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Interview With Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA); Stocks Fall, Prices Rise. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired June 14, 2022 - 13:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: House Democrats wanted to include security for Supreme Court clerks and staff too.

Thanks for your time today on INSIDE POLITICS. I will see you tonight for our primary coverage and back here tomorrow as well, I hope.

Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello, and thank you so much for joining us. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

Wall Street reeling, Americans paying more, and growing fears a Fed rate hike will send this economy spiraling. But what does this all mean for you on Main Street? We break it down.

Plus: on the ballot. Voters heading to the polls in five states today. Former President Trump's election fraud claims and campaign of revenge are facing yet another test. And we're following all that.

Plus, the insurrection investigation Capitol Hill. One day, after we learned Trump's inner circle repeatedly told him those fraud claims that they were false, we're learning the next hearing will focus on Trump's efforts to pressure then-Vice President Pence to refuse to certify Biden's election win, but, within the committee, a significant public split over whether to send a criminal referral to the DOJ.

And so that's where we want to begin today, with Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia, who is on the select committee. She's joining us now.

Thanks so much for taking the time, Congresswoman.

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Thank you.

CABRERA: The chairman says that a criminal referral is not going to happen. I know you and other committee members say that's just not been decided. Why isn't everyone on the same page?

LURIA: Well, what I'd say is, it's correct that this hasn't been decided. We haven't gotten to that point yet as far as the committee and making a formal decision.

CABRERA: But the chairman says it's not going to happen. I mean, he already went that far.

LURIA: Well, we're continuing to have discussions within the committee. And I would say that this is something that is a very important topic for us to decide and decide as a whole committee.

And we will make that decision and that announcement about that decision at the appropriate time. And -- but what I can say, from my perspective, and I made a statement last night, and I think we have a responsibility. We have a responsibility to the American people when we, as Congress, in this or any other investigation, if we determine there's criminal activity, that we refer that to the appropriate authorities.

CABRERA: I guess the other side here, though, is Attorney General Merrick Garland says he and his prosecutors are watching all the hearings. So they obviously can independently make a determination of whether anything is prosecutable based on the evidence they see.

So I do wonder, what would a potential criminal referral accomplish?

LURIA: I think that, when this committee completes our work, when we go through the series of hearings, lay out all of the information for the public, and, as you said, the attorney general, the Department of Justice is watching, I think that it's important for the committee to come to, effectively, a conclusion and a product.

This is what we have concluded from our work. And, therefore, we make a recommendation in regards to perhaps what additional action needs to be taken.

And we're a legislative committee. So the purpose of our work is to provide legislative recommendations to prevent something like this from happening in the future. And we're looking at a whole range of things. It is not just this one particular topic that's been of interest in the last day, but what can we do to protect our electoral system? What can we do to prevent something like this from actually being successful if someone were to try it again in the future?

CABRERA: Based on the evidence presented so far, do you think anything reaches the level of criminality?

LURIA: I do. And I'm not alone.

I mean, we have a federal judge. Judge Carter, in the case about the Eastman documents and whether those should be released, it was clearly laid out in his decision in that case to make sure that those documents were provided to the committee to say that it's likely that a crime was committed with regards to defrauding the American people, obstructing a congressional proceeding, and even considered the case potentially of just outright fraud.

CABRERA: So we know your committee had been looking into Capitol tours, specifically one involving Republican Congressman Barry Loudermilk the day before the Capitol attack.

And just moments ago, as I was coming up to the set here, we got a letter from Capitol Police that essentially says they completed their investigation reviewing all the security footage, and they concluded that -- quote -- "There is no evidence" Loudermilk led any kind of reconnaissance tour with Trump supporters that would then later -- those people who would later into the Capitol.

What is your response to this?

LURIA: Well, I haven't seen that letter. But I am aware that we have received and reviewed all of the footage throughout the Capitol in the days leading up to the attack on January 6. And we're reviewing it very carefully as a committee.

And we did observe groups of people in the Capitol during a time frame when the public was not allowed in the Capitol, unless directly escorted by a member of Congress or their staff. So I'm sure that we will be looking at that closely. We will take into consideration the results of the Capitol Police investigation. And there will be more to follow.

CABRERA: So, do you believe you have evidence that contradicts what the Capitol Police say in this?


LURIA: I would have to review the facts that they have reviewed in their work. But I do know that there were videos on the footage within the Capitol that show that there were groups of people within the Capitol during a time that the Capitol was otherwise closed during COVID, unless someone was directly escorted.

So I think that I would have to review this information more thoroughly to understand the Capitol Police's basis for the recommendation.

CABRERA: OK, let's get back to what you have presented publicly as a committee now and some of the evidence we all have learned about, which is, yesterday, the committee saying the Trump campaign raised $250 million for an election defense fund that just didn't exist.

Let's revisit how your colleague Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren described it.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): The Trump campaign use these false claims of election fraud to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from supporters, who we're told their donations are for the legal fight in the courts. But the Trump campaign didn't use the money for that. The big lie was also a big ripoff.


CABRERA: Now, after the hearing, she told CNN some of that money went directly to Trump family members. And she specifically mentioned Donald Trump Jr.'s fiance, Kimberly Guilfoyle, getting paid $60,000 just for introducing Trump Jr. at the rally on January 6. My understanding was that it was like a two-minute speech she gave before introducing him.

Now, to that extent, I'm wondering, is that it? Or did other Trump family members also see a payday?

LURIA: I would say that the use of this money was not what was advertised to the people who were giving to a cause, where they thought it was going to go to a legal fund, that perhaps these battles in the court -- and, of course, elections can go to the courts if there's a dispute -- that they were actually fighting in the courts to perhaps make sure that, if something was wrong in the election, that that was going to help in that cause.

And so this is an example. There's many examples; $250 million is a lot of money -- of where this was going to people and purposes that was not at all what was advertised to the people who gave unwittingly their money and scarce resources.

So, Ms. Lofgren, Zoe Lofgren, gave one example. There's numerous examples that we have -- in the final report, and with additional information from the committee that we will be able to provide later.

CABRERA: When are we going to see that evidence? Will that be provided in the public hearing process?

LURIA: We will provide very, very comprehensive evidence of all of the hundreds of thousands of documents we received with our final report, and it may be something that we do touch on again as we move forward through the hearings.

CABRERA: And do you have specific evidence of Trump family members receiving funds and using those funds in a way that wasn't related specifically to the election fraud claims?

LURIA: Well, the example that Ms. Lofgren gave is a very good example of how the money went to causes and, in this case, Trump family members that were not what was advertised.

What the people did with the money after the fact, we don't have any information about that.

CABRERA: So is that enough, then, I guess, to prove that that money wasn't used properly?

LURIA: Well, if a viewer at home, say, in Virginia, where I live, received one of these e-mails, and it said, please support this fund and give to the election defense fund, and the money went to one of the Trump children or their fiancee, I'm not sure that they're providing legal representation behalf of the former Trump administration.

So, point A to point B, it's not what was advertised, where the money went.

CABRERA: OK, I just want to ask you about where this all goes from here, because, even today, the election fraud claims, the false claims, the lie is still going strong. A "Washington Post" analysis shows more than 100 Republican candidates

who just won their primaries have been pushing Trump's false election fraud claims. They have been rewarded for spreading these false claims. How do you stop it?

LURIA: Well, I'm facing the same thing myself. Any of my potential opponents in their primary next week, they're election deniers pushing similar claims, and they won't say that the former president actually lost the election.

Hopefully, the work of this committee will be something that can lay out just what a big lie this was, what all of the facts are to show that, as we did in the hearing yesterday, Trump knew he lost, and he kept saying that he won, when he didn't. And as we go through the future hearings, as we lay out more details, I can tell you, and I hear from folks in my district that people are listening and watching, and they want to know more.

And I do feel that this is reaching people. And I think that time will tell at the polls, when people understand that, if someone continues to push a lie that's false, that they shouldn't earn their vote.


CABRERA: And yet a lot of people have already made up their mind or may have already made up their mind on this issue.

Do you worry at all, if people in positions of power, people near the top aren't held accountable, that this could become business as usual?

LURIA: I definitely do worry that people at the top may not be -- if they're not held accountable for perpetuating lies and then using that to further a political agenda, I think that's really something that's challenging about where we are in our divided political environment.

And moving forward, I think that we need to get back to the truth, we need to get back to facts. There's nothing I'd like more than to see a Republican Party that can have an animated debate on the merits of policy, rather than perpetuating lies and supporting someone who tried to overthrow the last election.

CABRERA: Congresswoman Elaine Luria, thank you very much for taking the time. Appreciate it.

LURIA: Thank you.

CABRERA: For much more on this, let's bring in former White House ethics czar and ambassador in the Obama administration, CNN legal analyst Norm Eisen, and defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Shan Wu.

Gentlemen, great to have both of you here with us.

The former Attorney General Bill Barr said as recently as this past weekend he hasn't seen anything yet that makes him think Trump broke the law. And that was even echoed by one of yesterday's witnesses, Republican election lawyer Ben Ginsberg.

Shan, given your experience within the DOJ, what do you see? Do you see a prosecutable case yet?

SHAN WU, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Oh, I definitely see a prosecutable case here.

I think Barr's point that he thought Trump might be detached from reality, I think we really need to emphasize, from a prosecutorial point of view, being detached from reality is not a defense to any crime, unless you want to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, which they can do.

But the evidence is there. And I don't think that excessive hand- wringing over whether there's really intent or not as necessary here. I think there's a lot of circumstantial evidence. And when I was a prosecutor, I would have been salivating at having this much evidence about a defendant's intent.

CABRERA: And so there's this debate over whether Trump knew he lost and still pushed the election fraud lies anyway, or whether he truly believes he won.

Legally, does that distinction matter?

WU: The distinction matters, certainly, because, as I was saying, you could argue that you really believed that this was true, it was not a lie.

But anyone can argue that. And if you're arguing that you simply don't have a grasp of reality, that is an insanity defense. But, otherwise, prosecutors can't read people's minds. So they have to prove by circumstantial evidence, what was the person's intent?

And here, with the testimony from the attorney general, testimony from Trump's staff, there is a lot of evidence that he knew that this was a lie, and continued to push it out, that it can't be just a good-faith belief that I really thought there was fraud, I really thought it was stolen.

And, of course, over 60-plus legal cases also support that, as well as the fact that, amazingly, many of those lawyers in those 60 cases have been brought up on ethics charges for making those arguments. That's how out in left field it really is.

CABRERA: Norm, what do you make of this split in the committee now over sending a criminal referral to the DOJ? Is one needed.

NORMAN EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Ana, thanks for having me back.

Having worked up there for a year and walked through the halls with the members when they made comments, I think that there's a deeper agreement here than then may appear. The less noticed part of Chairman Thompson's comments was when he said, as we just heard from Representative Luria, that, at the end of this investigation, all of the information, the documents, the witness testimony, is going to be turned over to federal and state prosecutors.

Whether the committee calls it a referral or they do a Watergate-style road map of the evidence, that's what matters, because they have shown powerful evidence of criminality, to Shan's point. Take the Georgia case. And I think the Georgia prosecutor -- Ana, you and I have talked about this.

The DA in Atlanta is likely to be the first to charge Trump. Trump said to the Georgia secretary of state just -- quote -- "find 11,780 votes" that did not exist, Ana.

So, no matter what he was thinking, it's irrelevant. We don't believe in vigilante justice in the United States. That includes vigilante election fraud. So I think there's a powerful case to be made for prosecution. Everyone on the committee basically agrees with that.

CABRERA: I mean, there is an ongoing investigation in multiple areas, right? We have the committee investigation, which is not prosecutorial committee. They're presenting the facts, as we have heard from many of the committee members, but it's not up to them to decide whether to actually charge anybody.


And then you have the DOJ investigation into the January 6 insurrection, which has led to more than 800 people facing charges, none who are considered within that inner circle of the White House, of course.

But then you also have this criminal probe under way right now with a special grand jury meeting to hear evidence in Georgia with the Fulton County DA, Fani Willis, at the helm there looking into the election lies and if there were any crimes committed specifically in Georgia related to that.

Shan, do you agree with what Norm just said related to potential charges coming from that investigation, that perhaps being the bigger legal threat to the former president specifically?

WU: I do agree with Norm. I think he's calling that exactly right.

I have always thought that that was the biggest threat to Trump, was that case. And I do think that would be the most likely first one to pop. The campaign finance issue, I think, is very interesting, because of what we just learned yesterday publicly, this false solicitation of money for this nonexistent fund to the tune of $250 million.

I think that raises real exposure and danger for Trump and those who helped him to do that. And, in particular, I think it's more dangerous because of the prosecutorial discretion aspect. That kind of the charge, wire fraud, basically, may be much more palatable to prosecutors at DOJ and A.G. Garland then wading into these uncharted waters of charging a former president will try to overthrow the very government he was in charge of.

A more traditional straightforward fraud charge may be something that they're more willing to pull the trigger on.

CABRERA: But, Shan, just to quickly follow that -- follow up on that, we talked to Representative Luria, who basically said they have evidence that money went to certain individuals, but that they didn't know what the money -- where the money went after that, right, once it got into their hands.

Do you have to be able to prove that however they spent it wasn't related to the election effort? So how difficult is it to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that those funds went to some criminal -- went to somebody in a criminal way?

WU: I think, for this charge, it wouldn't be critical to prove that the money was used or spent in a criminal way.

The problem is falsely telling people that the intent of giving me the money is for blank, when, in fact, that's a material falsehood. There was no election fraud. And that's what they were basically marketing this fund as. And I think a little bit similar to Steve Bannon having originally been prosecuted, then pardoned for this fake solicitation of building the wall, I think that's a similar analogy.

CABRERA: Quick final thought on the money angle, Norm.

EISEN: Well, that is one of the rules of Watergate, follow the money.

I thought it was a powerful presentation yesterday. And the simplicity of a fraud case there, an election defense fund where there was no fund, claiming election fraud where there was no election fraud, and it can be brought by federal prosecutors.

But in any state, again, bringing us back to Georgia, where people were solicited using lies, it can be prosecuted as a state crime, as consumer fraud. It's an important new front and danger to Trump.

CABRERA: Norm Eisen and Shan Wu, great to have you both with us. Really appreciate your expertise. It's nice to see you.

WU: Good to see you.

EISEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: Stocks rocked and sticker shock. The headlines on the economy have the nation edge and bracing for another interest rate hike. What does all this mean for you and how do you protect your money?

Plus, call it a potential game-changer, call it a breakthrough or just call it hope. How a new vaccine could train the immune system to kill pancreatic cancer. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has this incredible report.

Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[13:23:22] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Gas is up and food is up, which we're going to get down come hell or high water. This is America.

We can do any damn thing we put our minds to. And guess what? We're not going back to the false promises of the trickle-down economics. We're going forward. We're going forward.



CABRERA: President Biden vowing to tackle inflation, this as a key economic measure today shows prices remain uncomfortably high. Across the board, you're paying way more for just about everything, haircuts, car parts. Chicken, right now, that costs 17 percent more than last year.

Americans are feeling the pinch, and investors on edge.

With us now, CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik, and Rahel Solomon. And, also, chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is standing by as well.

First, let's get right to the New York Stock Exchange.

And, Alison, most people here bear market, right, they don't really understand how this could affect them. Where do things stand right now and why is it so important?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, guilty is charged, Ana. We always talk about the Dow, but it's only made up of 30 stocks.

The S&P 500 is what we're talking about that's in a bear market. It's this broader index that includes 500 stocks, and it's what your 401(k) tracks. And it is seen as Wall Street's main barometer of health. It's kind of considered a leading indicator of the U.S. economy as well.

As I said, it's fallen into a bear market, which means it's fallen 20 percent from its recent high, which was in January. Now the stock market has lost all the gains it made since President Biden was sworn into office. But here's the thing. The Nasdaq has actually been in a bear market longer. It's been down 30 percent. The Dow is getting close to a bear market. It's down about 15, 16 percent.


So, you're seeing all this selling happening, Ana, because investors, portfolio managers, even retail investors, they're all preparing for what could becoming, a slowing economy, because, with interest rates so high, we have got all this inflation and the Fed is trying to decide how aggressively to tamp down that inflation -- Ana.

CABRERA: Kaitlan, President Biden just addressed inflation concerns. We played that little clip.

This is ahead now of a controversial new trip the White House just announced. It's all related. Tell us more.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is. Of course, there's a string throughout all of this.

And you started with President Biden today in Philadelphia talking about how high gas prices are right now, and not really just that, really all prices and how high they are, as the president says he believes that inflation is sapping the strength of the American people.

And so he was talking about what he's going to do to bring prices down just hours after the White House had confirmed that, yes, one month from now, he will be visiting Saudi Arabia, a country that he had tried to keep really at arm's length after vowing to make them a pariah when he was on the campaign trail following the death, the grisly murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

And now, of course, reality is kind of facing this White House. And he is going to be making this visit. He is going to be meeting there with the crown prince, who, of course, U.S. intelligence has concluded approved the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

But this is a time that is coming as gas prices are marching higher than $5 on average now a gallon across the United States. It is a reality that the White House is trying to work on. And when it comes to inflation overall, they have been pushing things back, saying that's really in the Federal Reserve's hands to tame inflation.

So they will be looking to see what the Federal Reserve does tomorrow. But, also, when it comes to energy prices, that is very clearly a distinct undercurrent of why he is going to Saudi Arabia. And the White House says oil is not the only reason he's going. They have also cited national security interests as well.


COLLINS: But it is clear that you're seeing the president, who once vowed to make them a pariah, said they had little social redeeming value, now preparing to make a trip there.

CABRERA: OK, coming back to the economy, Rahel, and the Federal Reserve action that we're waiting for tomorrow, a big interest hike is on the horizon, it seems.

Tell us more about that. If you're not in the market to buy a new house, how does it affect you?

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, in just about 25 hours, 24 hours from right now, we are going to hear from the Federal Reserve and Chairman Jay Powell, where they are largely expected to raise interest rates by about half-a-percent to three- quarters-of-a-percent. So what does it mean? Yes, if you're not in the market for a house,

you still, however, are going to see borrowing costs increase for everything from your credit cards to student loans, for those of us who are still lucky enough to be paying them back, but also auto loans. The cost to borrow pretty much across the board is going up, Ana.

CABRERA: And so, if I'm at home right now, I might be thinking, oh, great, well, what should I do?

Is there anything people can do to try to protect their money?


So the first thing I have been told is, don't panic. Catherine Faddis, a CFA based out of Boston, telling me, hold tight. We don't make the best decisions when scared or panicked. We're told to buy low, sell high, but most investors do the opposite. They sell when they should be buying and buy when they should be selling.

We also spoke to Suze Orman this morning on "NEW DAY." Here's what she had to say.


SUZE ORMAN, FINANCIAL EXPERT: You want to know that you are in good quality investments, companies that make money, companies that do things. This is not the time to be speculating on some future company that may make money one day. That is not what you should be doing. What you should be doing is being consistent with your investments.


SOLOMON: And, Ana, the only caveat there is if you are invested for at least five years. That's what Suze was saying there. So, if you're in for at least five years, be consistent and focus on quality.

CABRERA: OK, don't panic, like you said.


CABRERA: Famous last words.

Rahel Solomon, thank you. Alison Kosik, Kaitlan Collins, thank you, ladies.

They defied him, and now former President Trump wants them out of office, but do voters? Today, we find out.