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New King Strengthen Relationship with Northern Ireland; Sea of Mourners Pay Their Last Farewell; Ukraine's Strong Counteroffensive Push Russians Out; Mourners Not Bothered by Noise and Cold Weather; DOJ Digging More Intricate Details; Trump Team Playing the Delay Tactic; Biden Administration Increase Funding for Cancer Research; Stunning Images Seen from the Sky. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired September 13, 2022 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us in the United States and all around the world. I'm Becky Anderson at Buckingham Palace in London, where preparations are already underway for Queen Elizabeth's funeral procession as the U.K. paints a final farewell to its longest serving monarch.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Rosemary Church in Atlanta. We are tracking the latest developments out of Ukraine where Russian defenses seem to be collapsing in the face of a lightning-fast Ukrainian counter offensive.
ANDERSON: A very good morning from London, where it is just after eight in the morning. In a matter of hours, Britain's longest serving monarch will make her final journey back to Buckingham Palace behind me. Right now, Queen Elizabeth II is lying at rest in St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh in Scotland where thousands of mourners have been filing past her coffin to pay their respects.
The queen's four children including King Charles III joined the public in mourning as they held a silent vigil around their mother's casket. Also on Monday, the new monarchy dressed both the British and Scottish parliaments, making clear his commitment to the people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING CHARLES III, KING OF UNITED KINGDOM: I take up my new duties, with thankfulness for all that Scotland has given me. With resolve to seek always the welfare of our country and its people. And with wholehearted trust in your goodwill and good counsel as we take forward that task together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's get you to Edinburgh now where CNN's Isa Soares is standing by outside St. Giles' Cathedral. It was a long day for the family yesterday. A long day for the people of Edinburgh who turned out to line up the streets on the, particularly on the Royal Mile as the casket was taken to that that cathedral behind you. What are people telling you about how they feel?
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, what I have been hearing, at least in the last 24 hours is that's the least we can do is stay in line, line up and pay respects to Queen Elizabeth II. Sun rising this morning here just behind me on St. Giles' Cathedral. And people continue, as you can see behind me, continue to stream in St. Giles' Cathedral.
The numbers are not as big as what we saw last night. We saw long, long lines that stretched just past the cathedral down the road, and then going into the meadows and beyond that. One police officer that actually spent the night here, Becky, was basically saying it was lined for about eight to nine hours in fact.
This morning people are able to stream in. I've seen children in their uniforms trying of course to pay their respects before going into school. I've seen toddlers even carrying cereal bags to try and stay away and stay fueled for the lineup, for the line that we see. And it's a very smooth logistical operation. They get their arm bands, they pass through security, and then they just kept moving. An opportunity of course for people to pay their final respects and their final farewell.
I'm joined here - I'm just going to move to the side, I'm joined here by Amy and Julia who tried, you both tried, didn't you, to come yesterday but you gave up.
SOARES: Tell us why?
UNKNOWN: Well, it was (Inaudible) came in from Bristol, I need some, you know, (Inaudible), but it was a quarter past one where we thought well, we'll just walk down and just see, you know. And everywhere was just don't, you know, between sort of a ten-hour way, somethings that we thought right. We still got tomorrow, we'll wake up really early and come in tomorrow and we'll just wake up about six o'clock --
UNKNOWN: I couldn't believe our luck. How quick it was.
SOARES: And you came how quick was it this morning?
UNKNOWN: About 20 minutes. Like, just we didn't stop once. Just walking from the St. George quarter here.
SOARES: Very quick?
UNKNOWN: So quick, yes.
UNKNOWN: Ten minutes to get the wrist band. And then just really quietly and calm through security.
SOARES: Very through.
UNKNOWN: And then it was amazing.
SOARES: And that moment inside, I've heard so many people describe it so differently. What did it mean to you?
UNKNOWN: It's just surreal. You knew it was like a once in a lifetime opportunity. So, it was just so peaceful. And you knew, that's why we knew we had to be here.
UNKNOWN: Well, it's quite heartbreaking in a way to sort of, because you suddenly realize that it's real. Because that's --
UNKNOWN: -- it can't happen and then you are standing there in ask and you just can't swallow because you've got a lump in your throat.
SOARES: Yes, a lump in your throat.
UNKNOWN: Yes, it's just, it's just beautiful.
SOARES: Amy and Julia, thank you very much for taking a time to speak with us.
UNKNOWN: You're welcome. Thank you.
SOARES: And Becky, what I've been hearing for so many people in the 24 hours, is how poignant it is of course that Queen Elizabeth II died in Scotland so they too can be part of course, of the queen's great farewell and a great last journey she makes her way of course today to Buckingham Palace.
ANDERSON: Yes. You make a very, very good point. Isa, thank you. Isa Soares is in Edinburgh. Well, the next step in the queen's final journey comes later today when her coffin is flown from Edinburgh to London. It will then remain at Buckingham Palace before being moved to Westminster Hall on Wednesday. And there the late monarch will lie in state until her funeral on Monday.
Well, CNN's Nina dos Santos joining me now here in London outside Buckingham Palace. Where you've been -- you've been reporting on and researching exactly what goes into what is the next six days' worth of preparations. And they have been described by the head of the metropolitan police here as a massive challenge. But one that his force is ready for.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. There been preparations for this day for years. Indeed, there's been a big operation that has been code named that people now know about that has been a place for so long. But the reality is that they are going to have to contend with a huge number of people on an unprecedented level here.
As you pointed out, (Inaudible) who's just been installed and sworn in fact, as the helm of the metropolitan police which is the biggest police force in the country and has overall oversight in some of the serious potential threats in this country like counterterrorism, and so on and so forth.
He said that we could be expecting crowds of up to, perhaps even two million people converging in front of the British capital as of tomorrow morning when of course the queen's coffin removed from Buckingham Palace, which is where it will arrive later on today. It will stay here overnight. And then it will move to Westminster Hall.
That is where we will see these huge lines forming. I mean, just to give you an idea of comparison. Some conservative estimate says that even if 750,000 people arrive here in London, that would be already a huge stretch. We are going up 10,000 police officers involved in crowd control. And police in the overall state funeral in a weeks' time.
The only thing that compares to these kinds of numbers is, for instance, Princess Diana's funeral 20 or 25 years ago, 200,000 people arrived in London to pay their respects to the queen's late mother. The queen mother and that was in 2002.
ANDERSON: And that was in 2002, isn't it? Yes.
DOS SANTOS: So, it really is a huge undertaking, but as you said, it's one that they are ready for. And there's even 1,500 members of the army who are also going to be taking part and making sure that the crowds are safe for all sorts of reasons.
ANDERSON: You're absolutely right. These preparations I've been in TV in the U.K. for about 23, 25 years. And as long as I have been around, there have been preparations behind the scenes going on with the broadcasters, you know, about how we will actually cover this. This is been going on for years. But it's -- but when it happens --
DOS SANTOS: Yes.
ANDERSON: -- then when it actually goes into action that you see just how sophisticated this operation is. Nina and I have been here for some hours outside of Buckingham Palace this morning. We've been watching, for example, the rehearsals for the walking of the coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster.
All of these things going on in the middle of the night, of course, in order to ensure that they are correct. They are effective and efficient. It's a massive undertaking.
Thank you, Nina. Nina dos Santos here with me in London.
Well meantime, Charles heads to Northern Ireland just hours now for his first visit as king. It's a region where many remember the queen as a force for reconciliation after the violent decades of the troubles. So, she made a number of visits to Northern Ireland over the years. The queen first visited Ireland in 2011 and acknowledged a complex past.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEEN ELIZABETH II, QUEEN OF THE UNITED KINGDOM: It is a sad and regrettable reality that through the history our islands have experienced more than their fair share of heartache, turbulence and loss. These events have touched us all. Many of us personally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, the queen herself was personally affected by the conflict when the Irish Republican Army or the IRA killed her husband's uncle Louis Mountbatten in 1979. Still is, part of the reconciliation effort in 2012, she shook hands with former IRA commander Martin McGuiness, who years earlier, had been committed to overthrowing her rule in Northern Ireland.
Well joining me now is Jonathan Tonge, professor of politics at the University of Liverpool. A specialist in this subject. It's good to have you on.
It's an important issue to discuss. This perhaps the most politically sensitive challenge that Charles, King Charles will have to undertake. What are the political challenges in Northern Ireland right now? Just set the scene for us, if you will.
JONATHAN TONGE, POLITICS PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL: Well, the political challenge is that the two communities in Northern Ireland do remain divided. We shouldn't pretend otherwise. King Charles will receive a wonderful, one of the warmest receptions possible from the Protestant British Humanist community in Northern Ireland.
And it will be interesting to see how the nationalist community reacts to King Charles, because the leaders, the political leaders of the national community, Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill who is the leader of the largest party now in Northern Ireland, she's been very respectful about the death of the queen and paid tribute to the queen in Stormont, the Northern Ireland assembly yesterday.
She's been very, very respectful in what she has tweeted. Acknowledging the pain and grief of the British Humanist community up this time withing Northern Ireland. So, they're in here amidst the grief and the mourning, there is also clear hope, I think for further reconciliation within Northern Ireland which the queen did so much, as you said in your introduction to help create.
And that King Charles will obviously will be very, very keen to continue (Inaudible) the relation between two divided communities.
ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating. Sinn Fein leader Michelle, O'Neill did pay her respects to the queen. Let's just have a listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE O'NEILL, LEADER, SINN FEIN PARTY: I think that post-Martin McGuiness, Queen Elizabeth herself, led a very significant role in terms of setting a strong message. That we have a healing to do as a people between our two islands, between the people who live on this island. And I think that both of them played a very significant role in helping us all to step forward and to actually step outside of our comfort zones. I think in life that's very, very important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: This is, frankly, not something that you would have seen before the Good Friday agreement back in 1998. How do you expect King Charles to be received today by the nationalists? And you've just alluded to where you think he needs to go next. What role can he play in the future?
TONGE: he'll be -- yes, he'll be received respectfully by the leaders of the nationalist community. There maybe a few outliers within the national community or to, you know, to turn their back on King Charles and actually reject him.
But because nationalism is moderated, because Sin Fein is moderated there are the tensions that would be associated with the royal visit that would have been the case not that long ago. We know as well, of course that there is a certain empathy. Because as Republicans and nationalists in Ireland suffered during the conflict, so of course did the royal family.
Prince Charles as was, now King Charles was deeply moved when his uncle Lord Mountbatten was killed in 1979. So, the conflict touched the royal family personally. And that I think is added to that their interest and determination to try and be a force for reconciliation within Northern Ireland.
The queen meeting Martin McGuinness in 2012 was extraordinary, absolutely extraordinary and absolutely jaw-dropping moment. Ditto when the queen when to Dublin and laid a wreath commemorating those who fought against British rule in Ireland in the Garden of Remembrance there.
King Charles is very, very interested. He is patron, for example, of the institute of Irish studies at my own university, he is very, very keen to continue the work of reconciliation as head of state. And you'll hear -- you'll hear probably some words to that effect today from him.
Obviously, it's a difficult time for him and exhausting schedule whilst mourning the death of his own mother. But he's absolutely determined to try and carry on the healing work of his mother.
ANDERSON: It's good to have you on, sir. It's an extremely important issue. And one that we appreciate your analyst -- analysis and insight on. Thank you. Jonathan Tonge joining us this morning. And I'll have a lot more from London in just a few moments. First,
let's get you to Rosemary Church at the CNN center in Atlanta for some of our other news.
CHURCH: All right. Thank you so much, Becky. We'll get back to you soon.
A Ukrainian counteroffensive is rolling on, and CNN is there. Coming up, an exclusive report. Watch as a CNN crew comes under fire amid a Russian retreat. We're live in Kharkiv. That's just ahead.
CHURCH: A major counteroffensive to drive out Russian forces rolls on in eastern Ukraine. For days we've seen images of Ukrainian flags going up in areas around the Kharkiv region. And now we are seeing the other side. Abandoned Russian tanks and other weapons litter the road and villages. Signs of a hasty retreat.
And here is how it happened. Ukraine had been signaling for weeks about a counteroffensive in the south. But the southern attack may have been a decoy. And instead, a major push in the northeast began. Here was the Ukrainian president on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): Since the start of September, our soldiers have already liberated 6,000- square kilometers of Ukrainian territory in the east and south. And we are moving further.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: But as Russia withdraws on the ground, it's still launching airstrikes and missiles with new attacks hitting Kharkiv. Ukrainian gains have forced even the Russians to admit they are retreating. But Kyiv has also pushed a media blackout, hoping to keep the enemy guessing about what comes next.
CNN's Melissa Bell and her crew gained access to newly-liberated areas in the northeast and found themselves in the middle of an artillery battle. She filed this exclusive report, and a warning, parts of it are graphic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The tanks spoke to a hasty Russian retreat as Ukrainian forces swept eastward over the weekend. Triumphantly raising the flag over Kupiansk on Saturday. Local police forces providing CNN with exclusive access to a key town now meant to be under Ukrainian control.
"We still feel uneasy because we've been bombed for four days in a row," says Vasil (Ph), "and nothing certain yet."
Which only became clear as we headed further in to Kupiansk.
BELL: Aircrafts, helicopters, shelling come between. At first artillery strike, too close for comfort. Then a second, much closer.
BELL: BELL: That was the sound of artillery landing just next to our car, our armored car, we have come into Kupiansk hoping to get to that flag to see where it had been plotted only yesterday. But as you can see the group this Sunday afternoon and still this scene of some pretty fierce fighting. We're hearing the sound of outgoing artillery fire. That was the sound of incoming.
The policeman tells us our car was deliberately targeted. Time for us to head back to those parts of Kharkiv region now fully under Ukrainian control after six long months.
PAVLO, UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: Generally, yes, people are happy. They are feeding the soldiers, they are cheering, they're celebrating. Feel great. Feel like redemption. Yes. Eager to advance.
BELL: But in villages like (Inaudible), Ukrainian investigators know all too well what they'll find of Bucha (Ph) and Borodyanka that were under Russian control for only a month.
"Yes, according to our information, we are recording war crimes in almost every village," he says. This, the body of one of two civilians killed in late February. An early victim of the invasion and evidence now of what six months of Russian occupation have cost.
BELL: Now those bodies that one you just saw but there were three others dug up in that village only on Sunday. They are now the subject of official war crimes investigations.
Remember, Rosemary, that as these troops continue to advance, as these villages here in Kharkiv region are secure so that those investigations can begin, what authorities are looking into is a fairly systematic attempt over the course of six months to clean these areas of people who might object to the Russian presence. And certainly, to the potential referendum that were to be held and to the annexation that we imagine Moscow is planning.
CHURCH: Extraordinary and exclusive report there. Melissa Bell, we thank you joining us live from Kharkiv.
Well, for more, I'm joined now by Phillips O'Brien. He is an author, editor and a professor of strategic studies at the university of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Thank you so much for joining us. PHILLIPS O'BRIEN, PROFESSOR OF STRATEGIC STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF ST.
ANDREWS: Glad to be here.
CHURCH: So, as Ukraine makes these extraordinary gains, liberating thousands of square miles and kilometers in the northeast, and sending Russian forces into retreat, do you think this represents a major turning point in the war or is it too early to say that?
O'BRIEN: Well, I mean, turning point is interesting. Actually, Ukraine has been doing better and better over the last few months anyway. In many ways, this represents sort of, a natural progression of the way that war has been going since June and July.
Ukraine has been getting stronger. It's been getting better systems. The Russians have been doing a series of really, profoundly wasteful attacks in Donbas they've been weakening themselves.
I think people had too much on their mind, the idea of the big, strong powerful Russian military and weren't adjusting to what was happening. And what was happening was Russia was wasting its resources because Ukraine is was retreating them. And Ukraine was getting stronger.
It just revealed itself a week ago, a week a half ago. But it wasn't the major turning. It's where we are in the war.
CHURCH: And of course, Russia's losses are resulting in some criticism and dissent being seen on Russian state television of all places, with calls within the country for the resignation of President Vladimir Putin that some western analysts are even going as far to suggest that these Ukrainian advances could bring down Putin. Is that viable or premature at this juncture, do you think?
O'BRIEN: Well, in terms of the losses, these are really extraordinary. To put it into context, Ukrainian claims of Russian killed in action which actually might be accurate. Ukrainian claims are not highly inflated. It would mean that Russia has lost as many soldiers, KIA so far as the United States lost in the entire Vietnam War from 1961 to 1975.
And this is in half a year. So, this total casualty rate for Russia is enormous. And it's going to have some kind of political repercussions. Now Putin is a dictator. And it's not easy to overthrow dictators.
So, I think we have to be very careful about saying, he is going to fall or someone is going to move against him. He's gotten where he is because he's a ruthless and he's very skilled at keeping power even if he's not a very skilled strategist.
CHURCH: But with so many stories of Russian defeat and troops running away, how do you expect President Putin to respond to this humiliation? Do you worry about what he might do to try to save face?
O'BRIEN: Well, this is the nuclear question. I mean, I think, I still think it's very unlikely that he is willing to cross the nuclear threshold just because I'm not sure what he gains by it. It doesn't actually help him necessarily win the war. It makes NATO intervention far more likely.
It -- I can't believe the Chinese would be terribly thrilled about a nuclear engagement breaking out over this. He will want to keep power. That's extremely important. Hopefully he'll calculate that the war is lost. And the best way to keep our is to try and extricate from the war. But it's very hard to say with Putin on how he will react.
CHURCH: Phillips O'Brien, we thank you so much for your analysis. I appreciate it.
O'BRIEN: Thank you.
CHURCH: And our coverage of the new royal era continues in just a moment with my colleague Becky Anderson in London. Preparations are underway as the coffin carrying the late Queen Elizabeth is due to arrive at Buckingham Palace today. A live report from London when we return.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR: A very warm welcome back to London where the time is half past eight in the morning. Wherever you are watching, you are more than welcome.
In the coming hours the coffin carrying the late Queen Elizabeth will depart from Edinburgh in Scotland and be flown to London. It will then be taken to Buckingham Palace behind me here where members of the royal family will be waiting.
By Wednesday, the queen will be lying in state at Westminster Hall until funeral next Monday.
Well, preparations have been underway in London where processional rehearsals took place earlier outside Buckingham Palace.
CNN's Scott McLean is in central London where some are already lining up to pay their respects to the queen. Scott, just explain where you are and why that is significantly.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure, Becky. Yes. So, we're on the south side of the Thames River just across are the British Houses of Parliament where Westminster Hall is. That is where the body will be lying in state. The body of queen Elizabeth will be lying in state.
You can also see the top of Westminster Abbey there where the funeral will take place. And we expect that the lineup for people hoping to see the queen lying in state will stretch along the river across the Lambeth Bridge here. And then over to where I am at the moment, there is more press in this area than people, but there are some early folks who have come already to line up hoping to be the very first to see the queen's body when it arrives here.
So, this is Vanessa. And I just wonder, Vanessa, why was it so important for you to be here since yesterday morning?
VANESSA, IN LINE TO PAY RESPECT TO LATE QUEEN ELIZABETH II: That's to pay our last respect for her great service that she's done to our country, the Commonwealth and worldwide. And if she's been -- she has been loved by everyone worldwide. She's a great queen of England.
MCLEAN: And Annie, I understand that you've also been here since yesterday morning. You live in Wales, obviously. And I understand that you actually met the queen for her 90th birthday. What was that like?
ANNE DALEY, IN LINE TO PAY RESPECT TO LATE QUEEN ELIZABETH II: It was simply amazing. Her majesty is, you know, you have to, as she said, you -- I have to be seen to be believed. She looked resplendent. That was the last royal walk about she did in 2016 and it was a great pleasure to meet her. And we are here today to repay our respects to her on Wednesday when her coffin is brought here.
MCLEAN: Of course. And Grace, I have to ask, you know, we're still more than 32 hours away from Westminster Hall being open to the public. I wonder if you're prepared to wait here for that long.
GRACE GOTHARD, IN LINE TO PAY RESPECT TO LATE QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Yes, we are prepared to wait as everyone -- everyone said, we are here to pay our respect to her and say goodbye to her because she's done -- she's done enough. Very good job for the whole world and for Britain and the Commonwealth. So that's why we are here.
We came last night. We've been sleeping here, whether it's cold or not, we don't mind. If you don't love someone you won't do anything for anyone. Yes. So, we came here just to pay our respect and see her and say goodbye. That's why we are here.
MCLEAN: Did you sleep at all last night?
GOTHARD: We -- yes, we were sleeping here. The only time we couldn't sleep with the buses and siren going, wee, wee, wee, wee. So, yes. All right.
MCLEAN: You look cold. I hope you managed to stay warm over the next 32 hours.
GOTHARD: I'm fine. I like the cold I'm from hot country, but I can't stand it. I like the cold. I don't mind.
MCLEAN: Yes, that's right, originally from Ghana. And so, these three will be here for the next few hours. I just want to talk to one other person. This is Brian who came from Luton, which is just north of London. And Brian, you came this morning. I wonder why was it so important for you to be here? BRIAN, IN LINE TO PAY RESPECT TO LATE QUEEN ELIZABETH II: Well, I
wanted to show my respects to the -- to the -- to the queen. She's been very, very, very good for the country. The courage she's empowered all the women.
BRIAN: Yes, it's been wonderful.
MCLEAN: And you know the -- of course officials are asking people not to bring big bags, not to bring camping gear, not to bring a lot of stuff. And so, you have just one small backpack. Are you prepared to be here for the next 32 hours?
BRIAN: No, I'm going to get a good shot. Yes, I will do. Yes, I will be.
MCLEAN: We'll talk to you again in 32 hours and see how you're doing. And I really hope that you manage to stay warm. Thank you for talking to us, Brian.
So, Becky, this is just a slice of the people who are here, you know, hoping to just cap -- catch a glimpse of the queen's coffin as it lies in state in Westminster Hall.
ANDERSON: Now remarkable stuff, the resilience. Scott, thank you very much, indeed.
Well, along with his title, Britain's new king has inherited something new. King Charles now shares ownership of the country's unmarked swan population. Thanks to a tradition here dating back to medieval times. The monarch's swan marker, someone who cares for these birds has been at his post for 30 years. He thinks the new king will be an excellent steward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID BARBER, SWAN MARKER TO KING CHARLES III: But it'll be very interesting because his majesty, he's very keen on conservation and all this type of thing, which is absolutely brilliant for us as well. So, hopefully he will take a nice interest in the swan population that we have. And, you know, that will help us do our job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: We'll have a lot more from here in just a few moments. I'm Becky Anderson outside Buckingham Palace. First, let's get you to Rosemary Church who is at CNN center in Atlanta. Rosemary.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks again, Becky. We'll get back to you soon.
And still ahead here on CNN Newsroom, the U.S. Justice Department wants to know more about Donald Trump's 2020 campaign fundraising and how it's related to the U.S. Capitol riot. Back with that in just a moment.
[03:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the U.S. Justice Department says it's open to one of Donald Trump's picks for special master to review materials seized in the search of Mar-a-Lago. He is Raymond Dearie who has served as a federal judge in New York since he was nominated by then President Ronald Reagan.
Trump's attorneys have rejected both candidates suggested by the Justice Department. Meanwhile, the federal investigation into January 6th appears to be gaining momentum. Prosecutors want to speak with dozens of people close to Donald Trump, including his former political director, campaign manager and deputy chief of staff.
Joining me now from Washington, D.C., Doug Heye is a Republican strategist and the former communications director at the Republican National Committee.
Good to have you with us.
DOUG HEYE, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good to be with you. Thank you.
CHURCH: So, let's start with the legal battle over those classified documents recovered from Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home. And after his lawyers rejected the DOJ special master candidates without giving a reason, the DOJ says it is open to one of the candidates proposed by Trump's team to review those seized documents.
So, as a compromise nominee, will Raymond Dearie being tapped for this role remove the possibility of a delay. And what is the political impact of all of this, do you think?
HEYE: Well, the biggest impact is the question of time. And certainly, the Department of Justice wants to move as quickly as possible. Donald Trump wants to move as slowly as possible, and clearly, he wants to run out the clock as much as he can. And it's where Trump has been most successful.
You know, quite often we see what Donald Trump or his legal team has said. And we sometimes think it doesn't make sense, but if you want to slow things down, that does make sense for them. And that's where their goal is. And so rejecting people made a lot of sense if that's your goal, even if you didn't have a reason.
We'll see if this now is able to have DOJ speed things up. But we also, we need to be mindful that judges don't like shenanigans. And so, if you reject somebody, that's one thing. If you reject them without a reason, that's where judges step in and they start to call B.S. on this.
CHURCH: Right. So, we'll see what happens there. But meantime, of course, the Justice Department has subpoenaed more than 30 people in Trump's orbit, including top officials from his political fundraising and former campaign operations as the DOJ intensifies its criminal investigation into the January 6th insurrection.
So how significant is this, do you think, these 30 plus people in his orbit?
HEYE: It's very significant and it is for two reasons. One, you know, what we see is that DOJ is trying to get narrower and narrower as they kind of climb up pot and pole of the Trump administration, ultimately, meaning who's that top person, Donald Trump. But to do so, to go narrower, they have to go wider and they have to subpoena more people. They have to get more testimony for more people.
That also means a lot more people are at legal jeopardy. And so that's a Brian Jack, a Dan Scavino, a Bill Stepien, Stephen Miller who's been brought up. Mark Meadows, certainly the former chief of staff, they're going to go wider and wider to get as much evidence as they can to go as high as they can and as narrow as they can to ultimately indicting either Donald Trump or one of his real top lieutenants, and ultimately, maybe a chief of staff.
CHURCH: And of course, Doug, all of this comes just before the Justice Department begins its standard pre-election quiet period ahead of the midterm election during which it does try to avoid taking overt in investigative action in politically sensitive probes to avoid that appearance of trying to affect the election.
Although a lot of Republicans claim the damage has already been done. So, how difficult a balancing act will this likely be as the election fast approaches?
HEYE: Well for DOJ, they obviously are trying to be very careful. And again, they're caught in between a rock and a hard place. The rock is Donald Trump who's not giving anything up and the hard place are the elections of where they don't want to be seen as politicizing thing -- things, especially after we've seen a DOJ that's been brought into politics way too much.
And certainly, you know, Democrats would tell you in the 2016 campaign, that it was too political and ultimately might have cost Hillary Clinton the election. But for Republicans, you know, I would tell them and I do tell them Donald Trump isn't your worry right now. Your worry is that Joe Biden is increasing in popularity that you're seeing political factors that are coming into play, that have taken less wind out of your sails.
And to refocus on those things that you need to do to be reelected, or to reelect more Republican candidates. If you're focused on Donald Trump, you're focused on the wrong things. And look, a lot of Republicans want to defend Donald Trump all day, every day, that's how they get into Republican leadership. That's how they climb up the ladder.
But if you win -- want to win your elections, you need to be focused on the things that everyday Americans are talking about. And ultimately, they're not talking about Donald Trump all day every day.
CHURCH: So, how has all of this been impacting Donald Trump's power within the GOP? Because on the outside we see them all standing behind him, but I mean, you are on the inside. So, what are you hearing? What are you seeing? Are they -- are they getting a little -- a little anxious about his standing right now?
HEYE: Well, they're anxious about what's going on. They know that any Donald Trump news takes away from all of those things that everyday Americans are talking about that have the Biden approval rating still low, though it's been climbing. And have 70 percent of Americans saying that we're on the wrong track.
But meanwhile, they're not going to go anywhere on Donald Trump publicly. And what we see is a real dichotomy between what's public and what's private when it comes to Donald Trump. Privately, most Republicans want him in the rearview mirror and they want him out of the equation for 2024. They're just not willing to say so publicly because they look at Liz Cheney as a cautionary tale.
And the next person who speaks up or speaks out against Donald Trump will be the next person who gets mowed down. It's why nobody has announced for president yet because Donald Trump may announce for president. And no one is likely to announce until Donald Trump says he's not going to run for reelection.
That's a political reality of where things are for Republicans. And it's why they want to get through these midterms and hopefully have a good night and have Donald Trump be as little of a factor as possible.
CHURCH: We'll see what happens. Doug Heye, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it.
HEYE: Anytime. Thank you.
CHURCH: And still to come, the secrets of the stars. Stunning images from the Webb Space Telescope give a whole new perspective on how stars and planets are born. We're back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. U.S. President Joe Biden says he has a bold new plan to cut cancer deaths in half in the next 25 years. The president appeared in Boston to highlight White House accomplishments ahead of the midterm elections. Mr. Biden says he will increase funding for research as well as launch a national biotechnology initiative.
He says his ambitious goal can be achieved if the American people come together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Cancer does not discriminate red and blue. It doesn't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat. Beating cancer is something we can do together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: Fighting cancer is a personal battle for President Biden. His son Beau died of brain cancer seven years ago.
Well, breathtaking new images are giving us a never before seen look into how stars and planets are born. These stunning images were taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. They show the Orion Nebula some 1,300 lightyears away from earth. Before now, this was the only type of image we had of the Nebula.
It was taken by the Hubble Telescope, which isn't able to see through layers of stardust. But using infrared light, the Webb Telescope can peer through those layers of dust, revealing intricate details near the heart of the Nebula.
Webb also picked up what scientists are calling a bonus image of the Orion Nebula. And if you look closely, you can reportedly see a frog light structure.
And thank you so much for joining us. I'm Rosemary church. I'll be back with more news and more live coverage from Buckingham Palace in just a few minutes. Do stay with us.