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Garland Calls Out Attacks on FBI, Justice Department; FBI was Looking for Nuclear Documents; Ohio Police Kill Gunman Who Tried to Breach FBI Office; Ex-Members of Trump Cabinet Engaging with January 6th Committee. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired August 12, 2022 - 04:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Max Foster in London. Just ahead --


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The department filed the motion to make public the warrant in receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An armed man who tried to storm an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio with an AR-15 style rifle and then engaged in a shoot-out with authorities.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The committee has been very focused on the discussions about the 25th Amendment. Chao and DeVos both had conversations about the 25th Amendment, the possibility of removing Trump from office in the wake of January 6.


ANNOUNCER: Live from London, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster.

FOSTER: Hello, it's Friday, August 12, 9:00 a.m. here in London, 4:00 a.m. in Washington. Where the Justice Department has its answer from Donald Trump. The former president says he will not challenge a motion to unseal the warrant used to search his Mar-a-Lago home. He says he actually wants the warrant and the list of items taken from his property released immediately.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that he wanted that information made public. He also said he personally approved the decision to seek a search warrant.

Meanwhile "The Washington Post" is citing anonymous sources who say FBI agents were looking for documents related to nuclear weapons and the "New York Times" reports the government officials were concerned that foreign adversaries could try to get access to classified materials stored at Trump's home. Attorney General Garland says his staff is being unfairly attacked and

he's heard enough violent threats.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants.

FOSTER: More now from CNN Senior U.S. justice correspondent Evan Perez.


EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: The Justice Department is asking a federal judge to authorize the release of court documents that would for the first time shed light on what the FBI took during an hours' long search of Donald Trump's Palm Beach home.

A decision could come as soon as Friday and the Attorney General Merrick Garland says that he personally approved the warrant and that he is taking the extraordinary step to release the document because Trump himself made the FBI search public.

GARLAND: The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.

PEREZ: The move comes as we've learned new details of the interactions between the Justice Department investigators and Trump lawyers. At the center of this dispute over records that Trump took with him to his beach home at the end of his presidency were concerns about possible exposure of some of the nation's most closely guarded national security secrets, some labeled as special access programs.

CNN has learned that investigators served a grand jury subpoena before a June meeting at Mar-a-Lago -- the Trump property in Palm Beach -- and they left with classified documents. There was another subpoena seeking surveillance tapes from the property. Now this tells us that despite the claims by Trump that he has cooperated all along, the Justice Department's interactions with his legal team had become more contentious well before the Monday search.

Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: The prospect of nuclear weapons documents at Trump's home raises serious questions about the country's safety. We asked the former U.S. director of national intelligence about his level of concern.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER U.S. DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: Potentially this is quite dangerous. If for example there are deficiencies, maintenance issues, logistics issues, training issues, both with our minuteman ground based Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force or with a Submarine Launched Missile Force. And you know, that's very, very dangerous to national security just to have that kind of material just kind of laying around.


Now, the mind runs wild here for me, what on earth was the motivation for wanting this kind of data from the White House into a completely unsecured area like Mar-a-Lago. And that, you know, again, the imagination can run wild here as to what the motivation might have been.


FOSTER: An hours' long standoff with a government is Ohio has ended with the suspect dead we're told. Police say the man tried unsuccessfully to enter an FBI office in Cincinnati on Thursday morning, then fled in his vehicle. He eventually stopped and exchanged gunfire with officers. CNN's Brynn Gingras has the details.


BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Multiple sources told me and my colleague Josh Campbell that the armed suspect's name is Ricky Schiffer, a 42-year-old, who we're told by authorities, they tried to negotiate with this person after a hour's long standoff in the rural area of Ohio. And when that didn't work, less than lethal tactics were used. When that didn't work, we're told that Schiffer raised a weapon and that is when he was fired at by authorities ending that hour's long standoff.

Of course, this all began at the FBI Cincinnati field office when sources are telling us that Schiffer walked into that field office armed with an AR-15 style weapon and nail gun and then took off after an alarm sounded leading authorities on pursuit where shots were exchanged from both sides.

Now looking into his social media account with a user of the same name -- authorities have not confirmed that is Schiffer's account. However, we do have one source saying it is the same picture as a government I.D. of Schiffer. That account has some really disturbing rhetoric in it. Going back for just a few weeks -- it's a fairly new account but it does talk and encourage violence against the FBI. In fact, it even has a post of the incident that happened in Cincinnati. And it seems to have even gotten cut off while this pursuit likely was happening there in Ohio. I want to read that to you, this is on the Truth Social which is the social media platform started by former President Donald Trump.

It says: Well, I thought I had a way through bulletproof glass and I didn't. If you don't hear from me, it is true, I tried attacking the FBI and it will mean either I was taken off the internet, FBI got me or they sent the regular cops while.

And then sort of just gets cut off there. But going back even further into this account, in the postings, and the discussions that was happening on Truth Social, this user talks about being present in D.C. on January 6. Talking about how they believe that the election was stolen from Donald Trump, and also just again encouraged violence against the FBI. And it sort of bumped up the rhetoric after what happened on Monday with the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.

Even this person posted, quote: People, this is it, I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me.

And this person encouraged people to go get guns, visit pawn shops and again to basically sort of have an all-out war with FBI agents. Now it's still unclear if Schiffer -- what the motivation was for him going to the Cincinnati field office. But again, this standoff lasted for several hours and we know there were discussions that were going on with agents and Schiffer. So, it's possible there's more of an answer as to what the motivation was there.

But of course, this is an ongoing investigation and it's alarming needless to say after we know that FBI field offices all across this country and agents as well have sort of been on guard after all the rhetoric that has been spreading across this country since that search of Mar-a-Lago on Monday. But of course, as to what caused this, we don't know, but that is something we're still asking authorities at this point as the investigation is still ongoing. Back to you.


FOSTER: The U.S. House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol has been talking with additional members of former President Donald Trump's inner circle. The panel recently interviewed his Transportation Secretary and they're in talks with his Education Secretary. Both women quit the Trump administration after the insurrection. CNN's Sara Murray reports on the panels likely line of questioning.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We are learning more about high level former Trump officials who are engaging with the January 6 Select Committee. Sources have told me and my colleagues that Elaine Chao, who was the former transportation Secretary and of course, is the wife to Senator Mitch McConnell, had already been interviewed by the January 6 Select Committee. We're also learning that Betsy DeVos who was Trump's former Education Secretary is in talks with the committee. And Robert O'Brien who was Trump's former national security advisor has been engaging with the committee and is set to appear for a virtual interview on Friday.


This is important because the committee has been honing in especially when it comes to the cabinet officials about the efforts to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. We know that Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos both explored the possibility of removing Trump from office using the 25th Amendment. It became clear that Vice President Mike Pence was not go along with this, and so it was unlikely to succeed and both Chao and DeVos tendered their resignations on January 7.

But this is an indication that the committee is still working quietly behind the scenes to get information from new witnesses.

Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


FOSTER: Those new witnesses do not include members of the Secret Service and some say the agency tasked with protecting President Trump may still be doing just that. We are learned the watchdog in charge of monitoring the Secret Service buried a memo about missing text messages from the day of the Capitol attack, texts we later learned had been erased. Officials of the Department of Homeland Security inspector general's office say they prepared a memo on how the Secret Service deliberately stole the watchdog's investigation it into the agency's actions on January 6. But after the report was sent to the Inspector General's chief of staff, details about that had been removed from the report.

President Biden's ambitious plan to curb inflation meanwhile and tackle climate change will be taken up by the U.S. House of Representatives in the coming hours. The $750 billion piece of legislation passed the Senates last Sunday on a party line vote, 51- 50. If the House approves the bill without changes, it can go directly to the president for his signature. That vote is tentatively expected later today. Almost half of that money, $369 billion, is earmarked for combatting climate change, health provisions in the bill call for giving Medicare the authority to negotiate lower drug prices, caps Medicare out of pocket costs at $2,000, and extends subsidies under the Affordable Care Act for three years. It also proposes a 15 percent minimum tax on many of America's largest corporations.

Now two new reports on inflation help put a damper on Wall Street's short lived rally. Those reports found the price increases have eased over the past two months but still remain historically high. The Dow ended Thursday's trading session almost flat gaining just 27 points. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 both closed slightly down.

Let's take a look at where the global markets stand right now. These are the futures for the U.S. Wall Street looking a bit more positive today, up about half a percent on those main indices. In Europe, shares are also up about the same amount across France, U.K. and Germany.

Asian markets had a positive day if you look at Japan's shares up more than 2.5 percent, half a percent for Hong Kong but Shanghai down very slightly.

For the first time since March, the average cost of gasoline in the U.S. fell below $4 a gallon. It can still be frightfully expensive though to fill up your tank, especially for larger vehicles. But it's not quite as painful as in June when it was $1 more per gallon. And while gas prices have been coming down for several weeks, the national average is still about 80 cents more than it was a year ago.

While drivers may be getting a bit of relief, uncertainty is the theme for house buyers. Freddie Mac says the average 30 year mortgage rate has climbed above 5 percent again after it fell below that threshold last week for the first time in months. Rates rose sharply in 2022 and hit a yearly high in mid-June. Economists say there are signs the housing market is starting to stabilize, but experts also warn that home prices will likely continue to climb because supply is so tight and inflation is taking a larger chunk out of incomes.

Some signs of easing inflation, lower fuel costs, legislative wins, we asked the White House communications director, is it time for the Biden administration to celebrate.


KATE BEDINGFIELD, WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: We're continuing to see things move in the right direction. I don't think anybody is declaring victory, certainly not President Biden. He is relentlessly focused on doing everything he can to bring down costs for families. It's why he's pushing for the passage of the "Inflation Reduction Act" that's going to allow Medicare to negotiate for the lowest prescription drug prices. It's going to bring down utility bill costs for Americans across the country.

I mean, these are things that at the end of the day are a big piece of family budgets. So, you know, yes, rents are too high and President Biden is focused on working on pushing for a bigger supply of affordable housing. He's taken steps to ensure for example that builders can have easier access to government financing to create a greater supply of housing in the market. So of course, there is more we can do.


But we've seen tremendous progress, you know, the inflation data that we saw this month, the gas rice data coming down more than a dollar a gallon over the last few weeks, that has a real impact for families and President Biden's going to continue pushing.


FOSTER: Well, coming up on CNN, the Western U.S. will see some of needed moisture in the coming days. We'll have your forecast just ahead.

And the devastation that extreme weather is bringing as Europe battles scorching heat and drought.


FOSTER: It's a sign of the times in California where soaring temperatures and strong winds combine to form a "firenado," a swirling flames erupting from a wildfire burning near Los Angeles. More than 200 firefighters were called to tackle the wildfire as it spread to some 150 acres. The LA County fire department says the fire is now 100 percent contained with no injuries or homes damaged.

Parts of a drought weary U.S. West will see some moisture in the coming days.


Parts of Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico are under flood watches as monsoonal rain could bring flash flooding to those areas. Recent rain in places like New Mexico brought some relief, drought levels have dropped from 80 percent to 30 percent over the last three months. For more now, we're joined by CNN meteorologist Karen Maginnis. So many different types of weather coming together to form real chaos there.

KAREN MAGINNIS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is and that's why I think you've really made a very strong point in that all summer long we've been talking about who needs the wet weather. Some areas are getting more than others, who needs a little bit of heat. And a lot of people got a lot of heat across the country.

What we have seen is some fairly widespread monsoonal moisture. This is never going to be a day long rain event and it's never going to be a drought breaker. But what it does provide is some summertime moisture and that is very valuable to the farmers and growers across the West.

It's still very dry in a number of areas, but some of those exceptional drought areas, those have shrunk just a little bit. But we still have five states that you have flash flood watches out, all the way from Wyoming down across Las Vegas or southern Nevada into a portion of Southern California, also Arizona and Utah.

Moab, Utah they saw some dry thunderstorms. That did produced quite a bit of lightning there and that caught some trees on fire. No one was injured.

Then as we go into the forecast coming up for late in the day on Friday, then into Saturday, we might see some thunderstorms bumbling around sections of the lower Great Lakes. Maybe Chicago you'll pick up a shower or thunderstorm or two.

Hot, hot, hot across the west, that doesn't change. What has changed are the cooler temperatures into the Northeast. Take a look at this, we go for the next several days with temperatures in the 80s, Philadelphia, Washington, New York, Boston, temperatures going into the 70s. Now, this is August. This is very unusual for this time of year. So, enjoy the nice weather while it lasts because so many portions elsewhere across the United States are hot. That's in the Pacific Northwest well above average. August 16 through the 20th. And, Max, the temperature outlook well below normal across much of the East. Very interesting pattern to take a look at.

FOSTER: Unbelievable scenes. Karen, thank you very much indeed. And scorching temperatures are creating dangerous conditions across

Europe. Heat warnings are in place for various parts of Spain today. Temperatures there are expected to get up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. And more of Britain's water companies are announcing water restrictions as drought conditions continue. Yorkshire water has become the latest to announce a hose pipe ban. This comes as England last month experienced its driest July since 1935. For more on that we're joined by CNN's Salma Abdelaziz. These are conditions Brits just aren't used to.

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN REPORTER: Absolutely. So, the country is under an amber extreme heat warning the next four days. That's to expire on Sunday. And the London Fire Brigade is describing the city, Max, as essentially a tinderbox die city. They are concerned about fires, they are on high alert for fire severity.

Already the London Fire Brigade has battled an unprecedented numbers of blazes this summer. So, yet another heatwave here happening. We are expecting those temperatures to go into the mid to high 30s. That's over about 90 degrees Fahrenheit for Americans like myself. And yet that doesn't sound like an extreme temperature but it's these drought- like conditions that are causing concerns.

For weeks now, as you know Max, we haven't seen much rain in London. So, officials again warning people to be extremely careful, you know, don't have a barbecue in your balcony, make sure that you are putting out your cigarettes properly. All these concerns around that fire severity.

And all across Western Europe, we're seeing countries grappling with the same type of heat conditions, more extreme temperatures. In France, in particular, firefighters there, emergency workers have been battling fires in the southwest of the country for weeks now. The French authorities have actually triggered a mechanism via the EU to call on other European member states -- EU member states -- to come and help try to contain these fires. Already there's firefighters from Germany, Romania, potentially Austria as well, going into France to try to support the fire services there in containing those fires.

And across Italy, these drought-like conditions also causing extreme consequences in terms of the harvest, some farmers in Italy losing up to 80 percent of their harvest this year because of this drought. And then of course there is the bigger picture here, Max, this is a climate crisis. Climate experts will tell you unless the world does something quite serious to try to contain this crisis, we're only looking at this worsening -- Max.

FOSTER: OK, Salma, thanks very much.

And the impact of that climate crisis is felt especially in the northern polar region.


According to researchers in Finland, temperatures in the Arctic have been rising four times faster than the rest of the planet, at a faster pace than climate models currently show. It's caused by heat trapping emissions from burning fossil fuels. Experts say the rising temperatures are melting away the region's sea ice which in turn further amplifies global warning and raises ocean levels worldwide.

Now, ten miners trapped underground for more than a week will have to wait longer to be rescued. Mexican authorities say they made four attempts to reach the group on Thursday but difficult conditions inside the flooded coal mine have hampered those efforts. CNN's Rafael Romo has the latest.


RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mexican officials had said Wednesday that they were only hours away from being able to enter the mine and rescue the miners. They said something similar Thursday, but it seems like they have run into new challenges that have made it nearly impossible for rescuers to get access to the spot where they believe the miners may still be.

The main challenge continues to be the water that flooded multiple mine shafts last week on Wednesday. Just to give you an idea of how challenging flooding has been, Laura Velasquez, Mexico's national coordinator of civil protection has said Thursday morning that in the eight days since the collapse happened, they have pumped out nearly 150,000 cubic meters of water. That's enough water to fill up around 60 Olympic pools. At one point the water was 34 meters deep when the rescue operation started only hours after the mine flooded and walls collapsed.

With 25 pumps running around the clock, they have been able to bring that level to less than nine meters. Mexican Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval said rescuers made four attempts to enter the mine on Wednesday, but they found too much debris blocking the way inside.

The coal mine in the state of Coahuila, some of them flooded last Wednesday. This caused some of the walls to collapsed trapping the miners inside. And within the first 24 hours rescuers were able to safely extract five miners. But there are ten others who have been trapped since. There has been no communication with them and their fate is unknown. Nearly 700 members of Mexico's military, police and other government agencies, have been deployed to the site of the collapse to aid in the rescue efforts.

Mexico's Attorney General's office issued a statement late Thursday night saying it has requested a judicial hearing for the purpose of filing charges against the owner of the mine accusing him of, quote, illegal exploitation of a mine.

Rafael Romo, CNN, Atlanta.


FOSTER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from London.

Just ahead, the prospects of nuclear documents at Donald Trump's sprawling Florida resort. We'll have an expert evaluate that risk. Plus, the former president's porcelaine or porcelain, flushing history

down the toilet. That and much more straight ahead.