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DOJ Ready For Court Fight To Force Ex-Officials To Testify About Trump; Jared Kushner Details West Wing Fight With Steve Bannon In New Book; Interview With Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) About Bipartisan Deals Negotiations; Kevin McCarthy Says He Doesn't Recall January 6th Call With Cassidy Hutchinson; San Francisco Declares Public Health Emergency For Monkeypox. Aired 10-10:30a ET
Aired July 29, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST AND SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: This court is going in the direction that Sam Alito wants, but there he was acting as if he was losing and mocking his critics.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, usually you hear him describe his position as a legal conservative, that's one thing, but as a religious conservative on the court which is I imagine an unusual description to hear for a Supreme Court justice.
BISKUPIC: And they're not even in the minority. There are six Catholics on the court and a seventh was raised Catholic.
SCIUTTO: And very public about their views. Joan Biskupic, thanks so much.
BISKUPIC: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: A very good Friday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Bianna Golodryga. We're following several major stories surrounding the January 6th investigation this morning.
Right now the Justice Department is preparing for a legal fight as they look to obtain information about former President Trump's actions and conversations surrounding January 6th. Will they be able to maneuver around claims of executive privilege?
And new overnight, CNN has learned that the House Select Committee plans to share 20 transcripts with the Justice Department. What investigators inside the DOJ could be looking for.
SCIUTTO: Plus, the January 6th Committee seeking testimony from Trump Cabinet members who discussed at the time invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the then-president. In the panel's crosshairs, former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, former DNI John Ratcliffe.
Also, new cooperation from inside the former president's DOJ. Someone who worked with Jeffrey Clark, the man Trump tried to install as acting attorney general in the days leading up to January 6th, is now cooperating with the criminal probe.
Let's begin this morning with CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez.
Evan, a lot of movement within the DOJ, particularly as they attempt to get around this executive privilege argument. Break down exactly how the department plans to do this and how quickly.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, they are planning to try to get this as quickly as possible. They are looking -- the goal here is to try to get to people -- testimony from people who were in direct conversations with the former president as he was trying to figure out a way to cling to power. And they confronted this issue of executive privilege just recently in the testimony of Greg Jacob and Marc Short who are close aides of the former Vice President Pence who testified before the grand jury but declined to answer questions about direct interactions, direct interactions between themselves and the former president, of course, any direct interactions between Pence and the former president.
What we know is that the Justice Department is preparing to go to court to try to force some of those conversations, some of that testimony from those former officials. Obviously that -- this is only the beginning. Jacobs and Short are obviously very important witnesses, but there are even more important witnesses, people like Pat Cipollone who was the former White House counsel. These are people who we know invoked presidential privilege during their testimonies to the January 6th Committee.
And we expect that this is where the Justice Department is going because they're getting closer to the former president. They want to know exactly what those conversations entailed as the former president was trying to get Pence to set aside the election results -- Bianna and Jim.
GOLODRYGA: Evan Perez, thank you.
Well, joining us now to talk about all of this is defense attorney and former federal prosecutor Shan Wu.
Good morning, Shan. Great to see you. So what's the likelihood do you think that the DOJ will in fact be successful in their quest to hear from these witnesses?
SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think the likelihood is good, Bianna, because first of all Attorney General Garland is ideally suited to lead DOJ for this kind of fight. He's a former federal court of appeals judge. Also, the precedent certainly seems to be on their side. I mean, dating back to Watergate where executive privilege being rejected as a means of protecting the Nixon tapes caused the downfall of the Nixon presidency.
The Supreme Court there made an important distinction that this general assertion of privilege is going to fall when it's confronted by a particularized need in a criminal case. So in that sense, there's a distinction between when the January 6th Committee has to fight about privilege for congressional hearings versus a grand jury subpoena seeking that material. So there's some important distinctions there but it's certainly going to be a court fight.
SCIUTTO: Shan, our reporter, Evan Perez, has been covering this for some time. He used a word in the last hour that struck me, you know, advanced to describe where the Justice Department investigation is right now. We now know that the January 6th Committee, for instance, plans to share 20 transcripts of its interviews with the DOJ. Based on the moves you're seeing including this pending battle over executive privilege, do you see the Justice Department investigation as advanced at that stage and possibly moving closer to decisions on any potential indictments?
WU: Well, I certainly agree with Evan's take that they are moving closer. I think the good news is that the department has awoken, and they are moving forward.
We can tell that from these traditional signs, people going in the grand jury, the sort of information we're getting out now. I think the bad news is, you know, they slept in a little on this. So they still got some ground to cover, and particularly gearing up for court fights. You know, that could take months.
GOLODRYGA: Well, they appear to be making up for that lost ground because they continue to hear and speak with more and more officials close to the Trump administration and the president himself. Let's listen to what his former chief of staff, I believe his second chief of staff, so it's not Mark Meadows but Mick Mulvaney who testified before the DOJ just yesterday. He was asked specifically about his role as chief of staff and he thought that it was a way to get their view and for them to hear from him on what Mark Meadows' role was in terms of who came in to see the president and why. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, FORMER ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF UNDER TRUMP: They wanted to know the process, for example, and how visitors would come see the president or how would a chief of staff typically try and include or exclude people from meetings with the president. So clearly they're trying to figure out more about how it is perhaps Rudy Giuliani or Sidney Powell got the access to the president of the United States that they did. How folks like Mike Lindell had access, the role of people like Peter Navarro, that sort of inner circle of people that have been described by others as the crazies, how did they get the access that they did when they did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLODRYGA: What does that line of questioning tell you about Mark Meadows, any culpability he may be facing in bringing the, quote- unquote, "team crazy" in to meet with the president? WU: Yes, that's a real interesting line of inquiry. I think it's doing
two things there. It certainly would tend to show whether someone like Meadows would have the intent to help the conspiracy by letting these people in for the meetings. I think it also goes to the question of in that role, would Meadows have needed Trump's permission directly for these meetings to occur. So in that sense, it can expand to not only Meadows' culpability potentially but Trump's as well.
SCIUTTO: OK. We have more missing text messages. We had them from the Secret Service, they blamed a transition to a new administration. Now we have them from DHS officials, as well. There are laws that govern preservation of exactly such communications. As you look at these, do you see innocent mistakes or potentially -- that laws were broken here?
WU: Well, I think laws were certainly broken, whether it's an innocent mistake or not. I mean, at least in terms of the civil laws of having to preserve evidence, you know, national records and such. You know, the Secret Service and now Homeland Security, I mean, it looks to be institutions that really need some review, whether it's congressional oversight or whether the Department of Homeland Security needs to do its own review.
I mean, something is amiss here. I mean, not only obviously it's such an important event. But also there's, you know, real questions about whether there might have been political partisanship at play now. So that's something they really have to look at very carefully.
SCIUTTO: Shan Wu, thanks so much. Always good to have you on.
WU: Good to see you.
GOLODRYGA: Thanks, Shan.
Well, new this morning stunning revelations coming out of the new memoir of former President Trump's son-in-law. In his new book "Breaking History: A White House Memoir," Jared Kushner details multiple clashes with one-time fellow Trump adviser Steve Bannon. He describes Bannon's presence in the West Wing as, quote, "toxic."
SCIUTTO: Kushner also said that Bannon threatened to, quote, "break him in half" if Kushner turned on him.
CNN White house correspondent Jeremy Diamond joins us now.
Jeremy, it's quite an inside view also of the divisions in the Trump White House. What are we learning?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly is. I mean, listen, we reported on so many of these (INAUDIBLE) and fights between the Trump team in real time, but to hear directly from Jared Kushner in this forthcoming memoir really is remarkable. And in this excerpt obtained by our colleague Kaitlan Collins, Jared Kushner describes Steve Bannon as a, quote, "toxic presence" and he describes a number of fights with him and the way that the Trump White House reacted to Steve Bannon and his proclivity for leaking to the press in particular.
Kushner describes one episode where he urged Steve Bannon to essentially stop leaking about Gary Cohn, the president's chief economic adviser during the early part of his term in office, and Bannon essentially responded by claiming that Gary Cohn was leaking about him. And then he issued this threat to Jared Kushner, this is again according to Jared Kushner saying, quote, "You're the one undermining the president's agenda. And if you go against me I will break you in half. Don't F with me."
And again that is Jared Kushner's recounting of this. We have reached out to Steve Bannon's spokesperson and have not yet heard back. Now Kushner describes the fact that he was, quote, "woefully unprepared" for this media war with Steve Bannon. But the reality when we think about it is that Jared Kushner often came out on top of many of these clashes with other White House officials.
With Steve Bannon in particular, you'll recall that Bannon was fired from the Trump White House just eight months into President Trump's term in office. And Jared Kushner also subscribes in this book the reaction of White House aides after Bannon was fired, talking about one episode where Stephen Miller joked about splitting up Bannon's responsibilities as Kushner and Hope Hicks calling different reporters that they believed Bannon was leaking to.
But again, ultimately offering a really interesting insight and portrayal of those fights inside the Trump White House, and this time from Jared Kushner's mouth himself. Not something we've heard him speak on publicly before.
SCIUTTO: Jeremy Diamond, thanks so much.
It is turning out to be a highly productive time in Congress for pushing forward several key bills that have been Democratic priorities. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin announced this week a deal on an energy and health care bill, tax bill, as well, putting Democrats in a position to pass the largest climate investment in U.S. history.
GOLODRYGA: And just yesterday the House passed a long-awaited bill aimed at boosting U.S. semiconductor production which will send billions into American manufacturing and scientific research. And just last month, the first major federal gun safety legislation passed in decades marking a significant bipartisan breakthrough.
SCIUTTO: So what's happening in Congress and the Senate? I want to speak now to Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin. She is a member of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.
Good to have you on.
SEN. TAMMY BALDWIN (D-WI): It's great to join you.
SCIUTTO: So first let's begin with this deal. It's really a climate, health, energy, ACA, and tax bill here. Senator Joe Manchin's support key, of course, but you need 50 votes. You need everybody together here. Are you confident Democrats have the votes?
BALDWIN: I am confident we have the votes. The question is, will we have 100 percent attendance because COVID has been the big enemy in the last several weeks. Spreading throughout the Congress and the Senate in particular. We've had several absences. But we hope and we're doing everything we can to make sure everyone's healthy and able to show up next week.
SCIUTTO: Arizona Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema, she has yet to take a public position on this bill, though her staff did release a statement noting she has in the past supported a corporate minimum tax which is part of the package here. Have you spoken with her and do you believe that she will come on board for this?
BALDWIN: I've been in touch with Kyrsten Sinema but not on this topic. We've been actually working on several other of the weighty issues that are coming through. But she has, as you indicate, yet to announce her public position on the bill. I know she's studying it very carefully.
SCIUTTO: OK. Another priority for Democrats is a bill to codify same- sex marriage. Senator Susan Collins, as you know, Republicans not particularly happy with this Democratic agreement here. They feel that Democrats pulled an end around on them. But she said that the budget bill will make it harder to get GOP votes to support the same-sex marriage bill. Do you believe this bill will still get the 10 Republican votes it needs to go forward?
BALDWIN: I do think it will get the 10 Republicans we need to move forward. However, the timing is now quite uncertain. Not only are we dealing with some senators who are out because of COVID, but we also will be in our last week before the August recess which is next week, tackling this large reconciliation package that has climate change provisions, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, making health care more affordable.
It's really an inflation reduction act as it's called. And that's going to occupy a lot of the floor time in the Senate next week. So as much as I had hoped we would be able to deal with the Respect for Marriage Act, it does appear that that will probably go into early September.
SCIUTTO: I should note that act also would codify interracial marriage. You made an elevator pitch in effect to Marco Rubio after he called this bill, his words, a waste of time. I wonder, have you had any follow-up conversations with him since?
BALDWIN: I have. And he knows that I differ strongly on that. This is a measure that has become urgent because of the case in which the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade.
That decision which brings into question a constitutional right to privacy means that other cases decided on that same basis, that same reasoning are now very much up in question. And certainty is so important when you're dealing with the issue of same-sex marriage or interracial marriage. People want to know that their marriage certificate is valid and that they indeed can enjoy the protections that marriage affords a family.
SCIUTTO: No question.
BALDWIN: And so whether it's with Marco Rubio or many others of my Republican friends, we've been having this discussion, and certainly we have five Republicans who are publicly supportive of the Respect for Marriage Act. And an additional number close to bringing us close to 10 that I hope will be able to deal with this in early September when we return from the August recess.
SCIUTTO: You said you have spoken to Senator Rubio again. You got a sense that he moved at all on this? You were able to move him?
BALDWIN: Nope. I did not get a sense that he moved on this. But we did -- we did talk about the fact that this is not a bill that's just a waste of time, that it's a serious effort and, again, a serious effort made necessary by the opinion of the Supreme Court in overturning Roe versus Wade.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Latest census I think close to a million same-sex households in this country now.
Senator Tammy Baldwin, we do appreciate you joining the program this morning.
BALDWIN: Thank you for having me.
GOLODRYGA: And straight ahead, officials say the catastrophic flooding in eastern Kentucky is not over yet as the death toll continues to rise. Just tragic there.
SCIUTTO: And protests happening today at former President Trump's golf club in New Jersey as he hosts the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour.
GOLODRYGA: This just in to CNN. CNN speaking with Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy about pivotal conversations he allegedly had with former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson on January 6th.
SCIUTTO: You'll remember Hutchinson testified to the January 6th select committee that it was McCarthy who told her not to have then- President Trump go to the Capitol that day.
CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju joins me now.
Manu, you spoke with McCarthy. I'm curious what he said to you. MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He claimed he did
not recall this conversation even though this was one of the more riveting parts of her testimony, saying that the Republican leader called her up and was angry about learning that Donald Trump said to his supporters that they were going to go to the Capitol Hill, that he was going to go to the Capitol. And according to Hutchinson's own sworn testimony she said that McCarthy was concerned because she had reassured him through the course of the whole week that that was not going to happen. And McCarthy apparently told her, according to Hutchinson's testimony, don't come up here.
So when I tried to press McCarthy about that conversation, he claimed he did not recall it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Cassidy Hutchinson testified --
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): So we're going to January 6th, go ahead. Yes.
RAJU: Yes. She testified under oath --
MCCARTHY: You know we're in this recession, too, right?
RAJU: Well, she testified under oath saying that you called her after Donald Trump said that -- told supporters that they were going to go to the Capitol, and you were concerned about those remarks and said don't come up here, figure it out, don't come up here. She said that under oath. Did you tell her that, and why were you concerned about the prospects of Donald Trump coming to the Capitol on January 6th?
MCCARTHY: To be honest, I don't even recall talking to her that day. I recall talking to Dan Scavino, I recall talking to Jared, I recall talking to Trump. That's what I talked to on television like that, too. If I talked to her, I don't remember it. If it was coming up here, I don't think I wanted a lot of people coming up to the Capitol. But I don't remember the conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: So I asked him why were you concerned about Donald Trump coming to the Capitol, the prospects of that, he said I don't recall this becoming a discussion point at all. And then he said he did recall conversations he had with Dan Scavino, the Trump aide, as well as with Jared Kushner. I asked him about that Scavino conversation. He said he was trying to find the former president, the then-president.
But McCarthy himself has not answered many questions, really hardly any about some of the revelations here in the January 6th Committee hearings. He has limited press conferences and had not had a solo press conference since mid-March. And he has also declined to speak to the January 6th Committee despite getting a subpoena for it. So this is the first time we are hearing about that sworn testimony and claiming he does not recall that conversation.
GOLODRYGA: So not exactly a denial, just perhaps a memory lapse on his part.
GOLODRYGA: Just a reminder that Cassidy was under oath when she said that call did happen.
Manu Raju, thank you.
RAJU: Thank you.
GOLODRYGA: Well, the city of San Francisco is now the first major U.S. city to declare a local public health emergency from monkeypox. City officials say the declaration will bolster efforts to mobilize resources and accelerate planning. Now it has also helped raise awareness for communities there and makes way for the city to be reimbursed for emergency spending.
SCIUTTO: The U.S. has now recorded just under 5,000 confirmed cases nationally. CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joins us now.
So, Dr. Gupta, there is an antiviral available against monkeypox, a vaccine as well.
How effective is it, and how broad a danger do you see monkeypox in this country right now?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, with regard to the second question, it is hard to know because we -- just like we've heard with COVID for the past couple of years, we still probably don't have enough testing here. So when you cite these numbers just under 5,000, those are confirmed cases. There's a lot of people who still probably have not been tested.
So this is sort of the nature of trying to keep track of these outbreaks in terms of the overall numbers. But a lot of people don't even realize that this antiviral TPOXX exists, and from what we're hearing, it can be very effective. If you take a look at some of the lesions that are associated with monkeypox, these pox lesions, this is somebody that I actually saw yesterday in Pittsburgh, this often what they look like.
And what this particular patient told me is that within three doses of taking this oral medication, these lesions started to go away. I mean, they were in the back of his throat. He couldn't even talk really very well or swallow, very painful. This seems to really help.
A quick note, though, you know, when you look at these types of medications, it was originally approved for smallpox, to really know how effective something is you have to test it in the middle of an outbreak. There obviously hasn't been a smallpox outbreak, you know, in 50 years or longer than that. So most of the data really comes from primates. You're now starting to get human data because of how large this monkeypox outbreak is. And so far encouraging in terms of how effective it is.
GOLODRYGA: Yes. Encouraging how effective it is, but how readily available is this antiviral at this point, Dr. Gupta?
GUPTA: This is sort of the interesting thing. With COVID we were dealing with a novel virus, so everything had to be created. With this particular antiviral, it already exists. In fact, the United States government had the wherewithal to stockpile nearly two million doses of this in case of a bioterror attack involving smallpox. So it's there. It's just a question of sort of getting it to the people who need it the most, and that's the challenge.
I think a really frustrating challenge right now because it can be so effective. I spoke to Dr. Lane in Pittsburgh yesterday who has been treating lots of patients. Here's how she put it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. STACY LANE, FOUNDER CENTRAL OUTREACH WELLNESS CENTER: You're talking about a five, six-day time lag to get that medication to you at a local doctor's office. And the paperwork and all of the bureaucracy to make that happen is very cumbersome, takes a few hours of your time. And that's the barrier.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: So when we talk about these public health emergencies and the benefit, sometimes the benefit might be streamlining this sort of procedure, being able to get these therapeutics. It is happening already. It used to be 21 pages of forms that doctors had to fill out, now it's closer to seven. But that public health emergency might facilitate this process even more.
GOLODRYGA: Of course we get the benefit of having you here with us explaining all of it. As always, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.
GUPTA: Thank you.
SCIUTTO: What has been just over a month since the Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade, where do abortion rights stand now across this country? We're going to take a closer look coming up.