Return to Transcripts main page
Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin
White House Counsel Pat Cipollone To Testify Before January 6 Committee; British Prime Minister Boris Johnson To Resign; Police: Highland Park Shooter Considered Second Attack In Wisconsin. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired July 07, 2022 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back.
A key member of the Trump inner circle, former White House counsel Pat Cipollone, will testify before the January 6 committee. Cipollone agreeing to a closed-door, transcribed interview tomorrow. Sources tell us the interview will be video recorded. It's a big get for the committee. Our next guest says Cipollone could be the most important congressional witness since John Dean.
Let's bring in David Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County in Florida. Welcome to the program.
This was -- he was a witness to many controversial Trump moments. What do you they to get from him?
DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY (via Webex by Cisco): Yes, good morning, Christine.
Yes, he can be a really important witness because he was in the room when it happened, literally. He was in the Oval Office when Donald Trump sought to install his sycophant Jeffrey Clark to be attorney general and lead the attempted coup. He was in the West Wing on January 6. He can testify as to what he saw and heard that day. He can corroborate Cassidy Hutchinson's very powerful testimony.
And I'm personally interested in his quote that said that those who march from the Ellipse to the Capitol on January 6 could be criminally charged with every potential crime available. And so, I want to know why he thought that. What did he know about that day?
And, you know, Donald Trump's not going to be able to call him the coffee boy. He's not going to be able to say I don't know this guy because he was the White House counsel.
ROMANS: We have seen other people invoke attorney-client privilege and other kinds of forms of protection from having to reveal to the committee or reveal to authorities what really was happening there. Could he do that? Would that be a challenge for him here? ARONBERG: Yes, it would be. I don't think he has attorney-client privilege --
ARONBERG: -- because Donald Trump is not his client. He's the White House counsel. He works for the government.
Now, there's also crime-fraud exception to attorney-client privilege. You can't use the privilege to cover up a crime. And that also applies to executive privilege. He could try to invoke executive privilege on his conversations with Trump but executive privilege cannot be used to shield a criminal conspiracy, namely the attempted overthrow of the United States.
So I think we're going to get a lot of valuable testimony, even more so that it's not before the cameras. He's going to feel more free I think to speak openly knowing that he's not going to be derided by the MAGA world. They're not going to know about his testimony until much later. So the fact that he's not testifying before the cameras is good for the committee but bad for the former president.
ROMANS: All right, Dave Aronberg. Nice to see you. Thank you so much for your perspective this morning.
ARONBERG: Thank you, Christine.
ROMANS: All right.
Meantime, key House Republicans are determined to undermine the findings of the January 6 committee. They're reportedly ready to subpoena the committee's records if the GOP retakes the majority in November.
I want to bring in Alayna Treene, congressional reporter at Axios, with more on her reporting on this. This is really fascinating here. They -- it's almost as if it's part of trying to make the last two years or the next two years of the Biden presidency as painful as possible.
ALAYNA TREENE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, AXIOS (via Skype): That's exactly what it is. And Republicans -- you know, it's really interesting. They've been very eager to avoid anything having to do with January 6. But a number of Republicans recognize that they wanted the last word on this and they think that a Republican-controlled majority, particularly in the House if they are to win in November, gives them a really good opportunity to do that.
And we've seen across all of these hearings despite the really damning facts and findings that this committee has brought forth in their investigation, Republicans are sticking firm in their loyalty to Donald Trump and are continuing to paint the investigation as a partisan witch hunt. And that's really what they want to do if they are able to regain the majority. They want to turn the spotlight onto the committee and try to dig up whatever they can to further that narrative.
ROMANS: Right -- to undermine the investigators and the historical record, and to craft their own narrative, really, around the insurrection.
But listen to what former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said after watching Cassidy Hutchinson testify.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: As former chief of staff, I picked up on things in Cassidy's testimony that really frightened me and it was the way the West Wing was running -- it wasn't running. It was -- it was anarchy, it was chaos. It was a clown show with folks like Rudy Giuliani, and Lin Wood, and Peter Navarro in the Oval Office when all the reasonable people -- the smart people seemed to be sort of disengaged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: And he wrote this op-ed where he says Republicans should pay attention to these hearings. That the significance of these hearings cannot be overstated.
Are you surprised by his reaction?
TREENE: It definitely was fascinating to hear that from the former president's former chief of staff. But I know Mick Mulvaney very well and I've covered him throughout my time covering the Trump White House.
And I think the difference though with him and some of the other people who came to Cassidy Hutchinson's defense, like Alyssa Farah, Sarah Matthews, Stephanie Grisham -- all of them have already cut ties within Trump world and aren't really -- they don't really have any political ramifications of speaking out, at least directly from any ties that they had with Trump.
But where we see Republican lawmakers and others really ingrained in the Republican Party, Donald Trump is still the most influential Republican right now in the country.
And so, as much as I think that Mick Mulvaney and others who were in the White House that day are saying you need to pay attention -- we saw Cheney as well -- Liz Cheney being the leader of this investigation really directing most of the questioning from the committee. But at the same time, these are all people that have been kind of excommunicated from Trump world.
TREENE: And so, I think if we look at the bigger picture to ask Republicans, particularly lawmakers who are really the key here, to convincing voters and their constituents of what happened that day. Most of them are staying firm in their loyalty and are being very hesitant to speak out. And I find that interesting. It shows, really, ties to what we saw during Trump and his time in power.
TREENE: People maybe privately were saying things were problematic or dangerous, but publicly wouldn't -- would be afraid to do that.
ROMANS: Alayna Treene, Axios, thank you so much. Nice to see you this morning.
TREENE: Thank you.
ROMANS: All right.
The New York Times reported James Comey and Andrew McCabe, two former top FBI officials, both targeted and fired by President Trump -- each faced rare and intensive tax audits during his presidency. McCabe says their selections for the program, which the IRS says is random, should be investigated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: How is it that both Jim Comey and I were selected for this same program, which is, as you mentioned, one in 30,000 for the year? He was selected one in something like 20-something thousand the year I was.
It just defies logic to think that there wasn't some other factor involved here. I think that's a reasonable question. I think it should be investigated. People need to be able to trust the institutions of government and so that's why there should be some -- we should dig through this and find out what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: The IRS issuing a statement to CNN saying "Federal privacy laws preclude us from discussing specific taxpayer situations. Audits are handled by career civil servants, and the IRS has strong safeguards in place to protect the exam process -- and against politically motivated audits. It's ludicrous and untrue to suggest that senior IRS officials somehow targeted specific individuals for national research program audits."
All right, returning now to our top story this hour. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to resign today, according to multiple reports in U.K. media.
I want to bring in CNN's Nada Bashir and CNN's Nic Robertson live, both, from London.
So let me start with you, Nic, here. This is -- you know, this is a long time coming. As we keep saying, he's got nine lives and he seems as though he is at the end of the road here.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: And the question of the moment is what's the end of the road and how long will that ninth life be.
It seems that the prime minister is indicating that while he will resign and seems to have accepted the fact that his party no longer supports him and he needs to be replaced, which is entirely the position of very many in the party. We saw more ministerial resignations today. I think 27 ministers have gone -- five of them at cabinet level, so far, over the past day. He's sort of accepted that now. That he's indicating that he would stay on in a caretaker-type role until the autumn -- until the fall.
And it's really not clear that he has even the remotest level of support for that. The indications are that he needs to go sooner. That the party needs to put in a caretaker. And that seems to be the question here at the moment -- who would the caretaker prime minister be in that period?
And internationally, would they follow in Boris Johnson's footsteps as being a strong and staunch ally of Ukraine at this moment and close partner to the United States? The answer, probably yes. Will they continue a fractious relationship over Northern Ireland differences with the European Union? Quite possibly, yes.
But the domestic question, of course, is who is going to be the most acceptable person for the party to get them through this period when the opposition appear to be speaking about the need for a complete clear-out of conservatives and having a general election. So a bumpy road for sure.
ROMANS: Bumpy road.
Nada, what do we know about timing here this morning? Give us -- give us what you're hearing about when we expect to hear from the prime minister. When he'll be coming out that door to the lectern.
NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: Look, all eyes are certainly very much on Downing Street. The media has a gallery. We are still awaiting for more details about when we can expect the prime minister to speak.
According to Downing Street, he will make a statement to the public today. We imagine this will be around lunchtime, so just in about an hour or two. But, of course, that could change. We are still waiting for final confirmation of that.
But all eyes will certainly be on the prime minister and what he has to say in his resignation statement. And will, of course -- we are expecting it to focus on his legacy on matters, including getting Brexit done, as he would put it -- his catchphrase there. On his focus on the coronavirus pandemic -- rolling out that vaccine campaign successfully. And, of course, most recently his response to the war in Ukraine -- the support that the United Kingdom has provided to the Ukrainian government and President Zelenskyy on that front.
We aren't expecting it to focus too much though, however, on the numerous scandals which have rocked the government and rocked number 10. The "Partygate" scandal, which the prime minister was directly implicated. Those historic local election losses which really pushed the Conservative Party to question the prime minister's position as leader of the party.
And most recently, of course, there have been questions around the prime minister's role in the appointment of the deputy chief whip -- or former deputy chief whip now Chris Pincher, who was appointed by the prime minister despite previous sexual assault allegations that were known to the prime minister.
So these are all, of course, key questions.
There has been heavy criticism of the prime minister. We've seen trust in the prime minister drop in polls. A snap poll recently showing that seven in 10 British adults believe that the -- believe that the prime minister should step down.
And, of course, we've heard from multiple conservative MPs and conservative lawmakers now talking about integrity -- whether or not the prime minister is the right person to continue leading the party. Clearly, that answer has been given now. No, he is not.
The question, of course, is what happens over the next few months. As Nic has mentioned, will there be a caretaker prime minister? Can the prime minister -- can Boris Johnson stay in the position until that party conference in October? Many would say that is simply impossible given the fact that he has lost command of his cabinet --
BASHIR: -- of his party, and lost the trust of, most importantly, the electorate.
ROMANS: Nada Bashir, Nic Robertson, you're going to have a very busy morning today -- afternoon for you, so we will talk to you again very soon. Keep us posted. Thank you.
All right. A special grand jury in Georgia handing out subpoenas to members of Trump's inner circle. Is the former president next?
ROMANS: All right. New details this morning about the widening grand jury investigation of former President Trump and members of his inner circle. Senator Lindsey Graham, Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump adviser John Eastman have already been subpoenaed. Is the former president next?
Let's bring in Patricia Murphy, political reporter for The Atlanta- Journal Constitution. So nice to see you.
What are you unearthing from these subpoenas? What are they revealing to us here?
PATRICIA MURPHY, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE ATLANTA-JOURNAL CONSTITUTION (via Webex by Cisco): What they're revealing to us is that the district attorney here in Fulton County, Fani Willis, has really -- she's drawn concentric circles that are tightening around the former president with each round of subpoenas.
We're seeing a group come in to testify that is closer and closer to Donald Trump. Her latest round of subpoenas with Rudy Giuliani and Lindsey Graham -- these are the closest to his inner circle, absolutely. Those were the first out-of-state subpoenas and the first subpoenas to anybody directly related to the Trump campaign. So we're seeing closer and closer her effort to get information directly about Donald Trump, his intentions, and his actions here in Georgia.
ROMANS: The big question, I guess, will the Fulton County D.A. -- will she subpoena the former president?
MURPHY: Yes -- you know, she hasn't ruled it out. She was asked directly about that many times. She said last night that she is just going to gather the evidence that she needs. And so, it's something that we certainly see as still a possibility. It's something that she, I don't think, would be afraid to do.
She's a very meticulous prosecutor, though, so I think that she will go only as far as she needs to go to make her case. But she won't stop there if that's part of what she needs to get her case done.
ROMANS: Senator Lindsey Graham says he's going to challenge the subpoena handed down to him. What do you make of that?
MURPHY: Yes -- well, I'm not surprised. We've seen a number of lawmakers here in Georgia try to evade their subpoenas, saying that they have a legislative shield in the Georgia Constitution and certainly the U.S. Constitution and the speech and debate clause. A number of senators before have tried to use that as a shield from subpoenas.
But yesterday, we did hear from the judge in this case about our state lawmakers. And he has said that they do need to come in and testify but he did put some parameters around what Fani Willis can ask them related to their legislative activities. But he said he wants to see them in court.
And we'll see what he does with Lindsey Graham, but this is a judge who is not giving blanket immunity or sort of a blanket excuse to lawmakers just because they're lawmakers. So we'll have to see what he does with Lindsey Graham.
ROMANS: OK, Patricia Murphy. Thank you so much. Nice to see you this morning.
All right, we have new details this morning on the Highland Park shooting. Police say there could have been even more carnage at another July Fourth event. Officials say 21-year-old Robert Crimo, who they say has now admitted to being the shooter -- he admitted to being the shooter in court yesterday -- seriously contemplated a second attack 150 miles away in Madison, Wisconsin.
This is the weapon police say the shooter had in his vehicle when he drove to Madison -- in the car -- along with about 60 rounds of ammunition. He used a different high-powered AR-15-style rifle, shooting from a rooftop in Highland Park in that attack that killed seven and wounded dozens of others, and terrified hundreds of July Fourth paradegoers as you can see here in this security video from a nearby store where people rushed in to seek shelter.
More now from CNN's Ed Lavandera on the ground in Highland Park.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Christine, authorities here in Illinois say that the alleged shooter in the attack on the Highland Park Fourth of July parade has confessed to investigators for carrying out that shooting and opening fire on parade watchers here on the streets of Highland Park.
That comes as prosecutors were in court at a bond hearing for the alleged gunman. A judge has denied bond for the 21-year-old suspect so he will remain in custody.
But investigators are also saying that they found three 30-round magazines at the scene and also have found 83 different shell casings at the murder scene here on the streets of Highland Park.
But what is perhaps even more chilling is that investigators have revealed that they believe the gunman in the hours after the attack here in Highland Park drove to Madison, Wisconsin, which is about 2 1/2 hours away, and that he had planned and considered carrying out a second attack at an event there. It's not exactly clear why that didn't happen but investigators say they believe that the alleged gunman didn't research it and prepare for that enough, and then decided to return to Illinois where he was taken into custody.
Now, this gunman has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder. Federal charges are also possible. And the state's attorney here in Highland Park says that even more state charges will be very likely -- Christine.
ROMANS: All right, Ed. Thank you for that.
We're now learning about the seventh victim who died in that July Fourth parade shooting. His name is Eduardo Uvaldo of Waukegan, Illinois. He was 69 years old. Uvaldo was taken off of life support Tuesday at Evanston Hospital. He was shot in the head.
His daughter Karina (PH) tells CNN her father died Wednesday morning. Uvaldo leaves behind a wife of 50 years and four daughters. And we wish them well.
All right, Boris Johnson to resign after scandals grew too hot to handle. We are expecting him to speak at any moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ROMANS: All right. We're following the breaking news out of London. Any minute now we are expected to hear from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. He is set to resign -- a stunning fall from grace. His administration dealing with scandal after scandal. What happens now? What will happen over the next few months?
NEW DAY's special coverage continues right now.