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House Asks National Archives to Access Trump Documents; DOJ Subpoenas Key Trump Associates; Caroline Polisi is Interviewed about the DOJ Subpoenas; Amtrak Suspends Some Routes. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired September 13, 2022 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: This just in to CNN, the House Oversight Committee is now asking the National Archives to access if there are presidential records still unaccounted for and still in Donald Trump's possession. They also want the agency to request a, quote, personal certification from Trump that he has indeed turned over all presidential records.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Our CNN's senior crime and justice reporter Katelyn Polantz is following all of this. What more can you tell us?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Jim and Poppy, the Oversight Committee is doing their own investigation and they have been doing it for some time trying to get to the bottom of the handling of the presidential records from the Trump White House after Donald Trump left the presidency. So, there's that criminal investigation and then there's this. We have the democratic chair of the Oversight Committee, Carolyn Maloney, writing now to the National Archives. So the agency that protect, handles and maintains all of those historic records of the federal government, saying they want the archives to seek a personal certification from Donald Trump that he has surrendered all presidential records that would be still in his possession even after the FBI went into Mar-a-Lago, seized all of those boxes, and also after Trump himself and his team would have turned over many boxes to the archives.
So, this is another phase where the House Oversight Committee, they want more answers from the Archives to make sure that everything is back in possession of the federal government.
And at this time, we're in a place where this criminal investigation is going on separately. But the archives have spoken up occasionally to say whether or not they have concerns. There are still questions out there about whether all of those records are still back in the possession of the federal government.
SCIUTTO: Katelyn, other big development, the Justice Department issuing more than 30 subpoenas to those in former President Trump's orbit in recent days. What's the latest and what exactly do those subpoenas cover? POLANTZ: Well, those subpoenas cover a lot of different things, and
they go to people that are very close to Donald Trump. So, this is a new avenue of inquiry, or at least a new avenue of investigative steps that the Justice Department is taking in their January 6th and election related investigation out of Washington, D.C., this grand jury criminal investigation.
Our reporting team was able to determine there have been at least 30 people around Donald Trump who have received subpoenas from this grand jury either for documents or even for testimony to go testify to the grand jury about things like the fake electors, the use of Trump fake electors after the election, the push of claiming that there was election fraud both in court and to the public and to elected officials, including members of Congress. Also, there are questions on these subpoenas that we know of asking for information about fundraising, about rally organization, about Trump's Save America PAC. And the subpoenas have gone to many different people in different areas around Trump's political universe. Not just people at his White House, including one of the people, a recipient, Dan Scavino, the former White House deputy chief of staff. And then in addition to that, people from the campaign. Bill Stepian, the Trump campaign manager. The CFO of the campaign, Sean Dollman, also receiving recent subpoenas would be people in the rally side of things, like Women for America First and also around that effort to push fraud after the election. Bernie Carrick, the former New York City Police Commissioner, a very close contact of Rudy Giuliani. So, a lot more steps the Justice Department is taking.
Katelyn Polantz, thanks so much.
OK, to help us break it down, look at the law, federal and white collar criminal defense attorney Caroline Polisi.
Caroline, good to have you here.
We're going to throw a lot at you because there's a lot going on.
First, these 30 subpoenas. This relating to the DOJ's January 6th specific investigation. If there's one thing we've learned in the last five years, six years, is that these investigations could last a long time.
They don't always, or even most often don't lead to indictments.
I wonder, with this development, where does it tell you, based on what you know, as to the status of that investigation?
CAROLINE POLISI, FEDERAL AND WHITE COLLAR CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, that's right, Jim. I would just note that, you know, Merrick Garland had been receiving a lot of flack when the January 6th congressional, the congressional committee hearings, were underway. People were saying, you know, where is DOJ in all of this. I think that this news tells you that he's been doing exactly what he said he was going to do about a year ago with respect to this case, which was, you know, keep his head down, follow the facts and follow the law.
You know, a criminal investigation is much different from a congressional investigation wherein these are grand jury subpoenas, they are not as easily sluffed off as congressional subpoenas. And, you know, they need to be based in fact and probable cause and there needs to be a predicate on which they are based to be delivered.
And so I think it tells you that they're, you know, far along at least in the investigation into January 6th, or farther along than we may have thought.
HARLOW: Switching to the developments on the special master, if we could, Caroline, and, you know, who Trump's team put forward and who the Justice Department put forward. It's interesting that DOJ said they're open to one of the suggestions from the Trump team, and that is a retired judge, Raymond Dearie, to be the special master. You've also got, at the same time, the Trump legal team opposing DOJ's two candidates but not saying why, which was just very interesting in their filing opposing those candidates.
Do you expect they move forward with Dearie? And, if so, what do people need to know about him?
POLISI: Yes, I would say it's a variable (ph) miracle that, you know, there is a candidate that both parties can agree on. I think Judge Cannon will likely move ahead with the appoint of Dearie. He is a very well respected senior judge in the eastern district of New York, in Brooklyn. Again, very - very well respected for his juris prudence, for his alacrity. Remember, that's one thing that DOJ is very concerned about. The holding up of this investigation.
I think, ultimately, the special master issue is sort of a side show here. The overarching issue, which, you know, the parties have been playing out in legal filings, is, what's the basis of this investigation? Team Trump would have, you know, the public think it's just about sort of a mishandling of presidential records.
POLISI: DOJ, obviously, thinks it's a much more serious offense with respect to potentially the Espionage Act.
SCIUTTO: Yes, you hear this storage issue or question raised by some. Now in making the argument, Trump's lawyers claimed a, quote, absolute right of access to really any of these documents to the former president, whether classified or not. Where does the law stand on that?
POLISI: Yes, Jim, and this has been sort of a point of contention since the inception of this case, the classification issue. You will note that in the filings team Trump did not specifically say that the former President Trump had declassified this information prior to leaving office, although Trump himself has made out of court statements that certainly could be used in any, you know, in any sort of prosecution moving forward that he did declassify them.
But the issue really doesn't have, you know, everything to do -- it doesn't rise and fall with respect to the classification issue. There are many criminal statutes at play here that only pertain to defense information. So, the Espionage Act violation, for example, things like that, does it rise and fall with the classification issue? And I think it's a bit of a -- sort of a red herring that the Trump team is trying to, you know, put forth this straw man argument there.
HARLOW: Caroline Polisi, thank you for helping us understand it.
Well, still ahead for us, White House officials scrambling to avoid the first national railroad strike in the United States in 30 years. The widespread implications of that, the economic potential impact, huge. We'll talk about it ahead.
HARLOW: All right, welcome back.
So, the White House is working with rail companies and a dozen unions trying to avoid what would be the first national rail strike in 30 years. A strike that threatens critical arteries and really threatens the U.S. economy.
SCIUTTO: Now, the president prevented a strike two months ago by imposing a cooling off period. That cooling off period expires on Friday. Amtrak has already suspended some of its longer routes in anticipation of a possible strike.
CNN's transportation correspondent Pete Muntean joins us now.
Now, Pete, there is, as you were confirming to us, an agreement on the table that ten out of 12 unions involved here have signed off on. Two have not. Can you describe the sticking points and whether there's any movement there, possibly?
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN TRANSPORTATION CORRESPONDENT: What we could see here, Jim, is all of these rail unions striking in solidarity, even though there are these two holdouts even still. You know, the deadline is midnight on Friday. But what's so interesting is that we're already seeing the impacts here with Amtrak, as you mentioned, suspending those routes effective right now. They're talking about suspending the routes from Chicago and L.A., Chicago and San Francisco, Chicago- Seattle, between San Antonio and L.A.
But the rub here is that Amtrak only operates about 3 percent of its rails because this strike would have to do with freight rail workers. And 97 percent of Amtrak's rails are operated by freight rail companies. So, a presidential review board tried to avoid this strike, offering big concessions to the rail works, essentially back pay from 2020, bonus pay, big raises effective immediately. The talks have been ongoing for months.
But there are these two holdouts, as we started to get into here, and those workers are those who represent those who are on the trains themselves, the key two-person crews. We're talking about 90,000 workers in total here. They want some bigger concessions when it comes to essentially being on call seven days a week. So, if they elect a strike, those two hold out unions, then all of these other rail worker unions could potentially strike here, and that could have a really big impact.
We're not just talking about just Amtrak, but we're also talking about the economy as the whole. Freight rail takes on about 30 percent of all the freight in the United States right now. A huge impact. We're talking about $2 billion a day. Everything from auto parts, to retail. So, right now, Jim and Poppy, the Biden administration really burning up the phones to try and avoid this potential strike. And we're only seeing the beginning of the impact here. Amtrak is just the start.
PHH: What's interesting, Pete, is that the president can't step in here and stop a strike after the cooling off period. But Congress has a unique power in all of this, right, if it were to legislate. Can you explain what they could do?
MUNTEAN: It is very unique and very interesting. Congress can impose a deal on both sides, or Congress can intercede and extend this cooling off period. It was a 60-day cooling off period. They could come back in again and say, we're going to extend this once more to try and avert this strike. A lot on the line here. $2 billion of economic impact a day. So, we know every layer of the Biden administration, from the Transportation Department to the Labor Department is engaged on this right now. We'll see as this unfolds and develops.
SCIUTTO: And not to be missed, a big political deadline, you might call it, the midterms in November.
MUNTEAN: No doubt.
SCIUTTO: Pete Muntean, thanks so much.
Coming up next, incredible moments at last night's Emmy Awards. Who won big and who went home, surprisingly, empty handed. We're going to have more coming up.
SCIUTTO: The 2020 prime time Emmy Awards did not disappoint with wins for lots of crowd favorites last night. HBC, which is owned by CNN's parent company, collected some 12 Emmy's with wins for "Euphoria," "White Lotus," "Hacks" and "Succession."
HARLOW: Speaking of "Succession," the show's creator took a moment to talk about the new king in the United Kingdom. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE ARMSTRONG, CREATOR, "SUCCESSION": A big week for successions. New king in the U.K. This is for us. Evidently a little bit more voting involved in our winning than Prince Charles. But, no, I mean, I'm not saying that we're more legitimate in our position than he is. We'll leave that to other people. But -
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
ARMSTRONG: We are incredibly grateful to have this - it's a wonderful honor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: CNN's Stephanie Elam is live in Los Angeles looking like you didn't need any sleep. You looked so great last night on the red carpet.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Poppy.
HARLOW: Steph, as you always do.
ELAM: Thank you.
HARLOW: A lot of big moments, right?
ELAM: A lot of big moments. That was definitely one where you're like, did they just have a moment? Were they pro-queen, anti-queen? Like, it was very awkward for a second while you were listening to them have that out, that moment there. But, overall, some of the winners that we expected to win won again, and that would be "Ted Lasso." Let's start out with a comedy that everyone loves to root for. The somewhat naive but really just trying to do the best he can guy. Jason Sudeikis winning there for lead actor. Bret Goldstein also leading - winning for a supporting actor. Also cussing (ph) again, but this time doing it on purpose. It was actually kind of funny. So that was noteworthy.
Jean Smart repeating again for her win for her lead in "Hacks."
And then also worth noting in this category here is Quinta Brunson, who won for writing the pilot of "Abbott Elementary," the show that she created. She was also nominated for lead actor. Of course, when she won, there was this kind of weird moment because Will Arnett had dragged Jimmy Kimmel on stage and Jimmy Kimmel just stayed there on the ground while she was accepting her award. So that was one little odd moment.
But the person who had the speech of the night would be Sheryl Lee Ralph. She won for supporting actress for her role in "Abbot Elementary." This is the first time she has won an Emmy, and she made sure to recognize this moment. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHERYL LEE RALPH, BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS WINNER: This is what believing looks like. This is what striving looks like. And don't you ever, ever give up on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: She walked past me on the carpet. I have to just tell you, she looked fantastic. And you could tell she was kind of stunned that this moment happened.
But back to the drama side of things. "Succession" is the show that everyone loves. They love watching family members being harsh on each other. Matthew Macfadyen, he also won supporting actor for that show. And then you had Lee Jung-jae, who won for his role, lead role, in "Squid Game." And so that was fun to see and see him out there, as well as a directing win for that show, as well as Zendaya winning again for her lead role in "Euphoria." And then also "White Lotus" had a great night as well for the limited series, guys.
SCIUTTO: Lucky you, Stephanie Elam.
Great -- so glad you got to be there. Really appreciate it.
SCIUTTO: All right, on to the other succession now. As King Charles is set to arrive for the prayer service there in Northern Ireland, we are standing by for the queen to make her final journey to Buckingham Palace. Of course, we're going to be live. That is just coming up.
HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. Top of the hour. I'm Poppy Harlow.
SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. A very busy Tuesday morning. Even some more history happening right now.
King Charles and the queen consort are at St. Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as they attend a service of prayer and reflection for Queen Elizabeth.
This trip marks King Charles's first trip to Northern Ireland as the United Kingdom's new monarch.