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Erin Burnett Outfront

Special Counsel has Document Trump Claims Does Not Exist; Dramatic New Video Shows Fierce Gunfight On The Front Lines Near Bakhmut; Putin Cozies Up To North Korea, African Counties; Trump: A Conviction Would Not Stop My 2024 Run; Race On To Save Dying Coral As Water Temps Hit 100+ Degrees. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 28, 2023 - 19:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Trump employee four revealed. We now know the identity of that key witness named in new charges against former president. This is Trump's caught in a lie about a classified document he said doesn't exist.

Plus, dramatic new video from the front lines where Ukraine says it is making gains tonight, as we are seeing just how far Putin will go to keep his friends in his corner.

And CNN's taking underwater to see firsthand the full blown emergency that is unfolding along Florida's coast, as the only living coral reef in the continental U.S. is now dying because of blistering ocean temperatures.

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, Trump caught lying. As the former president faces major new charges in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, CNN has learned that one particular document about Iran war plans, document that Trump openly discussed on tape, was ultimately returned to the National Archives by the former president's team. That is significant, because it is a document that Trump has denied is even real or that he ever showed them off to anyone on type.

I want to first play CNN's exclusive audio of Trump talking about the Iran or plan in the 2021 recording at his New Jersey golf club.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: Wait a minute. Let's see here.



TRUMP: I just found. Isn't that amazing? This totally wins my case, you know.


TRUMP: Except it is highly, highly confidential, secret.

I was just thinking, because we were talking about it. And, you know, he said, he wanted to attack Iran and what -- these are the papers.

STAFFER: You did.

TRUMP: This was done by the military, give to me. I think we can probably, right?

STAFFER: I don't know, we'll -- we'll have to see. Yeah, we'll have to try to --

TRUMP: Declassify it.

STAFFER: -- figure out a -- yeah.

TRUMP: See as president, I could have declassified it.


TRUMP: Now I can't.


SCIUTTO: Now I can't, he said.

Now, in an interview last month with Fox News, this is how Trump describes the document.


TRUMP: Bret, there was no document. That was a massive amount of papers and everything else, talking about Iran and other things. It may have been held up or may not, but that was not a document. I didn't have a document per se. There was nothing to declassify. These were newspaper stories, magazine stories, and articles.


SCIUTTO: This comes as CNN has now identified employee number four in yesterday's superseding indictment, as it is known. He is Yuscil Tavares, and I.T. expert who oversaw the surveillance camera footage at Mar-a-Lago.

According to the indictments, the Mar-a-Lago property manager, Carlos de Oliveira, who is also now facing charges, took Tavares to a small room known as an audio closet. And according to investigators, de Oliveira asked Trump employee four how many days the server retained footage. Trump employee four responded, he believed it was approximately 45 days. De Oliveira told Trump employee four that, quote, the boss wanted the surfers elated. Trump employee four responded that he would not know how to do that and he did not believe that he would have the right to do that. These new details come as law enforcement braces for another criminal

indictment, this time in the DOJ's January six investigation. CNN is learning opponent officials believe charges could come anytime next week, and that the Secret Service, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, and U.S. Capitol police are now working with U.S. marshals to prepare.

Security preparations also underway in Georgia. Orange barricades are now outside the Fulton County court house, as officials there prepare for a possible indictment in the state's case against Trump, and his efforts to overturn Georgia's election.

Evan Perez is OUTFRONT live in Washington.

Evan, you have been covering this since the beginning. What more can you tell us about this crucial Iran document war plans and how the revelations it was returned to the National Archives fit now into the special counsel's case?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, it is the only document among the 32 that are now -- the former president is now charged with willfully retaining. It is the only one that was returned in that initial box of 15 boxes that was sent back to the National Archives back in January of last year.


And the question that we are all asking is why was it not included in the initial indictment?

Now, we -- prosecutors don't really explain why it is only now being included. But we do know that in the meantime, since the initial announcement was released, the former president has made the rounds and he made those comments that you just cited from his media interviews where he says there was no such document. That it didn't exist.

He and his attorneys have also told us, repeatedly, that they don't believe there was ever a document. That he was just waving around papers, personal papers, perhaps, to those biographers.

Now, we know that everyone in that room hasn't been interviewed by the special counsel. They have appeared before the grand jury. Someone in there probably has already told prosecutors what they saw, when he was reading those papers. It might be that that is the reason why we now see that document be included as being willfully retained up to January of last year, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Understood. Could be crucial, going forward.

Evan Perez, thanks so much.

OUTFRONT now, Ryan Goodman. He's co-editor in chief of "Just Security", former special counsel at the Defense Department. Karen Friedman Agnifilo, former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. She was a close former colleague of the special counsel, Jack Smith. And Karl Schmae, he's a retired FBI special agent for more than 20 years.

Thanks to all of you for taking the time tonight.

Ryan, I do want to begin with you.

So, given Evan's reporting, what do you believe the special counsel entered the charge around this particular document about Iran war plans? If you return it in January 2022, does that give you an indication that he has -- the special counsel has testimony that in fact the president was waving a classified document?

RYAN GOODMAN, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, JUST SECURITY: It certainly seems that the special counsel will have testimony and proof that they think they can show beyond a reasonable doubt that there was this document and that document was being waved around.

And the setup for the conversation which Trump does supposedly a wave of this document does seem like it was preplanned. It's not like it spontaneously came to him, go get me this document. He was trying to rebut something and the media about the idea that the chairman of the joint chiefs had tried to dissuade him from attacking Iran. So he came prepared with documents.

You can imagine, if they've interviewed anybody they might have interviewed anybody involved with preparing the documents, bringing them to the room, and therefore knowing what a greater level of visibility what the document was.

SCIUTTO: Understood.

OK, Karen, the audiotapes CNN exclusively obtained of Trump talking about the document, showing to others. Trump denies he held up anything.

As you look at what we know. And again, we have the disadvantage of not being members of the grand jury or the special counsel's team, the significance of the addition of this charge and what would be required for the special counsel to add such a charge, in a superseding indictment?

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, you have to ask yourself, what was the not charged in the first place, right? Clearly, they had this document. And we know that Jack Smith recovered over 100 classified documents when they executed the search warrant at Mar-a- Lago, and they chose 31 of those documents to put in the indictment.

And the question is, why is it that they now included it? It could be one of a couple of reasons. One, for example, one of the elements of the crime as he has to willfully retain all of the documents, right?

So, one question will be, he returned to the Archives, so did he willfully retain it? Or maybe that was a question, or maybe it's so secret and so sensitive that the intelligence community didn't want Jack Smith to include this because it can't be revealed. We don't know why. But Trump, when he went on Fox News and denied the existence of this

document and claimed it was just a magazine, papers, or clippings, the document didn't exist, he almost gave Jack Smith no choice but to go to the intelligence community and get permission to put this in the indictment and show that Trump is just lying.

SCIUTTO: I do know from my own reporting, there are few things more classified or sensitive than war plans, particularly one involving such a serious adversary as Iran, in this case.

Karl, CNN is learning that Yuscil Tavares is the name of the I.T. worker at Mar-a-Lago who oversaw the surveillance footage on the property. The special counsel says he was asked by another Trump employee to erase footage from a server. He has this language that the boss wants it to happen.

Does an attempt or a discussion of destroying evidence -- is that evidence enough of a crime or do you actually have to manage to do it?


KARL SCHMAE, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: So, certainly, this looks like it is part of a conspiracy. I mean, listen, a new indictment, superseding indictment goes to a greater level of detail showing the lengths that Trump and his employees were going to. You know, in particular, if you look at the timeframes that are shown there, it shows that on June 2nd, attorney number one was going to review the boxes of documents.

And we have evidence now, and the tape shows that 64 documents were actually moved prior to that. Only 30 boxes were returned on June 2nd for the attorney to review.

The next day, the FBI came to review the documents that were collected by attorney number one. And when they were doing this collection, they looked around and they saw this video camera, they saw the security system. So, based on that, that's when the grand jury issued the subpoena for the footage. And, clearly, there was stuff that Trump and his employees didn't want seen.

SCIUTTO: Ryan, for the sake of our viewers, because I'm sure they are having trouble keeping track of all the ongoing investigations and the incremental progress within each of those investigations. But when you look at yesterday's superseding indictment, how much more serious does it make, in your view, the case against Trump in the classified documents investigation?

GOODMAN: I think it ratchets up and the seriousness of the case a lot because it's -- we should just think of it narrowly like an additional charge was made at President Trump, that he was involved in trying to destroy these tapes. It says what it says about the entire case, to try to destroy the evidence is a consciousness of guilt. It means you are trying to destroy something that you know that you did something wrong.

And what he did wrong as a violation of the Espionage Act, by retaining national defense information. I think that is what is so important about this new part of the indictment.

SCIUTTO: Karen, how about the piece here -- it sounds almost like a mob discussion, right? You know, are you loyal, when you look at these text messages. Is this guy loyal? Is he going to do it? The boss wants this to happen.

When you look at that pattern there, does that factor into the investigation here and the evidence behind these charges?

AGNIFILO: Yeah, I mean, this is a pattern that Donald Trump does in his whole life, right? He covets loyalty. He keeps people close. He -- you know, then he believes you and tortures you verbally if there is any indication that you aren't on his side and loyal.

So I think there is just a lot of the people are afraid of him. You know, I think people around him are afraid of him because look what happens to anyone who is in his crosshairs. They immediately get some kind of a horrific nickname and then he accuses them of being a crackhead, a liar, whatever it is. It is the same pattern, doesn't matter who you are, you could be, you know, Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, you could be Jack Smith, he does the same thing to everybody.

SCIUTTO: Derange is the adjective he uses for Jack Smith now.

Karl, law enforcement here in Washington is preparing for any potential dangers, risks from a potential Trump indictment here. You've got long rows of security barricades as well around the Fulton County courthouse in Georgia, where the D.A. there may soon to indict Trump for his efforts to overturn Georgia's election.

Just today, speaking the kind of language the former president uses, he called for the special counsel, Trump did, and attorney general to be thrown into jail.

Does this tense atmosphere concern you? Is this something Trump has done before, it's at the center of the discussions about January six and whether the president's comments at the time helped lead to that violence on that day.

SCHMAE: Absolutely. Look, what we found out from January 6th is that words matter. The FBI has arrested over 1,000 people that participated in that insurrection. Many of those have been charged, they have pled guilty. They said stuff, like you know what, I did this because the president told me, you know?

So, words matter. So, my concern is, it just takes one person. And there's a lot of people in this country that are divided, that think this is a witch hunt. They've bought into the Trump defense that he is being persecuted, this is unfair. And so, based on what we saw on January 6, it's not out of the realm of possibility to have something to do something. One of the things that we know is that not only are they willing to take action, but many of them aren't.

SCIUTTO: Yeah, disinformation can work to this day, many Republicans still believe the election was stolen.


Thanks so much to all of you for joining us this evening. Appreciate your expertise.

OUTFRONT next, just in, we are getting brand-new details about Carlos de Oliveira, the Mar-a-Lago employee who is accused of trying to delete that security footage at Mar-a-Lago. His good friend of 30 years just spoke to CNN. You want to hear what he has to say.

Plus, as the fighting intensifies in Ukraine, see how North Korea is going all out to make sure Putin knows the permit kingdom has his back. And just in, the wife of a suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer breaking her silence tonight, speaking to reporters.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got over the hurdle of what I saw inside.



SCIUTTO: Tonight, riveting new video into OUTFRONT from the frontlines in Ukraine, where there is a fierce fight underway near Bakhmut. Gunfire just unrelenting as the Ukrainian forces try to push through the multilayered Russian defenses, making their way across ground littered with land mines.

Despite this, Ukraine says it is making real progress now in the area. That intense fighting coming as Russia continues to launch missiles deep into the city of Dnipro. You can see the smoke billowing from a residential high-rise, residential, keep in mind. And the building that houses Ukraine security services as well in flames.


As fighting intensifies, Vladimir Putin is trying to shore up alliances wherever he can, cozying up now with the North Koreans, as well as African leaders.

Nic Robertson is OUTFRONT.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Vladimir Putin is looking for friends. Fewer than he hoped showed up for his grandiose Petersburg Africa conference, simultaneously sending Sergei Shoigu, his defense minister, thousands of miles to North Korea, cozying up two nuclear armed Kim Jong-un. Pictures of Putin plastered on the walls, quite the reception for the Russians.

And this, Kim showing off his latest intercontinental ballistic missile, the Hwasong 18. Putin telling Kim in a letter, North Korea's firm support against Ukraine and its solidarity with Russia highlights are common interests, to counter the policy of the West.

So much Putin propaganda in Pyongyang shows Kim desperate for foreign friends as well. Their common ground: anger at America.

In St. Petersburg, where only 17 heads of states showed up, less of half of those who came for the 2019 pre-Ukraine invasion Africa conference. Putin's pitch, the U.S. and Europe are bad, Russia is your friend.

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: South Africa and indeed as Africa we are greatly encouraged and by the Russian Federation's commitment to deepening collaboration with the nations of Africa.

ROBERTSON: South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, who's ailing political party denies indirect Kremlin cash support, vocal for Putin.

And as all this happens, a military coup in Niger. Russia, apparently ready to move in and replace in the West counter-terrorism forces. Wagner mercenary boss Prigozhin, Putin's one-time Africa enforcer, telling Nigeriens, throw the west out.

In Africa, in North Korea, Putin trying to carve out a new access, a world order aligned behind him against the West.


ROBERTSON (on camera): The cold reality there, Jim, for Putin is that his -- he prospers when he looks the West look bad. But the trouble for the West is fighting Putin's false accounting of everything from everything in the war in Ukraine, the cost of food and fuel in African countries is nearly a full-time prospect that has made so much harder because Putin actually has leverage over some of those countries -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT now, Mikhail Zygar. He's a Russian journalist who knows the Kremlin, and Putin's inner circle, probably better than most. Thanks so much. He is also the author of "War and Punishment", a new book about Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

I wonder, Mikhail, we don't know, there's been reporting in the past about Russians buying weapons and ammunition from North Korea for its war in Ukraine. What does it say about Russia's current position in the world and that it's reaching out to really the world's biggest pariah state, one might say?

MIKHAIL ZYGAR, RUSSIAN JOURNALIST; DER SPIEGEL COLUMNIST: You know, that has been the strategy for several years. Putin is trying to become the leader of the global anti-Americanism. So, yes, he understands that he has no way to find his own popularity in the Global South, in Africa.

So, he is trying to play that card as the leader of the anti-American world. Sometimes it seems he is rather successful in that. So at least all the speeches that could be heard during the Africa Russia summit in St. Petersburg, they were mostly against America or against Western values. And Putin was trying to prove that he is the real fighter against the West and the United States.

SCIUTTO: That will be -- of course, North Korea very close to China as well.

Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader, of course, of the Wagner Group, resurfaced and then of all places St. Petersburg, same event as Vladimir Putin just a month after he attempted a coup against Putin. Tell us what you've learned about where Prigozhin has been and what he's been up to, what his position is in Russia today.

ZYGAR: Yeah, according to my sources, he has been noticed several times in St. Petersburg.


That happens to be his hometown. So, probably he didn't spend all that month in Belarus. He spent most of the time in St. Petersburg. He was trying to be visible. And he even met Vladimir Putin months ago in the Kremlin.

So, obviously, according to my sources, Putin does not consider himself a traitor because Prigozhin was not trying to topple Vladimir Putin. He was trying to become number two. He was trying to organize an uprising against the minister of defense, Sergei Shoigu.

But he did not betray Putin personally. That is why he lost most of his influence. But he is still not eliminated and even Putin let him to remain in his own city.

SCIUTTO: Remarkable because Putin did use that word traitor during --


SCIUTTO: -- in the midst of the coup.

Mikhail Zygar, thanks so much for joining us tonight.

OUTFRONT next, Trump says he's got no plans to drop out of the presidential race, even if he ends up in jail. The former president, he's about to speak at a key Republican dinner in Iowa.

Plus, and a story you will see first on OUTFRONT, we're going to take you underwater to see firsthand just how dire the situation is for coral reefs in Florida's record hot waters.


SCIUTTO: You are looking at live pictures out of Iowa. That's, of course, Nikki Haley, where Trump will be speaking tonight at his first major public event since new criminal charges were filed in the Mar-a- Lago classified documents case.


Nikki Haley speaking at the dinner right now, Trump's 2024 rivals are, to this point, widely sidestepping this issue.

Here is Ron DeSantis today.


REPORTER: Looking forward, would you handle classified documents in the same way that the former president did?

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, as president, I pledge on day one, we will end the weaponization of justice in all the agencies in the federal government. But here's the thing, when they are shooting at, you know, the way you handle it is not shoot yourself in the foot and to make sure you keep the eye on the ball.


SCIUTTO: Those comments come as Trump vows today to continue his campaign even if he is convicted and sentenced to prison.

Jessica Dean is OUTFRONT live from one of Trump's campaign offices in Iowa where he is expected to visit staff any moment now.

Jessica, I wonder what you're expecting to hear in the president's speech tonight.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, we are expecting to hear more of what he has been telegraphing the last 24 hours. This is the first time we will see him out in public. So that will be different. He will be in front of a crowd.

I was just in that ballroom about an hour and a half ago. It is giant. It's going to have a very large crowd there and we know he responds well to that. He likes being in front of a crowd. So, we can expect him to really rev up for that large audience.

Behind me right now, you see this group here. This is one of his campaign offices in Iowa, where we are expecting to see him really at any moment now. We are told he's going to address supporters inside there. Unclear exactly what he is going to say to them.

But if history is any indication, Jim, we know that he talks about being the justices them weaponized against them unfairly, prosecutors -- prosecutorial misconduct, again, without any evidence of that being the case. But that is typically what we are hearing from him.

I want you to listen to what he said a little bit earlier today about what he would do if he was convicted.


JOHN FREDERICKS: You get convicted and sentenced. Does that stop your campaign for president, if you are sentenced?

DONALD TRUMP: Not at all. There is nothing in the Constitution to say that it could. And not at all. Even the radical left crazies are saying no that wouldn't stop. And it wouldn't stop me either.


DEAN: All right. I am hearing sirens behind me, Jim. So, we could expect his arrival here at any moment.

In the meantime, I want to zoom out for a quick second and give everyone a snapshot of what is happening on the ground here in Iowa when it comes to this GOP presidential primary. New polling from Fox Business over the weekend showing Trump is at 46 percent. The person in second place, that's Governor Ron DeSantis at 16 percent.

So, you can see what a hold he still has on the primary here in Iowa. And so, many of these candidates, DeSantis and the others, trying to find a link to break out with these voters to make that moment where they can connect with the voters and can convince them that they are the one that can be elected in 2024. That's what we've heard from DeSantis over and over again, is this electability argument.

The question, Jim, is -- is the Trump fatigue enough for one of those other candidates to start raising in the polls? Jim?

SCIUTTO: We'll be watching, Jessica Dean in Iowa, thanks so much.

OUTFRONT now, former Republican governor and 2024 presidential candidate Asa Hutchison. Thanks so much for taking the time tonight.

ASA HUTCHINSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Great to be with you. Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Governor, as you know, this new indictment accuses Trump of obstructing the DOJ's investigation by trying to or discussing the leading security footage at Mar-a-Lago. It says the property manager told an I.T. worker, quote, the boss wanted the server deleted.

You, of course, are a former federal prosecutor. In your experience, does someone discuss deleting evidence if they are not concerned there was evidence of a crime?

HUTCHINSON: No, of course not. That's why the whole issue goes to intent. Not only is it a separate crime, and by directing someone to delete something of evidentiary value that you know the grand jury wants is a crime. But it also goes to the intent and knowledge that he's had criminal conduct.

And so, this is a serious upon serious. The first indictment, obviously, it was as serious as it gets. And then here, you have a superseding indictment that adds another level of seriousness. And this should be really -- it takes a lot to get Donald Trump's attention on criminal cases. But if this doesn't get his attention, nothing will. And so, it's going to take more time and the accusations are extraordinarily problematic for his defense team.

SCIUTTO: You and the former president, another Republican candidates, are going to be making your case to Iowa voters tonight to be the next GOP nominee for the president. You said before the former president should end of this race in 2024.

Do you believe that even more today than you did yesterday?

HUTCHINSON: Yes. What's happened has reaffirmed what I called for early on, and that is the steps aside. He needs to step aside for his own benefit so he can address these very serious criminal case is filed against him, but also for the good of the country.

SCIUTTO: Top Republicans are defending the former president. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy today compared to Trump's case to that of President Biden, who like the former president -- vice president Mike Pence voluntarily handed over classified documents they had retained.

Listen if you can, for a moment, to Representative McCarthy, then I want to get your reaction.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: What concerns me is you have a sitting president that has a situation like this, but even worse, but nothing is happening.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Obstruction versus the actual evidence. It's two different issues.

MCCARTHY: It's not two different issues. How does one key being indicted at and other not?


SCIUTTO: You are a former prosecutor yourself, you are running for president. Do you acquit Trump's classified documents case behavior to that of Pence and Biden?

HUTCHINSON: No. Each case is fact specific. You have one and both of the Mike Pence and also the president cooperating, giving documents back. We don't know all the facts. Those will be resolved.

But every case is different. In Trump's case, he brought all of this on himself. Whenever you are looking at showcasing national security secrets to others, whatever you look at telling people the allegations that you are supposed to destroy evidence, you are supposed to delete videotapes, surveillance, this is terrible in terms of what is facing Donald Trump. And it certainly is separate from what the others see.

And so, the whole idea of we have an equal justice being applied here is not a defense in a court of law. And it's all about public relations, and that only goes so far.

SCIUTTO: You are in Iowa tonight along with other Republican candidates. You will make your own case to be the GOP nominee. You are quite successful politician in your own right.

Governor, you served in Congress. You spoke to a lot of voters in your time. Are they telling you in private things that don't come through in the polls about their openness to a new direction for the Republican Party? A new nominee for president?

HUTCHINSON: They are. I mean, you see the poll numbers. I believe they are artificially high for Donald Trump. And with all the external pressures on him, there is a realization that we can't win in 2024 with him leading the ticket. That is not just the presidency involved, but it's the congressional races and Senate races.

So, a tremendous amount is at stake, as well as the future of the party. And so, there is a realization growing among the base, among leaders of the party that we have to go a different direction. I think it starts here in Iowa.

Iowa has been attuned to this for sometime. I expect Iowa to go a different direction. I will make my case. I want to be on the debate stage. So, is important for me to get on that debate stage to have those contributions, to qualify for that debate.

SCIUTTO: Before we do -- go, I do want to ask you about new comments by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito today. This is as Democrats have been pushing for stronger ethics rules for justices amid controversies that have involved Alito and other justices.

Alito told "The Wall Street Journal", I know this is a controversial view, but I'm willing to say it, no provision in the constitution gives them, he's referring to Congress here, the authority to regulate the Supreme Court, period.

You are a governor, you're a candidate for president. You served in Congress and you are a lawyer yourself. Do you agree?

HUTCHINSON: Well, there is a separation of powers. I tend to agree with Justice Alito. I do think the Supreme Court itself should provide more transparency and more clarity on their ethical rules. No one is above the appearance of impropriety, and they need to make sure that the rules are clear in terms of gifts.

So there is that constitutional separation. I do question whether the Congress can enact those ethical rules.


But I do hope the Supreme Court takes the initiative on their own.

SCIUTTO: Governor Asa Hutchison, thanks so much for joining us this evening and best of luck this evening to you.

HUTCHINSON: All right. Thank you. Good to be with you.

SCIUTTO: OUTFRONT next, new details just coming in about Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos de Oliveira, who is now facing charges. How did a low level employee get tangled up in Trump's legal problems?

And in a story you're going to see first here on OUTFRONT, we take you underwater to see how Florida's coral reefs are coping with unprecedented hot tub like water temperatures.


SCIUTTO: Tonight, live pictures out of Iowa, the former President Donald Trump expected to speak any moment now. This comes as two employees who worked with Trump at Mar-a-Lago now face criminal charges in connection with Trump's classified documents mishandling case. Family members of one of those employees, Carlos de Oliveira, tell CNN they feel he got trapped.

One of Trump's former executives told out front that legal trouble for anyone working with Trump is nothing new. And that Trump, quote, compromises almost everyone he works with at some point or another.

Tom Foreman is OUTFRONT.



TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Another week, another person close to Donald Trump in trouble. The property manager at Mar-a-Lago, Carlos de Oliveira, like Trump aide Walt Nauta has now been swept into the case about classified documents, which the justice department says Trump illegally took and held.

Trump denies it.

TRUMP: This is harassment. This is election interference.

FOREMAN: But the charges against team Trump have been mounting for years. Start with Steve Bannon.

STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP AIDE: I stand with Trump and the Constitution.

FOREMAN: The firebrand advisor has pleaded not guilty to New York state charges of conspiracy to money laundering and fraud. But he's been slapped with four months in prison for another matter, ignoring the congressional subpoena about the January 6th attack. His jail time is on hold while he appeals.

Allen Weisselberg, Trump's longtime chief financial officer served roughly four months for tax fraud and was ordered to pay $2 million in back taxes, interest, and penalties.

Paul Manafort, once Trump's campaign manager, he served two years in prison for bank and tax fraud, illegal foreign lobbying, and more, before Trump pardoned him.

Also pardoned, former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

MICHAEL FLYNN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The next president of the United States right here.

FOREMAN: He admitted lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia before walking the admission back and suing the government for alleged malicious prosecution.

JACK O'DONNELL, FORMERLY WORKED FOR THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION: He compromises almost everyone that works with him at some point or another.

FOREMAN: None of it surprises Jack O'Donnell, who worked for the Trump organization. O'DONNELL: The man is the least compassionate, empathetic person I've

ever met in my life. He doesn't care about anyone.

FOREMAN: And the list goes on. George Papadopoulos, Rick Gates, Elliott Brody, Roger Stone, all had ties to Trump, all wound up in legal jeopardy. And of course, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was confined three years after admitting several crimes, including campaign finance violations.

He says it is simple why so many follow Trump into trouble.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Look, it's not as devious as you might think. The man is a cult leader, plain and simple.


FOREMAN (on camera): Neither Nauta nor de Oliveira responded to CNN's request for any further comment, but, Jim, go back to what you said at the beginning, a lot of people we talked to are close to Trump said this is the thing. People get in that circle, they get close in that circle, and then suddenly they are in over their heads on matters that maybe they didn't understand, maybe they were afraid to stand up to, and yet, for which they may a price -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: A cult leader said Michael Cohen. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.

OUTFRONT next, we take you underwater where Florida's once vibrant coral reefs are now dying as water temperatures spike above 100 degrees.

And the wife of the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer speaking out tonight.



SCIUTTO: Tonight, hot water, really hot water. Record heat in Florida turning the ocean into one giant hot tub. Water temperatures reaching a jaw dropping 101 degrees this week. Coral reefs now engraved potentially irreversible danger because of those dangers. CNN went underwater and saw firsthand just how dire the situation is now.

Derek Van Dam is OUTFRONT.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: We are leaving the marina on a scientific expectation with some of the world's top coral scientists. We come here to determine how the coral reefs on the Florida peninsula are coping with unprecedented ocean heat.

If anyone can tackle this problem, it's these people. They are inspired and they are motivated and they are on the front lines of this climate emergency every single day. DR. ANDREW BAKER, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: I think one of the

big questions we have a scientist as what explains why some corals bleach really severely and other ones don't.

VAN DAM (voice-over): Scientists are just worried about the high water temperatures, they are concerned this is only July and the hottest months are still ahead of us.

DR. LIV WILLIAMSON, ASSISTANT SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI: Corals are really sensitive to heat. I'm a little bit worried we might see quite a few bleached and stressed out corals.

VAN DAM: You see, more than 90 percent of excess heat from greenhouse warming is stored in our oceans. And that doesn't just disappear. It can supercharge storms, melt our, and bleach our coral reefs. Bleached corals are still alive but they are extremely stressed. Highly vulnerable, if the heat continues, they may die.

So this is part of why scientists worry about it. The first location we go to was south of Biscayne.

BAKER: I think we saw exactly what we, feared which is these are the moving front of severe bleaching through the Keys and into Miami-Dade.

VAN DAM: It was just a remarkable moment to stand next to these century old giants, right? I mean, how else do you describe it? It was very eye-opening to see this array and mixture of completely dead coral, bleached coral, and healthy coral. So I saw hope, but I also saw a tough situation. And I can see what heat stress really does to these animals. They are sensitive and I witnessed it. It was -- it was humbling.

There is still hope?

BAKER: Absolutely, there is still hope. The water conditions are actually cooling down somewhat. On a day like this, we have some overcast conditions, that all helps. It decreases the amount of heat stress building up on the reef.

And I think as far as the bleach front going, we hope that it doesn't continue to increase and move northward. The next few weeks are going to really tell a story.

VAN DAM: Next, we headed north to Miami to see the impact on the reef there. You may be thinking, why it is a coral reef matter so much to us? Well, they are part of an interconnected ecosystem. It acts as a habitat for marine wildlife. So any impact on the coral will have an impact on the entire water ecosystem.

And something a lot of people may not realize, it's not just ocean life that relies on the coral reefs being healthy. They are Mother Nature's natural barriers against hurricanes and storm surge.

WILLIAMSON: Coral reefs provide this really amazing structure that is actually key for breaking wave energy as it comes towards our shores. So they have to protect our beaches and coastal properties. [19:55:04]

VAN DAM: And on this second dive, there was obvious really felt by these scientists.

That was completely different.

WILLIAMSON: Better. A lot better.

VAN DAM: If you were happy, I was happy. I could see it in your eyes. I mean, we gestured a heart to each other because we saw how much more alive these corals are.

WILLIAMSON: I can't tell you how relieved I am to see those nice, big, dark happy colonies.

VAN DAM: That was a big difference. It really was. You could just see how healthy some of the corals, where it gives me a lot of hope and that, you know, if we can keep the temperatures down, these corals are going to survive. That looked good.


VAN DAM (on camera): Yeah, Jim, it is a coral cliff hanger. It is not the endgame. Research scientists on the boat told me that because we still have the warmest months ahead of us, they have to be on full alert for this potential of coral bleaching to move northward throughout the Miami-Dade region.

But could the water temperatures cool? Certainly. If rain, perhaps a tropical system can bring some up flowing from the bottom of the ocean and coolest at pitchers and help relieve the heat stress for the corrals.

Jim, back to you.

SCIUTTO: Great story there, Derek.

Well, coming up next, a new statement from the family of the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer.


SCIUTTO: The wife of the suspected Gilgo Beach serial killer is speaking out. Asa Ellerup returned home and spoke about the condition of her house now that the investigation there is complete.


ASA ELLERUP, WIFE OF THE SUSPECTED GILGO BEACH SERIAL KILLER: I got over the hurdle of what I saw inside.


SCIUTTO: Her lawyer also released a statement that reads, in part, quote: They, meaning the neighbors, deservedly peacefully. I'm pleading with you all to give us space so that we may regain some normalcy in our neighborhood.

Heuermann who is charged with killing three women, is expected to appear in court next Tuesday.

Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.