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Mar-a-Lago Employee to Be Arraigned in Classified Documents Case; Americans Brace for Hotter Temperatures Above 100 Degrees; Suicide Bombing Kills At Least 54 People in Pakistan. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 31, 2023 - 05:00   ET



OMAR JIMENEZ, ANCHOR, EARLY START: Right now on EARLY START, soon a little known Mar-a-Lago employee is expected to be arraigned in the classified documents case. What he's accused of doing for the former president. Nearly 60 million Americans could see temperatures above 100 degrees this week. We'll tell you the area most at risk.

And we'll take you live to Pakistan where a suicide bombing killed at least 54 people. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world, I'm Omar Jimenez, a lot to get to, so let's get to it. In just a few hours, an obscure employee of Donald Trump will appear in federal court in Miami to face charges in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

Special counsel Jack Smith last week added maintenance worker Carlos De Oliveira to the criminal case against the former president and his aide Walt Nauta. De Oliveira is charged with making false statements to the FBI about the moving of boxes at the Florida resort. Here's the crucial part, the indictment also says De Oliveira approached the IT director at Mar-a-Lago and told him, quote, "the boss wanted the resort's surveillance video server deleted."

CNN spoke with the former Trump attorney who thinks prosecutors may have a hard time with that particular claim, especially if they try to use it against Trump.


TIM PARLATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: They don't really have much more than that, they may be have enough to charge Carlos with it, but quite frankly, if you charge Donald Trump every single time one of his employees says, you know, the boss wanted something. Yes, I think that it could go on forever, because so many of them, you know, just use that phrase.

And so, they would have to actually make the connection that he actually communicated that to Carlos. So, I don't think that they're going to be able to sustain their burden as to others. Even if they do have that employee come in and say, yes, you know, Carlos said this to me.


JIMENEZ: Now, sources tell CNN the Mar-a-Lago IT Director named Yuscil Taveras received a target letter from federal prosecutors after Trump was indicted in June. It's unclear if he's cooperating with prosecutors. But CNN has learned some of the new allegations added to the indictment against Trump were based on information Taveras provided.

He is not currently facing charges in this case. But to talk about all this because there's a lot to talk about. Let's bring in CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson. Joey, good to see you this morning. So, I want to start here, Carlos De Oliveira expected to appear in federal court today as a third defendant in this case.

What are you looking to learn in today's hearing, and what does this say to you that we're adding defendants as this case is essentially ongoing.

JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, Omar, good morning, good to see you. It says that the federal government is laser-focused on proving their case. I think that the government certainly would have had this information as we look at the charges, their conspiracy to obstruct, destroying or concealing and object to count and false statements.

I think the government was possessed of this information, but we're looking to see whether he would play ball with them. What do I mean? Would he cooperate? You know, when you have someone like Mr. Trump, well, apparently he's the employee of Mr. Trump, and he's getting his legal bills paid, I think the open question was whether he would provide information and flip to the extent that, that hasn't happened, I think that you see these pressures here upon him.

Now, that pressure being you are now a co-defendant, sir, in a federal case that is huge. And so, at an arraignment, what you're doing is, you have the right to be apprised specifically of what the charges are. You have a right to enter a plea of not guilty. Obviously, dates are set for the exchange of discovery, and for you to get on the calendar with your co-defendants to go to trial.

And obviously, the bail conditions with respect to whether or not you'll be in custody, out of custody. It's not expected that he'll be remanded, meaning remain in custody pending the charges like his other co-defendants. But this is a significant development and adds yet another person, Omar, to the mix, to establish the government's case against the president. He, I think is the one that they are really looking for, they being the government.

JIMENEZ: Well, and the mix here, I think, you know, the person being added here is one that continues to develop, it seems. And Trump, for his part, I mean, he's denying that he ever instructed anyone to delete security footage. But the special counsel got evidence suggesting Trump staff was under a different impression.

Like we mentioned, the alleged conversation between De Oliveira and the IT director. When he asked how many days the server retained the footage? And was told the boss wanted the server deleted.


Now, that IT director had previously gotten a target letter, and he hasn't been charged yet. Someone else is though, De Oliveira. So what does that tell you about the nature of the special counsel's investigation here.

JACKSON: So what it says, Omar, to me, again, and we don't know is that the person who is not charged though, you're referring to Mr. Taveras, right? The gentleman who currently is the IT information technology person, that he is giving the information to the government that is valuable and providing corroboration with regard to what was happening.

They get a subpoena, right? That is Trump's team, with regard to the grand jury saying we want surveillance. They're after, of course, their conversations indicating that -- hey, can we get the surveillance footage deleted, not that it has been, but apparently, the evidence is the effort was made. There's this conversation between the gentlemen De Oliveira who is being brought before the court today. And then, there's Taveras who says, hey, I don't think I can -- I don't think have the authority to do that, he's not charged.

So, I guess that gives the sense to me that he's providing information to the government which corroborates and supports the claims in this indictment, and that he can be a powerful witness who they flip against Trump. Don't know that for a fact, but the question is, what it means to me, and that's what it would mean to me as a defense attorney if you have information like that and the person is not embroiled in the indictment. They must be on team USA, that means cooperating with the government.

JIMENEZ: And I'm sure we'll learn more as this plays out. But obviously, as you know, there are multiple investigations, lots of legal proceedings happening in various jurisdictions around the country, around the Trump orbit. In Georgia, Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis told our affiliate "WXIA" that the work is accomplished, we've been working for two and a half years. We're ready to go.

Now, Willis says she'll give an answer on charges by September 1st, and security has been ramped up around the Fulton County court house. In your experience, is that the type of activity and the types of comments consistent with a coming high-profile indictment or are we jumping the gun here?

JACKSON: You know, it appears to be. And, again, Omar, we don't know what we don't know. But what we do know is that the grand jury in Georgia has been convening for quite some time, right? You gave the indication, factually two and a half years, so about time. We know obviously that there's a concurrent federal investigation by the special counsel Mr. Smith, which is covering a lot of the same ground of Georgia.

But people need to understand that the federal government certainly has a place in this investigation, as we know. But the state upon which the alleged criminal activities would have occurred, Georgia, they have a place as well. And so if you have barricades and police, you know, being structured and organized and everything else in Georgia, I think it means that a federal indictment certainly is being investigated.

But the state indictment, it looks like it's coming down soon. And quite frankly, so might the federal as well.

JIMENEZ: Yes, Joey Jackson, always appreciate your insight and good to see you this morning.

JACKSON: Thank you, Omar, and you.

JIMENEZ: Police in Gainesville, Florida, have arrested a man in connection with a triple shooting near the University of Florida early Sunday morning. CNN affiliate "WCJB" reports a subject has been charged with murder and attempted murder after allegedly killing two people at close range and wounding a third as they tried to run away.

Police were conducting crowd control nearby when they heard gunshots. They say the suspect was found at the scene in a stranger's car with a gun. Across the U.S. it's been hot, we know that. Some 50 million Americans under heat alerts across the southern plains in lower Mississippi Valley. Meteorologist Jennifer Gray is live in the air- conditioned CNN Weather Center.

Look, air condition, we -- I'm a big fan, I can say personally. But is what we've seen an actual improvement over what we saw last week? Is there any relief?

JENNIFER GRAY, METEOROLOGIST: Well, it's a huge improvement in terms of numbers because we are down to about 60 million compared to pretty much double that last week. So -- but it's not much help for the people that are living in it, of course, for today and the next several days. We're really focusing on the deep south and portions of the southern plains.

You can see Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Oklahoma City under those excessive heat warnings, heat advisories. We will see temperatures in the triple digits when you factor in the heat index. It will feel even hotter, 107 in Dallas, 102 in Houston, 102 in Oklahoma City, could break 140 or more records throughout the week.

And you can see most of those are centered across the deep south there, and the southern plains with a few outliers across the west coast and southeast coast. So we're looking like temperatures will feel like, rather, 110 in Houston this afternoon, 113 in Baton Rouge, 112 in Shreveport, 109 in New Orleans. So, just incredibly hot and temperatures are going to stay above average throughout much of the week for the south.


Below average temperatures taking hold across the northern Rockies and the northern plains. High temperatures in the west staying hot, Phoenix, 107 today, could be the first day that we have stayed below 110 in 31 days, if you can believe it. So, really seeing a brief break from the heat by only a couple of degrees.

But then it doesn't last long. Temperatures soar right back up above 110 for the remainder of the week, Omar. So, it is going to be a brutal week ahead even though the numbers quite aren't as large, it's still very oppressive heat across the same areas.

JIMENEZ: Wow, staggering to see that, many hundreds laid out like that. Jennifer Gray, thank you so much.

GRAY: Thanks.

JIMENEZ: We've been following developments out of Pakistan this morning, this just in. The death toll has risen after a suicide bomb attack in that country, 54 people have been killed, more than 100 people injured, 17 critically in the attack, targeting the Islamist party's political convention in northwestern Pakistan. CNN's Sophia Saifi is live in Islamabad for us. So Sophia, let's just start here, has anyone claimed responsibility for this attack?

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN JOURNALIST: No, Omar, there has been no claim of responsibility. This is in fact, one of the deadliest attacks that has taken place in the country this year. And now, you have to understand that northwest Pakistan, the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa District where this took place borders Afghanistan. So this area has seen a lot of militant sea in the past, but it has been quite dormant over the past couple of years.

This has increased since the beginning of the year, there was a horrific attack in the city of Peshawar, in which close to 80 people were killed in January, and now, we've got this situation today. We've also been told that there were 12 children under the age of 12 who have also been killed because of this suicide attack. The rally that was attacked was off the Jamaat-i-Islami, which is an Islamist right- ring party in the country.

But we're being told that this -- there's an investigation underway. It is an election year in Pakistan, general elections are due to be held towards the end of October, early November, and we have seen sadly in previous election cycles that militants come out and attack political parties and their workers in the lead-up to the elections, as inevitably, always an attack on the democratic process.

Now, the Pakistani Taliban, the TTP, who have been behind some other deadly attacks in the country this year, have said that they are not behind this attack. The Islamic state is also active in that area, but again, still no claim of responsibility, a mounting death toll, over 100 people are still in the hospital, a state of unease, insecurity in the country.

The Chinese Vice Premier is here in Pakistan. There is a lot of activity. There's political turmoil, economic turmoil. Pakistan has often blamed neighboring Afghanistan, the Afghan Taliban for harboring militants on its soil, and allowing them to come onto Pakistani soil and attack the people here. However, again, I repeat myself, no claim of responsibility and we're going to have to see how this unfolds into the day. Omar?

JIMENEZ: Sophia Saifi, I know you'll stay on it. Thank you so much for your reporting. Still ahead here on EARLY START, what we're learning about the American nurse and her child who were kidnapped in Haiti. Plus, the other breakdown of the Biden administration's new student debt repayment plan. And what caused rapper Cardi B to throw her microphone at a concertgoer? Got the aim coming up.



JIMENEZ: New details this morning about the kidnapping of an American nurse and her child in Haiti. Alix Dorsainvil was reportedly abducted while on a Christian ministry near Port-au-Prince on Thursday. Now, she's married to the humanitarian aid group's director. CNN's Athena Jones has more.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Omar. We know U.S. authorities are working closely with their Haitian counterparts and with U.S. government interagency partners to try to resolve this crisis. But we don't know right now who is responsible for this kidnapping. And we don't know if they made any demands, whether for ransom or anything else.

We do have a statement from El Roi Haiti, that's the Christian humanitarian organization that this nurse from New Hampshire was working for, here's what they said in part, "Alix is a deeply- compassionate and loving person who considers Haiti her home and the Haitian people her friends and family.

Alix has worked tirelessly as our school and community nurse to bring relief to those who are suffering, as she loves and serves the people of Haiti in the name of Jesus." El Roi also said it's their highest priority to wait for the safe return of this mother and her child. And so they're going to be limiting what information they provide to the public.

We also know from the State Department's spokesperson that it is their highest priority, the safety and security of U.S. citizens living abroad. And this is really important to talk about the overall security situation in Haiti. This kidnapping comes at a time of growing concerns about worsening violence there.

You all remember it was just two years ago this month, that President Jovenel Moise was assassinated by gangs. And since then, there's been a power vacuum with various gangs taking over swaths of the country. The State Department warns Americans not to travel to Haiti because of the frequency of kidnappings, crimes, civil unrest, also the poor healthcare infrastructure.

And just last week, the State Department ordered family members and non-emergency personnel to depart the country, to leave the country immediately because it's so dangerous. That announcement came after at least three days in a row of ordering embassy staff and personnel to remain very close to the embassy compound there, because of the danger.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said during a recent visit to Haiti, that Haitians are trapped in a living nightmare, and that humanitarian conditions there are appalling.


The U.N. has backed a robust security force that he said will be deployed by member states to work hand-in-hand with the Haitian national police to defeat and dismantle the gangs and restore security across the country. But for now, we are still awaiting more word on the fate of this mother, this American nurse and her child had been kidnapped in Haiti on Thursday. Omar?

JIMENEZ: Quick hits across America now. Multiple police dogs have died from heat-related illness in Indiana after an air conditioning failure in a cargo truck. These dogs were being transported from Chicago O'Hare Airport to Michigan city. Four people died and two others were injured when two helicopters collided mid-air and a plane crashed into a lake just before an air show in Wisconsin. The cause of both crashes is still being investigated. Plus --




JIMENEZ: Cardi B, the rapper, had enough this weekend in the latest case of audience members throwing objects at performers. She reacted, throwing something back, her microphone after being hit with a drink at a Las Vegas concert. What are we doing here, stop throwing stuff.

Coming up, Ukraine's counteroffensive intensifies with more drone attacks on Russia. And tensions mount in West Africa after the recent Niger coup. We have the latest details.



JIMENEZ: Happening overnight, a Ukrainian drone hits a government building in Bryansk, Russia, that's according to the governor there. Russia's defense ministry says three other drones were intercepted.




JIMENEZ: Then another drone hit a business and shopping center in Moscow on Sunday. And this morning, we're learning of a missile attack in central Ukraine in President's Zelenskyy's hometown. CNN's Clare Sebastian joins us from London. So, Clare, let's start with -- what do we know about this latest attack in central Ukraine? CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Omar, this is as you say,

President Zelenskyy's hometown, the site of another deadly missile attack just in the middle of June that killed 11 people. What we're hearing about this one this morning is that, now according to the Interior Minister, at least two people have been killed, more than 20 injured.

He's concerned that he thinks at least seven people are still trapped beneath the rubble. We're talking about two buildings here, this one you can see on the video, I think is the residential building. They say that several floors were wiped out with that strike. There's also an educational institute that was hit as well.

So this, clearly, you know, an area that is not that close to the frontlines, but still coming under fire from Russian missiles. President Zelenskyy saying that Russia continues to terrify -- terrorize peaceful cities and people. So he is obviously very upset about this, as I said, it's his hometown.

JIMENEZ: Clare, and you know, President Zelenskyy has also talked about pushing back the -- or gradually pushing back into Russian territory. And we saw some of the video of some of the recent drone strikes. What are you hearing about this past weekend's drone strike on Russia?

SEBASTIAN: Well, two in two days is what Russia is accusing Ukraine of doing. Early Sunday morning, there were drones that Russia says were intercepted, but damaged to Moscow's city, which is a business district in the west of Moscow. Just for context, this is a very sort of visible high-rise complex, really one of the biggest changes, I would say to the Moscow skyline under Putin.

I've been there myself many times. So highly symbolic if that in fact, was the target, really a symbol of Russia able to gain prosperity under Putin. And then, this morning, we're hearing from the governor of the Bryansk region that a drone hit a building that belonged to the regional Interior Department. He said that happened overnight.

There were no casualties, and there was some damage, but they're cleaning that up. And Ukraine hasn't said anything about these two attacks, but President Zelenskyy did say on Sunday, he said "gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia, and this is an inevitable, natural and fair process." I think what we're seeing here is a real concerted effort to bring this fight to the Russian territory, to the Russian people, make it impossible for them to ignore it. Omar?

JIMENEZ: And on that latter point from President Zelenskyy that you brought up yourself, what is the state of the Ukrainian counteroffensive at this point?

SEBASTIAN: It seems to be inching forward slowly, but surely, very difficult and very spread out in several key areas across this 800- mile frontline. We're hearing this morning from the deputy Defense Minister, that she says in the last squeak, they've liberated 2 square kilometers around the city of Bakhmut. That equates to 37 square kilometers in that specific region, in that

access since the start of the counteroffensive, that's about two- thirds the size of Manhattan, for context. But Ukraine is a huge country, so this still is very slow and they are making gains in the south as well as they try to split Russia's gains in half, cut off that land bridge between the Donbas and Crimea, having taken one small town of Staromaiorske at the end of last week.

So inching forward, they're heavily using these western weapons that they've been donated, but still very difficult, Omar.

JIMENEZ: Clare Sebastian, thank you as always. The political crisis is growing in the West African nation of Niger. Regional leaders have issued sanctions against the recent military coup, and the president of neighboring country, Chad, met Sunday with coup leaders and with ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, hoping to find a peaceful solution.