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Lawyer Who Blamed Jan. 6 Defendants Action On "Foxitis" Joins CNN; CNN Confronts Iran Foreign Minister On Prisoner Abuse; Soon: AG Garland To Face Senate Judiciary Committee; DeSantis Kicks Off Book Tour Ahead Of Potential White House Bid. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 01, 2023 - 08:30   ET



OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: This could result in damage to the actual Fox Corporation brand and really result in problems for shareholders. Their shareholders are going to wonder what's going on over at Fox.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: And Dominion has that leverage, and they know it because they know you don't want to see your folks on the stand, so do something. I'm sure.


LEMON: Yes. Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Oliver. Fascinating.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, as we are learning more about the lawsuit, it's also raising more questions about the real-life impact that it has, that it has on Fox's viewers, on their audience. An attorney who actually once represented a January 6 defendant at the time blamed the network's coverage for his client's actions that day, saying essentially that he developed what the attorney called Foxitis and believed lies that were told on the network and by former President Trump about the election.

The rioter was known as Anthony Antonio. He lost his job at the beginning of the pandemic, and for the next six months, he says he watched Fox News constantly with his roommates.


ANTHONY ANTONIO, JANUARY 6TH RIOTER: Election night happened and everything was going on. I truly believed that Trump won the election. But I felt like, you know, you know, maybe I believed that America was being robbed of a president, and I now know that that was a lie.


COLLINS: Anthony Antonio's former lawyer Joseph Hurley joins us now. Joseph, thank you so much for being here. You talked to your former client about this lawsuit, about what we were just hearing from Oliver and these revelations. What's he making of it?

JOSEPH HURLEY, FMR. ATTORNEY FOR ACCUSED JAN. 6 RIOTER ANTHONY ANTONIO: Good morning. I indicated that I would do this, but I ask that you find somebody who's not smarter than me, who would be the co- interviewee. And I already see you couldn't find anybody. And they said, if we can find one, we'll bring them so they don't exist.

Let me tell you why I'm here. I am here because I saw in real time what those -- the words I would use, I shouldn't use, so I won't. People at Fox, the Tucker Carlson with a look on his face and Hannity with this smug look, and that group of people, they don't know what they do to people.

And it's unimaginable that they can change the course of who a human being is because of naivete. And the person that I represented was a religious, nonpolitical individual who devoted his -- part of his time working in children's group at church, going to the South America three different times for weeks at a time to work in an orphanage. A good guy, no criminality, no bad traits that would hurt society.

And he ended up in his job location out in Illinois, and they couldn't leave the house that he lived in with three other people for seven months before the election. And those people watched Fox 24/7, 7/24 and it started to seep in -- and these are my words -- seep into his brain and things that he had never thought of before he started to accept.

And he ended up, when Trump said, come to Washington, it'll be well out wild of him feeling a devotion to his country, the United States of America, not Trump per se. And he ended up in Washington, and he ended up with 11 or 12 charges. And he has been facing ignominy (ph), and it's all because of the Tuckers and the Seans and the other people that are there that don't give a damn about anybody but themselves and money, and it's disgusting.

COLLINS: I want to get to the money part, because that is something even Rupert Murdoch acknowledged in his deposition. Some people would say, you know, your client was responsible for his own actions that day. But have you talked to him about what he thinks of this lawsuit, what he thinks of what these hosts were actually saying and texting to one another versus what he was listening to and watching on air?

HURLEY: I had talked to him when he first came in the door. I wasn't going to represent any of those people down there. If anybody doesn't deserve representation, you try to take down this country and democracy, you don't deserve it. Go to prison, good bye. Spend a nice life.

He came in, and I didn't know that he was -- had this particular problem. And I met with him, he sat down and began talking to him, and I was like, what are you doing here? Had nothing to do with what I perceived as the individual who would be there. And I found out what I've just told you, in more detail, of course.

And at that point, I realized that he realized that he had been made a falloff, and he felt victimized by Fox, and that was an immediate reaction. And where he worked, he wanted to come on television. I think he was on with me, or I was on with him, I guess I should say, two or three times on CNN.

And he was told to work, if you say -- he's from South Carolina -- if you say anything about Trump bad, you're fired. So he became very reluctant to say anything, but he had an abiding disgust for Fox and what they had done to him and some of the people that he hooked up with, meaning, started chatting with, and some stuff they do to wild away their time, he realized they were the result of that as well.


So there's an army of people out there who are naive or stupid or whatever you want to call it, are looking for power, and they just listen to Fox. And whatever Fox tells them, that's what they'll do. I don't think that this --

COLLINS: Have you --

HURLEY: -- the money amount is going to make any difference.

COLLINS: Joe, have you spoken to him, to your client lately about this? Is he's still watching Fox? What does he make of this, though, like the new revelations?

HURLEY: He does not speak with Fox at all. He doesn't like to talk about Fox because he considers it the ruination of his life that he was foolish enough to believe in them. And he is not the kind of person that would -- I feel this, he's a private individual, complacent individual, notwithstanding that day, and he doesn't want to talk about it. It's a horrible addition of his life. And still going on. His trial scheduled for August 7th.

COLLINS: Yes. We'll be paying close attention to it. Joe Hurley, thanks for joining us.

LEMON: Well, coming up --

HURLEY: You're very welcome.

LEMON: Coming up, a CNN -- so a fascinating interview. Fascinating, especially the defense that he used with that Foxitis.

Christiane Amanpour is coming up. She's going to show you -- she's going to do what she does best. Watch this.


HOSSEIN AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN, IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translation): We have seen some of CNN's reports that are targeted and false.

CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: That's not true. We report the facts and we report the truth. And that's why you're sitting here with me, Mr. Foreign Minister.


LEMON: Christiane Amanpour confronting the Foreign Minister of Iran with CNN's own reporting. She's here with that interview. You don't want to miss it next.



HARLOW: Just wait until you see this. It is a CNN exclusive. Our Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour confronts Iran's Foreign Minister and presses him with the facts of CNN's reporting on the sexual abuse of protesters in the custody of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. So let's go to Christiane. She is live in London this morning with more.

Christiane, this is a remarkable interview. Everyone can see it online a little bit later today, but preview it for us. What is most striking?

AMANPOUR: Well, I obviously had to start with the global condemnation of Iran over the crackdown after Mahsa Amini's death against the women's rights protest. He absolutely denied that there had been any crackdown of, quote, peaceful protesters. He essentially said that the crackdown came when the protests were infiltrated by those sponsored by outside, in his words, who wanted to create a counter revolution.

But I brought up specific CNN reporting, New York Times reporting, human rights reporting on the allegations of multiple sexual abuses committed in detention against females who had been arrested. Here was his -- here's the back and forth.


AMANPOUR: When you say the Islamic Republic of Iran respects human rights, one female protester says that she was detained inside a Revolutionary Guard facility for more than a month and raped by three different men. She went to a cleric, a mullah, afterwards because she was having suicide thoughts. She was so upset.

CNN spoke with that cleric. Is that acceptable? Is it acceptable for a woman, whatever she's done, to be arrested and raped? And there are many, many, many reports of sexual abuse in this situation against women and men.

AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN (through translation): Firstly, in the peaceful demonstrations in the fall, no one was arrested.

AMANPOUR: So you're just denying that?

AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN (through translation): However, in those protests that had become violent, some individuals, some of whom had entered Iran from the outside and were using firearms and killing the police, were arrested. You do know that the Supreme Leader actually issued an amnesty and all those who were imprisoned were released, with the exception of those who had killed someone, all being sued. Regarding the Iranian woman that you mentioned, I cannot confirm it. There have been so many such baseless claims made on social media and in media.

AMANPOUR: OK, these are not baseless and they weren't on the Internet. It's CNN spoke to a cleric, a religious person inside your country, and got this story.

AMIR-ABDOLLAHIAN (through translation): We have seen some of CNN's reports that are targeted and false.

AMANPOUR: That's not true. We report the facts and we report the truth. And that's why you're sitting here with me, Mr. Foreign Minister.


AMANPOUR: And it carries on as I press him on more of those allegations and what we've seen of abuses of human rights against the women and protesters. But I also, of course, asked him about helping Russia, the allegations that they're helping Russia target Ukrainians during this war, and of course, about the Iranian nuclear deal.

And the U.S. is now saying that Iran may be some 12 days away from so- called breakout if it wants to create enough enriched fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Iran says it wants to go back into the JCPOA and is calling on the United States to do so.

HARLOW: Christiane, we cannot wait to see the full interview. Again, we'll have that online at It will also air on your PBS show later today. Remarkable. Thank you very much.

AMANPOUR: Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Can't wait to see more of that. Also, it's a busy morning on Capitol Hill. The Attorney General Merrick Garland is going to face senators this morning as he navigates multiple special counsel probes inside the Justice Department. New pressure from Republicans. We'll tell you what to expect and what to listen to from the Attorney General.



LEMON: So, just over an hour from now, the Attorney General Merrick Garland, is set to appear for an oversight hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He will likely face questions on two special counsel probes and several other controversies.

Paula Reid live for us in Washington, D.C. with the very latest this morning. Hello to you. What do we expect today?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Don. Well, attorneys general of either party will tell you this is not really their favorite part of the job, heading to Capitol Hill, where they're supposed to be talking about oversight and operations. But usually, they are grilled on the most politically charged issues and cases of the day.

And as Garland makes his first trip to Capitol Hill this year, there's no shortage of topics for either party to ask him about, right? This comes as the Justice Department is overseeing investigations into former President Trump and President Biden, and they're handling of classified documents.


Republicans are also pushing this idea that the Justice Department has been, quote, weaponized. Democrats also likely to ask him about police use of force, whether he's doing enough on police reform.

And Don, there are other issues that members of either party would likely have questions about, like a top FBI official in New York who's charged with illegally working for one of Russia's most notorious oligarchs, what is happening there?

But the Attorney General is unlikely to answer too many questions about ongoing investigations that would be against Justice Department policy. So it'll be really interesting to see how he handles this today.

LEMON: Well, Paula, I think you bury the lead here because as I understand, you have some new reporting about what Garland would like to accomplish today.

REID: That's right, Don.

LEMON: Do you have other stuff?

REID: Yes, we always have more stuff, Don. And there is a tension here, right, between what lawmakers want to ask him about and what he wants to highlight. And we've learned that in particular, he wants to highlight the work of the rank and file.

There are over 100,000 employees at the Justice Department. He specifically wants to highlight their work on violent crime, on hate crimes, their work to protect reproductive rights, as well as their efforts in Ukraine. And that is going to be his challenge today, to try to highlight that work.

The bread and butter of the Justice Department outside of special counsels, that doesn't really make the headlines. While a lot of these lawmakers, they're going to try to be the headlines themselves. So he's got his work cut out for him today.

LEMON: All right. Do you got more? Kidding. Thank you, Paula.

REID: We can keep going.

LEMON: Thank you, Paula. I appreciate it. COLLINS: All right. Do you have to write a bestselling book in order to become president? Maybe. Harry Enten dug into the history books. He is here with the data on this trend that almost every presidential candidate seems to follow.

LEMON: Well, maybe I can be president, you know, bestselling of it.




JIMMY FALLON, NBC NEWS HOST: Some political news today. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis released his autobiography, "The Courage to Be Free". The book is already a number one bestseller, especially in Florida, where it's literally the only book on the shelf.


HARLOW: Late night, having a field day with this, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis doing all things that any potential White House contender would do, including writing and promoting a new book. Is that a prerequisite for the presidency?

With us now, our Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten. It's doing -- it like hit number one right away, the book.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: It is doing incredibly well so far. And, you know, if we look at this morning's number, that is going to be the focus. It's Ron DeSantis' book. Look at this, Ron DeSantis' "The Courage to Be Free" is number one on the Amazon bestsellers. I was checking the New York Times, I don't think it's there yet. But on Amazon, it is number one.

But the thing that got me so interested was, OK, Ron DeSantis has written a book. Have the other 2024 contenders written a book? And if essentially we look at -- look here, polls for the 2024 GOP press primary and wrote a book, anyone at at least 1 percent in the latest Fox survey. Look at all these candidates, Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Greg Abbott, Liz Cheney, Kristi Noem, Mike Pompeo, Tim Scott, and, of course, Ron DeSantis. Pretty much all of them, all of them have written a book.

The only one who was pulling the 1 percent that I don't believe has is Glenn Youngkin. So in this particular year, at least, the Republicans, who we think are potential nominees for 2024 and probably are going to run or have already declared, they have in fact written a book. So they at least I think so, guys.

COLLINS: Yes, because it gives you the visibility without having to actually get into the race. And so it seems like a no brainer.

ENTEN: It seems like a no brainer to me. You know, it's something you put out there and it's sort of this signal flag, right? We're always looking, OK, is this person going to run? Are they not going to run? Writing a book to me is an indication that they, in fact, are going to run.

But the thing that got me interested in this as well, is, OK, in the past, have presidents actually written books? And what we see here is take a look here. OK. Presidents who wrote books before winning since 1976, look at all of these candidates. Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, who actually had two New York Times bestsellers.

Joe Biden the only one on the list. What -- who's not on the list, excuse me, was Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton, of course, wrote a bestseller after he left the presidency, but not beforehand. Here's the question, though, do you, in fact, need to have a bestseller to actually win?

OK, so presidents with New York Times bestsellers before winning since 1976, among those who wrote a book pre-election, did they in fact have a bestseller? Look at the yes column. Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Joe Biden. But in the no, look how many nos there are. Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush.

So it doesn't necessarily seem to me that actually having a book that sells, it's a prerequisite for winning. It's in fact, writing the book itself. In fact, Jimmy Carter was interested to note, actually wrote a book that basically was just in Southern bookstores, religious Southern bookstores. He wasn't interested in writing a book to actually go to the New York Times bestseller. He was just interested in writing a book.

And so, look, when I look at all this data, I'm not saying to myself, OK, you know what? I'm not going to look towards the New York Times bestseller to understand if someone's going to win. I'm actually going to look towards the polls. And what do we see? We see here -- well, this is a little surprise for my dear friend Donnie over here.

This is a special bonus number. It's the 60th day of the year. And you know what that is? That is Don Lemon's birthday, baby. We got you, Donnie.

LEMON: You know what, I was -- thank you, thank you. By the way, I hate surprises. But anyways.


LEMON: I was looking at the slide that you had, I think it was like presidents who wrote books.


LEMON: I -- just like, I voted in every one of those elections except for Carter. Carter and the first Ronald Reagan, so I was thinking, man.

ENTEN: You know what? You grow more beautiful with age, Don. That's what I have to say.

HARLOW: Amen. LEMON: Well, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HARLOW: You even surprised us with that. We didn't know who's that.

LEMON: I had no idea.

HARLOW: We know you hate surprises.


ENTEN: I hope that was a nice surprise.

LEMON: And you're aware.

HARLOW: Do you not think I would have had like a cake with candles over here? I'm aware.

LEMON: On the night show, they surprised me once and they rolled the breaking news thing and I'm like, what is going on? What's happening? What is the breaking news? And they were like, it's your birthday. I'm like, I hate surprises. Don't do this. Thank you.

HARLOW: Thank you.

LEMON: Thanks, Harry. I appreciate it.

ENTEN: Happy birthday.

LEMON: Thank you. Happy day, everyone.

CNN Newsroom starts right now.