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D.A.: Decision "Imminent" On Charges In Trump Georgia Probe; Court Hearing On Release Of Georgia Grand Jury Report On Trump; Sources: U.S. Finalizing Plans To Send Abrams Tanks To Ukraine; Lawmakers Grill Live Nation Exec About Taylor Swift Ticket Fiasco; DOJ Sues Google Over Dominance In Online Advertising Market; Family Of Black Man Who Died After Arrest Views "Horrific" Video; Memphis City Councilman Frank Colvett, (R), Discusses Death Of Tyre Nichols. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 24, 2023 - 13:30   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: And happening right now, a Georgia judge is deciding if the public may see the final report from a special grand jury that investigated Donald Trump over the 2020 election.

Now, that report contains recommendations on whether to indict. And the Fulton County district attorney says that a decision on charges is imminent.

The probe was sparked by the phone call between President Trump and Georgia's Republican secretary of state. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (voice-over): All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.


PHILLIP: Now, CNN's Sara Murray is at the courthouse in Atlanta.

Sara, what are you hearing about those writings under way?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Abby, the judge is still hearing arguments about whether to make this report public.

But we did hear from Fani Willis in court a little bit ago. And she signaled that this special grand jury report, again still secret, that they recommended indictments, potentially multiple indictments.

She talked a lot about how the D.A.'s office wanted to keep this report under seal to preserve their rights of future defendants.

Take a listen to what she said.


FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: What the state does not want to see happen and don't think there's any way the court would be able to guarantee is, if this report was released, there somehow could be arguments made that it impacts the right for later individuals, multiple, to get a fair trial, to have a fair hearing, to be able to be tried in this jurisdiction.


MURRAY: Now, Willis can move ahead with seeking indictments whether the judge decides to make this report public or not.

But this is a grand jury that has been digging into, you know, efforts to meddle in the election for seven months. Willis said they talked to 75 witnesses.

You know, we know they brought in people like Rudy Giuliani, like South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, like former Trump adviser, Michael Flynn.

You know, we know, in addition to that call you referenced, the Trump/Raffensperger call that set it off, they've been looking into the fake elector scheme. They've been looking into false claims of election fraud before Georgia state lawmakers and threats to election workers.

So there's a lot that they have been digging into. It's unclear how much of it made it into that report.

But there was a pretty clear signal from Willis we could see more action in court moving forward -- Abby?

PHILLIP: I think it's very telling she is concerned about potentially tainting a case that she's going to be making in court.

Now, Sara, that is the timeline here? When could a judge make a decision? And if he makes a decision to release it, when could we see the report?

MURRAY: I think that's a good question. He is really wrangling with whether this is something that could be made public. He referred to the January 6th committee report and said the world kept turning.


It's possible he could decide to put parts of the report forward with redactions. It's not clear what his timeline could be. She said decisions are imminent.

It's also not clear what her timeline is for potentially bringing charges. She said decisions are imminent.

But when we were talking to legal experts about this case, they said, look, if she is dealing with multiple defendants, if she wants to bring charges against multiple individuals, perhaps as part of a racketeering case, then she's going to want to take a little time.

Get her ducks in a row, and get her case sort of court-camera ready before she goes to a regular grand jury and asks for those indictments -- Abby?

PHILLIP: Sara Murray, thank you so much.

This just into CNN. The U.S. is finalizing plans to send Abrams tanks to Ukraine. That's according to officials familiar with those deliberations.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy has been pleading with the West to send more tanks for their war with Russia. And a Ukrainian official calls these tanks the real punch of democracy.

CNN's White House reporter, Natasha Bertrand, is joining me now.

Natasha, the U.S. initially was reluctant to send the tanks. So what has changed? And will this allow other reluctant ally, namely Germany, to follow suit and send Ukraine what they have been requesting?

NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Abby, this really seems like an attempt by the United States to break that diplomatic logjam that has emerged between the U.S. and Germany on this issue.

So just taking a step back for a minute, last week, we were told that Germany was not going to send its Leopard tanks unless the United States also sent its own Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

Because Germany did not want to be seen as being out of lockstep with the United States on this issue.

Now, at the time, U.S. officials were adamant that now is not the right time to send the U.S.-made Abrams tanks because they're extremely heavy. They require a lot of fuel. They are costly. And they're broadly inefficient. That was the argument they were making this week.

Well, fast forward to this week, a lot of conversations have been going on behind the scenes between U.S. and German officials to try to figure this out.

Because the U.S. really does want to see Germany or I should say Ukraine get these German made tanks not only from Germany but from dozens of other European countries who have those tanks in their inventory.

They do believe that they could make a significant difference on the battlefield there. So talks have been ongoing between the U.S. and German officials over the last several days.

Now it appears the U.S. is preparing to announce a significant commitment of these Abrams tanks to Ukraine.

Though we should note those tanks are not going to show up on the battlefield immediately. Those tanks require a lot of training and logistical things to work out.

But it's a step toward breaking the logjam between the U.S. and Germany that we saw play out so publicly last week -- Abby?

PHILLIP: All right, watch this space. We'll be looking to see what moves Germany makes next.

Natasha Bertrand, thank you.

"Treated like a human pinata." The horrific descriptions are pouring in of the Tyre Nichols arrest video. The public could soon see that video any moment now. And officials are bracing for the potential backlash. We'll have more next.



PHILLIP: All right, finally, there's something that Republicans and Democrats seem united on. And it's this, the Taylor Swift ticket fiasco. Today, on Capitol Hill, Senators held a hearing to examine the lack of competition in the ticketing industry.

Here's the head of Live Nation.


JOE BERCHTOLD, PRESIDENT & CEO, TICKETMASTER: We apologize to the fans. We apologize to Miss Swift. We need to do better and we will do better.


PHILLIP: But that may not be enough for lawmakers and not to mention the fans of Taylor Swift and Taylor Swift herself who may not want to shake it off.

CNN's Matt Egan is joining us now.

So, Matt, forgive me for the gratuitous Taylor Swift lyrics. What's going on down in Capitol Hill? It's been a colorful hearing.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Abby, it has. And it has been a hearing full of Taylor Swift puns.

What's interesting is that, in some ways, it's already accomplished a few things.

First, it has drawn a spotlight on what is normally a pretty arcane issue and that is that the idea that some companies have just gotten too big, too dominant.

Two, this whole situation has managed to bridge the partisan divide in Washington.

Listen to what Senator Richard Blumenthal said about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): I want to congratulate and thank you for an absolutely stunning achievement. You have brought together Republicans and Democrats in an absolutely unified cause.

May I suggest respectfully that Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say, I'm the problem, it's me.


EGAN: And if you think that that last line sounded familiar, you're not crazy. It comes from a Taylor Swift song.





EGAN: So maybe there's another accomplishment. They managed to get Taylor Swift lyrics in the Library of Congress.

On a more serious note, all this raises the question, what can be done about this issue? Now one idea floated is the idea that maybe tickets can be made nontransferable to keep a lid on prices.

But a lot of people say the real issue here is competition or lack thereof.

And so you got to wonder whether or not this hearing will create some political cover for the Justice Department to actually file an antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation.


Senator Blumenthal even suggested one solution here is to have the DOJ unwind the controversial 2010 merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster that created this ticket behemoth in the first place -- Abby?

PHILLIP: I got to give Senator Blumenthal credit for that one.

But, Matt, in that very vein about competition or lack thereof, the Justice Department made a big move today. They just sued Google. What is going on with that case?.

EGAN: Abby, this is a blockbuster case. The DOJ and eight states are alleging that Google has unfairly competed in the online market. They say Google is illegally staying dominant via a campaign to thwart competition, gobbling up rivals and bullying publishers.

Abby, I would note, we just got a statement from them pushing back on this and arguing that the DOJ is effectively picking winners and losers. And they warn that this argument from the DOJ could end up raising ad fees and stifling innovation.

PHILLIP: Thank you for all of that, Matt Egan.

And don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.



PHILLIP: "A non-stop beating" is how the family of Tyre Nichols and their lawyers described video of his arrest after a traffic stop in Memphis. Nichols died three days later and five officers were fired.

Now the city is bracing for what may happen when that video is made public.

An attorney for the Nichols family has provided this chilling account of what that video shows.


ANTONIO ROMANUCCI, ATTORNEY FOR TYRE NICHOLS' FAMILY: He was defenseless the entire time. He was a human pinata for those police officers. It was an unadulterated, unabashed non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes.



PHILLIP: Joining us is Memphis City Councilman Frank Colvett.

Councilman Colvett, you have heard Nichols' mother crying out there, and you talked to people who have seen this video. What have they told you that it showed?

FRANK COLVETT, (R), MEMPHIS CITY COUNCILMEMBER: I have not seen this video. And at this point, the Justice Department, I'm told, the FBI, the D.A. and the TBI, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, are completing their work so we're not going to see it.

But I'm told by more than two sources that the video is horrendous, and the video is disgusting. It is a very, very sad day for Memphis.

PHILLIP: We are also learning that the two members of the Memphis Fire Department have also been fired.

So based on your understanding of what transpired in that video, does it cover their action actions? And do you know why they were terminated?

COLVETT: Well, that internal investigation was not made public as far as why the five men were fired from the police department.

But one thing I want to point out is 1,900 of our police officers came to work yesterday and did an incredible job. They showed up this morning they will show up tomorrow.

These five men do not -- and two paramedics do not represent Memphis, Memphis values or public safety.

And as I have said many times, Abby, and it does not matter what shirt you wear, whether it is a button-down or a police officer's uniform, if you break the law, you are going to jail.

And if this video is as horrific as everyone says, then -- because we are very transparent, when we can, we will certainly release the video.

And we will have a top-down examination of it, because, at this point, this is time that we have this kind of discussion in Memphis.

PHILLIP: Do you have any reason to believe that there should be more investigation, not just into the five officers and two paramedics, but the department at large, just to look at the patterns of behavior?

I mean, at the federal level, it's called a Pattern and Practice investigation. Do you believe it is warranted here?

COLVETT: Yes, ma'am. I have already asked the police department for a top-down review so that we can potentially identify these individuals earlier in the process. At this point, I think what we need to do so get through this.

And one of the things that I want to do is to have an examination of our public policy in terms of making sure that the public is well aware. And we have done a pretty good job at it.

But we need, when this is -- we're all through this, we need to look back not just at how we let the public know, but also to take a top- down look at the police department.

You know, if it happened once, we need to make sure that it absolutely does not happen again.

PHILLIP: In this case, all five of the officers who were fired were black. Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is a part of this, says it is not the race of the officers, but the race of the citizens being victimized. In this case, a black motorist, a black man treated in this way.

Do you think that there's a pattern here? And what is the reaction here to what Benjamin Crump said about that?

COLVETT: I don't know if there's a pattern. And I don't know the national numbers. And I can request the local numbers.


But let's -- let's go back tour main charge, as the government of Memphis, Tennessee. We will protect you regardless of your race, your origin, your sexual preference, your religion.

But we are going to protect all Memphians and visitors to our city equally.

In terms of this potentially becoming another incident here in Memphis, Tennessee, we will not let that happen.

I think this is o ne of those opportunities, again, to take a top-down look at our police department, at our hiring practice. But also with our current officers in terms of not just personality inventory but also their training in how and why these things happen during traffic stops.

PHILLIP: Councilman Frank Colvett, thank you for joining us on this tragic story.

That does it for me here in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you for joining me.

The news will continue right after this. Don't go anywhere.