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FBI Conducts Search Of Pres. Biden's Wilmington Home And Finds More Classified Materials; People Mag.: Suspect Followed Female Victims On Instagram; Santos Denies Working As A Drag Queen When He Lived In Brazil. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired January 21, 2023 - 21:00   ET



JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: -- to interrupt. So it looks like it's under control now, but the, you know, the distinction between, you know, sort of, you know, going after cop cars or buildings really is not a distinction that is knowable in real time. You simply don't know how this will escalate. And that is why the police have to deal with it as if it were light -- as if it's just violence. I mean, that's what it is.

PAULA BROWN, CNN HOST: Right. David, do you know if more protests are planned?

DAVID PEISNER, FREELANCE JOURNALIST I mean, I -- you know, I follow social media, and I'm sure there will be more protests. But, you know -- and to be clear, I mean, I'm not condoning, you know, the property destruction or any of that. I -- and I agree that, you know, the police had to stop it. And, you know, and that makes perfect sense.

I guess, you know, the one thing I would be curious about, though, is why is the distinction of people being from out of town so important? Is it -- I mean, the First Amendment certainly applies to the people from out of town as well.

You know, their contention would be that these are national issues, that the question is around policing, around the environmental issues that the construction of the police training facility, all of these issues aren't our national and anti-global issues. So I'm confused a little bit sometimes when there's so much emphasis placed on people being from out of town, as if that takes away their right to protest.

BROWN: Yes. What do you make of that, Juliette, because that we did hear the police chief's trying to emphasize that point?

KAYYEM: Yes. So here's why the police were emphasizing it. And I totally agree with David, that these are national issues, you're going to have people from out of state. If you have a community protest around, say, a community facility, you would assume that most of the members are from the community.

They also want to protect their community. They do not want this kind of vandalism, as we have seen in the past. It benefits no one who lives near the community, or in the community for this kind of violence and -- I mean, this kind of behavior.

So then if your pool of arrested people, the people who are actually instigated happen to all be from out of state. That's telling you, from a law enforcement purpose, that in fact, this is not community engagement. This is not a local protest. People are coming in and those people are 100 percent of the people arrested, which would suggest then, right, that this is a group that doesn't have ties to the protest, doesn't have ties to the community.

And that's why it's of relevance, because it's not -- people can't come in to Atlanta to protest this. It is that why or all -- almost all of the arrestees from out of state that suggest either one of two things. And I don't -- we don't know yet who these people are.

An organization that is more radical than the community organization would use violence, an organization that opposes police or the police training facility or an organization that wants to make the protesters look bad, as we've seen this in in past cases as well. I am just laying out the range of possibilities at this stage. But it is very relevant if all those arrested were from out of state.

BROWN: All right, Juliette Kayyem, David Peisner, thank you both.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.

BROWN: Top of the hour, I'm Pamela Brown in Washington and you are in the CNN Newsroom on this busy Saturday night.

Our breaking news tonight, FBI investigators on Friday found additional classified material while conducting a search President Joe Biden's Wilmington, Delaware home. CNN's Arlette Saenz is in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. What more are we learning about this, Arlette?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, President Biden's personal attorney Bob Bauer revealed this evening that more materials bearing classified markings were found at his Wilmington, Delaware home during a search that was conducted yesterday by the Department of Justice.

Now sources say specifically that this search was carried out by officials from the FBI, really marking an extraordinary moment where the FBI is searching through the home of a current sitting president. Now this search was done in full cooperation with President Biden's personal attorneys.

Both his personal attorneys and attorneys from the White House Counsel's Office were on site for this search. And Bob Bauer said that they opened up the home so that they could -- the Justice Department could search through all quarters of the home, that includes the living, the working, and the storage areas.

And I want to read you a bit detailing what the search consisted of, what kinds of materials they were looking through. Bob Bauer said in a statement, quote, "DOJ had full access to the President's home, including personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, memorabilia, to-do lists, schedules and reminders going back decades. [21:05:12]

DOJ took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry, including six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials, some of which were from the President's service in the Senate, and some of which were from his tenure as vice president. DOJ also took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice-presidential years."

Now, this search, which was conducted yesterday over the course of nearly 13 hours, marks the fifth instance, where documents were found at either the Wilmington residence, or that personal office at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, D.C. There is a pretty lengthy timeline between which all of these searches were conducted, the very first search conducted on November 2 at that Washington, D.C., a think tank, then a month later, searches began at the personal home up in Wilmington.

And then there were additional searches just last week in January. What's also significant about this is that it was actually conducted by the Justice Department. All of those previous searches had been conducted by personal attorneys for President Biden. But it really marks a remarkable moment as this investigation continues to play out.

We've seen this drip, drip, drip nature of revelations, of the discoveries of these classified documents. And that is something that the White House has faced some criticism for, the fact that they weren't initially revealing when that very first discovery happened on November 2. It wasn't until media reports just this very month that that first came to light.

And President Biden was asked specifically about that and whether he has any regrets with how the White House has handled disclosing this classified document saga. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any regret, sir, that you did not reveal the existence of the documents back in November, before the midterms?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hang on, OK? Look, as we found -- we found a handful of documents were failed -- were filed on the wrong place. We're fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.

I think you're going to find there's nothing there. I have no regrets. I'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That's exactly what we're doing. There's no there there.


SAENZ: So the President there trying to make clear what we've also heard from the personal attorneys and the White House Counsel. So they are trying to cooperate every step of the way with the Justice Department. One thing that they have been trying to do is draw this implicit contrast with the way that they're handling it versus the way that former President Donald Trump has handled the classified documents that were at his Mar-a-Lago home. Of course, there's a special counsel also looking into him and looking into whether there was obstruction that went on with former President Donald Trump.

But what the Biden lawyers, what President Biden are trying to say is that they're trying to follow the book here, they're trying to cooperate as the Justice Department needs. But certainly, this constant trickling out of information is always presenting new challenges for the White House as they're still trying to grapple with this issue. And this is all things that the special counsel investigation could unearth and look into in the coming months.

BROWN: And we should note that the drip, drip could continue because there are other properties connected to Joe Biden, that the FBI, to our knowledge, has not searched. So more could be uncovered there.

Thank you, Arlette.

We have a number of experts to discuss this. CNN Senior Crime and Justice Reporter Katelyn Polantz, CNN Senior Law Enforcement Analyst and former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, plus CNN Senior Legal Analyst and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Elie Honig. And I want to talk about what we just heard there from Arlette, emphasizing the cooperation aspects.

It is clear here, Andy McCabe, that the White House is going above and beyond to say, hey, this is different. Look, I know we have a special counsel investigation into Biden's handling the classified documents. This is so different, though, from what's going on with Donald Trump. We are cooperating, we're being forthcoming.

We are you, you know, open the door for the FBI to come in and search the property. But no doubt about it. This is still a significant development. And now you have the FBI searching the former president's home and the current president's home different circumstances. One was under a search warrant, the other was with consent but still.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes. Absolutely, Pamela, it's unprecedented. It is almost unthinkable before this crazy time that we're living in today. But to be clear, the Biden team has gone out of their way to respond to this issue on the legal side as differently as they possibly can in every way from the Trump team's response in the Mar-a-Lago documents case.


And I think this is the most recent and most extreme example. They basically invited the Department of Justice and the FBI and handed them the keys to the House and said, have fun, we're going to Rehoboth for the weekend. And that's what they did.

And by doing that, it's very -- it's a smart move because it takes them -- it takes the pressure off of the Biden team from being responsible for telling the world how many documents there are, and how many more there might be, and did we find any more lately. They can now effectively step back and say, we're done at least with this location.

The Justice Department and the FBI came in, they took everything they wanted. We didn't resist, we gave them whatever they were interested in. And now it's up to them and Special Counsel Rob Hur to decide what to do about it. I would expect that we might actually see those sort of consent searches at the other locations that have been of interest, particularly the Penn Biden office, where the first tranche of documents was found.

And then, of course, the Rehoboth residents where nothing has been found so far. But we'll see. I think it's the same of what we've seen from the Biden team from the beginning of trying to cooperate proactively in every way they can.

BROWN: Right. And on that note, you know, there's the PR part of this. And from a PR perspective, this is really bad. This drip, drip, drip. Now the fifth time we're learning another batch of classified information was founded at a Biden property. But when it comes to the cooperation angle of this, it is clear that the Biden White House is trying to influence the court of public opinion to make that clear, this is different.

But in terms of like DOJ investigators, how much does that factor into the investigation, the cooperation of Joe Biden and his team, in this case, Elie?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Pam, it's better to cooperate than not cooperate. And by all appearances, Joe Biden's team is trying to cooperate. But two things. First of all, they're cooperating quite ineptly, thus far. This is now the fifth separate batch of documents found in five separate locations between the residents and the office.

That is just bad news for Joe Biden, any way you put it. And the fact that Joe Biden's team is trying to cooperate does not wipe the slate clean, it doesn't mean, well, they're cooperating hence no problem with the documents. And this is a real problem because it gets harder and harder. The more documents that are found in the more different locations, it gets tougher and tougher to write this off as an accident.

We just heard the clip of Joe Biden saying, well, it was a small batch of documents that was filed improperly. How do you explain that for five separate sets of documents that were now found? So, yes, good that they're cooperating. That's a little bit different than Donald Trump, but they're not doing a great job cooperating, number one. And number two, it doesn't mean everything's all good there in the clip.

BROWN: I think that's a really important point. Katelyn, you've been covering the story from the beginning. What's your take?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: So we're talking about the differences here. And one of the things, cooperation we keep talking about, that's what the White House is saying. Today, there has been in this that is what the record appears to be happening here. There's no search warrant. There's no subpoena.

But Pam, when you look at what's under investigation here, it's the same thing in both of these investigations, Donald Trump's and Joe Biden's. It's whether there was mishandling of classified records. And when you look at the law there, it says in the law, that if there is a chargeable case, there's willful retention, there would have to be some sort of willful retention.

I've been talking to people about how often this happens. Unfortunately, this does happen in the federal government where classified records are found in people's homes, outside of the office, and unprotected locations. Obviously, it's much more alarming when it's the president of the United States, the former vice president and his home.

However, no one gets charged if they're handing them back to the federal government. That is not something that you see in the history of cases here. People get charged when they won't give them back or whenever they're concealing things from the Justice Department. And I was just going back through all of the documentation that we have on what happened in the Trump investigation leading up to that search, under a search warrant following a subpoena, asking for them to hand over more documents.

And at that time, in August of last year, the Justice Department was already saying that they had developed evidence that government records may have been concealed and removed and that there was possible obstruction. That is a different thing entirely.

BROWN: And my reporting is that they were -- they subpoenaed the video showing someone moving the classified document. So again, very different case and really important perspective there as viewers at home tried to digest this unprecedented situation here. I mean, just the fact that the President's private residence was searched is, in and of itself, unprecedented in modern history as far as I know, but then you have the backdrop, of course, of the Trump investigation.


And the parallels there and the key differences there you're talking about, as well. How does the fact that the FBI searched the residents, how does this impact the investigation? What is -- how does this -- does this elevate anything legally or politically for Joe Biden?

POLANTZ: Yes. Well, in both of these, I mean, obviously, there's quite a bit of political fallout with the drip, drip, drip of this information, keep coming out that they still are finding additional records. But on the legal side, what they're doing now is they're continuing their investigation that's going to build in to what they're going to want to talk to people about.

It's all going to become the facts of whatever they might be looking about, whether they may or may not have a chargeable case. At this point in time, it -- as far as we know, it appears that there is cooperation here, this opening up of the doors. We'll have to see if this escalates. But in both of these cases, they're on different timelines.

The Trump investigation has been going on for many, many months. I mean, that subpoena that the Justice Department still believes Donald Trump and his team haven't -- has -- they've not complied with, is eight months old. At this point, this situation is still quite young, we're going to have to see where it goes from here. But Justice Department is going to keep investigating both of these things.

BROWN: Andy McCabe, you used to be in the FBI, you were involved in a lot of investigations. So we see this play out, what are -- what would be some of the key questions you would have as an investigator with the Biden investigation?

MCCABE: Well, Pam, as those of us who've been involved in these investigations, though, they come down to the issue of intent, as Katelyn mentioned just a few minutes ago. So every time classified material ends up someplace that it's not supposed to be, you have a problem on your hands.

The vast majority of those times when you begin the investigation to conduct a damage assessment, and to understand how things got outside of an authorized storage facility, the vast majority of the time, what you find out -- would you find it to be as an inadvertent mistake, somebody puts something in their bag and mistakenly took it home, called the office when they got there and realized they had something they shouldn't have.

That's why most of these cases don't end up being charged criminally. So that's really at the heart of this distinction right now between how the Biden team is handling these things, and, you know, adeptly or inadeptly and how the Trump team handled theirs.

The Donald Trump's response to the interactions with the National Archives, to the interactions with the Department of Justice, to the search warrant itself, have kind of painted himself into a corner of not being able to rely on any sort of defense of inadvertence because he's publicly stated that the things were his, that he retained them intentionally. It's entirely different on the other side of the equation.

OK, admittedly, a difference that voters might not appreciate on the political side. But, nevertheless, the Biden team has maintained they didn't know they have this stuff, was all inadvertent. I agree with Elie that as we get more and more documents, that excuse becomes harder and harder to take.

But, nevertheless, Rob Hur and his team are going to be stuck trying to look for evidence of the intentional retention, removal of classified documents, of National Defense information. And so far, we don't have any strong indications that that's present in this case.

BROWN: Right. But the bottom line is, we don't know what exactly is in these documents. That is still a big question mark. And so it makes it really hard to assess the seriousness as well, right? We just want to be --

MCCABE: That's right.

BROWN: -- transparent with our viewers.

MCCABE: That's right.

BROWN: What we know, what we don't know. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back on the other end.



BROWN: An update now on our breaking news, the President's personal attorney says more classified documents have been found at the President's home in Wilmington. Just two days ago, the President said he's cooperating with the investigation and there's nothing to it. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any regret, sir, that you did not reveal the existence of the documents back in November, before the midterms?

BIDEN: Hang on, OK? Look, as we found -- we found a handful of documents were failed -- were filed on the wrong place. We're fully cooperating and looking forward to getting this resolved quickly.

I think you're going to find there's nothing there. I have no regrets. I'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That's exactly what we're doing. There's no there there.


BROWN: CNN Political Commentators, Alice Stewart and Maria Cardona join us now. Maria, the President saying there is no there there. He doesn't have regrets. Is that really persuasive enough at this point?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think if you look at and how the President has handled this, yes, I think it is. Because there is a huge night and day difference here, Pam, not just and how the President's team has handled this. Let's remember that it was a President's personal attorneys who invited DOJ to come in, and they opened up the Biden's house, and they didn't say anything per DOJ's own protocols.

So they have been open. They have been cooperative. They have been collaborative. And that is a night and day difference between how they have handled it, and how the Trump team has handled it. There was also a night and day difference on intent. If there was nefarious intent here, Pam, they would not have opened up the Biden's home so casually and so openly the way that they did.

There's also a night and day difference here on character, Pam, and I think that this is the bottom line for American voters. And yes, it's disconcerting that there have been classified documents found, frankly, anywhere outside of where they should be. And I'm sure it's disconcerting for the President. And that's why he has had his lawyers and his team, first and foremost, be very open and collaborative with this whole process with DOJ protocols.

They have been absolutely transparent when it comes to that, because the American voters can see a huge different --

BROWN: But they --

CARDONA: -- difference on character between Biden and between Trump who has been nefarious, malicious from the very start on this same issue.


BROWN: And Alice, I want to get to you in just a second. But like in transparency, they weren't transparent in the beginning. I mean, the public didn't find out until it was reported by the media twice, for first batch and then there was a second batch. And then the White House had to say, oh, yes, that was found too in December, and like this is the fifth time. Now, we're finding about a classified -- a batch of classified documents being found. I mean, can you see, though --

CARDONA: Well, I think --

BROWN: -- that this is embarrassing from a PR perspective of how it's been handled by the White House?

CARDONA: Well, I think more importantly, the President's lawyers are focused on transparency with the investigators, with the law enforcement entity that is actually in charge of all of this. They have been absolutely transparent with the National Archives, with the DOJ, with the FBI, and for them, and I think this is the right thing to do. That is absolutely first and foremost, their priority.

They have now starting to be very open with the public. You just announced the additional documents that have been found. So they are focused on making sure that they are cooperating with the investigator so as not to give up any of the integrity on this investigation. And then secondly, to be as open and transparent with the public as they can be, again, per those same DOJ protocols.

Again, night and day difference here. Pam, on protocols, on intent, and on character when it comes to Biden and Trump.

BROWN: Look, there are some parallels, but there are a lot of distinctions here, Alice. And it is true that the FBI searched Mar-a- Lago after a search warrant was issued by a judge because they had evidence that classified documents were being moved from a storage unit after there was a subpoena, after a Trump attorney said everything had been turned over.

There are some important differences. Republicans are coming down hard on Biden, but where was this outrage with Trump? Doesn't their failure to criticize Trump and make the protests now just feel like politics as usual?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Let me just say, Pam, I was very critical of former President Trump and his handling of documents. I think it was wrong to mishandled documents. So me from my perspective, I think just the sheer mishandling of classified documents is problematic.

And I think it is laughable for -- to make these comparisons with regard to the sheer fact of mishandling classified documents is a problem where if you create this offense, you should face the consequences. I've taught talk with many Republican members of the House this evening since this news came out. They are extremely concerned about this.

They say the drip, drip, drip is not drying up. And, in fact, that also on top of this, we had Biden's chief of staff to announced that he is leaving the administration shortly. They don't see that as unrelated to this document scandal. And look, you have a president that came into office promising transparency and truth to government.

This has been far from transparent. And as they say, there's no there there. We had the current press secretary say recently that the search is completed. We had the President say that he is securing the documents along with his sportscar. Look, all of that pales in comparison to the truth of this matter that he has mishandled classified documents.

This is not a partisan issue. This is not a fact that I'm Republican and Maria as a Democrat. This is an American issue about our national security.


STEWART: And the fact that we continue to have additional documents discovered and found in a private residence, that is a national security concern. And I don't care if this President and his attorneys and the administration says that they are cooperating and they are allowing the DOJ to come in. That does not matter. The truth is that they continue to find classified documents --

CARDONA: It does matter though.

BROWN: Hold on. Before we go on, I need to say something that the White House says Ron claim that the President's Chief of Staff's departure --


BROWN: -- expected departure, we should say, does not have to do with this investigation.

CARDONA: Yes. And --

BROWN: There will still be Republicans who will not believe that but it is important to note that is what the White House is saying. But hold on, I want to get to -- you know Alice is saying, look, this is about national security, this isn't about politics. But, you know, there are people who have watched all this play out with Trump and now Biden, who are maybe looking at how the Democrats are responding saying you can have it both ways.

I mean, the Democrats were attacking Trump. Will they really stick when Biden has to defend his own behavior? What do you think?

CARDONA: Yes, absolutely, it will stick, Pam, because, you know, my dear for analysis talking about how Republicans are now up in arms. I'm sorry, but that's laughable. Because when they were confronted with the more than 300 documents that Donald Trump took, stole and then lied about and continues to lie about, and says he doesn't want to turn them over, and says they're his.


And says he didn't do anything wrong. That is, I mean, there -- if there is another better comparison between that focuses on how different something is other than night and day, I'd like to find it, because this is exactly what that is.

This could not be more different than how Trump handled it. And, all right, this is not a partisan issue. This should not be a partisan issue. And I was glad when she was outraged about how Trump was so malicious, and nefarious and uncaring about how he treated the classified documents. Biden has not done that.

Biden invited the DOJ and the FBI and all of the investigators into his home to take a look. That, I'm sorry, but that how (INAUDIBLE) that focus is on attempt.

BROWN: Right. And intent is important here, and that is what investigators are looking at.

CARDONA: It is very important.

BROWN: Go ahead, Alice.

STEWART: If I can just say, look, again, the comparisons and the whataboutism is going to be natural. I will be the first to admit, as I've said many times, the volume regarding former President Trump is much greater and the secrecy is much greater. There's a special counsel investigation looking into that.

What we are talking about today, and this weekend, is the special counsel investigation of the current president, who said there is no there there and there apparently is something there. And let me remind everyone that when this was going on with the former president, President Biden said, how can anyone be so irresponsible with classified documents? That's the question we need to be asking the current President. How could he be so irresponsible?

And it was one thing for him to say that it was accidental, it was not done on purpose. But the sheer fact remains, this was an irresponsible handling of classified documents. And there's needs to be consequences for such.

BROWN: All right, Alice Stewart, Maria Cardona --

CARDONA: And that's why there's a special investigator on it.

BROWN: I think we can all agree --

CARDONA: Thank you, Pam.

BROWN: -- that these classified documents should have never ended up in private residence of the former president or the current president and that is, in and of itself, irresponsible. Alice Stewart, Maria Cardona, thank you very much.

We're going to have much more on our breaking news ahead. And also, another story we're following closely tonight, chilling new details about the man accused of fatally stabbing four college students and how he may have tracked the victims.



BROWN: Recapping our breaking news, more classified documents have been found at President Biden's home in Delaware. The FBI conducted a 13-hour search yesterday with the consent of Biden's attorneys. The President's personal attorney Bob Bauer says the Justice Department has taken possession of six items. They consist of documents with classification markings, and also surrounding materials.

Bauer says some dated back to Biden's time in the U.S. Senate and others from his tenure as vice president. The search was overseen by U.S. Attorney John Lausch, a Trump appointee who has been handling the initial review of the DOJ's new probe while Robert Hur transition to his role and special counsel.

And in Idaho, chilling new details are emerging about the man accused of fatally stabbing four college students. People Magazine is now reporting that Bryan Kohberger followed all three of the female victims on Instagram. And the suspect allegedly reached out to one of the women repeatedly just two weeks before the killings. CNN's Camila Bernal has the latest.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Pam, a couple of new details in this case and they are important because authorities have yet to confirm whether Bryan Kohberger and the victims had any sort of relationship or any sort of interaction. So, of course, everybody is trying to connect the dots, and essentially that's what People Magazine has done.

They say that Bryan Kohberger followed three of the victims on Instagram, the three girls. They also say that the girls did not follow Bryan Kohberger back on Instagram. And in addition to that, People Magazine reporting that Bryan Kohberger messaged one of the girls on Instagram multiple times about two weeks before the killings. Now, she did not respond. It's unclear if she didn't see the messages or simply did not want to respond. Another thing that People magazine article is saying is that Bryan Kohberger visited the restaurant where two of the girls worked. That was Mad Greek. We previously reported that the two girls worked at this restaurant, but it is a common place to be essentially. It is right on Main Street.

A lot of the students and people who live in Moscow and Pullman, Washington visit this area. So it is unclear whether Bryan Kohberger had interactions with two of these girls at the restaurant. Now, it is also important to point out that the restaurant is saying that the article that the People Magazine reporting is untrue. They released a lengthy statement.

And I want to read part of it where they say, "We all decided collectively to support the families and not share anything that could potentially harm the investigation or cause the families more stressed. They are not the only ones that are not speaking out about this. There is a broad and sweeping gag order that does not allow people connected to this case or really close to this case, to speak out publicly."

And then a couple of other things to remember here, Bryan Kohberger is charged with four counts of murder. He has not entered a plea yet. And we do know that he is expected in court in June for a preliminary hearing. So we'll have to wait and see how this court process plays out. We will likely not get a lot of information from authorities because of this gag order. Pam?

BROWN: All right, Camila, thank you.

And we have an update on tonight's breaking news, an FBI search at President Biden's home in Delaware has turned up more classified documents. A closer look at what it means for his administration up next.



BROWN: More now in our breaking news, the President's personal attorney says more classified documents have been found at the President's home in Wilmington. CNN White House Correspondent Jeremy Diamond joins us live along with CNN Political Analyst and White House Reporter with The Associated Press, Seung Min Kim.

So, look, Seung Min, it was just a couple days ago when President Biden said there is no there there. When asked about whether he should have disclosed it sooner, whether he'd regret, he said he didn't have regret. Now, we're learning of another batch of classified documents being found, the fifth time, being found at his private residence in Wilmington after an FBI search that was done with the consent of Biden's team.

But politically, this is just causing more damage for Biden and the Biden White House given all the drip, drip, drip. And as Dana Bash said on this show, at some point, the drip, drip, drip turns into flooding.

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, right. I mean that drip, drip, drip is creating that water that's going to stack up if this doesn't stop. And that's what's been so damaging about this for the Biden White House. On top of the fact that this is an administration that really has promoted their commitment to transparency, they had also promoted their ability to really, you know, be the grownups in the room and know how to run a federal government in contrast to the last administration.

This has -- the story just also won't go away. I mean, you mentioned this is the fifth time that we've heard of a discovery at a place related to the Biden's that's just more headlines, more lack of clarity, more questions, just more -- just prolonging of this that they certainly -- that people in the White House do not want to talk about.

We know that President Biden barring a major change in plans is preparing to announce his re-election bid in the coming months, and this is not the time for this White House to be focused on something like this.


BROWN: And on that note, Jeremy, do you get any sense of talking to your White House sources that this could impact the timing of the President's announcement for a run for re-election or just making the announcement in and of itself? What are you hearing?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, look up until recently, what they have been saying is that, you know, their plans have not changed in terms of an announcement sometime after the State of the Union address. At the same time, it's important to note that they haven't picked an actual date yet. And so, they have some flexibility there, especially if more information surfaces.

And certainly, the search of the President's home today by the FBI, the fact that that search turned up additional documents, despite the fact that it had already been searched by the President's personal attorneys at least twice over the last couple of months, certainly raises the specter.

And the possibility of the FBI conducting additional searches of some of the other areas, including the Penn Biden Center where they found classified documents and perhaps even the President's home, excuse me, in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where no classified documents were found. But that space was also only searched by the President's personal attorney. So there's certainly that possibility.

Now, one of the things that I think is important to note is that the six classified documents were found nine days after the last search of the President's home in Wilmington, Delaware. And during that search, when the attorneys found that additional classified document, which ended up being six pages of classified documents, they then suspended their search of that space. So there's a big question here, of whether or not these additional six documents that were found today, were those documents found in that same space, that adjacent -- that room adjacent to the garage, where they found those documents in the final search by the President's personal attorneys, or were they elsewhere in the home.

If they were elsewhere in the home, that suggests that the search by the President's attorneys was not as intensive as what FBI officials would do. And it certainly raises the chances of other locations that the President owns being searched as well.

BROWN: You do have to wonder, Seung Min, you know, in Washington, and we're all reporters covering politics in the White House, of course, we're going to be all over the story, and it is historic, right? You have the private residence of a sitting president being investigated and searched by the FBI. But at the same time, the real reality is outside of the -- out of Washington, right, you know, people are dealing with the rising price of eggs, are worried about child care.

KIM: Right.

BROWN: How much long term will this really impact -- do you think that this will impact the President politically?

KIM: Right. And that's what White House aides are trying to focus on right now. They've tried to steer our attention, certainly during press briefings and another conversations to the accomplishments that the Biden White House is achieved over the last two years. Certainly, there are upcoming objectives. And, for example, there's major events on abortion tomorrow on the 50th anniversary of Roe versus Wade.

But the fact is that, you know, obviously, you know, competence and transparency and, you know, handling of proper government processes as kind of dry and that made that sound, that is a part of -- that is a big part of a White -- how the public judges the White House. So it remains to be seen how much this ultimately damages the President politically, but certainly you're going to hear about this a lot from Republicans and especially the headlines too, especially as more documents are found.

BROWN: I want to talk to you, Jeremy, about Ron Klain, the president's chief of staff that reporting out tonight that he is expected to leave soon. Our understanding is this is unrelated to what's going on with the classified document investigation. But as you well know, and we've already heard it on this show, Republicans are going to try to connect the two.

DIAMOND: Yes, they certainly are. I think we heard Alice Stewart doing exactly that --

BROWN: Yes, exactly.

DIAMOND: -- with you just a little bit ago, and that's certainly a smart political strategy. I can tell you that talking to sources close to the White House over the last several weeks, it's been clear that Ron Klain was likely to depart. And that's certainly something that's been brewing for some time. He's someone who maintains a pretty insane work schedule, frankly, for two years straight. And so I think it's frankly, more a matter of that than anything else.

But it is going to be interesting. You know, this is a time of incredible heated -- there's a huge microscope over this White House right now. And to have this kind of major shift in staff at the same time is going to be something to watch because Ron Klain has been at President Biden side throughout these two years, he's been more impactful than just about anybody else in terms of actually getting Biden's agenda through.

And so now that you shift to this period of preparing to announce a reelection campaign, with this investigation hanging over the White House, you're going to need somebody with a deft political hand to manage all of that and certainly to continue to staff President Biden and ensure that the White House continues to move full steam ahead as they try and show that they are working, focusing on governing while this investigation is going on, on a separate track.


BROWN: Right. Seung Min, I mean, to Jeremy's point, look, it could be unrelated. It seems like all indications are reporting what the White House has said is that this is unrelated to the investigation. But the timing really couldn't be worse for Biden for his chief of staff to be leaving.

KIM: Right, right. I mean, if you can trust the top headlines on AP's page right now, it is, you know, that Ron Klain --

BROWN: Right.

KIM: -- is expected to leave the White House imminently and that these more of these documents were found at the home. And I'm sure Jeremy has encountered this, too. When we were talking with our sources, the White House was not eager to have this, you know, have the Klain news leak out today.

So certainly, you know, there will be dots that will try to be connected by certainly opponents of this White House to try to make something there there. But yes, you know, the timing did not look great for this White House in terms of the news.

And a lot -- and that's what happens with -- like we've said several times before on the show, the drip, drip, drip. You know, there's could be something that's going on and then but yet, just yet more revelations of these documents could really up end whatever else is happening in this administration.

BROWN: Yes. And you have to think that administration officials are nervous that the FBI will likely do searches at other properties connected to Biden, such as the Penn Biden Center, and other residences, and so forth. So, it is possible the drip, drip, drip will continue. We shall see. But there's a lot of news on this Saturday in January. Wow. Jeremy Diamond Seung Min Kim, I imagine this was not how you thought you would spend your Saturday night, but it's great to have you on and to hear your thoughts and analysis on the breaking news tonight. Thank you both.

And ahead much more on our breaking news, and another story just in the CNN, embattled Congressman George Santos is talking tonight about photos and claims that he worked as a drag queen. What he's saying up next.



BROWN: Embattled Congressman George Santos is speaking out tonight on bizarre new claims that he performed as a drag queen when he lived in Brazil several years ago. The openly gay Republican who has cast himself as a staunch conservative of many social issues fired back at reporters tonight. He says the recent images that appear to show him cross dressing are being misconstrued by the media.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congressman, were you ever drag queen in Brazil.

REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R), NEW YORK: No, I was not a drag queen in Brazil, guys. I was young and I had fun at a festival. Sue me for having a life.


BROWN: Santos ignored a question on whether he's spoken recently with Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Well, you were in the CNN Newsroom on the Saturday night. Next hour, much more on our breaking news. What a night it has been. We have learned, new classified documents are found at the Wilmington home of President Biden after yet an FBI search on Friday. That's the ahead. Stay with us.