Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Trump Had Not Returned All Government Documents; Trump Allies Argue No Classified Info at Florida Home; Supporters Rally for Trump Outside Palm Beach Resort; Northeast Cooling Off While the West Heats Up; Tourists Start to Leave Chinese Resort City amid Lockdown; Tennis Legend Serena Williams to Retire from Game. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired August 10, 2022 - 04:30   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster. If you're just joining us, let me bring you up-to-date with our top stories this hour.

A new U.S. inflation report will be released in the coming hours. Economists expect it'll show inflation slightly eased in July but still remains high compared to last year.

And a source tells CNN FBI investigators carried out the search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort because they suspected Trump and his team were withholding documents that had national security implications. They also believe the Trump team was not being completely truthful with investigators.

So, what exactly are the rules on preserving presidential documents and what kind of trouble could Trump find himself in if he didn't follow those rules? We asked Brian Todd to find out.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The historic FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago was related to Donald Trump's possible mishandling of presidential documents, potentially even some that were classified that he may have taken to his Florida home. A move that experts say would be way out of bounds.

NORM EISEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS CZAR: A former president should not have classified and top secret documents unless the current president and the current administration have authorized it.

TODD (voice-over): Even unclassified White House documents, experts say, are supposed to be handled through a certain process and are not supposed to leave the government's possession, even when the president who generated those documents leaves the White House. CNN previously reported that the National Archives earlier this year recovered boxes that Trump took with him that not only contained documents but also personal mementos like a so called love letter he'd gotten from North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just got a great letter from Kim Jong-un.

TODD (voice-over): But taking even personal correspondence when a president leaves the White House without clearing it first is not usually allowed, experts say.

EISEN: It was addressed to an American president. Those originals have to be preserved by law. Now, that is the kind of thing where a president could say, gosh, I would love to make sure you have a copy and borrow the original. I'd like to frame it for my post-presidential office or for an exhibit in my presidential library. And you can have that conversation as long as the law is complied with.

TODD (voice-over): CNN has also reported that some Trump White House documents were ripped up, thrown away, others flushed down toilets. Does even a short informal note to an aide have to be preserved?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Little posties, you know, you have a hand written note to somebody. You're writing on a note card at a national security meeting. These belong to the American public. When Donald Trump took the oath of office, he agreed to this.

TODD (voice-over): And there's a special process for handling classified presidential documents while the president is in office.

EISEN: They have to be specially marked. They often go in special folders. They have to be stored in special containers, safes or other secure containers. You can't take them out of certain rooms normally, so you have rooms that are designated as what we call SCIFs, and there's rules on entering a SCIF. You're not supposed to bring your cellphone in.

TODD (voice-over): Experts say a president can sometimes take copies of some documents with them when they leave the presidency, but that also has to be cleared by the White House and the National Archives. Something Donald Trump may not have done.

BRINKLEY: He was bull headed and wanted to say, screw you, they're mine.

TODD: In response to the FBI's search, former President Trump issued a statement saying that his home at Mar-a-Lago, was, quote, under siege, rated, occupied. Trump claimed that he was the victim of what he called the weaponization of the justice system by Democrats who he claims want to stop him from becoming president again. Previously a person close to the former president denied that anything nefarious took place regarding the handling of documents and other materials.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: We're now learning how the Trump team plans to handle the issue of the potential mishandling of classified documents. A source says one argument that is going to be pushed is that Trump didn't have any classified information at Mar-a-Lago because he declassified it when he was still president. It was an argument made by a former Trump administration official on Tuesday night.


KASH PATEL, FORMER TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: What I can tell you definitely is that President Trump was a transparency president. President Trump on multiple occasions at the White House declassified whole sets of documents. Including, I remind you and your audience that around October of 2020, he issued a statement from the White House declassifying every document related to not just the "Russiagate" scandal but also the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandals. Not to mention his follow up actions in December, I believe in January -- off the top of my head -- before he left where he issued declassification orders at the White House. And when the president says that that's it. He's an unilateral chief -- commander in chief and the sole authority on classification.


FOSTER: Since the FBI search at Mara-a-Lago, violent rhetoric has been circulating on an online forum dedicated to the former president.


Among the top comments, lock and load as some users suggesting violence against the Attorney General and the Feds. Trump supporters have also made their voices heard outside his resort in Palm Beach in Florida. CNN's Randi Kaye spoke with some of them.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Almost everyone we spoke with is very angry about the fact that the FBI came here to Mar-a-Lago just yesterday. They believe -- they didn't say with the basis for this was -- but they believe that Donald Trump has been cooperating with the Department of Justice which is investigating the handling of presidential records and presidential documents.

They don't think that it was a good idea for the FBI to come to Mar-a- Lago especially when the former president wasn't even home. Here's what else some of his supporters told me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't want the truth. That's the bottom line. They don't want the truth.

KAYE: You don't think that's why they came here to Mar-a-Lago to try to find out the truth and recover the archives?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, they are scared to death of Donald Trump.

MIKE DOMENE, TRUMP SUPPORTER: It's just a show. And this is like maybe impeachment number four here for Trump. That's all it is. That's what I think. I mean, they didn't get it the first time the Russian thing. They didn't get the second time right with Ukraine. They didn't get it the third time with January 6, I think they're running -- they know they're running out of time there. They raid a home, and CNN cameras are there and some of his past

people. They know what's going on. It's all for a show to make Trump, so he cannot run again.

KAYE: You don't think that there was a real reason to come to here because it's just a show.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I don't -- it's not even think I know there's no real reason. I know, in my heart, I know what in my spirit, he has never lied about anything.

KAYE: Many of the supporters were saying to me that the FBI and Department of Justice are corrupt. I was quick to point out to them that it was Donald Trump who appointed Christopher Wray as director of the FBI. But they continue to say that he was corrupt.

We also talked about Hillary Clinton's e-mails, I reminded them that it was Donald Trump who called for an investigation into her classified e-mails but the irony was lost on them. They continue to say that he didn't do anything wrong and she did.


FOSTER: Randi Kaye reporting there.

Now coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, full day from hell. Tourists in China are finally allowed to leave after getting caught up in a surprise lockdown. We'll have the latest.

And parts of the U.S. are finally seeing some relief from the summer heat this week. Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri will have the forecast.

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: And after days of excessive heat across a large area of the U.S. including here around the Northeast, finally seeing a break here, temps dropping off as much as 20 degrees by this afternoon. Further detail coming up in a few minutes.



FOSTER: In Mexico the situation is still dire for ten miners trapped in a flooded coal mine. Using a drone to assess the conditions inside, officials say they saw blocked tunnels and other unsuitable conditions making it impossible for rescue teams to enter. They plan to keep pumping water out until obstacles can be removed and divers can go in safely. The miners have been trapped for a week now and it could take a few more days to drain enough water to make conditions safe.

Good news in the Dominican Republic though, two miners are said to be in good condition after being trapped in a collapsed mine for ten days. Experts from several countries were called in to help with the rescue after a land slide trapped the man on July 31. They received extensive physical exams after they were freed on Tuesday. The mining company's president says he is confident this operation will be a model for underground rescues going forward. The U.S. Northeast will finally see some relief from the summer heat.

But the same can't be said for the Pacific Northwest. The forecast now from meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

JAVAHERI: Good morning, Max. Yes, watching the story across the U.S. here with lots of heat still around the Central United States. But we've to take note of what's happening around areas of the Northeast because finally some relief in sight and even some good news here when it comes to cooler temperatures sticking around.

Look at yesterday, New York climbed up to 97. How about this afternoon, we'll aim for 83. Boston's 98 gives way to 74 this afternoon. And in Portland from 91 down to 71 degrees. And notice an extended look here for cooler temperatures over the next 7 or so days.

But the West really begins to take shape here for another round of heat. And could see a few storms pop up this afternoon. We've seen a few storms in the past 24 hours and around to Del Mar by the afternoon hours could see additional thunderstorms. But really not unusual for this time of year.

We'll take this trend of generally near average temperatures in New York over the next few days. Boston this time of year should be around 81 degrees and ranging from about 74 up to 81 over the next couple of days.

But here's the extended look. Yes, cooler air expected across the Eastern third of the United States with warmth restoring again across the Western areas of the U.S. Seattle cools off to 71 today. Goes right back up again to 80 degrees over the next several days. Portland also warms up a little bit.

And speaking of warming up, we've seen the tropics try to warm up, there's quite a bit of activities this verse thunderstorms are concerned but only 30 percent chance they'll develop into anything over the next five days. There's quite a bit of dust coming off of Africa that inhibits the formation of these tropical features. Which is really great news for a lot of people.

But here's the national perspective, Max, 95 in Denver this afternoon, Boise around 91, and then Los Angeles highs should be right around 90 degrees.

FOSTER: Thanks to Pedram.

Now tourists are being allowed to leave the Chinese resort city of Sanya after a sudden lockdown due to a COVID outbreak last week. A small group that met COVID precautions was able to board flights out of the city on Tuesday. But Chinese officials say 80,000 tourists were stranded because of the lockdown. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong with more. What's the latest situation for these tourists?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, some good news. Stranded tourists are now being flown out of Hainan. According to state run media, these tourists who've been trapped in a sudden lockdown in this tropical Chinese southern island are being flown back home in batches. The first batch returned home to Xian on Tuesday before some 80,000 tourists. This tropical getaway has turned into this tourist nightmare for them.

It all started last weekend when officials in Sanya, which is the resort city in Hainan, imposed this sudden lockdown in order to curb rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. As a result, people's movements were restricted. Public transport was suspended and people were told they were not leave for seven days and had to clear five COVID tests before they would be allowed to leave.

Now officials have acknowledged the difficulties of the situation and have pledged to help, but there have been a lot of concerns raised by angry travelers and tourists and they have voiced those concerns on social media.

We want to share just one voice who spoke to us here at CNN. He is a resident of Shanghai, a foreigner who is a tourist in Sanya. He is been stuck in this situation.


And he tells CNN this, quote: The situation going forward is unsustainable. It's a little bit like Russian roulette on where you go and whether or not that area is going to get locked down.

He requested not to be named and remain anonymous because he didn't want to risk any nationalistic blowback. But that's some of the frustration that's being expressed about the zero public policy that's in place. And it's not just Hainan island, a number of other top tourist destinations in China have also been stricken by the zero COVID lockdowns. Just last month Bahia, this resort in the south of China, we saw 2,000 tourists get stranded there because of a sudden lockdown. And right now, we're seeing rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in other popular Chinese tourist destination hot spots like Xiamen, like Xinjiang as well as Tibet -- Max back to you.

FOSTER: The zero COVID policy obviously it's very disruptive for tourists but also very costly for the authorities.

LU STOUT: Oh, very, very costly for the authorities. You know, it's very disruptive. Look at what we saw in Shanghai with the prolonged lockdown there and the economic costs that exacted in terms of factory production, services, supply chain, trade, the list goes on. Now we're seeing China's domestic tourism industry get hit in a big way.

You know, previously it was thought that staycations within China and going to a place like Hainan, which previously did not have high numbers of COVID-19 cases would be safe. This episode what has happened here is now sending out a warning to China's domestic tourism market saying perhaps it is better to stay at home -- Max.

FOSTER: OK. Kristie thanks very much for joining us from Hong Kong with that.

Still to come on CNN, why tennis legend serena Williams says the time has come for her to evolve away from the game that she loves so much.




SERENA WILLIAMS: I love playing though. So, it's like amazing. But you know, it's like I can't do this forever.


FOSTER: Tennis legend Serena Williams has announced that she will, quote, evolve away from the game. Williams who is widely held as one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She says she's ready to focus on other things important to her. After this year's U.S. Open which wraps up in September. CNN's Christina Macfarlane looks back at Serena's success on and off the court.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Serena Williams, the 23-time Grand Slam champion has announced her impending retirement from tennis, posting on Instagram Tuesday the 40-year-old said, there comes a time in life when we have to decide to move in a different direction. That time is always hard when you love something so much. My goodness. Do I enjoy tennis. But now the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals, and finally discovering a different, but just as exciting Serena. I'm going to relish these next few weeks.

SERENA WILLIAMS, 23-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: Thank you very much. It's great to be here.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): For the past 23 years she has redefined what it means to be a female athlete.

WILLIAMS: This is the greatest platform for a female athlete and it's a great place to be.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): Williams began to be noticed after winning the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1998 and was just 17 when she defeated then world number one, Martina Hingis to win the U.S. Open.

WILLIAMS: I've been waiting my whole life for this moment. I've been practicing for so many years and the U.S. Open was a tournament that I really wanted to win.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): She was the first African-American woman since 1958 to win a Grand Slam singles title. There began an incredible rise and journey. Her most formidable opponent would become her sister Venus.

WILLIAMS: It's always challenging playing her. The first part is because she's so good. And the second part is because she's my sister and I really want the best for her, including for her to win everything.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): Together they were unlike anything tennis had seen before, distinct and determined. Serena would emerge with more titles, defeating Venus in four straight finals beginning in 2002, a feat dubbed the Serena slam.

Williams also delighted in emerging as a fashion and cultural icon from catsuits corsets to cutouts. No one did it quite like Serena.

WILLIAMS: And it's just a great feeling.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): By 2012, Williams had nearly won it all. But at the London Olympics, she completed a golden Serena slam, claiming singles and doubles titles.

WILLIAMS: When I walked out there, I thought I love gold. It's my favorite color. Let me get gold. I don't want to get silver. Let me get gold. This is what I want.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): Her story has already become the stuff of Hollywood legend. Will Smith won an Oscar playing her father.

WILL SMITH, ACTOR: I wrote me a 78-page plan for the whole career before they were even born.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): Yet in sport her startling legacy seems to have fallen one moment short. Twenty-three Grand Slam singles one shy of the all-time record, but arguably it was her greatest win. Defeating her sister Venus while eight weeks pregnant at the 2017 Australian Open. Her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. would change her life forever, but never her determination to be the best.

WILLIAMS: I love tennis and I love -- I love, you know, what I do. And right now, I just had to, I have to commit to me.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): She says she's evolving away from sport, but only after sport evolved because of her.

Christina Macfarlane, CNN, London.


FOSTER: Just into CNN, former President Trump is expected to be deposed by lawyers from the New York Attorney General's office on Wednesday according to people familiar with the matter. This is part of the civil investigation into the Trump Organization's finances which has gone on now for more than three years. The testimony will be behind closed doors but it's unclear whether Trump with answer any questions or pleads the fifth. We'll continue to bring you the very latest on this story as it develops.

And National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell says quarterback Deshaun Watson should face harsher punishment for violating the league's conduct policy. An independent judge issued a six game suspension for the Cleveland Browns star over, quote, nonviolent sexual misconduct during private meetings with massage therapists.


But the NFL wants him suspended for the entire season. Watson has maintained his innocence. When Goodell was asked why the league is appealing the ruling, this is what he had to say.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: We have seen the evidence. She was very clear about the evidence. She reinforced the evidence that there was multiple violations here and they were egregious. And it was predatory behavior. Those are things that we felt -- we always felt were really important for us to address in a way that's responsible.


FOSTER: Meanwhile Goodell announced the owners of all 32 NFL teams have unanimously approved the sale of the Denver Broncos. The team now belongs to the Walton-Penner family headed by Walmart heir Rob Walton, his daughter and her husband Greg Penner, the chairman of Walmart. The new Broncos ownership group also includes former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton. The price tag for the team was not revealed but ESPN says the deal is worth $4.65 billion, a record amount for a North American sports franchise.

Finally, this hour, Wendy's is beefing up its breakfast offerings. The fast food chain will start selling French toast sticks next week. The first sweet addition to its breakfast menu. Wendy's say its customers crave portability and are hoping that the new handheld item will be a hit as back to school season gets underway.

Thanks for joining me here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Max Foster in London. I'll be back same time tomorrow. But don't go anywhere "EARLY START" with Christine Romans is next.