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DHS, FBI Warn Of Threat Against Feds, Government Officials After Search at Trump's Mar-a-Lago; Author Salman Rushdie Suffers Multiple Stab Wounds During On-Stage Attack; Hardline Iranian Newspapers Praise Salman Rushdie Stabbing Attack; More Buses With Migrants Arrive In NYC From Texas As City Struggles To Accommodate Asylum Seekers; Violent Rhetoric Circulating On Pro-Trump Web Sites After FBI Search. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired August 13, 2022 - 16:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Atlanta.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is facing an unprecedented number of threats following its search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. The perception of government overreach now motivating violent extremists to call for an armed rebellion, targeting federal officials and facilities. That's according to new warnings from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

We now know more about what the FBI recovered in Monday's search. The warrant reveals they removed 11 sets of classified documents including top secret ones meant to be viewed in secured government facilities. We also learned the Justice Department has probable cause to investigate three possible federal crimes, violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice and criminal handling of government records. No one has been charged with a crime that we know of as of now.

And this just in, the Democratic chairs of the Intelligence Committee and the Oversight Committee in the House have written a letter to the director of National Intelligence saying they want a damage assessment and briefing regarding these documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago. And of course Trump and his allies are now of course spending and peddling wild conspiracy theories about the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago. The theories range from ridiculous and laughable to downright dangerous.

CNN's Daniel Dale joins me now to talk about this.

Daniel, Trump is saying all the FBI and the Department of Justice had to do was just ask for these documents back, and there would have been no problem at all. All they had to do is ask, he says in that post on his Truth site. Does that align with what we know?

DANIEL DALE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It does not at all align with what we know, Jim. We know that there was an effort over many months, not only by the Department of Justice but part of that by federal records authorities to get these documents back. We know that before this search warrant there was a grand jury subpoena seeking documents and our CNN colleagues are now reporting today that in June, a Trump lawyer signed a letter asserting that there was no more classified information in the materials at Mar-a-Lago.

Now I'll note for fairness that people around Trump are also claiming, oh, he just declassified it all. But this idea that, you know, they just had to ask politely and they would have gotten it back just does not square with the known timeline.

ACOSTA: Right. Another falsehood that's being spread is that the FBI planted evidence. Trump posted on his social media platform, "Planting information anyone," that in quotes. And you found that narrative is gaining traction among some Trump allies. Let's listen to this.


JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS: We know they doctor evidence. We know they plant evidence.


WATTERS: We know they hide evidence. We know they lie. We know they leak.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): For example, do I know that the boxes of material they took from Mar-a-Lago that they won't put things in those boxes to entrap him? How do we know that they're going to be honest with us about what's actually in the boxes? How do we know that was in the box before it left the residence if the lawyers weren't allowed to see everything?


ACOSTA: Yes, Daniel, I mean, you know, some were saying in Trump world, you know, the documents were declassified, you know, there's no problem, they're declassified. And then you have others saying that they were planted. I mean, were they declassified before they were planted? I mean, it sounds as though they have a strategy here of just throwing the ketchup against the wall and see what sticks.

DALE: That's what I wrote in my piece for today, Jim. They're just -- they're throwing everything at the wall and maybe some group of Americans will believe one defense, another group of Americans might believe a totally contradictory defense. And so there are just no basis for any of this, this, you know, idea of planted evidence has been conjured out of thin area. But it seems like one of the, you know, five or six or seven or eight things they're going with right now.

ACOSTA: And there's also a lot of this whataboutism, that term whataboutism of course making a comeback now that we're talking about Donald Trump, but Trump and his allies are using this with respect to former President Barack Obama. Trump posted this, "What are they going to do with the 33 million pages of documents many of which are classified that President Obama took to Chicago?"

And Daniel, you did us a service here, as you always do, fact checking this. You dug into this claim. What did you find out?

DALE: Well, this one was an easy one to fact check because the National Archives and Records Administration itself put out a debunking making clear that this claim from former President Trump is totally untrue. So what they said in that statement was that the National Archives itself maintains exclusive legal and physical custody of all of the Obama presidential records. It made clear that it is the one, not Obama, that took 30 million records to the Chicago area to its own facility, not to like Barack Obama's house.

It also made clear that these were unclassified documents and that it sent the classified documents to a separate government facility in the Washington, D.C. area, so both of the elements of the Trump claim that Barack Obama took the documents and that many of these were classified, the ones in Chicago, just not true, Jim, at all.


ACOSTA: All right. Surprise, surprise. All right. Daniel Dale, thanks as always. We appreciate it.

Joined now by conservative lawyer George Conway.

George, great to see you. Thanks as always. You know, there's a lot to unpack here. You know, perhaps the ketchup is being thrown against the wall, perhaps it's all the condiments in the refrigerator these days, in terms of throwing up excuses for what is taking place. But Trump's lawyer we're told signed a letter back in June telling the Department of Justice that all classified documents at Mar-a-Lago had been turned over, yet more classified documents were recovered during Monday's search. What do you think about all of this, what you're hearing?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: Well, I mean, I think it's all consistent. I mean, from the very beginning, when we first learned just a few days ago, Monday night, right, that the search had been conducted at Mar-a-Lago, you realize there had to be some aggravating factors involved that would lead the Justice Department and particularly a very cautious attorney general, a very thoughtful attorney general to engage in the extraordinary step of conducting a search of Mar-a-Lago.

And the two things that came to mind were, first of all, there must be some very, very seriously classified, very seriously important confidential information involved, and the other was, did they jerk the government around? Were there false representations made. I mean, it was one of the first things that came to my mind is that, well, you know, they were engaging with the National Archives. The National Archives took 15 boxes back in January. And now they're conducting a search, the government is conducting a search with FBI agents for more.

It must be something -- there must be some elements where, you know, that the Justice Department thinks that there was some bad faith involved. And now today's story that just came out about the representation by the Trump lawyer confirms that that part of this is -- there was a complete lack of trust between the Trump people and the Justice Department, because the Trump people apparently misled, lied to the Justice Department or the National Archives about whether all the classified information had been transferred back to the Archives.

ACOSTA: And it's remarkable to me, George, that we're talking about potential illegality on Trump's part outside of the January 6th investigation. I mean, we're putting a lot of that to the side, just to have this conversation about the documents recovered at Mar-a-Lago, and you know, but so many times people have said, OK, this is the thing that's going to nail Trump. You know, you think of John Oliver running his "We've got him" gag, you know, the cliche the walls are closing in. You heard that once or twice this week.

But what is the likelihood in your gut that this is going to lead to some sort of prosecution, do you think?

CONWAY: I think he's -- I mean, I think the shortest distance between Donald Trump and an orange jump suit is this investigation with the documents. And it's really kind of because it's so simple. And we haven't heard anything remotely approaching a rational, logical defense. I mean, for example, section 793e, which is the section of the Espionage Act that was cited in the search warrant, all that requires is for Trump to have possessed in an unauthorized manner, documents that pertain to the national defense, and they could be used to the detriment of the United States, and have refused to give them back upon request to the officer of the United States who requested it.

I mean, check, check, check, check and check. I mean, if the facts are as we've heard them, that's exactly what he did, and this was highly confidential, it doesn't even -- the statute doesn't even require that the information be technically classified. It just requires them to be significant and related to the national defense, and if it's top secret SCI information, well, that fits the bill. If it's about nuclear weapons like "The Washington Post" reported, well, that fits the bill, and I don't know what the defense is.

That's why we're hearing all of this stuff, where -- you know, to use Bannon's favorite phrase, they're flooding the zone with excrement -- I won't use the actual word -- because they're just throwing everything out because they've got nothing else. They're saying, well, he turned the documents over. But he would have turned the documents over if they had asked. They did ask, well, he turned them over. Well, he declassified them by holding them to his head with brain waves. It just doesn't stop.

I mean, the craziness of some of the assertions that they made, and so I just think -- I just think that this is -- he realizes the jeopardy he's in.

ACOSTA: Yes, and we don't know for a fact, you know, whether these documents pertain to nuclear secrets or nuclear weapons, or anything like that.


But what we have not gotten, George, is an explanation as to why Donald Trump has these documents. We've heard excuses as to well, they were declassified, and no, they were planted, no, he told them they could have the documents already. We've heard all those excuses. But we haven't heard an explanation as to why he has them. Why does he have them?

CONWAY: There's no valid reason.


CONWAY: I mean, the reason is because he's just -- he's a man who thinks everything belongs to him. He thought the generals across the river in that funny shaped building belong to him. He thinks the country belonged to him. He thought the house that he was in belonged to him. He thinks, you know, he's a narcissist, he thinks everything is his, and rightfully his, and these are his documents.

And I think one of the things that may get him in trouble here as it's been reported that basically he was advised by his own people to give it all back, and he said, no, this stuff's mine.


CONWAY: And of course it wasn't. It belongs to, you know, you, me, and the United States of America.

ACOSTA: That's right. And I have to show this to our viewers. Trump is already trying to make money off of this. And a lot of money. Take a look at all of this. He has been blasting out fundraising e-mails one after another since the FBI search. One of them reads, "Official Trump Defense Fund," and you know, all of this is becoming an instant cash cow, and we'll remind our viewers the January 6th Committee pointed out to the American people that during the period between the 2020 election and January 6th, they claimed to have a defense fund that they were trying to raise money for.

They were claiming to raise money for, and it's just one fundraising e-mail after another and I'm just kind of wondering, George, I mean, is this part of the grift? Is this, you know, grift part two?

CONWAY: Look, you cannot separate anything that he does from the grift, and you cannot separate anything that his supporters do from the grift, and that includes FOX News. That includes members of Congress. I mean, it's all part of, you know, basically they've been running a fraud for five years that this man is confident, that he is sane, that he is virtuous and everything that, you know, everything that threatens that is, you know, attacked as being illegitimate and wrong and lies without any evidence. And I think that's why they describe it as a war.

They don't want anybody to think. They just want everybody to fight. And they want everybody to be angry, and that's part of why -- you know, why they do that, as part of it, because the money comes in when they do that.

ACOSTA: Yes, they're pushing people's buttons to get the people to push the fundraising button. CONWAY: Absolutely.

ACOSTA: And former Trump White House press secretary -- yes, exactly -- Stephanie Grisham, she had a prediction about where all this is going. Let's take a look at that and talk about it, George.


STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Now it's going to be time to distract. So I am honestly waiting for him to come down those beautiful Trump Tower escalators or going to Mar-a-Lago to announce his presidency to really make a spectacle of this entire thing. I think whatever happens, it's going to be on Donald Trump's terms. You can bet that.


ACOSTA: Yes, George, I mean, I speak to Trump advisers from time to time. I had one recently tell me that there's a lot of talk about a Labor Day announcement or an announcement right around Labor Day. Would a 2024 announcement right now change the conversation? Obviously you know this all too well. They always want to change the conversation. We're talking about documents at Mar-a-Lago instead of January 6th and so on. Or do you think announcing could backfire on him?

CONWAY: I mean, I don't know that it's going to backfire. But I do think that all of this makes it more likely that he's going to announce sooner rather than later. Because not only do they want to change the subject, he views the presidency and running for the presidency as kind of an immunity chip that protects him from prosecution because, you know, the presidency, because he was president, he was immune for prosecution for four years, and as a presidential candidate, it makes it easier for him to go out and say this is one giant conspiracy against me, and Merrick Garland and President Biden are using the Justice Department and the FBI as a political weapon because they know I can beat him.

That's what he's going to do. He's going to use his own criminality, if you will, as a way of justifying his reelection, and he's going to use his reelection campaign as -- to immunize him from responsibility from that criminality. And that's basically that's the script, and he's going to follow that.

ACOSTA: Right.

CONWAY: It's all -- it's bizarre, but predictable.

ACOSTA: Yes. I mean, he's going to play the victim. He's going to play the politically persecuted, you know, MAGA king. You know, he was raising his fist up in New York the other day. This was on video. He was raising his fist like the MAGA Mandela. But all of this is being propped up by his allies, people like Steve Bannon.


You know, Steve Bannon declaring we're at war. I mean, that is something that we can put this up on screen.


ACOSTA: He called the FBI the Gestapo, adding we need to choke down the FBI. Choke down the Justice Department. Former Trump official Michael Caputo said with this militant raid on Trump's home, we have become Russia. The FBI is the KGB. And here we have, you know, just in this past week, we've seen already one attempt made on that Cincinnati FBI office where people, you know, had this person been successful, people could have been killed. People in the federal law enforcement community could have been killed.

And I mean, George, you know, you are a very fierce Trump critic, but I know you know a lot of these folks pretty well. Does it shock you to hear this kind of rhetoric or do you think this is just part of the Trump script?

CONWAY: I think it's part of the Trump script. I think, you know, it no longer shocks me. It would have shocked me three years ago. It didn't shock me frankly as we approach January 6th because you could just see where it's headed. He will use the threat of his supporters engaging in violence to his advantage. He doesn't care. He perfectly will be happy to see violence in his honor, if you will, erupt.

That was the playbook on January 6th, and that's going to be the playbook for the 2024 campaign when he announces. It's not if, it's when he announces.

ACOSTA: All right. George Conway, we always enjoy having you on, thanks as always for bringing it.

CONWAY: Thanks for having me.

ACOSTA: We really appreciate it. Good to see you, George. Thanks, thanks as always.

Coming up, grim news about the medical condition of author Salman Rushdie who has lived for three decades under the death threat that was issued by Iran.



ACOSTA: Breaking news, we are learning new details about the injuries suffered by acclaimed author Salman Rushdie after a man rushed on stage and began stabbing him multiple times. As you can see from this video, it's very alarming. People in the audience rushing on to the stage to pull the assailant away and help Rushdie.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is following all of this for us. And Polo, there are some new information coming in. What's the latest?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Jim, this new information really helps paint a cleaner picture when it comes to just the violent nature of the attack that the world witnessed yesterday as Salman Rushdie was getting prepared to participate in that lecture event. So brand new details from our colleague Nicki Brown who's reporting from inside a Chautauqua County courthouse, now telling us more about the extent of his injuries.

Prosecutors that are overseeing charges against the 24-year-old suspect from New Jersey believed to be responsible now telling us that they believe that the 75-year-old was stabbed at least three times in the neck, three stab wounds to the neck, four to his stomach, a puncture wound to his right eye, which the district attorney says he may lose because of the extent the injuries and the damages there, and a laceration to his side as well.

So again, this really paints an even clearer picture of just the extent of the injuries and the extent of the violence that we saw just play out yesterday on stage here.

As for the suspect, Hadi Matar, he's been identified by New York state police as a 24-year-old New Jersey man. He was immediately apprehended by authorities that were on the scene. He did enter a not guilty plea when it comes to those two charges that were filed against him by prosecutors of second-degree attempted murder as well as assault.

And now the big question that remains, not just where the attack happened which is about 40 miles east of where we are, but also here in Erie, Pennsylvania, which is the medical facility here that authorities have identified as the location where the 75-year-old celebrated author is being treated for his injuries. The big question is the motive. Certainly no secret that he had been living under the constant threat of death after the publication of "The Satanic Verses," in 1988.

It was a publication that eventually led to that religious decree that was issued by Iranian officials that was calling for the death of the author, and it was one that was basically reaffirmed as recently as 2017. Adding to that, what we are getting in terms of the headlines from the more hardline conservative newspapers in Iran that are essentially celebrating this grizzly attack that we saw playing out while you at the same time have leaders here in the West that are strongly condemning it, describing it as an attack on freedom of expression.

And really what you're getting not just from officials, including the National Security adviser in Washington that called this just an appalling attack. Basically people rallying together, standing behind the celebrated author, and hoping that he is able to fight through the extent of his injuries.

And again, based on this brand new reporting out of Chautauqua County paints some very disturbing, very violent picture of what played out yesterday morning on that stage -- Jim.

ACOSTA: Yes, it is such a disturbing case. All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you very much.

We should note President Biden has just reacted to the attack on Salman Rushdie, just released a statement out of the White House and the president writes in part, "Salman Rushdie with his insight into humanity with his unmatched sense of story, with his refusal to be intimidated or silenced stands for essential universal ideals, truth, courage, resilience, the ability to share ideas without fear. These are the building blocks of any free and open society, and today we reaffirm our commitment to those deeply American values, and solidarity with Rushdie and all those who stand for freedom of expression."

CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins me now from Jordan.

Jomana, Rushdie has been living under a religious decree calling for his death for decades. How is Iran reacting to this attack?


JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, we've not had official reaction yet from Iran or any major Muslim country, really. I think when the news broke yesterday, I can tell you being here in this region, I think there was a lot of surprise because a lot of people feel that the issue of Salman Rushdie is something of the past. This is an issue that was in focus back in the late '80s and the '90s. And you have so many, especially the younger generations who haven't really heard even of Salman Rushdie and the "Satanic Verses."

So a lot of surprise, especially when you talk about the suspect, an attacker who was 24 years old, who wasn't even born when "The Satanic Verses" was published. But of course now all eyes are on Iran, a country that some blame for inciting. We've certainly heard that from the Israeli prime minister, Yair Lapid, in the last hour or so tweeting his country's condemnation of this attack, and he's also saying that it is the regime in Iran that he described as an extremist regime in Tehran that led the incitement for decades against Salman Rushdie.

Of course as you know very well, Jim, back in 1989, it was Ayatollah Khomeini at the time who issued that religious decree, that fatwa calling for the killing of Salman Rushdie, and then, you know, it did seem during the '90s that the Iranian regime at the time had softened its stance, that it may have backtracked on that fatwa, but again, 2017 and '19, the current supreme leader Khamenei saying that this is still in place, that it is still valid.

And while we've not had any official reaction from the Iranians, what we have seen is some reaction on social media, and then you've also got Iranian hard line publications, a couple of newspapers, one publishing a column today, praising the attacker, describing him as a warrior, saying that he deserves a thousand bravos, hundreds of God blesses, that his hands should be kissed for attacking Rushdie who they described as an apostate.

And you know, one thing, Jim, I can tell you that a lot of people have been wondering is if there are any sort of links to any Iranian backed groups in this region that this suspect may have had, and Lebanese media have been reporting that the suspect is also a Lebanese national. This is something that CNN has not been able to independently verify,

but we did reach out to the Lebanese group, the Iranian backed group, Hezbollah, to ask them if they knew anything about this attacker, if they knew anything about the attack, and what they said is they know nothing about this. All they know is what they've heard in the media and they know nothing about this suspect.

ACOSTA: And Jomana, as you were saying, the fatwa against Rushdie was never officially lifted. I would have to think if there is some sort of link to the Iranians that is established here in the coming days that the Biden administration is going to be issuing some sort of condemnation saying something to the Iranian regime to say this sort of thing cannot happen on American soil, full stop.

KARADSHEH: Absolutely. I mean, we're going to have to wait and see how they're going to react to this. How the hard liners, who are in power right now, who have really tried to maintain this anti-Western stance, how they're going to react to all of this, and of course this is coming at a very critical time when you've got the Iranians negotiating, Jim, a new nuclear deal indirectly with the United States.

And we are in the final phases of these negotiations, and we're going to have to wait and see what sort of impact this may or may not have, and of course we'll have to wait and see if there's any kind of official reaction at all to all of this.

ACOSTA: All right, Jomana Karadsheh. Thank you so much. We appreciate it. Live from Amman, Jordan, with the latest there.

Coming up, the immigration battle between Texas Governor Greg Abbott and New York City Mayor Eric Adams. That is heating up.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: I kind of feel like Clint Eastwood. Go ahead, Mayor, make my day.




ACOSTA: Migrants by the busload continue to arrive daily into New York City from Texas, straining shelters that were already dealing with overcrowding issues.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has accused Texas Governor Greg Abbott of forcing migrants onto the buses and accusing them of using them as little pawns to draw attention to the influx of migrants coming from Mexico at those crossings.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez has more.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN IMMIGRATION REPORTER (voice-over): This is the scene in Washington D.C. as migrants arrive to the city from the U.S.- Mexico border.

Republican Governors Greg Abbott, of Texas, and Doug Ducey, of Arizona, both fierce critics of Biden's immigration policies, began sending migrants to the nation's capital earlier this year, as an affront to the administration.

Now, Abbott is also sending them to New York City.

MAYOR ERIC ADAM (D-NY): It's just a mean and cruel thing that he's doing.

ALVAREZ: Migrants are placed on buses without plans for what happens when they arrive in these cities. It's led to a difficult humanitarian situation on the ground that's largely being addressed by shelters and nonprofit groups.


Tatiana Laborde is the managing director of SAMU First Response, an international organization with offices in Washington D.C. The group has been trying to shore up resources to keep up with the pace of arrivals.

TATIANA LABORDE, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SAMU FIRST RESPONSE: We don't have the capacity to read every bus BUT we try to at least a half or more.

We feed them. We give them a warm meal. We give them a hygiene kits. And we give them guidance on how to get to their next destination.

We have shelter for up to 50 people. We prioritize women with children. And then we're able to do tickets for a percentage of them.

ALVAREZ: Migrants on the buses have already been processed and are released in the United States while they go through their immigration proceedings.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has called in additional resources, including she hopes the deployment of the National Guard.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D-WA): We have a growing humanitarian crisis that we expect that the federal government expects is going to only worsen.

ALVAREZ: But the Pentagon declined that request, arguing it would negatively impact the readiness of the guard.

The day's-long journey originates from different points along the U.S.-Mexico border. Thirty-seven buses have been sent to Washington D.C., from Arizona, carrying nearly 1,400 passengers. And more than 100 buses have arrived to Washington D.C. from Texas.

Abbott just began sending migrants to New York City last Friday. (on-camera): Is the city under strain?


ALVAREZ (voice-over): D.C. Councilmember Brianne Nadeau says the district has assisted immigrants for years. But Texas and Arizona have overwhelmed the system.

NADEAU: Truly this is a federal issue that's being played out through political gamesmanship by Republican governors on the border states.

ALVAREZ: Abbott maintains his actions are in response to the administration's poor handling of the border.

Adams has condemned the Texas governor's actions and recently issued an emergency declaration to procure shelter and other services.

ADAMS: I don't think anything being is more anti-American than shipping people on a bus 45-hour trip without any of the basic needs that they have a direction or coordination.


ACOSTA: Our thanks to Priscilla Alvarez for that report.

Coming up, new threats of violence. "Lock and load, kill all feds." And more violent rhetoric that keeps on circulating on pro-Trump Web sites. More on that.



ACOSTA: Following the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, the bureau is monitoring an unprecedented number of threats fueled by dangerous statements like these.


REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): This is Gestapo crap and it will not stand. The Department of injustice needs to be cleaned out if they are going to start pretending we're some sort of banana republic.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): This should scare the living daylights out of American citizens. And say we have got to change our federal government.

The way our federal government has gone, it's like what we thought about the Gestapo, people like that. They just go after people.

What we thought of the Soviet Union, what we -- look at Latin America. We have got to say to ourselves, this cannot be our country.


ACOSTA: Just yesterday, the names of the two agents who signed the search warrant paperwork were circulating online after the unredacted warrant was leaked.

Joining me is Peter Strzok. He is a former FBI counterintelligence official who played a central role in both the Hillary Clinton e-mail and Trump Russia investigations.

He's also the author of "Compromised Counterintelligence and the Threat of Donald J. Trump."

Peter, one of the most amusing things I saw in the past week, I think I saw one Republican lawmaker saying, where was all of the attention to Hillary Clinton's e-mails?

Of course, I remember when James Comey came out with that, eleven days before the 2016 election, had a very big impact on that election.

But what do you say to those voices on the far right who spent all week slamming the bureau's integrity.

And, I mean, really using the kind of language that could lead to violence, could animate some, you know, extremists out there who might be thinking about doing something violent?

PETER STRZOK, FORMER FBI CHIEF OF THE COUNTERESPIONAGE SECTION: Grow up. This is wildly irresponsible. This is directly leading to violence. It is inflaming people.

It is causing things like a gunman approaching the Cincinnati field office of the FBI, brandishing a weapon, leading people on a car chase, and you know, ending in his death.

This is something we know from decades of the global war on terror, the things that you try and do to deradicalize people. You approach political leaders, community leaders, faith leaders, and you tell them to dial back the rhetoric.

What we're seeing in America today is the opposite.

To your point, with a team of about 20 people, I spent a year and a half working on Hillary Clinton's e-mail server, where we executed multiple search warrants.

I never heard one Republican once raise a finger talking about how we were using Gestapo tactics or overreaching.

From the Democrats, behaving like responsible American citizens, letting the FBI do its job. And that's what the Republicans need to do here.

The FBI has a job to do to enforce the laws of the United States. And it's beyond the pale that there are Senators, United States Senators who are going along and nodding their head up and down with suggestions that the FBI plants evidence or things which are extraordinarily wrong.

And these people know better. And for them to be continuing to say that in light of everything we're now seeing, the constant flow of classified material that's being recovered out of Mar-a-Lago, false statements, apparently, by attorneys to President Trump, saying that that nothing remained.

There isn't any basis to be making these claims. It is leading to violence, and it needs to stop.

ACOSTA: Yes, it almost reminds me, Peter, of some of the incendiary rhetoric that we heard leading up to January 6th. And we saw, of course, that spasm of violence on that day, which obviously is the subject of the January 6th investigation.


And all of that is sort of not really on the front page right now because we're focusing so much on what occurred at Mar-a-Lago a few days ago.

Let's clear something up. If it were any other person not named Trump who had eleven sets of classified documents at their home, including items marked "Top Secret SCI," how would you be treated by FBI?

I mean, it's almost because Trump goes after people. He engages in character assassination. He's gone after you, for example, and so on.

That the Justice Department and the FBI, correct me if I'm wrong here, they do, I guess, treat the former president somewhat carefully because of what he can unleash.

STRZOK: Right. And I think Trump has a history of playing in the margins of legality. He finds where that line is. He goes right up to it, and he pushes it to see whether or not he can get away with something.

That was magnified when he became president, just because of the history of deference we have in this country to the presidency.

So things which were never really codified, things that were always accepted as common practice, he walked right past that.

And whether it was disregarding questions that Special Counsel Mueller asked of him, refusing to be interviewed in person, whether it's things like this, claiming first he didn't have documents, then that he turned them in, then declassified them.

There's nothing there that he won't push the boundary.

Now, when it comes to my experience, I know from personal experience several very high-level, high-ranking government officials that I was present executing a search warrant because there was no offer of a subpoena.

There was no reach out to their attorney to try and negotiate the return of something which we suspected they had.

If they had classified information, and they didn't have authorization to have it, it was contraband. We went to a judge, we got a search warrant, we executed that, and recovered the material.

So there's just no question in my mind that Trump is being treated differently. And largely, because of who he is. And largely, because of his position as a former president.

ACOSTA: And, Peter, here's a question that I have that has not been answered, and that is why is a former president of the United States in possession of all of this top-secret material?

Do all of our former presidents have mansions and, you know, resort properties where they keep a room full of top-secret classified material? I mean, why does he have this stuff?

STRZOK: Jim, he's an outlier. There's no other president I'm aware of, certainly when I was an FBI agent, there was no president that ever had classified information, let alone this volume.

What troubles me the most about this case, I cannot understand why he maintained that material.

The Intelligence Community struggled on a day in, day out basis to try to get him to pay attention to the president's daily brief. They tried and struggled to get him to listen to the Intelligence Community.

He's happy to listen to Vladimir Putin, but he had no appetite to sit and listen to what it was that folks within the intel community were trying to tell him.

Now, suddenly, he's out of office, he suddenly pivots to take 27 boxes of classified material that he couldn't be bothered to read while he was the president?

He's not writing some detailed memoir about, you know, the political ins and outs of what he accomplished in the Middle East or North Korea. It makes no sense why he would keep it.

And that really, when you look at what it is that he appears to have had, that is really, really troubling.

ACOSTA: Yes, Peter, I mean, the former president has put out fundraising e-mails in the last several days. He's put out lots of statements and posts on his Truth Social Web site.

We haven't heard, why does he have this stuff. And you know, if he or his people are listening, can they just offer that explanation? Why do they have the top-secret material at Mar-a-Lago. I think it's a question that needs to be answered.

Peter Strzok, thank you very much for your time. We appreciate it.

STRZOK: Thank you.


ACOSTA: We'll take a quick break, and we'll be right back.


ACOSTA: A jersey worn by the one and only Michael Jordan during one of the most famous seasons of his NBA career is going up for auction but it's going to cost you to be like Mike.

The jersey worn by Jordan during game one of the 1998 NBA finals is expected to go for as much as $5 million when bidding ends in September. That would be the most ever paid for a Jordan jersey.

The auctioneer, Sotheby's, calls it one of the most significant items from Michael Jordan's career, worn when he was at the height of his abilities.

Back in October, you'll recall, a pair of Nike sneakers worn by Jordan during his rookie season sold for a record-breaking amount, nearly $1.5 million. Those are some serious Air Jordans there.

Imagine spending an entire year in one of the wildest places on earth, coping with hungry predators, stormy seas and high altitudes. Tomorrow, we'll get a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to film the groundbreaking series, "PATAGONIA."

Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are no longer afraid of him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it's fantastic. They couldn't care less about me. They were all over the housing. It was a very magical moment because you realize they don't have fear of you.

It is really beautiful to have them on top of you. You see their webbed feet. You see their face and their little whiskers. Beautiful.



ACOSTA: Be sure to turn in. "PATAGONIA, LIFE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD" airs tomorrow night at 9:00 right here on CNN.

And we'll be right back.



ACOSTA: All right, you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Atlanta.

The newly unsealed Mar-a-Lago search warrants spark unprecedented threats of violence.