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CNN This Morning

Trump's Immunity Claim Rejected; Mother of school Shooter Found Guilty; New Evidence in NTSB Boeing Investigation; Swift Mania Sweeps Tokyo. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired February 07, 2024 - 06:30   ET



KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Where his team is ahead. This is a case where Donald Trump has been losing and this is the much bigger legal risk before him right now.

What happened yesterday is three judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a pretty powerful court, came together unanimously, said that they agreed in an unsigned opinion that no president is above the law. That the specific accusations against Donald Trump related to the 2020 election appear to be able to stand. And the sort of thing that taking votes or taking the election out of the hands of the voters, that is certainly something that could be charged in court and that it is the responsibility of the court system to try a former president if he is accused of a crime.

So, a very thorough opinion, a unanimous opinion and also the Circuit Court sent a very strong signal that they want this to move quickly. That if there is going to be a trial against Donald Trump, they need to resolve this issue quickly in the courts. And they essentially set up a mechanism so that the appeals court in D.C. is very likely not going to be dealing with this anymore and it's going to be -- the next stop is the Supreme Court. And Donald Trump has a deadline of Monday, super quick in the court world, to go to the Supreme Court and ask for some relief. Very possible his trial is back on the calendar for this year.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN ANCHOR: That's a huge development.

Katelyn Polantz, thank you.

CNN's senior legal analyst Elie Honig joins us now. S.E. Cupp and John Avlon are back.

I was with Poppy when this headline hit yesterday, and she ticked through like the four things that would tell her if this was a strong decision.


MATTINGLY: Unanimity on it.

HONIG: Yes. MATTINGLY: And then basically everything Katelyn just described.


MATTINGLY: So this was a very -- it wasn't just a decision, it made a statement to some degree.

HONIG: Yes, there's not even a silver lining in this decision. Fifty- seven pages for Donald Trump. I mean usually when you get a complicated issue like this, the court will note a couple things that maybe are close calls or ambiguous, something you can cling to if you're the losing party. There's nothing of that effect in this decision. There's not a positive word for Donald Trump in here. I mean, and the language, it's - it's very well written. It's very well laid out.

I mean the -- at one point the court says, if Donald Trump got his way, it would collapse our system of checks and balances. I mean beautiful, powerful rhetoric. It's like Avlon wrote it almost.


HONIG: Almost. But, look, sends a very clear message, I think, to the Supreme Court.

And the result itself is not really a surprise. I think we all saw this coming.


HONIG: The big question, of course, is what happens now? Does the Supreme Court jump in?

HARLOW: Yes. Can we just tick in on that.


HARLOW: Because another part of the language that was striking to me, quote, the justices write, "we cannot accept former President Trump's claim that a president has unbound authority to make crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power."


HARLOW: Katelyn says, got to know by Monday. They've got to, you know, try to get some relief from the Supreme Court.


HARLOW: It's not a guarantee the Supreme Court will take this, is it?

HONIG: Not at all. If you had asked me - and I think -- I'm sure you did on air a few months ago, I would have said, oh, the Supreme Court's definitely taking. This is what the Supreme Court exists for. This is a constitutional issue. We don't know the answer. Major implications. That's why we have a Supreme Court. Ninety percent chance they take it.

I've changed my view. I think it's 50/50 now as - as, I will note for the record, does Koan Biskupic, so that's good enough for me.

HARLOW: Good company to be in.

HONIG: Yes, exactly. Because the Supreme Court also likes to stay out of messy problems if they can. There's been no dissent. This case was 3-0. They agreed with the trial judge, Judge Chutkan. And there hasn't been, in my view, and clearly in the judge's view, a powerful counterargument. So, it could be -

HARLOW: And were not strong dissents.

HONIG: Right. There's no dissent.

HARLOW: Yes, exactly.

HONIG: I could be that the Supreme Court just says, we'll pass. This stands as is.

MATTINGLY: Would that be a problem?

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST AND ANCHOR: It would be stunning. It - I don't know that it would be a problem, except for Donald Trump.

MATTINGLY: I mean for perception.

HARLOW: Yes, of the court. It's a good point.

MATTINGLY: Look, I think it's better for them to weigh in. But this decision was definitive, right? The facts and the principles are completely clear.

One of the things in the decision I think was incredibly significant as we looked towards tomorrow's hearing too is it clearly states, this decision, that the president of the United States is an office under the United States, which is part of the language being used in the 14th Amendment.

HARLOW: OK, can we talk about why that -- do you find that interesting? I can wait to geek out for a moment, S.E. Why don't you weigh in?

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Why don't you - no, you geek out. You geek out.

HARLOW: OK. So this -

HONIG: I know where you're going.

HARLOW: This decision, at one point, claims that the president is an officer. Were the sole officer capable of defying those laws with impunity. I don't know that word matters to this case. That word might matter a lot to the 14th Amendment case before the Supreme Court tomorrow. Tell people why.

HONIG: Yes, so the Court of Appeals here is trying to put in a good word for tomorrow for the 14th Amendment argument because one of the arguments Donald Trump is making is the 14th Amendment does not apply to the president. The 14th Amendment actually does not say the president. It says senators, representatives and electors. But it also says, or other officers. It doesn't say - or officers of the United States. And so there's a question of, is the president a, quote/unquote, "officer." A common sense person would say, of course. Here, the Court of Appeals is saying, yes.

HARLOW: Of course.

HONIG: But this is going to -- there's statutory linguistic construction either way on that.


CUPP: I mean the geeking out is great. And that's important. It's important. It's why you went to law school and we count on your geeking out to really, really go deep.

MATTINGLY: This is why - this is why S.E. and I just (INAUDIBLE).

CUPP: However - however -- however, speaking as a fifth grader would -


CUPP: You know, a layperson, this actually wasn't as complicated as we might have thought it would have been, right? Not even complicated enough to go to the Supreme Court because it was such a resounding and decisive no.


CUPP: Because I think, if you were a fifth grader and someone asked you, should the president be the only person in the United States that gets to get away with criming because he's the president -

HARLOW: Criming.

AVLON: Criming.

CUPP: That person would say, probably not.

AVLON: Probably not.

CUPP: So it actually - I mean, I'm glad it was definitive and maybe the Supreme Court weighing in would be politically important, but it actually wasn't all that complicated.

AVLON: Well, and -

CUPP: Of course the president should be liable for his crimes if he committed them.

AVLON: And turning over an election, if you're the president of the United States, is a fundamental threat to our democracy.

CUPP: Right.

AVLON: Look, the other thing that - just to keep in mind, because, you know, this conversation has been muddied beyond the substance of the facts. This decision was clarifying in a useful way. As we escape towards tomorrow, again, looking at the history and the intent, this is a heavy decision. It should not be dismissed out of hand. But the history around the ratification of the 14th Amendment, Section 3, makes it very clear that it was intended to be applied forward. It's about giving aid or comfort. And the president is an officer. And the debate in the Senate made that clear at the time.

HARLOW: Can we just note that everyone's going to be able to listen to what happens tomorrow in court.

CUPP: Right.

HARLOW: Anywhere you want. Here especially. You're going to be able to listen to the whole thing, which is super important.

AVLON: (INAUDIBLE) fascinating.

CUPP: I know what you will be doing tomorrow all day.

HARLOW: Yes, I know. I cancelled the breakfast.

MATTINGLY: Thanks, guys, very much. We appreciate it.

Well, a Michigan jury finds the mom of a convicted school shooter guilty. What this could mean for future cases, that's ahead.

HARLOW: And real journalism is a crime in Vladimir Putin's Russia. Just ask "Wall Street Journal" reporter Evan Gershkovich. So, Putin just decided to sit down with Tucker Carlson. That's ahead.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Regarding Hana St. Juliana, we find the defendant guilty of involuntary manslaughter.


HARLOW: It really was an unprecedented verdict. A jury convicted the mother of a school shooter on all four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Jennifer Crumbley's son Ethan is serving a life sentence for his deadly rampage at Oxford High School that killed four of his classmates in 2021.

MATTINGLY: Now, prosecutors argued Jennifer was responsible for those deaths as well because she was grossly negligent in giving a gun to Ethan and failing to give him proper mental health treatment despite warning signs. This verdict could have major implications for future school shooting cases.

Joining us now, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson.

Can I start with, given the precedent or lack thereof, I was very surprised to see this. Were you?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I was. We're waking up today, Phil, Poppy, to a different world in so many ways, right, because we can talk about the specifics of this case, right, in terms of what happened, the jury concluding there was foreseeability, right? You give your son, who has mental health challenges, a weapon. That becomes a problem that could lead to this. It's foreseeable. Are you on notice as a parent, right, if your child does have various mental health maladies and do you know about them, or should you know about them? And then, did you act reasonably? So, there's the specifics of this case. But in terms of the generic implications, I think parents are going to be a lot more careful moving forward.

And I always questioned, you know what, will the jury really hold her accountable? That was really what I was looking to see. The answer was resoundingly yes.

HARLOW: OK, I have two questions on this.


HARLOW: The first one is what precedent does this set, right? Is it overarching? Is it across states? And, secondly, the word you just used "should."


HARLOW: Should a parent have known? Where is that bar there now for parents?

JACKSON: Yes. So -- so let's start with the first one, right, in terms of what this means elsewhere. Not only in Michigan, right, in terms of where this was held, but I think across the country you're going to see prosecutors become creative. This prosecutor essentially saying, I'm mad as heck and I'm not going to take it anymore. And so, to the extent that we already have a law on the books, it's called involuntary manslaughter, and if you're grossly negligent and you don't meet certain standards, hey, I'm going to try her, right, the mother Jennifer Crumbley. We know the father will be tried next month. I'm going to put all the evidence out there, and that evidence will establish that you knew or, let's get to the second part of your question, should have known. That's what negligence is all about. What would a reasonable person do? How would a reasonable person act? And would a reasonable person put a weapon in the hands of a 15-year-old, go shooting with him, et cetera, when you have these mental health issues.

And then the second portion of the question really, too, Poppy, is, it's not only, do you know of your son's mental health challenges, should you have known? That's a big deal. And the jury concluded she should have.

HARLOW: That's what I find so interesting here about what it's going to mean for parents going forward.


MATTINGLY: With the little time we have left, does this change everything like today? When you say we're waking up -


MATTINGLY: Lawyers, right now, are looking, prosecutors are looking at this, parents should be aware of, everything changes.

JACKSON: So, Phil, I do believe that, right, because one of the main reasons you're going to prosecute, you're going to say - and, obviously, because someone you think to be guilty, but the other thing is the deterrent value. And are people today thinking, and parents thinking, I better be a whole lot careful. I better check on my kid. I have to be more diligent. I think that happens now.

HARLOW: What happens to her husband and can other prosecutors go back now and relitigate things and go after parents of other convicted school shooters?

JACKSON: So, what has happened has happened and that's in the books, right? Double jeopardy.


JACKSON: If people have been tried, the issue is that's done.

HARLOW: But what if parents haven't been tried?

JACKSON: Right. In terms of parents who have not been tried, you know what, I think prosecutors are going to say, hey, wait a minute, let's take a closer look.

Very quickly, Poppy, in terms of the husband, I think that there's -- he's very concerned. His attorneys are concerned. Why? Because, remember, she blamed, she being Jennifer Crumbley, right, this on him. You were the one who secured the weapon. You were the one who purchased the weapon. You were the one responsible. He's going to have to live with that during his trial next month. Let's see if he can overcome it. He may not be able to.

MATTINGLY: That's just a huge development.

Joey Jackson, thank you very much.

JACKSON: Always. Thank you.

MATTINGLY: Well, this morning, there is a startling new finding in the investigation into why a chunk of a Boeing 737 Max 9 plane blew out midflight.


Next, the key pieces of the plane that were missing.

HARLOW: Plus, support for Donald Trump runs deep in the deep south, but what about in Nikki Haley's home state? Ahead, our John King is all over the map and seeing what South Carolina voters think.


MATTINGLY: A stunning revelation from the National Transportation Safety Board. This morning, federal investigators say evidence now shows four bolts that held the Boeing 737 Max 9 door plug in place were missing at the time of last month's blowout midair on an Alaska Airline flight. Boeing's CEO acknowledged the company's responsibility in a statement saying, quote, "an event like this must not happen on an airplane that leaves our factory. We simply must do better for our customers and their passengers."

CNN's Pete Muntean joins us now from Washington.

Pete, the specifics here. Lay them out for folks because they're very unsettling.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: This is a bombshell from the NTSB, Phil. The investigation of this incident has focused on the door plug bolts from the start. Four bolts like this one hold the door plug into the side of the 737 Max 9. There are two at the top and two at the bottom. Both Alaska and United Airlines said they found planes in their fleet with loose bolts. But now the NTSB says Alaska Flight 1282 was missing all four bolts.

How were they able to tell?


Well, investigators recovered the door plug from the backyard in Portland. They brought it to their lab in D.C. for inspection. And the NTSB saw damage patterns that show the door plug moved up and out. Also, they noted a lack of damage around the bolt holes, meaning that the bolts were not there.

Here is the smoking gun in the NTSB report. "The four bolts that prevent upward movement of the door plug were missing before the door plug moved."

There is one more amazing detail here. The NTSB suggests the plane flew for two months without the door plug bolts, meaning it was essentially a ticking time bomb. The fuse set last September at Boeing's Renton factory when the plane was still being built.

Boeing removed the door plug to do repair work on some nearby rivets. This is the photo taken when the work was completed. And the NTSB says the door was put back but the bolts were not.

This only pours gas on the FAA's audit of Boeing quality control. The head of the FAA told Congress yesterday it now has two dozen inspectors at the 737 factory. No finding of blame or probable cause yet. That will come out in about a year from now in the NTSB's find report. The CEO of Boeing says whatever the final report says, Boeing is accountable for what happened.

HARLOW: Pete, thank you very much for the reporting from Washington.

Next hour we're going to be joined by the chair of the National Transportation Safety Board. They're the ones who penned this report. And we'll get into all those big questions that Pete just raised.

MATTINGLY: Well, a federal appeals court rejects Donald Trump's claim of absolute immunity. More on his next moves ahead.

HARLOW: Plus, Taylor Swift kicks off her international leg of the Eras Tour, and Japan is ready for it. We're live in Tokyo, next.


JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": I'm very, very excited about this. Taylor Swift has released a track list for her new album. And some of the songs on the album are "Florida," "Guilty as Sin," and "Fresh out the Slammer." Or as one guy put it, wow, it's like she's speaking right to me.




MATTINGLY: Well, on Sunday night we could be saying that Mr. Irrelevant is now Mr. Super Bowl MVP. The person drafted last overall in the NFL draft has never done that before. But Brock Purdy is not really your normal Mr. Irrelevant. He's gone from being the very last pick in the 2022 draft to one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Purdy, well, he's as humble as they come. And he appreciates the chance that he now has to try and lead the 9ers to their first title since 1995.

Here's what he told CNN.


BROCK PURDY, SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS QUARTERBACK: With every little moment in my life, every milestone that I've come across, just being grateful more than anything. With the people in my life that have helped me get to where I'm at. I've had so much support in my life. And it hasn't just been a one-man show. So, I'm just very honored that, I mean, I get to play in the Super Bowl now and live out, you know, like my dream as a kid. And so, yes, just more than anything have that grateful mindset.


HARLOW: What a guy. I know you're a big fan. MATTINGLY: I'm a big fan, so I feel a little too biassed to weigh in,

but he's awesome.

HARLOW: But I love that he's a good, great guy too. What a story.


HARLOW: All right, it's Taylor Swift mania in Tokyo this morning as the pop superstar kicks off her first of four sold out shows there this week. After Swift's fourth show on Saturday, fans are also excited for her to rush to Las Vegas to watch her boyfriend Travis Kelce play in the Super Bowl.

CNN's Hanako Montgomery is live in Tokyo with more.

I mean the fact that the government of Japan put out a statement that, don't worry, she's going to make it in time to the Super Bowl I think says everything about the obsession over there.

HANAKO MONTGOMERY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy, I mean, I wish you could be here with me right now because, yes, Japan is just as Taylor Swift obsessed as the United States. I'm standing in front of Tokyo Dome right now where Taylor Swift is literally having her concert right now. You can kind of hear her singing. I'm not going to sing along. I won't subject you to that. But you can also hear fans chanting. They are so excited that their favorite pop star is now in Japan.

And, you know, event organizers tell us that all of her tickets to her concerts sold out within the first 30 minutes, which just goes to show how excited people are about Taylor Swift being here in Japan. And we have to remember that the last time Taylor Swift was in Tokyo to perform was back in 2018, nearly six years ago, for her Reputation Tour. So, fans are really Swift deprived. They want to see their favorite pop star up on that stage.

But, you know, it's not just about the fandom. It's also about the economic revenue. Experts tell us that Taylor Swift's four-day concert will generate more than 230 million U.S. dollars for Japan. Far more than the next biggest musical event in Japan, Fuji Rock, which generates about 134 million U.S. dollars for Japan annually.

Now, the burning question that I'm sure is on both of your minds, also on my mind, will Taylor Swift make it back in time by Super Bowl Sunday to kiss her boyfriend Travis Kelce. Now, I'm no betting woman, but I'm going to say with quite a bit of confidence that she will make it back in time. It does not take time travel, just a private jet, which she does own. And, you know, she kind of has to make it back for that Super Bowl because why else would we watch it. Am I right?

MATTINGLY: Wait, what?

HARLOW: Well, I just -- you're definitely right, that that is the burning question Phil has been bothering me about since 3:00 a.m. this morning -



HARLOW: Will Taylor Swift be able to kiss Travis Kelce.

MATTINGLY: That's all I think about.

HARLOW: All he thinks about.