiv. What's the latest there?

KILEY: Well, this again is the - it's, I think, the 18th day in May when -- so just now the first day of a new month and, of course, once again we're seeing Kyiv targeted again with these cruise missiles and surface to surface missiles, which are really deadly and carry very significant warheads. Now, according to the Ukrainians, they shot them all down, but it is the descending debris that can often be fatal. And that is what it has been in Ukraine. The three -- two killed, a mother and daughter killed, tragically unable to get into a locked bunker. These are Soviet era anti-air raid bunkers that are all over the city and they should have been opened at the beginning of this war. And indeed an amazed population in Kyiv greeted with the idea that significant numbers of civilians desperate to get into cover were actually hit or nearly hit by descending debris and two people killed. So, there is now an official investigation going on in the Ukrainian authorities as to how on earth this was able to happen.

SOLOMON: Yes, Sam, it's a great point. Not just the missile, of course, but the debris, which can also be quite fatal and destructive.

Sam Kiley, live for us in Ukraine, thank you.


BOLDUAN: The Republican presidential field is growing. What we're learning now about former Vice President Mike Pence's plans to enter the race.

Plus, the rest of the apartment building could topple at any moment. That is the warning now from officials in Iowa as rescuers are still searching for residents. What that now means for the five people still unaccounted for as this city is also still searching for why this all happened in the first place. We're expecting a new update this morning.

And, eight hours in the hot seat. New details about what JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon was asked and how he answered during eight hours of questioning about why the bank did not cut ties sooner with Jeffrey Epstein.

We'll be back.



BERMAN: This morning we are learning that former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to formally launch his presidential campaign next week. This, of course, will pit him against his former running mate, Donald Trump, who was on the campaign trail this morning back in Iowa after getting rained out last time he tried to hold a rally there. He's been holding some much smaller, more grassroots events as he travels the country lately.

As for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, he is in New Hampshire right now.

CNN's Jessica Dean joins us from Laconia in New Hampshire, not far from lovely Lake Winnipesauke.

Jessica, tell us what's going on.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Lake Winni. I saw it earlier today on a sign, John.

Yes, Governor DeSantis is talking to supporters right behind me. It's the first of four stops in New Hampshire today and widening out. This is part of a broader swing through the three early states. He was in Iowa yesterday, New Hampshire today, South Carolina tomorrow.

And as he is traveling on the trial talking to voters, we are starting to hear more and more about what his vision is for leading the country, what some of his priorities might be, what some of his policies might be. He has mentioned that he wants to fire the director of the FBI, Chris Wray. He believes that that has become a weaponized FBI and that he wants to get rid of Chris Wray. That's something that we hear time and time again.

We heard a couple new policies that he was previewing yesterday. One would be to give back pay to military members who come back to the military after leaving because of the Covid vaccine mandate. Another is to make universities pick up the tab if students or former students default on their student loans. So, again, starting to get some of the contours of what he will be proposing.

And also what is interesting to note, John, is that we are not hearing him go directly after former President Trump by name when he's on the stump, but he is kind of taking these indirect hits at him. It's when he gets with the media, whether on a radio show -- he talked with the media in Iowa when we were there earlier this week - that's when we hear him going directly after the former president, really sharpening those attacks.

And we're really starting to see this campaign take shape. As you mentioned, the GOP field is set to widen. But a lot of people here in New Hampshire are very interested to learn more about the governor, about Senator Tim Scott. We've heard a number of names floating up. They certainly want to learn more about all these different candidates that might potentially be in the race. And, of course, DeSantis trying to capitalize on that and really make the case that he is the man who can take on the former president and then President Biden.


BERMAN: Jessica Dean, in Laconia, keep us posted on his travels. Thanks, Jessica. Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, the long time chief executive of JP Morgan Chase says that he had little firsthand knowledge of the bank's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. This comes from the newly released transcript of Jamie Dimon's deposition related to lawsuits against JP Morgan. During the eight-hour long interview, Dimon denies having ever met or talked to Epstein. Epstein held accounts with JP Morgan for 15 years, with the bank eventually severing ties with him in 2013. And now the bank is facing lawsuits brought by a victim of Epstein and by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands alleging that JP Morgan ignored multiple warnings that Epstein was using the money to finance sex crimes.

CNN's Christine Romans is here now with much more on this.

I mean they sat for a very long interview.


BOLDUAN: We're just getting redacted transcript released here. What stands out - what more stands out to you and what does this mean for Jamie Dimon and the bank?

ROMANS: It's 418 pages of testimony, Kate.


ROMANS: Really exhaustive here.

Look, Epstein was a JP Morgan client from 1998 to 2013. And during that time Epstein was indicted on a prostitution charge in 2006. A charge involving a minor. And he pleaded guilty in 2008.


Then, in 2019, Epstein was arrested on federal sex trafficking charges. And he died, as you know, by suicide while detained.

Dimon says he was not really aware of Epstein's criminal history and relationship with the bank until after the 2019 news broke.

Now, these suits allege people at Chase knew about the sex trafficking allegations against Epstein but they still did business with him. In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson said this, had the firm believed he was engaged in an ongoing sex trafficking operation, Epstein would not have been retained as a client. In hindsight we regret he was a client.

Now, Dimon did acknowledge that he is now aware that some JP Morgan employees knew Epstein was charged with sex crimes involving cash and that he was moving large amounts of money around in his accounts in 2007. And JP Morgan has sued a former banker there, Jess Daly (ph), known to be a friend of Epstein. The bank alleges he is to blame for the bank's 15-year relationship with Epstein. Staley (ph) has denied all wrongdoing. BOLDUAN: Remind everyone kind of where this all comes from and who is

filing these lawsuits.

ROMANS: So, the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, remember he had an island getaway, a compound there.


ROMANS: They are suing the bank. And also a woman who says -- goes by the name Jane Doe, an unnamed woman who says she was a victim of Epstein. And they both say essentially this was where the money was kept. These were bank accounts that Epstein used to pay cash for his illegal ring here and that JP Morgan should have known.

BOLDUAN: Should have known better.

Christine, it's good to see you. Thanks for bringing us that. Much more to come.


SOLOMON: Up next for us, immigrant workers in Florida and other states are set to strike today. Some Latino owned businesses will also shut their doors. This all follow as new immigration law under Florida Governor Ron DeSantis that cracks down on undocumented workers, and some people there are furious.

Plus, the girls are back together again. What we know about Kim Cattrall's much anticipated return to the "Sex and the City" spinoff. We'll explain.