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Don Lemon Tonight

People Will Hear From Most Awaited Witness; Jeffrey Clark's House Raided In Early Morning; Courts Don't Relay On Hearsay; Father Of Highland Park Shooter Quick To Defend Himself; Brittney Griner Facing A Decade In Russian Prison. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 07, 2022 - 22:00   ET



LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: This is DON LEMON TONIGHT. I'm Laura Coates in for Don Lemon.

And look, the clock is ticking. In fact, by this time tomorrow when we meet again, the January 6th committee may have some answers from none other than Pat Cipollone. He is in talks to them behind closed doors tomorrow. The Trump White House counsel who reportedly said, quote, "we're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if the then president were to go to the capitol on January 6th."

The one who reportedly called the plot to replace the acting attorney general with Trump loyalist, Jeffrey Clark, quote, "a murder suicide pack." In their subpoena letter, the committee told us some of what they wanted to ask the former White House counsel about, including then President Trump's awareness of and involvement in, quote, "the submission of fake electoral ballots to Congress and the executive branch. The attempted appointment of Jeffrey Clark as acting attorney general and efforts to interfere with the congressional certification of the electoral results on January 6th."

Now you heard Jeffrey Clark's name again right there. Right? Well, we have some new police body cam footage tonight of the early morning raid on his home just last month, as part of what authorities are calling an ongoing fraud investigation. Clark answering the door in his boxers and a dress shirt, and then being asked to wait outside while offers executed a search warrant.


UNKNOWN: Hey, Mr. Clark.


UNKNOWN: How are you? Good morning.

CLARK: Good morning.

UNKNOWN: I'm (Inaudible) special agent with the DOJ OIG. Can you just turn that off for me? Can you step outside with me? We've got a search warrant, and we need to speak to you. We need you to step aside for me. CLARK: Can I call my lawyer?

UNKNOWN: Sure. Come on outside here?

UNKNOWN: Yes. Let's step outside --

UNKNOWN: Just real quick, we have to clear the house to make sure you're safe. Is your wife home?

CLARK: No, nobody is home.

UNKNOWN: OK. So, no one is there.

UNKNOWN: OK. You can absolutely call your lawyer. Can you step outside with me real quick?


UNKNOWN: Put your (Inaudible) behind your car so I'll see you.


COATES: According to police reports obtained by CNN, a series of electronic devices were seized that day. They even deployed an electronic sniffing dog to make sure they didn't miss a thing.

And it's not clear whether Jeffrey Clark is the subject of a criminal investigation, but sources have previously told CNN that the raid was part of the DOJ sweeping investigation into the effort to overturn the 2020 election more broadly.

I want to bring in CNN congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles. Ryan, I'm glad you're here because tomorrow, as you know, Pat Cipollone is going to testify behind closed doors. And we are learning from CNN reporting, of course, that he was in the dining room with the then- president as the insurrection was unfolding. That could be pretty insightful for the committee that he had a first row and front row view.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's true, Laura. You know, Cipollone would be among a small group of people that had access to that dining room on January 6, where we know the former president spent the bulk of his time.

And part of what the committee is looking into is just what exactly the president was doing on January 6, or what he wasn't doing, may even be more of their focus. But there could be an issue here, Laura. You understand this as an attorney better than anyone.

Because Pat Cipollone is an institutionalist. He's someone who is very concerned about the office of the counsel to the president. And he may invoke a privilege and not answer specific questions, particularly questions that have to do with his direct interactions with the former president, Donald Trump.

And that could include instances of where he had interactions with him in that dining room. Now there is, you know, some murky ground as to whether or not he has the ability to invoke that privilege. Of course, that privilege belongs to the current President Joe Biden. And he has said that anything having to do with this investigation does not enjoy that privilege.

But this is not something that's going to be able to be ironed out over a lengthy court battle. So, there is going to have to be some give and take between the committee and Cipollone, as to what questions he is willing to answer. It does appear that he is willing to talk about something, just how far the committee gets with him, we'll have to wait and see.

COATES: That would be true. I mean, the idea of that conflict, the idea that he is an institutionalist as the White House counsel, and then of course the person who now owns that privilege saying, go ahead and speak. There is going to be a conflict there at issue.

Of course, we remember his role in the first impeachment trial and hearing on these issues. But we also saw, as you saw this video. I mean, the police body cam footage of the recent raid on Jeffrey Clark's home. We remember his name from the testimony of the likes of Richard Donoghue and Jeffrey Rosen, the acting A.G. at that time, it was pretty substantial testimony.

And we know the committee still wants more information about his attempted appointment at attorney general at DOJ. That very testimony we already heard more, right?

NOBLES: Yes, that's exactly right. And Pat Cipollone could be the person to get them the answers to those questions.


Cipollone was among the groups of individuals that were attorneys that work both in the Department of Justice and in the White House that threatened to resign en masse if the president went through with his plan to try and install Jeffrey Clark as essentially a puppet attorney general that would try and execute these investigations into these really thin claims of voter fraud in places like Georgia.

And in many ways, that decision by Cipollone and Donoghue and Rosen at the Department of Justice to stand in the way of Clark's appointment could really have been the difference between the country facing a constitutional crisis and not. If the Department of Justice had acted on this effort to look into these voter fraud claims, it could have created a real problem.

But getting back to that video for a second, Laura. You know, I'm sure there will be critics that say -- why are we showing this, you know, he is in his boxer shorts, it's salacious to a certain degree. But I think it's important because it shows just how vital the Department of Justice investigation is and how far reaching it is.

They wanted to make sure that he did not go back into that house and mess with any potential evidence under the guise of, you know, putting his clothes on before he came out. This shows the Department of Justice views him as a key component to their investigation into the efforts to overturn the election results. That video demonstrates it. And it's part of these ongoing kind of dual track investigations that the Department of Justice and in the House of Representatives.

COATES: Well, Ryan, to quote my great grandmother, she used to say, the truth is naked, a lie has to go put on some pants. Just saying, maybe that's approve here or not. May she rest in peace. I appreciate your time tonight.

I want to bring in a former senior investigative for the committee, John Wood. John, good to see you here. You were an investigator with the January 6th committee until like a few weeks ago. So, you, I'm guessing have a pretty good sense of everything the committee knows and the why's and the how's and the direction they may be going in.

And I have to ask you, what do you think that Pat Cipollone can shed some light on? What are the key areas that you are most eager to hear more about? We've heard testimony from Donoghue. We've heard testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson. I mean, Pat Cipollone's name has been mentioned a lot of times. Why do you want him to talk now?

JOHN WOOD, FORMER SENIOR INVESTIGATOR FOR THE JANUARY 6 COMMITTEE: Well, he was, you know, both literally and figuratively in the room where it happened. So, he knows so much about what led up to January 6 and the events on January 6 itself, including a lot about what the president was doing during those 187 minutes while the capitol was being attacked, before the president finally issued a statement asking the rioters to go home.

I think one of the things that I would be most interested to know is whether or not Pat Cipollone will either corroborate or contradict the very powerful testimony that was given by Cassidy Hutchinson just a few days ago. That will be really interesting.

Now there may be some things like the allegations that the president lunged at the Secret Service driver that he might not know about. But some of the things that Cassidy Hutchison said directly involve conversations when Pat Cipollone was right there in the room.


WOOD: And so, he maybe will shed a lot of light on how credible she was.

COATES: In fact, I want to pause and listen to that, remind the audience about the things that she described hearing and also hear directly from Pat Cipollone. Listen to this.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER AIDE TO WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF MARK MEADOWS: I saw Mr. Cipollone right before I walked out on that morning, and Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, please make sure that we don't go to the capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch of me, we are going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen. Mark, something needs to be done, or people are going to die and the

blood is going to be on your effing hands.


COATES: I mean, that -- if he is corroborating that, that the legitimacy said those things, and I don't have any reason to doubt that she heard these things, but if he actually goes there and corroborates, what does that do for the American electorate? The primary audience of this. The idea that these are the warnings that were given by the White House counsel to the then-president on January 6?

WOOD: Yes, it tells us a lot of things. First, it would instantly give Cassidy Hutchinson a tremendous amount of credibility, even beyond the credibility that she had just by her demeanor at the hearing. Also, I mean, one of the things the committee is really going to want to know is did he gave the same advice to the president.

My guess is that Pat Cipollone will say he can't discuss his direct conversations with the president. But if he does do that, at least if he says what he said in front of people like Mark Meadows and Cassidy Hutchinson, it will give a lot of insight into the kind of advice that he was likely giving to the president.

And if it's likely that the president knew that what he was doing was illegal and wanted to do it anyway, that's very troubling for the president.

COATES: John, on that point, we talked about this just yesterday with John Dean and Nick Akerman about these issues as well. The idea of privilege, and it's likely obviously the White House counsel would have more of a legitimate, viable claim of privilege than most other people.


But if you were to have relayed the information that he relayed to the then president like he has that private conversation, then he goes back and sort of water coolers it and has the conversation later on about what he just told and spreads it around.

The privilege kind of goes away in a different context, right?

WOOD: Yes, there are a lot of gray areas here. There is not a lot of case law on executive privilege. But I think what you are saying is right. So, the direct conversation with the president, particularly if it involves legal advice, may be where the privilege might be the strongest. Although, even there, there could be a compelling need that can sometimes overcome that privilege.

But if it's just a statement, not about what he said to the president but just a statement of his own views that he made in front of Cassidy Hutchinson, I think the argument for privilege is a lot weaker there. But of course, there is not going to be time for the courts to resolve all this. So there is going to have to be some back and forth accommodation

between the select committee and a lawyer representing Pat Cipollone to try and work out exactly where the boundaries are of what he will and won't say.

COATES: Well, that's the beauty of negotiations. Right?

WOOD: Yes.

COATES: The idea of this give and take that has to happen and there is the sort of Damocles as you talked about the appetite of the public, also the reluctance to engage in a protractive litigation on these issues.

But I want to play a moment from when you questioned former counsel to Mike Pence, Greg Jacob. You questioned him about John Eastman still trying to overturn the election even after the insurrection. Sorry, but I have to ask you to watch yourself for a moment.



WOOD: And what was Vice President Pence's reaction when you showed him the e-mail for Dr. Eastman after the attack on the capitol, still asked that the vice president delay certification and send it back to the states?

GREG JACOB, FORMER COUNSEL TO VICE PRESIDENT PENCE: He said that's rubber ruin stuff. He was still pushing us to do what he had been asking us to do for the previous two days, that that was certifiably crazy.


COATES: I mean, reminder, this is Pence's counsel. So, if Cipollone who testified tomorrow can actually give more, you know, color to what was happening behind the scenes in the same way, is that what you would consider a win for the committee and the hearing?

WOOD: Yes, it's huge. I think just the fact that the former White House counsel is speaking on the record to the committee is a big win and every bit of information they get will just add to that win. So, I think he could have a lot to say about John Eastman.

I can't say anything about what Pat Cipollone said during his private interview with the staff of the committee but I will say that I don't think any good lawyer thinks that the so-called Eastman theory which is that the vice president could unilaterally decide the outcome of the election is correct.

And Pat Cipollone is a very smart guy and a very good lawyer. So, I would expect that he would contradict the theory that John Eastman was espousing. I think the big question that Cipollone might be unwilling to answer is did he expressed that view directly to the president? And that's something I think that he is going to be pressed on tomorrow, and we don't know if he will answer it or not.

COATES: Well, finally, on that point, John, it will be videotaped tomorrow, it will be transcribed. We've already seen how the hearings have gone where prior videotaped testimony from like Bill Barr, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and the like, even those who then reappear in person, it's played and it's broadcast at these hearings.

Do you think the same thing will happen here or is there some chance that part of those negotiations it was, look, you can videotape me or transcribe me but you can't play it? Is that -- if there a word that that agreement would've been made?

WOOD: I'd be really surprised if the committee would have agreed to it. In fact, I think the fact that this interview is occurring before the next hearing is a sign that the committee really wanted to get this done on videotape so it could potentially use clips from that interview in the next hearing or maybe the one after that. So, I think the American people will see at least some excerpts of Pat Cipollone.

COATES: Well, that's important to me. I mean, as a prosecutor I want to see someone's body language. I want to see how reluctant he is to actually give an answer, because whatever comes after that, the answer you give after having your teeth pulled essentially, for some reason, it just rings more true.

We'll talk about more about this a different day, John. Nice to see you here. I appreciate it.

WOOD: Thanks for having me on, Laura.

COATES: You know, what could be another blockbuster hearing from the January 6 committee is just days away, and what they've learned from the extremist groups at the rally that preceded the attack on the capitol is coming up.



COATES: So, in just a few days, the January 6 committee will hold their seventh public hearing. And this time the focus is going to be on the role of the extremist groups we're told and what ties they may have had to the Trump White House.

Joining me now to discuss is former CIA counterterrorism official, Phil Mudd. Phil, nice to see you here tonight.


COATES: I have to ask you, remember in June we had the head of the Proud Boys, and I think there were four other top members - they're here on the scree - who were charged with seditious conspiracy by the DOJ. I mean, in January 11 members of the Oath Keepers had the same charge thrown at them.

And these are very, very serious charges. Not a whole lot of precedent because no one wants to have a lot of precedent on a case like this.

MUDD: Yes.

COATES: The question is, how do you build it? I mean, what do they have to prove to make this stick and actually meet their burden?

MUDD: Boy, there's a couple of things that I'd be looking at here. Let's look at the technical side, obviously I want to see communication among these individuals beforehand, that communication could be phone, it could be e-mail. It's going to take a while to sort that out.

You saw as many months before these charges were brought, Laura. The reason it's going to take a while is that other cases are easier, they are going to go before prosecutors first but putting together those phone and e-mail logs and then starting to get into interviews in things like searches of homes, searches of laptops to ask them more difficult questions. What did you want to do? Who did you speak with? Why?

To figure out whether there was that foreknowledge and coordination that would lead to these kinds of conspiracy charges, that takes a long time.


The last thing I'd say is lies. One of the reasons this takes a while and I thought it was such an interesting charge is all these people are going to talk about each other and some of the -- some of them are going to lie.

So if you're going to build that case you have to have the time to cross-check lies over months and see who is not giving you the truth, Laura.

COATES: And some are going to lie, some are going to squill in fact --

MUDD: Yes.

COATES: -- and talk about you had a corroborating and cross-check that as well. And we remember quite well, remember that time that Trump was telling the Proud Boys to, the phrase was, I think stand back and stand by.

MUDD: Yes.

COATES: And the January 6 committee actually showed some evidence that this Trump tweet telling supporters to come to Washington saying be there, we'll be wild was a call to arms for group -- groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. In fact, listen to what members actually told the January 6 committee.


GEORGE MEZA, MEMBER, PROUD BOYS: But I remember Donald Trump telling people to be there. I mean, to support.

UNKNOWN: What got me interested is that he said I have something important to say on January 6, or something like that is what got me interested to be there


COATES: Well, I'm wondering how you think the committee is going to use interviews like that or testimony like this to build their case, obviously what the committee is doing is not a criminal prosecution or a pursuit. What's DOJ and their charge would be is to pursue it in a criminal angle.

There is likely to be obviously a little bit of this in a pejorative way as some cross contamination about what they are seeing, but will those videos, those testimonial evidentiary moments be impactful for DOJ as well?

MUDD: I don't think so. Let me be clear here. Obviously, what the president did was immoral, inappropriate, this is unacceptable in America, but if somebody says, hey, the president told me to stand by. If somebody says the president told me to show up in Washington, and then he had something important to say, if somebody says the president said he was angry about the election, that it was stolen, that is a long way from saying there was coordination, communication, something where the White House or other officials had foreknowledge of the storming of the capitol or spoke to someone about it.

Look, people in the defense and there is no defense in this case, as you know, Laura, they are going to say, look, the president was just angry, and of course he wanted to talk to his followers.

I'm going to be really interested to watch in the hearing next week about whether there is specifics about foreknowledge, conspiracy, communication with the White House, not just loose talk from the president that was inappropriate, but I don't think illegal.

COATES: I think it is more than fair to think about it that way. In the sense of, is there some personal meeting of the minds, or somebody's interpretation of --

MUDD: Yes.

COATES: -- the statement, one could be criminal, one could be not happenstance but not as an easy case to prove. I mean, just the burden from the prosecution. And of course, as you state, the committee is actually trying to connect these groups to Trump.

I mean, Chairman Bennie Thompson told Jake Tapper witnesses have described conversations between extremists and people in Trump's orbit. We've seen photos of Trump allies, Roger Stone, for example, with Oath Keepers trying to serve as detail, and security details.

But what will it take in terms of the orbit, specifically to know that they were directed by Trump or to prove that they were either given a command, given the code red, so to speak, or someone in his orbit? I mean, it is going to be that precise statement of Trump said to me the following statement, or does the circumstantial evidence of this at some point, for you, tip the scale?

MUDD: I would be concerned about circumstantial evidence because the committee has so much now, if they go too much circumstantial, people who have been persuaded -- I was skeptical until a few weeks ago. And the more I watch this the more I say this is far worse than I anticipated.

If the committee goes to circumstantial people like me, who are watching, I hope with open eyes, with a sort of, cold stare at this are going to say please don't go political, give us facts. So here are a couple of facts that we'd look at.

In terms of looking at things like e-mail and call logs, where they are direct communications between either individual directly in the White House circle or between people or with people in the orbit. People like Roger Stone. I want to see direct communications.

Now those communications won't necessarily have content, phone x called phone y, that was Roger Stone.

COATES: Right.

MUDD: Then I want to see the content piece, where they're communications about what the groups like the Proud Boys intended to do beforehand and were those communications with people in the White House circles? I want to see facts about communications and sort of conversation to conspiracy beforehand. Not the president just told me to show up.

COATES: Well, I remember one moment that was the testimony that someone said look, the president asked me to do two things, one was vote for him, the other was come on January 6. And I remember having a bit of the same reticence of skepticism that you did on that, would that possibly be enough --

MUDD: Yes.


COATES: -- in a court or a case I was ever prosecuting? Look, he can't claim he doesn't know really all of what's going on in terms of --

MUDD: Yes.

COATES: -- being totally ignorant of the facts around him. But we'll have to see what happens next. Thank you for your time, Phil Mudd, as always. Good to see you.

MUDD: Thanks.

COATES: Look, he can't claim he doesn't know at least who the next witness is, I mean, he'll testify before the January 6 committee and he knows him because he is the former White House counsel. The question will be, will Pat Cipollone be able potentially to do maybe the most damage to him yet? Stay with us.



COATES: Former White House counsel Pat Cipollone is set to testify to the January 6 committee behind closed doors, just really a few hours from now. And you know, what he says could reveal a whole lot about Trump's role possibly in the insurrection, and maybe more importantly, how the public sees that presumed role.

My next guest initially thought the January 6 committee wouldn't matter but now, he has recently said that he was wrong. Max Boot, a senior fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations, joins me now.

Max, you know, I was just talking to Phil Mudd who said that he too was initially skeptical, and then as the hearing went underway, as more testimony came in, he seems to be changing his tune on these issues. Frankly, even before you had Cassidy Hutchinson, who was Mark Meadows chief -- the top aide for Mark Meadows testified, you said that there was something about these hearings that you felt were now having an impact. First of all, what is it about the hearings now that has shifted your viewpoint?

MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, they're not normal congressional hearings, Laura, where the members pontificate and give speeches instead of asking questions and squabble and preen before the cameras. We've all seen those hearings too many of times to count.

And this is very much an exception, in part because of the miscalculation that Kevin McCarthy made when he pulled his members from the committee. So, there're only two Republicans, and they're interested in getting out the truth instead of defending Donald Trump.

And so you have these disciplined hearings, where the members are actually trying to get out what happened instead of trying to upstage one another or to score cheap partisan points. And you have this where they are not spending five minutes each questioning the witnesses, they are actually doing in-depth questioning, they're using combining video clips with questioning of the witnesses.

Now I think finally, the thing that really makes this hearing so compelling, Laura, is the fact that almost all of the witnesses are Republicans. These are Trump's people who are testifying against him.

You know, the whole smear campaign that the Republican Party and Trump have been bringing against the January 6 committee is to say that these are just partisan attacks, right? That this is just, you know, anti-Trump paranoia. But anybody who has watched those hearings and, roughly 20 million Americans have watched those hearings, anybody who has watched them has seen a very serious attempt to get out the truth by asking questions of actual Trump supporters.

And there's been no ranks, there's no political speeches, it's just been this litany of evidence provided by those on the inside. And so, I think it's been a very much -- very effective and much more effective than I expected.

COATES: Well, Max, I couldn't agree more on the idea of how there is the subversion from the public. I mean, seeing confirmation hearings, for example, or other more hearings, I call it speechifying when the member of Congress is really just giving a speech, and there is a little moment for a question where you actually nod and that's very much it for the witnesses.

It is different here, but you said something very important just now. It wasn't just the fact that these are Republicans who have been testifying overwhelmingly, because we know there is a lot of chatter about those who are invested being called rhinos and the likes of Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, accused of nothing less of that.

But you said Trump supporters. In fact, some people who have testified have said that they would actually vote for Trump again, including Bill Barr who has mentioned that he would vote for him if he were the RNC nominee.

The person I'm most interested in so far in fact is Pat Cipollone. And I'm wondering about your assessment of whether you think his testimony could be a really big game-changer? I mean, he was somebody very visible during the first impeachment trial.

He is somebody who sent a letter about what Trump did not have to do in order to comply with congressional request. He can't possibly be construed as somebody who is not a Trump supporter, let alone a Republican. Will his testimony be a game-changer for people, do you think?

BOOT: It could be. It's just really hard to know how far he is going to go, how much of them we're going to see. I mean, I think we have been pretty regularly surprised, which himself is, is actually kind of surprising because, you know, I really thought we knew everything there was to know about what happened on January 6 prior to the hearings.

But they have consistently come up with surprises, most recently with Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony. Of course, you know, Ms. Hutchinson was a very impressive witness with absolutely no motive to do anything except to tell the truth.

But she was a fairly low-level person. Whereas, obviously, Pat Cipollone was a very senior person, who had much more direct access to Trump and was much more involved in Trump schemes to subvert the election. So, yes, potentially, it could be very important and blockbuster testimony but, again, we just don't know or at least I don't know, you know, what he is will going to say or how much you actually wind up appearing on camera.


COATES: We'll see. I mean, obviously, there is no crystal ball, there is no particular set remedy, or recipe for how this is all going to bake in the oven. But if you look at these hearings as a whole, people say it doesn't look good, an understatement, for Donald Trump. The idea that he is a focus of this committee and the revelatory

information that's coming up for some, seems to be pointing in his direction. And it doesn't make him look good, but will this have an impact, do you think on the Republican Party overall? I mean, is it possible if it just hurts Trump directly, it wouldn't expand to those who really are been supportive of him? Will it have that domino effect? Is that a risk here?

BOOT: That is a great question, to which we don't yet know the answer. There has been some speculation, Laura, that there is growing Trump fatigue within the Republican Party. And this could help somebody like Ron DeSantis, who isn't involved in the events of January 6. But at this point, that's really speculation.

I know I'm seeing people right off Donald Trump, say that he's past the (Inaudible) date. Well, you know, I've been hearing that since 2015, and it's never been true. Maybe someday, maybe it is becoming true now, we just don't know. But I was kind of alarmed.

There is a Monmouth poll I was looking at just before coming on air where it said that actually Republican views of January 6 have shifted in the wrong direction over the last year. But now, something like 60 percent of Republicans surveyed said that the events of January 6 were a legitimate protest.

So that's bonkers, that's crazy. That's the inversion of reality. And so, you know, it's really hard to know how much of the January 6 hearings are actually penetrating the Republican ball.

COATES: Well, we shall see. And you are right. I mean, I have to tell you, anyone who considers and can count Donald Trump out easily doesn't realize his nickname is Teflon Don for a reason. We'll see what happens and we'll look ahead to the hearings and what we might learn. Thanks, Max. Nice seeing you.

BOOT: Thank you, Laura.

COATES: So, the Fourth of July parade shooter's father is now speaking out. He is telling the New York Post that I did not do anything wrong. But will he face charges, we will talk about it next.



COATES: He says I didn't do anything wrong. The father of the Highland Park shooter in an interview with the New York Post today saying, quote, "he bought everything on his own, and they are registered to him. They make me like I groomed him to do all of this. I've been here my whole life and I'm going to stay here, hold my head up high because I didn't do anything wrong," unquote.

He tells the Post he decided to sponsor his son's firearm card even after two previous incidents with police because he thought his son would take the weapons to a shooting range.

For more on all of this I want to bring in CNN legal analyst and a consummate professional, Joey Jackson.

Joey, I'm so glad you're here. I've been really waiting to hear your opinion on this not only because you of your legal mind, but also from the perspective of, I've been wondering, why you think he is talking now, this father?

In a lot of cases, we see where you have a mass shooter, where you have people who are suspected of committing crimes, you wonder what the parents are saying but they don't necessarily give these wide sweeping interviews and talk about what they did or didn't do wrong.

Why do you think he is speaking out and apparently, helping out and working with law enforcement?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Laura, great to see you. I think certainly there is that imperative, right, to say well, I didn't do anything, to have that kneejerk reaction to attempt to separate himself from the crime, from his son, from what was actually occurring here to what impacted to this community and impacted this country.

My view of the matter is that he is likely to face criminal charges, and let me tell you why. I think the first thing, Laura, is that there is a general frustration with respect to these mass shootings that are happening everywhere, and I think prosecutors are seeing that and they're making an assessment of what can we do, what role can be play in order, right, to hold people accountable, at all levels, not just the shooters but everyone and anyone who may have had a part, right? What can we do to hold them accountable?

That frustration leads to a creativity? What am I speaking of? With respect to the use of the law, you and I both know, right, you think of dangerous weapons and you say, wait, it's a gun, it's a knife, it's of this, it's of that. It could be a comb that prosecutors have used to prosecute cases, to use as the deadly weapon to move forward.

What analogy am I making here? In the event, for example, that you have a crime that's committed, you don't have to be the person who engaged in the act, you could be a person in that chain who engage in reckless behavior. You, as a parent, for example, had knowledge of your son's proclivities, you had knowledge of his mental health, you knew he was a danger to himself, you knew he was a danger to the public.

You knew that the police confiscated 16 knives, a dagger and a sword, yet in the face of that you support an application to move forward. We have seen, right, Laura, last point as it relates to this, and that's step number two. We have seen the prosecution right now of the Crumbley's.

You remember the Michigan school shooter, --


JACKSON: -- he killed four, right?

COATES: Yes. JACKSON: Injured seven. They are being prosecuted for involuntary manslaughter. The prosecutor is not suggesting they intended to do it. The prosecutor they are suggesting they were reckless. I suggest you here that a parent having knowledge of that is reckless as well.

Final point, if you want to deter this from happening, then you have to look at everywhere that you can find accountability.


If these mass shooters are not concerned about the people they are killing and the lives they are taking away and destroying. Perhaps if they know that if their own parents and families will be prosecuted, they will be concerned about that, and perhaps they'll think twice before they commit mass shooting.

So, it's for all those reasons that I think it's likely he will be prosecuted.

COATES: I was going to say at the end of that point, or it might incentivize people to abide by the red flag provisions and be more proactive in assuming the persons --


COATES: -- or making sure the person cannot have access to it. I want you to put on your defense attorney cap on here, which you do of course so well. And I'm wondering, the idea that you've got these prior incidents that happened at the home where police were brought in and you have incidents about -- you talked about the father mentioning the possibility of a psychotic or psychiatric break in some way, having to just talk to his son 13 hours before where he called the different mass shooter, the actual allege shooter an idiot or idiotic behavior.

Do you expect them to try to bring about a diminished capacity argument? Like what will be -- we haven't heard yet an official plea from him, either not guilty or even guilty in this instance, do you expect him to raise a diminished capacity defense?

JACKSON: So, there are two things, right? So, there's going to be the defense for the father with respect to, I think crimes that he could be looking at and they will argue that these issues with my son and the suicide attempt and the fact that he was going to injure the family, they were remote, they happened much earlier than this particularly happened, he was better at the time and therefore how would I know it was foreseeable.

So that's what the father's issue will be. With respect to the son, diminished capacity that's very difficult as would insanity, and as you know, Laura, here's why. How diminished is your capacity if you plotted and you premeditated and you thought about and you scoped out and you determine that this is what you are going to do.

So now conveniently a trial you just didn't have the mental state, you didn't know you are doing, you are unaware, you weren't thinking about it, but you plotted for weeks in order to do it. So, it just cuts against the grain of common sense and great prosecutors like you, right? Really tear apart that shred of look, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, let's use your common sense and a person like that doesn't have diminished capacity. They have very good capacity, knew exactly what they were doing and that, what they thought they were going to do is exactly what they did, therefore guilty.

So, I think that would be a hard defense to proffer as it relates to the shooter in this case.

COATES: I mean, not to mention having a conversation with police officers, they did not tell at the press conference everything that you said. I expect from them towards, thinking about that defense. He apparently contemplated carrying out another act in Madison, decided against it.

JACKSON: What's that?

COATES: I mean, you got a whole and was able to dress as a woman to try to disguise himself, there's a lot there that you point out so well as always.

Joey Jackson, everyone. Thank you for being here tonight. It's nice to see you. We'll follow the story.

JACKSON: Always. Thanks, Laura.

COATES: Well, 140 days in a Russian prison. But today we are seeing Brittney Griner out in public as she pleads guilty in court.



COATES: A major development in Brittney Griner's case in Russia. The WNBA star pleading guilty today to drug smuggling charges and telling the court that she never had any intention of breaking Russian law. The 31-year-old faces now up to 10 years in prison. But a Russian legal team is hoping that the plea, the guilty plea will result in some form of leniency.

Griner was arrested at Moscow's airport in mid-February after Russian officials said that they found cannabis oil in her luggage. And they accused her of then smuggling a narcotic device, an illegal substance, excuse me. Her lawyer says Griner told the court that she accidentally put it in her luggage while packing in a hurry, a senior U.S. diplomat and Moscow meeting with Griner in court today.


ELIZABETH ROOD, DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION, U.S. EMBASSY IN MOSCOW: I was able to speak with Ms. Griner in the courtroom. She said that she is eating well. She is able to read books. And under the circumstances, she is doing well. Most important, I was able to share with Ms. Griner a letter from President Biden, and Ms. Griner was able to read the letter. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COATES: The president's letter was in response to the one that Griner hand wrote to him, pleading for his help and telling him that she is terrified. The Biden administration says it's working to bring her home, along with all other Americans that says are wrongfully detained.

Now there is speculation that Griner pleaded guilty in the hopes of triggering some kind of a prisoner swap between the United States and Russia, although tonight there is no indication that a swamp is imminent.

It all started with the rioters infiltrating the capitol. But the DOJ's investigation into the people actively trying to overturn the election, well, it has got a much bigger, and that's up next.



COATES: The January 6th select committee is just now hours away from interviewing a very critical witness, Trump White House counsel Pat Cipollone. Now this is the man who was in the Oval Office when the then president -- with the then president for critical meetings and also before, during and after the insurrection.

The interview tomorrow we're told will be transcribed and it will also be videotaped. And it comes we are learning that the Justice Department's investigation into the plot to overturn the 2020 election is picking up some steam.

Sources telling CNN Republicans connected to the fake elector scheme need to turn over documents as soon as tomorrow.

CNN's Sara Murray has the latest.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Now Laura as we're gearing up for another round of January 6 congressional hearings next week, the Justice Department is moving ahead with its own probe of January 6. Of course, it keeps its targets close to the vest but it's clear their investigation is moving closer to the political circles surrounding former President Trump.


MURRAY (voice-over): In battleground states across the country, GOP activists, Republican Party chairs and even state Senate president --

KAREN FANN (R), SENATE PRESIDENT: I'm the state president in Arizona and it is our job to make sure that we have fair and accurate elections.

MURRAY: -- are getting hit with subpoenas. As early as this week, some Republicans tied to the plan to put forward fake electors for Donald Trump are set to turn over information to federal investigation, sources tell CNN.

They have something they think is a crime they will bring an indictment and that is when you will find out what they are doing.

MURRAY: The Justice Department's investigation into January 6 began with the violence that erupted at the U.S. Capitol.