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FBI Searched Biden's Ex-Private Office; Santos Says He Didn't Fake his Way to Congress; Researchers Link Ultra-processed Foods to Cancer. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 01, 2023 - 06:30   ET




KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: You see New York there this morning.

We also are getting new video this morning showing former President Trump being questioned under oath in New York's $250 million fraud lawsuit against him, his company, and three of his children. He pled the Fifth more than 400 times during that deposition, at the beginning explaining why he was doing so.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Anyone in my position not taking the Fifth Amendment would be a fool. An absolute fool.

Under the advice of my counsel, and for all of the above reasons, I respectfully decline to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution. This will be my answer to any further questions.


COLLINS: And he meant that. Here's a sampling of how that deposition went.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: I decline to answer the question.

I decline to answer the question.

Same answer.

Same answer.

Same answer.

Same answer.

Same answer.

Same answer. Same answer.

Same answer.

Same answer.

Same answer.

Same answer.


COLLINS: Quite a difference from what we saw Trump on the campaign trail in 2016 and what he said about people who plead the Fifth.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT (September 28, 2016): The mob takes the Fifth. If you're innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?

TRUMP (September 26, 2016): When you have your staff taking the Fifth Amendment, taking the Fifth, so they're not prosecuted. When you have the man that set up the illegal server taking the Fifth, I think it's disgraceful.

TRUMP (September 13, 2016): Have you seen what's going on in front of Congress? Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, Fifth Amendment. Horrible. Horrible.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: But, you know, there's the tape.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Well, it's - and here's the interesting part. He's right about anyone in his position would be a fool not to take the Fifth Amendment, except you have his prior history of saying that the Fifth Amendment, he's insinuating that it makes you guilty and a mob figure. So, there's a contradiction there. But if you --

HARLOW: It's always good when you can see the video of these depositions.

LEMON: Yes. But you - you know, you went to law school. Wouldn't you advise your client to take the Fifth Amendment? Is that --

HARLOW: Oh, my God, I went for a year. I don't have a full JD and I'm not a criminal defense attorney.

LEMON: But does that -- does that necessarily mean guilt, though, by taking the Fifth Amendment? You're just protecting your rights, right?

HARLOW: Well, that is what the former president said. Oh, you're saying - yes, people take the Fifth for various reasons.

LEMON: Yes. That's all you'll say. HARLOW: This morning, we are learning - but this -- in a serious turn

here, we are learning a lot more about, you know, the Biden classified documents search. What we've learned this morning is that the FBI actually searched President Biden's former Washington think tank office in November. This is after his team notified the National Archives that they found classified documents there. So, this is another search and one by the FBI. A Justice Department official tells CNN that search was done with the cooperation of the Biden legal team.

Our Paula Reid joins us now.

What I read from this, tell me if I'm right here, is that the big picture here is, we didn't know about this one either, right?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. This raises a lot of questions about just how transparent the president's lawyers and the Justice Department are being about everything that has transpired here. Because, Poppy, here's what we've learned about this, quote, search from our reporting. It was less of a search and more of a visit to an empty office. It was a standard step that you would take anytime classified materials are uncovered. This happened a few days after the Justice Department first learned about these documents. They went with the permission of Biden attorneys to this office. But we've learned that all the documents by that point had been handed over to The Archives. So it was a largely empty office with just some furniture.

But, again, we are told by former Justice Department officials, this is a standard thing that you do to just assess the location and make sure there aren't any other documents or any other problems that would complicate this. And we know, a few days later, the attorney general asked a U.S. attorney to conduct a review and decide if a special counsel should be appointed, and he said, yes, absolutely they need a special counsel. And we've learned that he starts as soon as today.

HARLOW: Do you have any reporting on why the Biden legal team did not disclose this search right away? I mean it was in November.

REID: It's a big question, Poppy. They're not commenting. Also, questions for the Justice Department. While they do not traditionally always share every investigative step that they take, they did take unusual steps here. They held a press conference. The attorney general offered an almost unprecedented timeline of everything that had happened here.


And that was an opportunity, again, to put everything out on the table.

Part of why he did that timeline was to clean up some of the incomplete statements made by the president's attorneys about how much classified material had been found. He did reference an assessment that was conducted. This search, this visit was part of that assessment. But again, a lot of questions about transparency and why they're not getting out ahead of these facts, and, instead, just letting it leak, drip, drip, drip.

HARLOW: Right. It seems like again and again not getting out ahead of what things they could just, you know, tell us have happened.

Paula, thanks very much.

Embattled Congressman George Santos says he is going to at least temporarily step down from his committee assignments. Details on how he came to that decision, ahead.

LEMON: Plus, a new study says that eating ultra-processed foods may be linked to an increased risk of cancer. What you need to know, straight ahead.



COLLINS: Embattled Republican Congressman George Santos has now decided to step aside, step down, from his committee assignments in the House with the spotlight on the lies that he's told about his life. In recent days, he's taken more of a combative approach to the backlash, even making excuses for his behavior.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): And I know that a lot of people want to create this narrative that I - I faked my way to Congress, which is absolutely categorically false.

I've worked hard. I've built ground up, a career, through experience and through knowledge and through self-education.

And, you know, I think it's amazing that I have to sit here and be spoken down to on a regular basis yet again by the media.


COLLINS: Being spoken down to by the media.

Here's the truth of how George Santos -- he did fake his way to Congress. He did not build the career that he claims he did. He did not have the experiences that he claims he had.

Look at this moment when he was pressed about apologizing.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): I've made my sincere apology multiple times. I - I earlier said it, that I thoroughly apologize for lying about my education and embellishing the resume. I've made that very, very clear. I don't know what more can - can be said, other than admitting -- is there anything more humbling, humiliating than admitting that on national television, Kaitlan (ph)?

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: A new poll shows that 78 percent of the voters in his district believe he should resign from Congress.

Joining us now to talk about that interview is CNN media analyst and "Axios" media reporter, Sara Fischer, along with our CNN political commentator and columnist for "New York Magazine," Errol Louis.

Errol, you have actually interviewed George Santos, so I'm going to start with you because you know him. You've interacted with him. What do you make of what he's saying in this interview now that he's decided to temporarily step aside from these committees?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's a good idea for him to step down because he's got a cascading number of legal problems that will really require his full attention. So, just on that level, it's probably a good idea. Maybe a little bit less of a distraction, politically speaking.

He got away with murder in that interview, I have to tell you. I mean he said, oh, I'm sorry that I said I had a college degree when I never attended the college. That's the least of it.


LOUIS: There are so many other obvious fabrications that have come to light that he didn't even acknowledge, saying that his grandparents were Holocaust survivors, saying that his mother died on 9/11 in the World Trade Center when she wasn't even in the country at the time, saying that he worked at Goldman Sachs when he never worked there. On and on and on and on.

This is a real serious problem. I'm not sure he even personally recognizes the depth of the deception, which really accounts for the fact that people have said, this is not just some politician who embellished a little bit or who broke a couple of promises. This is some other thing altogether, which is why so many people in his own district have said, we don't want this guy to be our congressman anymore.

HARLOW: Can we listen to him saying it's never -- basically, it's never going to happen again, learned his lesson. Here's that part.


REP. GEORGE SANTOS (R-NY): And I've learned my lesson. And you can guarantee -- I can guarantee you that from now on anything and everything is always going to be above board. It's largely always been above board. I'm just going to go the extra step now to double-check, cross-reference everything.


HARLOW: I just have so many thoughts, but I'm more interested in your -- how do you cross-reference your own lies? Like, you either tell the truth or you don't. SARA FISCHER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: It's just too little, too late is the

problem. Like, even if Errol Louis -- Errol Louis, oh, my gosh. Even if George Santos were -

COLLINS: (INAUDIBLE) would never -

FISCHER: Never in a million years.

But even if George Santos were to try to pursue his run in Congress, he doesn't have the support of anyone anymore. He's built this entire campaign on lies. Now he's saying he doesn't have Republicans allied with him. He doesn't have his district allied with him.



FISCHER: He doesn't have Democrats allied with him. So he can't be effective.

And the whole time in that interview he kept saying, well, I was elected to do a job and I'm here to do the job. You're not going to be able to do the job because nobody wants to work with you or no one trusts you anymore.

LEMON: Full transparency. So I said, why are you stepping away from your committee assignments. And he says, I'm not stepping away, I'm reserving my seats to be taken at a later date while these distractions are resolved. I'll continue to work on constituent services and putting bills together.

How is he going to do that considering everything that you just said? How is that possible?

FISCHER: It's not possible. You need, you know, to be able to work across the aisle. You need to be able to work with your own party.

And I think the biggest challenge for him is that, at this point, he's a fun thing to cover. The media loves to take a look at every single one of these missteps and every single one of these controversies. And so it's going to be hard for him to ever weed himself out of the position that he's in.

COLLINS: Well, and he's under investigation. I mean it's not even just controversies over, you know, morality and decisions and things that he said about 9/11.


COLLINS: There are real questions about his finances that he has not answered.


COLLINS: And amending his FEC filings, questions that he has also not answered. But if it's too much of a distraction for him to be on these

committees, how does he not justify in his mind that it's too much of a distraction to be in Congress, period?


LOUIS: Listen, there was a remarkable press conference a couple of weeks ago where the entire local delegation, the people who serve at the state level, the city level, the towns and villages that are part of the district, and all of these representatives came together and said, we're not going to refer constituent cases to this office.

HARLOW: Right.

LOUIS: And a neighboring congressman said, I'll take the burden, just send the people to me. So, it's unclear whether he's going to be able to have any work coming through that office. There's even been some reporting about what his staff members are going through. You don't necessarily want that on your resume, you know?

So, you're going to have a largely empty office when it comes to legislative work, when it comes to constituent work, a demoralized staff that is wondering what the heck they're doing there. The whole thing seems to be spiraling downward.

The only thing we know for sure is that you can't just kick out a member of Congress unless there's an overwhelming vote of the entire Congress. And that doesn't seem to be likely.

LEMON: You'll have to see if the whole sort of Trump blaming the media strategy works when the media is just reporting on what you actually said or did. See if that works.

FISCHER: Yes, that's right.

HARLOW: Except that there's a -- we've got to go. There's a lesson here for the media in all of us to have dug deeper in him and a lesson for folks that chose not to pay the money to do some of those --

DLL: Well, not just the media, but also those who ran against him as well.

HARLOW: I was just --

FISCHER: And the -

HARLOW: I was -- you took the words out of my mouth.

FISCHER: And the value of local news, which broke the original story in Long Island.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes. The local paper.

FISCHER: And local papers are dying, you know.

HARLOW: Yes, people to pay more attention to that, and that was good journalism by them.


HARLOW: Thanks, guys, very much. Sara Fischer, Errol Louis, thank you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that our colleagues?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over from CNN are here. Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow, Kaitlan Collins, Chris Licht.


LEMON: We were courtside at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks/Lakers game last night. Look at us hanging out on the court! We played a little basketball, too. How did we score?

COLLINS: I was on Little Dribblers as a child, so.

HARLOW: Like it.

LEMON: Little Dribblers.

COLLINS: That was our (INAUDIBLE).



LEMON: I mean, you know, just hanging out, you know, on the front row of the Lakers/Knicks game. Not that -- that's not even a humble brag. Did you have fun? Did you guys have fun?

HARLOW: I had a ball.

COLLINS: I had so much fun. And I feel like the bar is set so high for me now because I've only been to one other NBA game. It was against the Lakers when Kobe Bryant was there. And so to go and see LeBron James play, like, my face looked liked that the whole game because I was like, I can't believe I'm this close to LeBron.


LEMON: You guys - you were thinking -

HARLOW: Tell - wait, tell people what he looked like on the court?

COLLINS: A Greek god.

LEMON: A Greek -

COLLINS: The court looked like it was this big compared to all of them. LEMON: Well, that's the thing I was just going to say to you, Kaitlan.

Well, we were - the reason - because we were like, oh, look, we're on TV, so it looked like we're not paying attention because we're watching the screen right in front of us. But when you're that close, you don't realize, they're like satellites, they're so tall. You don't see that on television until you sit really close to the court and how tall they are.

COLLINS: It's incredible. It was such a great - I mean it was electric in there last night, too, during this game. Like it's -

HARLOW: It was such a production I was saying to you. And then my husband's like, are you texting me on TV? Watch the game!

LEMON: Well, I was looking at us on TV.

HARLOW: I know. We looked ridiculous.

LEMON: By the way, can we talk about how many famous people were there.

HARLOW: I was going to say, there were so -


HARLOW: Emma -- Emma Stone, right?

LEMON: Yes. Kirsten (ph) Skarsgard or whatever (ph) -

HARLOW: Michael B. Jordan.


HARLOW: Chris Rock. Continue. Go on.

LEMON: Skarsgard. Alex Skarsgard. Whatever.

HARLOW: Yes. The - the Giants player who threw the football.

LEMON: Chris Rock. Jon Stewart was there.

HARLOW: Who's football player?

LEMON: And Spike Lee, who came over to say hello. Actually, Spike --

COLLINS: Daniel Jones.

HARLOW: Daniel Jones.

LEMON: Yes. Spike is going to the funeral in Memphis today. He told me he's going to do a documentary.

HARLOW: Right.

LEMON: There were tons of -- LeBron's entire production team was sitting on the front row. COLLINS: I mean everybody wants to watch that game.

LEMON: Maverick PR (ph). It was great.

COLLINS: It was awesome.

HARLOW: It was one of those only in New York nights. It was a great night.

LEMON: Only in New York. We loved it.


LEMON: So, we're going to brag about it. We had -- and thank you to Warner Brothers' Discovery.


LEMON: We got the boss' seats.

HARLOW: To the boss'.

COLLINS: Yes, it was a lot of fun.

LEMON: Thank you.

COLLINS: Also this morning, though, you know, we stayed up late, but we do have a lot going on.

And we have a new study about what you should be eating for breakfast maybe after you've been at the Lakers/Knicks game overnight. New data highlighting how harmful certain foods may be for your health. According to a study out of the United Kingdom, consuming more ultra- processed foods might lead to -- be linked to a higher risk of cancer, especially for women.

For more on this let's bring in CNN medical correspondent Dr. Tara Narula. No one better to talk about this.

Some people at this table may or may not have had some processed foods last night. I won't name - name any names.


LEMON: Hot dogs. I even had the cotton candy.

HARLOW: He did.

COLLINS: But, I mean, this is a real issue. And especially if it's more concerning for women. What is the data here?

NARULA: Yes. So ultra-process foods, we've talked about these before. These are things that we love to eat. Frozen pizzas, cereal, snacks. The problem is, they're really low in nutritional value. Many of them are loaded with additives, fat, salt, and sugar. And we -- they make up a huge part of the American diet. Almost 50 percent of our calories come from ultra-processed foods. So, it's everywhere.

And there is an association with them and things like type II diabetes and obesity. But where there wasn't a definitive link necessarily was with cancer. We know that cancer is responsible for one in six deaths worldwide. And 50 percent of cancers are preventable. So, diet could really be a modifiable risk factor.

So, ultra-processed foods in this study, researchers wanted to see the association with 34 different types of cancers. So they took 200,000 individuals in England. They were average age 58. They gave them food questionnaires over several years. And then they followed them for ten years. And what they found was that there -- for every 10 percent increase in the amount of ultra-processed food in their diet, they did see a 2 percent increase in overall cancer incidents, a 19 percent increase in ovarian cancer incidents. And then when they looked at mortality or dying from cancer, there was also a 6 percent increase overall in dying, a 30 percent increase in dying from ovarian cancer, and a 16 percent increase in dying from breast cancer.

HARLOW: Can we just -- this is a concerning list.


HARLOW: I expected hot dog, but packaged soups, sauces.


HARLOW: Sweets.

NARULA: Yes. It's -- it is, as I said, it makes up so much of what we eat.


LEMON: This is why when you talk about obesity and gaining weight, right, we have so much ultra-processed foods here. And if you notice, if you go to Europe, especially if you go to Italy, you eat like tons of pasta and whatever and you come home and you don't - you have a --

HARLOW: That's why they say the French don't get fat.

LEMON: You haven't gained weight and you don't feel as horrible because it's not processed.

NARULA: It's natural.

LEMON: There's a huge - it's natural. There's a huge difference.

NARULA: Yes. It's important to point out, this is not a cause/effect study, that we always want to caveat that.

LEMON: Right. Yes.

NARULA: So, association.

LEMON: Yes. HARLOW: Throw away the hot -

LEMON: By the way, all the ultra-processed foods we ate last night, the Lakers did win 129-123 over the Knicks. I may or may not have had a hot dog, popcorn, and -

HARLOW: Cotton candy.

LEMON: Cotton candy.

COLLINS: Thanks so much, Doctor.

NARULA: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

Alec Baldwin charged with involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting on the set of the movie "Rust." Why prosecutors accuse him of being reckless. That's straight ahead.