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U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Appointed Special Counsel to Investigate Finding of Classified Documents Improperly Kept by President Biden; Comments by Republican and Democratic Lawmakers on Former President Trump and President Biden Improperly Keeping Classified Documents Examined; Special Counsel To Investigate Biden Classified Docs Case; Lisa Marie Presley, The Only Child Of Elvis, Dies At 54; Police Report: Ana Walshe Said Husband Threatened To Kill Her; Bannon's Lawyer Pleads With Judge To Be Removed From Fraud Case. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 13, 2023 - 08:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Graceland suffering another tragic loss after the sudden death of Elvis Presley's only child Lisa Marie. A look back at her life and video of some of her final words in public.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Another president, another special counsel. The White House facing a major investigation after more classified documents are found at President Biden's home and office.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: The south is waking up to destruction this morning after tornadoes and storms hit several states.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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 the area that's been blown off from roofs all across the area. And of course, as we've been able to go through this area this morning, it's still dark, you can see the destruction that's been left behind.


COLLINS: CNN's Ryan Young in Selma where a tornado traveled over 50 miles and at least seven people have been killed.

LEMON: A haunting revelation in the disappearance of Massachusetts mother Ana Walshe, telling police in 2014 that her husband threatened to kill her. This as CNN traces the key locations in the search.

HARLOW: And Vladimir Putin publicly berating one of his officials for acting too slow on warplanes, as CNN is near the city that Russia is claiming to have captured this morning. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're about two and a half miles from Soledar in obviously a trench. What we're seeing is Ukrainian forces are holding steady in these positions and they seem to be going back and forth, perhaps taking troops out of Soledar in what looks like a fairly organized pullback.


LEMON: It is Friday, but it is a very big news day. And we're going to begin with the growing crisis at the White House. The Attorney General Merrick Garland appointing a special counsel to take the reins of the investigation into classified documents found at President Biden's home his former private office. This brings us to a very unique moment in American history, with special counsels looking into both the sitting president and his immediate predecessor at the same time for similar matters. While Republicans are now pouncing on Biden, some went out of their way to downplay Trump's potential mishandling of classified records.


REP. JIM COMER, (R-KY): What I've seen that the National Archives was concerned about Trump having in his possession didn't amount to a hill of beans.

I don't know what documents were at Mar-a-Lago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it fair to say that investigation will be a priority?

COMER: That will not be a priority.

This is very concerning. This is now the second location that the president was in possession of classified documents. Look, what's the vice president doing with classified documents?

REP. MIKE TURNER, (R-OH): This is so outrageous that this has to rise to the level of -- this better not be a clerical issue between the archivist and the former president.

I've been in the Oval Office with the president. I would be very surprised if he has actual documents that rise to an immediate national security threat.

These facts and circumstances are just absolutely outrageous. This is completely mishandling of classified information.

Why did he have these documents? When did he get them? Did he get them when he was vice president and then take them with him when he left?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to hold hearings?

TURNER: It is possible that we will hold hearings. SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R-SC): If they try to prosecute Trump for

mishandling classified information after Hillary Clinton set up a server in her basement, there literally will be riots in the street. I worry about our country.

If there's not a special counsel appointed to find out how this happened with President Biden regarding classified information, there is going to be a lot of -- it will hurt the country.


LEMON: OK, that was Republicans. Now a look at what Democrats said then and now.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA) JANUARY 6TH SELECT COMMITTEE: The fact that they were in an unsecured place that is guarded with nothing more than a padlock or whatever security they had at a hotel is deeply alarming.

I think it's a concern whenever classified documents are somewhere they shouldn't be, but we see no evidence of deliberate intent or obstruction of justice as we see in the case of Donald Trump in Mar-a- Lago.

REP. JIM HIMES, (R-CT): If I take documents out of that facility, I have committed a felony. And if a president takes them out of a facility, he, too, has broken the law.

Classified information needs to stay in secure spaces. So we'll wait to see the facts. But classified information needs to be in secure spaces.

REP. DANIEL GOLDMAN, (D-NY): This is likely criminal what has happened at Mar-a-Lago, and you have to wonder, why was he hiding these documents even when they were requested.


But you also have to wonder with someone who you cannot trust like Donald Trump, what else is there?

Of course I'm concerned. I think the president is concerned. That is obviously unintentional and outside of the requirements of our intelligence laws. Classified information must remain in secured compartments. But cooperation is coming from the Biden administration, and the president's lawyers, and there was zero cooperation from Donald Trump who tried to do everything possible not to cooperate.


LEMON: The Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined CNN this morning and also weighed in.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: There's a special prosecutor in each situation. I think President Biden has handled this correctly. He' fully cooperated with the prosecutors. When the documents were found he notified Archives. It's a total contrast to President Trump when stonewalled for a whole year.

But the point is we now 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: Noticed he said special prosecutors. That's because, yes, there are two of them now. There's the other documents investigation, and there are developments in that this morning, as sources are telling me and my colleague Katelyn Polantz the Justice Department wants to talk to the two people who were hired to search former President Trump's properties in November. Obviously, federal investigators are still questioning whether after months the former president has actually fully complied with the subpoena that he got to return all classified documents.

Katelyn Polantz is with me this morning. Katelyn, you and I have been talking to our sources about this, trying to get a check, basically, on what's happening in the other special counsel's investigation as we're learning about the new special counsel that was appointed yesterday. But when it comes to this documents investigation with Trump, what's so notable here is what we heard from sources about the fact that they want to talk to the people that Trump's team hired to go and look and make sure there were no other classified documents at any other Trump properties.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Right, Kaitlan. So we know that this Justice Department investigation is continuing on, they're still making moves to try and talk to people that were working with Donald Trump's legal team. We have confirmation this morning that the Justice Department wants to talk to two people that Donald Trump's legal team hired in November to search multiple properties of his, about four properties, and that they had found two classified records in a storage unit in Florida.

And so this is the latest step of an investigation that is going on for a year now that we know of, and it is an investigation that differs from the investigation we've been talking about this morning related to Joe Biden because there are questions that the Justice Department has on whether justice is being obstructed here by the Trump team. And also they clearly may not believe all of the records that are classified are asserted to be back in the hands of the federal government. That is something the Justice Department clearly is still trying to make sure that they have everything back.

Now, we did speak to one of Donald Trump's attorneys on the Record, Timothy Parlatore. He was telling us that his team is trying to be very cooperative with the Justice Department at this stage. They did searches, they hired their people, they're trying to negotiate now, potentially, to talk to the Justice Department team. And his quote to us on the record was that President Trump did nothing wrong and a proper investigation would have concluded months ago amicably. But Katelyn, our understanding now from our sources is that the Justice Department wants to do an interview with these people that were hired by the Trump team pretty soon.

COLLINS: And Katelyn, if this is borne out, what we're hearing, that they do want to talk to these two people, these two individuals, who searched these properties, what's the sense of what that looks like with attorney-client privilege or Trump's team trying to limit some of the questions that they can ask them?

POLANTZ: Well, I think that is where the negotiation comes in. So these people are not lawyers as far as I can gather from the sources I've been talking to. But they are people who were hired to work as part of the legal team. And everything that they would have done Donald Trump's team is going to want to try and potentially keep covered so that the Justice Department may not be able to ask them all of the questions that they want.

COLLINS: Katelyn Polantz, great teamwork. I love working with you. We'll check back with you on this. Thank you.

HARLOW: Let's talk about the big picture here in all that has transpired in the last 24 hours on this CNN anchor and host of "Who's Talking to Chris Wallace?" Chris Wallace. Good morning, Chris.

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, Poppy.

HARLOW: What do you think? Here we are with two presidents, back-to- back presidents with two special counsels. This has never happened before. As Jamie Gangel said last night, in a word, never, and two people that might face off in the 2024 election.


WALLACE: Well, it's why we all got into the news business because we know that no Hollywood scriptwriter could have come up with this. And it's just so astonishing in those clips you showed before of Republicans making excuses for Trump and piling on Biden, Democrats doing exactly the opposite, that does remind me of a Hollywood script, "Casablanca," where the French inspector leaves the casino, comes out, and says I'm shocked to find out that there's gambling going on in the back room here. It's all politics, and it's quite extraordinary.

And yes, they're going to be investigating, as Katelyn just pointed out. They're continuing to investigate Trump and whether he still has documents. But given the fact that we just found out yesterday there was a third batch of documents, or at least one document, a third group coming from Biden, you've got to assume that the new special prosecutor, special counsel, will be investigating that, and whether we have found all of the Biden documents.

LEMON: If you're explaining, you're losing. And so, listen, I think, obviously, I think the viewers at home are very smart, because when I said people at home are going to see these and they're going to see them as very similar situations, right. And the criticism was well, people, you're saying that the viewers are dumb. I know people aren't dumb. But people aren't paying attention to every single nuance, Chris. And when they say Biden had documents and Trump had documents, and the Biden people are going to have to explain how this is different every single time. If they're explaining, are they losing, at least politically?

WALLACE: Absolutely. There may be legal differences, and I think there are, obviously. In the case of Trump, there was a year fight with a grand jury subpoena, and eventually they had to raid. And at this point we have no evidence of that with Biden, that everything they've found, again, so far, we have no evidence that if they found something they didn't immediately turn it over. But in the political sense, you're exactly right. It's one guy had documents -- and remember how Biden went after Trump back in September on "60 Minutes," how is this possible, it's unimaginable, and then it turns out he's got three sets of documents.

And for all of the talk from the White House yesterday about how transparent they were, remember, the first batch of documents they found before the midterm election in November, we didn't find out about it until there was a response to a media break of this story this week. So this Biden White House was anything but transparent about the fact that they had classified documents.

LEMON: Just real quick, when you say three batches here, are you separating the difference between the garage and the room off the garage?

WALLACE: Well, yes, because you have early November, you have the batch that was found in the Penn Biden Center, then December 20th, you have the stuff found in the garage, and then we heard from the Attorney General Garland yesterday that they had found at least one more document, it appears to be, in Biden's private library in Wilmington. But that was a third document. So, again, it just makes you wonder what more is out there? And as long as you're wondering what more is out there, it's not good for Joe Biden and this White House.

COLLINS: I just think the document found in the garage is what they're considering the second batch. But Chris, I do wonder, this kind of raises the question, something I've been thinking about, is there a double standard for our leaders on this? Because we've been talking about classified information. There are lower level people who have been prosecuted for taking classified information with them. Obviously each case is different.

HARLOW: And put in jail.

COLLINS: Yes, so I think that's a question I look at here. If you're looking at what Biden did, what Trump did, obviously they have their differences, but the fact that they can do this and other people get prosecuted for taking classified information.

WALLACE: That's right. And, as you say, there have been a bunch of people, John Deutch, CIA, David Petraeus, CIA, took classified documents. They both were prosecuted for it. Obviously, it's a little more complicated. As complicated as it is with Trump, it's even more complicated with Biden because, as we saw during the whole Trump term, once you're the president you can't be criminally prosecuted according to Justice Department rules, so he would seem protected there.

But just imagine, if you're Merrick Garland and you're a very careful, judicious -- he was a judge -- attorney general, you may have to make a decision at some point, and it's going to be him, not the special counsel, do you bring charges against Donald Trump. You've got to know that he's going to figure into that, factor into that, we've also got a special prosecutor looking at Joe Biden who also had documents. The circumstances are different, the cooperation is different, but it does make it awfully hard to do one and then not the other.

LEMON: Chris, before we move on, and you know we've got to go quickly because, right, because we have a time issue and we've got other news to get to. But how do you think -- what do you think of the handling, how the Biden administration is handling this and Karine Jean-Pierre? And earlier, someone, who was on who said that they thought it was unfair by putting Karine Jean-Pierre out there.

COLLINS: Michael Smerconish.


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: -- this in Karine Jean-Pierre. And you know, earlier who was someone -- who was on has said that they thought it was unfair by putting Karine Jean-Pierre out (INAUDIBLE) --



LEMON: As Michael Smerconish was on. My memory, poof.

COLLINS: I got you.

LEMON: Yes, they thought it was -- thank you very much. They thought it was unfair to put her out there. The President should be out front on this. What do you think?

CHRIS WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, I -- look, I -- they pay press secretaries to do this kind of thing. It is unfair in the sense, that there was a lot of stuff she couldn't say and shouldn't say. But Joe Biden absolutely should not come out at this point. Among other things, as we say, yesterday, they found another document. You know, they don't know what they don't know, at this point. I'm sure they're searching every place that Joe Biden was since he left the vice presidency. Before you put the President of the United States out there, who is the target of this investigation, you got to be pretty sure you know all the facts.

COLLINS: Of course, yes. Well, this is something we've been talking about your interviews, you know, we're waiting if the White House -- questioning whether the White House should be talking more who you're talking to. You interviewed Andy Cohen, and he had some really interesting comments that he made to you just about his role, and also his perspective on things that we've seen play out lately when it comes to Harry and Meghan and everything happening.

WALLACE: Yes, you know, he's been called the Ringmaster of Pop Culture, and we talk at great length. He's got 11 properties on Bravo and two stations, including Radio Andy on SiriusXM. We talked to him about Real Housewives and Watch What Happens Lives, and get a very distinct take from him on Prince Harry. I think he's had seen enough, and as -- but as he says, it's expensive to live in Montecito. So, you got to tell that story as much as you can.


LEMON: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it. You can watch Chris' entire interview with Andy Cohen and his conversation with Barefoot Contessa. Oh, wow, Ina Gartener -- Garten, excuse me, in "LOOK WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE," Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Now, we get to the very sad news out of Los Angeles this morning. We're talking about Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' only child, dead at the age of 54 after an apparent cardiac arrest. And this morning, we still don't know many details about the cause of death. On Tuesday, Lisa Marie was seen in public at the Golden Globes, as the man who played her father in the Elvis biopic won Best Actor. Two days later, she was gone. Chloe Melas joins us now. Chloe, wow, what a sad story.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Look, last night, it was her mother that announced this terrible news just a few hours after asking fans for support, and prayers, and love on social. This was a touch- and-go situation. Many thinking, that she might pull through. Here's a look back at her life.


MELAS (voiceover): Singer Lisa Marie Presley, the only daughter of the late Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley, died Thursday at 54. Her mother confirmed the death in a statement to CNN. The statement read in part, quote, "The Presley family are shocked and devastated by the tragic death of their beloved Lisa Marie. They are profoundly grateful for the support, love, and prayers of everyone, and ask for privacy during this very difficult time." Lisa Marie Presley had been hospitalized Thursday morning after suffering an apparent cardiac arrest.

Presley was born in 1968, at the height of her father's fame. He died in 1977 when she was just 9 years old. She had a troubled childhood that led with her acting out and experimenting with drugs. It resulted in her mother sending her to a series of private schools. She told the L.A. Times, "I never really fit into school. I didn't really have any direction." The sole heir to her father's fortune, Lisa Marie Presley lived a colorful life in the public eye, often leading to moments in the Tabloids.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Tabloids have been rough on you.


MELAS (voiceover): She married four times, including high-profile marriages with actor Nicolas Cage, and a wedding with the King of Pop Michael Jackson, that grabbed all the headlines. They divorced in January 1996. Later in a 2003 interview with Diane Sawyer, Presley said this about Jackson.

PRESLEY: When he wants to lock into you, and he wants to intrigue you or capture you or, you know, whatever he wants to do with you, he can do it.

MELAS (voiceover): Presley had four kids from two of her four marriages. She recorded three studio albums of her own. In 2003, her debut album "To Whom It May Concern" reached number five on the Billboard 200, it was certified gold that summer. She said this about taking on the same career as her legendary father.

PRESLEY: I think I was a little more naive on that front than one would expect. I have been a huge music lover. It's always had a huge impact on me. I want to write, I want to sing, I want to do the same thing for others. Have my music hopefully do that for others one day, not realizing, you know, what I sort of had to climb. I had an idea a little bit, but I think that I underestimated.


MELAS (voiceover): Tragedy followed Presley in 2020 when her son Benjamin Keough died of suicide at the age of 27. Last September, she opened up about the grief of that loss in an essay for a National Grief Awareness Day. Presley was most recently seen on Tuesday night at the Golden Globe Awards, which she attended with her mother to support the Baz Luhrmann film Elvis about her late father. Lisa was asked about the film on the carpet.

PRESLEY: I was mind blown, truly. I actually had to take like five days to process it, because it was so spot on and authentic.

MELAS (voiceover): Austin Butler who played Elvis in the film, spoke about meeting Lisa Marie.

AUSTIN BUTLER, ACTOR: It hit on my first met Lisa Marie, because I didn't meet her until after the film. And she hugged me with tears in her eyes. And she just said, thank you.


MELAS (on camera): You know, Austin Butler, who you see talking right there at the end of my piece. He is poised to potentially be nominated for an Oscar, coming up with nominations come out is what many are saying after his Golden Globe win, and the family really supported and helped Austin and Baz Luhrmann tell Elvis's story. And like I said earlier, this was a happy time, a celebratory time for the family with Lisa Marie and her mother just at the Globes. Two nights ago, I was there, I walked right past their table. I noticed that she did not look her normal glowing self, but so unexpected. And so many tributes this morning.

LEMON: Now, it's just Priscilla, you know?

COLLINS: I know.


MELAS: Well, and Lisa Marie's three children, I guess.


LEMON: Lisa's three children. But yes, from the --

COLLINS: Thinking of them.

LEMON: Thank you.

MELAS: Thanks.

HARLOW: New details in the disappearance of a mother in Massachusetts, telling police in 2014 that her husband threatened to kill her. More on the disappearance of Ana Walshe ahead.



LEMON (voiceover): Well, this morning, new developments as the search for missing Massachusetts mother of three, Ana Walshe, intensifies. CNN obtaining an incident report that shows, Ana Walshe told police her husband Brian Walshe threatened to kill her and her friend. CNN's Jason Carroll live in Cohasset, Massachusetts with more. Good morning, Jason. When did Ana Walshe make this report against her husband?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this was back in 2014 before they were married, but Don, put -- you know, you can add this to the list of points that prosecutors will be using to help build their case against Brian Walshe.


CARROLL (voiceover): More disturbing details are emerging surrounding Ana Walshe's disappearance and her husband's troubled past. In 2014, before the couple was married, she told police in Washington D.C. that Brian Walshe "made a statement over the telephone that he was going to kill her and her friend". Although he was not named in the public incident report, police say the alleged threat was made by Brian Walshe. He was never charged in part because the victim refused to cooperate in the prosecution. The case was closed, and later, they ended up marrying.

Walshe remains behind bars charged with misleading investigators surrounding his wife's suspicious disappearance, her whereabouts and condition unknown. This, as investigators are seeking answers. Major clues could come from the items law enforcement sources say, were found in a trash facility Monday evening, a hacksaw, and apparent bloodstains on cloth materials. Forensic tests are underway. The question now, how long could it take to get the results?


CARROLL (voiceover): Forensic experts say DNA testing involves several crucial steps.

COTTON: It's not an overnight process, and you want the lab to go slowly and carefully through the process.

CARROLL (voiceover): First, they test to determine if blood is present. If it is, they extract DNA from the items, then another test to see if there's a match with Ana Walshe's DNA.

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: What they would do is obtain her DNA profile for the comparison. They can do that in a variety of ways. They have her three boys. They could take cheek swabs, which is really non-invasive, doesn't hurt or anything, or they could get a toothbrush, or a hairbrush, or a cup that she drank out of.

CARROLL (voiceover): Prosecutors also still focused on Walshe's whereabouts following his wife's disappearance. He claims he last saw her New Year's Day, saying she left home to catch a flight to Washington D.C. But the 39-year-old mother of three wasn't reported missing until January 4th, when her workplace in Washington said, she didn't show up.

(on camera) Investigators say surveillance cameras captured Walshe at this Home Depot on January 2nd. This is where prosecutors say, he bought about $450 worth of cleaning supplies, including masks, buckets, and drop cloths.

(voiceover) Sources also tell CNN investigators discovered searches on Brian Walshe's internet records, including "how to dispose of a 115- pound woman's body" and "how to dismember a body".

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We pray tonight for our whole community profoundly affected.

CARROLL (voiceover): Thursday night, this small community in Cohasset, Massachusetts, came together to pray for Ana Walshe and her three children.

RALPH DUNHAM, COHASSET RESIDENT: I think we're all clinging to some little bit of hope. But as days go by, it's just -- it's such a sad situation. We're still hoping for the best but preparing for the -- for the worst.

DAWN MACK, COHASSET RESIDENT: We have a farmers market every Thursday in the summer. And I remember seeing him down here with his children. And it's -- you know, I feel -- I hope they're at peace. I hope they have somebody helping them get through this.


MACK: The children, right. That, you know, the mother is gone, the father is gone. And yes, I'm very concerned about them.


CARROLL (on camera): And you heard right there, Don, and speaking to some of those who came out here last night at the vigil, the concern -- so much concern for the children, and the hope that the state -- they're in the custody of the state, they hope is that the state in no way separates them. Those who care for Ana Walshe say it's important to keep the boys together. Don?

LEMON: Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

COLLINS: All right. Also, this morning, Steve Bannon's attorney and a judge got into a heated back and forth in a courtroom yesterday after the lawyer said, he wanted to withdraw from the fraud case. He's going to tell us why next.