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Nebraska Teen And Her Mom Facing Abortion-Related Charges After Police Obtain Their Private Facebook Messages; Deposition Of Trump Ends In Civil Case After Five-Plus Hours; DOJ: Mike Pompeo Targeted By Iranian Operative In Assassination Plot. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 10, 2022 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: After seven hours of testimony, a grand jury in Mississippi determined there was insufficient evidence to indict Carolyn Bryant Donham on charges of kidnapping and manslaughter. Now earlier this summer, Till's family found an unserved arrest warrant for Donham, her late husband and his brother. Now Till's killing helped spark the civil rights movement but nearly 70 years later, no one has been held criminally responsible.

A teenager in Nebraska and her mother are facing multiple charges after Facebook's parent company Meta turned over their private messages. Police say their messages prove the teen had an illegal abortion. That she and her mother told police it was an unexpected stillbirth.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now. So, this case is tragic independent of the technological elements. But it is raising some alarms about privacy for some.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and we have seen privacy experts who have been raising alarm bells about how your personal data, your apps, your internet searches, might be used to enforce these restrictive abortion laws that we've seen go into effect across the country since the Dobbs decision.

This case actually relates to laws that were already on the books, even before the Supreme Court's decision. Nebraska limits abortions to the first 20 weeks. In Nebraska, police were investigating a mother and her teenage daughter and a pregnancy that ended at 28 weeks. It was called a stillbirth by the mother and the daughter.

Police believe they were investigating an illegal abortion. They charged the mother and the daughter in the course of their investigation after filing some charges. They continued to interview the daughter who then referenced her Facebook messages to try to pinpoint some information. At that point, it seems that police sought a warrant for information pertaining to both the daughter and mother's Facebook accounts. That information was then turned over to police.

Police also then sought another warrant pertaining to internet searches related to medication abortions. They seized 13 devices from the family. Facebook has put out a statement. They say that nothing in the valid warrants we received from local law enforcement in early June, prior to the Supreme Court decision, mentioned abortion.

So, this is a case where you a criminal investigation, these warrants were sought, Facebook than turned other the information here. So yes, you are seeing data that is being used to prosecute these cases. This is something we could see a lot more of across the country. Should note here that both mother and daughter pleaded not guilty to all charges.

BLACKWELL: Alexandra Field thank you for that.

Let's go down to Dana Sussman, the acting executive director of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. First your thoughts on the implications of this story. As I said, tragic independent of Facebook or Meta handing over the information in response to this warrant. But what do you think the implications are beyond this singular case?

DANA SUSSMAN, ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ADVOCATES FOR PREGNANT WOMEN: Well, I think what we see here is quite a typical playbook, unfortunately. Most cases of pregnancy-related criminalization start with the report from another person. Not from surveilling digital information. And in this case, what we understand is that someone that was known to the family reported something suspicious about this pregnancy loss to the police. And that's what kicked off this entire chain of events.

In our research and the cases in which we represented folks, it's health care providers, it's neighbors, it's family members who make that initial report. And that's how this case also originated.

BLACKWELL: I do want to point out that Meta said that the initial warrant did not mention abortion. It doesn't go on to say if it had been mentioned abortion, we would have fought this search warrant or this request. Are you finding that companies are fighting these to protect their customers? Especially on these issues of abortion or the right to?

SUSSMAN: Well, I think what's important is for companies to take a principled position surrounding what they will do, if they are made aware of a search warrant or other requests for information that relate to health care-related crimes. And I want to also just point out that this same situation could arise with respect to gender affirming care in certain states. So, this is not just about pregnancy and abortion but it certainly is -- it finds itself in the cross hairs right now.

If Facebook had information relating to the underlying facts, they really needed to scrutinize those facts and understand that a charge or an investigation doesn't have to articulate a statute that relates to an abortion or an abortion ban. Most of the cases that we have worked on and that we've been tracking involved prosecutions of other crimes.


We've seen felony child neglect, child abuse, weedicide, murder, manslaughter. And we expect those kinds of charges to increase in this post Dobbs world.

BLACKWELL: Absent the policies that you're calling for from these tech companies, what should women do? Should they stop using the period- tracking apps or not discuss this online? How far are you suggesting women go to protect themselves from something like this potentially happening to them?

SUSSMAN: Well, I'm reluctant to demand that every day regular people have to monitor who they speak to or really keep this information as confidential as possible. Many people are going through an incredibly difficult time making these decisions and accessing information. But you could delete your period-tracking app. There's been a lot of attention on that.

But I think more importantly use encrypted messaging services like Signal. Use search engines that don't track or retain search information. And I think we also need to call upon the major platforms to not retain search information that relates to health care. They have access to this information. They don't need to hold on to it. And they should take the position and take action to not retain this information so that it cannot be made available to law enforcement.

BLACKWELL: Dana Sussman, thank you.

SUSSMAN: Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Well, he blasted those who invoked the fifth amendment for years, but today he took it. Former President Trump just left the New York Attorney General's office. New details from his deposition next.



BLACKWELL: Just minutes ago, former president Donald Trump left the New York Attorney General's office after close six hours of deposition. In a statement on Truth social, the former president says that he pleaded the fifth refusing to answer questions despite his past statements saying, quote, the mob pleads the fifth.

The deposition is tied to the civil investigation into the Trump organization's business practices. It comes just two days after the FBI executed a search warrant on his home at Mar-a-Lago. These are just two of multiple investigations facing the former president.

Joining me now is Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio. Michael, good to see you again. Listen, we had the legal conversation about expectations of pleading the fifth heading into the deposition. You know Trump, though. Was this your expectation that he would go in and say I'm not answering any of these questions?

MICHAEL D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It really was. So, I guess the usual saying is that like father, like son. In this case, it's like son, like father. Because back in October, Eric Trump pleaded the fifth 500 times in his deposition. So, it is the Trump family way to attack others for pleading the fifth but just as they attack others for what they do in other cases, here Donald Trump is himself pleading the fifth.

And in his statement, he said something about how now he understands. Well, of course he's understood. You take the fifth in a civil deposition to hide things. And in this case, I think he was hiding just what the AG was looking for.

BLACKWELL: You know he released one of those typical multi-paragraph statements about, you know, witch hunt and he called Letitia James a renegade an out-of-control prosecutor. What's your take on his reasoning here? Should we have also expected that statement was coming too?

D'ANTONIO: Well, you know, I wonder why all these witches are after Donald Trump. Because they've been after him for a long time. They were after him in 2015, they were after him throughout his presidency. Boy, I would think we would run out of witches pretty soon.

Of course, he was always going to say this because there's never a fair criticism. There's never any opposition to President Trump that is legitimate. And this is something he talked to me about, about how you never accept that the loss is fair or that a criticism is fairly minded. It's always -- the response is always going to be crying foul and saying it's just not true.

So, I think that of course, we should have expected it. He probably imagines there's no consequence for this because his base is going to agree that everyone's out to get him. So, he should have been defiant.

BLACKWELL: So, speaking of consequences, this investigation is a civil probe. It's not a criminal investigation. Nobody at the end of it is going to jail. All though some questions here, had he answered them, could have been applied to other cases. So, what is the impact? What's the threat of this investigation on the Trump Organization? The Trump family? The broader scope?

D'ANTONIO: Well, the fascinating thing about Donald Trump's record is that he's evaded consequences.


He's evaded responsibility and accountability for his entire life. There's never really been an agency that has held him accountable in any serious way. Despite the fact he has so much business and so much of politics on the margins. Taking big risks, pushing the envelope. He gets away with this due to very good lawyering. And I think he's got an intimidating public relations strategy.

In this case, we may well find out that the family's net worth is far below what they said it was. That's a PR hit. But I think we also may discover they legitimately -- not legitimately -- but they, you know, in a deliberate way increased the valuations of properties when they were seeking loans against them and decreased the valuations when they were appealing their property taxes. If you do this enough times, it's a crime. If you do it a little bit, it may be a violation of civil law. But no matter what, if it's the case, then it will be revealed that this is an unscrupulous organization and that the people at the head of it are unscrupulous.

BLACKWELL: All right. Michael D'Antonio, Trump biographer, thank you very much.

D'ANTONIO: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: The Justice Department just announced it charged a member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard accusing him of trying to orchestrate the assassination of former national security advisor John Bolton. We have more on that ahead.

Also, tonight, Anderson Cooper sits down with Sandy Hook father Neil Heslin in his first interview following the Alex Jones defamation trial. That conversation airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN.



BLACKWELL: The Justice Department just announced that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was also the target of an assassination attempt by the same operative who allegedly had plans to assassinate former national security adviser John Bolton. Let's go now to CNN's Josh Campbell. Josh, what do you know?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, we've been reporting on this DOJ announcement of charges against a number of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for allegedly trying to orchestrate the assassination of John Bolton. A federal law enforcement source now tells me that an additional target was former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This was first reported by Axios. CNN has reached out to the former Secretary of State for comment.

Now, for background, the alleged plot against John Bolton was likely in retaliation for the January 2020 U.S. air strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps -- that according to the Justice Department. After that strike, leaders of the terrorist organization had vowed revenge for soleimani's death. They publicly lashed out against then President Trump and other high ranking U.S. officials.

Prosecutors in that Bolton plot say that a man named Shahram Poursafi, a 45-year-old Iranian national and IRGC member, had attempted to pay $300,000 to an individual in the United States who ended up being an FBI confidential source. Now that suspect has not been arrested. He remains at large. In the charging documents, prosecutors had made mention to a second, quote, additional job. Again, a federal law enforcement source now telling me that additional target was the former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, Josh Campbell, thank you very much.

A scary moment at a summer little league game turns into the sportsmanship moment of the year. Up next, the story behind this hug.


BLACKWELL: It's a life-changing and perhaps life-saving moment for veterans and their families today. The president has signed critical burn pit legislation into law. Now, this is the PACT Act. It expands health care benefits for vets who got sick, some of them very ill, because they were exposed to toxins.

Millions of families will feel the impact of this legislation. And for the president, this is personal. He believes his son Beau's fatal cancer was caused by toxic exposure during his service overseas. At the ceremony today, the president spoke to the daughter of a vet who also died from cancer.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's my grandson. His daddy lost to the same burn pits. And he knows what you're going through. But guess what. You're going to do this. You're going to be really, really strong. And it's hard taking care of mommy and grandma, but you got to do it.


BLACKWELL: The VA secretary says his department is ready to implement the new law immediately.

All right, you have to see this one. It starts with a scary moment at a little league championship game. This is in Texas. A pitcher accidentally hit the opposing team's batter in the head. You saw that. He was knocked off his feet there. His helmet off his head. He fell to the ground. Pitcher Kaiden Shelton was visibly distraught after this happened. But after making it to first base, Oklahoma hitter Isaiah Jarvis did this. He walked over to the mound to console Shelton and gave him a hug. The two described this moment this morning on CNN.


ISAIAH JARVIS, OKLAHOMA BATTER: As soon as I see him starting to get emotional because he hit me, and obviously, he's feeling bad for me, I wanted to go over there and spread god's love and, you know, make sure that he's OK. And make sure that he knows that I'm OK. And that I'll be OK.

KAIDEN SHELTON, TEXAS EAST PITCHER: It felt like -- it felt like he cared. I mean, I also cared about him. And that just showed that, like baseball is sportsmanship, like there's a lot of sportsmanship in baseball.



BLACKWELL: Isaiah's coach says no one told him to walk over and console the pitcher, and added, I knew he was going to do something kind when he began walking toward the mound. Inspired a whole lot of people with that game, and of course, you're

seeing the inspiration spread across the country.

I'm going to toss it over to now to "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper. It starts right now.