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CNN Tonight

Donald Trump Will Be Arraigned For 37 Counts Of Alleged Mishandling Of Classified Documents. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired June 12, 2023 - 23:00   ET




ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. I'm Abby Phillip and this is CNN TONIGHT. We are now just hours away from a historic moment in America. Tomorrow afternoon, former President Donald Trump will be arraigned at a federal courthouse in Miami on 37 counts of alleged mishandling of classified documents.

It is the first time a former commander-in-chief of the United States will be placed under arrest and face federal charges, but it is the second time for Donald Trump, and he will be arrested about two months after he was briefly taken into custody in April to face state charges in New York.

So, tonight, the magistrate judge who will preside over this arraignment tomorrow calling the proceedings -- and I quote -- "genuinely historic and of huge importance."

And as we go live here, this is where Trump is huddling with his supporters at his Doral golf club in Miami just a short distance from the courthouse where we can report he spent the day interviewing some lawyers and trying to bring aboard new individuals on to his team.

CNN got this exclusive video of his arrival where he appeared to be in a relaxed mood, greeting well-wishers, even smiling and posing for photographs.

But, first, I want to turn to our crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, who has been at this courthouse in Miami, looking at the security situation as it has been unfolding. Shimon, what are you hearing about the plans for what will happen outside of that courtroom tomorrow?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, certainly, we're going to see a coordinated effort between the Miami City Police. They actually have control over the property, the perimeter, all the security on the outside.

And then, Federal Protective Services, the FPS, which you can see here, they're out here now, Abby, here with one of the canine dogs. We're seeing them out and about here tonight. They are the ones that are responsible for protecting the federal property where we are standing. They're out here. We are seeing a number of them out here tonight, certainly more than we saw last night. And they've come from all different parts of the country. I was just talking to one who came here from Atlanta. So, they've surge resources in here.

The issue, as you can see, around me here, there is not a whole lot of security at the moment. There are not a lot of barricades. You're seeing yellow tape, kind of all around here. That is really the extent of the security that we're seeing.

I asked the Miami City Police chief about this today because there are concerns from people in the area, from people who live here, and people who work here. What will the security be like? He said there's nothing to fear. Take a listen.


PROKUPECZ (on camera): We've been hearing from people in the building around that area, they're concerned that there is no hardening around the area, the perimeter, and that people can just freely come and go. There is yellow tape right now that's been placed. Will that change because there is a lot of concern that people may try to storm that building or try to enter some of that area? I mean, are you going to harden that area?

MANNY MORALES, CHIEF, MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, what I can tell you is reach back to those folks that have reached to you and tell them that there is no reason to fear.


PROKUPECZ: And so, that's kind of the posture they're taking right now here. But hopefully, by tomorrow, something will change here. We're going to see more law enforcement personnel here.

But when I talk to him about hardening, it's kind of taking this yellow tape, and instead of having this yellow tape, it's putting barriers here so that you can prevent people who may try to go inside, who shouldn't be inside, like we've seen at other events in the Capitol, those large fences like we saw when Donald Trump appeared in Manhattan just about two months ago where we saw all those metal barriers. We're not seeing that level of security here at this time. Hopefully, tomorrow, that will change.

The other thing, Abby, that a lot of concerns that I'm hearing from law enforcement officials is just what they're seeing online, the rhetoric, the chatter, the number of people who are saying they want to come here, show up here, and just how violent and vicious some of that is. That is all very concerning to law enforcement officials who are monitoring all of that. They wait to see what happens here when the president appears here at 3:00 tomorrow.


PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, it's very obvious just looking at the picture behind you. It's pretty much wide open. Shimon, on the issue of the threats --


PHILLIP: -- that you just mentioned, has there been any indication that anything specific is emerging in these last 24 to 48 hours that would be a cause for concern for law enforcement?

PROKUPECZ: So, it's -- yes, the concern is just the kind of the violent nature of some of it. The concern is the amount of it that they're seeing. It's not necessarily an increase from what they saw on January 6th.

But it was enough this morning when I spoke to someone, a law enforcement official, who sort of said, you know, I hope they kind of have things together here in Florida because this person was certainly concerned over what they were seeing, the language that they were seeing, and just the number of people who were saying they wanted to come here. You know, the police chief told us that they're prepared from anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 here showing up.

One of the things that they're doing here also, Abby, it's important to note, is that we're not going to see the former president coming here like we saw in New York City. They're expecting to take him underground and take him out that same way so they feel that they can secure him. But there's a lot of concern about what will be happening outside here on the perimeter while he's inside.

PHILLIP: Yeah. And certainly, the NYPD is such a huge, massive police force. They really swarmed the zone, which might have served as a significant deterrent.

Shimon Prokupecz, thank you so much. We'll be back with you, I know, a lot over the next day or so. But right now, I want to bring in former deputy director of National Intelligence, Beth Sanner, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger, and CNN legal analyst Elliot Williams.

Beth and Andrew, both of you, great people to have on a night like tonight as we go into tomorrow. Beth, first, your reaction to what Shimon just laid out. Are you worried?

BETH SANNER, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: I've seen high school graduations and concerts with more security than I see at an event that is likely to attract all manner of humans.

PHILLIP: To be honest, I have, too, going to a baseball game.

SANNER: Yeah, baseball. Anything. We've all been to events that are in our home town that have more security than that. And it just seems a little bit out of sync with the experiences that we've all encountered.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Yeah, agreed. You know, there's no shame in being overprepared but there is great shame in being underprepared and not ready. The way that you are to secure locations where you expect an event that could draw protesters, counter-protesters, any combination of very-charged people, is to prevent those crowds from accumulating close to the target, which in this case is the federal courthouse, and to keep those separate groups from combining with each other. That's how you get a violent confrontation like a Charlottesville or something like that.

So, typically, that's done by kind of hardening the premises, bringing in vehicles, assault trucks and things that closed down roads, the bicycle rock barricades.

PHILLIP: Well, look at -- actually, that is such a good point. This caught my eye. I mean, look at New York City. This is what they had in New York in terms of barricades there. I think we have a picture of the New York scene. And then I want to show you what is happening. This is New York, right?

MCCABE: Right.

PHILLIP: This is what you're used to. This is even what they had outside of the Capitol --

MCCABE: That's right.

PHILLIP: -- outside of January 6th. But in Miami, they're using something totally different. It really just caught my eye because I was, like, this thing just looks flimsy. Look at this. I mean, they're plastic, they're yellow. I mean, you can see them, but they're just -- they just --

MCCABE: You know, let's remember, New York City has 35,000 sworn officers and a much smaller area. Miami, between the city and the county, has maybe 4,000 sworn officers, much greater area. They can't afford to take all of those folks and send them to the courthouse. They have a large area patrol during normal business tomorrow.

So, it's a little confounding, the lack of kind of physical signatures that we are just not seeing.

PHILLIP: And David, CNN spoke to this Trump voter who says that she is hearing from everyone that she knows that people are descending on to Miami. This is also a state in Florida, pretty lax gun laws. And actually, where Trump has a pretty strong base of support. So, does that complicate the situation? Are people being naive to not worry maybe a little bit more?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I certainly think you need to be worried more for all the reasons that we just heard from Beth and Andy.


There are, I think, two concerns: What the world sees and what we see outside the courtroom and what we see inside the courtroom. For many people in the world, this is going to be their first vision of what, you know, real American justice looks like other than, you know, what's portrayed occasionally on TV dramas and so forth.

And it's really important that we get this right for two reasons. For the inside the courtroom part, we have to have it right because we know that China, Russia, everybody else who has got an agenda out here is going to be portraying this in ways that will help their own interests. And here in United States, it will feed whatever partisan elements there are.

And because it is unprecedented, it is important that the courts show that this is a nonpolitical event. Outside, equally important, because we have to show we've learned the lessons of January 6th. And that's why it's so worrisome for what we've got.

PHILLIP: I mean, no news would absolutely be --

SANGER: Fabulous news.

PHILLIP: -- in a situation like that. And Elliot, just the choreography of this all, not Trump's arraignment, but his first in a federal system, what should we expect?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It's quite straightforward and quite simple. This hearing is just -- it's an initial appearance in court. He'll be advised of what his rights are as a criminal defendant, be told he -- you know, he can have the attorney of his choosing, he -- the conditions of his release will be set.

And it's amazing that in all of this, all this discussion of the politics and the complexities and some of the legal questions, he's still a criminal defendant in proceedings that are -- I don't want to say ministerial but really almost quite simple.

But, you know, to echo all of these points, you know, it underscores a much broader point for those of us who have spent a lot of time around federal courts that yes, they're protected, you got to go to magnetometer (ph) and son on, but judges don't receive a ton of protection. Court houses don't typically receive a ton of protection and they're sort of exposed out there. It's probably something we ought to think about as a nation.

PHILLIP: Beth, one thing I've been thinking about is that this indictment really gave us a lot of meat on the bone, some details about what Trump had, what he did not really want to give back. If you're sitting in the national security apparatus right now, how worried are you that our allies are looking at the situation and saying, we need to hold off, we can't trust them right at this moment?

SANNER: Well, I think that the allies already had that view in many ways during the Trump administration. I mean, you can just look at polling overseas, popularity, and how happy a lot of foreign leaders were when President Biden came in. So, there was already a little bit of trepidation among our traditional allies about Trump.

I think that this -- you know, as David said, how we handle this will have a lot of impact on how this will reverberate. If we handle it well, it is well, okay, we've kind of got that under control, we knew what this was like, and, okay, it is not unexpected but the system is working.

If we don't handle this well and we allow the polarization in particular to devolve into violence or worse, you know, then I think we really have our adversaries -- you know, it is just open season for them.

PHILLIP: And David, I mean, once was bad enough. But as you were pointing out, the world is watching to see whether we can -- we have our act together as a nation. Right?

SANGER: Look, other countries have tried former leaders. It has happened a lot. In some cases, we viewed it as retribution and political. In other cases, we viewed it as showing that no one is above the law and that it has reinforced democratic tradition. We definitely have to come down on the side as Beth suggested here. This is reinforcing the concept that no one is above the law.

The second element of it, I think, that is really important is those allies who are looking at how the intelligence was treated have got to be wondering why it is that they're sharing a lot of intelligence with the United States and what -- how they are going to protect the intelligence we share with them. And if the U.S. is only as strong as its allies, then intelligence sharing got to go on. That got to mean that the government is going to have to establish a system of new rules here.

PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, if there is one thing that is halting us is that we do have a problem in this country with classified information, keeping track of it, and understanding where it is all going.

But everyone standby. As we all mentioned, Trump is spending the night at his Doral golf resort in Miami before his arraignment tomorrow. CNN's Randi Kaye is there as well. Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Abby, we saw the former president a couple of times today. Once in the afternoon when he showed up after first just arriving here in Miami.


He came to his resort here at Doral, Florida. And then, at that time, his son, Eric Trump, was in the lobby waiting for him. A few supporters were also there waiting for him. He stopped and paused and asked how everybody was, and then seemed to go on his way. He also had an entourage with him, probably some of his lawyers, and was going overall with his discussions with his legal team as well all afternoon.

And then, at 7:00 p.m. tonight, I was in the lobby and the former president came downstairs at Doral to go into the restaurant there to have dinner. His son, Eric Trump, had gone down into the restaurant about half an hour before him with a group of men. And then came the former president. A lot of people were in the lobby to greet him. They were shouting, we are with you, we are behind you, we support you, Mr. President. He seemed to enjoy that. He gave a couple of thumbs up.

And then once he got inside the restaurant, he actually paused and took some pictures with people, they were asking him if he would, and he did. So, he took some photos, talked to them about what they do for a living, and then he went on his way to have dinner in one of the back rooms of the restaurant with his son and whoever else was going to join him.

But the second time we saw him, he did seem to be a little lighter. He seemed to be a little cheerier. Of course, this is a very important evening as the clock is ticking as he is going to make that court appearance for his arraignment tomorrow. So, a very important evening for him as he dines with those in the restaurant here. Abby?

PHILLIP: Very much so, Randi. Thank you very much. And former President Trump is interviewing lawyers tonight just hours before he is expected to be formally arraigned and arrested. We have our legal experts here to tell us how they see how all of this is playing out tomorrow. That is next.




PHILLIP: We are getting some new details tonight about the former president's search for additional attorneys to join his team. The details come as he huddles with the existing attorneys that he has just hours ahead of his historic arraignment in federal court tomorrow.

CNN senior justice correspondent Evan Perez is in Miami tonight. So, Evan what can you tell us about Trump's search for this new attorney at this pretty late stage, I guess, in the process? What strategy he wants to take?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is a pretty late stage. He spent the weekend -- some of -- both the former president and some of his allies spent their weekend trying to reach out to lawyers here in the Miami area, here in Florida, trying to find the right person who can represent him in this case.

We also know that Todd Blanche, who has been on this team representing him in on the cases in New York, is going to be here. We are expecting him to at least be in court.

He also spent some time today -- Kaitlan Collins was reporting that he spent some time with Ben Kuehne. He is a well-known Miami lawyer. It is not clear whether Ben Kuehne is going to join the team.

We know, Abby, that the former president did take some calls from people who were interested in joining his team. There are also some that he and his allies were reaching out to who said that they didn't have any interest in representing him.

So, we are now going to wait until tomorrow to see exactly who appears on the president's team when he appears in court for his first appearance here in Miami. Abby?

PHILLIP: A perennial problem for Donald Trump. He is, of course, not the easiest defendant to represent, but this is also a very, very tough case. Evan Perez, thank you very much.

And now, I want to bring in former special assistant Watergate prosecutor Jon Sale and Palm Beach County state attorney Dave Aronberg. John and Dave, thanks for joining us. Jon, I want to start with you. I want to play here what one of Trump's former lawyers, Tim Pariatore, told Erin Burnett just earlier tonight about what his biggest concerns are in this case.


TIM PARIATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY IN MAR-A-LAGO DOCS PROBE: The two pieces of it that I am -- you know, give me a little bit of pause are the exchanges between the president and Walt Nauta regarding the movement of boxes --


PARIATORE: -- which, again, if they actually have all the video and everything that they claim to back that up, that is going to be a tremendous hurdle. The other thing is the exchanges with the employee of the pack about the map.

BURNETT: Right, dissemination.

PARIATORE: Correct. That is going to be potentially problematic because there is no tape of that, it seems. It seems like that is something that is based on the testimony of somebody who may still work for him. So, that's something that is also going to be problematic.


PHILLIP: Yeah. And he is expressing there, Jon, some question marks. We don't know who that evidence may have come from. As you know that he is trying to beef up his legal team, do you think he is going to be able to find the kind of legal firepower that he is going to need to go up against what the government may have in this case?

JON SALE, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I find it hard to believe that he can't find a good lawyer. After all, he was the former president of the United States. It is a historic case. It is the only time it has ever happened. I hope it never happens again.

But it is very important, when I handle a case in other parts of the country, the very first thing I do is engage in local lawyer so that you know the practice, you know the customs. Mr. Blanche, tomorrow, needs to have somebody make a motion, we call it (INAUDIBLE), to even allow him to appear. So, the former president should rush it. It is so important.

But the one bit of advice that I have, although they are not asking me for any now, but the one bit of advice I have is that the infighting has to stop and the finger-pointing, and they have to all come on and be on the same page and have a rapport with their client.

PHILLIP: Yeah. And Pariatore actually left the legal team because of concerns. One of the reasons was because of concerns about another lawyer who was on the team.


Jon, earlier tonight, Chris Christie was on a CNN town hall. He referenced something called the rocket docket in South Florida, saying that he believes that it could play a role in speeding up the trial. So, maybe not 70 days but six to eight months. Do you think it could move that fast?

SALE: I have a great deal of respect for Governor Christie, but we do not have a rocket docket, which is exactly why you need a local Florida lawyer. It depends upon the judge. And some judges are very slow. I'm not going to mention any names. Some judges hold your feet to the fire.

But the national security documents, there is statute called CIPA, C- I-P-A, which sets up procedures for reviewing the trans interview, classified documents. That without the fault of anybody is going to cause a substantial delay.

PHILLIP: And Dave, to that point, the special counsel sounds like they are all also trying to bring on prosecutors with Florida experience. What does that tell us about their strategy, especially in light of the fact that they changed venues at what seems to have been a fairly late stage in this investigation?

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY: Yeah, Abby, I think you hit it right there. The special counsel is a well-experienced and well-respected attorney, Jack Smith. But I don't think they counted on coming to Florida until the very end. I think they must have had an internal discussion that they didn't want to go into all of these delays in a fight over venue.

They wanted to have this in Washington, D.C. After all, Trump got 5% of the vote in Washington, D.C. And the judges in D.C. are more experienced in these national security matters.

But they ultimately decided to go to South Florida for a few reasons. I think first, they knew that Trump would challenge the venue. They didn't want to have a chance of losing the case. They didn't want endless delays over challenges to the venue.

And, plus, I think Jack Smith wanted the public to buy into this. It is one thing to go to D.C. and the friendly confines of the D.C. court. It's another thing to go get the indictment in Trump's home state, a red state, in front of a grand jury of individuals from all walks of life, nonpolitical. I think that that makes a statement.

PHILLIP: And Dave, one of the other things that Christie talked about was the idea that he thinks that there might be much more evidence that appears in the courtroom. What do you think about that? Is it possible that we could learn new things or hear from new people when this goes to trial?

ARONBERG: I think it is possible. But I think the Justice Department did a good job in creating what is called a speaking indictment. They gave 49 pages of really good information to describe what is going on here. Compare that to New York, which took a different approach in its indictment of Donald Trump. They didn't give us much information. They played a little bit of hide the ball.

But Jack Smith wanted the public to buy into this. So not only did he explain what the facts were, he also did a bit of show and tell. There were pictures in there. Now, you have an iconic photo of the bathroom and the chandelier with all the boxes around. And so, I think that there may be new evidence that we learn at trial, but I think they're already showing their hands and rightfully so.

PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, this may be one of those ways that -- I mean, the DOJ would never say that they are taking all of the other things happening in the world under consideration. But they have learned from the other indictment that Donald Trump faced, how important public opinion is.

Jon Sale and Dave Aronberg, thank you both very much.

SALE: Thank you.

PHILLIP: And Trump is now leading in the republican race for the presidential nomination. Will his indictment on federal charges change that? Former Republican Congressman Will Hurd is with us and tells us what he thinks after this break.




PHILLIP: We are now just hours away from Donald Trump's arrest on federal charges of alleged mishandling of classified documents. Even so, the former president says he will not drop out of the race for the 2024 republican nomination under any circumstance.

And joining me now tonight from New Hampshire is former Texas Republican Congressman Will Hurd. He is also a former CIA officer. Congressman Hurd, thank you for joining us. Look, tomorrow will, of course, be an incredibly historic day for the country, but I want to talk about what this means for the republican race in terms of Trump's charges against him. How do you think that this affects the 2024 race?

WILL HURD, FORMER TEXAS REPRESENTATIVE: Look, instead of the 2024 election being a conversation on Joe Biden and what Joe Biden has and hasn't done, it could potentially be a conversation about more additional baggage of Donald Trump. And if it is about Donald Trump's baggage, then guess what? Republicans are going to lose in 2024.

And so, that is unfortunate at a time when you have the Chinese president having -- you know, putting intelligence resources 100 miles away from the United States and Cuba, you have Vladimir Putin sending nuclear weapons to Belarus, you have the Saudi government trying to weaponize the oil again, you have the Brics countries trying to impact the dollar, you have people in the United States of America worried about where robots taking their jobs because of where AI is going, the concern continues about inflation.


Instead of all of that, we are talking about why someone didn't give documents back when they were asked. That is not good for the country. That is not good for the GOP.

PHILLIP: One of the things we are also seeing playing out over the last couple of days is Republican candidates seeming to figure out how to deal with this in real time. For example, Nikki Haley, she is now changing her tune from a statement that she gave CNN before Trump's indictment was unsealed. She called it prosecutorial overreach and vendetta politics. But here she is today. Listen.


NIKKI HALEY, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If this indictment is true, if what it says is actually the case, President Trump was incredibly reckless with our national security. It is reckless, it is frustrating, and it causes problems. You know, we are looking now, this is the second indictment, we are looking at possibly a third indictment.


PHILLIP: These are all candidates who are running to be the Republican nominee. What does it make you think when you see them flip-flopping, I guess, like this?

HURD: Well, look, I grew up in politics with a simple perspective, right? Be honest. Treat people with respect, right? Don't be afraid of constituents. And ultimately, anybody who has read that document, these are taped recordings. I don't think the FBI put together and mishandled what they typed in on the transcript.

And so, the other thing is, is this all of the information that the FBI and DOJ have access to? I think it is probably unlikely. You have a better perspective on what else may come out.

So, unfortunately, this is -- this comes down to leadership. This comes down to character. And what do you want in a president? Do you want somebody who lies to you? Do you want somebody who tells the truth? Do you want somebody who spits in the face of men and women who are putting themselves in harm's way in order to keep us safe?

These are the questions that we are going to have to ask ourselves. Hopefully and I do believe the voters of the Republican Party are going to recognize that and realize that Donald Trump has too much baggage. If we elect Donald Trump, then we are willingly giving the 2024 election to Joe Biden.

PHILLIP: I know that you have said in the past that you think that Hillary Clinton and her emails, you thought that that was a huge problem. But I wonder, when you hear Republicans deflect, bringing up that situation, do you think that there is a real difference here? Are these allegations against Trump more serious?

HURD: Well, Donald Trump's attorney general did not bring charges against Hillary Clinton. Look, I still stand behind that if I had done these things, it would be -- I would have been treated differently when I was in the CIA.

But we can talk about the DOJ, what they do and do not do separately, right? This is about what we know about Donald Trump. We wouldn't be here. We would not be in this situation if he would have given the documents back when he asked. And that is ultimately the problem. And let's address that.

And guess what? If we want to address the other issues about how DOJ prosecutes things, what's the future of federal law enforcement, then we have to win elections in order to have those kinds of conversations.

PHILLIP: So, right now, we are speaking to you from the state of New Hampshire. You are not from New Hampshire, you are from Texas. So, you are considering, I take it, a run for the presidency? Has any of this that has unfolded over the last few days, the charges against Trump, the reaction from your fellow republicans, has an influence your decision to put your hat in the ring?

HURD: Look, for me, the question is about how do I help my country. How do we ensure that the United States of America is a place where the American dream is accessible by all and not just a select few? And that is why I would be getting into the race.

Here's the reality, in the conversations that I've had in coffee shops and diners and in civic complexes, the questions are about things that impact people's ability to put a roof over their head, food on the table, and making sure that the people they love are healthy, happy and safe. Those are the conversations that people actually want to engage in and want to have their conversations.


They recognize that this kind of stuff is embarrassing, it shouldn't be happening, and it is an issue that Donald Trump brought on himself because all he had to do was return the documents when he was asked.

PHILLIP: A decision coming in days or weeks?

HURD: A decision -- I need to make decision soon. That is for sure.

PHILLIP: All right. All right, former Congressman Will Hurd, thank you very much for joining us.

HURD: Always a pleasure.

PHILLIP: And my panel of experts and analysts, they are all here and they got a lot to say about what the former Congressman Will Hurd just said. We will weigh on all of that after a quick break.



PHILLIP: Ahead of his arrest in just a few hours, former President Donald Trump surrounded by supporters tonight at his Miami golf resort. Some of those supporters tell CNN, though, that they will still back him for president in next years' election.

Let's get right back to our panel. Joining us now, CNN political commentators Ashley Allison and Kristen Soltis-Anderson. So, Ashley, you heard what Will Hurd had to say. It sounds like the field is going to get a little bit more crowded.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. Well, first, I want to say I appreciate him condemning Trump's behavior and saying that, you know, we should not be putting the blame on the DOJ. And, it's a strong and, I don't think that --

PHILLIP: And not but.



Yes, this is and. I don't think Will Hurd is necessarily the person that the Republican voters looking to jump into the race to support in the primary. And again, the larger the field gets, the harder it is to defeat Trump.

So, you know, everyone can run in this country for president. God bless him if he decides to. But does that really what that party needs right now to get rid of a Donald Trump from being the Republican nominee?

PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, actually, a couple of days ago, there was talk about -- is there a soul searching about how the field needs to narrow? Maybe not. We also spoke to a Trump supporter down in Miami today, and here is what she said.


LINDA CATALINA, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Like we don't even care if he is going to be in jail, and we have to write him in. You know, to a lot of us, it's like Trump or nothing. We are not even looking at DeSantis as a second option. We are not looking at anybody else as a second option. Maybe we will vote for that person.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIP: So, Trump and his team -- I mean, look, nobody is thrilled about being indicted, but I think their view is an indictment hardens the resolve of people like that woman.

KRISTEN SOLTIS-ANDERSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: In the polls that I see, it is between 20 and 30 percent generally say they are with Trump no matter what. They are the he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and they would stick with him crew. That is within the republican primary electorate.

There is another really large chunk and that is -- the more interesting one to me is the one that says we like Donald Trump but we are open to other options.

And what is going to be fascinating to watch is to what extent does this indictment push any of those folks firmly into Donald Trump's camp where they say, you know what, I am not considering anyone else anymore, I just want Donald Trump. Or does it make them go, you know what, let's really keep my mind open, let's keep our options open because it is not a good look to have our nominee be someone who could potentially be in prison.

And so, I think for the Republican Party, having more and more candidates who actually do take a swing at Donald Trump a little bit, you know, up until this point, so many of these candidates have said the only way to win this game is not to play, don't even -- pretend like Donald Trump doesn't exist.

You are starting to see whether it is, what we just heard from Will Hurd, what we heard from Chris Christie earlier tonight in the town hall, what we even heard a little bit from Nikki Haley earlier today, Republicans beginning to say, hey, maybe it is time to take a few swings at Donald Trump.

PHILLIP: You know what is interesting, though, about the Nikki Haley and the, you know, some of the others coming out today with stronger statement, Tim Scott, right? It is almost like they waited for Bill Barr to give them a permission slip to say that this is bad and maybe we should criticize Trump for it.

But Andrew, I want to talk to you about tomorrow, the history of this moment. Trump told a reporter this weekend that he never wanted to be indicted. And honestly, I think the country never thought they would meet this moment. What do you think this means for us as a nation?

MCCABE: Well, I mean, first, I have to say, hearing the former president say he never wanted to get indicted, that makes the most sense of anything I have heard him say in a long time.

PHILLIP: And yet he behaved in this way --

MCCABE: That's right.

PHILLIP: -- that clearly led to an indictment.

MCCABE: It is yet another norm, another barrier that has been broken down. It is not just watching a former president get indicted but it is watching it for the second time. We should -- it's, of course, historic and notable, but also entirely foreseeable, right?

So, we -- for -- you know -- most -- I think most people who had -- from the intelligence community who had exposure to the former president during his term recognized a very different approach to things like respecting and handling and understanding highly sensitive intelligence products.

So, to now see the details in this indictment of what can only be described as wildly reckless behavior with respect to America's -- some of America's most sensitive important secrets, I don't think that many people are that surprised.

WILLIAMS: I think that said, you know, one of the most interesting things we heard tonight was talking about other countries where this has actually happened, former leaders or even sitting leaders, Israel, France, and so on. There is a roadmap for the rule of law playing out with respect to a sitting or former president. It is just a question of whether we are capable of doing it.


Now, we as Americans like to think of ourselves as a global model. We ought to be. But this is really a test of our system and who we are as a country.

PHILLIP: Yeah. I mean, it has been so surprising. I guess I shouldn't be surprised to hear so many people make the argument that a candidate in -- a candidacy in and of itself should be almost like an immunity. Being a former president should be almost like immunity against other rule of law. So, we will see how that plays out. Thank you all for this.

A historic day tomorrow. Donald Trump will be formally arrested and arraigned on those federal charges. We will be right back.


PHILLIP: As we have been telling you, former President Trump is in Miami tonight.


He has been glad-handing supporters, putting on a brave face as he interviews lawyers just hours before he is set to be arrested and arraigned tomorrow.

Trump is now facing 37 counts of his alleged mishandling of classified documents after he left the White House. And All eyes will be on the courthouse on Miami for the twice-impeached former president's first steps in a trail that is set to roil the political landscape ahead of 2024.

And CNN will, of course, be live from Florida for every moment of that. We have special live coverage beginning tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time with the arrest and arraignment coverage at 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Tune in for that.

Thank you for watching us tonight. I will see you all tomorrow for all of that coverage and all of the latest developments. Have a good night.