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Erin Burnett Outfront

Trump Pleads Not Guilty To 4 Felony Charges In Election Case; McCarthy Responds To Trump Arrest With False Comparisons, Claims Trump Prosecuted For "Thoughts". Aired 7-8p ET

Aired August 03, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And good evening to all and welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. I'm Erin Burnett, along with Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

And you are looking at live pictures of former President Trump now making his way back to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Trump's trip home caps what has been a historic day. The former president earlier pleading not guilty in a Washington, D.C. courtroom to four criminal counts tied to allegations that he conspired to overturn the 2020 election.

And that courthouse where he was is symbolically so crucial. Just blocks from where Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6th. You see the Capitol from there, an insurrection fueled by what the indictment calls Trump's pervasive and destabilizing lies about election fraud, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Erin, today's 27-minute hearing marks Trump's third arraignment in just four months. Our reporter in the courtroom said Trump appeared angry, his hands clasped as he stared straight ahead. We're also told he had what appeared to be some heated conversations with his attorney, Todd Blanche.

The judge also setting the next hearing for August 28th, which is just days after the first Republican primary debate.

BURNETT: And, Wolf, Trump responding to today's hearing speaking briefly to reporters. He railed against the judge in the hearing.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: When you look at what's happening, this is a persecution of a political opponent. This was never supposed to happen in America. This is the persecution of the person that's leading by very, very substantial numbers in the Republican primary and leading Biden by a lot. So if you can't beat him, you persecute him or you prosecute him.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BURNETT: All right. Well, it was a sad day for America. Something, of course, we heard often after the January 6th attack on the United States capitol and we have so much to cover over the next hour with Wolf and myself.

We want to begin though with Paula Reid live outside that courthouse in Washington.

And, Paula, what are you learning about what's next in this case?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erin, we could be looking at a rocket docket here because Judge Chutkan who will oversee this case and a probable trial, she's told the government she wants to know in seven days, she wants them to tell her when they can take this case to trial and how long that trial will take.

Then the defense attorneys, they have just another week to tell her the same thing, because she appears ready to set a trial date at the next hearing, which is on August 28th. Defense attorneys in court today, they did raise some concerns about how long it will take them to really understand how much evidence they have to review in this case.

But it appears that she wants to move this along swiftly. This courthouse has overseen hundreds of January 6th related cases. At this point, it's just impossible to say if this case will definitely go on before the 2024 election. One thing that could really impact a potential timeline is if there are additional charges or additional defendants added to this case. We know from our reporting that over the next several weeks, the special counsel will interview at least two additional witnesses suggesting that additional charges are possible.

BURNETT: All right. Paula, thank you very much, from the courthouse.


BLITZER: Erin, I want to go quickly to CNN's Kristen Holmes who's been following Trump all day today.

Kristen, the former president touching down in New Jersey tonight. What are you learning about the thinking within the Trump camp tonight?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're already hearing from Trump again after those remarks. He's posting on his Truth Social page saying -- considering the fact I had to fly to a filthy, dirty, falling apart Washington, D.C. then arrested by my political opponent, it was a very good day. That's a paraphrase. I cut some of the middle adjectives out there.

And this is what we are told by multiple sources. Usually on days like today, and this is now his third arraignment, he is angry. He is frustrated. This is not something he wants to be doing. He wants to be running a political campaign. He wants to be focused on 2024. That's why so much of the time we're talking to these advisers, they

say he's compartmentalizing. He's not thinking about the legal. Only talking about the next election but we are at a place here where the legal and political are the same. This is an argument here that is both legal.

It's about his legal issues but also political because he is saying that because he believes that he will be the front-runner and right now, polls show that he is in the GOP primary, that Joe Biden is personally attacking him because they're going to run against each other.


Now, the question of course is whether or not voters will believe this but this is something they are hammering down. They are saying the DOJ is corrupt. They are saying the FBI is corrupt. They are saying this is all a political scheme because he is running for president and they are going to continue hammering that narrative obviously as we've seen.

We heard from him earlier tonight. He did not take questions, Wolf. I do want to note that. We were told he would then he walked away after about three minutes, very unlike him to give a statement that short -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yeah, good point.

Erin, over to you.

BLITZER: All right, Wolf.

Well, Ty Cobb joins us now, the former Trump White House lawyer.

So, Ty, another historic day and here you are. It is the first time a former president in the United States has ever been charged with crimes committed while in office. What's your reaction watching this historic day?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Well, as you know, I think this is sad. I think it -- unfortunately, as the situation could have been avoided, Trump forced it upon the Department of Justice. By the way he conducted himself in the last few days in office. And by the criminal conduct that he committed as he finished his presidency.

I do think as we've discussed, that former Judge Luttig's poignant comments on what this means for America and for the world, the fact that the star that America has been to the rest of the world for the past 250 years. You know the a little, has been dimmed greatly by Trump.

But it's a little brighter tonight because as a country, we've shown that we are going to stand up for the constitution. That we are not going to tolerate unconstitutional criminal behavior and that we will apply that law you know to the highest offices in the land. So this could be an inflection point. I hope it is, in terms of America returning to greater standing within the world and fortunately demonstrating our commitment to the rule of law.

BURNETT: So, Ty, the next court date is August 28th. That's when we'll find out when the trial is set to begin. Trump's attorney, John Lauro, already today in the hearing pushed back on prosecutors push for a quote/unquote speedy trial. They say he needs a lot of time because there's a massive amount of discovery he needed to do and it just can't happen quickly is the clear implication. Does that add up and how long will this take?

COBB: No, it doesn't. I think Mr. Lauro for all his skills, which you know, I understand to be considerable, he's been in this case for two weeks, ten days. He doesn't know all the facts. Couldn't possibly have mastered them all by now.

He's making only political arguments. He's been out insisting that they're criminalizing speech where the simple counter to that is you actually can facilitate it further crime through speech and be prosecuted for it. Just -- I saw an example in the some of the reporting today where if Tony Soprano tells one of his guys to whack a witness, well, that speech, that's crime.

So I think some of his arguments are not well thought out and purely theatrical. I think in terms of the theory that this case could take nine months, that's delusional. The government has a very, very strong case. They will probably need, I would say somewhere in the neighborhood of four to six weeks to put on their case.

But the defendant has virtually nothing to come back with. It's not like he can say you know, I didn't say that. If Trump and Pence and Eastman and Meadows and other people are all in the same room and say he did. It's not like he can go out and find somebody to say, you know, Trump really believed he lost. That's hearsay. That's an opinion.

The only person they can put Trump's state of mind into the trial is Trump and Trump testifying subjects himself to questions like let me run through the -- this 500 or 600 examples of TV clips where you lied to the country and can you just explain each lie to us.


He's not going to testify.

So I think the likelihood of the defense putting on much of a case is nil. I don't think they have anything that they can come back with. By the direct questioning by the prosecution while it will be lengthy, it will be consistent with the narrative set forth in the indictment.

BURNETT: While you're saying four to six weeks to present and they wouldn't have much to say, this would be extremely quick. Are you implying this is something that could you could be done by Christmas?

COBB: Yeah. Well, you could although I will say one thing. You know, Judge Chutkan is an excellent judge, and a no nonsense judge and she will move this case expeditiously. But as a former public defender, she's very mindful of the right that the defendants have of the due process rights. She's not going to disadvantage the defendant by trying this case at a pace that, you know, treats him unfairly. So, whatever date she sets, she would have taken that into consideration.

But yes, I do think this case could get to trial shortly after the first of the year, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the first one on the docket.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much.

All right. The panel is back with me.

So what do you think, Ryan? First of the year and could be very quick thereafter? Could be the first one out. I mean, that would be -- I mean, it's pretty incredible when you think about it. This is basically judiciously litigating the 2020 election.

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL AT DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE: Yeah. This is the big one. And the Manhattan district attorney seems to recognize that as well by having intimated in a recent interview that he is potentially willing to move his case, which is otherwise scheduled in March, to accommodate Jack Smith because he says in the interest of justice, that the country needs to see this first as a bigger case, then he's making room in the calendar.

So, what is he thinking? His trial is March. That's creating space, and that window. And I think that's the right window.

It's also I think a situation in which Jack Smith will probably operate as he's doing in Florida with the classified documents case in which he'll give the defendant an enormous amount of information that the prosecutors don't have to give until the first day of trial, just to say we are ready to go. We want to have an expeditious trial. There's a public interest in having this trial proceed as quickly as possible with all the defendants' rights intact.

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know to your point and part of your question was about relitigating the 2020 election. Really touches on something Ty said, which is this is a great chance for us to show we don't tolerate unconstitutional behavior.

Well, I want to push back on that a bit because who's the we because January 6th was a sign that actually we do tolerate unconstitutional behavior based on the fact there are millions of Americans who believe number one that Donald Trump did nothing wrong and that number two, January 6th was you know a tourist event and so on. The rule of law and this idea that we submit to courts and so on only works if people starting with former presidents and their supporters believe that we are subordinate to it in some way and that's not a prevailing view among many, many Americans. So, it's a great chance for us as a nation and, you know --

BURNETT: We showed our institutions today. Our institution is --

WILLIAMS: Yeah. But can they? I'm not convinced I can and will in the way we want to. BURNETT: That, of course, is the great fear. When we were talking,

Ashley, about the polls, the most recent polls. Seventy percent of Republicans, 69 percent to be exact believe that Biden should not be president of the United States, right?

And that's the context for a day like today plays out. It's not playing out where suddenly, Americans are not reading every page of the indictment and listening to this.

ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I mean, today my heart is really heavy. I think about the day I decided to be a public servant and go into politics. I hear about young children who hear the president tells his number two that you're just a little bit too honest. These are the principles we teach children, honesty and not telling lies.

But when they see the person that was holding the highest office persuade people that he is their boss to potentially lie, our country is in trouble. This is bigger than politics right now. This is not about actually who is up in the polls, this is about when we hold these truths to be self evident, what truths are we talking about?

If we do not live in a country where facts mean something, and when -- no matter who you are, the janitor or the president of the United States, you do something dishonest, you do not have to be held to account, presidential elections, campaign stuff meant nothing in that moment.


And so, whatever interventions have to happen in this country to get back into a reality of truth, must have been across party lines, across gender, across socioeconomic, or we won't survive the next attack on our democracy because it is too fragile.

BURNETT: It is interesting what Ty was saying referring to Judge Luttig, right, that America's star dimmed because of what has happened. But today, Ty felt some brightness, because the system worked.

You also have a heavy heart today. You have sort of an ominous foreboding feeling.

GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm a frustrated Republican, because I know this should be simpler than it is. Think of the different days Joe Biden and Donald Trump had today. Donald Trump was arrested and Joe Biden took a nap on the beach. This will go on over and over again.

And, you know, there's such a right moment in time for Republicans to put a once in a generation later, right, a leader that steps up and projects these big ideas that help every single American that really projects -- whether Democrat or Republican, really puts this big vision out there. I'm reminded of the way Ronald Reagan led, you know, the 80 -- the person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor. Just imagine the problems we can solve. And I'm so frustrated because,

you know, unfortunately, it looks like we're going to have to lose, again, to maybe learn a lesson. It feels like we're going to have to lose another cycle to take your own medicine and figure out we've got to pick somebody other than Donald Trump. I continue to say this over and over again, but he's hijacked our party, and we've let him.

BURNETT: So, one of the question I want to ask you, when we talk about the speed of this trial. There's also the question of jurisdiction, which is coming up again. Obviously, the proceedings themselves on January -- the actual certification happened in Washington, D.C.

There are seven states mentioned here where false slates of electors happened. Is there an argument to be made by Trump, that it anyway could be successful about changing the jurisdiction?

GOODMAN: No. So I even think, if somebody is a supporter of him, and they think maybe he'll get it somewhere else, or -- it's not going to move out. And the arguments -- and Ty pointed at this with other arguments that Mr. Lauro is making on his behalf in the public square about venue now as well, that the idea that he won't get a fair shake in D.C. because --

BURNETT: Only 10 percent of people voted for Trump there, they're making a political argument.

GOODMAN: Yes, it's political. It may be even persuasive, but it's not a legal argument. That will not work in a courtroom. If you make that argument in a courtroom, you'll probably just lose the entire question out of hand, because tat's not how the system works. The system would never base it on that.

And that's why, also, the Justice Department could not decide, instead of bringing the case of the documents case in Florida, bringing it to D.C., because there are more Democrats in D.C. or something. They can never say that. They couldn't say it in a room in the Justice Department, that that would be a legitimate calculation. The law doesn't hear that, because we think that the system can hold, at least that's the ideal, and we can get jurors to be impartial.

BURNETT: In that courtroom today, if it were reporters, obviously, we didn't have cameras, but they were reporters. Katelyn Polantz was one of them.

And you were able, Katelyn, to watch Trump throughout this. Tell us at a little bit about what you saw.

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Donald Trump, he carries himself in a way that really commands attention when he walks into a courtroom. Like this, all eyes are naturally going to go to him. Donald Trump, he really was fidgeting quite a bit as he sat in the courtroom, as he entered, he was playing with his jacket a little bit. He had his hands full of. He really wanted to talk to his lawyers quite a lot. So much so, at one point, they had to move the microphone away from

him so it wouldn't pick up all of the whispering he was doing to his lawyers. He also really was looking around, quite a lot. He looked at -- directly at Jack Smith, the special counsel. He looked and observe the others and the courtroom. There are about 15 people from the court staff, from the press, some members of the public, as well.

So he really was taking it all in. To the point where at one point he looks out at the table he was sitting at, as he's waiting for the judge to come in, and picked up a stack of papers and you could see him pick it up, put it in front of him, write it a little bit, and that I can't very clear as he was placing it down, I could see from where I was sitting, it was the indictment itself. That he was pleading not guilty to in court today.

And so, just having him there, was one of those moments that you just, really, -- there's another person and the corporate, a member of the public who was there just because that recognized this was such a historical moment. They wanted to be able to tell their grandchildren about it. But it's also a humbling moment to have a criminal defendant in court.


And when Donald Trump is in court, he is the former president, but he is a dress like any other criminal defendant. The judge speaks to him directly. This judge particularly spoke to him, calling him Mr. Trump. And he had to turn and face the judge.

And the way that he was facing the judge is that he's sitting much farther down from her, looking up at her. And every time she's asking him a question, he has to respond for the record.

Do you understand what I'm asking you? Yes. Can you comply with the orders from this court that is going to place on you, what your bail terms, that you can't intimidate any witnesses or potential jurors, that you need to make sure that you understand what's happening here and that you also have the right to remain silent?

And to that, Donald Trump did vocally, on all of those things, tell the judge, yes, I understand. He did answer her questions in the affirmative, yes.

And he was sworn in at one point with his hand up to the sky to be sworn in around the time that he did need to plead not guilty.

BURNETT: It's also fascinating, Katelyn, and interesting just as you described it. So, you know, even the looking up, these things matter. This dynamic of the power in the courtroom is the judge and the law, the law itself.

Wolf, also interesting what Katelyn just reported there, that she saw him -- you know, putting a sheaf of papers down. She was able to where she was sitting to see that that was the actual indictment.

BLITZER: Yeah, he was fidgeting, too, according to Kaitlan. I want to bring back, Erin, our legal and political experts for some


And, Jamie, let me start with you. What did you make of the description we heard from Kaitlan about how Trump was behaving with his head down, fidgeting? He seemed pretty nervous.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: We are hearing from many sources that today was different. It was a sobering day. Stephanie Grisham, who work for him, said he looked angry to her on the tarmac.

There is one other thing that I thought was noticeable about today. We have been very lucky. Whether it was in New York or Florida or here today, there was no violence. The security worked.

Carrie and I were talking about, perhaps part of that is because so many of the rioters from January 6th -- they've gone to jail. People don't want to go to jail. It's been a deterrent. That said, Donald Trump continues to attack the Department of Justice, judges, the special counsel. He's called the special counsel toughs, slime ball, Gestapo.

There were a number of federal judges who came into the courtroom today. We don't say then because we don't have cameras, but Katelyn reported on it. That's very unusual in a federal courtroom.

These judges did not go in the air today because they were curious. I don't believe -- a source of mine who's a former justice official texted me and said, they worked it to show solidarity. They know that the rule of law, democracy, the Justice Department has been under attack and that was a statement that they came today.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, in this case, as well as all the January 6 related cases, they are serving two purposes. One is to hold the actual individuals who are accused accountable for the particular thing that they are being charged or convicted with. The other has a deterrent factor.

And so when we look to the fact that, in New York, in Miami, and now, thankfully, today, here in D.C., there is no violence that was accompanying any of these proceedings. They went relatively smoothly today. We didn't see anything like that.

There was some security presence, police presence, which was appropriate but there was nothing else that -- there was nothing that caused any violence today.

GANGEL: Knock on wood. OK --

CORDERO: And the cases that were brought, particularly against the individuals who also have a -- been prosecuted in this federal court in D.C. for the attack on the Capitol, I believe that those really are having a deterrent effect on individuals behavior. And what this case against the former president is about, it's about protecting future elections. So there is a deterrent aspect to not allow the same coconspirators to engage in similar activities that would influence or prevent the rightful outcome of a future U.S. election.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Can I add one more thing about Donald Trump? When hearing a lot about his behavior and his arms folded. This is a man who is used to being in charge, and only likes to be in charge, and believes he always should be in charge, no matter what.

I mean, as we saw, in this indictment, he said nobody here should be talking to the vice president. I'm the one who talked to the vice president, end of discussion.


And in the courtroom, Donald Trump is not in charge. He is not in charge. He has to answer these questions which, no doubt, he considers petty and dumb, and insulting to him.

And after all, I'm Donald Trump. I'm the former president of the United States. Actually, I believe I'm the real president of the United States. Why should I be answering these questions? And so, the anger builds I think on itself.

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: And that's so right, and that really keys into the point that Jamie was making about the judges in the back row. The courtroom -- the majesty of the courtroom is the majesty of the law. And the reason why Donald Trump isn't in charge in that courtroom is because, even presidents and ex-presidents essentially, are subject to the rule of law.

And judges are the vanguards. They are the people who protect and maintain and defend the rule of law. They are, in a sense, our last line of defense. And I know Jamie really appreciate that because her mother --

GANGEL: My mother's a judge. Right.

CONWAY: Yeah. And if you become a federal judge, particularly like the District of Columbia of the Southern District of New York, and you basically lead private prac -- these lawyers have become judges like Boasberg and who else was, Amy Berman Jackson, I think was in the back row, and a guy I went to law school with, Randy Moss, these people could make millions of dollars at law firms just down the street.

I mean, there are associates at New York law firms like the one I spent 30 years at who make more than the chief justice of the United States. They gave that up because being a judge, being a federal judge in particular, with no offense to Jamie's mom, it's a calling.

GANGEL: Right.

CONWAY: It is a calling to defend Lady Justice. It is a calling to defend the Constitution.

And there has been no greater threat to the rule of law and to the constitutional order than this one man who took an oath as the supreme protector, as the man who is defending the Constitution of the United States, there has never been a greater threat to that Constitution that one man. And that's why they paperwork they are.

BORGER: And they are in charge. That's one of the reasons why they were there.

BLITZER: Let me Shan to weigh in.

What do you think, Shan?

SHAN WU, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think that is true, that judges are in charge in the courtroom. I think this judge is -- the magistrate judge's admonition to him not to intimidate jurors. It's very interesting, he's different man than the one was arraigned in Mar-a- Lago case, because now there are additional obstruction counts against him. It makes perfect sense to admonish him about because that threat has grown larger.

But it also creates a potential conundrum because almost everything he says, when he's insulting a prosecutor or insulting witnesses, all of that can easily and in normal case be construed as trying to affect the jurors. If he gets called on that, that's going to sit up quite a train wreck just over that issue.

I mean, in normal case, he could be held in contempt for that. His release conditions could be revoked, that's going to immediately take up the First Amendment arguments in a way that's not teed up for the --


NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: All of that, everything told about, everything we saw today is about, and this I think is part of the reason that Jeb Boasberg, old friend of mine, and the other federal judges were in that back row, today, all of that -- the weight of our democracy, the rule of law, these very difficult legal and factual questions are about to rest on the soldiers of one judge, Tanya Chutkan.

And she is going to carry the burden. She wasn't in the court today, but she made her presence felt, setting a date, August 28th. She's going to sit a trial date. I think it's going to be a fast one.

BLITZER: We shall see. Guys, thank you very, very much.

OUTFRONT next, the six coconspirators in the Trump January 6 investigation were not in court today, as all eyes are on them, though, right now, what will they do next? Trump's former attorney is joining us next.

Plus, Trump's legal strategy -- delay, delay, delay. But can he delay this trial until after the 2024 election? The famed constitutional scholar, Laurence Tribe, is my guest.

Stay with us. You're watching a special addition of OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Former President Trump standing alone in court today, even though federal prosecutors have pointed to six co-conspirators.

So, let's get to Evan Perez outside the federal courthouse.

And, Evan, there was a much larger team on the special counsel side despite so many people in Trump's inner circle who are caught up on this in one way, shape or form.

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Erin, look, that was one of the most notable things, right, about the fact that the former president was sitting there at the table with only his two lawyers by his side. And John Lauro made -- one of his attorneys made a point to point to the -- to waive over at the special counsel's table, and there's a lot more people there, and he gave a sense of how this investigation has been going on for two and a half years, and has produced a lot of information.

Of course, as you pointed out, there are six coconspirators, and that's absolutely one of the things that former president's legal team is going to want to figure out a lot more about, to try and figure out whether they might be charged, whether there is something that those people have said, that could be used against a former president.

We know, for instance, up special counsel's investigation is continuing. We expect that he is going to have Bernie Kerik, the former New York police commissioner coming in for an interview in the coming days. And, of course, Bernie Kerik was working closely with coconspirator number one in this indictment.


They were working close together trying to figure out how to put together the idea that there was fraud in the election. Rudy Giuliani, of course, was on the phone with senators and members of Congress to try and delay the certification. So, very interesting days for this investigation. We do not know whether the charges are coming, and whether they're coming soon.

Certainly, one of the things that is going to happen very quickly to the trial scheduled it's already been set forth is that the special counsel is going to be turning over a lot of information to the Trump team and then they will be able to get a better picture of what this investigation has to come.

BURNETT: All right. Evan, thank you very much.

And I want to go now to Tim Parlatore, the former attorney for Donald Trump, and currently the attorney for Bernie Kerik, the NYPD commissioner Evan was just been speaking of who will be meeting with the special counsel in the January 6th investigation.

So, Tim, we're talking about the six coconspirators here. How likely is it, in your opinion, that's some of these individuals, any of these individuals cooperate with the special counsel, or flip on Donald Trump?

TIM PARLATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY IN MAR-A-LAGO DOCS PROBE: Well, as far as the cooperation is concerned, I think that that is something that is already happening. Cooperation, meaning that they are being cooperative, that is.

I know, Rudy Giuliani has met with him and he's provided them with information and documents. Certainly Bernie Kerik is not one of these alleged coconspirators. We are being cooperative.

Whether somebody flips, that is kind of a different issue, because the real question there is what would they flip and say? That I think is really the key here because, really, the linchpin of this case is trying to prove the knowledge and intense, and I do not know that any of these witnesses are going to be able to turn around and say, oh yes, Donald Trump knew that there wasn't fraud.

He knew that he had lost legitimately. So, I think that is going to be the difficult thing getting any of them to flip.

BURNETT: Right. All right. So, me ask you a couple things about a couple of them that you know. So, at least for traveling today with Trump that you know, and who were reportedly involved in the indictment, Boris Epshteyn, and Jason miller. Here they are, just the two of them highlighted for our viewers arriving in New Jersey with Trump after the indictment.

I want to start, Tim, with Boris. "The New York Times" says there are signs that Boris's coconspirator number six in the indictment. He described -- that person is described as a political consultant who helped implement a plan to submit fraudulent slates of presidential electors.

Now, you know Boris well, do you think he's involved? Do you think that he would turn on Trump or that he would have -- I don't know what the right word would be, but the fortitude to not?

PARLATORE: I think, is he involved, certainly he was around this whole thing at the time and the description of coconspirator six could be him or somebody else, not exactly sure. One interesting thing to remember is that Boris is represented by Todd Blanche, who is also an attorney for Donald Trump. So, for Boris to flip requires his own attorney to turn against his other client.

So, there is an interesting conflict there that would complicate any cooperation or flipping by Boris.

BURNETT: So, there's Boris. Now I want to ask you about Jason Miller. He was there all day today, too. We've got video of him waiting outside the courthouse where Trump was arraigned. Our reporters say he flew down with him.

A source familiar with the matter tells CNN he is cited in the indictment as a senior campaign adviser who spoke with the defendant on a daily basis. Now he is not coconspirator, right, but he -- that is where he would

appear in the indictment. And, you know, what's fascinating that in the indictment, it says that he informed Trump on multiple occasions at various fraud claims were untrue, and it quotes him in an email saying that the Trump team was 0-32 on legal challenges to the election, because there was noting to back the claims of fraud and says that the email continues to say, quote, all of the hustle to help on all fronts but it's tough to own any of this when it is all just conspiracy expletive beamed down from the mothership.

Interesting, Tim, if this is all true that he is with Trump all day today. To some, that may seem strange, but this is Trump world. Do you think Trump and Miller should still be spending time together like they clearly were today?

PARLATORE: I mean, it's always -- it's always an interesting thing when you have these cases of having, you know, witnesses and defendants together and you want to try and keep them separate.


Of course, when they are running a campaign, it's a whole different kettle of fish. But, you know, I don't know Miller, I never dealt with in with him directly. Certainly those quotes are not helpful to him but at the same time, it's questionable as to who would call him as a witness. You know, the government could call him to say these things?

The defendant could call him to say, yes, I said those things, but the reality is that I didn't -- I didn't have access to the information that the President Giuliani had. You know, that was basically my impression. I don't know what he's going to say.

And so, it's kind of a wild card. You don't know which direction he is going to go. Ultimately, he could be a witness that comes in and tell us the truth and doesn't really help or hurt either side.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Tim, I appreciate your time as always. Tim Parlatore, thank you.

PARLATORE: Thank you.


BLITZER: Former President Trump is now back at Bedminster, his country club in New Jersey.

I want to go to CNN's Alayna Treene who is live near -- in New Jersey, near the president's -- former president's Bedminster golf club.

Alayna, it's notable I suspect that Trump chose to appear in person today in the federal courthouse. How did they come to that decision?

ALAYNA TREENE, CNN REPORTER: It is notable, Wolf, especially if you've been looking at Donald Trump's social feed today. He's been criticizing Washington, D.C., arguing that he was forced to appear in court today. But his team did have a decision to conduct this arraignment and to participate in this arraignment remotely and via Zoom. But they chose to do that in person. I am told that there is strategy behind that was to try and gain more media attention, drum up more attention on his in-person appearance.

They're also arguing the strategy there is to act like he was taken off the campaign trail and forced to appear for that court appearance. And they think that gets to their arguments that's this entire indictments is taking him away from the time on the campaign and interfering in the 2024 presidential election.

I also want to point out, Wolf, some things I found in my reporting several days now, I know Donald Trump is privately very frustrated by these indictments. And you can also kind of see that in his demeanor today, both when he was inside the courtroom, but also when he was speaking with reporters. He did not take reporters questions, he did not put on that pot and that we often seen when he talks about these charges in public.

He was not defiant. But, then again, on truth social you saw him go back to using the bravado that he likes to use in these certain cases when he is talking about these charges that he is facing. So, I think it's very interesting to note how he is feeling behind the scenes versus what he's putting out there publicly.

One thing as well that I am also picking up on is that, Donald Trump as much as he is concerned about this indictment, he is also very worried about his legacy. I've covered Donald Trump for years now, and they know his legacy is something that he thinks a lot about. So, that has really been weighing on him today, Wolf.

BLITTZER: Good reporting, Alayna Treene. Thank you very, very much.

Joining us now, Professor Laurence Tribe, the Harvard professor of constitutional law.

Professor, thank you so much for joining us.

You just heard -- we all just heard Tim Parlatore, one of Trump's former lawyers. Let me ask you, what did you make of his comments, and how do prosecutors get to Trump's intent?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD PROFESSOR OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: Well, his intent is clear in his own words, when he says to Mike Pence, you are being too honest, there's no question about it. His intent is clear, the indictments makes it clear, and besides, the only way he could deny it is to get on the stand.

And everyone knows his lawyers wouldn't put him on the stand because he would just perjure himself. What I found really interesting is that even today he publicly lied about the trial. He said, I was forced to appear.

Now we know, in fact, he was given the opportunity to appear virtually. He did not have to come there, but it was part of the PR strategy. That is what this whole trial is about. He has no legal defense, trust me, he has no legal defense. He has no factual defense. This is a conspiracy to steal votes from

people, and to overturn the election. So, what does he have? He has the ability to continue lying to the American people.

Now, that's not a crime, but that's how he hopes to win this case. He cannot successfully delay it indefinitely, but what he can do since we haven't yet got cameras in the courtroom, and that's what we should have, what he can do is just present his picture of what happened each day.


And there isn't going to be an opposite picture, because Jack Smith is constrained by the rules that bind him, not to talk back. So, we've got one hand clapping. We've got the governments with one arm tied behind its back. And in the end, the American people, whatever the verdict, are not going to see justice done unless the chief justice of the United States, who is in charge of the judicial conference, finally decides that this should be the exceptional case, the case that is visible to the American people.

Now, I argued the case in the U.S. Supreme Court and one in 1980, Richmond newspapers against West Virginia. There, the court held the press and the public have the right to see a trial, any criminal trial. But there's a catch, it's only the people who can fit in the courtroom.

But, the country can't fit in the courtroom. You know, this is the 214th anniversary of the other biggest trial in American history, the trial of Aaron Burr for treason, for fomenting and putting together an insurrection against the government of the United States.

John Marshall open to that trial 214 years ago today. It wasn't televised, but that's because, if memory serves, television hadn't been invented in 1807. We don't have that excuse now.

We've got television. We could have live coverage. The country and the world could see this most fundamental trial of the millennium, and we deserve to see it.


BLITZER: As of now, as you know, TV cameras are not allowed in federal trials as of now, let's see if that ever changes. --

TRIBE: Nothing unavoidable about that, nothing unavoidable about that. That can change.

BLITZER: I would certainly like to see cameras inside so the whole country -- indeed, the whole world could see that trial. As of now, no cameras, TV cameras, are allowed inside.

How big of a test, Professor, is this for America's judiciary and for the rule of law?

TRIBE: Well, it's a very important test, the rule of law looks like it will prevail. The rule of law is subordinate to the rule of politics. Even though the former president tried unsuccessfully to overturn the election, he might succeed this time and becoming president again or having someone else become president, and then simply erase this trial, simply a point an attorney general who dismisses it all.

And, you know, people who say, well, you can't pardon yourself out of the state trials, no, but the current policy of the Justice Department, he is certainly going to recognize that current policy of the Justice Department is not a president cannot be tried even in a state criminal case while he is president.

So, if Trump becomes president again, he can wipe out Fani Willis. He can wipe out Alvin Bragg. He can get rid of the state cases. He can get rid of this case.

And where is the country then? They'll have someone who has demonstrated his willingness, his ability to simply disregard the election returns and conspire with the number of, so far, unindicted coconspirators to submit fake electoral flakes and pressure (INAUDIBLE). It is really scary, and that is why I think we have to watch this trial closely.

BLITZER: It's a real scary moment in American history right now.

Professor Laurence Tribe, thank you so much for joining us.

TRIBE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: OUTFRONT next, the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy speaking to our Manu Raju just moments ago. You'll want to see how he is defending Trump tonight.



BURNETT: Tonight, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy defending Trump's actions after the 2020 election as the former president appears in court to face those criminal charges in the DOJ January 6th case.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOSUE: You're entitled to raise a question, you're entitled to question whether it was honest or not. That is uniqueness of the First Amendment. That's the uniqueness of America. But you know what? You shouldn't be prosecuted for your thoughts.



And, Manu, what else is a speaker saying?

RAJU: Yeah, he is trying to make the case that this is similar to the situation involving Democrats Hillary Clinton and Al Gore after they lost her races even though their situations are different. Clinton and Gore both conceded their races. Gore himself presided over the counting of electoral votes before a joint session of Congress in the House chamber.

Donald Trump, of course, did the opposite. He has not conceded the race and organized a rally on January 6th. And he's also facing allegations in the Jack Smith indictment of taking actions and conspiring to try and subvert the will of the voters.

But nevertheless, the speaker is trying to make the argument that if Donald Trump is being prosecuted, those Democrats should have been as well.


MCCARTHY: But I can say the same thing that Hillary Clinton says about her election that she lost. I could see the same thing about the DNC who said about the 2016 race. I can say the same think about those in the Democratic Party from the leadership on down about George Bush not winning, that Al Gore did.

But were any of them prosecuted? Were any of them put in jail? When Hillary Clinton said it, nothing happened to her, when they said in Georgia's election, nothing happened to them either.

You know what? When DNC said it, nothing happened to them either.


RAJU: Again, Hillary Clinton conceded the race in the aftermath of her loss to Donald Trump in 2016. Even the speaker can you say there is two different centers of justice to be pivoted to Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, and those to not facing any sort of prosecution.


He also made clear, Erin, what the focus of House Republicans will be in the fall, which is to continue to investigate Joe Biden's ties to Hunter Biden, any work with Hunter Biden in his business dealings, suggesting that the House could open impeachment in courting.

Not looking into the far president's actions, but into the current president, which could be a big focus of Republicans in the fall as he argues the two standards of justice in the United States, one for Democrats, one for Republicans -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much. Everyone back with me.

Lieutenant Governor, it's interesting -- those individuals talked about Al Gore, they conceded races in this case right and ended up as an insurrection, people died, violence happened. It is amazing that there are still obviously powerful influential important sophisticated people in your party who are still excusing and supporting it.

DUNCAN: You know, one of the most surprising things for me when I got into politics ten years ago as I walked into the room of all the elected officials and thought they would just be leaders, natural born leaders bouncing off of each other. That wasn't the case, right?

What Kevin McCarthy what he is doing is not being a leader. He knows the truth, he knows there's no facts, he has an opportunity to convince thousands if not millions of Republicans -- but a direction to go forward.

Donald Trump had his chance, he failed, he lost, and it's time to move on. If I had magic pixie dust left I'd spot on the Republicans and I tell them the election wasn't rigged and it's time to move on. I think better for it. Once again, we're going to have to take our medicine and admit that.

BURNETT: This is the rhetoric, and I guess is the reality is this rhetoric is reality to millions of people.

ALLISON: Yeah, I mean, I remember when Al Gore lost. I remember when Hillary Clinton lost. I was livid. I was someone that wanted -- I did question the results of the election.

But guess what? Today and after the President Bush was installed and Trump was installed, I acknowledge, I might not want him to be my president but he is my president, and that's a difference that we're talking about. You might not look a new result, but except the result.

And then what do you do? You organize, you learn how to win an election, you talk to people. You speak to voters about issues that will matter, not continue to perpetuate lives.

And in the history books, people will be written about this time. And Kevin McCarthy will not go down as a hero. He will not go down as a leader. He will go down as one of the people who lied to the American public, and potentially could be in the legal sense, but a coconspirator to the fall of our democracy.

BURNETT: And as we look at this, it used to be, Ryan, other people would be upset about an election outcome, and they would say they would move to Canada. John McCain maybe made -- once made the joke, nobody actually moves to Canada, they just -- nothing against Canada -- they just accept it, right?

They accept it. They say maybe this isn't what I wanted, they move on, the emotion goes away. They regroup, they try to win the next time.

And what this lays out of course in excruciating detail is that this was not just saying or expressing frustration, right? This was, as alleged in here, a conspiracy over months.

GOODMAN: And multiple conspiracies. So, if in fact the allegations in the indictment were us Kevin McCarthy described, and then, of course, is the weaponization of the Justice Department and criminalizing common practices in politics. But that's not the allegations in the indictment.

It's laying out criminal scheme and conspiracy after criminal scheme and deceit, and deceiving Ronna McDaniel into thinking that the false slate of electors will be contingent on litigation, knowing that they don't think there's any hope of litigation actually working. Things like that, or Trump siding with one of his coconspirators, Sidney Powell.

He wants to defend Donald Trump siding with Sidney Powell and letting her evidence of voter fraud because of the machines, and into Georgia litigation, and then Trump confides to his advisors privately that he knows that it is her evidence that sounds crazy and is unsupported. That's the allegations in this indictment. That's not politics as normal.

That's why this is a criminal conspiracy as charged, if there's the evidence that will support that, but that's at least the evidence of the fact.

BURNETT: And as we are here tonight, you know, I think one of the excellent reporting that Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez have been talking about, Trump's demeanor in that courtroom.

WILLIAMS: You know --

BURNETT: He had the indictment, he's fidgeted. He's staring at Jack Smith. He has to look up at the judge.

WILLIAMS: You know, I doubled on search warrants and things where people have to divine a lot from a defendant or a target or a subject's demeanor or how they act and you just don't know, because sometimes it's like the guy was really shifty behind the wheel, he must of been guilty, or he was really shifty, he wasn't guilty.

So it's just hard to know. Now, needless to say, it's a profound moment, and if anything the president does in court is significant because, look, it's a former president sitting in federal court.

BURNETT: This is the first time the former president has been indicted for something that he did in office, right? It's a historical moment.

WILLIAMS: A lot of historic first happening today, Erin, I think that -- that's the takeaway regardless of what was sitting on the desk in front of him.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to all of you and to all of you for being with us for this special coverage which continues now with "AC360".