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Former Trump Aide Arrives at Miami Courthouse to Appear Before Grand Jury; Pope Having Intestinal Surgery in Rome Hospital; New York City, D.C. Schools Cancel Outdoor Activities Due to Air Quality. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 07, 2023 - 11:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Code red, major northeastern cities under severe air quality alerts as smoke from devastating wildfires is affecting millions.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Pope Francis is undergoing abdominal surgery at this hour. What we know about the 86-year-old's procedure, and as we wait for an update from the Vatican.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Special Counsel Jack Smith has convened a second grand jury to hear testimony over Donald Trump's handling of classified documents, what prosecutors are now doing in Florida. This is CNN News Central.

This morning, former Trump Aide Taylor Budowich is in a federal courthouse in Miami. Here's why. CNN has learned Special Counsel Jack Smith is using a second grand jury there as he investigates Donald Trump's handling of classified documents. That investigation appears to be nearing its final stages now.

CNN has also learned Trump's former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, that he testified before a federal grand jury in both special counsel investigations.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz is in Miami for us. She's joining us right now. Katelyn, let's start with this new second grand jury that we're learning about. What are you hearing about this?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, there is activity today. Taylor Budowich did arrive with his attorney a little bit earlier this morning. They've been inside the federal courthouse for a couple of hours, apparently in that secret proceeding where the special counsel investigators are asking, we believe, about this possible mishandling of classified records, that particular part of the investigation. That is why Taylor Budowich is in Miami.

Now, there are a lot of questions around this still, particularly why this isn't happening in Washington, D.C., where we saw so much grand jury activity. But we do know that Taylor Budowich, someone who is very close to Donald Trump, who's been an aide, is working with a super PAC still for Donald Trump as the former president launches another campaign for the White House.

He's a person, too, that was among the group that talked Trump out of saying publicly he had turned over everything to the National Archives at a time when they were demanding he return all of the documents from his White House and where he did not return all of the documents from his White House, even though 15 boxes were sent back to the Archives.

So, we don't have yet any sort of indication of exactly what's happening in that grand jury. It is a sealed proceeding, but we're closely watching, at least to see how long he's going to be in there.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, and who's coming and going today. It might be the only indication of where things are, considering those secret proceedings.

Talk to me now about the former chief of staff to Donald Trump, Mark Meadows. He has now testified before the grand jury. Do we know exactly which investigation he's testifying about?

POLANTZ: Well, our reporting team has been able to confirm that he had been asked about both the investigation into Donald Trump and the handling of classified records after the White House, as well as January 6 and the 2020 election. We know that Mark Meadows was very central witness who refused to speak to the House as they were investigating what happened on January 6 and during the 2020 election. He was clearly one of the top advisers around Donald Trump interested in trying to find a way to maintain the presidency.

And we also know that a federal court said he could not decline to answer any questions related to 2020 and his time in the White House because of executive privilege. But we did get a statement from his attorney saying that he would had a commitment to tell the truth where he had a legal obligation to do so. Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Katelyn Polantz in Miami for us, Katelyn, thank you. Sara?

SIDNER: All right, a lot to unpack there. Let us discuss it now with CNN Senior Legal Analyst Elie Honig. All right, you are well-versed in what is going on. We've just heard from Katelyn about the testimony that it's coming out of a former Trump aide, Budowich. What do we expect to hear? What does he know?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: So, it's really interesting because he's worked as a spokesperson for Trump, and the reporting from Katelyn and others is that he may have been present at meetings where Trump and his team were talking about perhaps in intentionally putting out a false public statement about what documents they had and had not turned over from Mar-a-Lago.

Now, not a crime to lie to the public, I don't recommend it, but it's not a crime. However, if someone intentionally makes a false public statement, prosecutors can use that to prove intent, to prove that the overall pattern here was to deceive the public and perhaps eventually investigators.


So, it's very relevant information.

SIDNER: Mark Meadows did not go speak to the House, but we now know that he has testified. I'm assuming that means he actually did not take the Fifth. And if that is the case, then what exactly did prosecutors have to do to get to this point where he is talking about what's going on?

HONIG: Yes. So, three potential ways this happened, it could be we have no reporting to this effect, and I think it's unlikely, but sometimes in this scenario, it's what we call a cooperation deal. The person pleads guilty to a crime, if they've in fact committed a crime, and in return, they hope that they get a sentencing reduction.

The middle ground, which I think is the most likely here, we don't know, but I think, given my experience, the most likely is that Meadows was given immunity, meaning he took the Fifth, saying, my testimony might be used against me. Prosecutors then sort of countermove and say, okay, but we're going to immunize you, meaning we're not going to use your testimony against you, and as a practical matter, we're not going to be able to prosecute you. Now you have to testify.

The third scenario, which I think is unlikely, is he just went in there, testified and hoped for the best. No good lawyer would counsel him to do that.

SIDNER: Right. And we've already seen him refuse other things for public debate. So, can we just go over how important he is in this investigation, what a key witness he would be, all the things that he himself witnessed, not just heard about?

HONIG: Mark Meadows is everywhere in not just this case but all of these cases. He was, of course, Donald Trump's chief of staff for the last ten months or so of the Trump administration. So, he was there for the election, January 6, the last day. We know because he produced these texts when he was partially cooperating with Congress, that he received hundreds of texts on January 6 as the attack was happening, from Republican congressmen, from White House aides, from Trump's own family members saying, got to get Donald Trump to do something.

We know from Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony, remember her, that Meadows was having one-on-one meetings with Donald Trump, as this was all unfolding. Prosecutors are going to ask about that. And even remember Trump's infamous phone call to Brad Raffensperger, I just need you to find 11,780 votes. Mark Meadows is on the line for that as well. And as chief of staff, he was involved in the packaging, the packing up and moving out of the White House, and he was a liaison between the White House and Archives. So, he touches on almost every one of the various strands here.

SIDNER: All the strands that we think the prosecutors would be looking at, at this point in time. Elie Hodnig, thank you so much. Mark Meadows, the man in the room where it happened in a bad way.

HONIG: He's everywhere.

SIDNER: He is everywhere. Thank you so much. I appreciate it. All right, Kate?

BOLDUAN: Right now, Pope Francis is back in a hospital in Rome, where he's currently undergoing abdominal surgery. According to the Vatican, he has been placed under general anesthesia to fix an abdominal hernia.

CNN's Barbie Nadeau is in Rome outside the hospital where Pope Francis is being cared for. Barbie, we're waiting for an update from the hospital of Vatican on the Pope's condition. But what more are you hearing and learning from the Vatican?

BARBIE LATZA NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I mean, I think there are a couple of things to take away from this. One is that this wasn't emergency surgery per se. Now, he had an appointment here at this hospital. This is a hospital where popes have gone for many, many decades for their primary care. He had an appointment yesterday that lasted about an hour. He attended his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square this morning, up to a full crowd. And then he came by private car here. He didn't come by ambulance. And this is supposedly a surgery that's going to take care of some pain he was having.

It's important to note he has a very busy summer scheduled, and they haven't canceled his plans for August. They have canceled his audiences through the end of June, but not for August. He's going to Portugal for World Youth Day. Then at the end of the month of August, he's going to Mongolia. So, one could say that if this surgery goes well and the Vatican has assured us they believe it will, that he will be in good form for these trips coming up.

But, of course, any 86-year-old person in fragile health, which he is, he's confined to a wheelchair most of the time, he's had a lung bronchitis, he was in the hospital, this hospital, in March. Any person this age going under general anesthesia, going under the knife, we've got to worry about. So, until we hear from the Vatican, we're still waiting and hoping, obviously, that everything goes well for the 86-year-old pontiff. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes. Until we stand by for an update from the Vatican. Hopefully, we'll hear some more today and we'll come right back to you. Barbie, thank you very much. John?

BERMAN: So, this morning, a code red air quality alert for parts of the northeast. This is all because of smoke from wildfires in Canada that has spread down here to the United States and is affecting states as far south as North Carolina.

We have a map here we can show you. Every dot on that map there represents an area where there is a code red alert that has local health departments urging people to stay inside. Just in, because of the air quality issues. Washington, D.C. Public schools, there's the White House right there, but D.C. public schools have announced outdoor activities have been canceled today.


We have a live look at what things look like in Detroit. Not as bad in Detroit there, but they are feeling the impact there as well. And in New York City, much worse situation, look at that. And I just have to tell you, from walking outside the last few days, you can't help but feel it.

Athena Jones here in New York, you can see feeling the effects. Why don't you give us the latest, Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. Well, I can tell you we just got an update from this city, from the mayor of New York, Eric Adams, and several other city officials, saying that the advisory here, the air quality health advisory, is going to be extended into midnight, at least midnight tonight.

And city officials are expecting this to be a multiple day event. This thick smoke may kind of dissipate and then it's expected to come back tomorrow afternoon into the evening. And, of course, this is all from those hundreds of -- more than 100 wildfires that are burning up in Quebec, so hundreds of miles away, but still having a huge impact here.

We've been noticing people out and about, some of them jogging or walking, their dogs wearing masks, others caring about their day as though there's no issue. We caught up with one man earlier. Take a listen to what he had to say.


MARLIN SLUTSKY, NEW YORK RESIDENT: For years, we've been wearing masks indoors and taking them off outdoors, and now it's the reverse.

I've been living in New York for the most part of 35 years, and I've never experienced anything like this.


JONES: And so we saw one cautious man. We also talked to a woman from Australia who said, look, we're used to brush fires. We're going to go on a sightseeing boat. We may or may not wear a mask. But Mayor Adams said this is the worst air quality seen in the city of New York since the 1960s. So, these are charts that you don't want to be topping as a city when it comes to among the worst polluted cities in the world. And this also comes down to health.

Now, the mayor says that they haven't seen an uptick in emergency room yet, but officials are warning especially those with respiratory issues, asthma, cardiovascular issues, also other vulnerable people, the very old, the very young, pregnant women are people who should take extra precautions and stay out of this smoke.

And why is that? That is because wildfires carry a very particularly dangerous kind of pollutant, a tiny particulate matter that can enter the lungs, enter the bloodstream, and cause all sorts of health problems. John?

BERMAN: Yes, and it's not good. I've lived in the Northeast my entire life, Athena, and I have never witnessed anything like this. I can't remember at least going through anything like this before. Thank you so much. Please stay safe.

All right, with us now is CNN Meteorologist Derek Van Dam. Derek, why don't you give us a sense of what we're seeing, how long we're going to see it for?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, John, you heard Athena talk about how this impacts asthmatics. Well, take it from an asthmatic. Today is not the day you want to leave your inhaler or your pump at home, because this could literally save your life today.

We know that this wildfire smoke has been creating beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but the problem here, of course, is when that settles to the surface of the Earth and we start to breathe that toxic, toxic air, which people describe to me on social media, I'm not in New York City, I'm in Atlanta, of course, as almost acrid. You could smell it. You could taste it as you step outside.

By the way, today is the Global Running Day, and the organization that runs that says that this is not the day to do that, not to recognize this day. You want to pick another day to go outside and recognize Global Running Day because the air quality is so bad.

And heads up, New York City, this kind of milky shade to the cloud cover on our visible satellite loop, if you thought yesterday's air quality was bad, it's about to get worse. We expect the impacts from this to go downhill significantly in the minutes and hours to come as that next round or next wave of smoke from the fires in Quebec starts to settle further and further south into the Hudson Valley.

I mean, look at this. We have numerous reds and purples indicating very unhealthy air, and everybody wants to know, when is it going to clear up? Well, unfortunately, we have to get worse before we get better. This is a very stagnant weather pattern all driven by the upper level winds called the jet stream.

And it's really not going anywhere. It's called an omega block. It prevents weather patterns from shifting from the usual weather pattern setup west to east across the U.S. It's just not taking place anytime soon. And you can see that near surface smoke forecast more expected to drift into New York, maybe abating slightly, but then it'll pick right back up towards the end of the work week. John?

BERMAN: Wow. So, we could be dealing with this all week. All right, Derek Van Dam, I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

That stinks. I mean, literally, it does stink.

BOLDUAN: True. It's affecting my throat. I've had a really scratchy throat. I was blaming just me yelling at you, but stop filling my lines. But I actually don't think it has to do with, I don't know, everything around us. BERMAN: The environment.

BOLDUAN: The environment. Blame the environment and John Berman.

Coming up for us, former Vice President Mike Pence is running, the first time in modern history a former vice president is running against his former boss.


Political quiz, who was the one prior? John Berman will have the answer. We are at Pence's first official campaign event in Iowa. We'll bring it to you.

Plus, a suspect has now been charged after the shooting at a high school graduation ceremony. Two people were killed in that, including an 18-year-old graduate. We will bring you that update.

Also, this for us, anxiety impacting more and more kids and young adults, but fewer of them are getting the help that they need. This is a new study that you should hear about. That's coming up.



BERMAN: Opening statements are underway in the trial of the former Florida school resource officer who stayed outside of Parkland High School for 45 minutes while a gunman killed seven people inside. Scot Peterson is accused of failing to follow his active shooter training. The retired Broward sheriff's deputy insists he did not know where the shooting was coming from and he's pleaded not guilty to 11 charges.

A new study shows that anxiety in young people is getting worse in the United States. And while cases are up, they are not getting the therapy these children that they need. Researchers suggest the best approach for severe cases of anxiety is typically a combination of therapy and medication to start that process. Experts say the first step begins with recognizing behavioral changes in children.

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals home game against the Arizona Diamondbacks Tuesday. And look at that, kind of a strike. She made it all the way to the glove, which actually is not easy when you're throwing out the first pitch.

BOLDUAN: I think the glove is enormous.

BERMAN: I think the glove was big, yes. The National' mascot, Screech, was dressed in a rainbow jersey as part of the team's 18th annual pride event, the longest running in Major League Baseball. Kate?

BOLDUAN: she did better than many male politicians we have seen when it comes to this. BERMAN: Yes, look, and I've done roughly like six pieces about how bad first pitches can be from celebrities, and most of them are much worse than that.

BOLDUAN: Moving on, let's talk more about politics, though. It's big week for Republican politics. This morning, former Vice President Mike Pence is officially launching his presidential campaign with a new video. He's about to make his first official presidential campaign event. He's about to kick that off in Iowa. We are there.

Also today, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has filed the paperwork necessary to run. He is set to kick off his campaign really any minute now in Fargo.

CNN's Kyung Lah is following Pence in Iowa. CNN's Eva McKend is in North Dakota following Burgum. Let's start with you, Kyung, in Iowa. What are you learning about Pence's strategy in Iowa? We know that he thinks Iowa is probably the beginning, middle and end for survival for him early in this primary.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the goal to make it the continuation, at least for the Pence campaign, is to get to every single county here in the state. We've heard this from other presidential campaigns before, but we're hearing it very loudly from the Pence campaign. Go to all 99 counties, get into living rooms, get into diners, get into every pizza parlor they can.

And the reason why is they believe that Mike Pence, being from Indiana, with his conservative credentials as well as his history and his long service in government and his Christian faith, that that is what will sell him to Iowa's handshake by handshake.

He is going to recall a conservatism that harkens back to Ronald Reagan. It's something we saw in that announcement video. But you will note he mentions Ronald Reagan twice, but never the name Donald Trump. Take a listen.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: We're better than this. We can turn this country around. But different times call for different leadership. Today, our party and our country need a leader that'll appeal, as Lincoln said, to the better angels of our nature.


LAH: Pence, per the campaign, believes they have extraordinarily high name recognition, that people know the name Mike Pence. What they don't know, what the Republicans here in Iowa may not remember, is that he was the governor of Iowa -- of Indiana, and he does have those decades being such a conservative member of Congress, Kate. So, that is the message that they're going to sell and they believe they can do it here in Iowa.

BOLDUAN: All right. We'll see it on full display very, very soon and tonight. It's great to see you, Kyung. Thank you. Let's go to North Dakota now. That's where Eva McKend is standing by. Eva, Governor Burgum, he could be taking the stage any minute now. What are you hearing about his strategy and what he's going to lay out here?

EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER: Well, in Governor Burgum, you have a conservative, two-term governor who will argue that the economy, energy policy, national security, those are the most pressing issues facing Americans, not these cultural battles. He'll also try to distinguish himself as a business leader in the field prior to becoming governor in 2016. He will tell you that he bet on the farm. He invested early in a software company that ultimately was sold to Microsoft for a billion dollars.

And though he is not inclined to fight these cultural battles, he is firmly conservative, signing one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, in addition to curtailing transgender rights.


He's not going to take on his Republican opponents directly, though. That is just not his style. Take a listen to his message.


GOV. DOUG BURGUM (R-ND): Anger, yelling infighting, that's not going to cut it anymore. Let's get things done.

In North Dakota, we listened with respect and we talked things out. That's how we can get America back on track.


MCKEND: Now, Governor Burgum will argue he was also underestimated in the past when he ran for governor. Many people in this state, his home state, did not think that he would ultimately win.

So, now, the task ahead for him is to introduce himself to people outside of this state. He'll travel to Iowa and New Hampshire after this announcement to do just that this week, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. This early in the primary, never good to underestimate anybody and count anybody out at this point. It's great to see, Eva. Thank you so much.

A programming note to all of you, tonight, Dana Bash will moderate a CNN Republican presidential town hall with former Vice President Mike Pence. That is tonight at 09:00 P.M. Eastern. Sara?

SIDNER: U.S. officials are reporting signs of increased fighting over the last 48 hours in Ukraine. Why they think this could mean the long awaited counteroffensive may have started.

Plus, hundreds of protesters clashed outside a California school board meeting over teaching about gender and sexuality. We will hear the perspective of some of those parents, ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)