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Erin Burnett Outfront
Judge Gives Trump Deadline To Explain Request For Special Mater To Review Evidence Seized By FBI; Letter: Mar-a-Lago Docs Included "Highest Levels Of Classification"; "Volatile": U.S. Urges Americans In Ukraine To Leave Immediately; Texas Sends Thousands Of Migrants To NYC Amid Homelessness Crisis; First Results Coming In As Polls Begin Closing In Florida Primaries; Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) Is Interviewed On China Protesting Trip By U.S. Officials To Taiwan. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired August 23, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, a federal judge tonight responds to Trump's lawsuit, giving the former president a deadline to better explain why he wants an independent review of documents taking from Mar-a-Lago, as we're also learning new details about the sheer volume of classified material that Trump had at Mar-a-Lago.
Plus, thousands of immigrants at the southern border showing up by the busloads in Washington, D.C. and now New York City. It's got New Yorkers asking, what about our needs?
And, it's Election Day in America. In New York, the race between two political heavyweights that's turned personal and nasty. Accusations of being senile and gullible.
Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, in for Erin Burnett.
OUTFRONT tonight, Trump under pressure. A federal judge pressing the former president for more answers tonight, giving Trump's legal team a Friday deadline to explain his request for a special master to lead a review of the evidence the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago earlier last month. The judge, who was nominated to the bench by Trump in 2020, is also questioning why Trump's legal team believes her court has jurisdiction to even get involved in this case.
This comes as we're learning new details tonight about how many sensitive documents Trump was storing at Mar-a-Lago. In this letter that the National Archives released today, the agency told Trump's legal team it had discovered more than 700 pages of classified documents, in 15 boxes back in January, when the archives first visited Mar-a-Lago. Those boxes, by the way, do not include with the FBI took from Trump's home this month. It is a lot of boxes.
The letters go on to say the documents in Mar-a-Lago included some of the most sensitive government secrets, materials that should only be viewed in secure government facilities. Not Trump's Florida retreat. According to the letter, officials were so worried about the security
lapses that the national archives took the rare step of sharing the documents with the intelligence community, because of fears that America's national security could be a risk. Serious concerns, even some Republicans are sounding alarmed.
Republican Congressman Chris Stewart from Utah telling "Politico" this: I mean if he had an actual special access program, do you know how extraordinarily sensitive that is? That's very, very sensitive. If they were actually at residents, that would be a problem.
Evan Perez is OUTFRONT live in Washington for us tonight.
So, Evan, how important is this letter that the Archives released today?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, this letter really explain to us how we got to this problem, where the FBI felt that they needed to go to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve any additional boxes that contain information that could be sensitive.
What it does is it really puts a timeline on these discussions going on behind the scenes after the archives found that there were more than 100 documents, marked as classified, more than 700 pages in total, some of them at that highest level which is special access programs. This is stuff that even if you had the top secret secret security clearance, you needed additional clearance to be able to access those types of documents.
Again, this is the kind of thing that should not be stored in a room at your beach house in Palm Beach. And despite all of, this the FBI couldn't get access to this for more than four weeks while the Trump team was trying to claim that they had some kind of executive privilege. In the end, they were given that access, and you can see now where we are, you know, with the FBI having to go to Mar-a-Lago to retrieve additional boxes of classified information.
BOLDUAN: And about that, what more you learning about the judges response today to Trump's lawsuit over the FBI search of his home, and what it means for him now?
PEREZ: Well, it's never a good thing when you file a lawsuit and a judge presumably, perhaps a more friendly judge, she was appointed by the former president, comes back to you and says, why are you coming here? What exactly are you looking for?
That is exactly what she does. She is giving a deadline on Friday for Trump's team to come back and say, what exactly, what's really are they asking for. Because, frankly the lawsuit that they filed is not entirely clear.
And she is also saying, you know, why didn't you go to the other judge who is already looking at whether to release the affidavits? She wants an explanation, and she also says, do you tell the Justice Department that you wanted the special master, this third party, to do or view of these documents. And why are you coming here now? BOLDUAN: Very interesting. It's great to see you, Evan. Thanks so
OUTFRONT with me now, John Dean, former Nixon White House counsel, Asha Rangappa, former FBI special agent, and Ryan Goodman, former special counsel at the Department of Defense, now co-editor in chief of the "Just Security" blog.
Thanks, guys, for being here.
Ryan, let's start with the voters response today to the Trump lawsuit that Evan was laying out. The question the judge raises, they seem pretty straightforward and should be answered. I mean, Evan and I mentioned, this judge was appointed by Trump in 2020.
What do you make of her response?
RYAN GOODMAN, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: So, I think "Politico" described it very well that the questions for clarification that she is asking dovetails with all of the criticisms that we heard in the last 24 hours from legal observers. Just saying things like, what is this? It is really not with a legal complaint looks like. It is a lot of political arguments.
But it's also unclear, why is this in her court, why did they filed with the judge who is entertaining the case and has all the information about it? Is it a civil suit? Is it -- when we are dealing with a criminal matter, what is the specific relief that we are asking for? She is pushing on all of these questions, and the specific release one in particular, like, when you really want the special master today to identify which documents have or a subject to executive privilege? The special master identify that those would be the very documents which would be the national archives.
So it really is kind of a very significant reduction in a certain sense, of what they did, but giving them a second opportunity.
BOLDUAN: It's a good way of saying projection, kind of knew where this is headed with all of this, to hear that.
Asha, the judge's response to this seemed like -- I mean, as Ryan was laying out, like a slap on Trump's legal counsel and what they put together here and presented, that they would submit the filing of the lawsuit like this in the way that they did.
What do you think of that?
ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, I think that is one of the angles of this that is quite extraordinary is really how poor his legal representation has to be -- is right now. We saw this already in the lead up to January 6th. He had his dream team of Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell and Jenna Ellis. But it almost feels like he is gone even lower than that with people who are not really prepared to handle this. And I think the key here is this really looks like it is headed in the
direction of a potential indictment. And Trump really needs to have a strong legal representation from experience lawyers who know how to defend a criminal case. Beyond they have to at least know how to file documents in court.
And I think there needs to be a time when you represented the president would make your legal career. And it appears that no one wants to represent him partly because I think he is a bad client and he doesn't listen to advice. He doesn't pay his lawyers. And often, the lawyers end up under investigation, in some form themselves.
So, you know, I don't know what to say but it does -- it does not look good for Trump at this point.
BOLDUAN: I would say, Asha, you said a lot. You said a lot there.
John, then there is this released letter that the Archives sent Trump back in May about the more than 100 classified records and 700 pages of the retreat from his home earlier in the year. The former act -- one of Trump's chief of staff, the former acting chief, Mick Mulvaney, he told me earlier today that the sheer volume does not concern him as much, because people essentially are walking around with classified documents all of the time and they could just get stuffed in a box as they were moving out of the White House.
Is that how you see it?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I really don't see it that way. I think -- particularly special access program documents are generally -- they're numbered, they're monitored quickly. They are closely where they are and who has them, how long they've had them, the president had them. They would know where they are.
That's why one of the reasons when the FBI began looking at this they recognized documents were missing because they have a lot of these documents were not returned.
So, this letter is very telling and it is not just released by the National Archives, it was released in response to John Solomon, who posted his form on his website. And they wanted to put out the original so we can all see what's in it.
It is a very damning letter for the Trump people, and the detail it explains of how they didn't do anything for a year plus before the Archives finally decided they had to act. It tells that they released it -- Solomon released it, to try to accuse the Biden administration of politicizing this investigation.
The letter shows exactly the opposite. It shows that the Archives went by the book. They had to go to the Justice Department. This was so extreme.
Justice follow the Presidential Records Act, went to the White House. The White House actually said, listen, we will defer to the archives on making these decisions. So this is not Biden and they're trying to provoke this investigation. So, I think that it's an important letter, it's available online for people who are following this investigation. And I think they will learn a lot from it.
BOLDUAN: And, Ryan, from a, like, legal standpoint, bringing it a little bit, trying to bring it all together, what does it contribute or kind of what bearing do you think the number, 700 pages of classified documents that they have taken in January kind of selection of boxes from Mar-a-Lago?
What would that have on the decision for the Justice Department to bring any charges?
GOODMAN: So, I do think it is a breathtaking number, 700 pages, just in the first tranche of 100 documents. We know that there are over 300 documents based on "The New York Times" reporting. So, that's a huge number.
I think it influences the Justice Department in a couple of ways. First, it's a strong indication this is no mistake. You don't just like file away a couple of documents, that's a very large volume, especially when we're talking about documents --
BOLDUAN: Around --
GOODMAN: Yeah, and they're identified, some of them are color coded and the rest, you don't miss that in your filings.
And then the second is I think it means there's very significant implications for U.S. national security. So, all of that I think would actually be difficult for the Justice Department to turn away from, if they're thinking about whether or not to bring an indictment, and I think the prosecutors would say look, this is winnable. We can convince a jury with a number that is so breathtaking it will stick in the majority's mind, in terms of its national security implications and the question of how willful it was on the part of the president to have these documents.
TAPPER: I want to ask you, Asha, about the national security implications because the National Archives, they explained they got to this in this letter that the Justice Department, part of the reason here is that the Justice Department, the way they put in the letter, wanted to conduct an assessment of potential damage resulting from the apparent manner in which these materials were stored and transported, and take any necessary remedial steps. Yet we know that Trump, from what we know about these more recent FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, still have more classified documents.
I mean, what's your take from that?
RANGAPPA: So, there's two takeaways. I mean, first, with the on secure possession of these documents, the government has to basically operate on the assumption that some unauthorized third-party has seen them. And by the way, just in terms of his lawyers and -- I know there is parties have seen them, but let's say, you know, a foreign intelligence service has gotten access to them in some way. Mar-a-Lago is actually open to traffic. It would be a target for them.
And so, then, they have to go back and look at protecting sources and methods, you know, engaging their counterintelligence resources to see whether are other entities know things that they don't know, and taking measures to protect against that. But the other piece of this is that Trump appeared to be willfully evading the government's attempt to recover this. It's not that it took, you know, a year and he said, okay, okay, here, take it all back.
I mean, "The New York Times" reporting says that he actually went through the documents that he gave back those 15 boxes, which I would interpret, as he wanted to make sure that he wasn't giving back something he really wanted to keep. And, then even after the subpoena was served and they came and retrieve those documents, that he continue to hold on to staff.
So I think we need to ask, what is he holding onto and -- or what was he holding onto and why? What was the importance of this to him? And, you know, what kind of compromise has that made for our national security?
BOLDUAN: This does kind of circle back to a basic question from the very beginning of this, that has not yet been answered, which also just got to, John, which is, why did Donald Trump to have these? Why did, John, when Donald Trump knew he had them, why did he want to keep them? That's still not known.
RANGAPPA: Absolutely, and we have a Trump westerner in Maggie Haberman -- Maggie has done her best to try to explain her understanding from what she's been able to pick up, that he just wants these documents. He likes to show off stuff and show people documents.
Now, these aren't the sorts of things that you want to have around for that purpose. And I think that's what the government is worried about. Who does he show it to, where are they, have pictures been made of them, and things of that nature.
And he just wants to be a big deal and the center of attention. And this is the wrong kind of material he used for that purpose.
TAPPER: Yeah. Now, we know two big headlines coming up now today, this week. Thursday and Friday, for more explanations in court of what's going to happen in both of these fronts now.
So, thank you all. Really appreciate it.
OUTFRONT for us next, the U.S. warning all Americans in Ukraine to get out now, saying the highly volatile situation could be about to get worse actually. We're live on the ground and in Washington.
Plus, thousands of migrants bus to New York City from Texas, and getting a warm welcome from officials. But how do the residents feel about it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the mayor's initiative, though, has been a little bit ignorant of what has been going on in the city.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And, it's election night in America. Votes starting to come in in Florida's primary, and the big question tonight, who is going to take on Ron DeSantis come November?
BOLDUAN: Grim warnings in the U.S. tonight. The State Department urging Americans in Ukraine to leave immediately, saying it has information that Russia is preparing to launch new attacks in the coming days. U.S. warnings of a volatile, highly volatile situation that could be getting worse. This coming after the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist was killed in a car bombing near Moscow.
We're covering this for multiple angles for you tonight.
Natasha Bertrand is OUTFRONT in Washington and Sam Kiley is on the ground in Kyiv.
Natasha, what are you hearing from your sources about specific and eminent these threats are?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESP0NDENT: Yeah, Kate, U.S. government officials are telling us that Americans need to leave Ukraine immediately, that Russia could ramp up its attacks eminently on civilian infrastructure and government facilities.
Now, the state department did issue an alert on this, urging Americans again to leave the country, but they did not say where these attacks took place and even when, but the sources that we have been speaking to have expressed a lot of concern that these attacks could begin as soon as tomorrow.
Now, why is tomorrow significant? It's Ukraine's independence day. It marks the 31st anniversary of Ukraine's independence or the Soviet Union and, importantly, it is a sixth month anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
So, it's a hugely important day and, of course, given the weight that Russia has placed historically on symbolic dates in key anniversaries, the U.S. and Ukraine are watching very closely to see if Russia does launch any attacks.
Now, there are fears that Russia could in fact launch attacks on this infrastructure in Kyiv itself, which the city center, of course, has largely been spared over the course of the war, so this could be a major escalation.
And, of course, this call comes amid extremely high in tensions between Ukraine and Russia, given the death, as you mentioned, of Darya Dugina, who is the daughter of that prominent Putin ally. Russia blames Ukraine for her death. Of course, Ukraine denies that categorically, but there are concerns that Russia could ramp up its attacks, escalate in retaliation for that death.
Now, of course, Americans have been urging U.S. citizens to get out of the country for months now. This is just another indication, however, that they believe Russia could be escalating even further, Kate.
BOLDUAN: And, Sam, Natasha said something important, which is that this comes at a critical moment. Tomorrow marks occurrence independence day, also six months since Russia's division. What is the feeling on the ground?
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have to say, here in Kyiv, it's a little bit quiet because the President Zelenskyy came out today and implored his citizens around the country to listen and respect the instructions being given from home defense agencies to react to silence, if sirens go off, to actually use the arid shelters, because people get fairly used to them and often ignore them in some cities, even in places like Kharkiv and Kramatorsk, which are getting hit on a regular basis. That is because people get used to things. So, that is the one level.
The other level is also that it is very difficult for Ukrainians to see how the Russians could ramp up. I don't think Ukraine said much to store by these dates, nor do they necessarily believe that the Russians have held back any capability, and they were going to go up to infrastructure. In the view of most Ukrainians, they wouldn't smash it up already. It is not like they have been shy in the use of their high explosives against civilian areas.
But at the same time, they are also anticipating something of a new phase in the war. Certainly, that is where the government standing. I spoke earlier to the defense minister. And he was hinting broadly at things to come.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLEKSII REZNIKOV, UKRAINE DEFENSE MINISTER: I think we want to urge of a new stage, because we had to go forward, to count our counteroffensive in a different direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KILEY: Now, that different direction will be partly driven by foreign military aid, with the United States announcing another three billion, that's on top of the $700-plus billion that they announced just a few days ago. Those earlier announcements were weapons supplies mostly, and additional drones and so on. This is much more focused on long- term training programs. I think we will see a lot more unconventional warfare too coming from the Ukrainians.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Sam, Natasha, thank you so much.
OUTFRONT for us next, the growing number of migrants being bused to New York is now testing the city identity, as a sanctuary city. Can New York handle the massive influx?
Plus, voters casting their ballots and in your primary that is pitting two political heavyweights against each other.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): She was gullible enough to believe the misrepresentation at the Bush administration.
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): I think that you should read the editorial in "The New York Post" today. They called him senile.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Tonight, thousands of migrants bused into New York City, sent from the southern border by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, after Abbott targeted Washington, D.C. as a destination for busloads of migrants as well.
It comes as New York is already facing a growing homelessness crisis, among other issues.
Polo Sandoval is OUTFRONT at the Port Authority bus terminal, where migrants are arriving.
Polo, how did New Yorkers feel about the city's response to these arrivals?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, you will hear from a couple of New Yorkers in just a few moments. You'll find that there really is some mixed reaction to the way the city has been handling this influx that we see now most of the summer here. What you have is a city struggling to absorb what has now become well over 6,000 asylum-seeking migrants that arrived here in New York City. Many of them, especially in the last few weeks, have arrived here in New York City's Port Authority in Manhattan, so many of them coming from South America.
A lot of these families, a lot of these individuals, Kate, they are telling me that they traveled all the way from places like Colombia. Many of them from Venezuela and New York, basically marking the end of their months-long journey. So many of them have little to no social ties, and therein lies what the biggest challenge for city officials to find ways of housing so many of these individuals and shelter system that is already stretched to capacity. An example here, the vacancy rate that is basically used to measure how many beds and shutters have available, has remained at well below 1 percent for several weeks.
They tried to aim for 5 percent. So, that gives you a sense, and that is one of the concerns that weighs heavily on the minds of many regular New Yorkers who are closely watching the situation grow worse by the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that the mayor's initiative has been a little bit ignorant of what is going on in the city, and the people need to be solving a lot of it. We have a homelessness issue here. We have a drug issue here that needs to be solved because in the past couple of years, I have not seen it get better. It has gotten way worse. And COVID didn't help.
If we don't solve those problems first, I don't think we're going to be able to let people in the way that we need to.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think in New York, we had the resources for it. It is how it is allocated. It's about making it a priority, you know? That's what we should do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: We should be clear though, overall, when you speak to New Yorkers on the street, they are hopeful that the city will be able to continue to keep up with that tradition, with that image of New York City acting as a beacon, at least being a beacon for immigrants from around the world but it is certainly a delicate balancing act where city officials to address existing issues here in New York, at the same time, try to get a grasp on this.
And as for the governor in Texas, he's showing no evidence that he plans to stop offering these migrants free rides to the Northeast.
Back to you.
BOLDUAN: Polo, thank you so much.
OUTFRONT with us now, Manhattan borough president Mark Levine.
Thank you so much for being here. We really appreciate it.
So, as Polo was really laying out, New York City has always been a welcoming place for immigrants. How much is this current situation putting that to the test?
MARK LEVINE (D), MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT: well, he interviewed New Yorkers who I think speak for all of us, who are incredibly proud of the tradition of hundreds of years of welcoming people from around the world. It is why the statue of Liberty is here.
This is a major operation that we need a job ensure that people have a bed to sleep in, food and medical care. But we are ramping up. Now, we are going to need some federal resources, ultimately. But New York City has done this before, and we're doing it again.
BOLDUAN: But this situation has not really happen before into the air that we are seeing, coming from the Texas governor. What do you need from the federal government? Have you had conversations with them? LEVINE: Well, first, let me say that while we welcome these arrivals
with opening open arms, this does not detract from one Governor Abbott is doing, it is incredibly cynical and showing no heart from people fleeing life-threatening circumstances, and who are following the legal process here as asylum seekers.
But yes, the city is in conversations with the federal government about FEMA assistance. FEMA was assisting Texas when it was housing these migrants there. And, look, this is going to require a national plan ultimately. The federal government should be coordinating with states and cities around the country.
BOLDUAN: I mean, immigration reform is needed across the board. I mean, the asylum process is a laborsome process, and the system is largely broken.
But most immediately, for New York and when you are focused on each day, the city's shelter system is already stressed and maxed out. We know this. Polo is getting into some of it. There's more than 50,000 people in city shelters each night, as of June this year.
The Legal Aid Society says in just a few days, just a few days ago, the vacancy rate is below 1 percent, which is below at the city is comfortable with. They were just 19 rooms available. That is not sustainable.
How can the system take in more? I mean, truly, I understand welcome with open arms. But practically, are you at a breaking point?
LEVINE: Well, the shelter system is this full, what the city does have contracts with hotels. And right now, there are a number of empty hotels because tourism while it's come back, it's not what it was pre- pandemic levels. And so, they are quickly moving to expand capacity and ultimately several thousand rooms.
We can do this quickly. We've done it before. We are going to need some federal reimbursement. That is where FEMA comes in.
BOLDUAN: What about schools? I think the estimate that I saw that the city is expecting an influx of more than 1000 migrant children to be than entering your city public schools. The school system, public school system, is already seeing class sizes that are up to 30 percent larger than compared to other places.
What does this mean for schools?
LEVINE: We are estimating the thousand children are going to need spots in our public schools. Every one of them will be out for that spot. And that is going to require our mobilization to ensure we had bilingual staff, more social workers, and guidance counselors.
But we can do this. Actually, the enrollment in New York City public schools is already down in the last couple of years. So there is capacity in the buildings. It is going to be tough for these kids, and imagine what a child is experiencing now having fled their country income here. We need to do the best we can for them. BOLDUAN: And I know you said what Governor Abbott is doing is a
cynical, but as a politician, he's trying to raise awareness that the border is not just his problem, it's the country's problem. As a Texas governor, is he succeeding his goal?
LEVINE: I don't know what his political goals are, but I know he's behaving in a heartless and I would say xenophobic fashion. Showing no compassion for human beings who are following a legal process, they are here as asylum seekers. Many are fleeing oppression in their home countries, Venezuela, Colombia, Cuba, Haiti and elsewhere.
The America thing to do is to welcome the man with open arms. That is a New York way. I am really proud of how we are handling this.
BOLDUAN: Manhattan borough president Mark Levine, thanks for coming in. Really appreciate it.
OUTFRONT for us next, it's election night in America, and in Florida, Democrats are picking their candidates to take on Ron DeSantis and also his popular line of attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: They woke mind virus. Woke gender ideology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Could all the woke talk get DeSantis a second term, and all the way to the White House?
Plus, Pennsylvania Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz, his campaign is going after John Fetterman's health, saying, he would not have suffered a stroke had he eaten vegetables.
BOLDUAN: New tonight, polls just closing in parts of Florida where Democrats are choosing candidate to take on the popular and well- funded Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. And in New York, a mess of a redistricting process is now forcing two veteran and top Democrats to run against each other in a primary that has gotten nasty.
Phil Mattingly is OUTFRONT for us at the magic wall with more on this.
OK. So, let's start in Florida, Phil, where we are just getting in some close results.
Former Republican governor-turned-Democratic congressman, who knows where he wants to be in the next cycle, he is running against the state's agriculture commissioner. Whoever wins is going to take on Ron DeSantis. What are you seeing?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, exactly. And if you're talking to Democrats in Florida, it's not about necessarily the specifics of either candidate, Charlie Crist or Nikki Fried, the state agriculture commissioner, former Republican-turned- independent, now Democratic member of House, it's a who can beat Ron DeSantis, the behemoths in Florida politics, $130 million in the bank, potential 2024 candidate.
Democrats right now are leading very, very heavily towards Charlie Crist. More than 299,000 votes ahead in 78 percent. Crist has the backing of the Florida Democratic establishment. He has the backing of a lot of national Democrats as well.
Nikki Fried, though, the only statewide Democrat in Florida and thought to some degree that her campaign was picking up momentum, particularly in the wake in the Supreme Court decision in Roe versus Wade decision.
Right now, it looks like that is very much not the case, at 300,000 votes right now for Charlie Crist, ahead of Nikki Fried, he looks on his way to locking up that nomination.
Earlier this afternoon, Governor Ron DeSantis said he expected to face Crist, it will be a nasty fight one will Republicans feel like they have an advantage in a state with a political excess that is quickly shifted over the course of the last several years.
The primary, though, 70 percent, still a lot of votes come in here, Kate. But right now, Charlie Crist in a very good position.
BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about New York, Phil. Just really -- as you said, this nasty war between two Democrats who've been in Congress for decades. What are you watching for there tonight?
MATTINGLY: You know, besides the fact that this is about as nasty as they can possibly get when it comes to two 30-year incumbents, two critical, critical chairs in the House Democratic Caucus in Jerry Nadler and Carolyn Maloney.
The biggest thing to watch right now is keep in mind, when you have Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, kind of line -- liberal lines of Manhattan who serve next each other for more than 30 years, they weren't supposed to be running once against each other. This got tossed up when the court threw out the redistricting map, putting these two incumbents together.
Nadler represents the upper west side, Maloney, the upper east side. The big question now is, even the Maloney's former district really incorporates more of this new district, is whether Nadler's base, whether Nadler's high propensity voters in the upper west side.
Plus the potential of this third candidate, nearly 40 year old, Suraj Patel, he has been a key player in a lot of the debates. He took on Maloney twice in primaries prior to this one. The last one, only losing by a couple thousand votes. He starts to siphon votes away from Maloney, Nadler who has the backing of Senate majority Chuck Schumer, got the endorsement from "New York Times" could be in a very good position to win.
But as you noted, this has been extraordinarily ugly race from two longtime colleagues, a lot of allegations being thrown about, or at least hinted that. That will come to an end at some point.
Keep in mind, New York, a little bit slow when it comes to counting votes right now. But this is definitely the nastiest primary we have seen over the course of the last several months, Kate.
BOLDUAN: All right. A big night ahead, Phil there for us. Thank you so much, Phil.
I want to bring in now, David Chalian, our political director; Kasie Hunt, anchor and chief national affairs analyst; and Nia-Malika Henderson, our senior political analyst.
David, let's start with this race in New York between Nadler and Maloney and how nasty it really has gotten.
I don't need to describe it, I think we should just play them in their own words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): Carolyn voted for the war in Iraq which killed hundreds of thousands of people. She was gullible enough to lead the misrepresentation of the bush administration.
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D-NY): I think he should read the editorial in "The New York Post" today. They called him senile. They cite his performance after the debate where he couldn't remember who he was -- who he impeached.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: And CNN's Isaac Dovere is reporting that Maloney is privately been telling people that Adler has, quote/unquote, half dead. Why does it get this rough?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: To which I think Nadler in an interview with Isaac said, I am not half dead.
BOLDUAN: I am not half dead.
CHALIAN: There you go.
CHALIAN: It's gotten this rough because these are entrenched incumbents who never envisioned their career would come to this and it's because of the quirks of redistricting.
So, when, Kate, you know, incumbency is a really potent thing in American politics. The great majority of members of Congress get reelected, and because of this quirk of redistricting, these two folks were drawn into one district. And that creates a political death match if you will.
So, one of them is going to end up going home, out of the job. And that's why it has gotten so nasty, especially in the home stretch.
BOLDUAN: And, Nia, Phil brought up third candidate, Suraj Patel. And he seems to be welcoming, making these generational distinction between the two. We can show because he even tried to show that on his website, a very fresh face depiction of himself, a very not so much depiction of the other two, in the pictures that he is putting up on his website.
Is this primary in some way putting the nasty side, it seems something of an encapsulation the problem in the Democratic Party has at this very moment.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's right, in some ways, a preview of what we are going to see play out in the Democratic Party in Congress going forward if they lose the House. You can see this generational fight. A fight you already see, a fight that Patel already waged against Maloney and almost won.
He is saying to these folks, you have been there all these years, 30 years. Maloney, you say you want to get that ERA ratified, well, you've been there for 30 years. It hasn't happened yet. So, let's have some fresh blood, let's have some diverse people in Congress as well too.
He is the son of Indian immigrants. He is 38 years old, he is labeling himself as an Obama Democrat.
And, listen, there have been, the last four years, the wise of the Obama Democrats, where are they going to be, who are they going to take over? I think this is what he is foreshadowing here and arguing for.
He likely -- if he doesn't win, at this point, he likely has a future in New York politics because I think there is a desire for some fresh faces, right? I mean, he is half the age essentially of Maloney and, you know, the other candidate, Nadler. And so, we'll see what happens.
BOLDUAN: Casey, can you talk to me about Florida. I mean, Phil was talking about, between Nikki Fried and Charlie Crist, and Charlie Crist seems to be doing pretty well so far.
Let's see what happens this evening.
But regardless, whoever wins, there are going to be up against a really formidable candidate in Ron DeSantis. How much -- how would you describe the uphill battle that whoever wins?
KASIE HUNT, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, I mean, look, I think the one number that Phil hit on, that's really most critical one is the 100 million dollar war chest that Ron DeSantis has to, in theory, just run for governor in Florida. I don't think anyone thinks that --
BOLDUAN: Whether you hinting at?
HUNT: -- here, you know?
So, I do think we've got some twists and turns before November. But it is an extraordinarily uphill battle for, it seems like Charlie Crist, the likely winner here. But any Democrat who would run against DeSantis, he's pretty popular in his home state. He got a lot of, points especially with swing voters, for the way he handled COVID particularly in schools, for young children along those lines.
I would say abortion is also interesting thing. In Florida, they've handled it in a way that is more middle of the road and some of the red states across America. Obviously, it's still an issue in a swing state like this, but they've not gone through these extremes of eliminating all exceptions. They're talking about 15 weeks, not six weeks.
It's a different conversations that's going on in Florida. So, I mean, I think you already seeing this, I mean, I don't think we plainly Top Gun ads that he was airing today in Ohio, which is really far from his home state of Florida.
BOLDUAN: He's also -- he's also campaigning in so many other states.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah. He -- he was out on the campaign trail in Arizona, in Ohio, and Pennsylvania. And that's a pretty normal business, right, when you're trying to collect checks from folks, you go out there and you campaign for them, use some of your popularity to do so.
He is not shying away from that at all. Although he is not hitting the traditional early states of New Hampshire and Iowa just yet.
BOLDUAN: Can you just weigh in really quickly on Pennsylvania? This Senate race that has just spoken about getting ugly from voters? But whatever those are you getting out of this? When you've now got Mehmet Oz, Republican candidate heading back on the Democrat, John Fetterman, because John Fetterman was mocking Oz because he was talking about crudite and trying to talk about the problem of inflation.
But now, Oz's campaign, the response to Fetterman is that if anyone had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, maybe he would not have a major stroke and wouldn't be in the position of having to lie about constantly.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Ouch, ouch, ouch.
HUNT: Here's the thing, I mean, ouch, yes, but, this is the kind of thing that is exactly an example of why Oz's campaign is doing so poorly.
HENDERSON: I think it is exactly, right. Yeah. HUNT: I mean, the number of people that's struggled with their diets who are overweight, look, normal voters. I mean, you're not just insulting --
BOLDUAN: What does this get you?
HENDERSON: I don't think it's anything. He is getting burned over and over because it is this crudite thing. You've got Fetterman who's really good on Twitters. And this was just nasty and ugly, particularly from a doctor, right? That is what makes it so bad and just nasty and mean.
BOLDUAN: Crudite and senile. That's what we got tonight.
Guys, welcome to American politics. Thanks, guys.
OUTFRONT next, China responding with military drills after a third U.S. delegation travels to Taiwan. Are these meetings doing more harm than good at this point?
I'm going to speak to a senator who just returned from Taiwan.
And lawmakers are putting pressure on the Biden administration to bring home American teacher Marc Fogel who was sentenced to 14 years hard labor in Russia after being caught with cannabis.
BOLDUAN: Tonight, China is protesting a visit by Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to Taiwan saying that it, quote, firmly opposes official U.S. exchanges with the Taiwan region in any form and under any name.
It's the third high-profile visit from a U.S. delegation to Taiwan in a matter of weeks. Speaker Pelosi's visit earlier this month prompted a massive show of military force from China, and then just last week, Democratic Senator Ed Markey led another delegation to the region.
OUTFRONT with me now is Senator Ed Markey, joining us for his first interview since returning from his trip to Taiwan.
Senator, thank you for being here.
So, three delegations from the United States in just a matter of weeks, clearly prompting outrage and military drills from China in response.
Are you concerned as more delegations pile on in their visits that they'll do more harm than good?
SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): Well, I voted for the Taiwan Relations Act in 1979 as a young member of the United States Congress. And countless delegations from the United States have gone to Taiwan since then.
And that agreement, the Taiwan Relations Act, has been the basis for the peace. It's been the basis for the status quo, for the strategic ambiguity that our policies have been advancing, the One China policy.
It's not delegations going to Taiwan that have created this tension. It's the Chinese government itself. It's the People's Liberation Army in China who have decided to escalate, who have decided to engage in performative military activities to demonstrate their unhappiness.
But we just cannot allow for China to say that no Americans will ever again visit Taiwan. That is absolutely unacceptable because part of my delegation's goal was to work towards finding a peaceful resolution between Taiwan and China, and China has overreacted without question (ph).
BOLDUAN: I was going to say, because China did not see it that way in responding to your visit, because the Chinese embassy put out a statement saying this, that it, quote, proves that the U.S. does not want to see stability across the Taiwan Straits and has spared no effort to stir up confrontation.
And also, this is with the former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had to say about the Chinese president, after Speaker Pelosi returned from her trip. Let me play this for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: He has to show a position of strength. So could it lead to war? Well, sure, and it's a high probability now than it was a week ago.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Did you consider that as part of your calculation when you went over?
MARKEY: Well, I actually believe that American engagement with Taiwan and with China is going to reduce the likelihood that we have any military conflict. That has to be our goal, ultimately. And that's why we have to strengthen our economic ties to Taiwan, ensure that they get the defensive capabilities, which they need, to broaden out any diplomatic or economic ties which Taiwan wants with other countries in the world.
We just had to demonstrate that we are going to stand fast with this now 43-year-old policy of strategic ambiguity over the One China policy. And if there's any resolution of the issue, it has to be diplomatic. It has to be peaceful, that we are not going to allow China to resolve this issue militarily.
BOLDUAN: Senator Ed Markey, thank you for coming in.
MARKEY: Glad to be with you. Thank you.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, a group of lawmakers with the new proposal that could help bring home American teacher Marc Fogel from Russia. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BOLDUAN: A new effort underway tonight to free American Marc Fogel who's been detained in Russia. A bipartisan group of senators is now pushing the State Department to reclassify the teacher as wrongfully detained. The classification allows the State Department to actually negotiate for his release, like it's been doing for Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.
Fogel was sentenced to 14 years at a maximum security prison for possessing less than an ounce of medical marijuana. Recently, Fogel sister spoke to OUTFRONT and said she believes the U.S. has something of its sleeve to get her brother out. We will see.
Thank you so much for joining us tonight. I'm Kate Bolduan.
"AC360" starts now.