Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Despite Re-Election Bid, Donald Trump Faces Federal Charges for Espionage; British PM speaks to CNN on the challenges with China; Ukrainian Rescuers Brave Ongoing Shelling to Rescue Stranded People from the Flooded Areas; Donald Trump Gets Indicted in Classified Document's Case; Canadian Wildfire Smokes Spreads to the United States; Toddlers Stabbed in French Alps Town; Red Cross Saves Children in Sudan; Joran van der Sloot on Extortion Charges Arrives in the U.S.; Two Rare Precious Stones Sold at $35 Million Each. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired June 09, 2023 - 03:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to all of you watching us around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.

Ahead on "CNN Newsroom," a historic indictment. Former U.S. President Donald Trump is now facing federal charges related to his handling of classified documents, this as he's also running for re-election.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak says the U.K. and the U.S. are both doing their bid in supporting Ukraine in the war with Russia, a CNN exclusive interview.

And the desperate rescue attempts after a dam collapses in southern Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says is responsible.

We begin with an unprecedented move from the U.S. Justice Department indicting former President Donald Trump.

His attorney says Trump is facing seven counts under the Espionage Act, including conspiracy, obstruction, and making false statements. It's all related to the former president's alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House.

FBI agents seized about 100 documents marked as classified when they searched his Florida state last August. Trump says on social media he's been summoned to appear at a federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday at 3pm. Here he is.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It's called election interference. They're trying to destroy a reputation so they can win an election. That's just as bad as doing any of the other things that have been done over the last number of years. I'm an innocent man. I did nothing wrong. I'm innocent, and we will prove that very, very soundly and hopefully very quickly.


BRUNHUBER: Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is defending Trump, tweeting, quote, "Today is indeed a dark day for the United States of America. It is unconscionable for a president to indict the leading candidate opposing him." Now, of course, we have to point out President Biden didn't indict Trump, the U.S. Justice Department did.

So the White House is keeping its distance from the Trump indictment, referring all questions to the Justice Department. One official did say the White House learned of the charges from news reports.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond has more.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the news that former President Trump has been indicted by the Justice Department is reverberating across the country and across Washington, except at the White House, which is remaining noticeably silent amid this huge, huge news.

The White House spokesman, Ian Sams, declining to comment on the news of the former president's indictment, referring questions instead to the Justice Department, which he did note, quote, "conducts its criminal investigations independently." And that is ultimately the main message that this White House wants to say with its silence.

That is to say that amid these accusations from Republicans that this is a politicization of the Justice Department that the White House has remained out of criminal affairs as it relates to any active criminal investigations or prosecutorial actions by the Department of Justice.

President Biden himself has repeatedly maintained the independence of the Department of Justice and he did so even earlier on Thursday when he was asked a question before former President Trump was indicted, about what he would tell Americans to convince them of the Justice Department's independence. Listen.

UNKNOWN: Mr. President, what do you say to Americans to convince them that they should trust the independence and fairness of the Justice Department when your predecessor Donald Trump repeatedly attacks it?

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: Because you notice, I have never once, not one single time, suggested to the Justice Department what they should do or not do, who else are bringing it to charge and not bringing it to charge. I'm honest.

DIAMOND: And President Biden on Friday, he is expected to travel to North Carolina. There will be plenty of opportunities for reporters to ask him questions about this indictment, but don't expect him to break his silence.

This is a strategy that the White House has employed previously when the former president was indicted on those charges in New York. President Biden declined to comment at that time, and you can expect a similar pattern.

And the White House is also making clear on Thursday night that they did not get a heads up from the Justice Department. Just as they didn't get a heads up when the special counsel Jack Smith was appointed back in November, I'm told that they also didn't get a heads up that this indictment was coming down the pike. Instead, the White House, I'm told, learned about this like everybody else through public news reports.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: And joining me again is Ron Brownstein, CNN's Senior Political Analyst and the Senior Editor for "The Atlantic." And he joins me from Los Angeles. Good to see you again.


So politically, we don't know the details of the charges of course. But the argument made again and again in this investigation by Donald Trump and his supporters is basically, it's just documents this is bureaucratic it's administrative what's the big deal, but the charge under the espionage act I mean do you think that will resonate politically in a way that other charges might not?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well you know as you know, I mean the lawyers and prosecutors have pointed out that the espionage act could simply refer to the handling and the retention of the documents themselves. Look this is something that the government takes very over the years. The handling of classified information is something that the government has often pursued sanctions and in many cases, criminal prosecutions around.

And, you know, the issue is not so much whether Donald Trump is being singled out as whether he is, you know, being given special treatment in the other direction. I think many prosecutors have argued that there would be no question that this set of facts applied to, say, an assistant secretary of state would lead to criminal proceedings.

And so, you know, it's hard to know until we get the indictment on Tuesday, but Merrick Garland and Jack Smith are, you know, pretty cautious legal figures. And it is, I think many people find it hard to imagine that they would move forward unless there's going to be a lot in that indictment that is eye opening.

BRUNHUBER: We talked about the, you know, the accusations that Donald Trump us being singled out here. I mean certainly Republicans are constantly talking about the weaponization of the Justice Department and hand in hand many are now renewing their attacks on the FBI.

I mean the GOP you know they build themselves as the party of law and order now wanting essentially to defund the police. So what do you make of these attacks? How effective they've been as a rallying cry and that so many Republican voters out there seem willing to believe that the FBI are crooked and just another basically an arm of the Democratic Party?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, these attacks are like so much else, almost everything else in the in the Trump-era, and that they are effective for much of the Republican base and they do rally the Republican base and they simultaneously risk alienating the vast majority of voters outside of the Republican base, particularly those white-collar suburbanites who voted for John McCain or Mitt Romney or George W. Bush and have found the Trump Party, Trump-era GOP to be something they can no longer, you know, align with. And so it's -- of a pattern.

I mean, Trump, the entire Trump strategy is about doubling down on mobilizing the base without a lot of concern about what, you know, it does on the other side of the equation. But we saw in 2018, in 2020, and in 2022 that while he does in fact energize a lot of Republican voters, he also provokes a massive backlash and I think the polling is very clear on this game that outside of the Republican base, multiple criminal indictments is not a calling card, is not something that makes people more likely to vote for you and don't forget he fell seven million votes short last time.

It's just hard to see how any of this gets him closer to getting over the top in a general election even as it's making it tougher for his rivals to beat him for the nomination.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah absolutely but I'm just wondering whether this, the anger over this from the right might lead to something more, you know, more troubling, more nefarious maybe. I mean we know the threat from right-wing extremists in terms of violence according to the FBI, the number one domestic threat in terms of terrorism. So how do you think this might make that worse? Will it inflame things further, possibly lead to violence?

BROWNSTEIN: Conceivably, I mean, we don't obviously we don't know. First of all, we're not done. There are two other major investigations ongoing, the other special counsel investigation into his role, trying to overturn the election result and as well as the Georgia Fulton County investigation on, you know, similar questions relating to that to that state. So they're going to be more opportunities. And certainly that would be a risk.

You know, again, when Republican leaders preemptively. delegitimize, this before they have seen the indictment, before they have seen any evidence and say inherently it is weaponization, it is political prosecution, which is their reaction to New York. And I think the template is now set.

That'll probably be their reaction to any further indictments that they are in effect, fueling that possibility by preemptively validating the idea that this is unfair, this is singling Trump out. And again, his core argument always is they're going after me because they really want to silence you.


And, you know, that is -- that is an argument that resonates for a portion of the Republican base. Again, it is something I don't think it resonates beyond the Republican base. But when you have leaders failing to call out, you know, basically even just saying slow down, let's see the evidence, let's see what happens. It does give rise, it does further accelerate those kind of sentiments.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. Alright, as always, I appreciate the analysis, Ron Brownstein in Los Angeles. Thanks so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

BRUNHUBER: A new legal setback for Donald Trump, who's now facing federal charges, yet insists he's an innocent man. I had the latest on the indictment in the classified documents case.

Plus, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sits down with CNN's Kaitlan Collins for a wide-ranging exclusive interview, including about support for Ukraine. Listen to this.


RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think it's entirely reasonable for people to ask, is everybody doing their bid? I'm proud to say the U.K. is.



BRUNHUBER: Three days after a large dam collapsed in southern Ukraine, flood waters in Kherson have now started to recede. Local Ukrainian official says the water level dropped overnight by about 20 centimeters or roughly 8 inches. But ongoing shelling of the area is hampering rescue efforts.


Despite the shelling, President Zelenskyy says rescue efforts would continue non-stop. Officials say more than 500 people, including 28 children, have been pulled to safety since the dam gave way on Tuesday. CNN's Salma Abdelaziz joins us from London. And Salma, what's the latest on those ongoing rescue efforts?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kim. We do have an update on those evacuation numbers. According to Ukrainian officials now, more than 2,300 people evacuated, among them 120 children. And as you mentioned, yes the waters appear to be receding downstream from the dam. But that doesn't mean that these huge consequences aren't playing out for what is one of the biggest ecological and industrial disasters to hit Europe in decades.


You'll remember that Ukrainian officials have said, have warned that potentially tens of thousands of people could need to be evacuated. Some of them who could potentially be cut off from clean drinking water because of this dam's collapse. So remember as well that there is the potential consequence to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. It is that dam that provides the water that cools the power plant. You will also know that this sits right on the front line, Kim. This dam that sits right where Russian shelling continues to fly, continues to hamper evacuation efforts. According to Ukrainian officials who say at least nine people have been injured as they fled by Russian shelling.

Now going back to how this all began, both Ukraine and Russia have been trading accusations, blaming each other for this ecological and humanitarian disaster. But President Zelenskyy minced no words. It is his officials who say that Russian troops caused an internal explosion in the hydroelectric power plant of the dam that sits, of course, in Russian-occupied part on the left bank, if you will, of the Dnipro River in the Russian-occupied portion. This is what he said in his nightly address.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This man-made disaster at the Novokohokha hydroelectricity plant is not a natural disaster or a manifestation of the climate crisis. The disaster is Putin. What he does, what he personally orders to do.


ABDELAZIZ: Now, as these evacuations are ongoing, I've already mentioned they are happening right on those front lines, quite literally as shells are flying, according to Ukrainian officials. They also say they're very limited on the resources that they need to pull people out. Thousands of homes have been flooded.

So you can imagine there are absolutely desperate families downstream from that dam. And then if you look at the wider consequences of this, of course, in the conflict, potentially this could hamper, limit the ability of Ukrainian troops when it comes to that counteroffensive to push across the Dnipro River to those Russian-occupied regions.

Again, I just have to mention one more time the access to water here. Russia, part of its blame, part of its accusation in saying that Ukraine carried out this attack is the potential that it could cut off water to Crimea as well, Russian-occupied Crimea. I mean, the list of consequences just goes on and on. And you cannot separate it from the fact that these officials are working around-the-clock in a war zone, Kim, to pull these families out.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah, absolutely. All right. Thanks so much, Salma. Abdulaziz, I appreciate it.

Well, the war in Ukraine was top of mind for U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday. During Sunak's first visit to the White House, the president hailed the relationship between their two countries. He thanked the prime minister for his partnership on Ukraine.


BIDEN: Churchill and Roosevelt met here a little over 70 years ago. They asserted that the strength of the partnership between Great Britain and the United States was the strength of the free world. Together, we're providing economic and humanitarian aid and security assistance to Ukraine in their fight against the brutal invasion of the Russians.


BRUNHUBER: Now, moments after meeting with President Biden at the White House, Sunak sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. He talked about the ongoing support for Ukraine from the U.S., the U.K., and other allies, and the possibility that the next president elected in the U.S. may not support Ukraine. Listen to this.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: You just met with President Biden. The two of you were standing side by side. President Biden was talking about how important Ukraine is in funding Ukraine. The Republican frontrunner here, of course, in the middle of an election season in the U.S., has not even said if he believes Ukraine should win this war. Does that make you as a world leader who may be working with him potentially uncomfortable?

RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Look, obviously, it wouldn't be right for me to comment on domestic politics here, but I did spend a good amount of time in Congress yesterday talking to leaders from both parties.

And I think there is strong support for the efforts that America is putting in to support Ukraine. I think there's an acknowledgement, as I said, that the values that we're fighting for are universal, the values that America has always stood up for, which is democracy, freedom, the rule of law.

But I think it's entirely reasonable for people to ask, is everybody doing their bid? I'm proud to say the U.K. is, you know, behind the U.S., we're the next largest contributor to the effort to support Ukraine.

And more broadly, when it comes to defense spending, we're one of the few countries that invest 2 percent of our GDP in defense. That is a NATO commitment that we've made, that we've adhered to. And I think it's reasonable and right that we expect other countries in the NATO alliance to increase defense spending up to those levels. And that's something that I speak to other leaders about as well.


COLLINS: One of the people that you met with on Capitol Hill yesterday while you were here was House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Did he offer you assurances that Republicans will continue to back funding Ukraine?

SUNAK: I think we had a very constructive conversation about support for Ukraine. I think what everyone wants to know is that the money that we're all spending is going to be used well. And I think that's where I'd say I'm confident that Ukraine can succeed.

And the reason I'm confident is you can just look at what they've done over the past year and how they've completely defied expectation. Everyone thought this will be over in days or weeks, but because of their courage, their bravery, their resilience of their people, they have recaptured enormous amount of the territory that Russia initially seized. And that's why I believe it's the right thing to support them, because a victory isn't one that's not just for Ukraine and for its people.

Victory is for the rules-based system that keeps all of us safe in lots of different ways and in lots of different parts of the world, and that's something that's worth all of us fighting for and supporting.

COLLINS: But there's some fierce resistance from some Republicans here on funding Ukraine. Are you confident that you can still count on the U.S. to continue to do so?

SUNAK: I think the U.S. has a long track record of making a difference in matters like this. And I continue to believe that it will do so. And so for my part, I would say to the American people, thank you. Thank you for doing that. I believe it's the right thing to do, though, for global peace and security.

I don't think this is necessarily, you shouldn't view it as just as an act of altruism. This is something that contributes to global peace and security that is good for America as much of it is good for the people of Ukraine, because ultimately these values are values in which all our countries were built, democracy, freedom, the rule of law.

And we've spent, particularly the U.K. and the U.S., we spent the best part of the last half century, and here we are in Blair House, and you talked about Churchill and Roosevelt, and we've spent the best part of the last half century shaping and defending that world order because we think it's the right one, it's one that brings peace and stability and security for all our citizens. And when it's threatened, we do need to defend it.

COLLINS: Well, and speaking of that, China is also a big subject, obviously, for you. Your government says that China represents a systemic challenge, but stopped short of calling it a threat. How come?

SUNAK: Well, I think that what matters more than language actually are actions. I do believe China represents an epoch-defining challenge. It's, I think, the only country with both the means and the intent to reshape the world order. Its behavior at home is increasingly authoritarian and abroad more assertive.

And I think we need to recognize that, the eyes wide open about it, and then take the steps required to protect ourselves against that. And that's when I talk about actions. We've passed new laws in the UK that allow us to block investment from places that we don't think are beneficial to our country. If people are trying to steal technology, for example, we've removed Chinese equipment from our telecoms network in line with the U.S.

And most importantly, we're working together with allies, particularly America, where I think we are in lockstep about addressing the challenges that China poses. And ultimately, we're going to work together to solve these things, not alone. And I had a very productive conversation with President Biden on this topic just earlier today.

COLLINS: Did that conversation involve legislation that he signed, like the Inflation Reduction Act, which could complicate what you've talked about and other European leaders when it comes to having that stability and that united front against Chinese aggression?

SUNAK: No. And actually, the G7 meeting that we had just a few weeks ago in Japan was very clear that none of us believe in zero-sum competition, you know, acts that ultimately don't benefit any of us, collective security not being enhanced. I think that's not something that anybody wants. President Biden certainly doesn't want that.

And I think President Biden in the U.S. is acutely aware of the needs and concerns of its allies. And we saw that today in the declaration that we've just signed, which strengthens our economic cooperation and actually says, hang on, we need to work closer together on these technologies of the future. How we research them, how we develop them, how we protect them from falling into the wrong hands. Or indeed in things like critical minerals, where the U.K. and the U.S. have today launched negotiations on a critical minerals agreement to ensure the security of those supply chains.

So actually what I see is, in an American administration, that it's very cognisant of what its allies and partners need and is actually determined to work closely together with them to bring about the goals that we want, which is greater security collectively for all of us.


BRUNHUBER: And next hour you'll hear more of Kaitlan Collins' exclusive interview with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, including his views on being the youngest rural leader in his relationship with the oldest President Biden.

Well, Donald Trump is declaring his innocence and lashing out at the Justice Department, following his historic indictment. Ahead, several legal experts weigh in on the charges he's facing. That's coming up, stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: I want to bring you up to date on our developing story this hour. Donald Trump indicted by the U.S. Justice Department for his handling of classified documents. The former president's lawyer says the seven counts under the Espionage Act include conspiracy, obstruction and making false statements. CNN's Alayna Treene reports.


ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: Former President Donald Trump was indicted Thursday night in the special counsel's investigation into the alleged mishandling of classified documents. Sources familiar with the indictment tell CNN. And this is really a stunning development in the classified documents case. It's the first time that a current or former president has faced federal charges. Now, Trump has been charged, we're told, with seven counts in the indictment, and one of those counts is a conspiracy charge, a source tells CNN.

The special counsel has been investigating Donald Trump's handling of classified documents ever since some of these classified documents were found in his possession at his Mar-a-Lago Resort in Florida.

Now, the former president wrote on Truth Social, Thursday evening that he's expected to appear at a federal courthouse in Miami at Tuesday at 3 pm. We also told that, you know, here at Bedminster, we're very nearby to where the president is, and he's huddling with some of his aides.

He's feeling emboldened by this news.


That is his first reaction to this. He's thinking that, you know, potentially this could have a political boost for his re-election campaign. But other advisers of his say that there are some concerns and reservations about how this could affect Donald Trump in the long term and affect his reelection campaign.

Now, the special counsel, Jack Smith, was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland seven months ago to look into this case once they learned that they were still classified documents in Donald Trump's possession, but also, once it was clear that Donald Trump was running for reelection again. Alayna Treene, CNN, Bedminster, New Jersey.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN HOST: Now, earlier, members on our panel spoke out about the severity of the charges against Trump in particular the charge of conspiracy. Listen to this.


ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Conspiracy is a big deal because there you would've found some agreement to violate the law by multiple people. There will be individuals other than the former president who was involved in some sort of criminal scheme there and that's obviously quite significant when we step back and talk about it. Someone we haven't talked about is judges and what might happen when this gets in front of a judge.

Now, look, there are, I believe, a little bit more than two dozen federal judges that sit on the Southern District of Florida in Miami, Fort Pierce, For Lauderdale in West Palm Beach. We don't quite know which judge would get this. Now, I would assume that barring someone extreme it is in the interest of any federal judge that hears this case to make it not about a political campaign and try to stick to the facts and the law.

Now, that's probably the worst possible outcome for former President Trump, but I think that's far more likely than not. Even for, and I think people who like to regard the art of judging in terms of who the president's put people on the bench. But even Trump judges could potentially handle this matter in a fair and reasonable and responsible way and I think it's far more likely to get someone who would than someone who wouldn't.

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's interesting. There are three different really lanes here. There is the court of law which you guys are familiar with. There's a court of public opinion, and there's the MAGA court. And we have already heard Donald Trump say that this is a witch hunt, this is them going after him for no reason. Speaking with several Republicans across the country as I'm sure David has as well, they have no confidence in the FBI. They think the FBI is only doing this because Donald Trump is running for president again.

And they say that this is overreach by the FBI. Even speaking with -- he's having big rallies in North Carolina and Georgia this weekend, speaking with one of the big Georgia organizers. They say that they have had more interest since this has come out as a result of this. This is emboldening Donald Trump's space because they look at him as a victim, as a martyr for an overreach of the FBI.


BRUNHUBER: Now, sources tell CNN the U.S. Justice Department is scrambling to beef up its presence in Miami ahead of Trump's scheduled court appearance on Tuesday. The Secret Service is expected to meet with staff today to begin security planning. And local police are offering to help if needed. Law enforcement officials say the indictment was kept so secret, not even the Secret Surface knew it was coming.

All right. Let's go live to Los Angeles and civil rights attorney Areva Martin. Areva, thank you so much for being here with us. So, just, you know, obviously, we don't have the details on the charges. But, big picture, how serious is this indictment and what jeopardy does Donald Trump potentially face here?

AREVA MARTIN, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Hi, Kim. This is a seismic, real, and political event. Here we have a twice impeached and now twice indicted former president. We've never had a president, a former president in the history of the United States be indicted on federal charges. And, as you said, the indictment is sealed as we speak. But reports are that this is a seven-count indictment that includes very serious felonies, including obstruction of justice, conspiracy, willful retention of documents and making false statements.

Lots of evidence, hopefully, (inaudible) -- lots of the allegations will be learned when this indictment is unsealed. But these are very serious charges that carry very serious jail time if there is in fact a conviction.

BRUNHUBER: Yeah. We are still a long, long way from that. But why do you think they chose the venue, Miami instead of Washington D.C. and how might that make things more complicated?

MARTIN: Well, in many ways, it simplifies things, Kim. We learned just a couple of days ago that there was a grand jury that had been (inaudible) in Florida. And that that grand jury was actually taking testimony. We know that the majority of the actions, the retention, the willful retention of these documents actually occurred at Trump's club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida.

And I think it was very smart on the part of the special counsel, Jack Smith, to bring the indictments in Florida to avoid any legal, you know, litigation or legal fights over venue.


We know that Donald Trump's team is already attacking the prosecution. They're stating that there's prosecutorial misconduct. And we are expecting a flurry of motions to be filed by the Trump team seeking to dismiss the indictment. And by making indictment or bringing the indictment in Florida, that removes one of the legal arguments anticipated by the Trump team on the issue of venue.

BRUNHUBER: Those accusations of misconduct, at some point, I mean, they're going to have to substantiate that, right, or could it undermine their credibility?

MARTIN: Absolutely, Kim. Today, what we've heard with these general statements that somehow Trump has been treated unfairly, we know that Trump's lawyers went to Washington D.C. on Monday and met with members of the special counsel's team. But again, what we are hearing are these very broad and general statements about unfair treatment. No real specific allegations to support these, you know, claims that somehow Trump is being treated differently than any other defendant that has engaged in the kind of conduct that he has engaged in.

But clearly that may play well in the court of public opinion. But in the court of law in order to have those claims substantiated, he will have to -- his legal team will have to submit some concrete evidence.

BRUNHUBER: All right. So, we should mention, you know, President Biden is also being investigated for his handling of classified documents, which is obviously something that the Trump team and his allies are keen to point out alleging there is that double standard about how the two cases is being handled. But it's worth pointing out again the two cases are very different.

MARTIN: Diametrically opposed, Kim. The reality is that President Biden, former Vice President Mike Pence, they both have classified or sensitive documents that were removed from the White House and were found in their homes, or in Biden's case, in his office. But the difference here is, in both cases, they operated with the federal government when efforts were made to retrieve those documents. What we have in the case of Donald Trump is months and months of obstruction. Months and months of his willing -- his willing -- his willful refusal to turn over documents. Even once the subpoena was issued, you would recall FBI agents actually had to go and do a search of his property in order to retrieve all of the documents.

So, it's not a fair comparison when you look at how Donald Trump handled this matter, and had he simply cooperated when the General Services Office first started requesting, then the Archives first started requesting the return of the documents, he would not find himself facing the seven-count indictment. The reality is Donald Trump brought this indictment on himself by his own conduct.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, that's the bottom line. So many questions, some to be answered in the days ahead, no doubt. Areva Martin in Los Angeles. Thank you so much. Appreciate it.

MARTIN: Thanks, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, still ahead, clouds of wildfire choking much of the U.S. and Canada for days now, but there is relief on the horizon possible.

We'll take you inside the (inaudible) hundreds of children, many with special needs, from Sudan's war-torn capital. Stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: Donald Trump says he's an innocent man who had done nothing wrong. But the former president is now facing a seven-count indictment for his handling of classified documents after he left the White House. And Trump attorneys says the charges include violating the Espionage Act, obstruction, conspiracy, and destruction or falsification of records.

Air quality levels are slowly improving across the U.S. northeast and Midwest. The smoke from Canadian wildfires begins to dissipate. Now, roughly 50 million people under air quality alerts, down from 75 million Wednesday and Thursday.


Hundreds of firefighters from around the world have been arriving in Canada to help combat what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has described as the worst fire season the country has ever seen. Smoke from more than 400 wildfires have been making it difficult to breathe for millions of people and triggered air quality warnings across states and provinces.

Philadelphia is moving all of today's graduation ceremonies indoors due to the wildfire smoke. The city's air quality is currently considered unhealthy though it's expected to improve slightly in the coming hours. It's among the major cities in the eastern half of the U.S. grappling with smoky conditions, typically only seen on the west coast. CNN's Miguel Marquez has the latest from New York.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New York City bathe for another day in hazardous smoke.

UNKNOWN: I can feel it. I can feel it.

MARQUEZ (on camera): What do you feel?

UNKNOWN: I can feel a little harshness in my throat.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The smoky and shocking transformation of the city from a bright June day to a sickly-looking orange. All of it from smoke from enormous fires burning hundreds of miles away.

KATHY HOCHUL, GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK CITY: This is the -- an extraordinary event. It's unprecedented in terms of the source of the air contaminants that we are experiencing right now.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The noxious plume extending its reach. Washington's monuments shrouded in smoke. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in a haze. The fires burning in Canada, numbering in the hundreds. Weather patterns pushing the smoke south, trapping it there. Air quality from the fires felt as far west as Wyoming and reaching deep into the American south, from Louisiana to Georgia.

For a second day, major league baseball games postponed, this time, the Washington Nationals. Horses at Belmont just days before the big race won't be taken to the track. The heavy smoke reducing visibility and interrupting flights in Philadelphia. The U.S. now offering Canada all available federal firefighting assets to help contain the fires.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We already have 600 American firefighters on the ground and been there for a while in Canada, including Hotshots and the Smokejumper crews.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The effects at the smoke, from mild coughing and headaches to serious shortness of breath and asthma attacks. Those caught in it, adapting.

UNKNOWN: Just the air, it just looks very dangerous out here. So, I just wanted to do something to, you know, I guess, keep it --

MARQUEZ (on camera): (Inaudible)

UNKNOWN: Yeah, exactly.

MARQUEZ: So, I want to give you a sense of what conditions are right now in New York City. That's the Statue of Liberty out there in the harbor. You can see that haze. That's not moisture in the air, it's not fog, it's not dust. That is smoke still. This haze from the smoke, these massive fires, it is still affecting other parts of the country.

Officials tell us that in the next 24 hours here in the New York area, at least, it will improve and it will take a little longer for other parts of the country. But those massive fires, those hundreds of fires in Canada still need to be brought under control. Back to you.


BRUNHUBER: CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has been looking at why the smoke is so dangerous, and to illustrate the issue, he ran a little experiment and he tells us some relief may be on the way.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. So much smoke in the eastern part of the United States, eastern Canada as well as from fires and Ontario, Quebec. Earlier in the week we had fires in Nova Scotia. A lot of rainfall happens there and that was some good news. And obviously, we still have smoke from British Columbia and Alberta that the fires are burning there.

This is a PM2.5 detector. This tells us how many particles are in the air, parts per million, and right now in the studio there is five, 005. When I took this outside earlier it said 70. So, there were 70 parts in the air outside. Well, it's better to be inside if you're looking at 5 compared to 70. And that's why they say, please go indoors or, of course wear a mask.

But watch what happens to this. This is my own personal 2.5 detector. I'm going to light a match; I'm going to put it out. I'm going to blow -- a little bit of smoke, just a little bit from one match. And watch what happens to the numbers here. From 100 to 300 and higher and it probably ends up somewhere 999 if it pegs all the way out. But look at some of the -- this is the stuff that you're breathing in, this fine, fine particle that are in the air.

So, let's get to it. Where is the air quality bad? Well, still bad, all up and down I-95 in the eastern part, the populated corridor of the United States. Also, still bad up in Toronto. Even for a little bit across parts of Montreal, and that's the area where the smoke is coming from, where those fires are still, of course, burning out of control. Here's what the computer model thinks the smoke is going to look like by morning, about 5:00 in the morning here. Very heavy smoke here.

From about Windsor that is just -- that's Sault Ste. Marie right there and then back across parts of Buffalo, Erie into parts of Pittsburgh. That would be Sommerset County, and then all the way back toward Washington D.C.


Watch the orange there. As I push the button and move this into the evening, the orange begins to disperse a little bit. There's a little bit of wind in the atmosphere for tomorrow to try to push this around and not make it so concentrated. And by Saturday afternoon, most of the northeast is cleared up, but there is still quite a bit of smoke here across parts Ohio and into Pennsylvania.

Another thing that's going to happen to help us get rid of this is some rain. We need the rain over the fires, obviously, but we could also use the rain across parts of the areas that have seen so much smoke in the air. But something else that's really going to play a big, big, big help here is the wind. The wind will push this away into the Atlantic, and away from the United States and eastern Canada.

Here's how much rainfall we could get. Half inch to an inch in some spots, especially over those fires. That will definitely be helpful for the firefighters. And then the wind and the wind direction coming from the south, bringing in drier air, cleaner air from the Atlantic Ocean. And then pushing it all the way by, it looks like, Tuesday. They should all be a bad memory.

But there is still fires burning and there is still smoke being emitted, so this may be a long-term issue for the eastern part of Canada and the northeastern U.S.

BRUNHUBER: The office of the French president says he will travel to the alps today to visit the victims of a horrible stabbing attack and their families. Four toddlers and two adults were stabbed. A government spokesperson says two of the children are receiving urgent treatment after surgery. Authorities say this Syrian asylum seeker carried out the assault. He was seen entering a playground with a knife going after the children in their strollers. CNN's Melissa Bell has this to report.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDET: It was a particularly brutal and frenzied attack that was carried out on the edges of the lake at Annecy here in France, a tourist spot in the Alps. A 31-year-old, we now know, according to French sources, Christian Syrian, who had sought asylum in Sweden. The prosecutors speaking to the fact later after the man's arrest that he had been given asylum in Sweden in 2013, had sorted in France and had it denied on account of the fact of his already being an asylum claimant in the European Union.

Beyond that, we know not very much more about his motives. Anti-terror investigators have not been the ceased of the case but the question as to why he went on the rampage. And it is their age's particularly young, preschool children that have really added to the concern, to the anxiety, to the shock of a country as is watched these images unfold and emerge from Annecy Lake. Here's what the French prime minister had to say shortly after arriving on the scene.


ELISABETH BORNE, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER (through translation): I think his parents are citizen. We can only imagine the shock. We're already very shocked and was able to talk to the people who intervened to save those children. I can assure you that it's very, very shocking. There's a lot of emotion among those who intervene to help.


BELL: The tragedy of this morning, all the more shocking here in France for the fact that these are extremely rare occurrences were children are deliberately attacked. You have to go back to 2012 and the rampage of (inaudible) that set off that terror wave in France to find anything similar. It is for now a country still very much under the shock of those images that emerged from Annecy on Thursday morning. Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris. BRUNHUBER: Witnesses in Sudan's capital report fierce fighting from

control of what's described as the most important military facility in the country. The Paramilitary Rapid Support forces announced, this week, they have taken control of the weapon's manufacturing and storage depot in Khartoum.

An estimated 1,800 people have been killed in nearly two months of fighting with Sudanese army soldiers. Repeated cease fires all collapsed. The Red Cross says it has helped evacuate 280 children from an orphanage in Khartoum. They have had no access to proper health care since the fighting began.

And according to Reuters, dozens of babies have died from dehydration and malnutrition. CNN's Becky Anderson reports.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A lifesaving mission for Sudan's most vulnerable, hundreds of babies and children some with special needs, rescued from an orphanage in Khartoum. The youngest just one month old, born amid the chaos that is engulfed the country. The international committee of the Red Cross facilitated the rescue operation with help from UNICEF.

MARINA FAKHOURI, PROTECTION COORDINATOR, ICRC: They're so fragile these babies. They were just so small in your arms when you're taking them. And they just need a lot of care. Taking one, two, three of them on the buses in that condition. They're all okay it seems.

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE SANDOZ, HEAD OF DELEGATION IN SUDAN, ICRC: It was really so heartbreaking to see all these children, some of them having the mental health conditions, and other health conditions. I want to be very intimate truly of conflict to bring separation. There were some activities which we heard.


Also, and these children had been there for the past six weeks. So, it was really, for us, really a relief to see that it would bring them to safety now that they can also get the proper medical health care.

Three hundred and fifty children and care workers were rescued from the facility where dozens of orphans have died of dehydration and malnutrition since the war broke out.

PATRICK YOUSSEF, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA, ICRC: The state of these children, but also the nannies that care for these children were extremely critical. We heard -- we learned of so many deaths before the successful operation happened. This in fact made it so critical to move as quickly as possible to cross frontlines on several occasions and get to these kids and their nannies and now bring them and -- get them out of harm's way into a safe location.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The orphanage is just two kilometers from Khartoum International Airport. Scenes of some of the most intense fighting between the Sudanese army and the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces. The ICRC obtained security guarantees from both war infractions to get the children safely out of the war-torn capital.

The children were transported to Wad Madani, a safer location about 200 kilometer southeast of Khartoum. And the ICRC says they will be cared for by the Sudanese Ministry of Social Development. UNICEF says nearly 14 million children are in immediate need of lifesaving humanitarian support in Sudan. That is around 30 percent of the country's entire population. And the agency is calling for $838 million to address the crisis. Becky Anderson, CNN, Abu Dhabi.


BRUNHUBER: All right, still to come, the man believed to be linked to Natalie Holloway's disappearance is now in the U.S. What's next for Joran van der Sloot, just ahead. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: The man allegedly linked to the disappearance of American teen, Natalie Holloway, is set to be arraigned for extradition in a U.S. federal court in the coming hours. Jordan van der Sloot arrived in Alabama Thursday and was taken by FBI agents to a jail in Birmingham near Holloway's hometown. CNN's Jean Casarez has the details.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joran van der Sloot landing at Birmingham's airport on an FBI Gulfstream 550 executive jet in U.S. custody. His first steps on American soil, in the hometown of Natalie Holloway, 18 years after she was last seen with Van der Sloot during her high school graduation trip to Aruba in 2005, and later declared dead. Her remains were never found. Van der Sloot is the prime suspect.

He is serving a 28-year sentence in Peru's maximum-security prison, Challapalca for a different killing, the 2010 murder of Peruvian woman Stephany Flores.


Saturday wearing a thick coat as he left the prison in the Andes, he signed papers and underwent medical tests before being transferred to Lim in preparation for going to the United States.

He faces U.S. federal charges for extorting Natalie Holloway's mother, Beth, out of tens of thousands of dollars in exchange for telling her where the remains of her daughter were located. Van der Sloot said they were in gravel under a home's foundation in Aruba. But he later e-mailed to say it was all a lie. U.S. prosecutors say that amounts to wire fraud.

Now, he is on his way to enter the charges in a U.S. court.

CARLOS LOPEZ AEDO, INTERPOL LIMA CHIEF (through translation): The fact is we have complied with both the presidential and a judicial resolution authorizing the transfer.

CASAREZ (voice-over): Interpol took custody of Van der Sloot Thursday and drove him to the air force base near Lima.

Early this morning, he smiled for a photo with Interpol agents as he was handed over to the FBI for the 6-hour flight to Alabama. Now, he sits in an American jail cell and he is expected to appear in court tomorrow.

(On camera): Joran van der Sloot is being held tonight at the Hoover City Jail, it is in the suburb right outside of Birmingham. According to court documents he is being represented at this point by the federal public defender. And tomorrow's initial appearance, the arraignment, it is set for 11:00 a.m. local time. And this is where he will be appraised of his constitutional rights.

The indictment will be read to him unless the defense waves it, and he will have to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. Jean Casarez, CNN, Birmingham, Alabama.


BRUNHUBER: The alert level for Hawaii's Kilauea volcano has been lowered from a warning to a watch. Right now, the eruptions are confined to the crater within Kilauea's summit caldera. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said there was a 6-meter rise of new lava on the crater floor. That level has now decreased by 2 meters. Eruptions are expected to continue.

The Los Angeles Golf Club has become the first of six teams in the new virtual golf league, TGL, which launches next January. It's headlined by golfing stars Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. The L.A. Club's owners are tennis champion Serena and Venus Williams, as well as Serena's husband and even their daughter.

The games will be televised live as players hit shots on virtual screens and custom-built arenas. The aim is to attract a younger audience to golf.

And an extremely rare precious stones were sold at auctions on Thursday. A pink diamond called the "eternal pink" weighing almost 11 carats was auctioned at Sotheby's for $34.8 million. It was cut from a rough diamond discovered in a mine in Botswana just 4 years ago and the largest ever ruby also sold at Sotheby's worth $34.8 million on Thursday. It was discovered less than a year ago in a mine in Mozambique by a cleaning company. Both the precious stones were exhibited in several (inaudible) including Dubai, Singapore, Geneva before the sale.

That wraps this hour up of our coverage. I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back with more "CNN Newsroom" coming up next. Please do stay with us.