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CNN This Morning
CIA Chief Briefed Zelenskyy on Russia's Potential Spring Offensive; Alec Baldwin Charged in Shooting Death of Move Set Filmmaker; Investigators Unable to Find Leaker of Roe v. Wade Opinion. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired January 20, 2023 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: There's no there, there.
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DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: So, a good Friday morning, everyone. Kaitlan and I are here. Poppy is off today.
You heard what he said, no there, there. He has no regrets. President Biden not sorry for not revealing sooner that classified documents were found in his private office, insisting there's no there, there.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Also a key NATO meeting on military aid for Ukraine is under way. Can the U.S. convince Germany to send its tanks to Kyiv? It's certainly trying.
LEMON: Blindsided, Actor Alec Baldwin's response after learning he will face criminal charges for the shooting death of a cinematographer on the set of his film, Rust.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This happens in her classroom no less. She's six. She's terrified because the person that was advocating for her got hurt. She got hurt.
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LEMON: -- a very emotional town hall in Virginia after a six-year-old brings a gun to school and shoots his teacher. The family of that child speaking out this morning.
COLLINS: But first this morning, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is making another desperate plea for more weapons before it's too late. There are signs that Russia is regrouping and preparing to launch another major offensive. And CNN has learned this morning that CIA Director Bill Burns personally flew to Kyiv in recent days for a secret meeting with President Zelenskyy to brief him on what the U.S. believes Putin is planning to do.
This morning, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is at Ramstein Airbase in Germany to huddle with other defense ministers. President Zelenskyy spoke virtually at that meeting. He said thanks, but he needs tanks.
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VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: But do we have a lot of time? No. Terror does not allow for discussion, the terror which burns city after city.
And I can thank you hundreds of times, but hundreds of thank you are not hundreds of tanks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: The Pentagon has announced it is sending more firepower to Ukraine. The latest weapons package that you're looking at here includes air defense systems and a fleet of armored vehicles, both of which Ukraine needs.
CNN's Oren Liebermann is live at the Pentagon this morning. Oren, I listened to what Secretary Austin said this morning as he was speaking. He talked about this package. He did not mention the word, tanks. But we know that's what they're talking about here behind the scenes.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Tanks is what this focus is all about. And it's not the U.S. sending tanks, that we've known for quite some time now, we just had that list of what they're sending, 2.5 billion, that makes it the second largest Ukraine aid package the U.S. has provided. Worth noting, the largest package of $3 billion was only a couple weeks ago, so you see that pipeline moving very quickly.
About a dozen other countries have already made announcements of what they will send. So, weapons are no doubt going into Ukraine from the U.S. and many of the U.S. allies.
The key question is tanks, and that's where Ukrainian and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy are still waiting here. The U.S. working behind the scenes to try to get Germany to approve other countries to send its Leopard tanks, which about a dozen other countries in Europe have. And that's the goal that has not yet come together. It's also worth noting that Zelenskyy said time right now is on Russia's side, the world needs to make time a weapon of Ukraine by moving things in faster.
COLLINS: The question I think here that regular people would have is what about the tanks that makes them such a controversial move? Because I know Germany is saying, okay, we're going to send them, the United States needs to send them as well, so basically we have diplomatic cover here. But why, what's the issue really?
LIEBERMANN: So, this is Germany's sticking point. They've said openly they won't send tanks until the U.S. sends tanks. But there are two different reasons. The U.S. doesn't want to send its own tanks because they're logistical and maintenance nightmares. They just won't do Ukraine any good quickly on the battlefield. The focus is on the Leopard tanks but Germany has just been timid to approve this. The U.S. and others have been working behind the scenes to try to pressure Germany to approve the tanks. They don't need to send them, they need to approve other countries sending them.
And you have seen open frustration from Poland which has said they're willing and said, look, we're getting to the point where we might just send the tanks and deal with the consequences.
COLLINS: Yes, We'll see what they ultimately decide. Certainly, the pressure is there. Oren, thank you for that report.
And next hour, we're going to take you back live on the ground to Kyiv where CNN's Clarissa Ward is following all of this quickly about the real impact it's having on Ukrainians.
LEMON: In the meantime, President Biden says he has no regrets about how he and his team have handled the classified documents that were found from his time as vice president in the Obama administration. As the White House has faced questions about their initial reluctance to share information on this, Biden weighed in just last night as he was touring a California town ravaged by weeks of winter storms, saying that he felt that the American people don't understand why reporters are asking about this and not that.
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BIDEN: We found a handful of documents that were filed in the wrong place. We immediately turned them over to the Archives and the Justice Department.
We're fully cooperating, looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. I think you're going to find there's nothing there. I have no regrets. I'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. That's exactly what we're doing. There's no there, there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMONS: Republicans have accused President Biden of hypocrisy after he criticized former President Trump for stashing top secret documents at Mar-a-Lago.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you saw the photograph of the top secret documents laid out on the floor at Mar-a-Lago, what did you think to yourself?
BIDEN: How that could possibly happen, how anyone could be that irresponsible.
(END VIDEO CLIP) LEMON: But the White House continues to point out the differences here, that President Biden has cooperated with the Justice Department and the National Archives while the former president refused to give back documents, which led to a historic search warrant being executed on the former president's property.
And ahead you're going to want to tune in for this. I'm going to speak with the former Democratic senator, Doug Jones -- well, Kaitlan is going to speak with former Democratic Senator Doug Jones, who has been critical of Biden's handling of those documents.
COLLINS: Also this morning, former President Trump has rarely faced consequences for his very long history of using the courts as a weapon. But this morning he may. A federal judge in Florida has now told former President Trump and his lawyer that they need to pay up. The judge said that Trump and his attorney are liable for nearly $1 million in sanctions for filing what the judge called a frivolous lawsuit.
Trump brought the suit against nearly three dozen of his perceived political enemies, including Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey. The judge not holding back, calling the case inadequate, saying that it should never have been brought and that, quote, no reasonable lawyer would have filed it.
This may come as a surprise for the former president who's been known to work the courts back since his days in real estate.
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DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Because I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, for myself, for my employees, for my family, et cetera.
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COLLINS: The judge calling Trump, quote, a mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer. He knew full well the impact of his actions.
Trump and the attorney in the case for him, Alina Habba, and her firm have been now ordered to pay nearly $940 million.
It's remarkable. This is something that's really rare for Trump for him to actually face some kind of consequence like this, because you've seen how he's wielded the courts back in his New York days when he was in office.
LEMON: Yes. Well, I mean, listen, that was the M.O. from the '80s, '90s, 2000s, and even now. He uses the legal system, he uses litigation to wear people down. And because the person -- usually the person he's fighting against has less money than him, right? So, he ends up not paying for work that's being done and what have you. But now he's having to pay, which is good. There are consequences, finally.
COLLINS: It will be fascinating to see what Maggie Haberman says about this. We've got her coming up. She wrote that book, basically what you're just talking about, what Trump did in the 80s and 90s and how he used these as such a tool.
LEMON: Yes. In the meantime, we have to talk about this. Alec Baldwin now says that he was blindsided by the announcement that he will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie, Rust. Baldwin's lawyer says that the decision to prosecute is a, quote, terrible miscarriage of justice.
CNN's Josh Campbell live for CNN This Morning. He is in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Josh, good morning to you. What are you learning?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning to you, Don. A significant development here, as you mentioned, authorities plan to charge Actor Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.
Now, I spoke with the district attorney and the special prosecutor in this case and their first T.V. interview since announcing those charges, and they told me that this ultimately came down to negligence, in their view, a pattern of unsafe practices on the set. Of course, Alec Baldwin's legal team says that they will be mounting an aggressive defense.
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MARY CARMACK-ALTWIES, SANTA FE DISTRICT ATTORNEY: An actor doesn't get a free pass just because they're an actor. And that's what's so important, is that we're saying here in New Mexico, everyone is equal under the law.
CAMPBELL (voice over): More than a year after the deadly on-set shooting of Rust Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Actor and Producer Alec Baldwin along with the film's armorer and props assistant, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will lead to be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, according to prosecutors.
CARMACK-ALTWIES: This was a really fast and loose set and that nobody was doing their job.
CAMPBELL: Set in the old west, Rust was filming outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in October of 2021. Baldwin and crew members were rehearsing a scene inside a rustic church when a prop gun in the actor's hand discharged.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have two injuries from a move gun shot.
CAMPBELL: Killing Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding Director Joel Souza. Santa Fe's district attorney, Mary Carmack- Altwies insists safety was disregarded during production. CARMACK-ALTWIES: There were three people that if they had done their job that day, this tragedy wouldn't have happened, and that's David Halls, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and Alec Baldwin.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And the fact is actors are not firearms experts.
CAMPBELL: National Executive Director for SAG-AFTRA Duncan Crabtree- Ireland saying that the district attorney is uninformed.
DUNCAN CRABTREE-IRELAND, NATIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SAG-AFTRA: The charges clearly indicate a lack of understanding about the standards and expectations of how a film set operates.
Actors cannot be expected and are not expected to do final safety checks or anything of that nature.
CAMPBELL: Rust Assistant Director Dave Halls, who handed Baldwin the gun, has already pleaded guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon, according to the D.A. Baldwin has repeatedly claimed that he pulled back the gun's hammer as far as he could without cocking it and released the hammer, telling CNN and others --
ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: Well, the trigger wasn't pulled. I didn't pull the trigger.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you never pulled the trigger?
BALDWIN: No, no. I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never. That was the training that I had. You don't point a gun to me and pull the trigger.
CAMPBELL: Baldwin's attorney called the charges a terrible miscarriage of justice, saying he was assured the gun did not have live rounds and that he will the charges. While an attorney for Gutierrez-Reed said, we expect that she will be found not guilty by a jury and she did not commit manslaughter.
The family of Halyna Hutchins in a statement saying, it's a comfort to the family that in New Mexico, no one is above the law.
CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, as far as what comes next in this prosecution, the district attorney told me there will be no arrests in this case. They will be issuing summons for Alec Baldwin. And, Don, they tell us that the charges in this case will come before the end of this month.
LEMON: All right. We'll be watching and you'll be reporting. Thank you, Josh Campbell.
So, did prosecutors go too far with the charges? In our next hour, former Federal Prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers and Criminal Defense Attorney Ken Belkin, they are going to lay out their case for and against Baldwin. COLLINS: Also this morning, at least 54 people have died in Peru after a wave of violent protests. The protests are fueled by poor living conditions, inequality, with angry workers demanding the resignation of the president and calling for new general elections. One person, we are told, was killed, ten have been injured in one southern city where clashes broke out between protesters and police near the airport, and actually even suspended flights on Thursday. A fire also destroyed this historic building in the center of Lima. The weeks of protests have been sparked by the impeachment and removal of the nation's former left-wing president.
LEMON: This morning, the family of the six-year-old boy who shot his teacher in Virginia speaking out. They're calling the incident an unimaginable tragedy but maintain that the gun he assessed was secured. Meanwhile, parents in the school district are on edge and expressed their concerns at an emotional town hall.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And our students do not wonder if there will be another school shooting. They wonder when and where the next shooting will be.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My seven-year-old daughter says that she sits with her head down and cries because she wonders if she'll be able to hug her mommy again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But to this board, enough is enough. What will it take? I pray it is not a fourth shooting because that blood will be on your hands.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: CNN's Brian Todd joins me now. Good morning, Brian. Did, can the boy's parents explain how this happened?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they tried to, Don. And in breaking their silence on this, these parents of the six-year-old boy have given what some might consider a surprising amount of detail about their son. In addition to claiming that the gun was secure at their home, the parents said this through their attorney, quote, our son suffers an acute disability and was under a care plan at the school that included his mother or father attending school with him and accompanying him to class every day. The week of the shooting was the first week when we were not in class with him. We will regret our absence on this for the rest of our lives, end quote.
But, Don, they don't say specifically what the disability is or whether there were previous disciplinary issues with the boy at school. When we asked their attorney, James Elenson, about that, he said to us that he could not comment further. Also, Don, the statement does not say how the weapon was secured and how the boy might have gotten access to it. We also asked the attorney about that and he would not comment. Don?
Brian Todd reporting, Brian, thank you so much. COLLINS: All right. Also this morning, we still don't know who leaked the Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe versus Wade after a massive investigation. It is one of the worst breaches of confidentiality in the history of the court, which now says its investigation was unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.
Here's what we did learn from their report. At least 90 people had access to the draft.
Some of them even told their spouses about it, which is a violation of the court's confidentiality rules. They conducted more than a hundred formal interviews of about 97 employees. It does not say, though, and this is key, if any justices or their spouses were interviewed. When we asked, they didn't comment from the court.
Our CNN Chief Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst John Miller is here to dissect all of this with us. That, I think, is my biggest takeaway, is how can you conduct an investigation and you don't talk to the actual justices or their spouses potentially?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, first, you have to look at who conducted the investigation. This was not sent over to the FBI, which would be normal in a national leak case. It was handled by the marshal of the Supreme Court, which is not the U.S. Marshals that guard the other court. The Supreme Court has its own marshal.
So, this is an entity is in-house, reports to the justices. And its job is to protect the court, to investigate threats against the justice. Its expertise doesn't lie in complex leak investigations.
LEMON: Okay. This is an unorthodox question. But CNN was asked whether the Supreme Court justices themselves were investigated in the process. And, of course, a public information officer said that she could only to CNN -- CNN should only refer to the final report. So, it's not clear if they were or not.
So, my question is, do they really want to know? Maybe they don't want to know because it would open up a whole another big can of worms if they found out that it was actually a justice who did it? Do you understand what I'm saying?
MILLER: I understand what you're saying. I don't get that feeling. I get the feeling that the Supreme Court, and I know this because I've talked to people there over the years when I was in Washington, is a place where they confer enormous trust on the employees, very much like when I was in the intelligence community, they confer enormous trust with people on their discretion, their ability to keep secrets, to be a professional, but it's also an interesting environment. You have law clerks coming in one-year stints or coming and going for short periods of time. And as we learned from this, that's a lot of people looking at an extraordinarily sensitive document, 126 interviews done of 97 people. That means a few people got interviewed again and then again. So, they were looking at a handful of people who they thought were most likely but didn't reach that preponderance of evidence.
COLLINS: Yes. It's noticeable they said preponderance of the evidence. Isn't that typically something you use in a court case or something?
LEMON: Preponderance is in civil, right?
MILLER: Right. So, that's the 4951. And I think that -- I think they had people they liked but they didn't get there. But they identified a lot of problems, too many people getting too many documents, printers that are not attached to the network that aren't keeping record of who printed what. So, you have got 36 of these that were printed by different people, two hard copies that were handed out, copy machines that don't keep records of what's being copied. So, they're coming out of this, which is fewer people are going to get documents. Anything that prints or sends inside or out is going to be joined to the network and records and logs kept. So, if nothing else, there're lessons out of this.
LEMON: When they say, preponderance, it sounds like there was evidence but just not as 4951, as in a civil case, but in a criminal case --
MILLER: Well, they went back and interviewed a number of people three times and everybody was made to sign an oath under penalty of perjury that they didn't lie and tell the truth. So, if they come back later, they have that too.
LEMON: Thank you, John. I appreciate it.
So, how do voters, Democrat and Republican, feel about President Biden's handling of classified documents, how do they feel about his response? Our discussion straight ahead.
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CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST: This is a difficult subject to bring up but people want to know. How is your husband, Paul, doing after that vicious attack in October?
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COLLINS: You're going to want to see that answer from former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as she sat down with our own Chris Wallace. What she's now saying about how her husband is doing, how he's recovering.
COLLINS: All right. The former House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, is sitting down with CNN for a brand new interview with Chris Wallace, talking about the fallout and just what the reaction has been like from the brutal attack on her husband, who she says has paid the price for her political career.
WALLACE: This is a difficult subject to bring up but people want to know. How is your husband, Paul, doing after that vicious attack in October?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He's doing okay. It's going to take a little while for him to be back to normal. I feel very sad about it for -- because of what happened, but also more sad because the person was searching for me. And my dear husband, who is not even that political, actually, paid the price. He's been out a bit because the doctor said he has to have something to look forward to. And so, again, one day at a time.
WALLACE: I'm just going to press this a little. We see him out in public. But when I've talked to you, when I've talked to your daughter, when I've talked to one of your granddaughters, you all keep using the expression, long haul. Is it physical? Is it emotional? Is it cognitive? What's the long haul mean in terms of recovery?
PELOSI: Anyone who's had a head injury knows that you have to be very careful. You have to be careful about movement, you have to be careful about light, you have to be careful about sound, and it just takes a while, probably another three or four months, according to the doctors, for him to be really himself.
COLLINS: Another three to four months. Pelosi is going to have more to say about this in this week's episode of Who's Talking to Chris Wallace. The new episode is on HBO Max this morning. Go ahead and watch it. The hour-long version of it is going to air here on CNN Sunday night, 7:00 P.M. Eastern.
LEMON: I can't wait to see that. I mean, that event really changed her.
LEMON: It really did.
COLLINS: And the pictures that you see, that's from the Kennedy Center Honors, that was his first time in public. He's wearing a hat, he was wearing gloves. But it's just been so difficult for them deal with the fallout of that.
LEMON: We wish the entire family well, an interesting conversation. We spoke with Alexandria Pelosi about the effect of the entire of family.
COLLINS: Yes. LEMON: So, two investigations, two president, as President Biden and former President Donald Trump are being investigated for their handling of classified documents. The White House points out the two cases are different, especially since Trump had more than ten times the number of documents at Mar-a-Lago and refuses to fully cooperate. We wanted to see how all of this is resonating with voters. And that's why we have assembled this panel of Democrats, Republicans and independents to hear what they think.
I'm going to start with Aylon. Aylon, you're a Democrat. What did you think when you heard about the Biden documents and how the White House is handling it?
AYLON GIPSON, DEMOCRAT VOTER: Yes. I thought that it was pretty shocking about how the White House was handling it. But I thought they handled the situation completely appropriate. They were cooperating with the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice, and they did things the right way unlike the Trump administration, where they basically hid away and had to get a subpoena for the documents to be -- came up with.
But I do believe the Biden administration handled the situation correctly. They turned over the documents to the appropriate places when it was time and when they needed to be turned over.
LEMON: So, Edward, you heard what Aylon had to say there. You are a Republican. You served in the military for 23 years, handled classified documents. So, what do you think of both cases?
EDWARD MULDROW, REPUBLICAN VOTER: Well, I think not necessarily looking at how they're handling things differently but what are the similarities? And the similarities are the fact that classified documents were mishandled. And it doesn't matter -- no one is above the law, right? And the rules apply to everyone. There's nowhere in the rules of handling classified documents that says that they get to be stored in a garage in your personal residence for more than six years and no one knows where they're at, what they contain, or anything like that.
So, I don't know if we can say, oh, well, after the crime was committed, the person then turned themselves in and did the right thing, or fell on their sword. No. The rules were broken and both cases need to be handled as such, that the rules were broken and we need to figure out why that happened and how it happened.
LEMON: Do you feel the same way, you have the same energy, though, for the documents at Mar-a-Lago that the former president said he didn't want to turn back over and that he hid and changed.
MULDROW: So, here's how I feel about that, and that is the national security is bigger than any one person, right, bigger than any president, vice president, or any of that. And so when we're talking about these documents, if they're not supposed to be in a certain -- in someone's possession, then that's the bottom line. And so we have to follow the rules. LEMON: Okay, great. So, Jen, I want to bring you in here. Jen, you're a Democrat, and you think that there's a difference between what Joe Biden did and what Donald Trump did regarding the classified documents. So, how do you see it?
JEN RAMOS, DEMOCRAT VOTER: So, I definitely agree that while it is wrong that both presidents had access to these documents, the way they handled it shows the distinct differences between the two. When you look at the timeline with Donald Trump and these classified documents, the National Archives and Records Administration was the one that reached out to Trump's attorneys to let them know, hey, we're missing documents. Let's cooperate, let's get this going. And it took the better part of a year to which Trump refused to hand over these documents, and that's what led to the raid at Mar-a-Lago.
And, mind you, a special counsel has been appointed, it's gone through these procedures but Trump has held on for dear life and said, no, no, no, no, and kind of stuck his head in the sand about it. But when you look at the Biden timeline, these documents were identified by President Biden's attorneys in November and they immediately notified the NARA about these documents. Investigation is held, a special counsel appointed, they cooperated fully and worked to make everything right.
LEMON: Okay. So, we've heard from Democrats and Republicans. I want to hear from an independent because I wonder if independents feel the same way, if people really read that much into the nuances here, if they just think, look, both people did something wrong.
Lynda, let's bring in you as an independent. How do you feel Biden?