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Don Lemon Tonight
Search Of Donald Trump's Home Is Legit And By The Book; Documents From Trump's Property May Jeopardize National Security; Ring Wing Supporter Killed In Ohio; Republicans Keeping A Grudge Against DOJ; CDC Sets Americans Free Of COVID Restrictions. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired August 11, 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: Laura Coates is sitting in for DON LEMON TONIGHT. And that begins right now. Hey, Laura.
LAURA COATES, CNN HOST: Hey, Sara. Hey, nice to see you.
SIDNER: Hey, girl.
COATES: Hey, girl. Hey. Hey, girl. Hey. Hey, goodnight. Hey, thank you so much.
Everyone, this is DON LEMON TONIGHT. I'm Laura Coates. I'm sitting in for Don lemon.
And look, we are beginning with a major development which may explain partially the FBI's urgency in getting back classified documents from Trump's Mar-a-Lago home.
You know, tonight the Washington Post is quoting sources who were saying that investigators were searching for classified nuclear documents and other items. And if there was some deep concern among officials about the material potentially ending up in the wrong hand. Now, the sources don't say if such documents were recovered.
But this follows an extraordinary move by the attorney general, Merrick Garland. He asked a federal court to unseal the warrant that permitted the search to take place in the first place. Now, the surprise decision setting off a quick chain of events just tonight. And a source saying that Trump and his team appeared to be blindsided by this announcement to say, hey, court, they want to see the receipts.
They've contacted outside attorneys apparently for advice. And they're considering asking the judge to even block the request by the DOJ to make that unsealed. Now that move would seem a bit odd. Wouldn't it? I mean, Trump himself was publicly revealing that the search even took place and then he blasted it as politically motivated. And there was Republican allies in Congress and right-wing media who pushed his accusations. And might I add not too shy. They demanded transparency.
So, Merrick Garland as the attorney general is well, he is basically calling Trump's bluff. Isn't he? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Justice Department has filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court approved search that the FBI conducted earlier this week.
That search was a premises located in Florida belonging to the former president. The department did not make any public statements on the day of the search. The former president publicly confirmed the search that evening as is his right.
Copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president's counsel, who is on site during the search.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Now see that part that you had the actual warrant, sort of the receipt of the inventory, not only was given to the people on the premises. There was a lawyer for Trump there as well. He could have released that and the receipt anytime he wanted, but of course he chose not to because, well, maybe it's politically advantageous to hype up the search is what he called a raid.
Now I'm not saying there is not room for concern or reasons to look at this as the idea of trying to explain further the why and the what's happening next. And we might get that in due time, but he's been claiming that he is a victim of a government vendetta, and he's actually raising money off of that claim as well.
I mean, this is probably playing into Garland's move to make the documents public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GARLAND: The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COATES: Yes, I would say it's substantial. It's very substantial. And you know what? We should know a lot more about DOJ's request by tomorrow because it's been told, they've been told to inform the court by 3 p.m. if Trump opposes releasing those documents.
There's a lot to talk about here with senior -- CNN senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez, chief political analyst, Gloria Borger, and senior legal analyst, Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor.
Now, see all of you probably thought you're going to have a nice dinner today and relax a little bit and there was going to be no big news all of a sudden on this Thursday evening. All of you thought wrong and probably across America. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
COATES: So, let me begin with you, Evan, here. Because look, I mean the FBI searched Trump's home. We know this.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right.
COATES: They're looking for classified documents, but what we didn't realize, according to Washington Post, that they might be related to nuclear weapons. Now that gives anyone in their right mind pause if that's true, what are we learning tonight?
PEREZ: Well, exactly right. That is -- the, you know, the idea that these documents related to nuclear weapons programs would be among the things that the FBI was concerned about or was looking for would be a dramatic step.
We know, we have reported today at CNN. We reported that among the disputes, the items that were in dispute during this month and months of back and forth between the Trump lawyers and the National Archives and the Justice Department were documents that had to do with special access programs.
Now, these are the nation's most closely guarded national security secrets, nuclear weapons programs would be among those types of -- types of documents.
So, again, this is what the Washington Post is reporting. But it sort of, falls in line with what we know has already been found, highly classified documents that should never have left the White House, should never have left Washington and were sent down to the former president's beach house.
And that's the reason why they've had this months' long interaction trying to retrieve documents, sending a subpoena back in June, Laura, retrieving some of those documents and why you saw this escalation which ended up happening on Monday with the search.
COATES: I mean, Gloria, it's very difficult for anyone just look at this and say, you know, this is sort of like a pen.
COATES: One would not know there were classified documents. Only one would know there, I mean, I might occasionally find like a $5 bill in my jeans pocket. I didn't know it was there, but I'm probably going to know that there's actually classified documents --
COATES: -- if it's a nuclear nature if that's true. So, Gloria, I mean, team Trump is saying that they were cooperating all along, that there was a grand jury subpoena. We know all this information as I've been talked about, but if -- if this is what we're talking about, how does this look if this is indeed, that they are indeed nuclear documents?
BORGER: Well, obviously it doesn't look good, right, Laura? I mean, but what this does if you take a step back, is it provides some context to this whole story, because the questions that everyone has been asking, lots of people have been asking is, well, couldn't they just have negotiated this out. Why did this take so long? Why couldn't they have figured out a way to do this on a former president without executing a search warrant, et cetera, et cetera.
If it turns out that these documents were so highly classified, so top secret and they were having questions about where the documents were, where they disappeared to, it raises other questions. A, what were these documents? Why did the former president have them, was this done recklessly? Was this done purposefully? Was this done carelessly?
I mean, we don't know the answer to the, sort of the next level of questions, but it does explain why the Justice Department decided at a certain point. And it seems to me that they've given a lot of leeway to the former president, that why at a certain point they decided that they had to act and move in.
COATES: Yes. I mean, in a way, Elie, of course they gave some leeway because I'm sure they anticipated this particular fallout. The idea of the optics how this would look, the idea of people claiming that this is something that's so frivolous, you're going to go after him for something like, sort of a transactional violation of the law incidentally. That's not like we were hearing here.
But I know that you also are known in certain circles as Elie pumped the brakes Honig. So, I want to ask you about this and this notion of it, because we actually don't have any proof that these are nuclear related documents.
COATES: But we do know they were looking for classified information, at least in part. Does that explain for you the urgency of the warrant? And I asked that because there is that gap that both Evan and Gloria talk about. I mean, it wasn't like the very first meeting that they met with him. They said, I want everything. They searched it. There is a lag and time here. Does that undermine the thought that this was really that urgent?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: OK, so I'm going to live up to my nickname right now. I have questions for both sides. First of all, of course, by far, the biggest question is for Donald Trump and the people at Mar-a-Lago. How on earth could you think it's OK to walk out of the White House 18 months ago with any documents that are government property, with classified documents, according to the reporting, and maybe, maybe, we'll pump the brakes here, but maybe with nuclear related documents.
That is inexplicable to me. And remember, Laura, there was a specific decision made at some point when Trump's people decided we are going to give back 15 of the boxes to the archives, but not these other 12. Who's making that decision and why? But I also do have questions for DOJ. If indeed, DOJ believed there
might be nuclear related documents in there, how on earth does DOJ let those sit in a basement at Mar-a-Lago for 18 months.
BORGER: That's right.
HONIG: And certainly, for the last two months, why would they have played nice? Why would they have negotiated? Why would they have politely said, hey, can you throw a padlock on there? Why would they have gone with this subpoena? If they believed and had reason to believe there was nuclear related documents in there, they should have gone in and done this search warrant long before Monday.
COATES: I mean, that's a good point to make about that notion of why.
BORGER: Well --
COATES: What do you want to say, Gloria?
BORGER: I was going to say maybe they didn't know about them until recently.
BORGER: That's my only question.
COATES: I mean, it's all possible, right? A part of this is us wait. And by the way, 3 p.m. tomorrow isn't that far away for us to get some answers if they in fact, decide to make this public in some way.
But what we are learning tonight, Evan, is that one of the investigators that had visited Mar-a-Lago back in June, as we're talking about here was a top Justice Department, counter intelligence official. Is it becoming clear why there was a counter intelligence official there?
PEREZ: It's not entirely clear, but look, that person, the person who oversees those issues at counter intelligence also has a, the responsibility to for any cases for any -- for any investigations that have to do with mishandling of national security information.
That's kind of the, you know, from what we know, again, we know very little about exactly what the FBI is after here. But what we do know is there's very highly sensitive information. There are -- these are the types of documents that foreign adversaries, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran would be very, very much eager to get access to.
And let me tell you something. One of the things we've learned, and even you talk to people in Trump world, you hear this repeatedly that the security systems there, the protocols for access at Mar-a-Lago were, let's just say not very good.
There were all kinds of people coming in and out, and there were all these stories of Trump waving around documents that he should not have been doing so I in social settings. So that's one reason why someone, you know, who's looking at counter intelligence -- counterintelligence issues at the Justice Department may have been involved in this. Again, there's a lot. We don't. But that could explain why that person was involved.
COATES: I mean, Gloria, when you -- when you think about that and we heard about the surveillance video or surveillance video request, it seemed almost apparently that they wanted to know who had access, who was coming and going, just to put it very plainly, who was coming and going and where they may have been able to see things.
But one thing that may surprise people, I think it seems to have caught the Trump team off guard, is that on Monday it seemed as though Merrick Garland was like, no, I'm not making any comments. What are you talking about? I'm not saying anything.
COATES: But now he doesn't appear to fear this warrant becoming public. They're the ones who want to unseal it. Is that an indication that they are secure in the actions they've taken and the need for it? I mean, this is in light of there has been a furious partisan response.
BORGER: Right. And I think, look, what Merrick Garland did today was call Donald Trump's bluff. And he effectively said, look, OK. A lot of your people are talking about releasing these documents. You even have these documents. We're fine with it, but let's go to a judge.
Because what he wanted to do, and this is Merrick Garland and you're the lawyer, I'm not, but Merrick Garland wanted to say if the former president's attorneys agree, right. He wasn't just going to say, I want to do this. And so, they're going to go to court.
Now we have reported this evening that says that Donald Trump either hasn't decided or maybe, you know, maybe deciding to fight this, but that was before the Washington Post story came out. So, I don't know in the end what Donald Trump's attorneys are going to decide to do. But his folks have spent much of the past week decrying the Justice Department. And now the Justice Department has given them an opportunity to, you know, to put up here and say, OK, we'll -- we're happy to release it if you are.
COATES: Well, you know, this is a bit of a game of chicken. You wonder who's going to win. I don't see them being afraid.
BORGER: Yes, sure.
COATES: But Elie --
COATES: I mean, let's you and I, Elie, play out this chess game here. Guess what's away is going on here. Right? The idea of your move. You wanted everyone to know we're not the ones who said that we actually were there executing a search warrant. You told everyone. Now you're telling everyone we may have planted evidence or other things that happened. We, that did not happen they say. Now it's your move to try to say you don't want it public.
Walk me through sort of the mindset of what must be happening in the conversations and with a legal team and weighing whether or not to oppose the DOJ motion to make this unsealed.
HONIG: Well, Laura, it's definitely put up or shot up time for Donald Trump and his team. They have 17 hours and 46 minutes, not that anyone is counting to decide whether they're going to fight this or not.
COATES: It's for new nickname, Elie. It's time for new nickname. There you go.
HONIG: You can call me whatever you want. We, I have a new nickname every day for you, Laura.
look, option a is, go along with it and say, yes, fine. We want everyone to see this and get the benefit of at least looking like you're in favor of openness and transparency.
However, if Donald Trump wanted to do that, he could have done that on Monday afternoon. He has those documents. They're in his lawyer's office. They're potentially in his hands as well.
Option B is to fight this. Given Donald Trump's history, he has done nothing but fight. When has he ever agreed? When has he ever not gone to court? When has he ever not appealed and re-appealed and kept on going up the line.
So, if he chooses to fight this, then I think what we're going to see happen is the magistrate judge who has this case right now is going to say, OK, I need your briefs. And then the magistrate judge will rule it's -- if I had to guess, I would guess DOJ will win. I think they made a pretty compelling case today for why those documents shall come out, but then count on Donald Trump to appeal and appeal again and appeal again, because delay is one of his favorite strategies.
So, we'll see, we'll watch the clock, but there's no avoiding, you know, he's been put in this position where he's got to choose door A or door B and, and neither of them looks great for him right now.
COATES: I mean, you can't really unwring this bell. It's going to be a difficult one to do. Evan, Gloria, Elie, all of you had the nickname a friend to me too. Don't worry. Thank you, Elie. I would have a good night. Nice seeing you all.
HONIG: Of course.
COATES: Up next, everyone, we'll hear from former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean on tonight's big developments. The Post report that agents were seeking classified nuclear documents. And DOJ's move to now try to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search warrant.
I cannot wait to hear what this man has to say.
COATES: New tonight, the Washington Post reporting that the FBI searched Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home looking for classified documents related to nuclear weapons. And Attorney General Merrick Garland making a surprise move, asking a federal court to unseal, which means make public that search warrant aimed the property receipt that was given to Trump's legal counsel that day.
As we're saying Trump and his team are considering asking the court to block the DOJ motion and keep it out of the public's eye.
I want to bring in CNN contributor, John Dean, the former Nixon White House counsel.
John, it's good to see you. I'm wondering what your reaction is to the Washington Post reporting. I mean, the idea that this is not just the category of classified documents more broadly, but this is perhaps related to not just national security, but nuclear weapons. I mean, put that into perspective for as what this might mean.
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, nuclear weapons and the classification of nuclear weapons are clearly restricted data. And this is a hair on fire kind of problem. So, I think what's happened, Laura, as I've watched this story unfold, including the latest from the Post is that the National Archives learned early a year or so ago that Trump had hold off a bunch of documents.
He -- they went down and had friendly discussions to try to determine where they were and how they got them back. As those discussions went on, they didn't go as smoothly as the archives wanted so they issued a generic subpoena that produced some of the material, but then they got back and they'd been all along preparing some kind of matrix so they can understand what kind of documents that's likely that Trump had.
At some point, they realized he's probably got, he turned over some top-secret stuff. He's probably got a lot more and one of those may be nuclear. Then their hair started burning and that's when the subpoena was dropped and they went after a search warrant to get that material and get it out of Trump's possession and into the federal government's possession, where it can be put in the kind of facility that kind of information is stored in.
COATES: I mean --
DEAN: Which is not Mar-a-Lago.
COATES: Well, I was going to say that very prospect there's still that disconnect for many people and Mar-a-Lago would not be the National Archives. I've never been to Mar-a-Lago. I don't know what kind of containment units they have, but I suspect the Presidential Records Act tells you, they prefer it to be where they know it's going to be. But I have to ask you, I mean, the fact that there is that timeline that you've laid out there, John, if you believed at a point in time that there was something as serious as nuclear documents, would there be any reason that you would have either advised or thought it more prudent to delay in executing a search warrant? Because there is that little bit of a gap between when there was the --
COATES: -- hey, I want you to better secure whatever it is you had. Do you think there was something that made them say an urgent notion they found out something very quickly.
DEAN: I think either top secret or nuclear material, either one of those would justify going. As you know, a top-secret classification is some of the most sensitive data we have in our national security archives. So, that has an expectation that it can cause serious national problems to damage to the national security. So that would've -- top secret alone would've -- would've been an impetus to go with a search warrant. Nuclear secrets would've only put a fire under it.
So yes, all these things, I think I can't believe, as Elie was saying in the last segment, you know, they would wait a long time if they knew this very sensitive, national security information was just sitting down there at Trump's club. It's just not a conducive place to hold that kind of information.
DEAN: Too vulnerable.
COATES: And of course, a probable cause can't be stale. You can't say there was some point in time way back and maybe back, this was a case where you said, you know, not in the national security context but just, I think there may be evidence of a crime. When, six months ago, I mean, that's not going to be the kind of data that you can give a judge.
But I wonder, John, from your perspective. And I hear this chatter already about the notion of this is probably frivolous or not a very big deal. He probably didn't mean it. Does the why does, the why he may have kept these records matter?
DEAN: I don't know it typically doesn't in this kind of activity. As Sandy Berger had one explanation for why he stole documents. General Petraeus had another, and you know, they didn't get seriously punished, but it did certainly affect their careers. I mean, Petraeus today would probably be presidential timber, but for that mistake.
So, you know, the why, I don't think is the key. It's what in fact was done with what attitude and what mental state or criminal intent if necessary. And if you're going to go into that kind of focus on this problem. COATES: You know, in any event, John, I mean, three o'clock tomorrow is frankly just around the corner in the grand scheme of things. I do wonder what they will ultimately decide to do.
Do you think they're going to, if you're a Trump's team, do you think they're going to try to keep this quiet in the sense of not public. Well, his standard operating procedure as was mentioned again in the last segment is delay, delay, delay. And I think that's the norm.
I think he will probably try to fight it, fight it with the magistrate judge, then take it to the district court. Get the district court judge decide with him, fail there, go to the court of appeals, take it to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court, I can't believe would take this case. I mean, this is -- this is not a, this is not, this is pretty clear-cut issue, if you will, on suppression of a subpoena or excuse me, a warrant for a search and seizure. This is not a big case, but it is a big deal.
COATES: We will see. Thanks, John Dean.
DEAN: Yes, we will. Thank you, Laura.
COATES: Nuclear documents and other classified material. That's what the Washington Post is saying the FBI was searching for. I'm going to talk to an intelligence expert about all of that next.
COATES: All right. We're back now with the bombshell reporting from the Washington Post just tonight, saying that the FBI was searching for classified nuclear documents at Mar-a-Lago. And the news just comes hours after Attorney General Merrick Garland broke his silence on that FBI search, saying that it's in the public interest to unseal the court approved warrant and that he personally approved the warrant.
Joining me now CNN counterterrorism analyst, Phil Mudd, a former FBI senior intelligence advisor.
Phil, it's good to see you. I have to just stop for a second. Because if the FBI is seeking nuclear documents at Trump's home, as the Washington Post is reporting, what is your reaction? Is that sort of the hair on fire moment? Is that the hardest thing you've ever heard? What -- what's happening?
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Boy, let me confess, Laura. This is not a great moment for me. I blew this one a couple days ago. I looked at this and said, look, if the president is keeping boxes at his basement of conversations, he had with the French president of deliberations in the White House about withdrawing from climate change, big deal.
Why the heck is the Department of Justice, the FBI making a decision about pursuing documents that might be classified? I dealt with classified documents from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for 25 years. To me, this looked a little odd. I got to step back and today and say, are you kidding me? The president of the United States keeps nuclear documents in an unsecured facility. And then you realize that Merrick Garland took a shot at the president today.
He referred to least intrusive means in terms of trying to acquire these documents. What he's saying is we asked Mar-a-Lago for these documents and they said no. And so, Mar-a-Lago when they were advised they had these didn't turn them over.
Let me close with this, Laura. I was the deputy director of national security at the FBI. I did not have access to this country's nuclear secrets. And the president kept him at Mar-a-Lago and said no, I give up, I can't figure this out.
COATES: Well, I mean, so we, I'm going to give you some grace here because before you beat yourself entirely --
MUDD: Please do.
COATES: -- before you beat yourself entirely, I mean, I love you're in Memphis and you know, that's the home of grace land so I'm going to give you some grace for a second here.
MUDD: Thank you.
COATES: And I say this to you. We don't yet know of course --
COATES: -- what specifically as in those documents they're recovering. We are hearing reporting that they were looking for that nature. What that means we are still not sure, but the prospect in and of itself, I agree is stunning, but there are no details about what type of information. But to your point, I mean, the information if that, if they were seeking information involving weapons belonging to the U.S. or some other nation, I wonder what are the potential security risks here?
Because we know there's surveillance footage that they want to be able to get. They mean, that means to me, you want to know who's coming and going, who has access different areas and who might be privy to certain areas of particular home.
Tell me about what the risks of this could be, the idea of even classified nature, even if it's not a nuclear nature. What is the risk of that?
MUDD: I mean, one of the risks of the course, as you mentioned, I'd be curious about the secure -- the surveillance videos because my first question is not just who has access to that area. It is whether those persons have clearance to have -- to have access to that area.
If it's high-end nuclear secrets, and there's a whole range of nuclear secrets out there. I, for example, as I mentioned a moment ago, would not have been authorized to get into that area. So, are people who don't know how to handle classified information, getting in there.
I think that's a -- that's a basic question I've had. You remember also there's been reporting over time, including an incident a few years ago about individuals trying to gain access to Mar-a-Lago, including foreign nationals.
How secure is that compound? I assume with the secure -- with the Secret Service there that the compound is highly secure. But man, if you're the FBI and you hear about this, including from evidently a human source who told you the documents you're there, what are you supposed to do, Laura?
MUDD: Are you supposed to say we don't care? I feel bad for the FBI. A few days ago, I trashed them and said they shouldn't have done this. Today, I'm scratching my head and reversed and saying, why the heck would the president say, I want to keep nuclear documents at a beach house.
COATES: Well, you know, I've always found it very odd and most people, I mean, and you know this, the average person does not get the luxury of the back and forth and negotiation and at your leisure and can we talk about it? Can we have a coffee? That whole thing doesn't happen in terms of trying to figure out getting information.
There is a certain benefit of the doubt and a certain level of deference that has probably been extended by virtue of the back and forth along the way. But to culminate in this way is something that shows you is the benefit of the doubt merited here.
But also, you've pointed out and you have brought this up before how significant is it that the FBI head of counter intelligence is involved.
COATES: And so now in light of the reporting from the Washington post, what role would that person have been playing?
MUDD: This is really interesting because a few days ago you would've said we don't know why they did this search, to search micro related to a whole variety of investigations of president January 6th interference and certification of the election.
That is not what counterintelligence does at the FBI. And I watched them. I was part of that for four and a half years. Counterintelligence typically chases secrets that involve people overseas, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranian. The North Koreans.
So as soon as I saw in the press reporting that the FBI was, or leaks we're talking about national security information and the counterintelligence chief at the FBI was involved. I took out January 6th, took out election interference and said, there's something in this investigation that is sensitive enough that a foreign government might be interested. And that the people at the FBI who chase foreign governments want to get.
That to me is a game changer. This is not January 6th. This is about whether the Chinese, the North Koreans or the Russians want to steal this stuff.
COATES: Now that is striking in and of itself. And I'm telling you, if what we're learning tomorrow, we might learn at 3 p.m. tomorrow if they actually do make this public, I can only imagine what we'll find out next.
Phil, nice to see you. And again, there you are. You got grace now in the heart of Graceland.
COATES: Enjoy yourself. I will sleep now with feeling safe. Thanks, Laura.
COATES: Have one of those Elvis peanut butter and banana sandwiches, right? That's that was the whole thing. Yes. I've had it. Wasn't my cup of tea, but that's fine.
MUDD: All right.
COATES: Anyway, up next, everyone, you know, speaking of the risks here, this is a, a very serious matter.
In Ohio, there was a deadly standoff. There was a man who was armed with an AR-15 style rifle. He had a nail gun. He tried to get into an FBI field office. I'll tell you what we know, next.
COATES: A truly frightening scene in Cincinnati today, an armed suspect attempting to breach the FBI's office there. It led to an hour's long standoff and ending with the suspect being shot dead by law enforcement.
For more on this I want to bring in CNN correspondent, Brynn Gingras. Brynn, a truly stunning day-to-day in turning events after what we've seen over the past several days in the vitriol we've actually heard about. I mean, law enforcement is telling sources that the suspect's name is Ricky Shiffer. What are we learning about him?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, it's scary to go from Monday to here and how all the dots are somewhat connected, right, Laura?
GINGRAS: Yes, we're learning from multiple sources, me and my colleague Josh Campbell, that this person is named Ricky Shiffer. He's the person who went into this field office in Cincinnati and with a nail gun we're told by sources and an AR-15 style rifle and tried to breach that office.
An alarm was sounded, and that's when this pursuit happened where there was gunfire that was engaged. And again, it ended with a very long standoff between local federal law enforcement with Shiffer being killed. And now that is currently still under investigation.
What's also being looked out by federal investigators right now is this person's background. Now we have come across a account on Truth Social, which is the former president's social media account. It bears the same name as Ricky Shiffer, though we can't, necessarily confirm that it is his account. But I know that one source has told my colleague Josh Campbell, that the pictures are the same and they match with a government ID.
But, what's written on this account it's quite honestly terrifying. I mean, it talks about the assault against the FBI and the rhetoric on there is encouraging others to take on violence against federal authorities in the wake of what we saw not just in Monday with the search of Mar-a-Lago, but with January 6th incidents with other sort of things that have been out there in the public.
I want to read one thing that was on this post today. And it talks about the incident that happened in Cincinnati. Again, this isn't a user with the same name as Ricky Shiffer. It says, well, I thought I had a way through bulletproof glass and I didn't. If you don't hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the FBI and it'll mean either I was taken off the internet, the FBI got me, or they sent the regular cops while.
And it just sort of stops there. This posted about 10 minutes after the raid -- sorry, the breach happened in that field office. It's possible he just couldn't write anymore. But digging more into the social media by my colleague Paul Murphy, it talks about his presence on January 6th.
It talks about how he thought the 2020 election was stolen. It even talks about the Mar-a-Lago FBI search that happened earlier this week, and basically called people to arms, saying go to your local pawn shops and get guns and go to Mar-a-Lago and the FBI encounters you, kill them.
I mean, so it is just a dangerous rhetoric that is sort of repeated on this Truth Social. Clearly, he, if this is the same person was trying to take things into his own do it himself.
COATES: Brynn, I mean, it's starting to think about all of that if this is the same person connected to that social media account, it's no wonder the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, and Merrick Garland, the attorney general voice their concerns --
GINGRAS: Yes. COATES: -- about the safety of the members of law enforcement. Brynn,
thank you so much. We'll keep this story in our minds and keep going with it as well.
I want to bring in CNN political commentator Scott Jennings as well. I mean, Scott, what we're just hearing from Brynn it's pretty stunning that what could have happened at that field office, let alone what happened to this person who attempted to attack the field office. It's a pretty brazen attack on the FBI of all places.
And I'm wondering, are you worried that we're going to see more violence because of the rhetoric that we see being aimed at DOJ, aimed at law enforcement, just since the Mar-a-Lago search alone?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, yes, I mean, I am. I mean, I think we've learned over the last several years, there are people out there who are unhinged and who have, obviously emotional problems and who get invested in conspiracy theories and then they take matters into their own hands.
And this person, obviously, if it's the same person, I know we're still confirming everything, but if -- if all this checks out that's obviously what this person did. And, so yes, I am. I think political violence is a problem in this country and it's going to continue to be a problem. And this is yet the latest manifestation of it.
COATES: I mean, we, I can't help, but go back to that DHS bulletin so many weeks ago where they essentially spoke about the threat of those based on political grievances, the idea of domestic threats, posing maybe even more so than external ones as well.
But speaking of the idea of whether things will check out. I'm sure you've seen the Washington Post reporting already tonight that says that they were looking at Mar-a-Lago for documents related to nuclear documents of some kind.
If -- if Trump actually had important nuclear documents and I can't imagine there are unimportant nuclear documents, but they had important nuclear documents at Mar-a-Lago. What is that going to do to the chorus of Republicans that are right now coming to his defense?
JENNINGS: Good question. I mean it, I think it truly depends on what it is. I mean, nuclear documents is, I mean, I don't know what that means. I don't know if this is just information about the kinds of weapons we have and where we have them, or if it's codes. I got, I don't know what that means.
And so, I think -- I think exactly what's in it is going to matter and could have an impact.
I will tell you this. I mean, there's some polling out today. Politico, Morning Consul has done a snap poll. And Trump's numbers among Republicans have ticked up. Obviously, Republicans have been very defensive of Trump this week because of what happened.
And I'm not surprised. I mean, if you look at the reaction Republicans had in the immediate wake of the -- of the search and the sort of the silence from DOJ over the last couple of days, I'm not surprised to see those numbers.
If this turns out to be something minor, I'm not -- I have no idea what it's going to turn out to be. If it has, if it turns out to be something minor or something that doesn't seem as important as say, planning of January 6th riot, which I consider to be a very important matter. Then I think you're going to see Republicans get even more defensive of Trump.
If it turns out to be an egregious abuse of power or some kind of terrible, you know, poorly -- poor judgment on the part of Trump, then maybe we're talking about a different story here. I -- so, I don't know yet.
JENNINGS: But the possibility exists that Republicans could dig in even further that there's evidence that they already are.
COATES: I mean, I don't know that poor judgment alone would be enough. Just says it passes prologue. right. That that's the standard there. I don't really know. But I will say I want to be clear. I think it's only responsible to do so.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has not said nuclear-related. We have not seen the search warrant.
COATES: And so, one of the concerns will always be as we saw from earlier this week, if people get over their -- at ahead of their skis on things and attribute the statements from reporting to a statement of the DOJ, then there's always room for what you're talking about. So, but I do wonder if people will be prudent enough to -- to be patient and actually wait and see.
JENNINGS: Well, I, first of all, I think, what you just said is an extremely responsible thing to say, because we're, you know, there's just a lot of speculation here and we don't know what we're going to know this time tomorrow.
I would also say that the FBI, the Department of Justice, because of their history with Trump and because of a lot of what happened in the run up to the election in 2016 during his presidency, some of the -- some of the issues they had with him in the crossfire hurricane.
The fact that Garland came out today was good. I do think it was two days too late, frankly. I think they do have to understand that there's half the country looks at everything they do in relation to Trump with a critical eye because of the past issues that they've had with him. And, and frankly, some of the things he has said about them.
And so, this transparency is a good thing. I think it came too late. But the transparency will ultimately, I think, Laura, lead to greater credibility and legitimacy for whatever legal outcomes are on the horizon. And once we have the full information, then we can make a full political assessment. I guess, until then everybody's imaginations will run wild and maybe we'll know more 24 hours from now.
COATES: And less than that, perhaps. Three o'clock tomorrow afternoon. Scott Jennings, nice to see you.
JENNINGS: Nice to see you. Thank you.
COATES: Well, look, the CDC says no more quarantine. No more social distancing. You've got the COVID update you need to know about next.
COATES: Big changes coming from the CDC today. After more than two years, they are no longer recommending Americans say at least six feet apart, they're ending the social distancing guideline. That was a hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their new guidelines are also ditching restrictive measures like quarantines, and instead focusing on reducing severe disease from COVID. And with kids heading back to school, the CDC is no longer suggesting this test to stay for kids who've been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
The CCC for say, this shift actually is in the guidelines and is a sign of how much has changed since the very beginning of the pandemic. Now nearly the entire U.S. population has at least some immunity through vaccination or previous infection or both.
Next, nuclear documents. The Washington Post reporting. The FBI went to Mar-a-Lago in search of documents about nuclear weapons and more classified info. Stay with us.