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Interview With Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA): Supreme Court Entitled Some Immunity To Trump In January 6 Case; Ex-Trump Aide Steve Bannon Reports To Federal Prison; Mistrial In Karen Read Case After Jury Deadlocks. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 01, 2024 - 15:30   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: Today, Supreme Court ruling that Donald Trump is entitled to some level of immunity from prosecution for how he acted in the final days of his presidency is getting strong reactions on both sides of the aisle. While the former president and his GOP allies are celebrating this decision, Democratic House Leader Hakeem Jeffries sent out a statement saying the decision, quote, sets a dangerous precedent for the future of our nation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the ruling a sad day for our democracy.

I'm joined now by Pennsylvania Congresswoman Madeleine Dean. She is a Democrat and also served as an impeachment manager for the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Thanks for joining us, Congresswoman.

How do you think today's ruling from the high court shapes the office of the presidency going forward and impacts the country at large?

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Well, thank you for having me. And I have to admit to you, I think the ruling is scary. It's scary for the country.

It sets a precedent, a question that they have never been asked before, about the criminality of the behavior of a former president and whether or not that behavior should be immune for prosecution. It is very scary to me that this Supreme Court, the majority that is, offered a shield of immunity to the former president. And I want to admit to you, Pamela, that what happened was actually they offered him a shield by simply delaying.

The special counsel asked for a speedy review, a fast review by the Supreme Court because of the importance of this question. It's never been asked before. Should a president be criminally responsible, held to be tried, for behavior of criminality as the time he was president?

And let's talk about what it was. It was January the 6th and his attempt to overthrow a fair and legal election. In this case, I was there by violent means, but by conspiracy after conspiracy, by obstruction, attempted obstruction of official proceeding.

The Supreme Court stood in the breach, delayed, delayed, delayed, and offered this former president the shield of immunity, not to mention the disastrous specifics of the opinion.

BROWN: And to be clear, it sent this opinion back to the lower court to say, hey, figure out what constitutes official acts versus unofficial acts, right? I mean, that's the key here. But the bottom line is because of that --


DEAN: They took all that time.

BROWN: Right. Well, they did on some other issues say this is an official act, such as talking with the Department of Justice. And it's interesting because if you read through the opinion, actually Chief Justice Roberts actually criticized the lower court, saying this is such a monumental decision.

Why would you -- basically saying that they went too quickly, that they should have taken the time to figure out what was official and non-official before it made its way to the high court. So there seems to be some buck passing going on. But the bottom line is it seems as though there will not be a trial for Donald Trump on election subversion before the election. What do you say to that?

DEAN: I want to point out something else. Exactly. That's my point. By delaying, they offered him the immunity he sought, which was don't try me now. I just want to try to win this election, and then I will make sure these cases go away. My criminal behavior and accusations around them go away.

Take a look at Sotomayor's dissent. And I want to be very honest with your viewers. I haven't had a chance to read the entire opinion, but I have had the chance to look at very important parts of it. And I take everybody to Justice Sotomayor's dissent. She actually quotes Hamilton.

She says, Alexander Hamilton wrote that former presidents would be, quote, liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law, end quote.

For Hamilton, that was an important distinction between the King of Great Britain, who was sacred and invulnerable, and the President of the United States. No man is above the law. No woman is above the law. And yet this Supreme Court, this sadly corrupt Supreme Court, has offered this shield of immunity and this shield of delay to the former president.

BROWN: When you say corrupt, you're talking about your issues with Justice Alito as well as Justice Thomas and how the ethical lines were blurred and so forth. Of course, the justices would certainly defend themselves on that part, and they have said that they did not feel like they needed to recuse.

But I want to ask you, as it pertains to President Biden, while we have you --

DEAN: How about report? How about not just recuse? How about report? BROWN: -- and recused on the January 6th case and see reports.

DEAN: The luxurious gifts.

BROWN: Right. And certainly there are a lot of people who have issues with that. Yes.

So I want to ask you, before we let you go about President Biden, you said the president, quote, had a bad debate. There is no two ways about that. Your home state of Pennsylvania, your Commonwealth, I should say, is a critical must-win swing state for the 2024 presidential race. Are you confident Biden can win Pennsylvania after his performance at the debate, or do you think he needs to step aside?

DEAN: You know what? One of the things I really like about President Joe Biden, and it's neat that we get to call him Joe Biden because I feel like I know him in that way, is that he's very honest. Joe Biden said he had a poor debate. It's recognizable. He had a poor debate.

What is not up for debate is there were two people standing on that stage, both of whom have served as our president.

What's not up for debate is one stands for corruption, criminality, self-serving. That's Mr. Trump. That has been our legacy.

We have lived it. This is not about a would-be candidate. We have lived the trauma of his presidency, and I fear him coming back.

And the other candidate who had a bad night is a person of character and integrity and incredible accomplishments. I had the honor of serving in the Congress as he accomplished great things last Congress.

BROWN: Very quickly, because we have to go soon, but how do you know it was just a bad night and not just an extension of how it has been for him? Because there's a lot of reporting out there right now that he's been kept in this bubble by a close-knit group of aides and that, you know, that this wasn't just a bad 90 minutes, that this is exemplary of something bigger than that.

DEAN: Well, it was a bad 90 minutes. I don't sugarcoat that. But we have had a bad nine years since June 16th of 2015 when Donald Trump came down the escalator and said some horrific things about running for president.

How do I know? Because I've spent time with him. I've had the real privilege of spending time with the president and getting to know him.

Literally, he reviews, as we were traveling to Pennsylvania for one of his speeches, he reviewed his speech with me and other members of Congress, wanted our input, and took our input. So I've had the chance to be up close and personal with this president who cares about the American people in a way that we have never seen.

BROWN: Congressman Madeline Dean, thank you. We'll be right back.


BROWN: Right now, Steve Bannon is nearly four hours into a four-month prison term. The former Trump White House strategist told supporters outside a federal prison in Connecticut that he is proud to go to prison.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: The 70-year-old is behind bars for defying a subpoena from a congressional committee that was investigating January 6th. So what is in store for the new inmate?

Let's talk with prison consultant Justin Paperny about this. Justin, thanks for being with us. I mean, what is Bannon going through right now as he's just getting started, as he's just entered prison?

JUSTIN PAPERNY, PRISON CONSULTANT: The first day's surreal, no doubt. You surrender, you're immediately put into handcuffs, go through hundreds of questions, and go through an uncomfortable and embarrassing squat and cough process where you're naked in front of guards. And just like that, you're processed over to the prison.

I presume by now he's had his first meal in the dining room, or chow hall, as us felons call it. He's working his way around the compound, no doubt being welcomed by many people who are sympathetic to his plight.

Veterans, many people who might be off put by the heightened security that comes with his surrender because it could be disrupting their routine.


So I would encourage him to lay low, adjust, and not follow through on his commitment he made earlier today that he would be more powerful in prison. That could come with a lot of complications.

BROWN: What do you mean by that?

PAPERNY: Well, the most important value for the Bureau of Prisons is keeping costs down and security at the institution, right? So the Bureau of Prisons has had issues. So if you have someone articulating they're going to be more powerful in prison, you can expect staff to pay more attention to that person.

They're going to be reading emails, listening to phone calls, and if they think he is at risk or he's going to create problems, it's easier to just send him to segregation for the next 119 days. The special housing unit, though I can tell you there's nothing special about it, when you're locked in a bunker for 23 hours a day, you shower a few times a week, and you will not have access to the phones and email that he would like.

So rather than make these sorts of inflammatory comments, it probably makes sense to scale back, lay low, understand his environment, and not be off-putting to people who have lived in this environment, not for one day, but for weeks, months, years, and decades. KEILAR: You mentioned the connectivity there. So he's going to have limited communications. He's got access to 15-minute phone calls. He does not have Internet access. He has access to some limited emailing. How do you find that affects people who are so used to constant communication?

PAPERNY: He's going to have to avoid temptation. People will already be offering him iPhones. Earlier today I received a phone call from a mother crying because her son was caught with an iPhone in prison. He's in the hole. He may get a new charge. So he's got to ensure matters are not made worse.

So if it's 15 minutes at a time, embrace it. If it's email, use it as much as you can and be respectful that other guys might want to use it as well. He is constricted. That's a consequence of serving time in federal prison.

But I can assure you people who are sympathetic to him will give him opportunities, the iPhone, the iPad, FaceTime, opportunities to advance his agenda. And it's going to require not giving in to temptation.

Unfortunately, some people who are used to getting it their way, whenever they want it, they struggle to make those sorts of good decisions on the inside and real problems could follow, like sending him to segregation.

BROWN: All right, Justin Paperny, thank you so much. We'll be right back. We really appreciate it.

PAPERNY: Thank you.


KEILAR: Breaking news into CNN. A mistrial has been declared in the murder trial of Karen Read after the jury said it was unable to reach a verdict. Read is accused of drunkenly driving into her Boston police officer boyfriend after an argument and then leaving him to die in a snowy front yard.

The defense says that never happened. In court, they argued Read's boyfriend, John O'Keefe, was killed by off-duty officers who fabricated evidence and falsified testimony to frame Read for his murder. That may seem far-fetched, but what jurors didn't know, what they were not allowed to know during the trial, is that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts is currently investigating Read's arrest and prosecution.

CNN's Jean Casarez is outside of the courthouse. So many twists and turns here, and yet another one, obviously, today, Jean. What are you hearing?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, this is a murder mystery, and it continues to be a murder mystery. The jury had sent in two notes, and the latest one today is that we honor and we know the commitment that we have here, but we cannot arrive at a unanimous decision. And in the final note this afternoon, it said some of us believe that the prosecution has basically proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt, but others hold firm to their belief that the evidence was not there.

The notes were very eloquent, and the judge said she had never read notes like this before, but this judge, just minutes after that second note, had given that mistrial declaration here.

Now, the support for the defendant, Karen Read, out here, I've never seen anything like it, because normally you have a lot of support in high-profile trials, but it's for the prosecution. It's against the defendant. This was for the defendant.

I think we have a little bit of tape for you to hear what that crowd was doing when they found out this was a mistrial, so Karen Read walked out of that court.

Now, the facts, very quickly, they start out alike, that Karen Read, a local professor of finance at a local college, and her boyfriend, Boston police officer John O'Keefe, they were with other police officers and their wives at a local bar. They went to an after-party. Karen Read and her boyfriend, according to prosecutors, got in a terrible argument on the drive over.

The facts are that he got out of the car, she didn't, she stayed in the car, but the prosecution's theory was once he got behind the car, she put that car in reverse and she went 24 miles per hour, according to forensic testimony, many, many feet, and then she just put it in drive and went to the house.

Well, the defense is saying, no, he went in the house. He went into that after-party, and other police officers off-duty are the ones that hit him and pulverized him, and a 70-pound German shepherd then mauled him, and they threw him out in the snow after that.

But the result was his body was found the next morning around 6 o'clock, and it was down to the grass because there had been a blizzard through the night and no one could virtually see it.

But Karen Read, according to first responders, kept saying, I hit him, I hit him, I hit him. It's an open question now. Prosecutors say they will retry the case. There will be a status hearing on July 22 of both parties.


The defense is saying we will not quit this fight -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Fascinating. Jean Casares will be watching it. Thank you.

Still ahead, Simone Biles making history once again. She's headed to Paris for her third Olympic Games. Who else is joining her?


KEILAR: All right, the GOAT is going to Paris. Simone Biles, the world's most decorated gymnast, qualified for her third Olympic Games Sunday after, no surprise, dominating at the U.S. trials in Minneapolis.

BROWN: Biles is, of course, bouncing back after taking two years off to care for her mental health after getting the twisties at the Games in Tokyo. Biles is only the fourth American woman to compete in three Olympic Games and the oldest American woman to make an Olympic gymnastics team since the 1950s. She will be joined in Paris this summer by defending Olympic all-around gold medalist Suni Lee, along with Jordan Chiles, Jade Carey, and 16-year-old newcomer Hezly Rivera.


KEILAR: And speaking of teenage superstars, U.S. sprinter Quincy Wilson will be the youngest ever American male track Olympian. The 16- year-old will compete in the four-by-400-meter relay in Paris just before he begins his junior year of high school.

He posted on his Instagram, simply, we going to the Olympics.

DEAN: So, yes, you are.

KEILAR: Yes, you are.

BROWN: And we're going to be cheering you on. And I love the Biles comeback. I mean, epic. I knew she would do it. I knew it.

KEILAR: Who takes you just take two years off? I mean, for a very good reason, but then you just get back in the game. It's amazing. It's amazing.

BROWN: It's amazing. We're rooting for her, too.

"THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.