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White House Refuses To Answer Key Questions About Classified Documents; Husband Described As "Sociopath" In Legal Dispute Over Estate; Leaders Of The Proud Boys On Trial For Seditious Conspiracy. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 12, 2023 - 07:30   ET



ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's an embarrassment to Brazil, too.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: They are starting to speak up. Kaitlan interviewed someone from the New York state Republican Party -- a state senator -- who --


LEMON: -- is speaking up this morning.

NAVARRO: And listen, they need to pass resolutions. Look, we've seen resolutions passed against Liz Cheney for telling the truth by her state Republican Party, remember?


NAVARRO: Well, it would be nice if Republican parties and Republican organizations passed resolutions against somebody for telling lies the same way they passed resolutions against Liz Cheney for telling the truth.

COLLINS: Yes. But are you surprised, Maggie, about how Republicans -- the Republicans in New York are handling it very differently than Republicans in Washington.

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Republicans in New York and Republicans in Washington actually have the same problem, which is that everybody wants to know what they knew and when.

This is not somebody who is running for the first time in 2022. He ran in 2020. So it's going to raise questions about what did the Nassau GOP know? What did the New York state GOP know? What were national Republicans in Congress and the congressional committee aware of?

And so, I am not surprised that you're seeing the Nassau GOP and some members of the N.Y. GOP starting to speak out because people are starting to wonder what were they aware of when it took place and I think they are concerned about the reputation. Nassau GOP, in particular, is a very strong county committee. And so, that's what they're looking at.

Kevin McCarthy's interest is to stay in power, as we have seen over the course of all this drama in the last week, so he is not going to say anything or doesn't see it as in his interest.

But to Ana's point, it should matter whether you are being honest with voters. And it's not like this issue is going to away.

LEMON: Yes. He's saying --

HABERMAN: So we are going to --

LEMON: -- it's up to the voters --

HABERMAN: Well, and --

LEMON: -- and not --

HABERMAN: -- that's lovely. And if that's -- in that case, he is going to have a problem either if there's a special election and Santos decides for some reason not to stick out, or when there -- this seat comes up again in two years I don't think Democrats are going to approach this race the same way.

So he is saying it's up to voters. I don't know that that's going to be sustainable.

NAVARRO: And the Kevin McCarthy aspect is crucial, right? Santos was a staunch backer of Kevin McCarthy and voted for him each of the 15 times that he was up for a vote, and Kevin McCarthy needed every single vote. So he's now in a position where he owes this pathological liar that helped him become speaker.

LEMON: Yes. So I -- look, can we turn now to the documents? And the reason I was questioning Dan Goldman so much is because he was part of --


LEMON: -- right --

COLLINS: Impeachment.

LEMON: -- Donald Trump's impeachment, right, and also he's an attorney -- prosecutor of what have you.

So, what did you make of his answer -- the difference between Biden? There is a difference. But still, these are documents that are classified in the possession or in a place where they shouldn't be.

NAVARRO: Look, I don't think it's good for President Biden and I think it's very good for Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump is going to be able to argue all of these technicalities like you were just asking Congressman Goldman. They're in the weeds, right?

LEMON: Right. NAVARRO: It's legalese. It's semantics. It's this or that investigation, especially.

But here's what I think is a point that Donald Trump is going to make and his people are going to make. If Joe Biden, who has been in elected office -- who has been in the Senate and vice president practically his entire adult life, somehow ended up with classified documents in his possession in his private offices, then what do you expect of Donald Trump, who was a businessman? And if Donald -- if Joe Biden didn't pack his own boxes, do you think Donald Trump packed his own boxes?

So I think -- I think there are going to be -- are they false equivalences? Yes, but they're going to be made and I think they're going to have some effect.

COLLINS: Yes, and the White House is not saying a lot on this. They basically didn't answer any question in detail yesterday.

When you talk to White House officials privately they say there is a reason behind that. They believe that they will be borne out and they will not -- it will come out that it is very different, as you were noting.

But Trump's attorneys, and his legal team, and his orbit seems to think what you're saying there -- that this is actually going to help them, whether it's muddying the waters or showing that it's easier than you think to take classified documents with you.

HABERMAN: It's very possible, Kaitlan.

Look, I mean, I think that number one, we know this is Donald Trump's playbook, which is to muddy the waters --


HABERMAN: -- and so it's not really surprising that that's what's taking place. Donald Trump and his folks also tend to think in terms of short-term increments.

I do think that they are correct that this raises a political issue for the DOJ. I don't know that it raises any other issue. I've heard the same thing you have, that Biden officials believe that this is going to ultimately play in their favor.

But to your point, there's so much we don't know and they have made the decision that not saying more about it up front is the right way to handle it. We'll see. But there are, as Don noted, a ton of questions that we just don't know the answer to.

It is a false equivalence, based on what we know so far, to say this is the same as Trump. But I'm not sure that most of the public is paying attention to such fine details.

LEMON: Is it odd -- we were speaking to an expert here who said lawyers discovered it. Why are lawyers -- COLLINS: Yes.

LEMON: -- unpacking boxes? Does that raise a red flag, or isn't that interesting to anyone?

HABERMAN: Yes. I don't -- I don't -- it goes to --

LEMON: But do your lawyers, like, when you move --


HABERMAN: My classified documents are not cleared (PH) by my lawyers.

I don't know what -- that was a joke for those who are wondering. I don't -- I don't know what exactly the circumstance was here.

LEMON: Right.

HABERMAN: I guess it is certainly possible that somebody was packing up something or going through something and they stumbled on this.

I have more questions -- I have fewer questions about a lawyer doing this than I do questions about what's this second location where they found documents? When did that happen?

LEMON: And how many?

HABERMAN: How many? The volume, so far, as we understood it from the first set, was roughly a dozen or so. That's in vast contrast to the more than 300 that Donald Trump had.


LEMON: Right.

HABERMAN: But the more that we hear of, you know, oh, here's an additional one -- will there be more? What were the circumstances? We just don't know.

COLLINS: Yes. I will say I've heard that the second batch that was reported yesterday of classified documents was found -- because they found that first batch, then they conducted --

HABERMAN: Another search.

COLLINS: -- a search. Basically, due diligence --

HABERMAN: That's right.

COLLINS: -- to see if there are others.

Trump also had his hired attorneys to conduct a search but that was because the DOJ was, like, knocking down his door --


COLLINS: -- and was, like, we don't think you turned over all of the documents that you still have in your --

HABERMAN: And they resisted --

LEMON: And moving them from different locations.

HABERMAN: And he resisted doing a search. I mean, initially, they resisted doing an additional search. There was a -- there was a discussion about doing that among some of his lawyers, and then other lawyers prevailed and said no, no, no, don't do that. So, yes, very different.

NAVARRO: And that's why it would make sense to have lawyers discover it -- you know, that second batch. Because if you know you found the first batch and then you send a bunch of lawyers into every nook and crevice that you -- that you -- then you say go search.

LEMON: No, I'm talking about the first batch. They said the first batch was found by lawyers that were packing and unpacking. And my question is -- and I think it's a very good one -- lawyers packing and unpacking? It's just --

NAVARRO: Well, I don't think they're unpacking and packing the same things like we have, right?


NAVARRO: These are not --


NAVARRO: -- old Valentine's cards.

LEMON: I know, but usually it's movers and staff who pack up things. So I don't know. Maybe it's just me.

COLLINS: A lot of questions.

HABERMAN: A lot of questions.


Thank you, both.

LEMON: Thank you, both. Appreciate it.

COLLINS: All right. We have disturbing new discoveries this morning about the husband of that missing Massachusetts mom. His father's friend called him a sociopath in old court documents we've unearthed, and we'll tell you about them next.



LEMON: Welcome back to CNN THIS MORNING, everyone. Coming up, five leaders of the Proud Boys going on trial for seditious conspiracy for their involvement in the Capitol attack. We will preview the Justice Department's case against them, next.

Plus, a suspect in the University of Idaho killings set to appear in court today. What to expect. That's ahead.

Four million people remain under flood threats in Northern California. Officials say the Monterey Peninsula could temporarily become an island in just hours. We are there, live.

COLLINS: Also, the search this morning is intensifying for the missing Massachusetts mom of three, Ana Walshe, and investigators are turning their focus to her husband's past. Court documents show that Brian Walshe was described as a sociopath and untrustworthy during a 2019 legal dispute over his dad's estate.

CNN's Jason Carroll is live for CNN this morning in Massachusetts. Jason, what are they learning about his background as they're still searching for her?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you say, these court documents really turned up a lot of disturbing allegations stemming back to 2018 and 2019. All of this is related to Brian Walshe's father. He was basically trying to contest his father's estate.

His father, Kaitlan, had cut him completely out of his will. And that's because he was so deeply hurt, his father's friends tell me, because there were allegations that Brian Walshe had basically stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from his father during a real estate deal that went sour.

His father died in 2018. Again, had cut him out of his will. But that didn't stop Brian Walshe from contesting it and apparently, going onto the property and taking items out of the house.

And so, it was contested. A judge ended up deciding against him.

But what was interesting was to read all of the things that Brian Walshe's father's -- his friends said about Brian Walshe. For example, one of his father's friends said of Brian, "Brian is not only a sociopath but also a very angry and physically violent person. I want nothing to do with him." That, again, coming from one of Brian Walshe's father's friends.

And again, chilling words considering everything that's going on now -- his wife missing. And in terms of this investigation, a lot of folks have been focused on that, Kaitlan, as you can imagine.

Still waiting for some of those test results to come back from the hacksaw, from the cloth materials -- bloody cloth materials found at that trash site. So, a lot of different moving parts here.

But when you consider going back to 2018 and 2019, all of these allegations and all of these red flags, really chilling -- Kaitlan. COLLINS: It's incredibly chilling.

Jason Carroll, thank you for that update. We'll check back in with you.

LEMON: And coming up, a preview of the Justice Department's case against five leaders of the Proud Boys for their role in the Capitol attack. Details next.



LEMON: So, later today in federal court, the Justice Department is expected, once again, to pursue the rarely used charge of seditious conspiracy against key figures involved with the January 6 riot. The prosecution of five leaders of a group known as the Proud Boys -- well, it comes less than two months after the Justice Department secured convictions on that same charge against two members of another group, the Oath Keepers, including its leader. Three others were convicted on other felony charges.

CNN's Sara Sidner has more on just how -- or just who, I should say, the Proud Boys are, including some of her own encounters with those now facing prosecution.


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dominic Pezzola stands out in the crowd of thousands on January 6, 2021, because he was the first to break into the United States Capitol, smashing a window and letting a mob flow in, prosecutors allege.

Pezzola and four other Proud Boys are on trial accused of seditious conspiracy and up to 10 charges linked to them allegedly trying to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power.

Proud Boy Joseph Biggs, shown here outside the Capitol, prosecutors say helped lead the group to create chaos that day, having tweeted when the presidential election was called for Joe Biden over Donald Trump, "This is war."

And after he and other members got into the Capitol, prosecutors say he filmed himself saying, "So we just stormed the f-in Capitol. Took the f-in place back. That was so much fun."

When we tried to speak to Biggs at his home in Florida after he was initially charged with conspiracy in the case, he was less bold.

SIDNER (on camera): Are you an insurrectionist?


SIDNER (voice-over): Ethan Nordine was president of his local Proud Boys chapter in Washington State, shown here facing off with a police officer outside the Capitol. He now claims the Proud Boys were disorganized and that he only came to D.C. simply to stage a concert at an Airbnb that day.


Also charged, Zachary Rehl, another president of a local Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia.

And the most well-known of the Proud Boys, former national chairman, Enrique Tarrio. Prosecutors say he helped plan the whole thing from late December on, even creating a new Proud Boy group just for January 6, called the Ministry of Self-Defense.

But since then --

SIDNER (on camera): Did you help plan the Capitol attack on January 6? Were you involved with the Proud Boys in planning what happened?


SIDNER (voice-over): Tarrio is the only Proud Boy charged in the case who was not physically in Washington, D.C. on January 6. But during and after the breach, prosecutors say Tarrio made clear what the aim was in his social media messages, which I read to him for his response in February.

SIDNER (on camera): Proud of my boys and my country. Don't (bleep) leave.


SIDNER (on camera): The day after the siege you posted "I'm with you. We're all with you. You make this country great. Never stop fighting."

That sure sounds like you were condoning everything that happened that day.

TARRIO: I'm not going to tell you that I condone the violence that happened. So the second --

SIDNER (on camera): But this was after -- this was long after the breach.

TARRIO: I don't think people should stop fighting. I was in support of the reason why people breached the Capitol, yes.

SIDNER (voice-over): Sara Sidner, CNN.


LEMON: Our thanks to Sara.

COLLINS: She's always been on top of that story.


COLLINS: All right. California, this morning, is bracing for another round of storms. The Monterey Peninsula might soon not be a peninsula. It might become an island, according to local officials. We're going to take you there live with these remarkable scenes, next.

LEMON: And more questions as a second set of secret documents from President Biden's time as vice president are found by his legal team. We'll discuss with former attorney general under George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales. That's straight ahead.



COLLINS: All right. The historic storms that keep hitting California have claimed at least 18 lives. The threat's not over yet, though. At least four million people remain under flood threats as heavy rain has been triggering mudslides. Officials are warning that parts of Monterey County could become an island as the heavy rain continue to fall.


SHERIFF TINA NIETO, MONTEREY COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: If anybody was here in 1995, you know that during a large flooding event, the marina -- or the Monterey Peninsula became an island and it -- people were either stuck on one side or the other. And we anticipate that we're going to go into a similar situation but not as bad. But we're going to -- some of the roadways are going to be closed and you could be stuck on one side or the other.


COLLINS: Veronica Miracle is live in Monterey -- in Monterey, California for CNN THIS MORNING. We're hearing those stark warnings from officials there. What are you seeing actually on the ground?

VERONICA MIRACLE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kaitlan, sorry -- I just want to give you a heads up our light is off here and as you can see, it is very dark at this moment. But we can see the Salinas River behind us and it is, at this moment, relatively low. However, officials are saying around noon today that it could flood this area.

We're standing right next to the 156 highway. It is a major thoroughfare that allows people to come into the county and into Monterey. And they are saying that this potentially could flood and people could be stuck on either side. Officials are warning people this could last through tomorrow -- Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Yes, that's a big concern, of course -- the clean-up there and what that looks like -- how these officials are handling this.

Veronica Miracle, we'll stick with you. We'll come back with you as the sun is coming up and we can see just what's behind you.

Now we're at the top of the 8:00 a.m. hour so we're going to reset the news.

LEMON: Good morning.

The White House refusing to answer key questions about the classified documents found at the president's private office. And now, another batch has been discovered. The former attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, will join us live.

COLLINS: The Republican freshman and notorious liar George Santos is refusing to step down despite growing calls from inside his own party. Now we are seeing the resume that he used for his web of lies and it only continues from there.

LEMON: New evidence showing discoveries, but no sign of the mother who has been missing for 12 days. And as her husband sits in a jail cell, a friend of the woman is speaking out about what happened before her disappearance. She will join us live.

COLLINS: In Ukraine, President Putin is, once again, reshuffling his military leaders, putting a new commander in charge as Russia is struggling nearly a year into its invasion of Ukraine.

LEMON: And as students return to class, the suspect accused of murdering four college students is set to appear in court as investigators reveal new discoveries.

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

LEMON: So, aides to President Biden finding a second batch of classified documents at a new location separate from the Washington office he used, or that the White House acknowledges that a small number of classified documents were discovered.

The new House speaker pointing to Trump, Mar-a-Lago -- that investigation -- suggesting a double standard.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Well, what's so surprising to me is that this came out before the election. Why does his Department of Justice treat people differently? Every time we find something that comes out before the election. Why did they treat President Trump totally different -- his DOJ? Why did they raid?


LEMON: And as for the White House -- well, key questions about classified documents remain unanswered.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: So I'm just going to leave it there. I want to be prudent here. This is under review by the Department of Justice. I'm not going to go beyond what the president shared yesterday and I'm not going to go beyond what my colleagues at the White House counsel shared with all of you as well. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the president saying that he was surprised to learn about these documents. Is he saying that he did not bring those documents to that office?

JEAN-PIERRE: I'm just not going to go beyond what the president said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do we know who did bring those documents to the office?

JEAN-PIERRE: I'm not -- I'm not going to go beyond what the president said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you're saying --


LEMON: So, one White -- one House Democrat, I should say, says politics shouldn't be the issue.