Return to Transcripts main page
Erin Burnett Outfront
Trump Pleads Not Guilt To 37 Federal Charges; "Defiant" Trump About To Speak And Hold Fundraiser After Pleading Not Guilty To 37 Charges In Docs Case. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 13, 2023 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Good evening to all. I'm Erin Burnett in New York. And Wolf Blitzer is joining me from Washington, D.C.
And this is a special edition of OUTFRONT.
And tonight, the breaking news, the former president's defiance. That is how one of Donald Trump's attorneys describes the former president's mood tonight after pleading not guilty to 37 felony counts in Miami.
We are awaiting Trump's first public comment since he was formally arrested today. He is expected to land shortly at Newark airport, then head to his New Jersey golf club where he's expected to address a waiting crowd of his most loyal supporters and hold a fundraiser.
He stopped at a Cuban restaurant in Miami before leaving. He wanted that photo-op. He was greeted by cheers there, a crowd even singing "happy birthday" to the former president on the eve, Wolf, of his 77th birthday.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Trump's codefendant and close aide Walt Nauta was by his side the entire time. This just moments after the judge told them they may not communicate directly about the case going forward. Trump smiled to the crowd and waved as he departed the courthouse. A far cry from the scowl reporters inside the courtroom saw on Trump's face during the arraignment. Trump was booked and electronically fingerprinted.
BURNETT: Nauta also had his mugshot taken, which was not required of the former president. Nauta wrote in Trump's motorcade to the courthouse today, side by side all the time. He's someone who has been at the core of Trump's inner circle, his body man for years now.
And one of the biggest questions tonight is whether he will flip on Trump and how this case will affect the race for president. It has come now to frankly define the race at this moment. All angles covered tonight here as Wolf and I are with you.
And I want to begin with Evan Perez in Miami.
Evan, you were inside the courthouse for the arraignment Wolf mentioning that you saw the scowl, the slumping. Tell us more. EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right,
Erin. Certainly, the defiant tone that his attorneys are describing or people around him are describing is not what we saw from the former president inside the courtroom today. He was glum, he had his arms folded, slumped over in his chair. There were a few times where he clasped his hand and was twiddling his thumbs, not looking around.
He did talk to his attorney Todd Blanche a few times. But then, you know, this was supposed to be like a perfunctory hearing. Sometimes these things take 15, 20 minutes at most. This one stretched about 50 minutes in part because of a little bit of the drama that you're alluded to, which is the former president is accused of obstruction of justice. He's accused of essentially tampering with witnesses who are part of this investigation.
And a judge initially was trying to limit some of his communications with the people around him, some of the witnesses, of course, everyone at Mar-a-Lago ended up being brought in as witnesses, pretty much everybody came in to provide testimony as part of this case.
And in the end what the judge, in part, because of the objections of Donald Trump's attorneys, the judge settled on a system whereby Trump is not allowed to speak to Walt Nauta, his codefendant, about the case. He's not allowed to speak to other witnesses about the case. The Justice Department is going to come up, the special counsel is going to come up with a list of witnesses that this applies to, something that the former president's own legal team said was not necessary.
But a judge was insisting, which is part of the usual system here in the southern district of Florida. One last thing that I'll note about this is the former president was never required to stand up and acknowledge these charges, which is usually the case in these proceedings. He never stood up.
Todd Blanche is the one that stood up and entered the not guilty plea as part of this proceeding. He was in the courthouse for just about two hours -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Evan, thank you very much.
Let's go over to CNN's Kristen Holmes. She's over at Bedminster, New Jersey.
Kristen, what are we expecting to hear from Trump tonight?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we are expecting him to make this extremely political, like we have seen all day today, and really for the last several months, called this election interference a witch hunt.
He really started this move when he stopped by Versailles. I was told by Trump advisers that part of this trip was to essentially meet with Cubans who are politically persecuted, something that he will be painting himself as, as well.
[19:05:13] Obviously, those are two very different situations, but that is in part why they chose to go to Versailles.
Now, behind me, we are going to see some of Trump's biggest supporters and biggest donors. I've already seen Mike Lindell. He's actually right in front of me taking a selfie of himself on the golf course. We also have Kash Patel here, Taylor Budowich, a lot of his big supporters and big donors who will be meeting with him after he delivers those remarks.
I am told that they tweaked the speech on the plane. They were still going through it when I talked to them recently. And they should be landing in roughly the next half hour.
Now, I do want to note one thing that Evan said because I think this is really important. Talk about this list of potential witnesses that he can't communicate with. Former President Trump has kept a tight- knit group around him since he left office. And most of those people are still there. So, it will be interesting to see how that plays out.
Of course, we've noted the only person we know that he is not supposed to communicate about the case with is Walt Nauta, who was not only by his side at Versailles moments after he was arraigned, but then rode in the plane home with him. And we are likely to see him tonight.
The other people who could potentially be witnesses are expected to be people who are very close to him still. So we have to watch how that exactly plays out. And keep in mind, even if lawyers are telling people not to communicate about the case, it is not easy for low-level staffers to talk to Donald Trump and say they can't communicate about a case. So, this is making a very complicated and messy piece of this puzzle here.
BLITZER: Kristen Holmes reporting for us from Bedminster where Trump will be speaking later tonight, thank you very much, Kristen.
BURNETT: All right, Wolf. Well, our panel here is back with me.
Let's just start here, Scott, with what Kristen's saying, that on the plane they are editing his speech, he said 30 minutes or less tweaking the speech, which means that it's written down, doesn't mean that he isn't going to completely deviate and go down many cul-de-sacs. But what does that say to you?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it says that they're calibrating what they want to say based on what they're hearing. You know, they're obviously picking things up from their allies, probably getting ideas from people who support them.
But I would really expect the framing to be very, very high-level, this is war basically. They're at war with us, now we have to be at war with them, and to be at war with me means they're at war with you. That sort of framing. This is not a campaign about issues anymore. This is an existential
kind of an argument that our country's at stake and I'm the only thing standing between you and a total -- I think that's it from here on out really. And, you know, if you're the rest of the field and you're trying to debate against that, you're not going to be able to debate among the finer policy points. He's out here arguing --
BURNETT: It's hogged all the air. It's hogged all the air.
Stephanie, it's interesting what Kristen was just saying. The choice that Trump made to go to that Cuban restaurant. Sure, he wanted the photo op and to show everything's fine here, I'm very happy, I'm not scowling, but that he had picked it because of Cubans suffering political persecution. What do you make of that?
STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When I saw, I thought this was something, again, that we use to do with him on the first campaign and the White House. They wanted to fill time. They did not want him to get on an airplane and see all of this bad coverage, and he would feel that people weren't defending him, and he would lash out before an important fundraiser.
And so, to me, they were filling space. And they want people to be adoring him and cheering for him and making him feel good so that later tonight he'll be in a good mood and not lashing out and hopefully be able to get money from the donors.
And then also, I'll say you say, you know, it's interesting, you see Mike Lindell, as Kristen said, Seb Gorka, Ric Grenell, those people, they may have already been invited to this thing, but I guarantee there's a lot of people there tonight simply to keep the boss happy. It's definitely PR to show outward strength, but it's also holding his hand and babysitting him.
BURNETT: One other detail here, Audie, interesting, at the Cuban restaurant singing "happy birthday", I'm just bringing this to add another layer, sure, it makes him happy. I'm sure this is -- you know, people reminding --
BURNETT: But he's turning 77. Just a reminder again that you have the leading GOP contender and, of course, the incumbent Democrat, as both of whom would be the two oldest presidents in American history.
AUDIE CORNISH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and it was interesting hearing Stephanie talk about what the day is like from a person in the position behind the campaign, so to speak.
CORNISH: But it also drives home the idea that they needed other imagery today that was not related to the courthouse. And they didn't have it. And so they did have to go somewhere where he would get that imagery of shaking hands, of being a candidate, not somebody who's under indictment. Similarly, with having a motorcade, he's not president anymore.
I don't know why you need a motorcade. But it gives that appearance of, you know, look at me, like it's just like I'm the sitting president. And I think we're going to see a lot more of this by the end of the day, every photo you're going to see out of today will, more or less, be of him doing things that, without the chyron or subtitle telling you will look like he's just on the campaign trail. And I think that is also really important for him coming through the end of today.
And, by the way, his speeches are always apocalyptic.
BURNETT: His social media said that the country's going to hell.
CORNISH: It's an escalation of existing themes.
BURNETT: Yeah, right, absolutely.
So, Ryan, the speech that we're awaiting is in New Jersey. I'm just going to mention this again because he wasn't charged in New Jersey. He could have been. One of the incidents of dissemination and admission of having classified data that he was unable to -- documents that he was unable to declassify happened in New Jersey.
Do you -- could they charge him in New Jersey, too? Or would that be just a backup plan?
RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: They could charge him in New Jersey simultaneously if there's criminal conduct that occurred in New Jersey, or they could have it as a backup plan.
GOODMAN: And, indeed, the indictment, there is a legal puzzle in the indictment because he's only charged for retention of the documents, keeping the documents. The allegations in the indictment clearly say he communicated and disclosed classified information to others by talking about the contingency --
BURNETT: On the second page they lay that example.
GOODMAN: Absolutely. And, yes, it's the most egregious conduct, in fact, in the entire indictment. Yet, he's not charged for it. Why not?
BURNETT: Oh, interesting. Possibly leaving the door open.
GOODMAN: Absolutely. And it might actually be because they brought it in Florida, the conduct occurred in New Jersey. They cannot actually bring it in Florida. But they could bring it in New Jersey. That is where it occurred. So that could be a backup plan. That could be something else.
BURNETT: It's an interesting layer to it, as you point out.
David, what about Walt Nauta? You know, he's there in the Cuban restaurant with him. He was there with him on the plane. He's going to be with him there tonight.
He was there with him every single step of the way. Not just on this but for years, right? He has been the president's body man -- former president's body man and proud to be so. Do you think he flips, David? And do you think the DOJ even needs him to flip?
DAVID OSCAR MARKUS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No chance that he flips, Erin, from what I can tell. They could have flipped him before if he wanted to. And, of course, it appears he does not want to and wants to go to trial. I'll tell you right now he's going to walk. So, Nauta is this young guy from the military who's asked to do things by his boss and the former president. I don't think a jury in south Florida convicts in that case ten out of ten. So, I just don't see that happening.
There's been a lot of criticism about Trump giving these speeches. I wonder why there's been no criticism of Jack Smith giving his press conference right after the charges were released with an American flag behind him and saying things like, read the indictment and make up your mind. A judge will tell the jury, do not make up your mind based on reading an indictment.
BURNETT: Right, you got to present all the evidence. It's a fair point.
Stephanie, to the point that David's talking about Nauta. You know him well. You worked closely with him. And you know how close he is to Trump. Obviously, he's also in this indictment they lay out where if the allegations are true, he lied to their face about everything that he did.
Do you think, Stephanie, at any point, that he sort of says this isn't good, I'm not comfortable with this, this sort of changes his view on why he did it, he perceived it as patriotic obviously at the time? Or no?
GRISHAM: Yeah, you know, I think he's probably feeling those ways right now. I worked with him closely, and he was always a good and friendly guy who took his job seriously. I believe that if he were provided an off ramp, yeah, maybe he would. But that would mean somebody taking, giving him a free lawyer, somebody taking his case and him not having to pay for it, and then somehow knowing that he could have a job.
You know, at the end of the day, I know everybody thinks doing what's right is the most important, and it is. But he still has to live and support himself. And right now, Trump is his only life line.
You've got lawyers being paid for if and when he gets one, and I'm sure he's getting paid probably a little bit more than a personal aide should.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.
As our coverage continues, we've got new reactions from Republicans on Capitol Hill this hour.
And right now, not everyone is quick on the GOP side to defend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DON BACON (R-NE): You can't just deny what President Trump did was wrong. I mean, it's clear as day wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And we are live on Capitol Hill with that new reporting from Manu Raju.
Plus, Trump's former White House counsel, and OUTFRONT regular Ty Cobb is my guest. He has been right every step of the way in this case so far. So, what does he think happens next?
And in just moments, Trump will make his first extensive remarks after pleading not guilty today.
BURNETT: And welcome back to a special edition of OUTFRONT.
You're looking at live pictures of Trump's resort in Bedminster, New Jersey. He will be delivering remarks there shortly. We expect them to be about a half an hour in length.
The former presidents sending out an email moments ago, surprise, fundraising on his arraignment today, saying, I'm writing you this email as I flew back from the Miami federal courthouse, where I was arraigned as an innocent man by the corrupt Biden administration. That is what he just said.
Now the former president is trying to dismiss this case, of course, as a witch hunt. The thing is, he needs all the Republicans to be on board with that. Many of them are, but not all of them. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BACON: We can't just deny what president Trump did was wrong. I mean, it's clear as day, wrong.
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): We have to take this seriously. I don't care whether you are a Trump supporter, or a Trump opposer. You have to take this seriously. So to just say that whoever, whoever has delivered the message needs to be taken out -- I'm sorry, we don't do that. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Those are very strong, and clear statements. They do come, though, in a broader context of many other Republicans dialing up their rhetoric to defend the former president. Senator J.D. Vance announcing he will block all DOJ nominations over Trump's indictment, going nuclear, saying, quote: If Merrick Garland wants to use these officials to harass Joe Biden's political opponents, we will grind his department to a halt.
Of course, not discussing at all the nature of the allegations themselves, and the seriousness of them.
Manu Raju is OUTFRONT live from Capitol Hill.
And, Manu, you've been talking to so many Republicans on Capitol Hill over the past few days. You've seen how they started responding. You've seen the evolution in some cases.
Are you seeing a change in tone? Now that the president has been arraigned, now that they've all had a chance to read the indictment?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Republicans are very much divided over Donald Trump, Erin. You did see in the initial aftermath of the news of the indictment late last week and the after the indictment was unsealed, many of those supporters rushing to his defense.
But after they came back to Capitol Hill, over the last couple of days, I've had a chance to push the question directly to a number of them, asking them about the seriousness of the allegations, about his alleged mishandling of classified information, about his alleged efforts to obstruct this investigation, and make misstatements to prosecutors.
When you hear from a number of Republicans, they are concerned about these allegations. And some of them say they can't support Trump, especially if these allegations are true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REP. STEVE WOMACK (R-AR): I have serious concerns about anybody that has a reckless disregard for the handling of classified documents.
RAJU: You're a military guy. He allegedly had national security information.
REP. DAN CRENSHAW (R-TX): It's very problematic. There's a reason I'm not defending it.
RAJU: Would you be okay with that, having a convicted felon as your nominee?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if it's going to lead (ph) to conviction, but no. Honestly, on the surface, I wouldn't. It doesn't look good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: And there's been a wide split among the top Republicans in Congress, you've seen Speaker McCarthy rushed to Donald Trump's defense, attack this indictment, as many of his top members within the House Republican conference are vowing to try to discredit the investigation, go after Merrick Garland, asked for information regarding the search at Mar-a-Lago, that retrieved all those classified documents, that the former president didn't turn back over to the federal government.
But on the Senate side, you're not hearing a word about this from Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, who has not yet commented on this. Today, when I asked him whether or not he could support Trump, if he is indeed the nominee, if he is indeed convicted, he refused to comment, Wolf, saying that he's not going to weigh in on any individual candidate -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Very interesting, Manu, thank you very much. Manu Raju, up on Capitol Hill.
Joining us now, the former Trump impeachment lawyer, Robert Ray. I also want to bring back our legal and political experts as well.
And, Robert, you, of course, previously represented Trump during his first impeachment up on Capitol Hill. What do you expect the Trump legal team's first move to be, after this historic arraignment today?
ROBERT RAY, FORMER TRUMP IMPEACHMENT LAWYER: They will continue to attack the process and the prosecutor, I imagine, over the course of the next several weeks. As far as the legal strategy is concerned, in other words, not the political strategy, but the legal strategy, I imagine that you will see a full complement of pretrial motions. It would be expected, in any case, but the president has -- the former president has some unique defenses, including the application of the Presidential Records Act, I think, in part, questions about constitutionality.
And I think also, there will be challenges to decisions that were previously made in the United States district court, for the District of Columbia, relative to piercing the attorney client privilege and obtaining statements from his then lawyers. I imagine that those statements, the admissibility of those statements, will be challenged prior to trial. All of which, I think, adds up probably to a strategy that at least is destined to present the judicial system with a choice about whether or not Donald Trump can be tried.
What looks to be a 4 to 6-week trial, by the government's estimate, and whether that can be done during an election cycle, it would be expected that the case would go to trial before 2024. So, if you are talking about pulling Donald Trump off the campaign trail, Americans need to understand that that would be -- it would mean actually putting Donald Trump in a courtroom, without cameras, to sit a trial, where he would be required to be present for the length of the duration of that trial, from the opening statement, until such time as a verdict is in.
So I don't imagine, I just cannot contemplate, at least in my head as we sit here now, and I guess we'll unfold as they unfold, but I can't imagine that that case can be had truly during the election cycle, either post-Super Tuesday, or during the conventions into the summer, and then on into the election cycle, during the fall of 2024. So, all of this, these hypothetical questions about, well, would you support Donald Trump if he's a convicted felon? I don't think there's any way in the world that he goes to trial prior to the election.
And even if he were to do so, no conviction would be final. Appeals would have to be filed. And any guilty verdict would be challenged.
So there's not going to be, under any circumstances, it seems to me, a final conviction prior to the election. Which means that the political process will unfold before this case is resolved.
BLITZER: Let me get reaction from our panelists.
Carrie, what do you what do you think about what we just heard?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I do think there's a lot of complications in this case, including the many emotions that the defense counsel, as Robert was describing, will make. So they will try to drag this on as long as possible. We were speaking earlier today about the fact of the classified information involved in this case, which also will draw it out.
So, I think there is an argument that this will take a very long time. There is a long road ahead, Wolf, and anybody who thinks that it's going to be sometime soon, that Donald Trump is going to be convicted by a jury, and this whole thing is going to play out and wrap it all up before the election, I think is wrong. Given that there also is a competing thought though, which is that with respect to the political timeline, the justice system has to be able to continue to work.
And we cannot just, as a judicial system, and I'm sure they're thinking about this in the Justice Department, they can't to say well, now we're into primaries. So we are going to stand back. Now we're into the next part of the political season. They do have to continue to do their work, from the justice department perspective.
BLITZER: Elliot, how much influence will Judge Aileen Cannon have on the timing and of the evidence, as this case goes forward?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: A tremendous amount, Wolf, because federal judges at the trial level have a tremendous amount of discretion over what comes into court, and rulings that are -- that you might issue before trial.
So, case in point, this whole started with a search warrant of Trump's property. The defense can file what is called a motion to suppress the evidence that came from that search warrant. It's essentially asking to have everything thrown out from the search warrant, right? That's the judge's domain and her decision as to what to do without evidence. If she makes a ruling on that, that gets appealed. It could take months for the appeals court to decide.
This question of what happens with the testimony of Trump's lawyer, which is somewhat, I don't miss a controversial legally, but a rare decision. You don't see these decisions where attorney's testimonies will come into court. She'd rule on that, that could get appealed, that could slow the whole thing down.
Jury selection, what you do with classified information, all of these things the judge, and some decision she makes, can't even be appealed. She has a lot of -- any judge, assuming it's her or anybody else, has a tremendous amount of ability to slow down and set the timeline for any trial.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Is it up to the judge about what kind of a sense of urgency you have?
WILLIAMS: Oh, absolutely. The judge, for instance, take the attorney- client privilege question.
WILLIAMS: When the D.C. circuit, here in Washington ruled on it, they set a briefing schedule, where it was basically, I think six a.m., and they ruled by midnight or something like that midday. They can set their schedules as quickly as they can. It's up to her to roll quick or whoever the judges, to rule as quickly as they want.
Now, it just remains to be seen. And again, we should be clear, she could be taken off or could recuse from the case, and it could be another judge. It's just hard to tell from where we sit right now.
BLITZER: We all, Gloria, just heard Manu's excellent reporting from Capitol Hill, do you expect that more Republicans will be changing their tune right now? As we begin to completely digest the nature of what is going on?
BORGER: Politicians changing their tune? Now, that will never happen. I think what we got originally is the first round of defend, defend, defend. The Justice Department has been weaponized. Justice isn't being carried out equally. And we are going to continue to hear that. There's no doubt.
But there's a "but" here. That we are hearing more on the Senate side, I would say, than on the House side, the "but" is, okay, if these charges are true, in the president obstructed justice, and the president hid national security documents from the Justice Department, this is serious. And we need to take it seriously.
I think it depends on what kind of district you come from. I mean, what was interesting to me was Dan Crenshaw, today, said, look, I don't want to get involved in this. I don't want to talk about it. But I'm not defending the president. That's a Republican.
So, I think people at this drags out, in particular, as you guys say. And as Robert Ray says, I think they're going to continue to hedge their bets, including presidential candidates, who are already hedging their bets.
BLITZER: At the same time, Nia, we are hearing more House Republicans go after the special counsel's entire investigation.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah. And, listen, you see some of that on the Senate side, too, with J.D. Vance trying to hold up on some of the appointees to the Justice Department. You know, some people are going to be all in with Donald Trump. I would say, the vast majority of Republicans on the House side will be all in with Donald Trump.
There is a division, but it's much more weighted to Donald Trump, then it is towards somebody like Lisa Murkowski, who came out and said, listen, this is troubling. It's not a chance to sort of act like the messenger in the Department of Justice is unfair. We really need to take these seriously.
You can almost count on, maybe two hands, the number of Republicans who have come out really strongly and said this is serious. Even Nikki Haley, who said this was reckless, also said, even if he's convicted, that she would pardon him if she were president. That's a lot of ifs in the air. But you know, there may hedging their bets.
BLITZER: We'll leave right there. This is only just beginning, this is only just beginning right now. We've got a long way to go.
Guys, thank you very, very much.
OUTFRONT next, Trump's former White House lawyer Ty Cobb who knows Trump's aide and alleged co-conspirator Walt Nauta on whether he'll flip on Trump.
And Nikki Haley, who slammed Trump over the indictment, now says she probably pardon Trump if she's elected president. Republican Governor Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, he's standing by, he'll weigh in.
BURNETT: Breaking news. This is live pictures of former President Trump, he's about to land in New Jersey. And then he's going to go straight to his club in Bedminster, where we anticipate he's -- well, we know he's going to meet with donors, and anticipate he'll give a speech about 30 minutes long. He, of course, pleaded not guilty to 37 counts of handling classified documents in Florida today.
And I just want to show you a new image, because we've been showing one courtroom image, the court drawing where he was standing, alongside his lawyer as Walt Nauta in the background. Here is the plane landing in Newark. But we do now have this one, which is still doesn't really look like him, I'll be honest, maybe 30 years ago, but crossing his arms.
Ty Cobb is with me, of course, former Trump White House lawyer.
So, Ty, here is the thing: he -- our reporters who were in the room described him -- his plane is landing here -- described him as slumped over, scowling, looking dejected at moments, for lack of a better word. And he was silent, right, obviously he didn't address the court at all, his lawyer did all the talking for him.
You've represented him in the past. Do you read anything into this?
TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Some. I didn't actually represent him personally, I represented the White House, but I was advising him, and that's Trump when he basically wishes he was somewhere else. He's not in control, he doesn't want to be there, he doesn't want other people to think he has to be there. So, he's trying to dominate at, dominate the dynamic, simply by --
BURNETT: He thinks the slumping and scowl shows his power.
COBB: Power, yes, absolutely.
BURNETT: Right. So it's not a revealing moment, it's a purposeful moment.
COBB: No, purposeful moment.
BURNETT: OK, which I think is obviously significant that you share that. So, did you ever think you'd see a day like this?
COBB: You know, from the time I was growing up in Kansas, to today, I hoped all my life as an American, that I would never see a day like this. I think this is a very sad day for America, and it's -- the gravity of it can't be overstated. So, no, I never thought I would see a day like this.
BURNETT: And now here we, are talking about what happens next. So, Walt Nauta, the Trump aide who is by his side right now on that plane, he's going to get off at the side Bedminster, the alleged coconspirator, met him at the restaurant, with him every step of the way, right? No separation between the two, he's going to be arraigned in two weeks, because he doesn't have representation, Ty.
Do you see any reason why Nauta would ever -- would ever, and I've been asking this, why he would never turn on Trump? But also we know about the indictment, if he would ever need him to.
COBB: So those are two great questions and they are as distinct as you put them.
COBB: One, do I think somebody might be able to convince him that his, notwithstanding -- how proud he is of his service to the president, notwithstanding how proud he is of his belief that he is still serving the country by serving the president, that that will make it very hard for him to flip.
COBB: Unless he gets representation that is able to persuade him of how misplaced that loyalty is, and how overwhelming the facts are. I heard one guest earlier today talk about the perceived unlikelihood of nada being convicted. He is dead, I mean they have him on tape, they have pictures.
BURNETT: They've got text. They've got video. They've got pictures.
COBB: They've got pictures that he took and sent, you know?
There's -- and then he moved the boxes, and as a result, the attorneys weren't able to find the documents. Now he is definitely in substantial jeopardy, and I think we will be convicted, unless he testifies.
And, on the issue of do they need him? They need him a lot less now than they once did. And particularly, his initial denials, which were unfortunate, you know, that may contribute to the government deciding just to proceed --
BURNETT: Not even give him a chance, they don't need it.
COBB: Just to proceed with another offer.
BURNETT: So, Cy Vance, former D.A. here in New York was on earlier. And we were talking about the attorney general in New York, Letitia James, she is saying that everyone else is going to go on the backburner because of this case. She was including Alvin Bragg, she was also including yet uncharged crimes in Georgia, which she said would take a back burner.
Of course, there's also the potential the special counsel to bring January 6th charges. I mean, there's a lot of possible indictments going down the pike. Do you agree with her analysis, that this has now become the single most important thing, and that the system, the judges, that there will be a sense of either hold off on indictments or hold off on cases until this is done?
COBB: So, I agree with her assessment, without her assessment. I mean, this is the most important thing going on. Her assessment is telling me, because I believe, as would be typical, given the number of prosecutors involved, that there is some coordination going on about dates or about times or about, we want this witness now and you can have him win.
But the, the reality is, I do believe that everything will take a backseat to this. With the exception of January 6th which will continue to proceed. But I don't think that will proceed quickly to an indictment. I think that decision will be delayed, and that they are still on the fence about an indictment, or a full report.
BURNETT: Full report, all right. Thank you very much, Ty Cobb.
COBB: My pleasure.
BURNETT: And next, a top Republican who says a jury will find Trump guilty. Governor Chris Sununu is next. And Trump on his way to his Bedminster golf club, right now trying to raise a whole lot of money and rally his supporters, because of his legal troubles.
BURNETT: Right now, we are following the movements of former President Donald Trump. He just landed at Newark Airport, New Jersey. And moments from now, he will speak to supporters after his historic arrest and arraignment. Trump and federal court pleading not guilty to 37 charges, 37 charges, and then quickly made a campaign style stop to the famous Miami restaurant, as he doubles down on his 2024 presidential bid.
Joining us now to discuss this and more, the Republican governor of New Hampshire, Chris Sununu. He recently made the decision not to run for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
Governor, thanks so much for joining us.
As you know, Trump was arrested today 37 federal charges. He's pleaded not guilty. What's your reaction to his decision to turn today into what he's about to do now, another campaign event?
GOV. CHRIS SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, it's expected. There is no doubt, every time the guy gets indicted, he goes out and he raises money.
So, I think with a lot of his base support, which is strong, as we all know, he loves it. He loves playing this victim card, he loves kind of making a political scene out of the whole thing. It really has nothing to do with where America is going to go in the future or what you should be running on in 2024, in terms of fiscal responsibility and draining the swamp, that management, border security, all these things that really actually matter.
The fear is that all of this entire campaign is going to get wrapped up into Trump's indictments. That's what all of these candidates on the Republican stage should be worried about, which is why all of them should be quite loquacious in their pushing back on this indictment.
I mean, the indictment is very real. I think he's going to be found guilty. The fact that so many of them are kind of weak on it is astounding to me. When your 40 points down in the polls to somebody who gets indicted, you don't come out quasi-defending them, it's just absolutely baffling. So, there is an opportunity here, but very few have actually jumped upon it.
BLITZER: I want you to watch and listen, Governor, to how some Republicans are actually going out of their way to defend the former president. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
REPORTER: Was that a good look for the former president to have boxes in a bathroom?
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't know. Is it a good picture to have boxes in a garage that opens up all the time? A bathroom door locks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody understands that President Trump had documents in his home, they were locked up. None like President Biden's was in his glove compartment of a Corvette.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just cannot walk through Mar-a-Lago of your own accord because Secret Service is all over the place. There are 33 bathrooms at Mar-a-Lago. So, don't act like it is just some random bathroom that the guests can go into.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
BLITZER: So, Governor, what goes through your mind hearing some of your fellow Republicans like that offer these kinds of excuses?
SUNUNU: Well, as a governor, I'm moving on my secret files into the bathroom immediately because apparently that is just fine, as long as your house is big enough.
Look, it is nonsense. It's absolute nonsense. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel to find some type of defense, so he won't come after him, so the other conservative media outlets don't come after them.
It's all -- it's really being all done in fear. That's my biggest problem with this. Look, I'm a strong conservative, free market principle, free market guy, we've got to talk about the Republican Party as a whole and we are just kind of taking the bait, as a party, following this spiral down a rabbit hole.
And it's not what we are about. It's not what Republicans are about. So, I'm begging the party to say, look, Trump's issues are Trumps issues. He's going to have to deal with them, let's go. And make sure that we are putting forth a candidate and a message, and something that resonates with folks, that can win in November of '24.
Trump could win the nomination, but the mathematically, we all know there is no way he can win in November of '24. In fact, this dividing line, these indictments just keep getting that gap a bigger, and a, bigger and bigger. If you want to fix the Department of Justice, if you want those reforms out there, it doesn't happen unless Republicans win. And Trump can't win.
So, the best thing if you want to support the former president in fixing the Department of Justice is, put forth another candidate that can actually close the deal in November. I mean, the math is just quite that simple. People are heated, they are fired up, especially on a day like today, I get it.
I don't think the support he sees today translates to votes seven or eight months from now. I think a lot of other candidates are going to have an opportunity to step up, but they have to be uniform in their message about the severity of this indictment, they have to push back on, it pushed back on Trump, himself, and let him deal with his issues.
He doesn't care about the Republican Party. Donald Trump has never cared about the Republican Party. He cares about Donald Trump. It's time for the other Republicans to put the party first and make sure we have a candidate that can win in '24.
BLITZER: So, I just want to be precise, Governor. You think he will be convicted?
SUNUNU: Of some of these charges, yes. Look, if -- I think it's been said by other folks out there, if just half of the evidence that we've seen is true, it is absolutely damning. This is not like the other indictments, this is really serious stuff.
And it's really almost indefensible. So, he's going to have a lot of problems down the road. So, I mean, we will see exactly what comes out of the trial. I assume there will be a trial. But even just half of the evidence we have seen is really, really damning.
BLITZER: Republican Senator J.D. Vance plans to retaliate against this indictment by holding up President Biden's Justice Department nominees. As other Trump allies called to subpoena the special counsel and actually defend -- defund, I should say, actually defund his office. Does any of that concern you?
SUNUNU: Well, look, I think, again, we are getting, as Republicans, as a party, we are getting caught down the Trump rabbit hole again. We cannot win in '24 if we are constantly litigating the past. And that's what it is, that's what Trump is all about right now. Relitigating the past, whether it's election denial, January 6th, these indictments on his former actions.
Americans want us to go forward. Independents, those suburban moms that didn't come out and vote for us in '22, we lost them in droves. What's the message that's going to get them back? None of this, none of this wins it for us.
So, all the candidates, all the current congressman, the senators, the governors, everyone just has to speak in concert about moving forward. Let Trump deal with his issues, fine. Him and the Department of Justice can have it out. But as elected officials, as leaders, we have to be willing to move forward fearlessly.
BLITZER: Governor Sununu, thanks so much for joining us. Let's continue this conversation for sure.
Up next, president -- SUNUNU: You bet.
BLITZER: -- former President Trump speaks to supporters at his Bedminster golf club, rallying his base on the heels of his historic indictment today.
We'll be right back.
BURNETT: All right, live pictures from New Jersey. Donald Trump's plane just landed. He will soon be heading to his golf club in Bedminster. He's going to address supporters after he pleaded not guilty to 37 charges over his handling of classified documents.
Let's go back to Kristen Holmes. She is there.
And, Kristen, what can you tell us about some of the people who are in this crowd, right? Major donors or people who just truly are among the most loyal supporters of the former president has.
HOLMES: Absolutely, Erin. These are some of the staunchest supporters. We have seen Senator Tommy Tuberville. We have seen Mike Lindell, Ric Grenell, people from his former administration like Kash Patel, many of which we know have had their own legal problems as well.
One thing that has really been striking to me, I have seen a handful of people who testified in front of a grand jury in that special counsel investigation and that includes Taylor Budowich, as we know, went in front of the Miami grand jury just last week, just before that indictment came down. And it really goes to that question again of who exactly is going to be on the prosecutors witness list who cannot communicate with the former president about this case?
You have to remember that so many of these people are still in Trump's inner circle, are still very close to the former president. Obviously, as we watch Walt Nauta getting on that plane, going into Versailles with Trump and, we expect him to be here as well. We know Margo Martin was with him today, she also testified in front of the grand jury.
So, a lot of questions as to how exactly that will work and I will note that we are expecting him to do what he does and connect this to politics today. But I am told is going to be a shorter than average speech, but of course, we will wait and see.
BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Kristen.
I just want to say shorter than average. They are saying about 30 minutes. Went, like, 80 or 90 minutes the other day.
JENNINGS: Yeah, my suspicion is he's got a lot to say and he didn't get to talk in court, really, today, didn't hold, you know, a press event. He did do a quick what we call in the business, an OTR at the Cuban restaurant, but I guess he's going to have a lot to say. And they know, by the way, this is working for him among Republican primary voters. It does not, in my opinion, have any long term benefit, but in a short run, they believe and know from the polling, that it is working for him. So, they will lean in hard tonight.
BURNETT: Is there a legal cost to that, Ryan, though? To keep him coming out and talking, saying things that the government, you know, that they've proven, they will prove are false. Having members, people who have testified in front of the grandeur e in the audience. Does any of that come with the price?
GOODMAN: I think one thing that does come with the price is if he makes false statements or continues to make false statements publicly. Because if you make statements like I declassified the documents or these were mine, then we have him on tape saying the opposite, I think that could actually be something presented to the jury as incriminating, like why is he lying about this? Because he knows the truth is bad for him.
GOODMAN: So, I think he needs to be a little worried about that, if he takes legal advice into account.
BURNETT: Right, right.
CORNISH: It's interesting, when you look at his past legal cases, same with election fraud, his legal teams are often not saying the things he is saying in public, right? Because the court of public opinion is not a real court and so, the truth comes out when his lawyers actually have to file motions, put out defenses, and that's where you are going to see the reality of how they are trying to protect him from this.
What he can do from the outside is what you are hearing now, coalesce the media voices around him and advocates to amplify the message that it doesn't matter what happens because you can say that the process itself is the problem.
BURNETT: That's of course what they will say. He obviously just got off the plane, his SUV is heading out.
Look, these are exactly the sort of images that he wants.
JENNINGS: Oh yeah, what have we seen on TV today? We've seen -- yesterday, the plane landed, getting off the plane, motorcades, plane landing again. I mean, the appearance of being the president, look what is in the evidence? I mean, it's obvious that he wanted to create the appearance of still kind of feeling like he's the president.
BURNETT: Like you are saying, why are all those papers lying around? Why he's showing them off? Because you want to show that he has them.
JENNINGS: But this right here, these images right here make him look larger than life in a field of a bunch of people who do not have the capacity to recreate this sort of political imagery. And of course, there is nobody in the field who is as good at it as he is. There's one other camera competent candidate, that's Chris Christie.
We saw him on CNN this week. But in terms of being able to create the magic or the feel of what it's like to be the pre -- the spectacle of it, the majesty, whatever you want to call it, that's what he's good at.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you all very much. I very much appreciate the time you've been covering this.
A special coverage and anticipating what will happen here, as this continues. Our special coverage continues right now with "AC360".