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Soon, Fulton County Grand Jury Report to be Released; Ex-Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Convicted of Contempt of Congress; United Auto Workers Union Calls Latest G.M. Offer Insulting. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired September 08, 2023 - 07:00   ET


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Despite the fact that senior U.S. officials, including the national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, we're told, did indeed press their Indian counterparts to try and get that press access, but none has been granted in this instance.


But, nonetheless, a very packed G-20 agenda for President Biden over these next couple of days, and then he will head to Vietnam, where we expect the U.S. and Vietnam to majorly enhance the relationship between those two countries, another major meeting that points at the broader geopolitical issues related to China. Poppy, Phil?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It certainly does. We wish you would be able to ask those important questions. Jeremy Diamond, thank you for being on the ground.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: Major trip, major news today on a Friday. CNN This Morning continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Fulton County D.A., Fani willis, wrote a scathing letter to Jim Jordan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump's lawyers are signaling they may ask to move his case to federal court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A federal trial wouldn't have the press and media transparency. That would be a more broad jury pool, less politically spicy.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Peter Navarro was convicted on contempt of Congress charges. He defied subpoenas from the House January 6 committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a landmark case. It's bound for the Supreme Court.

ELIE HONIC, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: This is not a landmark case. There was no indication of executive privilege. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The manhunt for the escaped murder in Pennsylvania is heating up, state police confirming another sighting of Danelo Cavalcante.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They did tell employees to shelter in place. This perimeter keeps changing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He gets more dangerous because he gets more desperate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is an outrage. This should have never happened.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Mark Dickey was part of an exploration mission and he suffered internal bleeding. He's now in stable condition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 150 people from around the world are working to get Dickey out of the cave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not healed on the inside yet, so I'm going to need a lot of help to get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The united Auto Workers Union is less than a week away from a possible strike against the big three U.S. automakers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This trash can is overwhelming with the (BLEEP) that the big three continue to peddle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would be the second largest U.S. labor strike in a quarter century.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: September 14th is a deadline, not a reference point.


HARLOW: Good morning, everyone, on a Friday morning. We are so glad you're with us. The president is overseas for a big trip, and a big fight, I think, that's going to get a lot more attention between that big union and this White House.

MATTINGLY: It is-- I would predict, though, I don't like predictions, it's about to become the biggest story in the country. It's something the White House and the president even on this foreign trip are very cognizant of and plugged in on. There's a lot of other news going on this morning. We're going to get to that in a little bit.

But, first, any moment now, we could see the full report from the Fulton County special grand jury that investigated election subversion in Georgia, one that ultimately led to the indictment of former President Trump and 18 co-defendants.

Now, we have been waiting for this for months. But a reminder, this is different than the grand jury that returned those indictments last month.

HARLOW: Yes. This is a special grand jury that investigated efforts to overturn the 2020 election last year and recommended charges grand jurors heard from 75 witnesses over seven months. And in February, nine pages were released but not the charging recommendations because the judge wanted to protect people's due process rights.

The foreperson of that special grand jury dropped a lot of information when she talked to our Kate Bolduan. Remember this?


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: There are indictments recommended. 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 form 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'll learn how closely this report lines up with the indictments that were handed down last month and we'll learn if special grand jurors wanted to indict more people. This all comes as Trump tells the judge he may try to move his case into federal court, the same thing husband former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, is trying to do.

MATTINGLY: Here to walk us through what happens next, CNN Senior Legal Analyst and former Assistant Attorney for the Southern District of New York Elie Honig.

Elie, I'm not sure when you're sleeping at this point. You were still on T.V. last night. But I think it underscores, there's been so many moving parts and developments over the course of this week. Can you kind of start with where we actually stand in the Fulton County probe?

HONIG: Yes, Phil. Any time you indict 19 defendants, you're going to have a degree of chaos. Every defendant has his own self-interest. They're all polling in different directions. Now, importantly, this week, two of the defendants, Sidney Powell and Ken Cheseboro, have invoked their speedy trial rights, meaning their trial has to start before November of this year.

Now, the question this week before the judge was will they be tried together or separately.


We call it severance. Are they going to be pulled apart?

And the arguments that we heard in court this week, I think, gave us some real clarity about what might be argued at trial. Cheseboro argued, this is really a bunch of different conspiracies charged all together. And Cheseboro says, I deny the charges, but I'm only charged in this piece of it, the fake electors. Sidney Powell is only charged in this piece of it, the Coffee County breach. So, they said, we're charged with separate things. We need to be tried separately.

Prosecutors, the D.A.'s office, shot back, they said, oh, no, no, no, no, this is all one big RICO racketeering enterprise. You're all part of it, and you should be tried together. The judge sided with the D.A. So, these two will be tried together and soon.

The other question, what happens with the other 17? There's going to be a line here. D.A.'s office said, we want to try them all together, all 19. The judge didn't quite rule on this. He said he is, quote, very skeptical that they'd be able to try all 19. He gave him a couple of days to brief the issue, but it looks like he's going to split them out.

Nice tactical advantage here, by the way, for Trump and whoever goes second, because they get to sit back, watch that first trial, pick up all sorts of pointers about the government's strategy.

MATTINGLY: You mentioned the skepticism. When it comes to the District Attorney Fani Willis' case, we learned some new things today or this week and also about some timelines.

HONIG: Yes. So, during the hearing, the D.A.'s office said they're going to call 150-plus witnesses. By the way, we could learn of who many of them are when we see the grand jury report later today. The judge asked the D.A., how long would it take your office to try all 19 of these together? And the ADA, the Assistant D.A. said, four months.

But a couple of big qualifiers, that does not include jury selection, which in Georgia takes many, many months. And the judge actually said, former prosecutor said, I think it could take double that. So, no matter how we slice it, we're looking at a trial here that could take somewhere in the range of one year, believe it or not.

MATTINGLY: I have to ask because every single day, we've been waiting for something related to Mark Meadows' case and whether or not it will be removed to federal court, every single day. We're still waiting at the end of the day. But it does. It's coming, and soon. Any moment is an accurate description. Where does it stand?

HONIG: Yes, Meadows is trying to get his case into federal court. The question is, was he acting under a color of his federal office as the chief of staff? The judge has the briefs. We're waiting on that decision.

Jeffrey Clark also has made the same motion. It hasn't been argued yet. And Trump told us he may make the same motion. I think he will. I think he wants to see how it goes for Meadows. Big question here, if one of these people, let's say Meadows gets over to federal court, does everyone else go with him, or is it one by one? The answer, Phil, is we don't have an answer. We'd say unprecedented. That question is unprecedented, obviously going to have huge implications.

One other thing, the judge said, no matter what happens with that removal question, it's going to get appealed. That's going to take many more months. And don't we need to wait here in the state to see if everyone's going to go federal or not? It's all connected.

MATTINGLY: All connected, a lot of open questions, still got some answers this week. Elie Honig, thank you, my friend, as always. Poppy?

HARLOW: Get some sleep, Elie Honig.

This morning, former Trump Adviser Peter Navarro has become the latest ex-Trump aide convicted of contempt of Congress for not complying with a subpoena from the House January 6 committee. A jury found Navarro guilty of two counts of contempt on Thursday for refusing to turn over documents to that panel. He will appeal on executive privilege grounds.

Sara Murray joins us now. Just a reminder that even though that panel no longer exists, right, it was disbanded by House Republicans, it matters if you don't respond to congressional inquiries.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It does matter, especially if they decide to pursue criminal contempt of Congress charges against you, as they did with Peter Navarro.

This was a short trial. It was a short deliberation. It was a quick verdict for the jury to find him guilty of criminal contempt of Congress, essentially finding that he willfully defied subpoenas from the House committee that had investigated January 6.

Now, in some ways, this was not a surprise. Many of the defenses available to Peter Navarro were neutered, like this executive privilege argument, which the judge did not let him put forward, saying the evidence that he put forward ahead of this trial was pretty weak sauce.

Now, unsurprisingly, Peter Navarro is out there trying to spin what happened in court. Take a listen to what he had to say.


PETER NAVARRO, EX-TRUMP ADVISER: I was not tried for contempt of Congress today. That's not what the trial was about. If any of you sat in the trial, you saw the opening argument. You saw the opening argument of John Crab (ph), the attorney for the prosecution. He didn't argue the case on contempt. He said that I was responsible for the J6 insurrection, which is totally, totally without fact.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MURRAY: And just to be clear, he was tried for criminal contempt of Congress, despite what he wants you to believe. His sentencing is set for January of 2024, Poppy.

HARLOW: We saw when these charges were brought against Steve Bannon, an appeal. Navarro says he's going to appeal. Where does this go next?

MURRAY: Yes, that's right. I mean, Steve Bannon, just to give some idea of sentencing, was sentenced to four months behind bars and a fine, but he is still a free man because the judge decided he could stay out of jail awaiting appeal. We may see something very similar for Peter Navarro.

So, we may see the sentencing go forward, we may see him appeal based on this executive privilege argument or other arguments. And it's very possible that whatever sentence the judge hands down, he lets Peter Navarro stay a free man while this appeal plays out, Poppy.

HARLOW: Okay. Sara Murray, thanks so much.

MURRAY: Thanks.

MATTINGLY: Well, happening right now, a gun salute is taking place at Hyde Park in London as the U.K. remembers Queen Elizabeth on the first anniversary of her death. She served as a beloved monarch of the British Commonwealth for 70 years. Prince William and Kate plan to visit St. David's Cathedral in Wales, where a small private service will commemorate the Queen's life.

King Charles is marking the occasion with an official statement saying this about his mother. We quote, recall with great affection her long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us. Union flags will fly on government buildings to mark the king's accession day anniversary.

HARLOW: This morning, an offer from General Motors not going over well with United Auto Workers Union not stopping them from striking next week. Why the union calls that offer insulting, next.

MATTINGLY: Plus, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is expected to endorse former President Donald Trump today. And, of course, that's fueling speculation about the role she may play in his third bid for a White House. Stay with us.




RICH BOYER, VICE PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL UAW: We can talk about wages, we can talk about pensions, we can talk about benefits, but if you don't have a product and a job, none of it matters.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: The people who make our cars ready to walk off the job. The United Auto Workers Union says they received an offer from General Motors, an offer they call insulting. General Motors offered higher starting wages, more paid time off, and a 10 percent raise from most workers. G.M.'s head of global manufacturing called it a solid offer. The union says it is not. And next week is the strike deadline.

CNN Business Correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich has been covering this in depth. This is a huge deal. It's not just G.M. This is the big three, as they're known. Where are we?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: So, this is what G.M. offered yesterday, but it is very, very far apart from what the union wants. They want a 40 percent pay raise, not 10 percent. And they also called Ford's initial offer insulting as well.

We know that in negotiations, sides can be very far apart and then deals can come together at the last minute. But what we don't see very often is a union that is so resilient in the fact that they are willing to go on strike against all three big automakers, something we've never seen before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you ready to rumble?

YURKEVICH (voice over): There's a showdown in Detroit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want? Fair contracts.

YURKEVICH: The United Auto Workers Union is less than a week away from a possible strike against the big three U.S. automakers, General Motors, Ford and Stellantis, teeing up what would be the second largest U.S. labor strike in a quarter century. UAW says their demands have not been met, waiting nearly a month on new proposals.

SHAWN FAIN, PRESIDENT, UAW: I'll tell you what I'm going to do with their proposal. I'm going to file it in its proper place because that's where it belongs, the trash.

YURKEVICH: Tensions have been high between the two sides. The union, representing 145 ,000 workers at the three automakers, even filed unfair labor practice complaints against G.M. and Stellantis, accusing the companies of not bargaining in good faith, which they deny.

GERALD JOHNSON, EVP OF GLOBAL MANUFACTURING, GENERAL MOTORS: These negotiations are serious and they matter. The outcome impacts all of us, every team member and, quite frankly, every stakeholder across the country.

YURKEVICH: G.M. sent a new offer Thursday with higher pay raises. UAW says it doesn't come close and to, quote, stop wasting our members' time. Ford also sent a new offer the UAW is reviewing. The union called their previous proposal an insult. Stellantis says it will have a counter by the end of the week.

FAIN: This trash can is overflowing with the (BLEEP) that the big three continue to peddle.

YURKEVICH: For the first time ever, the UAW could strike all three automakers at once. The last strike in 2019 against General Motors cost the company $2.9 billion over six weeks. A strike against all three could mean $5 billion in losses in just ten days.

JULIE SU, ACTING LABOR SECRETARY: We respect their process and are hopeful that they are going to grapple through some hard issues and hopefully come to an agreement. That's a win-win.

YURKEVICH: President Joe Biden and the acting labor secretary have stayed out of negotiations, but Biden appointed trusted White House Senior Adviser Gene Sperling to keep tabs. Despite talks coming down to the wire, the president said he believes a strike can be avoided.

The union has some ambitious demands, asking for a 40 percent pay raise over the course of the four-year contract, restoring cost of living increases and pension plans for all workers.

FAIN: They've had our demands from the outset and we told them we expect to get there by September 14th, and that is September 14th, a deadline, not a reference point.

YURKEVICH: And as the big three pivot to electric vehicles, they're planning ten new battery plants not under UAW contracts. The union is hoping these next contracts protect their members in the future.

FAIN: Workers can't be left behind in this transition. You're talking about 20 percent of the power train workers in the big three stand to lose their jobs down the road if we go from ICE engines to the battery power.


YURKEVICH (on camera): Now, there's no question that electric vehicles are the future of auto manufacturing. That is why you have President Biden announcing an investment of $15 billion to try to retool factories, try to retrain workers, rehire workers in that capacity. But, of course, the president has a little bit of a conundrum here.


There is not a lot he can do to make sure that there is no strike, but the president dealing still with high inflation. Folks are not very confident in his ability to bring inflation down and to run the economy. But at the same time, he does need to let this play out. He has no control.

A strike could be devastating for the U.S. economy, something President Biden certainly does not need. But as we know, he's a pro union president. This is what he wants to see, this process playing out.

HARLOW: That is being tested right now. Vanessa, great reporting, thanks for staying on this. Phil? MATTINGLY: Watch that space. Major political and policy implications, on the Democratic side. Sources tell CNN, when it comes to the Republican side, South Dakota Governor Kristi Nome is expected to formally endorse former President Donald Trump at a rally in her home state today, fueling speculation about the role she may play in Trump's campaign.

Here's what she told Newsmax about the potential to be Trump's running mate should he get the nomination.


GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): Oh, absolutely, yes. I mean, I would in a heartbeat just know you respect the position and the person who asks you to do something and then see if you really believe that you could make a difference.


HARLOW: So, Noem initially distanced herself from Trump after last fall's midterm. She told The New York Times at that time she didn't believe he offered, quote, the best chance for the field, the GOP field in 2024. Now she's clearly changed her mind.

With a lot more on that in the big picture, let's bring in CNN Political Commentator, host of CNN's, Smerconish, Michael Smerconish. Michael. Good morning.

I mean, to be fair, she didn't see then that he was going to lead so widely in the polls. But I think what's more interesting here is that is this being treated as a sort of done deal, Trump's going to be the nominee, and now it's on to who's the number two on the ticket going to be?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Poppy, you're exactly right. The bigger picture issue here is the perception and how it benefits Donald Trump because we're already now evaluating who might be his number two.

I maintain that a lot of people who are on that stage in the initial GOP debate are actually running for vice president. Vivek Ramaswamy is at the top of the list, maybe Tim Scott, maybe Nikki Haley. Kristi Noem is going about it differently, right? She's making it very clear that she's up for the gig, and yet she's not putting herself in a position where she's on that stage, and like the rest of them, having to raise a hand on a question, like, even if he's convicted, will you stood before him.

So, she's being able to go untethered, unscathed in many respects and yet still be touted as an available number two if Trump should select her.

MATTINGLY: Michael, moving over to the Democratic side, we obviously had a poll yesterday on the current president, the likely Democratic nominee to campaign in 2024, Joe Biden, which had a lot of red flags. And majority don't think that Biden inspires confidence. They don't think he's helped the economy. They have obviously very significant concerns about his age. You're really good at kind of stepping back and giving the bigger picture, particularly when it comes to one poll.

When you looked through these numbers, what stood out to you?

SMERCONISH: You know, Phil, you just talked about the potential for a big three automaker strike. That sort of issue may arise, may get resolved. Other things are going to come and go, be they on a domestic front or on a global scale. But that which ails the president most, according to that poll and every other poll -- and, by the way, that's of significance. The CNN poll is not an outlier. It's consistent with so much other data. What ails him the most can't be fixed, and it's the age issue.

And if there are considerations, if there are concerns about his age, at 80, he's going to have to sell his ability to be 86 when he leaves and still in command. I don't know how he can get around that. So, I maintain he needs a competitive Democratic nomination process.

The best thing for him is to have competition, get on a debate stage. And I don't just mean with RFK Jr., but including RFK Jr., but Gavin Newsom, let them all come and let him fight for it, because only then will he be able to convince that he really can go the distance.

HARLOW: Michael, age is certainly driving this in the polls, but Van Jones, yesterday on the show with us, said something really interesting. He said, this is about coughs and check engine lights. And what he meant is how close Americans are to the brink on bills. Like if you have a cough and you can't afford to go to the doctor, right, you're concerned, if you have a car and the check engine light is blinking and you feel like you don't have the $1,000 to just get it assessed, to get it fixed.

It made me look at it in a different lens, that even though all of these economic numbers look good on the surface for the president, if the American people don't feel it, does it matter?

SMERCONISH: Definitely, he, the president, has had a problem in selling the accomplishments that he's achieved, at least in the minds of Democrats. There are litany of things that he can properly take credit for, the infrastructure bill, holding together the coalition in the face of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, putting the economy back after the pandemic was brought to a close.


There are many things on that list that he's deserving of credit for. I guess that's what I'm trying to say.

But somehow, to Van's point, to your point, that hasn't been sold yet. The American people don't recognize it. And maybe it's because of the aforementioned age issue that they're just not going to be sold because of the perception that they have.

MATTINGLY: All right. Michael Smerconish, thanks, as always. And definitely watch Smerconish on Saturdays at 9:00 A.M. Eastern. Well, Jimmy Fallon is now apologizing to Tonight's Show staff after a report where staffers accused him of fostering an unhealthy work environment. We're going to have details on that ahead.

HARLOW: And coming up, how a sheriff's deputy, even after narrowly surviving these wildfires, went beyond the call of duty to save others.


DEPUTY BRITTAN MORGAN, SPOKANE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: As close to hell as I think you can get here on Earth, my whole mind was just get out of here and then try and get everybody else out of here, too.