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Full Report from Fulton County Special Grand Jury Investigating Efforts to Overturn 2020 Election to be Released; Former President Trump Hosts Fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani to Help Him Pay Legal Bills; Search Continues for Escaped Convict in Pennsylvania; Spanish National Prosecutor Files Complaint against Suspended President of Spain's Soccer Federation for Crimes of Sexual Assault and Coercion; Operation to Rescue American in Turkish Cave Begins Tomorrow, could Take Up to 4 Days; "The 70's Show" Actor Dave Masterson Sentenced to 30 Years to Life Imprison; Airline Unions Push for Regulations on Cabin Temperature. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 08, 2023 - 08:00   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. It's the top of the hour. We are so glad you are with us this Friday. And we have a lot going on. Today we are expecting to see the full report from the Fulton County special grand jury 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 co-defendants.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: And another confirmed sighting of Danelo Cavalcante, the convicted murderer who escaped prison last week. There have been at least nine confirmed sightings in the last nine days. And yet the Pennsylvania escapee is still on the run.

HARLOW: More than 3,400 feet beneath the surface, one American is alive in one of the deepest caves in the world. We are now learning when the rescue operation could get him out.

This hour of CNN THIS MORNING starts right now.

This morning we could see the full report from the Fulton County special grand jury in Georgia investigating the election subversion case there, the one that ultimately led to the indictment of former President Trump and 18 co-defendants. We have been waiting for this for months. A reminder, this is different than the grand jury that returned the indictments last month. This is the special grand jury that investigated efforts to overturn the 2020 election last year and recommended charges. Grand jurors heard from over 75 witnesses over seven months. In February, nine pages of the report were released but not the charging recommendations because the judge wanted to protect people's due process rights. But the foreperson of that jury certainly gave us a lot of information when she talked to our colleague Kate Bolduan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 is about six pages in the middle that got cut out, allow for spacing. It's not a short list.

BOLDUAN: Did you recommend charge against Donald Trump?

KOHRS: We definitely heard a lot about former President Trump, and we definitely discussed him a lot in 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 indictments that were handed down last month, and we'll learn if special grand jurors wanted to indict more people.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: All that comes as Trump tells a judge he may try to move his case into federal court, the same change his former chief of staff Mark Meadows is attempting now. And another of the co-defendants in Georgia, Rudy Giuliani, now has about $1 million to put towards his roughly $5 million legal debt after a $100,000 a plate at fundraiser at Bedminster overnight.

We've got that all covered across CNN. But first to CNN political correspondent Sara Murray. Sara, when it comes to what we may see from this special grand jury release, we got a teaser in February. What are you expecting? That's going to really stand out to you when it comes out?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The teaser we got in February was super limited. We have only seen a tiny portion of what this special grand jury concluded. We did not see any of their recommendations of who should face charges. So the biggest thing we're going to be looking for is who they thought should be indicted in this case and how closely that aligns with what Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis decided to in indicting Donald Trump and 18 co- defendants.

The one unanimous conclusion we know the special grand jury came to came out a couple of months ago in these excerpts the judge released. The 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 they were pretty unequivocal about that.

They also raised concerns that some witnesses had lied to them over the course of their investigation. We know one of those witnesses they believe to be Bob Cheeley, who is pro-Trump attorney who has now pleaded not guilty in this case and was actually charged with perjury. But here is what the special purpose grand jury said. They said "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 that the district attorney seek appropriate indictments for such crimes where the evidence is compelling." So that's the other thing we're going to be looking for. Was it more than just Bob Cheeley, other witnesses where the special grand jury believed that they lied and should have faced charges as a result of it, Phil.

MATTINGLY: Sara, with all of the different kind of elements and threads that are flying around on all of the legal issues right now, I was struck by the district attorney Fani Willis's letter to House Republican Congressman Jim Jordan related to his attempts to investigate her, at least in terms of the tone. What did she say?


MURRAY: Phil, I know how much you love letters to Congress. I am hard pressed to think of a letter that is more scathing than the one that Fani Willis wrote to Jim Jordan. The House Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation essentially into her investigation. She dismissed this as a ploy and essentially declined to give them any of the information they were seeking except for a breakdown of the federal funds that her office received for grants that she said were for things like violent crime, at-risk youth, and domestic violence.

Here is a portion of what she said in her letter to Jim Jordan. "Your job description as a legislator does not include criminal law enforcement nor does it include supervising a specific criminal trial because you believe that doing so will promote your partisan political objectives. Such vengeful, uncalled for legislative action would impose serious harm on citizens we serve, including the fact that it will make them less safe."

Phil, she also included examples of the threats her office has been receiving, and essentially told Jim Jordan if he wants to investigate something, they should look into the threats that she and other prosecutors have faced for investigating the former president.

MATTINGLY: That is indeed a strong letter. And you might think Sara was mocking me. I really do love Congressional letters. She was being genuine. Sara Murray, great reporting across several fronts. Thank you.

HARLOW: This morning, Rudy Giuliani is still millions of dollars in debt after former President Trump hosted a $100,000 per person fundraiser last night in his legal defense. Giuliani is struggling to pay for the slew of fees and fines and sanctions and damages tied to his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Kristen Holmes joins us now following all of this. Did he make a dent in that?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A very small dent, we are told. He was expected to raise just over $1 million. But as you noted earlier, one source estimated Giuliani's debt at $5 million. Remember, there are still legal cases that he needs lawyers and will have mounting fees for. And as we have reported, Trump has paid the legal bills, at least

through his leadership PAC, of a number of aides, advisers, and employees, and not Rudy Giuliani. Now, when I talked to advisers, they essentially pushed back on the notion that Trump isn't helping Giuliani. They point to the fact that at one point the leadership PAC did pay about $300,000 in Giuliani's debts. They also point to the fact that he is hosting, Trump is hosting fundraisers, actually going to sponsor two fundraisers for Rudy Giuliani. But we heard from a lawyer last night for Giuliani who essentially said the former mayor is going to need every penny he can get.


BRIAN TEVIS, ATTORNEY FOR RUDY GIULIANI: I assume that they are 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: Now, the matter of helping Rudy Giuliani has kind of split Trump camp. You have people who say it is important to keep Giuliani in the fold, to keep their interests aligned, so Trump should pay those legal builds. On the other side, you have people who say just let the former mayor lose. Trump still has a very close relationship with Rudy Giuliani. They were eating lunch together this week. They were seen greeting supporters at Bedminster. I am told he has not fully ruled out eventually down the line paying some of Rudy's fees, but that it's not going to happen right now.

HARLOW: OK, Kristen Holmes, thank you.

MATTINGLY: A new sighting of a convicted murderer who escaped from Pennsylvania prison more than a week ago, I believe it's number nine, state police confirming that Danelo Cavalcante has been spotted at least nine times. One area where they are focusing their search is near a popular botanical garden that's about three miles from the prison he escaped from. CNN's Danny Freeman is joining us now, been covering this story every single accept of the way. Nine times over the course of nine days, what's the latest, Danny?

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the latest, Phil, is that there has just been a flurry of police activity really overnight and into this morning. We have seen a lot of troopers racing down a lot of these winding roads through the night. We also know that that perimeter, as you said, has expanded from Longwood Gardens, I should say, which as you noted, is a few miles south of the prison, all the way up here. We are only less than half-a-mile from the prison right now. So it is expanding and this search is intensifying, and it's all because Pennsylvania state police told CNN that last night there was another sighting.

Now, we don't have a lot of details as to when that sighting may have occurred or even specifically where, but I do want to tell you what we do know at this time. A lot of this activity started around 6:00 last night. That's when we saw a lot of police troopers flying down roads, closing off other roads that, frankly, have been open for much of this past week. One trooper telling us as they ushered us away that they received new intel.


And then we learned that Longwood Gardens, that botanical gardens, was going to be shut down. A spokesperson for the gardens telling us that guests were asked to leave and tenants there were also asked to shelter in place. And it was, according to the gardens, because police were actively searching an area of interest within the gardens. But like I said, Phil, the search perimeter right now is much larger than just that area around the gardens, and police at this point, they are still projecting optimism. Take a look at what Lieutenant George Bivens said to us yesterday.


LT. COLONEL 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 as secure a perimeter as we possibly could.


FREEMAN: So, Phil, as you said, day nine of this manhunt, still very active, frankly, some of the most police activity we have seen during the past two weeks. Phil?

MATTINGLY: Very notable. Danny Freeman, thanks so much.

HARLOW: We do have this breaking news. The Spanish national prosecutor has filed a complaint against the suspended president of Spain's Soccer Federation, Luis Rubiales, for, quote, the crimes of sexual assault and coercion against the Spanish soccer player Jennifer Hermoso. This comes after Rubiales kissed her after the Women's World Cup final on August 20th. He then apologized, described the kiss as, quote, mutual, a claim that she vehemently denied. Let's go straight to Amanda Davies for more. What can you tell us?

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN WORLD SPORT ANCHOR: Good morning, Poppy. This is very much breaking news. It is another step on a journey which has been going on, of course, since that incident on August the 20th, but a potentially very significant one because it really paves the way for an official investigation to be launched, for evidence to be gathered which could then lead to criminal charges.

And really the crime that is being looking into has now officially been identified. And as you mentioned, the statement from the Spanish prosecutor's office says they are investigating crimes of sexual assault and coercion against Jennifer Hermoso. We knew about 10, 12 days ago that they were going to speak to Jenni Hermoso to see if she wanted to make a statement or testify. We had the announcement on Tuesday this week that she had, indeed, done that. The prosecutor said they were going to process that testimony as soon as possible.

And this is where we are. We've had in this statement a little bit more information, saying that Jenni Hermoso referred in her statement that both she and people close to her suffered constant and repeated pressure from Luis Rubiales and his professional environment. The prosecutor considers this harassment could constitute a crime of coercion.

And interestingly, perhaps, it adds that they are going to request information be collected from the Australian authorities as well. Of course, this incident taking place in Australia at the Women's World Cup Final. Luis Rubiales, a man who has been suspended by world football's governing body FIFA but up to this point has remained defiant and refused to resign from his role as president of the Spanish Football Federation.

HARLOW: Quite a development. Amanda Davies, thank you.

MATTINGLY: When we come back, we're going to hear from the American trapped in a cave. We have got video of that in Turkey. You see someone right there more than 3,000 feet deep. We're going to be joined by U.S. ambassador to Turkey and former Republican senator Jeff Flake on the latest in the rescue effort.


MARK DICKEY: As you can see, I'm up, I'm alert, I'm talking. But I am not healed on the inside yet. So I need a lot of help to get out of here.




HARLOW: News developments this morning as rescuers, are working to save Mark Dickey, an American researcher who fell ill and experienced gastrointestinal bleeding while exploring a very deep cave in Turkey. Officials say this operation to bring him to the surface could start tomorrow, could take four days.

He is nearly 3000ft down, deeper than two Empire State buildings stacked on top of one another. The Turkish government has released a video message from Dickey himself.


MARK DICKEY, AMERICAN RESEARCHER: Mark Dickey from nearly a thousand meters. I want to thank everyone that's down here and thank the response of the Caving community. The quick response of the Turkish government to get the medical supplies that I needed, in my opinion, saved my life. As you can see, I'm up,

I'm alert, I'm talking, but I'm not healed on the inside yet, so I need a lot of help to get out of here. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Well, joining us now is a U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Jeff Flake, also former U.S. Senator Ambassador. It's great to have you. He sounds pretty good, given the circumstances. What can you tell us about this operation as it starts, your hopes and expectations for it?

JEFF FLAKE, US AMBASSADOR TO TURKEY: Well, he does look good and you saw him there thanking the Turkish authorities for, as he said, saving his life. And it's not just Turkish authorities, but the Caving community around the world. I first learned of this on Monday, long before it was on the news from the Hungarian Ambassador to Turkey because they had already sent some of their cavers to help him out before he knew he would need such help.

So, it's just been phenomenal to see 170 people, I think, at last count, six countries involved with teams, 30 people in the cave on Friday. They're just giving him a lot of help to that point Ambassador, I think you're watching that video, and you hear people around him. You're talking about the people that have gone in, the people that are around him.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN NEWS ANCHOR: If so, many people are there and around and have been able to be involved in this process. Why can't they get him out now?

FLAKE: It takes a healthy person about 16 hours from where he is to climb out, and they believe that they'll have to, at least for a portion of this time, bring him out on a stretcher or in some type of carrying device ropes. And there are very small spaces, so it's difficult when you have to have assistance to get out.

It could take, we're told, up to a week, even longer than four days, if he has to use a stretcher most of that time. So, they want to make sure he's as healthy as he can be so that he can, at his own assistance, move more quickly. HARLOW: Have you been in touch with his family?

FLAKE: Yes, our consular services have, yes.


HARLOW: What are they saying?

FLAKE: Well, obviously they're grateful for the help that he's received, obviously, from the craving community and the Turkish government, and they're obviously hopeful that he'll get out just fine.

MATTINGLY: Mr. Ambassador, this isn't the sole thing you have going on in your job right now. You're obviously at a very critical country, and a NATO ally as well, whose president just had a meeting with President Putin.

There's an ongoing war in Ukraine. There's a grain deal that Russia has pulled out of. Do you have any sense of where things stand? Will there be an outcome that brings the grain deal back into place anytime soon?

FLAKE: We sure hope so, and Turkey is working very hard at it. The fact that we had a grain deal before owes to Turkey's negotiation on this. But let's not kid ourselves. Russia has done this. They invaded the country. They are punishing not just Ukrainians, but people around the world by not allowing Ukrainian grain to get out. But we're hopeful that another deal can be reached.

But if it can't, we're obviously looking for alternatives to move more grain.

HARLOW: The Swedish foreign minister said yesterday that Sweden is ready to join NATO. They're waiting for this ratification process that would happen in Ankara, Turkey. The Turkish parliament is supposed to reconvene in October. Do you expect this to happen then?

Because there has been a big question mark about if this would happen, and then when.

FLAKE: We do, the promise was given in July that Sweden would be moved through the parliament. The parliament reconvenes, as you mentioned, on October 1, and we expect it to happen. So, we're really pleased with this. It'll strengthen NATO considerably. We're hopeful it will happen as quickly as possible after October 1.

MATTINGLY: Mr. Ambassador, long ago, when we were in different positions, we would talk often about kind of the state of the government, the state of Washington, the state of where things were headed. I was struck yesterday there was a statement that was released by the four presidential libraries and twelve other presidential foundations basically reiterating the support for democracy, which you would think would be a common baseline.

But it says, in part, Americans have a strong interest in supporting democratic movements and respect for human rights around the world because free societies elsewhere contribute to our own security and prosperity here at home. But that interest is undermined when others see our own house in disarray.

In your current role as ambassador, what do you hear and does it make your job more difficult when you look back at what's happening domestically?

FLAKE: Well, one of the nice things about being an ambassador is to be 7000 miles away from US politics. There's an old saying that "Politics stops at the water's edge." That's not completely true, but it largely is. But I can tell you it is important because the rest of the world looks at us, it looks at America for being the model of democracy.

So, I hope that we can have good elections coming forward, and confident that we will. But it does matter. It does matter around the world because the wearer is looked up to and rightly so.

MATTINGLY: All right. The US. Ambassador to Turkey, Jeff Flake. We appreciate your time, sir. Thank you.

FLAKE: Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Well, growing calls from airline unions for more regulations on cabin temperatures after passengers and flight attendants have increasingly had to wait on planes in the blistering heat with no air conditioning. A CNN report ahead.



MATTINGLY: Um, this morning, that 70s Show star Danny Masterson is planning to appeal after a judge sentenced him to 30 years to life in prison for rape. Masterson was convicted earlier in the year of raping two women at his Hollywood Hills home, 20 years ago. A jury deadlocked on a charge that he raped a third woman.

The trials focused attention on the Church of Scientology as all three accusers and Masterson are members there. CNN Stephanie Elam is live in Los Angeles with more. Stephanie, the reaction huge sentence. What's it been so far?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, it's a huge sentence, and that's what a lot of people are reacting to. Phil, we know that Danny Masterson had pled not guilty to these counts of rape that happened between 2001 and 2003, but he received 15 years for each of the counts that he was found guilty of, which are supposed to be served consecutively. So, 30 years to life for this 47-year-old.

And when you look at the response that we've seen from the prosecution, the assistant district attorney Reinhardt Mueller, saying that this was the appropriate ruling in this case, he believes. Take a listen to what else he said.


REINHOLD MUELLER, DEPUTY LOS ANGELES COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I'm very happy for the victims because this is a day that they had been looking forward to and they got their justice. It's a long time coming. That's first and foremost, but also being very thankful for the jury to come to kind of see-through everything and recognize what the evidence is and that this defendant needed to be held accountable.


ELAM: And he also spoke about the personal impact statements from those two named victims who spoke out in court and how that helped. Now, for Masterson's side, his attorney Sean Hawley says they are going to appeal. Take a listen to what she said.


SHAWN HOLLEY, ATTORNEY FOR DANNY MASTERSON: Mr. Masterson did not commit the crimes for which he has been convicted. And we and the appellate lawyers who are the best and the brightest in the country are confident that these convictions will be overturned.


ELAM: Now, as for that third count that the jury was deadlocked on, Mueller says they have no intention of going back. Phil and prosecuting, that they are satisfied with these two guilty verdicts and the fact that he's going away to jail for a long know.

MATTINGLY: Stephanie, one of the questions I had was how would the Church of Scientology respond to this sentence.

ELAM: Yeah, so the church was definitely implicated in this court case as it was playing out. And CNN did reach back out to the Church of Scientology to see if they had anything to say now that he's been sentenced. And they sent out the same statement that they sent out on May 31 when he was originally found guilty.

And in that they say, in part, "There is not a scintilla of evidence supporting the scandalous allegations that the church harassed the accusers. Every single instance of supposed harassment by the church is false and has been debunked", Phil.

MATTINGLY: All right, Stephanie Elam thank you.

HARLOW: Growing calls from airline unions for more regulations on cabin temperatures after passengers and flight attendants have increasingly had to wait on planes for a long time. In this blistering heat with no air conditioning,


AIRPLANE PASSENGER: She looked like she was about to just pass out. They ended up putting an oxygen mask on her. People had thrown up, people had fainted.

AIRPLANE ATTENDANT: I extremely apologize. I've been on here as long as you guys have been on here. I don't feel my best at this point either.

AIRPLANE PASSENGER #2: We had elderly people, we had babies. We had pregnant women. Not even water. We were trapped on that plane for 7 hours.


HARLOW: This picture was taken by a worker on a jet bridge in Phoenix. You see those registers 113.