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Don Lemon Tonight
FBI Raided Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago Estate; Documents Seized From Trump's Property; Mark Milley Wrote Unsubmitted Resignation Letter; Killer Targeting Muslim Men; Ahmaud Arbery's Family Finally Handed With Justice. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 08, 2022 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for hanging out with me. Let's do this again tomorrow. But first, Laura Coates is sitting in for DON LEMON TONIGHT. That begins right now. Hey, Laura.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Hey, Sara. Nice to see you particularly this evening. And this is DON LEMON TONIGHT, everyone. I'm Laura Coates sitting in for the great Don Lemon.
And we begin with major, I mean, really big news. A few hours ago, we learned from former President Trump directly, no less, of an FBI exec-- executing a search warrant at the Mar-a-Lago estate, his resort, of course, in Florida. Multiple sources saying the search is related to the handling of classified documents and where documents were kept.
Sources are also saying that boxes of items were actually taken during the search. And that documents were seized. Trump is calling this a raid with what he describes as a large group of agents saying it was, quote, "unannounced," which is what normally happens with search warrants, by the way, and that they broke into a safe.
Now he wasn't there as they carried out the search. But I want to turn right away to CNN correspondent Randi Kaye who's actually in Palm Beach County, also here with us CNN's chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins.
Kaitlan, I'm going to begin with you here. Because look, I mean, a search on the former president's home is absolutely extraordinary. And now we know it's about the handling of classified documents. What is happening right now? What's it all about?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly is remarkable. And if these events are unfolding in the way that the former president is saying that they are in this statement, it does seem to be a pretty huge escalation of what we had already known, which is that there was an investigation underway into whether or not he mishandled potentially classified information when he left the White House. Now, when it comes to the search warrant that was executed today, it was confirmed by Trump himself and his statement who said that a large number of FBI agents were there at Mar-a-Lago. We are told that that was about eight o'clock this morning that they were there. And that it was a search that lasted for several hours.
And Trump said in a statement that they, quote, "even broke into my safe." I am told, Laura, that is a safe that was in the president's -- the former president's office at Mar-a-Lago. It's obviously a large resort, but there is a section that is reserved just for the former president and his family. He has offices there. He has his residents there. It is his primary residence since leaving the White House.
And so, when it comes to what exactly they are looking for here these investigators when the FBI agents were actually executing the search warrant, we are told it is tied to that investigation into how that information was handled.
He had taken about 15 boxes with him when he left the White House to Mar-a-Lago, there were concerns about what kind of information was in there, what potentially classified information was in there. And clearly, those are still big questions that investigators had even today as they carried out this.
And we should note Trump is of course criticizing it saying, quote, "such an assault could only take place in broken third world countries." He said, sadly, America has now become one of those current countries corrupted, a level not seen before. Quote, "they even broke into my safe," Laura.
COATES: I mean, you also have some reporting this is not the first time that Trump has seen or even greeted investigators. I mean, he was greeting them back in early June down at Mar-a-Lago. Is that right?
COLLINS: Well, so this is where there is some backstory here, because part of what Trump said in his statement, he talks about the cooperation. He says the word cooperation, and it is between the government, between investigators and between his attorneys about what had happened to this material.
And we are told that investigators had actually gone to visit the Mar- a-Lago property in June and early June. They met with Trump's attorneys to talk about this material. Now, my colleague Gabby Orr and I are told that Trump did stop by that meeting and simply greet the investigators. We were told he did not stay. He did not answer questions from those investigators, but then the attorneys showed them where the remaining documents were being stored at Mar-a-Lago.
I'm told it was in a basement room that they took the investigators there and they looked around. And then a few days later Trump's attorneys got a letter from those investigators telling them to further secure the room and they put a padlock on the door in response to that letter.
Now where things transpired from when that happened in early June to where we are now in early August, that is still a really big question into this investigation, but it is a very dramatic escalation that the FBI has conducted a search on the former president's residence.
COATES: It's unbelievable to think about this actually happening, Randi. I mean, you're actually near Mar-a-Lago. What did the search include? And I know of course what Kaitlan is talking about.
I mean, the fact that there were still documents that were on site in Mar-a-Lago that could have been related to what the National Archives had already requested is, is mind boggling in and of itself. What are you hearing and seeing?
RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Yes, exactly. It certainly is, Laura. We now know that the FBI did remove boxes of items from Mar-a-Lago today. That's coming to us from our colleagues Evan Perez and Gabby Orr.
According to a person familiar with the investigation, they were told that the FBI search included examining where those documents were kept. So they were very curious about where they were.
A separate source also telling Gabby Orr that documents were seized. That really is the headline here. Tonight, the National Archives, as you mentioned previously, had alleged that classified information in documents had been removed from the White House and brought here to Florida to Mar-a-Lago, which the president calls home.
The FBI also had to verify that nothing was left behind according to a person familiar with this investigation. So of course, the key finding here tonight is that, boxes of items were removed and documents were seized according to a source and a person familiar with the investigation, Laura.
COATES: And of course, as a former president, he would've Secret Service on site or in his nearby presence. I mean, the FBI is there, Secret Service, would've been there at some point in time or at least on the premises in some form or fashion, did they coordinate in some way?
KAYE: Yes, I mean, they had to have from what we understand, from our Kevin Liptak, he spoke with a person familiar with the investigation and was able to learn that the Secret Service and the FBI did coordinate.
The FBI had been in contact with the Secret Service to make sure that they had access before the search warrant was executed. This, our Kevin Liptak was told, would allow for access without complications.
Laura, there's apparently just a very small footprint of Secret Service at Mar-a-Lago when the former president isn't there. He was not there today. So that is what our Kevin Liptak had learned.
COATES: And Kaitlan, speaking about the former president, I mean, and this is really, I mean, I hope America really sees how stunning this moment really is. We've got an FBI executing a search warrant on the home, not a former president in the very distant past. I mean, the immediate predecessor of the incumbent president. So when
you, did you hear from the White House in any way, Kaitlan, did the White House know about this search?
COLLINS: We are told that the White House was unaware, that basically, they found out when everyone else found out, which was at about 7 p.m. Eastern tonight when Trump confirmed in a statement that this search warrant had been executed on his primary residence, we are told that even includes President Biden, himself was unaware of this.
That is what Dana Bash is being told by a senior administration official. So not just other officials inside the White House, but even including President Biden, himself, unaware of this. And so that is remarkable.
DOJ, we should note is not commenting right now on this. We have reached out to them and we are still trying to learn more information about what was behind the search warrant, but they're not commenting.
And Randi is right that Trump was not there at Mar-a-Lago. He's not often there in the summer. He usually spends his time in New Jersey or New York. And he was actually at Trump tower.
We should note since word broke that this search warrant had been executed and the search was conducted. Trump has since left Trump tower. It is notable though to see he was not actually there present when this happened, that we are told some of his attorneys were at the property when this search was carried.
COATES: Thank you, ladies, really important reporting. We'll come back to you as well. And I want to bring in CNN contributor, John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel, along with Stuart Kaplan, a former FBI special agent.
Gentlemen, I mean, let's just talk about this. John, a search on a former president's home. I mean, you plant -- this is really a first and I got to know what went through your mind in particular when you heard about this?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: My first reaction was that there had to be something that caused them to not give some sort of act, you know, you just don't rush in like this and get a subpoena. And they had to have had some difficult negotiations. They had to have -- they probably have ended.
We know that Trump has a tendency to huff and puff and something broke down and the government decided we have to take action. There are missing documents or destroyed documents or whatever. And they made a case to a judge who would then willingly issue the search warrant.
And that, as you know, Laura, they just don't do that by rubber stamping them. They want to hear the case what potential crime has been violated, why they believe the evidence is there and what they believe their search warrant is going to produce.
So, this wasn't a spur of the moment thing. And clearly, as you discussed earlier, the Secret Service was alerted to the fact they were coming to clear the road. And they proceeded to be there just a few hours, I understand.
COATES: I mean, Stuart, this is astonishing. I mean, the idea that they broke into his safe, he says. I want to be clear, when you hear that phrase, he broke into a safe, it makes me think the American public might misconstrue this for something that wasn't lawfully executed.
This was a lawfully executed search warrant as far as we know. The idea them entering the safe would've fallen along with whatever warrant they were seeking to actually get from a judge.
But from your impression, I mean, working with the FBI in particular. Look, can you imagine a judge having a bare bone, cursory knowledge of whatever they wanted and saying, just go ahead and do what you'd like here.
I mean, they would've had to dot every i, cross every t because there would've been the perception that this was a fishing expedition. What is your thought?
STUART KAPLAN, FORMER FBI SPECIAL AGENT: There is no doubt. I mean, this went to the highest level to make sure, as you said, the Is were dotted and the Ts were crossed. I think the biggest concern that the FBI had was really the marshaling of policing of these classified documents.
The fact that Donald Trump, the former president had a safe Mar-a-Lago is of no consequence with respect to the protocols and procedures that would be required under normal circumstances for a person to be in possession of classified documents.
And I think the fact that they came with a safe cracker that's of no consequence. I went on hundreds of search warrants where we would bring a locksmith or a safe cracker for the obvious reason. We want to bear out those fruits that may be on site. So that should not be overlooked.
I think the biggest take away from my perspective is the information that was utilized in support of this search warrant had to have been more recent than not. I think this is a perfect example of attorneys just not having proper client control, not being able to convince Donald Trump that in his best interest, he should have been fully cooperative with respect to, if in fact, he was in possession of classified material, there should have been an effort to just turn it over, you know, sooner than later. And unfortunately, this may end up being a devastating blow for the former president.
COATES: And on that point, I want to be clear, the idea of bringing a safe cracker or opening it up. If you have a warrant that offers the judge and explains the probable cause you need that you will find some specific information related to a crime that you believe is taking place.
And that this is where you're going to find it. It wouldn't be unheard of, right, to include the safe among that. It wouldn't be a separate warrant to say, hey, I want to go in the house, but I want to also go into the safe as well. That might be the area where documents are kept. Correct?
KAPALN: And that's a perfect statement because and what the takeaway is that there were people within his inner circle that were aware of this safe, that potentially housed classified information.
And let's be clear, this safe certainly would not have been the appropriate safe that would've risen to the level of safeguarding classified information. So, the fact that they went and cracked open this safe was something that was necessary.
COATES: Well, John, and of course, no safe would be appropriate venue, not just the National Archives or one that was housed by the actual federal government, right?
I mean, the former president doesn't get to just have everything because of the Presidential Records Act. And we also know earlier this year, aides at Mar-a-Lago were actually interviewed by the FBI over the handling of presidential records. What concerns do you have in terms of what else could be implicated in all of this.
DEAN: Well, of course, once they go in and execute that subpoena, they have the right to look around and they may have found documents they weren't anticipating or information they weren't anticipating.
And Laura, I've got to put this in a context. My reaction was, this is very typical of the National Archives and their treatment on of presidential records, but in particular, of classified records.
I know a former Nixon staffer who cooperated in a book project where he had a small trove of classified documents, when that book was published just recently, the next thing he knew the FBI was at his door wanting those documents. Now, those weren't even under the Presidential Records Act which was adopted after he had acquired the documents, but he willingly turned them over and, but they were -- they were not messing around. They were going after the records they wanted, particularly the classified records.
COATES: And I don't get the sense from just that story you just told. And gentlemen, you know, the idea of you're not going in and getting snow globes, right? I mean, the idea of having mementos that might be around the president's thing, this feed me feels larger than the idea of trying to reclaim someone's, you know, if you're sort of a hoarder or you are a pack rat, this seems like an issue related to either classified document, something of the -- of the ilk that the FBI would get a warrant with a judge.
COATES: And Stuart. I mean, when a search like this happens, and we know it was a large group of FBI agents. Walk me through how this happens. They know exactly what they're looking for and they know the documents or materials, or are they sort of saying, I know the general thing I might find. I want papers. I want presidential seals. I want whatever might look like that's dated during the term of his presidency. What are they looking for and aft?
KAPLAN: There is no doubt that the affidavit that was utilized and prepared in support of the search warrant has what's called an affiant. That is a person that has specific knowledge of fruits of criminal -- potential criminal activity that has been sworn to and attested to that I have seen, or I have been show certain documents or I am aware of a certain location within Mar-a-Lago that is the content or, or the container or safe that contains these classified documents.
What was borne out here is that obviously beyond the president's reach, there are other individuals that certainly would not have had the top-secret clearance to include, as you said, other employees on premises, or even to suggest other Secret Service who would not necessarily be in a position to have that top secret clearance to be in possession of classified information.
That is a breach of someone who doesn't have the need to know. And so the fact that this person, Donald Trump is no longer the sitting president he no longer has a need to know, and therefore, is no longer within his lawful right to possess those documents.
And most importantly, the retention aspect of those documents is of paramount concern to the FBI. So, if we -- if we look at this affidavit and by the way, your viewers should know. If in fact, this does not turn out to rise to the level of criminal charges being set forth. This affidavit may remain under seal and we may never even know what was alleged within this affidavit.
COATES: Either way we might have that same result, right? Gentleman, there's so much more to find out. We don't know everything yet, but we do know one thing. If you have a lawfully executed search warrant and whatever you find in the course of that discovery can be used against you, can all fill that in, in any courtroom in America?
Much more ahead tonight on this developing story. The FBI executing a search warrant at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida. This is huge. We'll be right back.
COATES: A really major development is happening tonight. FBI agents searching former president's Mar-a-Lago estate and resort. Sources saying it's related to the handling classified documents, that boxes of items were actually removed from the property, and that documents were actually seized.
Joining me now to discuss CNN chief local correspondent, Dana Bash, and CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams, a former federal prosecutor.
I keep having -- take a step back with this, Dana, and saying to myself, an FBI, more than one multiple agents executed a search warrant on a former president's home and the most immediate predecessor of our current president, in fact.
And Trump put a pretty long statement, Dana, trying to get ahead of this. And my initial reaction is first of all, how was there that delay. This happened eight o'clock this morning. How could there have been this lag about people even knowing.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, maybe that's a question I can put back to both you and Elliot since you have been in a position that I haven't, which is that you've been on the prosecution side where you're building a case and you send out or you apply for a warrant from a judge.
It is possible that it, I mean, aside from the fact that it's Mar-a- Lago, I hear what you're saying. It's a lot of people, but it is possible that if the former president didn't put out this statement, which I'll talk about it in one second, that maybe we wouldn't have known because it's not the DOJ, the FBI, they don't, they don't do this unless they want to make a statement.
In this case, it was Donald Trump wanted to make a statement. You mentioned this lengthy press release that he put out. And it's not just that he put it out. It's the words that he used. Things like raid and occupy and weaponize. And I mean, I'm not sure if he actually said deep state, I don't have it in front of me, but he might as well have.
He knew exactly what he was doing, as you said, trying to get ahead of it, but also to make this as potent a political issue for him in the short term as possible. And I cannot tell you how many Republicans I'm hearing from saying, you know, legal jeopardy aside, which is I know a big thing.
If in fact this doesn't develop into an indictment and even a conviction, his political future with regard to the Republican primary, if he does run, he's just ramped it up so many notches that the person who's probably most worried politically right now is Ron DeSantis who was rising in the Republican polls.
COATES: Because your impression is that this would be used as a talking point to say, aha, yet another example of why they're coming after me.
BASH: It already is.
COATES: And Teflon Don. Elliot, on that point, and it's a great point, Dana, on that very point. I mean, look, this could be very much used as that political talking point in a way of saying, aha, they're after me again, but I don't get the impression that you make this sort of action, Elliot, willy-nilly, right.
That you look at it and say, you know what I feel like doing today on a Monday after CPAC, no less where he's talking about the other issues. Let's just go ahead and raid Mar-a-Lago. I mean, all is well, that might just end well.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No. And there's a couple of reasons why, Laura, as you know better than anybody else. Look, in order to get a search warrant you have to establish, number one, probable cause that a crime was committed in the first place.
And number two, that you as law enforcement believe that there is evidence of that crime there. Now it doesn't have to be the crime committed on those premises. It may not even be the president, you know, it could be somebody else, but you believe that there's a crime committed there. So that's number one.
And you got to -- you got to convince a judge of that too, through affidavits and testimony. And it's not something that happens overnight. So, this was a long process, weeks, if not months of preparation that would've gone into the search warrant like this.
Number two, and more importantly, I saw this a lot firsthand when I was deputy assistant attorney general. You don't, the Justice Department does not proceed with an investigative action against an elected official without it making its way to at least the deputy attorney general if not the attorney general himself or herself and the head of the FBI.
They would've been briefed on this extensively going on up. It's not, you know, rogue agents who decided like you said to wake up one morning, start knocking down --
WILLIAMS: -- the doors at Mar-a-Lago.
WILLIAMS: It has to go up with much planning.
COATES: I mean, Dana, there's no way that Merrick Garland is being briefed along with the media. That's just -- that's just not happening.
COATES: Christopher Wray at all. But you also, you make a great point when you talk about the language being used. These aren't dog whistles. I mean, calling it a raid, it was a search. I mean, the idea of the execution of a warrant, the idea he was cooperating, this was unnecessary. Talking about this a keen to a third world country. I mean, these statements have sort of been in the works for many months, if not years in terms of the talking points, right?
BASH: Yes. And our reporting is that the former president, his lawyers and federal investigators have been going back and forth for months and months, even to the point where they went to Mar-a-Lago and they met with lawyers and Donald Trump stopped by that meeting. So, this is something that has been dragging out. He has, he, Donald
Trump has been resistant to give over the, whatever the contents of these apparent 15 boxes of presidential records that he took from the White House brought to Mar-a-Lago that the National Archives has said, this is not yours. This is ours, the federal governments because of the Presidential Records Act.
He's dragged it out. And we don't know the reason for that. But what we do know is that right now, tonight, what he is doing is using this as a huge, he believes as a huge political weapon in his short-term political strategy.
And what is that? His short, when you look ahead to 2024, his short- term political strategy is getting his mojo up with the Republican base. Some of whom have been going, really, do we want to do this again? And maybe looking to people like Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida or other potential Republican candidates in 2024.
Those are the -- those are the conversations that are happening. And on other right-wing media right now. And on another cable network there is a child of the former president who is on, who is beating the drum that I just described and taking the statement that we just talked about. The Donald Trump's statement, and amplifying the idea like, how can you do this?
So, there's a very -- whether or not this ultimately ends up in an indictment and a conviction in the short term. The former president thinks that this is a big -- it's hard to wrap your mind around in sometimes -- in some ways and shapes and forms, but is a political win within the realm of the GOP.
COATES: Elliot, Dana, thank you. Of course, my big question is always not how could you do this? Because of course we know logistically how it can be done. I want to know. Why did you do it? What that affidavit says?
COATES: What did you tell that judge? And why did the judge say yep, go in. That's what I'm waiting to hear more about. You can spin it any way you want. I just want sort of the drag net, just the facts, ma'am. It turns out -- everyone, thank you for being here. I'll talk to you later. Both of you. Thank you so much.
And look, it turns out that Trump's top general thought Trump was doing irreparable harm to the country. And my next guest got resignation letter that that general wrote, but he never actually sent, and I'm going to show you that letter after this.
COATES: Today, the FBI executing a search warrant at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump confirmed it himself tonight. That's actually how we know about it. He's claiming this is a witch hunt, but in order to get a search warrant like this, I mean, a prosecutor has to establish probable cause that a crime was committed. And I suspect an even higher standard considering it's the former President of the United States of America.
Joining me now CNN global affairs analyst, Susan Glasser. She's the co-author of the upcoming book, "The Divider."
Susan, I'm so glad you're here tonight. What a night. I mean, this big story is happening right now as we speak. What is your reaction to the FBI executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago?
SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it certainly is a breathtaking development. You know, at, as you pointed out, Donald Trump will find a way and already has found a way, not only to put out a statement about it, but to weaponize it on what he clearly sees as his own political behalf.
You know, there's no -- there's no action by a prosecutor against Donald Trump that is not a witch hunt. You know, whether it was the Russia, Russia, Russia, witch hunt, or somehow the January 6th attacks being blamed on him. That's a witch hunt. And now this is a witch hunt too.
So, the rhetoric is completely consistent with what we've seen from Donald Trump before, but this is a level of seriousness you know, that indicates something closing in on him, I guess.
COATES: Well, what's inconsistent is that we haven't seen this before from made DOJ, right? We haven't seen the DOJ pursue this of a former president, really, of any president at this point in time. It's a really, really huge development.
But if the material in question Susan, we're like mementos of his time and office, I don't know what those mementos, I keep talking about snow globes and pens is my immediate thought. Do you think we would see this type of reaction? It's got to be something more than that. Right?
GLASSER: Well, there was that very tantalizing line in Trump's statement about they even went into my safe that suggested that he had something of value in the safe. But, you know, Laura, I actually went twice to Mar-a-Lago to interview Trump for this book along with Peter Baker, my co-author and husband.
And the second time we went to trump's private office in Mar-a-Lago and it was, you know, there were a lot of, you know, tchotchkes and mementos and things from his time in office. And you know, so who knows what was stuffed in there. But I was really struck by the fact that he chose to hang a portrait of himself, a picture of himself and Kim Jong-un looking very, very chummy with each other on the wall.
Imagine that that's the thing that you take away, you know, from your tenure in the White House. And there were lots of other things that seemed like they'd come straight from Washington. COATES: Well, speaking of things that were a part of, or were written
or done during his time in Washington, I want to turn to your reporting or at least the New Yorker today from that new book you just mentioned. And it's, I mean, there's stunning new details, Susan.
I mean, the chairman of the joint chiefs, Mark Milley, he excoriates Trump in this unreleased resignation letter dated June 8, 2020. Now that's a week after he was seen walking with Trump through Lafayette Square by the White House after protestors were cleared out and just before that photo op when you're seeing right now.
And I want to read part of it, because really, it's astounding. He writes, quote, "the events of the last couple weeks have caused me to do deep soul-searching and I can no longer faithfully support and execute your orders as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is my belief that you were doing great and irreparable harm to my country. I believe that you have made a concerted effort over time to politicize the United States military."
Now he never handed that in. We would've heard about it had he did. But he thought it was better to stay and fight from within.
Is it clear, Susan, just how much Milley saw Trump as a national security threat?
GLASSER: Yes, absolutely. I think the language of that letter, you know, when we first attended the course of reporting for this book, it was really stunning, even though you, you know, had a sense already that Milley and other very senior Pentagon officials throughout Trump's tenure had been concerned about him.
You know, this just brings it to a much more visceral way. When you have the nation's top uniformed officer saying the president of the United States is a threat to the international order. The president of the United States is doing great and irreparable harm. The president of the United States does not believe in some of the fundamental pillars of our system. Right?
You know, he said, essentially, you believe in many of the things that we fought against in World War II. And of course, I was thinking of that. There's another part of the book from years earlier, an encounter that Trump had with John Kelly, his former White House chief of staff in which he lamented to Kelly, a former Marine general, how come you generals, meaning American generals, can't be like the German generals in World War II. And he believed that they offered perfect loyalty to Hitler, which is what Trump wanted.
GLASSER: And, you know, striking comment. And there is a through line here. Trump sought to weaponize institutions just as he sought to weaponize the Justice Department system to protect him. And he seems so outraged now by the actions of the FBI.
Trump sought to weaponize the U.S. military to be part of his political campaign, part of his political persona as the president. COATES: But Susan, I mean, I, this is stunning to hear and your book
details all of this, and it's also in the New Yorker. But is there room to criticize these members of the military as well for being there and not resigning because it would've been public the reasons why.
I mean, had the joint chief of staff actually said, and had the letter published in some way that would've been quite informative in June of 2020, would it not have been? So, the idea we think about the adult in the room conversation we always heard about or fighting with him within. And I understand that philosophy in part.
But wouldn't publicizing this, if you felt that strongly have perhaps been a more prudent course for the direction of the country.
GLASSER: Well, you know, I think this is a, you put your finger on the dilemma and obviously there's no one right answer. What's interesting is that I did a lot of reporting, so it's not just, you know, the dilemma of the chairman himself, but he spoke with a number of sources that I was able to interview for the book. People like Bob Gates, the former defense secretary and head of the CIA. People like experts on civil military relations.
And they had a very different take than us civilians. They said, look, we don't have a tradition of resignation in protests by the uniformed military. Bob Gates said to Milley very clearly make them fire you, don't resign. Because that way, at least everyone will know that you were trying to stand up and do the right thing.
He also counseled Milley to keep basically all of the joint chiefs on board with him so that Trump would understand that if he crossed their red lines, that he would be forced to have all the joint chiefs quit on him and not just one person, don't make it about one person.
And of course, remember that the uniform military, they're not political appointees. They are required to follow lawful orders of the commander in chief. And so, in a way you might risk politicizing the military. So, this argument goes, if you were to resign just because you disagreed with things.
So, it's a very complicated issue. I don't pretend to know what's right or wrong. What a terrible dilemma when the president of United States is this kind of rogue actor in the system, and you see the, the almost horrible dilemmas and choices that are forced upon others in the system, as a result of someone like Trump.
COATES: So well said and fascinating to hear that perspective as the why from the perspective of those within the military, people often talk about POTUS, but it really is the commander in chief as well. Thank you, Susan.
GLASSER: Thank you, Laura.
COATES: Well, we'll keep bringing you more information on the fed's search of Mar-a-Lago as we get it here, we'll keep bringing it back up to you. New information -- information keeps coming out into CNN throughout the entire night. We'll be right back.
COATES: A man hunt is underway in New Mexico after three Muslim men were killed within three weeks of one another. There was also a fourth Muslim man who was killed back in 2021. And the FBI is currently investigating whether all of these killings are somehow connected.
CNN correspondent Lucy Kafanov has the very latest.
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tonight, in Albuquerque, a manhunt is underway after a brutal killing of another Muslim man. The latest victim in a string of what officials describe as targeted killings that police suspect may be linked.
UNKNOWN: We're very concerned that these are obviously tied together. They're obviously targeting Muslim men.
KAFANOV: Police identifying a vehicle of interest.
UNKNOWN: If you see a dark colored four-door Sedan, a Volkswagen, Passat or Jeda, we encourage you to call the police.
KAFANOV: The latest victim identified to CNN by his brother-in-law as 25-year-old Naeem Hussain was gunned down on Friday. Hours earlier, he attended a funeral for two other murder victims, Muhammad Afzaal Hussain, and Aftab Hussein, and had expressed fear about the shootings.
TAHIR GAUBA, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, ISLAMIC CENTER OF NEW MEXICO: He was like, hey, what's happening outside. I say times are crazy. Just be careful, you know? Don't leave your house in dark if you don't have to. And who knew he would be dead the same day.
KAFANOV: Twenty-seven-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi was killed last Monday.
UNKNOWN: Mohammad was an amazing, gentle, kind, caring, loving, excited, passionate person.
UNKNOWN: He shock him multiple times.
Mohammad Ahmadi, His brother showing CNN where neighbors told him Mohammad was gunned down and shot at multiple times.
MUHAMMAD IMBAZ HUSSAIN, MUHAMMAD AFZAAL HUSSAIN'S BROTHER: I'm scared to go outside of my apartment. I'm scared to sit in my balcony. I'm scared to go pick something in my car. My kids do not allow me even to step out of my apartment. This and that, it's scary. KAFANOV: Forty-one-year-old Aftab Hussein was shot and killed on July
26th. All three men were from Pakistan and all, according to police, were ambushed and killed with no warning. Authorities are also investigating the unsolved 2021 killing of 62-year-old Mohammad Ahmadi, a Muslim man from Afghanistan.
The FBI now assisting Albuquerque police to see if they are all connected.
The violence rocking the tight-knit Muslim community, shaken by grief and fear.
AHMAD ASSED, PRESIDENT, ISLAMIC CENTER OF NEW MEXICO: Incredibly terrified, panicked. Some people want to move from the state until this thing is over. Some people have moved from the state. Businesses are closing. They're closing businesses early. Students won't leave their -- their homes.
Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Denver.
COATES: Thank you, Lucy, And life and prison. That's what the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery are facing as they're sentenced again. But this time for federal hate crimes.
Plus, we're live outside of Mar-a-Lago at the very top of the hour, the FBI is searching Donald Trump's today.
COATES: So often we cover the stories of murder, the stories that captured national headlines and captivate an entire nation that serve as a catalyst and also a painful reminder, those that spark outrage, but also change.
Stories like the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a young man chased and murdered while jogging by Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son acting like vigilantes in a small Georgia town.
They were helped by their neighbor, William Roddie Bryan. Well, today these three men were sentenced for their federal hate crime convictions in our various killing. The McMichaels sentenced to life in prison. Brian, 35 years.
Now all three men are already serving life sentences for their convictions in state court, but one must wonder if the story is really over. I mean, it might, will never be over for a family who lost their son forever.
And imagine for Ahmaud's family, what must feel like the infuriating focus on people who took that life rather than the person whose name is now on the wrong side of a hash tag. There is obviously a demand for remorse. Maybe not an expectation that there will be, and the wonder of whether there will ever be an apology.
And of course, what do you do with that if one should ever come. Well, today, offered a glimpse into what an apology might feel like to the Arbery family. At sentencing Gregory McMichael apologized to Ahamud Arbery's mother. Here's how she responded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WANDA COOPER JONES, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: The apology was, I can say that I accepted the apology being the person that I am. I think now that he realized that he made some horrible decisions back in February. Unfortunately, his apology doesn't bring back my son, but I do accept the apology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Wow. You know, the cameras will one day turn off from this again, and the headlines will necessarily shift and that will be painful in its own right. But we have a choice on how to follow this story, but the bigger choice will always be where we will go. And we must go as a nation from here.
Next, our big story tonight includes Donald Trump's home in Florida searched by the FBI. Authorities seizing boxes, accessing a safe in his office, and spending hours inside. Stay with us.