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At Least Seven Killed After Twisters, Severe Weather Hit South; Lisa Presley, the Only Child of Elvis, Dies at 54; Special Counsel to Investigate Biden Classified Docs Case. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired January 13, 2023 - 07:00   ET




They'll still be able to hold these positions here. Don?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And, Ben, while we have you, Soledar is small but it is strategic. Explain why this is just so important to the Russians and to the Ukrainians as this fighting is going on.

WEDEMAN: For the Ukrainians, Soledar is right north of Bakhmut, which is a city that's fairly important for them. It's a place where they've been fighting now for months and, really, some of the bloodiest fighting of this war.

For the Russians, it's important, Soledar is important more than anything as a symbolic victory after months of defeats in and around Kyiv, in Kharkiv region and Kherson as well. So, for them, after suffering these defeats, to take Soledar would be a victory, a symbolic, if not strategic victory. DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Ben Wedeman, thank you very much. I

appreciate that.

CNN This Morning continues right now.

Lisa Marie Presley, good morning, everyone, Friday, January 13th, and we are remembering Lisa Marie Presley. We're taking a look back at the life of Elvis' only daughter.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: She was so young. We'll take a look at her life.

Also a special counsel now appointed to investigate Joe Biden's classified document scandal. Who is Robert Hur and what does this mean for the president?

COLLINS: In just a few moments, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is going to join us live here at the desk. What he thinks of the president's handling of classified materials.

LEMON: But we're going to be begin with more than 30 tornados have torn through the south with Alabama and Georgia being hit the hardest. This morning, approximately 200,000 people are without power and more than 35 million people are under some level of threat for severe storms. Alabama Governor Kay Ivey is declaring a state of emergency in six counties with at least six dead in just one Alabama county.

Governor Ivey responding to the death toll on Twitter saying, we are far too familiar with devastating weather but our people are resilient, we will get through it and be stronger for it. Here is one Alabamian describe the scene after they realized the storm had finally passed.

And then earlier this morning, CNN's Ryan Young was in hard hit Selma, Alabama, here's what he captured on the ground.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This storm was intense, it was big, and it hit hard. In fact, look at where I'm standing. You can see the size of this box truck that we're next to that was turned over. There's siding all around this area that's been blown off from roofs all across this area.

And, of course, as we've been able to go through this area this morning, it's still dark, you can see just the destruction that's been left behind. But you keep hearing story after story where people were terrified when the storm hit. They ran for cover in several different businesses. Look at the place that I'm standing in front of. It is crushed in front not only (INAUDIBLE) but the roof above is off of it.


LEMON: We're going to take you to Georgia now. That's where Governor Brian Kemp is also declaring a state of emergency. Here you can see a collapsed wall of a warehouse in a suburb of Atlanta. It could take several days before there is a final count of just how many tornados there actually were across the region.

HARLOW: Very sad news to share with you this morning about Lisa Marie Presley, the only child of rock and roll legend Elvis Presley. She died last night after suffering what is an apparent cardiac arrest. In a statement, her mother, Priscilla Presley, wrote this. Quote, it's with a heavy heart that I must share the devastating news that my beautiful daughter, Lisa Marie, has left us. She was the most passionate, strong and loving woman I have ever known.

So, joining us now is Music Journalist Steve Baltin. He previously interviewed Lisa Marie Presley for Rolling Stone and is the author of Anthems We Love, 29 Iconic Artists and the Hit Songs that Shaped Our Lives. Good morning, thanks so much for being with us, especially given the fact that you're the one who had this exclusive interview with Lisa Marie Presley a decade ago.

I wonder what you remember about that as you think about her life now.

STEVE BALTIN, MUSIC JOURNALIST, INTERVIEWED LISA MARIE PRESLEY: First of all, thanks for having me, I wish it was under better circumstances. I was just talking to a photographer friend of mine, Joseph Bianis (ph), who worked with Lisa Marie very closely as well. And we both had the same experiences. She was wonderful. She was so great. What I remember about her was how no-B.S. She was very direct, very to the point, very kind, though, very smart.


As I've said on social media, she changed my entire career, because I was interviewing her for Rolling Stone and I had done the questions of the week for Rolling Stone, really dumb things like boxers or briefs, or just the stupidest things that you could ask. And I went to interview her about this wonderful album, (INAUDIBLE), and we're doing a sit-down interview and it's this really extensive feature about an album produced by the great T. Bone Burnett. And the first thing she says is she looks at me and say, didn't you ask me about my favorite shoes I wore? And I was like, oh. And after that, I went back to Rolling Stone and said, I'm not doing these questions anymore. They're embarrassing.

So, the fact that she called me out on that, that was very Lisa Marie Presley. She was wonderful, she was nice, but she wasn't going to -- like a lot of people would be fake and say, oh, yes, I don't remember any of that, or whatever, no, not her. She was just direct to the point. And if you look at all the tributes, she was so loved in the music community, and that's why. Because in an area where so many people can be fake, she was so direct.

COLLINS: A big part of this, you know, was her family name, I mean, Lisa Marie Presley. Like that is obviously how she was identified. And you've heard from other children of legendary people like that, the challenges they face. How did she deal with that? Because I know in part of your interview, you talked about her embracing that, how she came to that.

BALTIN: I think she dealt with it the best she could. And this is the analogy I've been using of late, and I think it applies to everyone. And then it's just so heightened when your last name is Presley. But the natural cycle of life is you're very close with your family and your parents, when you get older and you kind of try and find your own way and retreat from your family because you're trying to forge your own identity. And then as you get older, probably in your 30s, you start to embrace who you were and your family in the past. And that's, I think, what she did. She went to normal route. You start off as a Presley, then you want to be your own person.

But the reality is that that is the hardest name in American music to grow up with. I've interviewed (INAUDIBLE), I've interviewed Julian Lennon, I've interviewed Sean Lennon. There is no name like Presley in American music. Besides Kennedy, it's probably the most famous name in America.

HARLOW: Yes. No question about that. Well, I'm so glad that she such an impact on your life, as she did on so many lives. Obviously, a very loving mother too who lost her son just over two years ago. So, our thoughts with all of her family.

BALTIN: I was just going to say, sorry, she dealt with so much tragedy.

HARLOW: I know. She really did. Well, Steve, thank you very much. Kaitlan?

BALTIN: Thanks for having me.

COLLINS: We're going to take you now to our top story out of Washington this morning where Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed Special Counsel Robert Hur to take over the investigation into classified documents that were found at President Biden's former office and his home dating back to his time as Vice President. Hur is now the second special counsel that Attorney General Garland has appointed looking into a second president in just a matter of months.

Two months ago is when Garland walked up to this lectern and appointed Special Counsel Jack Smith to oversee the criminal investigations into former President Trump.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Good afternoon. I'm here today to announce the appointment of a special counsel in connection with two ongoing criminal investigations that have received significant public attention.

I'm here today to announce the appointment of Robert Hur as a special counsel pursuant to Department of Justice regulations governing such matters.


COLLINS: It might seem like history is repeating itself here before the dust has even settled but these two politically sensitive probes do have key differences and the two special counsels also have different and distinct directives. Robert Hur's investigation is limited into looking into how Biden's Obama-era documents ended up in his private office, in his garage. Smith's investigation, meanwhile, is much broader. It includes those three potential crimes relating to Trump's mishandling of federal records and national defense information and the role that he played in the January 6th Capitol riot.

There are also key differences in why exactly Garland decided to appoint special counsel to these probes. Attorney General Garland says extraordinary circumstances prompted him to appoint Hur yesterday, which he says is in the public interest after Biden's lawyers themselves turned over those classified documents that they found.

Here is what he said about Trump's special counsel back in November.


GARLAND: Based on recent developments, including the former president's announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election and the sitting president's stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a special counsel.



COLLINS: Trump's 2024 bid that he had just announced, Garland says, what led him to make that decision. But to no surprise, these two very different responses from the sitting president and his predecessor following Garland's announcement yesterday, here's what Biden said.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: As I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified materials seriously. I also said we're cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department's review.


COLLINS: Former President Trump meanwhile weighed in on his Truth Social account calling for an end to the investigations into him because, quote, I did everything right.

LEMON: So, let's look take a closer look at what led to the attorney general's decision. I want to bring in CNN's Paula Reid from Washington this morning. Paula, good morning to you. The Biden administration is offering very few answers about all of this. So what do we know?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Don, it's incredible. On Monday, we knew nothing about this matter. And now, we have a special counsel overseeing a full-blown criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information at three locations connected to a sitting president.

Now, it's interesting, yesterday, we learned that it was the U.S. attorney that Garland tapped really just to review this. He was the one who recommended a special counsel. And that suggests there is still a lot more about this that we still don't know.


REID (voice over): A short time before Garland's announcement, the White House revealed that additional documents had been discovered at the president's Wilmington residence.

BIDEN: They discovered a small number of documents of classified markings in storage areas and file cabinets in my home and my personal library.

REID: There have been many questions about the timeline of these events. Garland tried to fill in some of the gaps. On November 2nd, Biden's lawyers discovered ten classified documents at Biden's former office in Washington D.C. CNN has learned these included information about Iran, Ukraine and the United Kingdom and also included top secret information. On November 4th, Garland says the National Archives contacted the Justice Department. After the initial discovery of classified documents, Biden's team decided to search several locations where files from his vice presidential office may have been shipped after he left office. Ten days later, the Trump-appointed U.S. attorney in Chicago was tapped to review the matter. Biden's lawyer revealed the additional documents found in his garage on December 20th. On January 5th, the U.S. attorney from Chicago briefed Garland and advised that a special counsel was warranted.

GARLAND: This appointment underscores for the public the department's commitment to both independence and accountability in particularly sensitive matters and to making decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.

REID: The Biden White House is still not providing many additional details, instead deferring to the Justice Department.

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's an ongoing process, it's being reviewed. We don't have more to share.

REID: The president was grilled Thursday on why classified documents were stored in the same garage as his sports car.

BIDEN: My corvette is in a locked garage, okay? So, it's not like they're sitting out in the street.

As I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified materials seriously. I also said we're cooperating fully and completely with the Justice Department's review.

REID: Biden previously blasted Trump over his retention of classified documents.

BIDEN: How that could possibly happen, how anyone could be that irresponsible?

REID: Now Republicans are calling foul.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): There's an individual that said on 60 Minutes that was so concerned about President Trump's documents locked in behind, and now we find it just as a vice president keeping it for years out in the open in different locations.


REID: Well, of course, Trump did not fully cooperate with the Justice Department, which is why he is under investigation for possible obstruction. But the Biden team says they will continue to cooperate in this investigation. And yesterday, I spoke with some people who worked with Hur, including his former boss, Rod Rosenstein. He said Hur was -- interestingly, he was the liaison between Robert Mueller's team and Rosenstein's office. So, Rod tells me that Robert Hur knows exactly what he's getting himself into.

LEMON: Paula Reid in Washington this morning, Thank you, Paula. In just a few minutes here on CNN This Morning, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer is going to join us live in studio. His thoughts on the special counsel investigation in just moments.

HARLOW: Also, you probably are feeling this, right, at the grocery store. It certainly shocked me. You're trying to buy eggs, they cost more than twice as much as a year ago. That's according to the consumer price index and just what you feel at the store, right? So, it was $4.25 -- it is $4.25 now an average for a dozen eggs, it was $1.79 a year ago. It's a little blurry but check out this price in Hawaii, $9.99, almost $10 for a dozen eggs.


Joining us now, CNN Business and Politics Correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich. I was thinking the same thing at the store this week, like -- and don brought eggs. I just need to -- this was like --

COLLINS: How much did you pay for those?

LEMON: I don't know. We got them from the cafeteria.

HARLOW: Well, these are fancy. These are expensive whole foods organic.

LEMON: This is -- everyone is talking about, Vanessa, the price of eggs.

HARLOW: True, why, what's going on?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And prices just jumping 11 percent in the last month alone. Let me get you beat on that $10.99 price in Hawaii. Let me scale up here. We have $7.99 here, $6.99, $9.99. And let's see. Here's this, $11.49 for a dozen eggs here at Morton Williams in New York City.

I want you to listen to the store's supervisor about what he feels is contributing to these higher prices.


ANGELO PULEO, SUPERVISOR, MORTON WILLIAMS SUPERMARKETS: Prices of eggs have gone up substantially over the last few weeks, I would say upwards close to 70 percent in retail. Eggs would usually be $2.69, they're now $6.99 per dozen.


YURKEVICH: And so some of the reasons that he gave me was that there is rising wages, there's rising energy costs and the big one is the avian flu. This is a deadly disease that has killed 50 million birds across the United States. It is extremely contagious and that is lowering production while there is still very high demand. So, it throws supply and demand out of whack. And just in September we saw another spike in avian flu cases, likely what is contributing to the higher prices we've seen on eggs in recent months, Poppy. HARLOW: That helps explain it. Vanessa, thank you.

LEMON: $11.99.

HARLOW: I mean, that's ridiculous. That's like New York.

LEMON: This is very precious cargo, though.

HARLOW: We're going to put those back, whoever's eggs we took. Vanessa, thank you.

Well, this is just remarkable what's happening in Washington.

LEMON: Two special counsels now looking into how the current and former president handled classified documents. It is a unique moment in American history with big implications for the future.

COLLINS: We're going to talk about it with the top Democrat in the Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is joining us at the table, next.



COLLINS: House Republicans are demanding more information this morning on the classified documents that were found at President Biden's private residence in his former office. It comes as the attorney general, Merrick Garland, is stepping in to appoint Robert Hur as the special counsel to investigate what has happened there.

Joining us now to weigh in on all of this and what's happening on Capitol Hill is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the Democratic senator obviously from New York. We're so glad to have you back on set.

But we have to ask you about what's happening with the attorney general now appointing the special counsel and the fact that the White House is acknowledging these classified documents were found. Do you believe that he's violated the federal law here?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It's much too early to tell. There's a special prosecutor in each situation. I think President Biden has handled this correctly. He's fully cooperated with the prosecutors when the documents were found, he notified Archives. It's a total contrast to President Trump, who stonewalled for a whole year. But the point is we have special prosecutors for both of these situations, very serious people. We should let it play out. We don't have to push them in any direction or try to influence them. That's all I'm going to say, let the special prosecutors do their job.

COLLINS: Do you support the fact that a special counsel is overseeing this matter now?

SCHUMER: Yes, I do. And, in fact, when they first -- the FBI went to Mar-a-Lago and they said, well, what are you going to say about this? I said, it's premature to comment and I've said it here. So, I've been consistent about it in both cases. You have prosecutors, special prosecutors, I support both of them. Let them do their job. I think that's all that should be said. The politicians shouldn't be buzzing around.

LEMON: Just to be sure about what you said, do you believe the Biden folks are being transparent about this? Do you think that they're being --

SCHUMER: I think the Biden folks, as I said, cooperated with the prosecutorial authorities from day one and Donald Trump didn't.

LEMON: This is our reporting. According to one justice official, said that the White House public statements earlier this week offered an incomplete narrative about the classified documents from Biden's time as vice president reinforced the need for special council. The misleading statements created the impression that Biden's team has something to hide. That doesn't sound that much different than the former president.

SCHUMER: Don, there's now a special prosecutors. Let's see what they have to say. We can have all the speculation and comment. Let's see what they have to say and let's focus on doing things that help the American people.

LEMON: But, Senator, I have to get -- I have to say this. You seem much more measured about this than with the Trump documents because you called for transparency with the Trump documents. You wanted lawmakers to have access to the documents seized from the former president, his residence in Florida, which it seems like you --

SCHUMER: The bottom line is, I said that night it was premature to comment on what should be done, and I stood by that.

LEMON: For President Trump?

SCHUMER: Yes, former President Trump. That's exactly right. That's what I said.

LEMON: So, you think that your statements are consistent for both?

SCHUMER: I sure do. You bet.

LEMON: Okay.

HARLOW: So, you say the president has fully cooperated. And there's no indication that he and the White House have not but there is a real question about transparency and what the American people deserve. Let me just --

SCHUMER: Bottom line is the prosecutors will get to the bottom of this and let's let them do it for God's sake. I know you want to buzz around and all of that but the bottom line is --

HARLOW: Let me buzz for a minute. Let me buzz for one minute and I promise we'll get on to something else. LEMON: But it's not just -- hold on, it's not just us buzzing. You're the Democratic head of the Senate. This is a really important issue. It's not just us buzzing around.

SCHUMER: No. But we have to -- and if there were no special prosecutor, there would be -- you might have a different thing to say, but there is.


And now we have the law enforcement people who have the power to get all the facts out doing it. I support both. I think we should have a special prosecutor on each. I don't mind you asking these questions but my view is I'm not going to say anything, let the special prosecutors do their job.

HARLOW: The question I was going to ask is about the fact when this did come out, after CBS News' reporting and the White House came out and acknowledged it, they only addressed the documents found on November 2nd but they knew at the time about the documents found on December 20th. And that's what begs the question of full transparency. And it's not just us. The Washington Post editorial board this morning says the same thing, that if the president and this White House answered more questions directly like that exact timeline, that would, quote, promote trust and pre-empt this criticism. Would you like to see the White House do that today?

SCHUMER: I leave everything up to the special prosecutors. Their obligation legally was to report things to the Archives the minute they discovered them. Unlike Trump, they did.

COLLINS: Can we talk about what's happening on Capitol Hill as well? Well, it is important to get your perspective on that. So, thank you for providing that. What happened on Capitol Hill last week with Speaker McCarthy and the fight and the 15 ballots for him to become speaker and the concessions he made to the hardliners, they have said very clearly they do not want to just pass a clean spending bill. They want there to be cuts attached to that. How are you going to handle that in the Senate?

SCHUMER: Well, look, we always try to work with the Republicans in a bipartisan way. We have the most successful session Senate in decades in the last year. And six of the big seven bills were done bipartisan. So, I would hope that House Republicans under speaker McCarthy would reach out to us, will reach out to them, I intend to sit down with Republican leaders in the Senate and the House and try and get things done that can help the American people.

But this past week has been very discouraging. What did they do? Let's look at each of things they did. None of them helped the American people. The first thing they did is protect multimillionaires and billionaires from being audited. It's been a long thrust of some of these MAGA Republicans that these people should get away with all the loopholes they use. And so, finally, we were able to say, let's put some -- the IRS is short of people because Donald Trump cut the people, the tea party cut the people. In fact, under Donald Trump -- HARLOW: A lot of people are retiring from the IRS.

SCHUMER: Yes, and you need to put in new people. But listen to this. Under Trump, you were more likely to be audited if you made -- this is the reports -- $40,000 a year, than if you made $4 million a year. They said the EITC comes in. The Republicans come in and do that. Then they put in a budget that would require us to cut so many things. Their ten-year budget would cut Medicare and social security. Wow. Then they put in some things on abortion that would allow doctors to be prosecuted, criminalization in certain instances. And the final thing they did is launch a lot of committees to investigate. You know what the American people want us to do? They want us to do things to make their lives better. They don't want just Congress to investigate, investigate.

One final point. So, there are a whole bunch of Republicans who are not MAGA. My hope is, and I believe this, that after a little while they will see that following this extreme fringe is like following Thelma and Louise over the cliff and that they will come and start dealing with us in a serious way. We'll have disagreements, but in previous Congresses, we were able to come together and get things done. If the Republican Party rejects these MAGA extremists after a while, the mainstream Republicans, we can get a lot done, and that's my hope.

COLLINS: But does this not make you regret not raising the debt ceiling before the Republicans got the majority in the House?

SCHUMER: No, because it should be done in a bipartisan way. It always has been. Let's take the debt ceiling. To let the default occur would hurt average Americans dramatically. If you are worried about inflation -- and, by the way, we've cut the deficit in the IRA, we reduced the deficit. If you're worried about an inflation, a default would be huge. So, it always has been done in a bipartisan way.

Three times when Donald Trump was president, twice when the Republicans had the House and Senate, we cooperated with the Republicans and raised it because, after all, these are debts we've already incurred. We're just paying the bill. And then under President Biden, we worked out an agreement, bipartisan, where the Republicans didn't have to vote for it but they allowed 50 votes to pass it and we got it done. That's what we should do again, get it done in a bipartisan way. They rejected that in December.

But I think, as we get closer and closer, the real -- the way we have to do this or the month we have to do this looks three, four, five, six months off, that they will come to reality and, again, do the same thing we did the last four times.

LEMON: Okay. Speaking of going over, do you want to follow-up on this, because I want to move on to a different subject.


Do you want to --

HARLOW: I do want to ask you about the debt ceiling.

LEMON: Go on.

HARLOW: Because how sure are you -- if we could pull up the sound from Jamie Dimon, the head of JPMorgan, this week, here's what he said.