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Supreme Court Announces It Has Yet To Identify Who Leaked Draft Opinion Overturning Roe v. Wade; Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) Discusses Possible Standoff In Congress Over Debt Limit & George Santos Scandal; Trump Mistakes Accuser For Ex-Wife In Pic During Deposition; Search Warrant Unsealed In Case Against Idaho Murder Suspect. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 19, 2023 - 14:30   ET



JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Now it appears, based on this statement, that the review will continue, but maybe not in such a fulsome way as had been over the past eight months since they have really done a thorough review here.

My colleague, Joan Biskupic, had reported several months ago they asked for the cell phone records of clerks. They asked the clerks to hand over -- to undertake affidavits, signed affidavits.

So they have been doing a fulsome, thorough review here. But the take takeaway on this report released today, January 19th, is that they have been unable to identify anyone particularly responsible for this leak.

It remains unanswered. It appears, at this point, guys, it's at a dead-end at this point.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right. Let's also bring in CNN legal analysts, both, and Supreme Court analyst, Joan Biskupic and Steve Vladek.

Joan, first to you.

What this move means moving forward. Does this mean the end of the investigation, suggesting that we may never know the source of the leak?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST & CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Well, as Jessica, yes, that's a very real possibility. They're going to continue, they say.

But I'll tell what you this suggests. Since they haven't found out who did it, how it was done, there's a very big question of, how can they prevent it the next time around?

This was so stunning. It was the largest breach ever in Supreme Court history, to have this kind of extensive draft, nearly 100 pages released at that early point of the process.

And the opinion turned out to be almost identical to what was released. So this was quite stunning.

They took about nine months to try to figure out who had done it. They stressed all of the steps they took to try to figure it out, try to eliminate the people in their I.T. section, tried to screen through the law clerks, look at the permanent employees, and came up with nothing.

And I think the message they wanted to send is that they were being thorough here.

Not only were they using their own resources in the Marshal's office, whoever oversees the police force there, not only were they using those, but they went to an outside private group, the Chertoff Group.

I think, you know, the underlying message is, we did everything possible to try to figure out who's done it, but by coming up with nothing -- which, you know -- empty essentially.

And, you know, it is a large mystery. Apparently, it is really hard to figure out who did this.

But it also lead to the fact that it means, how can they prevent it in the future?

Now they mentioned throughout this thing certain security steps they added, some of which they didn't want to obviously broadcast, new security.

But will those be enough? Or is there a chance this can happen in the future? Without it knowing hose it than this time, that's a real question.

This timing, also I should say, it's interesting. I've been among the people who said , you know, Chief Justice Roberts announced on March 3rd, the day after "Politico" published the draft opinion, that he was launching this investigation.

Several of us were saying, what did you find, what did you find? It appears, in part, in the report today is in answer to that.

Look at the steps they have taken. I think they want to show they were asking competently, smartly, with the resources they had.

I do think that message comes through with all the things they did. They says the number of interviews they did, the ways they tried to eliminate various people in the building, various people who had access to the document itself.

Yet, as I say, they don't know how to fully prevent it if they don't know how it actually happened.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Steve, I was interested in reading this conclusion, that there were basically 82 employees who had access to electronics or hard copies of this draft opinion. That's more than I would have known.

So it sounds like they're going to now change things and take measures to limit that access?

STEVE VLADEK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Alisyn, I think the question, as Joan says, is, how can you make those changes without knowing where the breakdown was?

And 82 employees, that includes the nine justices themselves, that includes the 36 law clerks employed on a one-year basis by the justices, right? It includes, you know, staff in the clerk's office, staff in the public information office.

And so I think the real problem is by coming to this sort of non- resolution, every side is going to think it confirms their bias. Those on the left will think it's a conservative who leaked it. The folks on the right will think it's a liberal clerk who leaked it.

So we have this uncomfortable detente where there is a resolution without a resolution that will leave everyone suspicious and distrustful. I think that would have long-term implications that we're not going to see about how the court transacts (INAUDIBLE).


BLACKWELL: All right, Steve Vladek, Joan Biskupic, Jessica Schneider, thank you all for the reporting and analysis from the breaking news from the court.

CAMEROTA: We've been reporting on the lies from Congressman George Santos. Up next, we'll talk to a Florida Republican for his take on this growing scandal.


BLACKWELL: House Republicans and, increasingly, some from swing districts do not agree with the White House, that it's thinking there should be zero negotiation in the Congress over raising of the national debt ceiling.


Instead, they insist there must be some fiscal agreement first.

Let's discuss with Florida Republican Congressman Byron Donalds. He is also a member of the House Oversight Committee, part of the Steering Committee. We'll get into committee assignments in just a moment.

But, Congressman, first, thank you for coming.

Let's talk about the debt ceiling. We hit it today. Default comes in June.

Why connect these two? Congress has already run up these bills, has passed legislation, has spent the money, spending the money. Why not take care of that and have a separate conversation that most Americans would agree is necessary about handling spending?

REP. BYRON DONALDS (R-FL): The reason why you don't separate the two is because the only reason you're hitting the debt ceiling this fast is because of the reckless spending that has occurred.

So if you are going to increase the allotment of your ability to borrow money, you should address your spending habits. That's not a political statement. That's a business statement.

My career was 17 years in the financial industry. My first stop in my career was as a banker, where I actually underwrote credit obligations and decided who we were going to lend money to small businesses.

So you don't just get the ability to expand the credit card without have the necessary spending reforms.

If you read the reports from the credit agencies, are they concerned about Congress's ability to act? Yes.

But they're also concerned with Congress's lack of ability to control its spending in a meaningful way. We should be doing both at the same times.

BLACKWELL: Congressman, let's talk, because these are separate conversations. You are a businessman. You talked about your history as a small businessman. You know you have to pay the bills.

Republicans and Democrats racked up these bills. Where was this adamance about reducing spending when the debt ceiling was increased three times during the Trump administration?

There was no major uprising within the Republican ranks to say we have to cut spending to raise the debt ceiling then.

Is it happening now only because there's a Democratic president?

DONALDS: No. I disagree with you. I don't think so. I think those conversations existed each one of those times the debt ceiling was raised.

And from my recollection, there was some spending reforms put in, some spending caps put in, but there's a difference --


BLACKWELL: Hold on, hold on.

DONALDS: Before I got to Congress --


BLACKWELL: There's a difference between raising an issue and a standoff. Republicans are saying we will not vote for an increase --


BLACKWELL: -- without these cuts. That didn't happen during the four years of Donald Trump when it was suspended --

(CROSSTALK) BLACKWELL: -- and raised without all of these two other times.

DONALDS: But I think you're the one that's speculating there's a standoff that will happen here. Nobody has said that.

House Republicans will have clear negotiations with the White House about what are the spending reforms needed and what needs to happen about raising the debt ceiling. That is not a standoff. That is a negotiation.

Number two, before I got to Congress in the last term, my position has always been clear, that if you're going to continuously increase the debt ceiling, you have to address the long-term spending ramifications and the debt bubble growing in the United States.

That's the responsible thing to do.

I can't comment on what my colleagues did before I got to Congress.

BLACKWELL: Let be ask about the committee assignments. You were the speaker designee on the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee's job is to assign congressmen to various committees.

George Santos, what qualifies him that you know for sure qualifies him to serve on the Small Business Committee and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

DONALDS: Listen, that process of committee assignments is one where the members list the various things that they want to serve on and want to do in their time.

Specifically, to George and his situation, that's something that is not my place to get involved in. That's between him and his voters.

Every member of Congress is placed on committees. That's how the process works. We're going to place him on committees. If something else happens down the line, we'll revisit that decision.

There are members who do sit on committees in Congress that's not a biographic background part of what they've done in their life before Congress.

They sit on these various committees to try to do the best job possible on behalf of their district but also on behalf of the American people.

BLACKWELL: You have not joined some of your Republican colleagues, and most Democrats who we have heard from, who are calling for George Santos to resign. Do you think he can serve effectively?

DONALDS: I think it will be difficult, no doubt about it.

But again, if he has the wherewithal to deal with these things that have been caused by him and other things and still do his job, that still remains to be seen.

About the growing list of people calling for his resignation, no, I have not joined that.


Simply because I don't think that's the job of another member of Congress to say or call for. I think that's something between him and his voters. He has to deal with that on an individual basis.

BLACKWELL: I will say you called for President Biden to resign and 84 million people voted for him.

Congressman Byron Donalds, thank you so much.

DONALDS: Anytime.

CAMEROTA: A new unsealed deposition shows that former President Trump mistook a photo of one of the women accusing him of sexual assault for his ex-wife. How that could impact the case against him. That's next.


CAMEROTA: New details revealed today from a court deposition of former President Trump. According to the newly unsealed transcript, Trump mistakenly identified a photo of E. Jean Carroll, one of his sexual assault accusers, as his ex-wife, Marla Maples.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Kara Scannell is here.

What happened?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. This was a deposition that Trump sat for in October as part of the defamation lawsuit. And one of the transcripts was unsealed last night.

And in it -- this was videotaped, but we only have the transcripts, so you have to image here what is happening.

Trump is presented with a photo of him and E. Jean Carroll. I think we have it and we can put it up. It helps to set the scene here. That's E. Jean Carroll across from Trump, her-then husband, and to Trump's right in the back is Ivana Trump, his then-wife.

So he mistakenly thinks that E. Jean Carroll in this photo is Marla Maples, his second wife. He says, "Oh, that's Marla. That's Marla." His attorney corrects him and says, "No, that's E. Jean Carroll."

So that's a detail that comes out. But that's where this one page of the transcript ends. And then it picks up five pages later. So we don't know what was discussed and what went back and forth after that.

Part of the defamation claim here that Trump said E. Jean Carroll wasn't his type, he didn't know who she was, and he never assault her in a department store in New York.

You know, this is one detail that comes out in the transcript.

He also doubles down on the defamatory statements, the alleged defamatory statements that he has made. He says that he never kissed any woman without their consent and he never had sex with any woman without their consent.


Interestingly, one of these statements he reiterated in October and he admits under oath that he did write that statement himself. And he asked his team to put it on his social media platform.

So he does take ownership of these statements himself.


CAMEROTA: We need to know what's in those five pages.


BLACKWELL: Yes, the five-page jump.


BLACKWELL: Kara Scannell, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Actor Alec Baldwin and the armorer on the film "Rust" will be charged with involuntary manslaughter for their roles in the fatal movie set shooting. What's next in the case?



CAMEROTA: A Washington State court unsealing search warrant documents used to look for evidence at the home and office of Bryan Kohberger. That's the criminology grad student accused in the brutal murders of those four University of Idaho students.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Jean Casarez is here with more.

Jean, police have not found the murder weapon, but they are finding more. What have they found?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They've wanted to find the murder weapon. That's one of the things they requested.

But they did find things. And remember, it was seven weeks between the time it was committed and the search of this apartment.

So let's show everybody exactly what they found.

They did find some blood and bodily fluids. They collected that. There were some presumptive tests at the scene to see if it possibly was blood. They took those with them.

They also found part of a mattress cover with stains, several hair strands, because they obviously want to try and find the victims associated with him in his apartment. An animal hair strand. Remember, Kaylee had her dog.

Nitrate-type black gloves, store receipts. One was from Marshalls. One was from a Dickie's tag, which is a manufacturer of work clothes, heavy duty work clothes.

So that is what they received, which is significant because they are able to do more forensic testing on that to try to associate him with that crime scene. Because that's the point, right?

They did not find the knife that they asked for. They did not find clothing. They had asked for black pants, black shirts, black masks.

The shoe -- remember the shoe imprint that they had found at the scene that had diamonds in it? They did not take any shoes at all. That's significant in and of itself, right, to not find that shoe imprint in his closet?

And some other things they took, a computer tower, right? They took a dust container from the Bissell Power Force Vacuum.

So all of this could be significant, but they obviously wanted to find more.

Now, this is interesting. In all the paperwork, they also say we want a search warrant of his office at Washington State University because he was a PhD criminology student, right?

Nothing more is said in the documents about that, if they actually applied for it, if they got it, if they executed a search for the return. But that could be significant.

CAMEROTA: OK, Jean Casarez, thank you very much for the update.

BLACKWELL: Will the controversy surrounding President Biden's handling of classified documents impact the potential 2024 run? CNN has new reporting ahead.