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Trump Caught On Tape Talking About Classified Documents He Kept After Presidency; House Passes Debt Limit Deal, Senate Takes Up Bill Next; Two More Republicans About To Enter The Race For GOP Nomination; Would Arming Teachers With Guns Make Students Safer?; CA Court Rules Former Manson Family Member Can Be Paroled. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired May 31, 2023 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to this hour where we bring you tomorrow's news tonight. We have our great lineup of reporters here with me. We have Athena Jones, Miguel Marquez, Omar Jimenez, and Alayna Treene. We also have Katelyn Polantz joining us from Washington with all the news out of there.
So, we start this hour with CNN's reporting on former President Trump acknowledging on audiotape that he still had a classified Pentagon document about a potential attack on Iran after he was president.
Okay, so Katelyn, tell us what we know, tell us more about this audiotape, what is on it, and what does means for the investigation moving forward.
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Alisyn, it is an audiotape that the Justice Department has, the special counsel investigation that is looking into Donald Trump whether he mishandled national security information, classified documents, and also whether he had obstructed justice as the Justice Department was trying to get all of those documents back.
And so, this audiotape is quite significant for several reasons and it is not just me saying that. There are sources that we're speaking to our team and saying, yeah, this is very important.
This is a big piece of evidence that the Justice Department has now gotten. They're asking witnesses about it. They are getting grand jury testimony about what happened.
And this incident at Bedminster, this is a meeting where Donald Trump is talking to aides of his and some people who are working on a book, a sympathetic book, for his former chief-of-staff, Mark Meadows. He is talking to them. There are recordings being made of this meeting.
He is talking about a plan that he believes would help him look good and his former -- the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he is still is the chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, that he believed that it would make Milley look bad because it is a document that the Pentagon would have prepared about a plan to bomb Iran.
And so, Donald Trump is talking about this document, which clearly is national defense information, classified potentially. We do believe that he understands it is classified and was still classified. He is waving it around. So, there is that.
And then on top of that, on this tape, we have not heard the tape itself and we don't know the exact words he is using, but all of the sources that are speaking to Kaitlan Collins and Paula Reid and I about what is captured on this tape indicate that Donald Trump is clearly understanding that this is a document that is classified, that he, when he was president, didn't take the steps he needed to take to declassify it and wishes that he could share it further, and yet he can't because it is protected information.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And Katelyn, it is Omar here. I know this reporting is in part at least tied to, you know, recording or at least a meeting out of Bedminster, New Jersey. I know a lot of the recent reporting has focused on the handling of documents down in Mar- a-Lago. Does that say anything about the nature of this investigation? If -- I don't know. I think before -- again, we were very focused on Mar-a-Lago. But clearly, the scope seems to be beyond just what was out that property.
POLANTZ: Yeah, totally, Omar. So, whenever we were pursuing the story, we actually had to really think about how it completely changed our understanding, at least.
Maybe not the Justice Department's understanding of what they were pursuing, but it really does open up not just the map of where the Justice Department has to look to follow documents, that they have to look at what happened at Bedminster, look at what happened at Mar-a- Lago, where all of these documents were being taken, where they were at various times with Donald Trump.
But they also are looking at a period of time that is much earlier than the time that much of the public reporting has focused on, right? So, much of this investigation we knew about because the Trump team sent back 15 boxes of documents in January of 2022. So, that's several months, like half a year after this meeting that's captured on audio takes place.
They sent back boxes documents, there are classified documents in them, and then months later, that is when the Justice Department goes back to the Trump team and says, we need you to turn over any more classified documents that you have in your possession anywhere, and that's when things really heat up at Mar-a-Lago, specifically.
There are these questions about boxes moved out of storage rooms. That leads to the FBI going into Mar-a-Lago under a court authorization to do that search. They're finding even more classified documents.
And so, much of our conversation has been about 2022, what happened in Mar-a-Lago, because that is what has been visible to us. But really, the Justice Department has always very likely been trying to track what happened to these documents no matter where they went in Trump's possession after he left the presidency, whether that is Florida or not, and also what happened crucially as much in 2021 before there was even a criminal investigation as what is happening after the criminal investigation begins.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Katelym, Miguel here. I'm feeling a little triggered because we saw so much of this during the Mueller investigation. So many scoops. Scoop after scope. It was hard to put it all together. When it all came together, finally, it didn't turn into anything.
But can you give us the big picture? There are obviously two investigations that Jack Smith is looking into, the documents and January 6. Do you have a sense of are we at -- can we see the light at the end of the tunnel on either both of these? Any sense of what the timing will be on these investigations?
POLANTZ: Well, I'm not going to predict what the Justice Department is going to do, whether they're going to charge a case or not. That is going to be up to them. That is a hard decision the attorney general has to make.
But if you look back at the Mueller investigation as it was nearing its end, there were many people charged with crimes, convicted of crimes, pleading guilty to crimes in the Mueller investigation who were close confidants to Donald Trump.
But at the end of the investigation, one of the people that was coming in was Attorney General Bill Barr, who was clearly of the mindset that there was never an underlying in crime. We knew that because he had said it in public letters, that he didn't believe that there was an underlying crime that should've been investigated there.
That is a different circumstance than what we have here because there are very well-established crimes around national security documents, protection of classified records.
And so, this question of were these documents mishandled, that is something that the Justice Department is very familiar with. Trump is no longer president, and so he doesn't have the same protections he has that the Justice Department gave to him whenever he was being investigated during Mueller.
And then on top of that, there are these additional obstruction things that we know that they are looking into that led to that search. And, you know, nothing ever got close to a court authorized search of the president's home or any of his properties in the Mueller investigation. It was very friendly. You know, we're handing over documents. That is not this.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. Katelyn, I'm glad that you reminded everybody of all of that. I'm happy for Miguel's question about it. I mean, you're such a great reporter and you keep so much in your head -- (LAUGHTER)
-- at all times. And I'm sure that you're getting all sorts of different scoops or bits of information every single day. And so, I just have to believe that with this one, you know, when you heard that there was an audiotape with President Trump voice on it, does that put it in a different category for you?
POLANTS: Yeah. I mean, that's different than what we normally hear about, where people are recreating things being brought into grand juries to testify and speaking from their memory perhaps.
But, you know, Alisyn, stories like this don't arrive fully formed. They are the types of things that reporters like me work on for days or weeks. And a lot of it, I think of it often like solving a mystery. You hear little pieces of a story.
And in fact, there were little hints of this in other publications and then also in our publication and among a lot of the reporters here. We have been hearing about reports that witnesses were being asked about Mark Milley. Couldn't really make sense of that initially.
We were hearing -- we know that there was a New York Times report about other instances that people were being asked about related to Donald Trump showing documents and certain specific documents seeming of some sort of military nature.
And so, it took a while for me to get to the point where I realized, oh, there could be an audiotape there. And then, you know, there were already many reporters on the story with the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation.
Ultimately, Paula Reid, Kaitlan Collins, and I were able to really work together as a team to get this across the finish line. But you don't really know what you have until you talk to as many people as you can or at least try to talk to as many people as you can. That's just how it works.
CAMEROTA: Katelyn, I so appreciate and I know our viewers do, too, you pulling back the curtain on your process because not everybody does understand what we do and how we get little, you know, pieces of information here and there and tried to put together the puzzle as Caitlin was just explaining. I think that sometimes, people think that these things come to us fully baked. They are not.
And you have to do a lot of due diligence and a lot of digging and waiting. And you don't know if it's ever going to be ready for broadcast. But then, there is a moment where it is. So, Katelyn, thank you very much for all of the great reporting. Obviously, we will continue to follow the story very closely.
There was other breaking news tonight. The House tonight passing the debt limit deal in a big bipartisan victory.
Michael is taking it very personally.
CAMEROTA: And so is President Biden and Speaker McCarthy. So, what will take to get it fully across the finish line? We'll talk about that, next.
CAMEROTA: All right, you know the conversation that we have virtually every night --
-- about the debt ceiling. Well, friends, that endless conversation may be coming to an end because tonight, the House voted to pass the debt ceiling bill, 314 to 117. And Alayna has been following the story for us. Alayna, it is now going to the Senate. Is our long national nightmare almost over?
ALAYNA TREENE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: It is almost over, and we won't have to keep having this conversation night after night. Yeah, the House did it. And it was a struggle to get there. It was weeks of questions of whether we would default on our debt, whether McCarthy and President Biden could pull this off.
But they got a deal. And tonight, it passed through the House. It was a blowout vote, bipartisan. Most members of Congress of both parties voting for this bill. And now, it heads to the Senate.
CAMEROTA: And there's no question that it will pass the Senate?
TREENE: I never want to give this --
-- as a reporter. We were just talking about this with Katelyn. But, I mean, yeah, it is going to pass the Senate. We are going to avoid default. I think the only question now is when and not if. They could pass it as early as tomorrow, which I know all of the reporters in D.C., I'm normally there with them on Capitol Hill, are like praying that they get their weekend, finally, as are all the members.
It could also drag into Saturday or worst-case scenario, maybe early next week. But June 5th is the deadline that the Treasury Department said they would default -- the government would default on its debt if they do not pass this. It looks like we're in the clear. Next week, on your show, Alisyn, this will not be a conversation anymore. We would've all done it and moved on. ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We talk about this being a
national nightmare. It's a national nightmare. There is a recurring nightmare. It happens every few years with divided government. So, that is the real question. When does this end? Is there -- where does this discussion stand on getting rid of the debt limit entirely since it's not about new spending, it's about paying for the bills that have already been, you know --
TREENE: It is such a good question, I'm glad you asked it, because it's also the debate that's happening in Congress. I mean, a lot of members think a lot of Democrats think that this is -- this doesn't make sense, to keep going through this process year after year.
However, I mean, now, they're going to be raising the debt ceiling until 2025 so they get an extra year. Next year, we won't have to worry about the debt ceiling. But you're totally right. This is -- the debt ceiling is about bills that they have already passed and money they have already appropriated and making sure the government can pay its bills on time.
What happened with this current debt limit fight between the president and House Republicans was a question over budget. And that is where a lot of this got pulled into. I know we talked about this repeatedly on the show. But President Biden and Democrats have repeatedly said, clean debt ceiling. This is an obligation that we have --
CAMEROTA: But that's not what ended up happening.
TREENE: And it is not what ended up happening.
CAMEROTA: They did end up negotiating.
TREENE: There's a lot in this bill --
CAMEROTA: Yeah. So, did they freeze --
MARQUEZ: They negotiated on the budget, not on the debt, though.
CAMEROTA: Yeah. Right. But it was tied together in a way that they did -- they said they were not going to do.
MARQUEZ: Will this complicate the actual appropriation process going forward when they actually have to spend the money for the future?
TREENE: It shouldn't. I mean, I think what they did here is this is the kind of debate that they thought they would have later this year and more towards the fall, and in September --
TREENE: -- when -- you know, the fiscal year ends at the end of September. But instead, they laid a lot of this out in this bill. I know we have a graphic showing some of what's in the night. I think it's just helpful to walk through what they did in the budget items.
They're cutting IRS spending. They are lifting -- excuse me, keeping spending cuts in plates but adding a spending budgetary cap. A lot of preserving some of the cuts to domestic spending that Republicans wanted. The Biden student loan forgiveness plan that Republicans had wanted to gut remains intact. That is still in here. And a lot of these things cost a ton of money. There is also new work requirement for some social safety net programs. That was a big thing that Democrats are really upset about.
And I have to say, what's in this bill is something that is definitely a compromise and something that both sides are unhappy with. We know from our conversations with Republicans and Democrats alike, a lot of them are unhappy with where this bill landed. Republicans think Democrats got too much. Democrats think Republicans got too much. But it passed tonight in the House. The main goal was to avoid a default.
JIMENEZ: So, I think people who may not follow the debt ceiling negotiation as closely as I think we do --
I know that we are forced to. But, you know, I think an outsider looking in would say, all right, here is another one of those big congressional fights that is said and proclaimed that, oh, my gosh, this is the one where the entire government goes down. And lo and behold, here we go, a few days before the June 5th deadline in this case, we've got it solved at least halfway, I would say.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for recognizing.
JIMENEZ: But --
CAMEROTA: I said that all along.
CAMEROTA: I knew it was the boy who cried wolf because --
-- but this time, it did feel different.
JIMENEZ: And so -- and so, that is my question here, that, okay, now that we've gotten past -- again, halfway and I'm not going say gotten past -- gone halfway to the point where real Americans' lives and pocketbooks, you know, will be significantly affected, why was this fight different at least politically? Because, to your point, it did feel a little different. It is hard to know (INAUDIBLE) us going through it. Why was -- why was this --
TREENE: It was -- it was different.
TREENE: And I will say, we always think something is never going to happen until it happened. I was worried that this might be the time. And I will say also, the Treasury Department, Secretary Yellen ended up the date, was being able to be moved back to June 5th. And if it was still June 1st, we would've seen a default. So, I'm just saying it could've happened.
TREENE: But we didn't. But it is different because of the divided government that they have, the small majority they have in both the House and the Senate. They needed to have a compromise. Right now, government is, I'd argue, maybe more divided than ever. If not more divided than ever, pretty darn close to that. It is very partisan in Washington, D.C. The two sides, farther apart than they've ever been.
And in the House, you know, it's a very tight majority. So, if McCarthy had to push this through, he needed Republicans and Democrats to get this through. He would never have had a bill that only Republicans would support because it was going to have President Biden's needing to sign off of it when it gets to his desk and also have Democrats in the democratic-controlled Senate pass it.
So, that's really what the problem was. And I think, honestly, if you look at a lot of the people, the conservatives in the House who are railing against McCarthy and railing against this bill, they are the type of people that would've never wanted to sign off on any sort of bill that had President Biden's input and having his team work on it. So, that is really why I think this year, it was more controversial than we've seen.
JIMENEZ: Because even (INAUDIBLE) as they were, the margin of the actual passing was pretty large here.
CAMEROTA: And let that be our last word on here.
All right, meanwhile, the race for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination is about to get more crowded. Omar is going to tell us. Two of the big names in the Republican Party plan to announce their candidacies next week. You'll hear it here first.
CAMEROTA: The 2024 GOP presidential race is about to get more crowded. We're learning that former vice president, Mike Pence, will throw his hat into the ring next Wednesday.
That is ahead of a CNN town hall. And Omar sources are giving him the scoop about former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, which Omar will share with us in a second. And then there's New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu. He is still deciding. Seven candidates have officially declared so far.
Okay, Omar, what is Chris Christie going to do?
JIMENEZ: All right, well, sources are telling me he is going to join them. So, as we understand, next Tuesday or this coming Tuesday, in New Hampshire, at a town hall, St. Anselm College, he is expected to announce his bid for the presidency in the 2024 race.
This was a decision that, over the past few weeks, sources close to him told me he had been mulling. Talking to stakeholders. Should I do it? Should I not do it? And clearly, he got to the point where he decided he wanted to run. At least, that is what we are expecting. Now, the question I'm sure a lot of you are all wondering is, why? You know, he didn't quite --
MARQUEZ: You could see that question hanging over our heads?
JIMENEZ: I did see it. I did see it.
JIMENEZ: You know, I think back in -- you know, in 2016, he finished, I think, as high as he thought he would. And so, this time around, it's already a crowded field. I think what they feel in their camp is that no one in the field right now is directly attacking the frontrunner, which is former President Trump.
And their camp feels, Chris Christie has alluded to this himself in previous interviews, he feels that he is the only candidate that is willing to take on Trump directly, head to head. He feels that is what it is going to take to knock him off his perch right now.
CAMEROTA: It's interesting. He's already been doing that. He's already been calling him. He's already been -- he's a commentator on a different network. And he's already, I think, recently called him -- President Trump a child, a coward, and Putin's puppet.
JIMENEZ: Yeah. Clearly, it's part of what I think we are going to hear as part of this town hall when it gets going. Obviously, this will set the tone for the entire campaign. The question, though, is, where is he starting from?
And just in the past few weeks, CNN did some polling where they asked Republican voters and Republican-leaning voters. They looked at who is their first choice for the GOP primary. You see Trump and DeSantis, double digits. Trump way ahead. DeSantis way head. Then you've got Pence, who we expect to announce. Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, and then Chris Christie at 2%.
But here's a more interesting one. In that same poll, this same group of voters, Republican voters and likely Republican-leaning voters, were asked, who would you absolutely not support for the nomination? Chris Christie, 60%. So, that's not the poll you want to be at the top of and that's not to say that's where you will end. But clearly, when you begin this campaign, there is a lot of work to be done on the perception that he has among at least the voters that were polled and his perception among many Americans.
JONES: We saw those polls. But what do they say? What would his team say if you said, look, it does not seem as though there is much evidence to back up the idea that you could -- that Chris Christie could get enough support to really make a difference, to be a real contender? How do they argue against what the polls are showing and what primary voters have decided in the past? We know how fond they are of Donald Trump.
JIMENEZ: So, that last point, I think, is the key point where if I were to be in a spin room or out on the campaign somewhere, I would say that, well, this is just indicative of the vitriol against him because look who is leading in the polls? Trump fans, DeSantis fans. And if those are the people that are, you know, in theory, the majority are hating on Chris Christie, then clearly, he may be striking a nerve. Clearly, there may be a market to actually attack there to make some inroads.
So, that's what I would say. I don't know if that's actually the case. I think we will have to see how this campaign begins. But even at the town hall event last month, Chris Christie, not only did he lay out he wants to be the one to attack Trump head on, but he was also pretty transparent that he and Trump used to work together, used to be much closer. They were not always -- he didn't want to give the impression that he was some never Trumper and is now out for blood. But instead, he said this at recent town hall.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: You're talking to somebody and hearing from someone who believed I could help make him better, wanted him to do what was best for the country, and he failed me even worse than he failed you. So, I'm not going to stand around and let this happen. Now, if I decide to run, I will be able to try to do something directly about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JIMENEZ: And that is the bottom line where he feels, I tried to help, I couldn't, and now you all have to help me get him out.
CAMEROTA: I think it will be interesting. I think it will be interesting. He is an interesting person, as you know, from covering him. I have at times as well. All right, we will watch that. Thank you. And that is what you were watching last night. That's what you were on the lookout for.
JIMENEZ: I said we are in a danger zone. I did not know that zone was coming --
[23:35:00] CAMEROTA: You are psychic. That's what I'm taking away from this. Omar, thank you very much. All right, CNN is all over the 2024 race. Make sure you tune in to our two town halls next week, Sunday night. Jake Tapper moderates a town hall with Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley. That is at 8:00 p.m. And then Wednesday night, Dana Bash moderates another town hall with former VP Mike Pence. That one is at 9:00 p.m.
All right, so, would arming teachers with, of course, guns make students safer during school shootings? Well, there is a new survey on how teachers feel about that question, and Miguel has the reporting. That's next.
CAMEROTA: Arming teachers with guns is part of the debate over how to stop school shootings. But how do teachers feel about it? Well, a new report from the RAND Corporation finds that more than half of teachers believe that arming teachers would make students less safe.
Miguel has more on this. So, what did we learn?
MARQUEZ: Yeah, you might think the numbers would actually be a little bit bigger. This is a randomized study that RAND did. So, we are not talking to all teachers out there. This is focused on K through 12. But they did find that 54% of teachers out there believe that having guns in schools make them less safe, 20% said safer, and 26% said, it probably doesn't matter one way or the other.
This is K through 12 teachers they're looking at. It's about three million teachers. Given those numbers, it would mean about 550,000 teachers would be willing or would be interested in carrying a gun to their classroom into class. Okay? I have a pop quiz for you guys now.
They also asked teachers what their biggest concerns were given all the shootings. What do you think the biggest concerns were?
MARQUEZ: Did you read the study?
JONES: Of course, I read it.
MARQUEZ: I actually went to the study. How big of a concern do you think guns were for teachers?
JIMENEZ: Like guns in schools?
MARQUEZ: Guns in schools or gun violence in schools.
JIMENEZ: I don't know. Third out of -- yeah, third?
MARQUEZ: So, bullying, 48% -- almost 49% thought bullying was -- they were most concerns with that. Guns? Guns in schools? Five percent in the study, which is shocking, right? The idea that there would not be more teachers concerned about that. The second one was student fights, and then violence against teachers and other staff. Active shooter was the fourth on the list.
CAMEROTA: I have to believe it because they deal with bullying every day.
CAMEROTA: That is much more prevalent. I mean, obviously, we do a lot of school shootings. We cover a lot of them. But in their daily lives, I just have to believe bullying -- I mean, between online, between in- person --
MARQUEZ: The cyberbullying especially, I think, is a special concern. The other thing interesting about this study is the race, gender demographics also played a role into all of this. White men were more apt to feel that they would either take a gun to class or feel safer with guns in schools than African Americans or Latinos. Rural teachers, men in rural areas were more comfortable with guns in schools.
So, it covered a lot of ground. There is not a lot -- you would think there has been a lot of research on this sort of stuff, but there really hasn't been. So, RAND Corporation. It's only -- you know, the studies are sometimes -- it's hard to tell because they're randomized study. It's only about a thousand teachers that they actually surveyed, and they come up with these numbers, but it is interesting.
JONES: And half a million is still a lot. That's quite a lot of teachers willing to -- can you imagine all of those teachers actually being armed?
MARQUEZ: It's a lot. And I think the concern from many teachers, if you introduce guns into schools, into classrooms, you give students an access to a gun. You gave -- you put a gun in a situation that it can be fired.
CAMEROTA: You know, on the flip side, I think that people who like this idea would say, well, if you knew that -- you know, 500,000 teachers had guns, maybe -- school shootings would stop.
MARQUEZ: Maybe. Although in Uvalde and other places where you had --
CAMEROTA: Armed --
MARQUEZ: -- security with weapons, it didn't work out so well. It is never very clear. These things are incredibly confusing, terrifying, and difficult. So, it is not clear that guns in schools would help.
TREENE: I find this study fascinating. I feel like, from all the conversations I have on Capitol Hill with members about just gun reforms, this is a core issue about -- well, with the gun debate, arm more -- a lot of Republicans are saying, arm more teachers, have more guns in schools.
Not only, to your point, Alisyn, maybe it would be a deterrence, but also then maybe one of these teachers could get involved. And that's a huge, I know, core of the argument that a lot of lawmakers on Capitol Hill believe. And then, of course, the flip side being that, why have this in the environment? And so, I'm glad you brought this -- I just find this fascinating, that so many teachers think it's a good thing.
MARQUEZ: Yeah, they have lots of follow-up research as well they would like to do, particularly on bullying and cyberbullying, especially, and then the interplay of guns in schools in our society. I think we are -- for as many shootings as we have in this country, the roots of it and sort of the practical side of it really hasn't been looked at enough. So, hopefully, we are on that road now.
JIMENEZ: I was just going to say, really quickly, it almost mirrors -- when you look at -- a lot of times, when it comes to gun deaths and gun violence, what gets focused on it are these massive public events, whether it is a school shooting or the shootings in public spaces, but you tend to see a lot of the mass killings or a lot of the firearm deaths happen at home. They happen from suicides.
JIMENEZ: And I think that trend nears itself a little bit in these results that the teacher's biggest concern is bullying.
JIMENEZ: And so, while the arming teachers gets all of this debate and you see how low their concerns were about firearms in the school, that layer of what is happening when these kids are away from parents or teachers --
CAMEROTA: And it is connected in some way. I can point out that there is actually connection between the bullying and what happens at home, and certainly with suicides. Thank you for telling us all of that, Miguel.
Okay, a former member of the infamous Manson family, who was convicted for taking part in two murders during the summer of terror in Los Angeles, could be one step closer to parole. Athena is going to explain, next.
CAMEROTA: A major court victory for former member -- a former member of the infamous Manson family. A California appeals court ruling that convicted murderer, Leslie Van Houten, who is now in her 70s and serving concurrent life sentences, can be granted parole. The court reversing California Governor Gavin Newsom's decision to deny her release.
Athena is covering the story. Okay, so, why did the court decide this?
JONES: This is, by the way, about the 2020 rejection by Governor Gavin Newsom. That was the fourth time she was denied parole. She has now been denied a fifth time by Governor Newsom. But this is about that case.
When he denied the parole, he cited that the extreme nature of the crime, this was a really grisly, gruesome murder, and said that she hadn't sufficiently demonstrated that she had come to terms with all the reasons she ended up joining this murderous cult.
This court, the appeals court, disagreed. They said that Gavin did not have any facts to leave this conclusion. They put out a statement. They said, Van Houten provided extensive explanation as to the causative factors leading to her involvement with Manson and commission of the murders, and the record does not support a conclusion that there are hidden factors for which Van Houten has failed to account. The governor's refusal to accept Van Houten's explanation amounts to unsupported intuition.
So, they rejected the conclusion he had come to. Now, she is on the verge. This paves a way for her to potentially be released, but it may not be so easy.
CAMEROTA: So basically, they think that she has been contrite enough. They think that she has done work in prison. I mean, because this is such a sensational case -- I mean, there are very few cases more than the Manson family, but they think that she has done enough in these decades?
JONES: Well, on her side, her argument is that she has been contrite, she has apologized to the family, she has gotten two college degrees during this -- more than 50 years she has been in prison. She has tutored fellow prisoners and been a model prisoner.
But, you know, Governor Jerry Brown, before Governor Newsom, have -- they both rejected parole for her several times and generally saying that she is still a threat to society, saying some version of the crime was just so heinous, and, you know, she has done things like blame drugs or blame her dependent personality and hasn't really taken full possibilities.
MARQUEZ: All good for her. But where is the family -- the victim's families on this? I mean, they can't be thrilled.
JONES: They are not thrilled. We know that a sister of Sharon Tate -- this woman, Leslie Van Houten, was convicted of killing a couple. This was a supermarket executive and his wife helping with that killing. She was convicted of conspiracy in the killing of those five at Director Roman Polanski's house, including Sharon Tate.
And so, that -- Sharon Tate's sister has said that no one of the Manson family should ever be allowed out of prison. They should all have to serve life terms. They also spoke with the grandson of the supermarket executive, Leno LaBianca. Here's what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY LABIANCA, GRANDSON OF LENO LABIANCA: They are making decision to allow a murderer to come back into your neighborhood, my neighborhood. The last time they were in my neighborhood, they killed my family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And so, that is -- there is still really raw emotions around this terrible crime that happened back in 1969.
CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Alayna.
TREENE: No, I was going to ask a similar question to Miguel. Also, I mean, not just the families but like you said, Alisyn, this is such a massive case. Everyone has heard of it, right? Have you heard what the public's reaction has been to this? Are people against it? I've always heard of people having such strong opinions about the Manson family and murders.
CAMEROTA: The case we are talking about now, there are all sorts of people signing an online petition. More than a hundred thousand people are saying, keep her in prison. And when I talk about how grisly this was, Jerry Brown, Governor Brown laid out some of these details and explaining why he still thinks she should stay put.
And, you know, this woman, she put a pillow case over the wife that was killed in this murder. She put a lamp cord around her neck, tackled her, basically wrestled her on to a bed and pinned her down while two others stabbed her dozens of times, and then began stabbing this woman herself.
She gave an interview in 1994, more than 20 years after the conviction, initial conviction, and admitted to stabbing this woman in the lower back around 16 times.
So, she is not denying that she did this, but she is arguing that it is time for her to be released. She has argued this several times. As I've mentioned, she was first granted parole back in 2016, but she has been denied again and again and again. They believe that there is going to be a court fight over this as well. So, the California attorney general's office is not just going to sit down and set this aside. They are going to ask for review by the Supreme Court. They are going to -- the lawyer for Van Houten thinks they're even going to file a petition -- file a motion to stay so that she has to stay in prison while the Supreme Court review goes on.
CAMEROTA: All right. Keep us posted on all that. Thank you for that reporting.
All right, tomorrow on "CNN This Morning," more on how the popular weight loss drug, Ozempic, can help people overcome addictions. What the research is now revealing.
Thanks so much for watching us tonight. Our coverage continues now.