Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Trump Changes Legal Team After Seven-Count Indictment; Exclusive: CNN Obtains Transcript Of Trump Saying On Tape He Didn't Declassify "Secret Information"; Trump's Former Aide Walt Nauta Indicted In Documents Case; Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired June 09, 2023 - 11:30   ET




SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: This just in to CNN. Former President Donald Trump on Truth Social announcing a shake-up in his legal team. CNN's Evan Perez is back with us. We have been hearing from -- mostly from Mr. Trusty, his attorney on this --


SIDNER: -- who has been doing the rounds. What are you hearing? Who is in? Who is out?

PEREZ: Well, there's a -- there is a shake-up. And we know that the former president is talking to some notable Florida attorneys. People who are barred in Florida. People who have experience operating in that federal district in Miami in the -- in the Southern Florida.

And so, we expect that this is probably not the end of this. But he is announcing on his social media platform that Todd Blanche, who is already working on his -- on his behalf in the Manhattan DA case, that he is going to be leading the efforts on his defense of this indictment in Miami. This is the indictment of the classified documents of Mar-a-Lago.

He thanked his attorneys, Jim Trusty who you've seen on our air a number of times, and John Rowley. Those are the two attorneys who we've seen a lot of -- who have been handling a lot of the interactions with the Justice Department. But that just what the former president as he is wants to do. He has just made this announcement on his social media platform you know as he is getting ready for Tuesday which is something that behind the scenes, law enforcement is already working on, the secret service, the U.S. marshals.

I'll lay out to you what the current plan is, guys, on Tuesday. The former president will be brought down to Miami. The secret service is trying to figure out the best routes.

They've come up with a number of specific routes so they bring him safely to the federal courthouse. They're going to just bring him there for processing by the federal marshals. When he enters in that courthouse, he will be given into custody by the U.S. marshals, they'll place him under arrest, formally arrest him, and begin the processing of the former president for these chargers.

He is going to be electronically finger-printed so they're -- you know not going to see any chance of the former president merging with ink on the hands and saying this is what they did to me. It's going to be electronic. And secondly, any pictures that the U.S. marshals take which is very -- you know part of the process that goes on there, none of that is releasable. Under the Justice Department rules, they don't allow for the release of booking photographs, Sara.

SIDNER: All right. We know that law enforcement is right now trying to figure out all of the plans to get Donald Trump processed and arrested. Evan Perez, thank you for your reporting and all of the new information. Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: As everyone is waiting to learn more about the actual indictment in the federal charges now facing Donald Trump, we also have a new CNN reporting we've been talking about. Donald Trump caught on tape acknowledging that he kept the secret classified documents after leaving the White House. CNN obtained the transcript of the tape, now in the hands of the prosecutors from that 2021 meeting.

And in part, Donald Trump saying in the meeting, as president, I could have declassified. And he's talking about the information that he was apparently holding in his hand about this Pentagon document, but now I can't, he says according to the transcript.

Let's get more reactions to what we've now learned from the news overnight and today. Joining us right now is a Republican congresswoman from South Carolina Nancy Mace. Congressman, thank you so much for coming in. Your reaction to what we've just learned --

REP. NANCY MACE (R-SC): Kate, thanks for having me on.

BOLDUAN: -- thank you so much, congresswoman. Your reaction to our -- the CNN exclusive reporting this morning about what Donald Trump is heard saying according to the transcript of this audio recording on the prosecutors, admitting that he held on to secret information and he did not declassify it.

MACE: Right. This is the first time hearing about it now. But my question would be you know, the vice president of the United States Joe Biden had classified information. He was not able legally to declassify that, and they were in his garage, unlocked, and scattered about.

Former Vice President Mike Pence also had classified documents. He didn't have the ability to declassify information. So, whatever the standard is going to be, everybody whether they are president or vice president, current or formal -- former, need to be held to the same standard. Whatever it is.

BOLDUAN: When it comes to -- a couple -- when it comes to Mike Pence in the -- in the most basic, I mean, the Justice Department, they investigated his handling of the classified documents and they just cleared him last week. It may not be just what is on the document, it's the handling of, which is part of this investigation.

MACE: Right.

BOLDUAN: But Donald Trump --

MACE: Right.

BOLDUAN: -- is on this tape according to a transcript seen by my colleagues Paula Reid and others saying that he knows the information as secret. He could have declassified it. He did not. And also, importantly for everyone out there, he also knew he was being recorded in this meeting.


MACE: Right. Well, also Hillary Clinton had a private server in her home bathroom with classified information on it, was sharing classified information via unclassified channels, personal e-mail accounts, etcetera. Again, not a president who could declassify things. So, again, I just going to say, whatever the standard is, everybody else needs to be held to that same standard. And it sure does seem like there's a two-tiered system here.

And, Kate, I've been one -- I've held members of my own party in contempt. I tried -- I tried to call things straight down in the middle of a nonpartisan way. To see this indictment come down on the same day we got information on possible bribery schemes of the Biden family, it just looks very political right now and very weaponized of the executive branch.

BOLDUAN: Yes, I heard you say that you don't think it's a coincidence that this happened on the same day. Do you -- do you --


BOLDUAN: Do you have evidence of coordination here?

MACE: No, we don't. But I -- you know, we called this on Tuesday when there is rumors about it. I said this thing is going to happen. They're going to indict him. The same day that we either hold the FBI in contempt or we get access to those documents, and that's what happened. And it sounds so crazy.

And again -- I mean I am someone who's been at the office of the former president here. He primaried me last year, you know. So, I'm coming -- I'm trying to come at this from a very measured centered nonpartisan way, but the irony is not lost on me that this happened yesterday. Try me. It's just.

BOLDUAN: No one has seen the actual charges. No one has seen the indictment.

MACE: Right. BOLDUAN: Of course, we continue to remind everyone, and everyone waits to see when that happens. Are you open, Congresswoman, to -- after reading the indictment to being persuaded -- being persuaded that a crime -- that a crime was committed here?

MACE: I'm always going to follow the facts. I'm always going to follow the Constitution in any of these cases. I always have been. As I mentioned earlier, I've even held the members of the Republican Party in contempt of Congress, so I feel like I can be credible when I'm looking at the information when I'm looking at evidence or an indictment, but the timing of it is just too eerie for me.

Also, that this is a weaponization. This is a current president trying to take out the number one opponent for the presidency next year. It's just not the right -- the timing is very suspicious to me, regardless.

BOLDUAN: Do you -- do you -- does this make you more or less likely or impact at all the potential of you supporting Donald Trump in the primary as he is running?

MACE: I am still keeping my powder dry and watching the Republican primary process. I'm very much looking forward to the debates that will start in August, but I do believe that Joe Biden handed the nomination to Donald Trump last night. You're seeing the different presidential candidates rally around him. You're seeing folks around the country rally around him.

Because based on the timing of this thing, the day that the evidence of a bribery scheme between Hunter Biden and Joe Biden comes forth, this is the day they do that, it just seems very suspicious to a lot of people regardless of the party or political affiliation.

BOLDUAN: But when it comes down to -- I mean -- if we -- if -- it's -- this isn't coming out of vent -- coming out of nowhere. I know you've been following this you know --

MACE: Right.

BOLDUAN: -- maybe as close -- may be as close as anybody isn't saying that the grand jury and who is brought before the grand jury and who we know went before the grand jury, these were not enemies of Donald Trump. These were staff members work -- people who worked at Mar-a- Lago. These were people who represent the president.

People who now work for a super PAC that want to get -- want to get Donald Trump re-elected. His former chief of staff, Mark Meadows. These weren't enemies of the president that are trying to like, sink him. And work for Joe Biden.

MACE: No. But the timing of the indictment, the overwhelming media coverage, was started with the 10-23 access that the oversight committee got yesterday, and it was -- that media coverage was taken away because of the indictment of Donald Trump last night, that story. And it was a distraction.

The timing of it, I do believe, is the distraction from the investigation that the oversight committee is having. We got access to that document. It corroborates information on Hunter Biden's e-mails and text messages and other investigations being conducted right now. I think when you look at when this happened and the evidence that we are seeking on the oversight, there are no coincidences here. And I think that's what a lot of people are struggling with today.

BOLDUAN: You definitely are. Congresswoman, thank you for your time.

MACE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Let's see -- we'd love to get your reaction when get -- when we actually see an indictment about all of this. Thank you so much.

MACE: Thank you, Kate. I appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: John, I'm hearing a lot of the Republican reaction we've seen so far.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Having her say handed the Republican nomination to Donald Trump with that indictment, pretty extraordinary comments right there.


BERMAN: The federal indictment against Donald Trump, under seal at this moment. Will it be opened up any time soon? Also this morning, we learned that a Trump-appointed judge will oversee at least the beginning of this criminal case. Stay with us.



BERMAN: All right. We have more breaking news this morning. We've just learned that another individual has been indicted in the classified document case against Donald Trump. Walt Nauta, that was the man in the red tie right there, who had been a White House aide and then followed Donald Trump to Mar-a-Lago. He has been indicted in this case as well. CNN's Evan Perez is back with us with the details here. Evan?

PEREZ: That's right, John. Walt Nauta has been a figure, certainly, he does been essential to this investigation. Prosecutors have allegedly been trying to pressure him. According to some of the lawyers in the -- in the Trump orbit, they've been pressuring him to try to flip, to try to turn against the former president.


They say that he never did that. In recent days, Walt Nauta was actually seen at Bedminster alongside the former president and among a group of aides who are -- who have been there with him as he was waiting to hear whether Jack Smith was going to indict him. And now, he is now facing charges.

We do not know the specifics of the charges that Nauta faced, but here's the deal. He was big -- he was -- his involvement here looms large for the former president. He is one of the people who allegedly was handling some of these documents and moved some of the boxes allegedly from the storage room.

Again, this is part of what Jack Smith and his investigative team have been looking at for months. This is somebody who is very close to the former president, you know began his job valet in the White House you know as the guy who brought him his diet cokes for instance, right? And then moved down to Mar-a-Lago when the former president left office. And he has been by his side.

Again, somebody who witnessed a lot of the things that went on down there. And certainly, was somebody that the Justice Department was keen to try to talk to and try to get information from. At this point, he is facing charges alongside his former boss.

BERMAN: We do know the nature of the charges --

PEREZ: Or his current boss, right?

BERMAN: His current boss. Right. We do know the nature of the charges --

PEREZ: Right.

BERMAN: -- but you can imagine them falling within the realm of what, obstruction or mishandling of the national security documents? One might imagine in that space, yes?

PEREZ: Right. Based on what the -- you know certainly what witness testimony was in this investigation, John, that appears to have -- to have been what the prosecutors were going at. With the idea that Nauta would have been part of a conspiracy to obstruct this investigation. Again, that's based on the witness testimony that was -- that was taken in this case. It was clear that that's what prosecutors were homing in on.

And the suspicion was that Nauta, for whatever purpose and what -- you know however he did it, that's -- the allegation was that he -- you know helped moved boxes and in some way, assisted the former president in trying to obstruct this investigation.


PEREZ: Again, we're waiting to see details of this charge. Everything is still sealed in this case down in Florida.

BERMAN: And obviously, the presence of the second person does lend itself to a conspiracy charge as well. Evan Perez, thank you for that reporting and bringing us up to speed.


BERMAN: The big news, Kate, a second person has now been indicted in the classified documents investigation.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And as we're seeing with that breaking news that you are talking about with Evan right there, they -- we've got developments coming in all this hour with regard to former President Donald Trump being indicted on the federal charges. We're going to have much more on what the -- on the breaking news that John was just reporting with Evan Perez, much more on the president, the indictment, and the potential timing of when that indictment will be unsealed. We'll be right back.



SIDNER: More now on the new developments. Trump aide -- and this just came in, Walt Nauta has been indicted in the documents case along with, of course, former President Trump. Joining us now, CNN's senior analyst, Elie Honig.

One thing after another. This is another person we know who has been charged in this case. What might he be charged with literally taking boxes? We don't know yet, correct?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Yes. We don't know exactly what he's been charged with. But let's remember who Walt Nauta is. He was Donald Trump's body man and valet.

We know from the prior reporting in this case that he was interviewed by investigators. And he said that originally, he gave a not fully accurate account. He said he didn't know anything about classified documents. He didn't have anything to do with documents. Well, it turned out he was captured on videotape moving documents including into and out of that storage room.

So, the question is what is he charged with? He might be charged with making a false statement based on his first statement. Now, could he be charged for moving the boxes? Not if he didn't know.

So, if he's charged with something to do mishandling of documents, he has to have known that they were classified and that they were illegal for him to have. If he was unwitting, you can't charge him with that.

Another question that I have is. Is Walt Nauta charged in the same indictment as Donald Trump? You can charge --

BOLDUAN: Why does that matter?

HONIG: So, here's why it matters. You can charge people either each in their own indictment or you can charge two, three, or ten people in the same indictment. If he's charged in the same indictment as Donald Trump, then theoretically, they are headed towards a trial together. Now, there's a way to separate them.


HONIG: But the default is they will be tried together. If they are charged with separate indictments, then they're going to be on separate tracks.

BERMAN: If you're a prosecutor, does the presence of a second person in such a major case like this, how does it impact the bigger case?

HONIG: Yes. Well, I think what I'm trying to do if I'm a prosecutor is flip Walt Nauta. Let's get that straight.

BOLDUAN: Are you still trying to do it even now with this indictment?

HONIG: Absolutely.


HONIG: You're trying to do it with this indictment.


HONIG: Because you can flip people pre-indictment. You can explain then, if you don't come aboard, you're facing this type of charge. But when you actually get hit with United States v. Walt Nauta --


HONIG: -- that has a sobering effect. So, he still has the opportunity, perhaps, if prosecutors are interested -- if he's interested, we don't know, to cooperate. Meaning to plead guilty to what they've charged him with and then testify. We don't know whether that's happening. But I'll tell you as a prosecutor, that's what I would be looking to do. And you always want to flip people up. You want to flip Walt Nauta against Donald Trump, certainly not --

SIDNER: Right. Not the other way around.

HONIG: That would be preposterous.

BERMAN: Right.


BOLDUAN: But the other new developments that we've learned just this hour, I want to ask you about. Donald Trump announcing he's shaking up his legal team. Todd Blanche taking over. Jim Trusty and another, resigning. Trusty -- they put out a statement saying now that the case has been filed in Miami, this is a logical moment for us to step aside and let others carry the cases through to completion. What do you think of that?


HONIG: It's interesting. I'm pretty sure Todd Blanche lives here in New York. But I should say I used to work with Todd at the Southern District of New York. We overlapped for five or six years there and I consider myself friends, professional colleagues.

I'm not sure how much of the Florida aspect of this matters. But I will say this. It wouldn't at all surprise me. It would be a smart move for Trump to get what we call local counsel.

BOLDUAN: Right. HONIG: Someone in Florida who knows the courts and maybe can relate to a jury. Juries care about that kind of thing. And let me say this. Todd Blanche is not your typical flame-throwing table-pounding troubler. He's smart. He's understated. He represents Trump in the Manhattan DA matter as well.

BERMAN: Elie Honig, thank you very much.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Elie.

BERMAN: Just to catch our breath and bring people up to speed. In the last hour alone, we learned, number one, federal judge Trump-appointee Aileen Cannon will oversee at least the initial part of this case. Number two, Trump has changed his legal representation, getting rid of the people we have seen on TV for the last several weeks, and replacing them with Todd Blanche.

And number three, there is another, a second individual charged in the classified documents case, Walt Nauta. We are following all these developments. They keep on coming in. This has been CNN NEWS CENTRAL. "INSIDE POLITICS" is up next.