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CNN International: Former President Trump Charged with 7 Counts Including Conspiracy, Obstruction, False Statements; Rishi Sunak Speaks About His Relationship with Biden. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired June 09, 2023 - 04:30   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. If you are just joining us, let me bring you up to date with our top story this hour.

The U.S. Justice Department made an unprecedented move indicting former President Donald Trump on Thursday. His attorney says Trump is facing seven counts including an Espionage Act charge, conspiracy, obstruction and making false statements. Now 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. Trump was at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey when he was informed of the indictment. 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're 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.


BRUNHUBER: And for more on this, I'm joined by Douglas Brinkley who is a U.S. presidential historian and a professor at Rice University. And joins me live from Sydney, Australia. Thanks so much for being here with us. So, when it comes to Donald Trump's legal troubles, it seems as though we're always talking about how unprecedented all of these developments are. I just want to get your reaction to this new first.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, look, everybody is trying to figure out why in the world Donald Trump kept all of these documents. Was he just being arrogant when he left the White House and said screw the federal government, I'm going to play footsie games with these documents. Well, what's his motive for not returning this. I mean, the Justice Department day after day was saying these don't belong to you, please return them, and he wouldn't do it.

So I think one of the mysteries as this unfolds in the coming weeks and months, is why Trump -- what did Trump do with these documents? Did he show them to anybody else? Was he using it as a bargaining chip in some way to help Trump's international holdings with countries? That's not -- we won't know. So Tuesday we're going to learn a lot more when the court unseals the documents and we see an ex-president in deep legal trouble.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, I mean, so many people grappling with what this means. Having a former president indicted twice while running for office again. I mean, one question many people are asking is, if Trump were convicted under federal charges, could he still run for office. I mean, there has been some sort of historic precedent here. Take us through that.


BRINKLEY: Well, yes, look, Donald Trump is going to fundraise off of this indictment. And there will, probably will be some of his supporters in Miami that, you know, are trying to own this. They're trying to own the story, get ahead of it if you're Donald Trump.

We've had in American history a candidate running, Eugene Debs, Socialist Party leader who went to jail and was campaigning from prison. So things are possible. But also in Miami, Gen. Manuel Noriega, former leader of Panama was convicted and put in prison in Florida.

So Trump is playing a lot of bravado with all of this. And I think what he's going to try to sell the public on, is I'm not just an ex- president, I am probably the frontrunner, and certainly frontrunner for the GOP, and Joe Biden the sitting president is trying to put me in jail. That's what Trump -- the narrative Trump's will spin. While truth of the matter is the law is the law. And an ex-president is just that, an ex. He's just an American citizen facing the justice system like anybody else. There is no big-time special privilege for Donald Trump except he will have a security apparatus, Secret Service and others surrounding him when he appears in the courtroom on Tuesday.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, I want to unpack that bit more. Because, I mean, that's certainly the argument many Republicans are making as they are rallying around him. I mean, even one of his opponents for the GOP nomination, Mike Pence, said that there should be a very high threshold for taking action against a former president. I mean, is that historically how the president and the presidency was viewed, that they are somehow sacred?

BRINKLEY: Well you know, Richard Nixon got in a lot of trouble with Watergate. And Nixon, like Trump, used to say if you're president, you are not accountable to the law. Well, Nixon was wrong. Yet Gerald Ford replaced Nixon, pardoned Nixon. So we never had any sort of an indictment fever that we're seeing right now. That's what makes this so unique.

We're not seeing -- we are hearing Republicans, some, running for president saying if you elect me, I will then pardon Donald Trump even if he gets busted. But I think the real story here is the clock. Donald Trump's lawyers are going to kick this story down the road as far as they can. The strategy of Trump is to win. And once he's president, these charges can be dropped. He'll find himself in free light and sunshine. And so, it's a game running against -- the November 2024 election.

BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely, the clock is ticking as you said. You know, to quote Donald Trump here. I Mean, Donald Trump said, it was a dark day for America. I mean, how big of a test is this for the nation here do you think?

BRINKLEY: I think there is some Trump fatigue. A lot of people are getting tired of hearing about it. This is not the only indictment. There are more to come when you look at what happened in Georgia. But this is a lot more significant than Stormy Daniels and hush money. This is Trump versus really the, you know, Justice Department. And it's quite serious. He may be in over his head here. We just don't know how much information against Trump has been accumulated. We won't know for at least until Tuesday just the full breadth of the charges here.

And that's -- but it does seem like at this juncture nobody is understanding Trump's motive. That might work in Trump's favor. And look, we call him -- many people whether you love Trump or dislike him, they call him "Teflon Don." He seems to have these multiple lives that he's able to survive. His whole life has been a dance between what is ethical and unethical, what's legal, what's illegal. And in his view, I'm leading the Republican Party and I'm on my way to getting reelected. So screw the Justice Department. And we'll have to see. It's very unsettling for the American people,

but we've been living in the age of Trump for a while and this seems to be just another act. The question is when will his act run dry?

BRUNHUBER: Yes, that is the question. I really appreciate your insights on this, Douglas Brinkley in Sydney, Australia, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

All right, well the new trading day gets under way in the U.S. in just over five hours. So here is where futures stand right now. As you see, everything is in the red there and in the negative territory. Meanwhile, European markets they are up and running -- also a lot of red. And here is a look at how markets across Asia faired today and they ended in the green in positive.


Well investors will be looking to keep alive the gains of the past week. The Dow closed up 168 points yesterday and has risen more than 600 points since Monday after the debt ceiling standoff was resolved. The S&P 500 officially closed in bull territory posting its highest level this year. The rally in tech stocks is clearly uplifting the broader markets.

All right, just ahead, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sits down for an exclusive interview with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. We'll hear what he says about being the youngest major world leader and his relationship with the oldest, President Biden. Stay with us.


BRUNHUBER: The war in Ukraine was top of mind for President 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 and he thanked the Prime Minister for his partnership on Ukraine. Moments after his meeting at the White House, Sunak sat down for an exclusive interview with CNN's Kaitlan Collins. They talked about his growing relationship with Biden and other American leaders. Here it is.


KAITLIN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: At 43, you are the youngest leader in the G7. At 80, President Biden is the oldest. How does that change -- how do those generational -- are there generational differences -- I guess I should say -- in the way that each of you lead?

RISHI SUNAK, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: You know, 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 when were all busy in our own country.

COLLINS: Especially in such a short period,

SUNAK: Yes, and that's exactly the point. Circumstances have meant that relatively I've only had this job for just over six months. But we've seen each other multiple times. Almost every month for the past few months. And it actually allows us I think to build a close relationship.

COLLINS: But are there differences in how you lead because of the age difference?

SUNAK: Hard for me to say commenting on the outside. But I'm -- look, I find that President Biden's experience is incredibly helpful particularly on issues like China. I think that there are, you know, few leaders anywhere who have spent as much time talking to President Xi as President Biden has over the years.


So, you know, at a time where China poses the particular challenge that it does. I think we're lucky to have President Biden's perspective on President Xi. I found that particularly valuable to me as someone who is newer to this. And as I said, the relationship he and I have is delivering real benefits for our people in America and the U.K.

COLLINS: So you see a benefit and --

SUNAK: Yes, and I notice that just -- and personally, it's very enjoyable. We were fortunate to welcome the first lady also to the U.K. for the coronation recently. Which was, you know, we were privileged to have her. And the relationship between us and our countries is very strong.

COLLINS: Can I ask you about one issue you're facing at home? Which is, your government is refusing to hand over the text messages of one of your predecessors, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, his COVID era text messages to a committee that is investigating how the pandemic was handled. Do you not believe that the British public has a right to see those messages?

SUNAK: So I have to be a little bit careful on what I say because it's a matter of subject to a legal proceeding at the moment. But what I say, we established an inquiry to learn the lessons from COVID. I think that is really important that we do that so we can be better prepared next time one of these things happens. And the government has cooperated in a spirit of candor and transparency with that inquiry. It's actually already handed over 55,000 documents to the inquiry. So, you know, there's no question that we believe that the right thing to do is cooperate and provide that information.

There's a specific issue about text messages that are not to do with COVID and whether it's reasonable for those to be handed over. Things to do with people's private lives. And I think on that very specific point that is subject of a legal proceeding and I can't say much more than that. But people should know that we remain committed to the important work that the inquiry is doing. Because it's right that we learn the lessons from COVID. And that's why the government has handed, as I said, 55,000 documents already. And I think the rigor of the process that we've established in the U.K., I'm not sure exists anywhere else in the world as far as I know. I may be corrected on that. But it is a very rigorous and transparent process.

COLLINS: And we were talking about the idea of being able to look at a U.S. leader's messages of something like that. Last question, given the big picture, what you often hear from President Biden on the world stage, as he says America is back. Making a clear reference to his predecessor -- former President Donald Trump. Who as I mentioned earlier, is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. If he does succeed and you are working alongside him, what do you envision a Trump/Sunak relationship will look like?

SUNAK: Yes, I think great thing about the U.K. and the U.S. is the strength of partnership between our countries has endured for decades regardless of almost 2 is sitting in these various jobs. And that's because the values between our two countries are so aligned. That we see the world instinctively in the same way. Our two countries have stood together all the major times of crisis. We've shed blood together. We've shed blood together. We've fought for peace together. Those bonds are incredibly strong. And the relationship between our countries is an abstract. It's rooted in our people.

And I was talking earlier in the White House press conference about John Winthrop and his famous speech, if people remember, about building that city on a hill. He actually first used that phrase in my hometown in the U.K. where I'm from. Yes, and I think that speaks to those links between our people.

But look, we can't dwell on history, is my view. We have an incredible history together, our two countries. But we've got to reimagine our relationship to make sure it's relevant for now. That it's dealing with the particular opportunities and challenges that we face today. And that's why the declaration that President Biden and I announced today, that closer partnership between our two countries is so important. It's the first type of agreement like that that either of us have reached. And it speaks to making sure that we are ready for the future. And that's what I'm excited about. And our values are enduring, the strength between our two countries is evident for everyone to see. It's delivered incredible benefits, I think, not just for our two countries but for the world. And I think that will always be the case.

COLLINS: Prime Minister, thank you for your time.

SUNAK: Thank you very much.


BRUNHUBER: All right, still ahead, an overtime thriller in the Stanley Cup finals between the Florida Panthers and the Vegas Golden Knights. It was a historic night for the victor. We'll have those details and more coming up. Please stay with us.



BRUNHUBER: The Florida Panthers beat the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime to take game three of the Stanley Cup finals. This is the franchisee's first ever victory in the finals. The Panthers are 7-0 in overtime in the playoffs this year. The game was tied at two and Panthers completed the come back and scored the winner in front of a packed home crowd, as you can see there. The Vegas Golden Knights still lead the series 2-1. Game four is for Saturday in Florida.

And game four of the NBA finals is tonight with the Miami Heat looking to level the series against the Denver Nuggets who are up 2-1. The Nuggets are coming off a historic performance from Nikola Jokic in game three. The Serbian superstar became the first player to record a 30-20-10 stat line in the NBA finals. And he finished with 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists. He and Jamal Murray also became the first teammates to both drop triple doubles in the finals.

All right, have a look here, these are live pictures in Hawaii where the alert level for the Kilauea volcano has been lowered from a warning to a watch. So, right now the eruptions are confined to the crater. The observatory says there was a 6-meter rise of new lava on the crater floor but that level has now decreased by 2 meters. Eruptions are confined to the crater within Kilauea's summit caldera. The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said there was a six-meter rise of new lava on the crater floor but that level has now decreased by two meters. Eruptions are expected to continue.

And stories in the spotlight this hour, have a look.


BEYONCE, SINGER: You won't break my soul You won't break my soul


BRUNHUBER: The nominees for this year's BET awards have been announced, with nods to Beyonce -- who you just heard there -- for album of the year with Renaissance. And Drake leading with seven nominations including four best male hip hop artist and album of the year.


The awards show is set up to celebrate Black entertainers and other minorities in music and media, as well as digital marketing, sports journalism and creative arts. The award ceremony will air on Sunday June 25th.

And some California love for the late rapper Tupac Shakur. On Wednesday he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Now this comes more than 25 years after he was shot and killed in Las Vegas. Tupac's sister accepted the honor on behalf of her brother. The Los Angeles city council also declared June 7 as Tupac Shakur day. The rapper died at the age of 25 in 1996.

Well two extremely rare precious stones were sold at auction on Thursday. A pink diamond, called the "Eternal Pink" and weighing almost 11 carats was auctioned at Sotheby's for $34.8 million. It was cut from a rough diamond discovered in a Botswana mine just four years ago. And the largest ever ruby also sold at Sotheby's for $34.8 million. It was discovered less than a year ago at a mine in Mozambique by a Canadian company.

All right, before we go, fans of Hong Kong's giant floating "Rubber Duck" sculpture will soon be seeing double. AllRightsReserved studio announced it's coming back to Hong Kong tomorrow. This time two duck sculptures daubed "Double Ducks" will float in Victoria Harbor for two weeks. The sculpture conceived in 2001, it first appeared in France six years later before traveling to Osaka, Sydney and Sao Paulo.

All right, thanks so much for joining me here on CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. CNN "THIS MORNING" is next right here.