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CNN This Morning

Hurricane Lee Now a Major Cat 5 Storm; Convicted Killer Spotted 8 Times, But Still on the Run; Fulton County Grand Jury Report to Be Released; Trump Hosts Fundraiser for Giuliani's Legal Defense; Ukraine Aid Hangs in Balance as GOP Divided and Shutdown Looms. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired September 08, 2023 - 06:00   ET


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Phil is making jokes before 6 a.m.



HARLOW: It's Friday. We're glad you're with us. Let's get started with "Five Things to Know" for this Friday, September 8.

We do want to start with weather breaking overnight. Hurricane Lee intensifying into a Category 5 storm, with sustained winds of 160 miles an hour. That was double what it was just 24 hours ago. The big question this morning: is it going to hit the East Coast or make a turn and stay in the Atlantic?

MATTINGLY: And eight confirmed sightings in eight days, but an escaped murderer is still on the run after breaking out of a Pennsylvania prison.

And new overnight, we're hearing from the American trapped 3,000 feet deep in a Turkish cave. He says he was, quote, "very close to the edge," suffering from internal bleeding, and that rescuers with medical supplies saved his life.

HARLOW: This morning for the very first time, we are expected to see the full report from Fulton County's special grand jury in Georgia. They are, of course, investigating efforts to overturn the 2020 election. We'll see if it has any new information that was not included in the indictments against former President Trump and his 18 codefendants.

MATTINGLY: And a climate protester glued his feet to the concrete floor at the U.S. Open -- interesting tactic -- delaying Coco Gauff's semifinal win by 50 minutes. She did win, though.

CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

HARLOW: So let's begin with Hurricane Lee, which has now strengthened to a powerful Category 5 storm. It's churning right now in the Atlantic. The system intensified very fast. It was a Category 1, wind speeds about 80 miles an hour. That has doubled to 160 miles an hour right now, a Category 5 in just 24 hours.

Meteorologist Derek van Dam live in the CNN Weather Center with more on that. The whole question is where does it turn, right?

DEREK VAN DAM, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, that is the big question. Right now, it's moving generally in a Westerly direction, well North of the Leeward Islands, and North of Puerto Rico.

But look at day four and day five. This cone of uncertainty from the National Hurricane Center expands considerably, because we expect this forward movement of the storm to slow down significantly.

So why this cone of uncertainty? Why do we have so much uncertainty going forward in that turn and the strength as we look towards day four and five?

We have to look at how the National Hurricane Center operates. Its cone, it actually builds out these circles with this cone of uncertainty.

Five days out, they know their average error spread. That was roughly about 230 miles either direction. So that means as you go forward in time, the spread and error possibilities increases.

And in fact, if you look outside of five days, the spaghetti model we often show on TV, just the general consensus, it goes out in all directions, kind of fans out. And that shows you the uncertainty that we have currently with Lee. Because we just don't know when it will make that turn.

But there are a few factors we're paying close attention to. And that is it will be moving over cooler water, so it will be a weaker storm once it approaches that part of the Western Atlantic.

But one thing is for sure. It is a powerful monster that is currently in beast mode. It is the strongest storm in the Atlantic basin since 2019 with Hurricane Dorian. And it has more than double the criteria for rapid intensification.

So at the very least, Poppy, we will see large swells and large waves along the Atlantic Seaboard starting Sunday right through next week. But this thing literally blew up overnight.

HARLOW: Yes, it really did. Derek van Dam, thanks so much for keeping an eye on it -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: Well, there's been a new sighting of a convicted murderer who escaped from a Pennsylvania prison now more than a week ago.

State police confirmed Danelo Cavalcante has been spotted at least eight times over the course of those eight days. One area where they are focusing their search is near a popular botanical garden. That's about three miles from the prison.

CNN's Danny Freeman joins us live from Chester County. And Danny, the focus right now on this specific area, why? What's that tell you? DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Phil, listen, we have seen

over the past 12 hours, really overnight, a tremendous amount of police activity related to the manhunt of Danelo Cavalcante.


We've seen troopers racing down winding roads in neighborhoods just like this one. We've seen the area, the search area actually expand once again.

And of course, we got confirmation last night from the Pennsylvania State Police that there has been another sighting.

Let me tell you exactly what we know about all of this. A lot of it really started, Phil, last night, really in the 6 p.m. hour. That's when we started to witness a tremendous amount of police activity.

State troopers were rushing to close off many roads that, frankly, had not been closed off before. One trooper even telling us as they were ushering us away, that they discovered some sort of new intel.

Well, then we learned that Longwood Gardens, that botanical gardens you were just referring to, they were closing for the night. And remember, that's been a spot where police have been focusing part of their attention over the course of the past nine days during this manhunt.

We were by Longwood Gardens that guests were told to leave. Tenants there were told to shelter in place. And it was all because police were searching an area of interest.

Well, Phil, we all got on the phone calling our sources, but we were able to confirm that there was not a capture last night. But state police saying there was a confirmed sighting.

State police, while they have not gotten their hands on Danelo Cavalcante yet, they were still projecting optimism yesterday. Take a listen to what Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens told the press yesterday afternoon.


LT. COL. GEORGE BIVENS, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: I have every reason to believe he is still within that perimeter. Yes, sir. We have had no sightings outside of that area. We have maintained a secure perimeter as we possibly could.


FREEMAN: So Phil, this manhunt still ongoing now on day nine. But I've got to tell you, this is some of the most policed activity that we have seen in this entire search -- Phil.

MATTINGLY: All right. Danny Freeman, you've been our eyes on the ground all week and more. Keep us posted, please. Well, to D.C. now, where there is another law enforcement search

underway. And police have released a new video of a homicide suspect who escaped two days ago.

Officials say Christopher Haynes was spotted on this surveillance video, jumping over a fence into what appears to be someone's backyard. He's wearing just socks, no shoes, and appears to be looking for something.

There is a $25,000 reward for information leading to his capture. Police says Haynes made his escape from the hospital after assaulting a police officer. He was taken there after he complained about a previous ankle injury -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Well, teen sensation Coco Gauff headed to her first U.S. Open final. She beat the 10 seed, Carolina Muchova, 6-4, 7-5 last night in the semifinals, but the match was delayed for almost 50 minutes in the second set when four environmental protesters interrupted, wearing shirts that read "End Fossil Fuels."

Three of them were removed. The fourth was a bit more complicated, because he had actually glued his feet to the concrete floor.


COCO GAUFF, ADVANCED TO HER FIRST U.S. OPEN FINAL: You know, I always speak about preaching, you know -- you know, preaching about what you feel and what you believe in. and it was done in a peaceful way, so I can't get too mad of it. Obviously, I don't want it to happen when I'm winning, up 6-4, 1-0. I wanted the momentum to keep going.

But hey, if that's what they felt that they needed to do to get their voices heard, I can't really get upset at it.


HARLOW: Look at that; great attitude. Gauff is the youngest American woman to reach the U.S. Open final since Serena Williams won her first back in 1999.

MATTINGLY: It's a remarkably mature response to someone gluing their feet.

HARLOW: There you go.

MATTINGLY: All of her press conferences, by the way, this week have been fantastic.

HARLOW: It's pretty remarkable.

MATTINGLY: We're going to have more on this throughout the course of the show. But any moment now, we could see the full unredacted report from the Fulton County's special grand jury that investigated former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the election in Georgia. What we can actually learn. That's next. HARLOW: Plus, did a fundraiser at Donald Trump's New Jersey golf club

put a dent in Rudy Giuliani's mounting legal bills as he fights these cases? We'll discuss.



HARLOW: So this morning, we could see the full report from the Fulton County special grand jury in Georgia, investigating those state election subversion charges. That one ultimately led to the indictment of former President Trump and 18 codefendants.

So we've been waiting for this for months. But a reminder: This is different than the grand jury that ultimately returned those indictments last month. This is the special grand jury that investigated those efforts to overturn the election last year and then went on to recommend charges.

Grand jurors heard from 75 witnesses over 7 months. And in February, nine pages of the report were released, but not the charging recommendations, because a judge wanted to protect people's due process rights. But the foreperson dropped a lot of clues. You remember this interview she did with our Kate Bolduan on CNN? Watch.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: There are indictments recommended, of course. Is it more than 12 people? Is it more than 20 people?

EMILY KOHRS, FOREPERSON, FULTON COUNTY SPECIAL GRAND JURY: I think if you look at the page numbers of the report, there's about six pages in the middle that got cut out. Allow for spacing. It's not a short list.

BOLDUAN: Did you recommend charges against Donald Trump?

KOHRS: We definitely heard a lot about former President Trump, and we definitely discussed him a lot in the room. And I will say that when this list comes out, you wouldn't -- there are no major plot twists waiting for you.


HARLOW: So today we're going to learn how closely this report lines up with the indictment -- the indictments, I should say, that were handed down last month. We'll also learn if special grand jurors wanted to indict more people.

MATTINGLY: All that comes as Trump tells the judge he, quote, "may try to move" his case into federal court. The same thing his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is attempting to do right now.

And another of the codefendants in Georgia, Rudy Giuliani, now has about a million dollars to put toward his roughly $5 million legal debt after $100,000-a-plate fundraiser in Bedminster overnight. We've got it all covered, but we're going to start with CNN political

correspondent Sara Murray, who spent probably far too much time trying to explain internally the difference between a special grand jury and a grand jury, to make sure we're all accurate.

Sara, we got a teaser in February about what this might entail. What do you expect to learn? What are you looking for, given how closely you've covered this case, when this comes out later today?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's been a long time coming, as you guys point out, to see the product of this special grand jury that did months and months of the actual investigating.


They then handed these findings off to Willis, who could decide whether to hew closely to them or to sort of do her own thing when she sought charges.

So the first thing we're going to be looking for is any kind of difference between who district attorney Fani Willis decided to bring charges against and who the special grand jury recommended.

Now, we do know that the special grand jury was unanimous on at least one point, because we got this in the earlier excerpts that the judge released. And that was after they heard from 75 witnesses, they were not convinced of any kind of widespread fraud.

Take a listen to how they put it. They said, "We find by a unanimous vote that no widespread fraud took place in the Georgia 2020 presidential election that could result in overturning the election."

So that was one of their primary takeaways.

The other thing I'm looking for today is any more indication of who the special grand jury believes lied to them when they came before and testified. We know that there was one person who ultimately was charged with perjury. That's Bob Cheeley. He's a pro-Trump attorney. But here's what the special grand jury said, again, in the excerpts of the report we've seen before.

"A majority of the grand jury believes that perjury may have been committed by one or more witnesses testifying before it. The grand jury recommends the district attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling."

So I think those are the two areas where we could potentially see some news today, Phil and Poppy.

HARLOW: OK. So we'll look out for that. It could come very soon. We'll see.

We're also learning that Trump -- and this was very expected -- likely going to try to move his case to federal court, like Mark Meadows has. Does he have a stronger chance? MURRAY: You know, it's hard to say if he is going to have a stronger

chance than Mark Meadows or not. On the one hand, Donald Trump is the ultimate federal official, right, because he was the former president of the United States.

But Mark Meadows can, you know, essentially say anything he was doing, he was doing because he needed to offer his advice to the former president. And that's one of the things that his attorneys argued when they went before this judge.

I think what we saw from Donald Trump's team and his attorney, Steven Sadow, yesterday is sort of preserving the opportunity to move to federal court, while sort of hedging and waiting to see how this plays out for Mark Meadows.

They didn't put forward their fulsome arguments before a federal court for why they think Trump should maybe move there. And that's probably because they're waiting to see what the judge is going to do in the Meadows case.

HARLOW: OK. We'll watch. Sara, thanks so much for the updates. Appreciate it.

MURRAY: Thanks.

MATTINGLY: Well, another conviction for a Trump associate. A jury finding former Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro guilty of contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents to the House January 6th Committee.

The trial lasted just over a day. The defense did not call any witnesses, and Navarro now joins Steve Bannon as the second former Trump aide prosecuted for not cooperating with that committee. His sentencing has been scheduled for January 12 as he faces one year in prison and $100,000 fine for each count. Navarro has pledged to appeal based on executive privilege issues.

HARLOW: So this morning, Rudy Giuliani is still really drowning in debt after former President Trump posted a $100,000-per-person fundraiser for him. This happened last night.

Giuliani is struggling to pay millions of dollars that he owes in his legal bills for a host of lawsuits, also criminal charges tied to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. And last night's event was expected to take in more than a million dollars for his defense. Our Kristen Holmes is following all of it and joins us now. How much would he have to get to sort of get out of this legal bill hole?


Well, we don't have the number exactly. One source estimated that he has about $5 million in debt. But we know that it's millions of dollars.

And, you know, unlike these other aides, advisers, employees that Trump has footed the legal bill for, the former president isn't doing the same for Rudy Giuliani.

Now, I talked to a number of Trump advisers who pushed back at this notion that he's not helping the former mayor and his long-time ally, pointing to these fundraisers. Also pointing to the fact that, at one point, the Save America PAC, the leadership PAC that pays legal bills, did pay about $300,000 in Giuliani's debts.

But as you noted, again, millions of dollars in legal debt. And even if he was able to raise from this fundraiser more than a million dollars, there's still a long way to go.

And we heard from one of Giuliani's attorneys last night, who essentially said Giuliani was going to need every penny he could get.


BRIAN TEVIS, ATTORNEY FOR RUDY GIULIANI: I assume that they're trying to raise as much as possible, and I think that they're going to need it.

I don't care how much money you have. You cannot outspend the state. And so just being named in an indictment of this magnitude, and knowing the scale, the scope, the length of this trial, even the preliminary matters, is going to be extremely costly. And the state has nearly unlimited funds.


HOLMES: And we have heard that this is really a full-court press from Giuliani's allies. They have reached out to people who Giuliani helped when he was mayor; people who sought favors from Giuliani; as well as previous donors to Giuliani's political endeavors.


MATTINGLY: Yes, Kristen, I work from the baseline that Trump's camp will never be monolithic on anything. But one of the questions, as this has kind of all played out behind the scenes, based on your reporting, is everyone inside the Trump team supporting Rudy? Are they for this, at this point?

HOLMES: There really is a split. So first of all, you talk about former President Trump himself.

Every person that we talked to said that he is still fond of Rudy Giuliani. They still described a friendship. We know last weekend, he had lunch with Rudy Giuliani. They went and greeted supporters at Bedminster together. They clearly still have a relationship. This idea that there's any kind of wedge between them does not exist.

But there is a split within Trump's orbit, with some people saying that it's important for Trump to pay these bills, that he needs to keep Giuliani in the fold. You have another section saying that it's time to cut Giuliani loose.

Now, we have no indication, one, that he's going to pay the bills, or two, that he is going to cut Giuliani loose in any way. When I raise these points with Trump advisers, they essentially say that Trump himself is not going to be pushed into anything. He still says that he didn't do anything wrong. But again, not really paying those bills yet.

HOLMES: Kristen Holmes. Big bills, thank you very much.

MATTINGLY: I think we're at 22 days. It's the end-of-the-month deadline to avoid a government shutdown. It is quickly approaching, and what's rising is tension in the Republican ranks. Ahead, what the party can't seem to agree on.

Plus --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We showed that Mark is OK.



HARLOW: Hear from the American who's trapped in that cave in Turkey more than 3,000 feet deep.



MATTINGLY: Overnight, Russia launched an attack on Ukraine with 20 drones heading toward Odessa. Ukraine's air force says they were able to destroy 16 of those drones.

Now, that's coming as U.S. support for Ukraine hangs in the balance to some degree. Lawmakers facing an end-of-the-month deadline to avoid a government shutdown.

The White House now pressuring House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to make sure the $24 billion in emergency aid requested for Ukraine stays paired with the $16 billion in emergency disaster relief they requested as part of that short-term stopgap effort.

Now, McCarthy is considering breaking them apart, as Republicans remain sharply divided on the issue of aid to Ukraine.

CNN chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju joins us now.

Manu, everything is great in the Capitol, I can tell.

HARLOW: It's all fine.

MATTINGLY: You still need (ph) Will Rogers (ph) right now. There are 22 days. There are no lawmakers or chambers in session today. House Republicans are in fights with House Republicans, House Republicans are in fights with Senate Republicans. So how does this end? MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a real,

real mess. And you know, typically these spending fights, as you guys well know, is Democrats versus Republicans. This time, much different. It's Republicans versus Republicans, in a large part Senate Republicans vs. House Republicans.

There, of course, is the end of the month deadline here. And there are two big things that are hanging that are -- that are making things very complicated.

One is how to fund the government at large, the entire federal government for the full year.

Earlier this year, Senate Republicans and House Republicans and the Democrats all thought they had a deal on overall spending levels for the government.

Then Kevin McCarthy backed away from that deal that he cut as part of raising the national debt limit because of pressure from his conservative hardliners to cut spending even more.

So now, as a result, the House and the Senate Republicans and the two chambers are about $150 billion apart in overall spending. Now, they're not going to be able to resolve that by the end of the month. So they've to figure out a way to keep the government open, at least for a couple more months, to avoid a disastrous shutdown.

Now, that's where things also get complicated, because even that short-term stopgap bill is unclear how they get that done. In large part, because of that $24 billion in aid to Ukraine.

The White House, along with Senate Republicans for the most part, want to include all of that in that short-term stopgap bill. Kevin McCarthy is suggesting that they could separate that out and just pass the stopgap bill.

But that's not going over well with some Senate Republicans, including Senator Thom Tillis.


SEN. THOM TILLIS (R-NC): The deal we thought was going to be the foundation for funding the government, now we have to understand what the House members need and whether or not we can get sufficient votes in the Senate for it.

I think right now, they need to get to the table and negotiate.

If there is a lapse in the Western world support for Ukraine, that's a win for Russia; it's a win for China.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I actually thinks it undermines the effort to help Ukraine when you're pitting Americans who have been damaged and hurt by these national disasters against a foreign policy objective. That does not enjoy the same level of support. (END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: So that last comment coming from Senator Rubio, aligning himself with the House Republican approach.

Of course, Senator Rubio represents hard-hit Florida from all those natural disasters, including hurricanes, believing that -- that the natural disaster aid should go separately from Ukraine.

But that is the real complication, because the White House wants to keep it together. Democrats and most Senate Republicans want to keep it together. How does it end, and does it lead to a shutdown? All big questions here as the clock ticks down to the end of the month, guys.

HARLOW: I'm also interested, Manu, in how Democrats on the Hill are responding to you about the CNN poll numbers that were not good for Biden that were released yesterday.

RAJU: Yes. I spoke to more than a dozen of them yesterday about all of this. And there just really is a sharp divide within the party about how the president should deal with this.

Some of them just simply brushing it away, saying this is just one poll. Things will change once we get into a general election. Donald Trump will -- if he's the nominee -- will help get -- energize the Democratic base and deal with all the bad numbers that we're seeing here.

But others simply believe that the White House needs to amp up its messaging; start to draw a firmer contrast with Donald Trump; start to tout its accomplishments more significantly; and start to be more aggressive on the campaign trail, as well.

Because they're -- not just Joe Biden's future hangs in the balance, but so does the Senate Democratic majority, which is very narrow at the moment. They could certainly lose the majority in next year's midterms -- next year's elections. So the question.