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Trump Subpoenaed for Records After Recording Surfaced of Him Discussing Classified Doc on Iran; YouTube to Allow 2020 Election Denialism Posts; Markets Up After Strong Jobs Report. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired June 02, 2023 - 15:00   ET



BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: We're following these major developing stories and many more all coming in right here on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: We are learning more about more documents that former President Trump's lawyers recently handed over to federal investigators. This is a CNN exclusive.

The Justice Department sent a fresh subpoena to Trump in March. It was tied to a recording of him in 2021 in which he's heard discussing a classified document on Iran attack plans. The feds wanted that specific document but did not get it. Trump's attorneys turned over materials related to it. But sources tell us they could not find the paper in question.

Katelyn Polantz is part of the CNN team that broke this story.

Katelyn, lay out what we know and what we don't know here including where potentially this document could be.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right. Well, Jim, the big point here is that we have seen a lot of investigative activity, and this was another emphasis that the investigators took to try and get to the bottom of what happened in Bedminster in July of 2021. So this is how this played out, this how the Trump team got a new subpoena seeking this particular document that Donald Trump is captured on audio tape talking about referring to waving around and then lamenting that he can't make it more widely available to the public because he believes he believes that it helps him in some way politically.

But what happened was in mid-March, one of his communication aides that was in that meeting in July of 2021 in Bedminster. She goes into the grand jury, does her testimony and at that time it is revealed to her that the Justice Department has a copy of this Bedminster meeting audio tape.

And then shortly after she leaves the grand jury, that's when the Trump team becomes aware that the Justice Department has the audio tape, and they get hit with a subpoena. They get a subpoena asking for any and all documents related to General Mark Milley. So that's the subject of Trump's ire when he was waving that document around at Bedminster.

They're also asking for anything related to Iran, any maps, invasion plans, anything that could be part of that collection of classified information that Trump was talking about there that he was talking about what he believed were the Pentagon plans to invade or to have a military strike on Iran.

And the Trump team goes and looks for the material that they have. They respond, they give some things back over to the Justice Department. But Jim, they do not find the document itself to turn back over at that time, and they do not produce that back to the Justice Department.

SCIUTTO: Is it possible the DOJ already has that document, or we just don't know?

POLANTZ: It's entirely possible. So we know in the course of this investigation, the Justice Department has taken great pains to try to make sure that Donald Trump and his team no longer have any classified documents in their possession. And his own lawyers, and staff and Trump himself do not know and have said this. They do not know exactly what they sent back to the archives that may have been classified in those 15 boxes that were returned to the archives in January of 2022. And they certainly don't know what the hundred or more classified documents were that the FBI recovered in the search of Mar-A-Lago in August of last year.

So we don't know if this is a subpoena covering the Justice Department's bases, making sure that there are no pieces of that classified material, no copies or anything like that. But we do know that the Justice Department is demanding to turn it over if you have it.

SCIUTTO: Okay. Katelyn Polantz, great reporting, standby because I do want to get to some of your other new reporting. First over to Boris for a deeper dive on this story.

SANCHEZ: Yes, we want to get some perspective from a former federal investigator on what this case looks like, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is with us now. He's also co-host of a weekly podcast about the Trump's Special Counsel called "Jack."

So first, Andy, your reaction to these subpoenas and the fact that Trump's attorneys say they couldn't find this classified document that potentially has very serious, sensitive information.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Really interesting development, Boris. And it answers a number of questions for us when we were listening to CNN's breaking - reporting just a few days ago about the audio tape, that was what we were all wondering: What is he allegedly holding? What's the document you hear being ruffled around on the tape? And where is that document now?

Well, I think we know now that the government does not believe they have it because, of course, they asked for it with a subpoena. And his attorneys did not produce it under the request of that subpoena. [15:05:00]

So whether it's stuck somewhere in the boxes that the government isn't aware of, I think that's highly unlikely, but the - that thing could really be anywhere at this point.

SANCHEZ: You would have to question why DOJ would put out a subpoena for something if they could just go through the records that were given back, right?

MCCABE: Of course, and we know that they've been very concerned about not having recovered all of these highly sensitive, classified, National Defense information documents, because they've issued now several subpoenas, they've gone in front of the court and asked to hold Trump and his legal team ...

SANCHEZ: In contempt.

MCCABE: ... in contempt. That's not happened quite yet. But that's something they've asked for. And they also went to great lengths to interview the private security folks that conducted the search on the part of the Trump team. So they're really trying to drill down to find out where this stuff is.

SANCHEZ: So given that I think the scope of the investigation should be under renewed scrutiny, no, because this document was apparently at Bedminster not at Mar-A-Lago where investigators did a thorough search. Should the DOJ have sought to get a warrant to go in Bedminster?

MCCABE: It's a great question. This development definitely broadens the scope of concern about where these documents could be. My personal opinion is that if DOJ thought they had probable cause to believe there were more documents in Bedminster, they likely would have sought out a search warrant. So they may have some concerns and some information, but it may just be short of the probable cause you need to get a search warrant.

SANCHEZ: You need to get a search warrant, right?

MCCABE: That's right.

SANCHEZ: So if there is a dispute and the document isn't located, what would prosecutors need in terms of evidence to prove that at some point, Trump did have this beyond the audio recording?

MCCABE: So a few things there, the audio is still highly significant. The audio gets admitted at any trial that may come up.


MCCABE: It can be easily authenticated by the person who recorded it and we know that person has testified in front of a grand jury. So that comes in and causes all kinds of problems for Mr. Trump, if they can't find this document, it may limit how they can charge him for this document and what's done, what's said on the video. However, it really puts Trump in a very tough position. If he doesn't - if they don't have the document, they could still have witnesses who were in that meeting come in and testify, yes, as he said that he was waving a document and I believed, by the way he was waving it, brandishing it, that was the document he was talking about.

So it would almost force him into a position where he might have to take the stand to address that question. If he does, he's kind of damned if he does, damned if he doesn't.

If he says yes, that was a document, that's a problem. If he says no, then he's basically admitting he made the whole thing up and was lying and that's not ever something you want to admit to a jury.

SANCHEZ: And will notably Trump in the recording tells the audience that's there with him in the room that he can't show it to them. And essentially, you're saying that if he takes the stand and admits that maybe he was - as he often has - aggrandizing himself in kind of the content that he possesses, that could be a problem.

MCCABE: It's a bad look. It's a bad look for a defendant to stand in front of the jury and relate a story that basically says, yes, I said these things, but they weren't true.

SANCHEZ: Andrew McCabe, thank you so much for the perspective.


SANCHEZ: I appreciate it as always. Jim?

SCIUTTO: All right. Well, the Trump classified documents probe still ongoing. The Pence probe, however, has now wrapped up. The Justice Department has closed its investigation into the former vice president's handling of classified materials and will not file charges.

That investigation launched after roughly a dozen classified records were recovered from Pence's home just in January. The decision comes days before Pence is expected to announce his 2024 presidential run.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz, she is back. A busy day for her.

So Katelyn, tell us about this decision from the Justice Department and how it came to this decision.

POLANTZ: Well, Jim, this is a separate investigation than the one we were just talking about. This is the investigation around classified materials that were found in the home of former Vice President Mike Pence in Indiana, just in January, so a much shorter investigation. And the finality that happened in this investigation came just yesterday.

The Justice Department wrote a letter that CNN has obtained to Mike Pence's legal team saying that they had conducted an investigation into the potential handling of classified information. And based on the results of that investigation, no criminal charges will be sought. So Mike Pence will not be charged with crime and neither will anyone else who may have handled those documents.

Now the shape of this investigation has looked very different. It started after January, which is the time when Mike Pence sent someone to his home in Indiana, a lawyer to look and see if there were any documents there, government documents that needed to be returned all in the shadow of this Trump investigation. And also Joe Biden's own discovery that he had classified documents in his possession which resulted in another investigation.



POLANTZ: But then they did find about a dozen. They turned them over very quickly to the Justice Department, the FBI. Mike Pence said it was a mistake. "Mistakes were made," was his exact words. He took responsibility for it.


POLANTZ: And then the FBI came in and did subsequent searches of that home again, and then his office to make sure that there were no other records. They did recover one in those searches. But then this goes silent as of February and then now we have the finality here. No criminal charges will be sought. This case is over, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Well, a big difference was the cooperation, right, when they got the request. They were - immediately returned them. As you noted, Pence said, "Mistakes were made." He took direct responsibility himself. Has the Pence team saying anything else about the investigation, particularly with an announcement coming up?

POLANTZ: Well, they are in - another thing they're waiting on is Mike Pence is planning to announce formally his run for president next week, challenging Donald Trump for that Republican nomination and any others that get into that race. And the Pence team has spoken, at least, an advisor spoke to CNN earlier and said that they were pleased but not surprised by the Justice Department decision here.

And Jim, they did highlight that this was something that is in stark contrast to how Donald Trump handled the investigation, and particularly how Mike Pence responded to the finding of these records and his decision to make sure that they got back into the hands of the federal government quickly and smoothly.

SCIUTTO: Indeed, former vice president to challenge the former president.

Katelyn Polantz, great reporting twice today. Thanks so much. Boris?

SANCHEZ: Markets are way up. Jobs numbers are stellar, and President Biden is hours away from signing a debt deal. So why are some warning that America's credit could still get downgraded? We're going to take you live to the White House as the president prepares to address the nation tonight. Plus, 13 Republican governors sending troops to the southern border even though border crossings have declined since Title 42 was lifted. What is going on at the southern border?

And the U.S. is trying to get Russia to come to the table to discuss nuclear weapons. Why officials are so keen to have a conversation with Moscow right now?

CNN NEWS CENTRAL returns in just moments.



SCIUTTO: New today, YouTube says it will stop removing content, including false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. For the past two years the platform has scrubbed such unfounded claims. Sara Fischer reported the story for Axios.

And Sara, I've been \reading its new policy as often. These policies are it's long - some seems contradictory. It says that they will continue to make sure that when folks are searching, they will find content from authoritative sources prominently in search and recommendations. It also says that other misinformation policies remain in place. So explain what has actually changed here?

SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: Yes, it's a great question, Jim. So what has changed is that in the past, if content was uploaded to YouTube that explicitly denied the validity of the 2020 election or any previous U.S. presidential elections, YouTube would say that that was violative of its policies, and that content would come down.

What's changed now is that that content no longer is going to be forced to come down. And the reason they say that, Jim, is because they are looking at a 2024 election and they see that the - a lot of the candidates not just for President Trump, but other candidates who election denialism as a part of their platform.

And their worry is that if they continue to have this policy, the majority of what they're going to try to upload and put on to YouTube and discuss is not going to be eligible to continue to remain on YouTube. And thus, they say they come up against this weird problem.

Do you want to essentially keep most of that content off the platform, even though a lot of these people are elected officials and running for major positions, or do you think that if you were to take it down, you're going to be preventing real world harm.

And the answer is, YouTube says, they think that if they keep it up, they're not going to be driving as much real world harm as they were in the wake of the 2020 election. Now, whether or not people agree with that, that's up for their interpretation.

I tried to press YouTube and get - asked them to give me examples, but they wouldn't provide any. SCIUTTO: So, of course, the question comes up, was this a business decision, right? I mean, if they're basically saying that so many of the candidates push election denialism, they eliminate some, is business a factor here?

FISCHER: It's hard to say. I mean, if you're a company like YouTube, the vast majority of your revenue is coming from big brand advertisers and like they don't want to be around misinformation, so I don't know that this is explicitly a business decision.

If I had to guess I think that they want to ensure that the platform can remain as open as possible. That is the business model here. And so any policies that they create that are going to get a lot of pushback from elected officials or quite frankly huge swaths of the country that agree with them for potentially censoring or not allowing that content to be available, I think that's their bigger concern.

It's almost like user engagement is the concern here. But whether or not they think adding this type of content is going to like help them get more revenue directly, I don't know that that's the case.

SCIUTTO: Well, something to follow, certainly impact as we get closer to the election.

Sara Fischer, thank you so much. Boris?

SANCHEZ: Tonight, President Biden will address the nation from the Oval Office, his first time speaking to the country since final passage of the bill that raises the debt ceiling and avoids a catastrophic default. It also comes as the Dow is surging more than 730 points on track for its best day since November.

This on the heels of today's red hot jobs report, the U.S. economy adding 339,000 jobs last month. That number crushing expectations.


We saw the most jobs added in professional and business services, followed by government and health care jobs.

Let's dig into the numbers with CNN Economics and Political Commentator, Catherine Rampell.

Catherine, thanks for being with us.

Obviously, these are great numbers. And by my count, I think it's at least the fourth report we've seen that has exceeded economists' expectations. What does that tell you?

RAMPELL: In fact, it's better than that. 13 out of the past 14 months, the numbers have exceeded expectations.


RAMPELL: And look, forecasts are often wrong in some direction. It's very unusual for that - very unusual for them to be consistently wrong in the same direction. That is month after month after month this job market has been underestimated.

I think it's a little bit of a puzzle to be quite honest, particularly given the fact that we have had very sharp rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, other signs of financial stress. There was frankly good reason to believe that we would have seen more of a slowdown in the job market by now. It's great that that hasn't happened. It's just contrary to historically what we might have expected.

And I think part of what's going on potentially, might have to do with the normalization of the immigration environment early on in the pandemic, it was very difficult to come here and to work here legally. For that matter, borders were closed and people were losing their paperwork because - losing their work documents, essentially, because of so much government dysfunction. Today, a lot of that is basically back to normal.

And also we see a record high number of working aged women employed. So that she session, as you may recall, then people feared back in 2020 would lead to sort of permanent economic scarring for American women does not seem to have happened far from it. Whatever trials and tribulations American women have endured in the past few years in the labor market, at least they have emerged stronger.

SANCHEZ: That is fantastic news. Of course, it leads to questions about what we might see in terms of a potential recession. How do you fit this positive jobs news in the context of where the overall economy might go?

RAMPELL: This is not the kind of job market one would expect during a recession, far from it. These are great numbers for the most part. They do not look like an economy in downturn. That doesn't necessarily mean we're out of the woods yet. All of that pessimism predicting a recession, a downturn, job losses, et cetera, may not have been wrong. It may have been early.

I mean, at some point, the economy will turn because it always does. The business cycle is called a cycle because it's cycles up and down. The puzzle was just why we haven't had a recession yet. Again, great that we haven't.

At some point, it will come. I hope it doesn't happen this year. There are signs, again, of some stresses in financial markets. For example, if you look at credit card delinquencies. They've been going up quite a bit, so it's not all hunky dory. And we may yet see some of that translate into job losses and more widespread economic pain, but to date, we look like we're okay.

SANCHEZ: Yes, a puzzle in large part because it's an unprecedented picture coming out of the pandemic that we just went through.

Catherine Rampell, always appreciate your expertise, thanks.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course. Jim? SCIUTTO: A job that pays double minimum wage that Americans just don't want to do. Our own Gary Tuchman spent a day working alongside migrant employees at a Florida farm and he found out why.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I own two farming operations.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (off camera): And you represent how many farms?


TUCHMAN: And how many U.S. \citizens do you know of who work on any of those farms?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Short a management? Zero.




SANCHEZ: We want to get you an update now on that partial building collapse in New Haven, Connecticut. Officials say that seven people were hurt, two of them critically. The building is currently under construction and collapsed when workers were pouring concrete.

Part of the second floor fell onto the first floor and then into the basement. In the last hour, the fire chief said that the wet concrete was an added difficulty in the ensuing rescue process. Here he is.


CHIEF JOHN ALSTON, NEW HAVEN, CT FIRE DEPARTMENT: They perform the initial rescues which we do by our process of removing surface victims first, getting accountability, shutting all work down, making sure that the vibration stop. We want to keep everyone out of this area. That building is still in a dangerous state for us to do the investigations.

Those persons that were trapped had to be lifted out by the rescue company, and the truck companies and engine companies because of the level that they fell from and through. One of the problems that you have with wet concrete is having to do the searches before it hardens. So the accountability count was important.

So we were able to communicate with the foreman here, foreperson here to make sure that they had accountability for their folks and we're in communication with the hospital.


SANCHEZ: We will, of course, continue to monitor this and bring you the very latest on this story. Jim? SCIUTTO: It has been three weeks since the pandemic-era border expulsion policy known as Title 42 expired.


Many politicians and experts had predicted a surge of migrants would overwhelm the U.S. border with Mexico.