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CNN International: Donald Trump Charged with 7 Counts Including Conspiracy, Obstruction, False Statements; 50 Million in U.S. Remain Under Air Quality Alerts; Van Der Sloot in U.S. to Face Extortion Charges; Rescuing Flood Victims Amid Russian Shelling; Syrian Asylum- Seeker Accused of Stabbing 4 Children and 2 Adults in French Alps Town. Aired 4-4:30a ET
Aired June 09, 2023 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to all of you joining us in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber in for Bianca and Max. Today just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former president Trump was indicted Thursday night in the special counsel investigation into the alleged mishandling of classified documents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's kind of scary out here. Like the apocalypse is about to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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.
RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I'm really fortunate to enjoy a close relationship with President Biden and through circumstances we just happen to have seen each other quite a lot. And that's not always the case for leaders and were all busy in our own country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: It is Friday, June 9th, 4:00 a.m. here in Atlanta and in Washington, D.C. where the U.S. Justice Department in an unprecedented move indicting former President Donald Trump. His attorney says Trump is facing seven counts including violations of the Espionage Act, 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 estate last August. Prosecutors previously claim documents were likely concealed or removed from Mar-a-Lago storage room as part of an effort to obstruct the FBI investigation. Now Trump says on social media he's been summoned to appear at the federal courthouse in Miami on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. He claims the Justice Department is being weaponized against him. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's called election interference. They're trying to destroy a reputation so they can win an election. That is 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'll prove that very, very soundly and hopefully very quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: A person who spoke with Trump Thursday night tells CNN the former president and his team are jacked up and ready for fight back. More now from CNN's Kristen Holmes
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump and his team were expecting an indictment and they were expecting an indictment imminently. However, they were still surprised when it actually came down. I've talked to a number of sources close to the former president who said that they met with lawyers. They heard about the summon. They have not yet actually seen this indictment. All they currently know is that there have been seven charges and that one of them is a conspiracy charge.
Right now Donald Trump and his team are huddled at Bedminster. They are coming up with a plan to respond to this. We saw a short video that Trump put out. But they are looking at a larger plan of what exactly this looks like. Is he going to have to appear in Maimi? Is he going to give remarks in Miami? Is he going to come back to Bedminster and do that?
We know that Donald Trump this weekend has two campaign events, one in North Carolina and one in Georgia. And I am told by number of sources that that is not going to change. He is still going to appear at those events. One of the things that we heard when he had the Manhattan indictment was that nothing was going to change and that is still the same messaging that we're getting now.
Now of course, it is still early. This indictment is still new. There is a lot that can happen. But right now, they are planning on going forward with his 2024 campaign and you are likely to hear from the former president talking about how he believes that this is election interference.
I've talked to a number of people close to the former president who say that they are going to be pushing that narrative. We do know that Trump's team has been calling his allies on The Hill shoring him up, making sure that they will get out there on the airwaves and defend him. So something to be watching for closely.
Again, so much is still unknown even to the former president and his team. All they know is this is unprecedented and they are still working through what exactly the next several days are going to look like.
BRUNHUBER: For more on this, I'm going to bring in Bernarda Villalona. Who's a criminal defense and former prosecutor and she joins me now live from New York. Thanks so much for being here with us. So, Donald Trump no stranger to the inside of a courtroom, of course, but this federal indictment, how serious could the charges be and what jeopardy does Donald Trump potential face here?
BERNARDA VILLALONA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE OF AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: So, we're definitely in unchartered waters. This is no joke.
This federal indictment that's coming down is for joke. We're not talking about the New York criminal charges. We're talking about the federal government now coming after you and coming after you with at least seven charges. As of now we don't exactly know what the charges are, however, we do have an idea having to deal with the violation of the Espionage Act, having to deal with obstruction of justice, possibly making false statements, having to deal with concealment of documents, destruction of documents. All of this does carry a high penalty. You're ranging anywhere from 3, 10 to even 20 years. But even the chance that your own presidency of you being disqualified to ever hold office, that is also in jeopardy.
BRUNHUBER: So, Donald Trump's advocates and allies say that this whole thing it's been capricious, that, you know, the whole thing is flimsy. I mean, how strong does evidence need to be for an indictment to be handed down in these sorts of circumstances?
VILLALONA: When we're talking about an indictment, we're talking about a grand jury presentation. That's what the department did, the federal government did. They presented a case to civilians and based on that evidence that was presented to them and the law presented to them, they voted for indictment. And in those types of cases having to deal with a grand jury, it's probable cause to believe that a crime was committed and that Donald Trump is the person that committed the crime.
Of course, it's completely different than presenting the case at a jury trial where you have to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. It's still too early to tell. However, we did get some insight as to what the evidence -- what evidence actually exists and we got a that when the probable cause affidavit was unsealed a year ago. We got to know some of the evidence that does exist.
BRUNHUBER: So, you talk about a jury trial here. Could Donald Trump still make a deal with prosecutors here?
VILLALONA: Of course he can make a deal, but highly unlikely. We're talking about Donald Trump here, the man who leaves it all out in the media. Who tries his case in the media. Because for him it's more important what the public thinks as opposed to this is a wake-up call. You are now facing jail time. We are talking about a criminal case having to deal with the federal government. So, in terms of it may be possible and actually almost certain that he can be campaigning next year in 2024 and still have various cases lingering. We know that the New York case, that the New York district attorney's office, that case is slated for trial in March. The question will be, which case will go first. Is it going to be this case coming out of Florida? Is it going to be the New York case? Or is it going to be possibly the case coming out of Georgia? We just don't know at this point. They have to make a strategic decision.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, so much still up in the air. Really appreciate your analysis. Criminal defense Bernarda Villalona in New York, appreciate it.
VILLALONA: Thank you.
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 imposing him.
Now of course, we have to point out, President Biden didn't indict Trump, the U.S. Justice Department did.
Now others in Congress are reacting to Trump's indictment.
Republican Elise Stefanik tweeted: The radical far left will stop at nothing to interfere with the 2024 election in order to prop up the catastrophic Biden presidency.
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio tweeted: There's no limit to what these people will do to protect their power even if it means ripping our country apart.
California Democrat Adam Schiff says: For four years Trump acted like he was above the law but he should be treated like any other law breaker and today he has been.
Republican presidential candidates are reacting to Trump's indictment. Florida governor Ron DeSantis claims the prosecutors are overly zealous and the law is being applied unevenly. Others spoke out even before the news of the indictment.
CHRIS CHRISTIE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a bigger problem whether he's indicted or not. Because these are all self- inflicted wounds.
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is very, very dangerous to see and or feel like the Department of Justice is being weaponized against anyone in this country.
MIKE PENCE, U.S. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would hope that it would meet the very high threshold for the unprecedented action.
BRUNHUBER: Now a quick programming note, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will host a Republican Presidential Town Hall with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie live from New York. That's Monday at 8:00 p.m. in New York and 8:00 Tuesday morning in Hong Kong, right here on CNN.
Now meanwhile, Trump is still being investigated over the January 6 attacks and efforts to overturn the presidential election results. A source familiar with that probe says Republican Newt Gingrich testified before a federal grand jury on Thursday. The former House Speaker allegedly communicated with Trump advisers about TV ads that relied on false claims of election fraud -- according to the house committee that investigated January 6th.
Well, that panel also said Gingrich was involved in the effort to install fake electors in battleground states that Trump lost.
Sources tell CNN that federal prosecutors are also investigating efforts by conservative operatives in Wyoming to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2020 presidential election. We're hearing subpoenas have been sent to a Republican donor and heiress, a former British intelligence official and a former head of the right-wing group Project Veritas. Sources say prosecutors and looking into whether any campaign finance laws were violated.
Now air quality levels are slowly improving across the U.S. Northeast and Midwest as smoke from Canadian wildfires begins to dissipate. There are now roughly 50 million people under air quality alerts. Down from 75 million Wednesday and Thursday. And the situation is expected to continue to improve over the weekend.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia is moving classes to remote learning and any graduation ceremonies indoors due to wildfire smoke. The city's air quality is currently considered unhealthy. It's among the many major cities in the eastern half of the U.S. grappling with smoking conditions typically only seen on the West Coast. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers has been looking at why the smoke is so dangerous and to illustrate the point, he ran a little experiment. Have a look.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, so much smoke in the eastern part of the United States, eastern Canada as well from fires in Ontario and Quebec. Earlier in the week we had fires in Nova Scotia. A lot of rainfall happen there. That was some good news. And obviously, we still have the 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 was 70 parts in the air outside. Well, it's better to be inside if you are looking at five 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'll put it out, and 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, it probably ends up somewhere 999 if it pegs all the way out. But at some of these -- this is the stuff that you are breathing in, these fine, fine particles 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 a little bit across parts of Montreal. And that is the area where the smoke is coming from, where the 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, by 5:00 in the morning here. Very heavy smoke here from about Windsor, that's Sault Ste Marie right there and then back across parts of Buffalo, Erie, into parts of Pittsburgh. That would be Somerset County and then all the way back towards Washington, D.C.
Watch the orange though as I push the button and move this it into the evening. The orange begins to disperse a little bit. There's a 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 out, but still quite a bit of smoke here across parts of 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 also could use the rain across parts of the areas that have seen so much smoke in the air. But something 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 wind direction, coming from the south, bringing in drier air, cleaner air from the Atlantic Ocean, and then pushing it away by it looks like Tuesday this should all be a bad memory. But there's still fires and they're still smoke being emitted. So this may be a long-term issue for the eastern part of Canada and Northeastern U.S.
BRUNHUBER: The man allegedly linked to the disappearance of American teen Natalie Holloway is set to be arraigned for extortion in a U.S. federal court in the coming hours. Joran van der Sloot arrived in Alabama Thursday and was taken by FBI agents to a jail in Birmingham near Holloway's hometown. CNN's Ryan Young has the details.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Joran van der Sloot touches down on U.S. soil Thursday after being temporarily transferred from a prison in Peru. Surrounded by federal agents, he was loaded into a car in Birmingham, Alabama, the home state of Natalee Holloway.
Seen here shortly after arriving at the jail where he'll remain for the duration of his trial. Van der Sloot was indicted in 2010 on charges of extortion and wire fraud related to an alleged plot to sell information to Holloway's family after her disappearance.
BETH HOLLOWAY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY'S MOTHER: I want him to tell the truth. He knows exactly what happened, he knows what, where, when, who, why and how. He knows the answers.
YOUNG (voice-over): Peru agreed to a temporary transfer of van der Sloot to face charges in the U.S. under the condition that he must return to Peru to finish his 28-year prison sentence he is serving there for the 2010 murder of a Peruvian woman Stephanie Flores. Van der Sloot seen here with officials in Peru before his departure Thursday, seems to be smiling.
Earlier video, exclusively obtained by CNN, shows van der Sloot taken out of his sell at a maximum-security prison in Peru last week, in preparation for his transfer to the U.S. He was dressed to leave in his own clothing -- something Peru's prisons allow. And he wore a multicolored fleece coat with a lion's face emblazing across it.
After going through required health checks, he was then driven 20 hours to another facility where he spent several days before federal agents picked him up before the trip to the U.S.
Holloway, the Alabama teenager, was last seen with van der Sloot and two others 18 years ago while on a senior trip with friends on the Dutch island of Aruba. Her mother saying in a statement, she's been waiting decades for this day.
Now almost exactly 18 years later, her perpetrator, Joran van der Sloot, has been extradited to Birmingham to answer for his crimes.
YOUNG: Van der Sloot is in the jail facility behind me. We believe at 11:00 he will have his first court appearance. A lot of questions about whether or not he is in a cell by himself. How that will work out and how long before we figure out the next court date is.
Reporting in Birmingham, Alabama, Ryan Young, CNN.
BRUNHUBER: All right, coming up, the perils of rescuing flood victims in the middle of a combat zone with Russian shelling all around. We'll have those details just ahead.
Plus, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sits down with CNN's Kaitlan Collins for a wide-ranging exclusive interview on a number of pressing topics including his relationship with President Biden.
Plus, have a look here, these are live pictures of a memorial for several young children in France who were brutally stabbed. We'll have an update on their condition. That's coming up, please stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: The devastating floodwaters unleashed last Tuesday by a broken dam in southern Ukraine have finally begun to recede. A local official in Kherson says the water level there dropped overnight by roughly 8 inches or about 20 centimeters. So far, some 2,300 people have been evacuated and all the while the Russians never let up with the shelling.
President Zelenskyy surveyed the destruction for himself on Thursday and said crews were working nonstop to reach as many stranded people as possible.
Salma Abdelaziz has been following all of this. So Salma, what's the latest on the ongoing rescue efforts?
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As you mentioned, Kim, those evacuations are ongoing. Authorities say that they have been working nonstop to pull vulnerable families from that zone, from that flood zone. But they say they have limited resources, Kim, and most importantly most concerningly they are facing Russian shelling even as they try to pull families out of these areas.
One Ukrainian official saying that even the evacuation points, the points where families are supposed to meet to get that help are being shelled by Russian forces on the other side of the Dnipro River. Still so far over 2,300 people have been evacuated. About 120 of them are children. But Ukrainian officials want to see many more towns, villages and settlements downstream from the dam cleared as well as civilians.
And then there's just the wider consequences here. Of course, you'll remember that this dam sits right on the frontlines, right on the Dnipro River. Ukraine and Russia have been trading accusations as to who's to blame for this massive humanitarian and ecological disaster. But President Zelenskyy in his nightly address minced no words. He says he accuses Russian troops of intentionally causing the dam's collapse as part of their battlefield strategy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): This man-made disaster at the Nova Kakhovka 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABDELAZIZ: Now the list of consequences for this disaster just goes on and on, Kim. Of course, beyond the immediate needs of the families downstream from the dam who have now seen their homes, their towns flooded. You also have the concern for access to clean drinking water to potentially tens of thousands of people including families in Russian occupied Crimea could lose access to clean water because of this disaster. You have the concern around land mines. This is a frontline area.
Again, there were land mines planted in that area. Ukrainian officials saying those land mines have shifted. It is unclear where they are. They are in the water.
So another area of potential concern north of the dam, you have the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. It used the water, the reservoir from the dam to cool its nuclear reactors. So yet another potential concern.
And then you have to remember again, this is a battlefield, this is the frontlines for Ukrainian troops. This makes it ever more difficult to cross the Dnipro River and reclaim those Russian occupied regions on the other side. And all of this of course playing out in an active war zone.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. All right, thanks so much, Salma Abdelaziz. Appreciate it.
The office of the French president says he will travel to a town in the Alps today to visit the victims of a horrible stabbing attack and their families. Four toddlers and two adults were stabbed on Thursday. A government spokesperson says two of the children are receiving urgent treatment following surgery.
Now what you're seeing right now, these are live pictures from where the assault happened. As you can see, people have been laying down flowers and creating a memorial. The suspect is a Syrian asylum seeker who is in custody. CNN's Melissa Bell has the report.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: It was a particularly brutal and frenzied attack that was carried out on the edges of Le Paquier 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 sought asylum in Sweden. The prosecutors speaking to the facts later after the man's arrest that he had been given asylum in Sweden in 2013. Had sought it in France and it denied under 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 seized of the case. The question as to why he went on the rampage. And it is their ages, particularly young, preschool children, that have really added to the concern, to the anxiety, to the shock of a country as it watched these images unfold and emerge from Annecy Lake. Here is what the French Prime Minister had to say shortly after arriving on the scene.
ELISABETH BORNE, PRIME MINISTER, FRANCE (through translator): I think his parents, the citizens, we can only imagine the shock. We're already very shocked and I 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 intervened to help.
BELL: The tragedy of this morning all the more shocking here in France for the fact that these are extremely rare occurrences where children are deliberately attacked. You have to go back to 2012 and the rampage of Toulouse and Montauban 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 emerge from Annecy on Thursday morning.
Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
BRUNHUBER: All right, still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, Donald Trump is in legal hot water. The first ever U.S. president indicted on federal charges.
Plus, it's been a pretty good week on Wall Street and investors hope to keep it that way. Coming up, we'll look at what all the major markets have been doing overnight. Stay with us.