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Don Lemon Tonight
Document On Foreign Nation's Nuclear Capabilities Seized At Trump's Mar-a-Lago; Trump And DOJ Face Friday Deadline On Special Master Details; Newly Obtained Surveillance Video Shows Fake Trump Elector Escorted Operatives Into GA County's Elections Office Before Voting Machine Breach; GOP Ramps Up Attacks On Fetterman Over Health Issues; Economy Front And Center Ahead Of Midterm Elections; What Happened To Irene Gakwa? Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired September 06, 2022 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: And if it's a friend nation, that leads to another set of complications that we experience in the aftermath of Snowden's revelations in 2013. So, on lots of level, Don, this is very, very concerning to me, again, assuming this reporting is accurate.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Can you talk to me about the information? What kind of specific information could this include?
CLAPPER: Well, it could include, I think, capabilities of a foreign nation in the nuclear arena and -- or importantly, the obverse of that is that it could also indicate what we don't know about a four nation which could give them some form of reassurance, particularly if it's an adversary.
So, nuclear capabilities, number of weapons, how many are on alert, maintenance status, training status of their personnel or command and control, there is a whole plethora of kinds of information pertaining to a nuclear offense or defense that could be revealed or information could be inferred by exposure to -- of these documents.
LEMON: This is obviously very valuable top-secret information, but what is the value of this top-secret information to another country, because, you know, only a certain number of countries have nuclear capabilities?
CLAPPER: Well, that's right, it is a fairly small club of nine or 10, depending, you know, if you include North Korea or not, I guess. And as I say, this goes to the very core of our nation's existence. And that is why nations pursue and acquire nuclear weapons. It's why we did. It's why Russia has and China, it's why North Korea has, because it gets to the very existence and how they deter foreign attacks.
And so, this in turn is, as I say, the holiest of holiest of secrets which nations strive very hard to protect and restrict access to, as we do in this country. This is a very narrow field of view, so to speak, for people that do have access to this kind of data, and that is why this is so concerning.
LEMON: Well, this -- I have to ask you this, but I've got to. Do officials or do we need to assume that this material has already been compromised since it was in an insecure location for so long?
CLAPPER: Well, that is the very question that the DNI is -- and others, since this is -- this could be a DNI matter, depending on the nature of the document, is assessing, you know, the damage that could accrue from this if it is exposed.
And you have to make assumption if you're doing an assessment. You sort of have to worst-case it, that it was exposed since it wasn't protected. There probably are no records kept of who had access, who might have seen these documents. We do not know where they were in the country club complex there.
And the other assumption that you have to make is that Mar-a-Lago from the get-go has been a key priority for foreign intelligence service as a target.
So, you put all those factors together and the prudent thing to do is to make worst-case that it conceivably and probably -- it could have been exposed and do your assessment accordingly.
LEMON: Oh, boy. Director Clapper, thank you so much. I appreciate it.
I want to bring in CNN senior political correspondent Abby Phillip, also senior legal analyst Elie Honig, he is the author of "Hatchet Man: How Bill Barr Broke the Prosecutor's Code and Corrupted the Justice Department," and former assistant special Watergate prosecutor Jon Sale. He's also a former personal attorney for Rudy Giuliani. Good evening, everyone. Thanks so much.
Elie, I'm going to start with you because I want to get your reaction to what we are learning from "The Washington Post" tonight. We are talking about documents so top-secret that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about what these documents contained. Does this bolster the FBI's case that they needed to take an action to retrieve these documents?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: For sure, Don, I think the criticism of FBI that we've heard from Donald Trump and others is that they acted too rationally, too precipitously. Why didn't they try other measures?
Well, first of all, we already know that they did try other measures for well over a year. They tried informal negotiations, they didn't get all the documents. They tried to subpoena, they didn't get all the documents. And the search warrant really was sort of their last option.
If anything, if this reporting from "The Washington Post" holds up, that there was at least one document relating to nuclear programs recovered, I think you would ask, why didn't DOJ and the FBI act more quickly? I think this sort of puts to bed any defense along the lines of, well, this search warrant was done sort of too rationally or unfairly.
LEMON: Hmm. Abby, let's talk about the political part of this. The Trump spokesperson is calling this a lie tonight, criticizing the report. "The Washington Post" sources did not identify the foreign government in question. But what is the political and diplomatic damage here?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I have said this from the beginning about this case, this is one of those situations where I think the average person, the average American, understands how important top-secret documents are. They understand the idea of national security concerns around the government secrets, particularly as it relates to secrets that are obtained by spies. That is just not hard for people to understand.
And so, for Trump, one of the biggest problems that he has is that the commonsense test makes it really difficult to spin his way out of this one. The explanations that are being put forward by his representatives just don't make much sense if the allegations that are being reported and are being put in court documents are true.
There is, I think for most people, no real reason why these types of documents should be in the former president's beach resort. And even if you put aside the question about the nuclear issue, the fact that there were top-secret documents there from the beginning are very problematic.
And again, the short term gain that the Trump team thought they were going to get by publicizing the existence of this search on Mar-a-Lago could very well be totally outweighed by the fact that this is going to be a persistent narrative about him in the news, from now until at least perhaps the end of the year, but even further, just depending on how long it takes for the government to go through the process of their investigation.
LEMON: Jon Sale, you have been supportive of the former president trying to get a special master. Give me a reaction to the judge ruling in favor of the former president's request.
JON SALE, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I think a special master can add to confidence in the system, can add to lowering the temperatures. I think, as the judge wrote, it is just going to give a pause, a brief pause, and what's the harm? I mean, some delay? We're in that 60-day window, anyway. So, is it not better to get it right?
And let me just say, what the special master, what the judge has ordered does not do, it does not shut down the investigation. The government can continue to interview witnesses, issue grand jury subpoenas. It has no effect upon national security such as this "Washington Post" story because the judge carves out an exception for the DNI damage assessment.
And it just gives us a chance to take a deep breath because every day, something is more and more startling. But I want to say, when you said I've been supportive of a special master, I'm totally supportive of the notion that nobody, including the former president, is above the law. So, I don't think those things are inconsistent.
LEMON: But doesn't the -- it stops the DOJ from using the information in the investigation, Elie? Am I wrong? Go ahead, Jon.
SALE: It stops them for using the investigation temporarily. But the judge wrote in her order that when the process resolves, Don, the president -- former president may not get any of the privileges sustained. And she also said none of his claims of being having his senior rights violated have been borne out in the record.
LEMON: Elie, you wrote the book on Bill Barr, and this is what he said about a special master reviewing documents taken from the Mar-a- Lago search. He doesn't go along with what Jon Sale -- he doesn't agree with what Jon says. This is what he said, and then we'll talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, FORMER UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: The opinion, I think, was wrong, and I think the government should appeal it. It is deeply flawed in a number of ways. I don't think the appointment of a special master is going to hold up. But even if it does, I don't see it fundamentally changing the trajectory. In other words, I don't think it changes the ballgame so much as we maybe we will have a rain delay for a couple of innings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, I mean, partially he agrees with what Jon said, that, you know, a rain delay for a couple of innings, but he doesn't think that she got it right. What is your reaction to these comments and what is at stake here?
HONIG: Well, I certainly agree with both Jon and Bill Barr that this is a delay, this is a holdup, this is not going to determine any outcomes of the case.
In terms of whether the judge got it right or wrong, let me just say this, be wary of any blanket assertions that the judge was absolutely right or absolutely wrong on executive privilege because the fact of the matter is we have very little case law on executive privilege. And you will hear people from time to time make assertions like a former president does not have and cannot invoke executive privilege.
That is just not right. The Supreme Court has said there can be narrow circumstances where a former president can invoke executive privilege. This is the kind of decision that is vested in our district court judges, our trial court judges.
I think what this judge did is weigh two competing factors. On the one hand, not wanting to slow down or create unnecessary burden. On the other hand, as Jon said, let's be safe, let's bring in a third party, independent neutral outsider.
So, at a minimum, we will have an appearance here. We can tell the American public that all precautions were taken to guard the privileges. And I think the judge did a reasonable job of balancing those two factors.
LEMON: Listen, the couple times that we heard from the former attorney general, Bill Barr, he has been going against what, you know, the former president, Abby. He was one of Trump's biggest enablers. But now, he is making a hard turn. This is what he said to the January 6 Select Committee. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: I made it clear I did not agree with the idea of saying the election was stolen and putting out this stuff, which I told the president was bullshit. I said, well, if he really believes this stuff, he has, you know, lost contact with -- he has become detached from reality if he really believes this stuff. There was never an indication of interest in what the actual facts were.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He is partial to a certain word, Abby, because he's calling Trump's request for a special master a (INAUDIBLE). What message does this send?
PHILLIP: You know, Bill Barr is such an interesting character in all of this. I think based on his testimony before the January 6 Committee, it is pretty clear that he thought that something changed what Trump if those last months of his presidency where he became detached from reality, he stopped listening to the people around him.
So many cabinet officials like Barr put up with a lot of behavior from Trump that they personally did not like because they thought that Trump was still listening to the cooler heads, the rational heads. And that change for Barr toward the end.
And so, I am not surprised to see that he thinks that this is also a bit of a bridge too far. I am interested in, however, just the fact that Barr was sort of known as attorney general as being someone who had a very strong belief in, you know, the power of the executive branch, the power of the president himself. And now, he seems to be saying that, you know, Trump really does not have a valid executive privilege claim.
You know, perhaps this is all just because of the bitter taste that is left in his mouth after all that Trump has said about him and the way that he departed the administration. But I think Barr has had a bit of a shift here when it comes to Trump.
And it is also a reflection of what a lot of people who left that administration at the end felt about Trump. They stayed for a lot of that presidency until the end, and they are in that club of people who think that perhaps Trump should not be anywhere near the presidency, although we should be clear, Don, Bill Barr has kind of danced around this issue of whether he would vote for Trump again, but a lot of people have kind of had it with a lot of these candidates.
LEMON: Elie, I want you to weigh in because, as I said, the last couple times we've heard about it, it has not been pro-Trump. I mean, this is a guy who spun the Mueller report in favor of Trump. Again, you wrote the book. What is your response?
HONIG: Yeah, I have given up trying to psychoanalyze Bill Barr. I think Abby hit the nail on the head there. I mean, this is a person who -- let's not forget, despite whatever he has done over the last couple months, he spent two years lying to us, lying to Congress, lying to the American public, trying to get Trump out of trouble, distorting the facts, distorting them all, spreading conspiracy theories. He was one of the biggest proponents of the election fraud theory in the months leading up to the election.
Now, as Abby said, he hit a certain point -- I guess everybody has got their breaking point, -- where he said, I'm willing to go this far, I'm willing to bend the truth this far. But at a certain point, I think Bill Barr realized it was over, the election was over, Donald Trump was out, he was out.
And I think Bill Barr made a move that at a minimum was designed to serve his own self-interest, his rational self-interest to say, I need to make a break, I need to call, I won't use his language, but B.S., B.S., and I think we're seeing that even now on his comments on the special master.
LEMON: Yeah. Mr. Sale, there is a Friday deadline for a joint filing on the special master.
But these two sides have not agreed on much. So, how is this going to work?
SALE: Well, I don't think they're going to agree on anything. The judge will have a candidate in mind. And hopefully, it will be a candidate of such stature that the American people will have faith in the review and faith in the judiciary.
You know, I know that this judge has taken a lot of criticism in the last few days. I generally believe what the chief justice said, there are no Obama judges and there are no Trump judges. Once judges take that oath, I think they call it as they see it. I think Judge Cannon has done this.
LEMON: You don't think that -- listen, maybe that's right. But you don't think maybe that they were judge shopping considering that they ended up with this particular judge in this particular jurisdiction?
SALE: I know that has been said. They did not choose to intervene before Judge Reinhart in the search warrant matter. But this case went -- was filed in West Palm Beach, not in Fort Pierce where she sits, and it went into the wheel. And it was randomly assigned. And most people have said, otherwise, don't practice in this district.
LEMON: Yeah. Elie, listen, I've got some other news that's just in to CNN. A new development. Sources are telling CNN that Steve Bannon is expected to surrender Thursday to face New York State charges relating to his fundraising effort to build a wall along the southern border. What is this all mean?
HONIG: Still more legal problems for Steve Bannon, Don. And if this sounds familiar to people, Steve Bannon being charged with fraud over the scheme to raise funds that is called "we build the wall group" and then pocketing it, it should feel familiar because he was already indicted for it by the Department of Justice, by my old office, the Southern District of New York, back in 2020.
But what happened was, before that went to trial, Donald Trump in his final hours in office, pardoned Steve Bannon, but interestingly not the other three defendants who are charged in that scheme, two of whom who have now been convicted.
So, now, we are seeing a state level prosecutor, the Manhattan D.A., bring these charges based on the same conduct. Of course, a presidential pardon has no impact on a state level charge. And if people are wondering, there is no double jeopardy problem here because you are allowed to charge somebody with the exact, same conduct in the federal system and the state system. The Supreme Court just reaffirmed that a few years ago.
And I should add, Don, let us also remember, Steve Bannon was convicted a couple of months ago of criminal contempt of Congress, a separate case, because he defied his subpoena from the January 6 Committee. He has got sentencing coming up on that soon. He will be sentenced to at least one month in federal prison for that. So, now he is going to have that as well as the state level fraud charge.
LEMON: So, listen, there are so many of these. A couple of this -- is this the one -- the new one that we are reporting tonight? Is this the one where he was arrested (INAUDIBLE)?
HONIG: I think that it's right.
LEMON: I think that's this one.
HONIG: If memory serves, this is the federal charge --
HONIG: -- in 2020 where basically, they were saying to Trump supporters, donate to this fund, we're going to privately financed the construction of the southern border wall, and then Steve Bannon and the other defendants allegedly pocketed that money. Steve Bannon, hundreds of thousands of dollars, up to a million dollars. That is a straight up, standard fraud.
And as I said, two of the other codefendants have already been convicted of that. The federal system announced Steve Bannon reportedly going to have to face that in the state system.
LEMON: Thank you, Elie. Thank you, Abby. Thank you, Jon Sale. I appreciate it. I'll see you, guys, soon.
LEMON: So, new video obtained by CNN shows the former GOP chairwoman of Coffee County, Georgia, who is under criminal investigation for allegedly posing as a fake elector in 2020, escorting a team of pro- Trump operatives to the county's election office on January 7th of 2021, the same day a voting system there is known to have been breached. We're going to break down what the video shows next.
LEMON: Tonight, CNN obtaining video showing a Republican county official in Georgia escorting operatives who worked for an attorney for the former president into election offices on the same day voting machines there were breached. The breach is under investigation by Georgia officials, and the GOP county official identified as Cathy Latham is under criminal investigation, proposing as a fake elector in 2020.
We got more on this developing story tonight from CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin. Drew?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Don, the surveillance video you're about to see is from an election's office in Georgia, just one of the states where breaches of voting machines are under investigation.
The woman that you're seeing there, Cathy Latham, there in blue, she used to be the chairwoman of the Coffee County GOP. She's already under investigation for posing as a fake elector, signing one of those documents that declared Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election, not Joe Biden.
She can be seen escorting a team of pro-Trump operatives into the Elections office where those operatives breached the voting machines, including a man named Paul Maggio, an I.T. specialist whose company was hired by Trump attorney, Sidney Powell. How do we know they breached the machines? This guy, Scott Hall, he actually admits it in this audio obtained by CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT HALL, ATLANTA BAIL BONDSMAN REPUBLICAN POLL WATCHER (voice- over): I'm the guy that chartered the jet to go down to Coffee County to have them inspect all of those computers. And I've heard zero, OK?
UNKNOWN (voice-over): Yeah.
HALL (voice-over): I went down there. We scanned every freaking ballot. And they scanned all the equipment, image all the hard drives, and scanned every single ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: Scott Hall is in Atlanta Bail Bondsman, Don, and described as a Republican operative. CNN got no response from him today.
Cathy Latham, who opened the door in the video, has been connected to the plan, accessed the election's office through emails and texts, documented in the civil case. Her attorney told us, Ms. Latham has not acted improperly or illegally, and that Ms. Latham did not authorize or participate in any ballot scanning efforts, computer imaging or any other activity -- similar activity, I should say.
The IT specialist firm says it has no reason to believe the lawyers who hired them would direct anyone to do anything wrong, but there seems to be no doubt this county's machines were compromised and ballots were scanned on the behest of these operatives working for Trump. Don?
LEMON: All right, Drew Griffin, thank you so much.
The gloves are off in Pennsylvania Senate race. Dr. Oz taking shots at opponent Dr. John Fetterman's health, but he is not alone in asking questions about that. Is it a fair game?
LEMON: Okay, so, Pennsylvania GOP Senate nominee Mehmet Oz ramping up his attacks on Democratic opponent John Fetterman and his health issues. Listen to what he had to say during a press conference in Philadelphia. This is earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEHMET OZ, PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN SENATE NOMINEE: John Fetterman is either healthy and he's dodging the debates because he doesn't want to answer for his radical left positions, or he's too sick to participate in the debate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's bring in now CNN political commentators Paul Begala and Scott Jennings. Good evening to both of you. Scott, Pennsylvania GOP Senator Pat Toomey joined Dr. Oz at the event today and also took shots at Fetterman's health. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): I'm here to issue a warning to Pennsylvania voters. You can't do the job of U.S. senator sitting at home firing off snarky tweets. It's a demanding job. It requires extensive time on the road, long days and nights. I have my doubts about whether John Fetterman is up to the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, Oz's strategy of attacking Fetterman's health has pretty much backfired. Do you think it's going to be more effective as it comes closer to the midterms? It is coming -- and is it more effective, Scott, coming from an established Republican like Toomey?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO PRESIDNET TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, I think it's effective coming from Toomey. He has got credibility with people in Pennsylvania. He knows what it takes to be a senator.
And let's be clear, Dr. Oz did not cause John Fetterman's campaign to be evasive about this. That didn't cause Fetterman's campaign to say he can't do the debates. That didn't cause Fetterman's campaign to initially say his health issues were a bump in the road and then Fetterman later to say that he almost died.
The evasion here and the mystery here is coming out of Fetterman's own campaign. These are fair questions. You don't have to be flipped about it. You don't have the mean. But if you're a Pennsylvania voter, you do have to ask the basic question, can you execute the job duties of U.S. senator, because right now, it doesn't seem like Fetterman can execute the job duties of a candidate. And so, I think this is all fair game, frankly.
LEMON: So, listen, Paul, I see you wanting to get in there.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah.
LEMON: Let me just say this, though, because it's not just Oz and Toomey talking about Fetterman's health. The "Pittsburg Post-Gazette" conservative editorial board published an op-ed today about his condition, writing in part, and I quote here -- "If Mr. Fetterman is not well enough to debate his opponent, that raises serious concerns about his ability to serve as a United States senator."
Fetterman had some instances of losing words midsentence. His campaign says that he is dealing with auditory processing issues. Isn't it fair to say voters need more information about his health?
BEGALA: Man, you've got to be careful how you do it. You know, if Mehmet Oz was kind of a nice guy like Scott Jennings, maybe he might could -- he might could get away with it, but he's not. He's a jerk. He put out a statement today, his campaign did, that said, Dr. Oz promises not to intentionally hurt John's feelings. At any point during the debate, John can raise his hand and say, bathroom break.
Look, a lot of Pennsylvanians can relate to having a health scare. Not a lot of Pennsylvanians can relate to having 10 homes and not even being able to admit how many or voting in Turkey before you ever voted in Pennsylvania.
Oz has a problem, and his problem is he is seen as a phony, and he is seen as out of touch with Pennsylvania, not a real Pennsylvanian, and a carpetbagger. Attacking Fetterman's health in such a clumsy, snotty way, frankly, is not going to help make him more likable. Sixty-eight percent of Pennsylvanians said that Fetterman's health is not an issue to them. So, I just think it's the wrong place for --
LEMON: You are saying it's fair -- you're saying --
BEGALA: His style is so bad.
LEMON: You're saying it's fair, but it's how he does it, right? Is that what you're saying?
BEGALA: Thinking you got -- I mean, the voters decide and they are deciding. When 68% say it's an issue to me -- by the way, 51% say that Oz living in New Jersey is an issue to them, make some less likely to vote for Oz. He is just on the wrong side of this.
I think we'll do a lot better of talking about issues with people's lives, like his position that he wants to outlaw all abortions in all states in America. That's a pretty radical position.
LEMON: I want to talk about abortion because that's going to play a big role in this as well. Abortion rights are expected to play a role in this race. Oz is giving conflicting answers about his pro-life position. He now says that he is for exceptions for rape, incest, life of a mother.
But during the GOP primary, he said that abortion is still a murder early in the pregnancy since life starts at conception. How will the dramatic shift in abortion, this issue, affect his race?
JENNINGS: It's not a dramatic shift. I mean, look, I think Dr. Oz is looking at the political reality, and the reality is -- and by the way, this has been the position of the Republican Party since I got into the business and since Ronald Reagan was president, that we are pro-life part, and we believe strongly in the values around what it means to say that you're pro-life, but at the same time, we believe in the exceptions of rape, incest, life of the mother.
Dr. Oz is espousing those views, which I think are actually probably pretty mainstream in Pennsylvania. The extremist here is Fetterman, who wants no limits on abortion, whatsoever, at any moment. And I think what Fetterman -- what Oz, rather, has to do is get back on offense on this debate and not allow himself to be defied. I think that is what he is trying to do here.
He is going to have to keep at it because I think the Democrats are going to be very dishonest about what his position is. But a mainstream position for the exceptions, on pro-life, I understand the political reality, and there's not going to be any federal ban. Let us fact it, there are not 60 votes for anything in the United States Senate. That will serve Oz very well if he stays on it.
LEMON: So, Paul, listen, it's not a 180, but it is a shift. What is your response?
BEGALA: Yeah, those key last five words, as Scott just said, if he stays on it. You see, if people think you are phony, and then you switch positions on abortion, right, that's not like a really difficult, arcane position about taxes or tariffs. Everybody has a position on abortion.
And when you move -- when you're not pro-choice but you are multiple choice, well, it's murder, but we can murder in a few cases, that is phony, and Pennsylvania is going to (INAUDIBLE).
I've done a lot of campaigns in Pennsylvania, and what they are really looking for is authenticity. And Fetterman is real. He's a real Pennsylvanian. Oz is a real New Jersey or wherever he is from, but he's not from Pennsylvania.
LEMON: All right. Paul, thank you. Thank you, Scott. I appreciate it.
So, you know what they say, it's the economy, stupid. What do the numbers show us about who will win the midterms? We are going to ask the former treasurer secretary, Larry Summers, right after this.
LEMON: President Biden trying to focus on his legislative wins as he ramps up his campaign push to the midterms. But as James Carville says, it's the economy, stupid. Markets have been volatile. The Dow falling 173 points just today. And meanwhile, "Street Journal" poll shows that more voters feel Republicans are best able to hand the economy and inflation, not Democrats.
Let's bring in now the former treasury secretary and former director of the National Economic Council, Mr. Larry summers, who knows a thing or two about all of this. Larry, good evening to you. Thanks for joining. What is your overall assessment of where things stand with the economy right now around because it clearly is going to be important heading into the midterms?
LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: We've seen some favorable developments in the near term. Gas prices are down. With it, inflation measures. The economy last month continues to create jobs at a strong rate. That's all to the good -- those trends are actually likely to stay in place for the next several months.
Beyond that, I think we do have substantial problems. I've talked about it on your show before, Don. An overheated economy and the difficulty of containing inflation, particularly in an environment where there is a war going on, particularly in an environment where OPEC is not cooperating as well as we would like, and we've got these very real strains with China.
So, I think we've got a very challenging economic environment, but we are, you know, relatively sweet place right now, but I do think, at some point, a downturn will come given everything that's going on.
LEMON: Larry, you said you expect the economy to sort of, -- did you say remain the same over the next couple of months?
SUMMERS: I think right -- you know, literally, as we speak, Don, inflation came down considerably. Gasoline prices are falling.
LEMON: What I'm wondering is that we're nine weeks away from the midterms. I'm just wondering, do you think it will remain the same or get better past then? That's what I'm trying to ask you.
SUMMERS: I think -- I think in the period between now and the midterms, the economy is likely to continue to show relatively low inflation and relatively strong employment.
I think to take that to mean that all is well would be too rosy of a scenario. I think, through the midterms, developments are likely to be relatively favorable, barring some kind of major shock in financial markets, which is always possible, but it wouldn't be my prediction.
LEMON: Yeah. So, if you are in the White House right now, Larry, advising the president or administration, what are the three things you would do to get the economy back on track?
SUMMERS: Look, I think it's absolutely crucial that they effectively implement what they're already committed to.
I think that means we've got to do everything we can to increase energy supplies both on the renewable dimensions and over the near term on the hydrocarbon dimensions with faster permeating, with greater investment in energey infrastructure like pipelines as well as in renewables.
I think it's crucial that we move as quickly as we can to build out the country's infrastructure because that will contribute to greater productivity and, ultimately, that's what's most important for people's living standards.
I hope, at some point, we will be able to go back and do something about the egregious international taxing polls where corporations were able to move their profits to the Cayman Islands and get away with paying less taxes. They made a start on dealing with that in the Inflation Reduction Act but there is much more that can be done.
So, my advice to the administration would be they have legislated a lot, they have put in the framework to do an enormous amount, but it doesn't implement itself.
For example, making sure that this $52 billion for semiconductors really restores American competitiveness, that it doesn't go to help China, that it doesn't go as corporate welfare.
That's going to be a very difficult and very, very important task. I think Secretary Raimondo is up to that task, but she's going to have to assemble a first-rate team to implement that legislation.
LEMON: Larry, we always learn so much from you. We appreciate you joining us. We'll see you next time. Thank you so much.
SUMMERS: Thank you.
LEMON: So, she had been living with a man she met on Craigslist. And now, she is missing. What happened to Irene Gakwa? That's next.
LEMON: A family seeking answers and accountability after their daughter went missing last winter. Irene Gakwa reported missing less than three years after she moved to the United States from Kenya. At the time she went missing, she has been living in Gillette, Wyoming with the man she met on Craigslist, on Craigslist forum.
Well, police say the man, Nathan Hightman, is considered a person of interest in her disappearance, and he has not made himself available to the detectives looking to resolve questions that exist in the investigation.
CNN has made repeated attempts to reach Hightman via phone, via texts and emails, but he has not responded. CNN also left messages for his public defender, but did not hear back.
So, joining me now is CNN contributor and former FBI profiler Candice DeLong. She is the host of "The Killer Psyche" podcast, a great podcast. Candice, thank you so much for joining. I appreciate it.
So, let's talk about Hightman here. Hightman has not been charged in Irene's disappearance, but he is the suspect in a related case involving financial crimes -- a financial crime case against her. Police charged him for allegedly changing her bank account password and deleting her email account after she had gone missing. I'm sure you have a lot of questions. What are they?
CANDICE DELONG, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER FBI PROFILER: Well, so, he commits these financial crimes, and when you think about it, it appears that for what he did, running up a credit card, draining her checking account, he knew she wasn't going to need those things anymore, and then he fails or he refuses to cooperate with police regarding her disappearance. It is pretty clear to me what's going on.
LEMON: Yeah. You know, he told police that he last saw Irene in late February when he says that she came home one night, packed her clothing in two plastic bags, and left in a dark-colored SUV. He also told police that he withdrew money from her bank account so she would be forced to contact him if she needed money. Does that tell you anything about him and their relationship? Are you buying the story?
DELONG: I don't believe what he says. And if you care about someone and they've left you and you want them to come back, why would you restrict their access to money so that they could get back? It makes no sense.
LEMON: According to court documents, investigators recovered a shovel. They recovered some boots. Hightman bought -- they said he bought it in Walmart in late February using Irene's VISA card. Again, he hasn't been charged, but that seems like something investigators would ask more questions about, no?
DELONG: I'm sure they are asking questions. I think it's difficult to get any new information because I think that police are working very diligently, and they're keeping the lid on the investigation. That's a good thing.
LEMON: Irene Gakwa's parents, who are in Kenya, they say that they were not aware that she was living in Wyoming with someone she had met from Craigslist. Her brother told CNN that the couple had dated since 2020, but had broken up several times, and they did not know that they were living together either. Now, her family says that they are close. What can be happening with her that she wouldn't share details like that with them?
DELONG: I thought about that and, perhaps, before she went missing, the reason she did not share details was -- well, it wouldn't be the first time a young person didn't talk to their parents about their personal life, especially their dating life.
But, one thing that occurred to me is maybe because they were breaking up a lot, getting back, breaking up, getting back. Maybe she didn't want to worry her parents that maybe she was unhappy. Maybe she was-- even her brother is in Idaho. Maybe she was ashamed to tell them that she was dating someone that was, well, a problem.
LEMON: No one has been charged in Irene's disappearance. Police have not found her yet. What happens next in this case, Candice?
DELONG: Like I said, I think the police thought, especially now that there is a national spotlight on this, yes, six months after it happened, nevertheless, a lot of crimes, a lot of mysteries, missing person mysteries have been solved after the fact, and we know the police are looking at him as a person of interest. They've asked him to sit down and talk with them, and he refuses. That is a red flag to a detective.
LEMON: Uh-hmm. As you just said, again, CNN has made repeated attempts to reach Nathan Hightman via phone, texts and email, but he has not responded.
Thank you, Candice. I appreciate it.
DELONG: You're welcome.
LEMON: And thank you for watching, everyone. Our coverage continues.