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Trump Campaigns In New Hampshire Amid Court Rights; Trump Atty.: Special Counsel Wants To Restrict Speech In Trial About Speech; Kerik Meets With Special Counsel Team On Jan. 6 Case; Anti-Trump Super PAC Launches New Ad In Iowa; CNN Poll: Majority Of Voters Who Approve Of Overturning Roe V. Wade Want Abortion Rights To Be A State Issue; CNN: House GOP Eyes Fall For Biden Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired August 08, 2023 - 12:30   ET




DANA BASH, CNN HOST: The most watched, most written about person on the planet now claims that there's a conspiracy to make sure that you can't hear him speak. Donald Trump says quite a lot, including about his court cases, the people prosecuting them and the people presiding over them, and that will probably continue on the campaign trail in New Hampshire today.

That's where we find CNN's Kristen Holmes. Kristen, what are we expecting today there?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dana, we do expect it to continue to talk about all of his legal issues. But as we now know, the Special Counsel Jack Smith is watching what he says very closely. But the question is whether or not the former president can tamp down his rhetoric, particularly when it comes to his various legal problems.

Now, I will tell you, it doesn't seem as though he's going to. Just moments ago, they were testing out a video that went after Alvin Bragg, obviously, from that New York indictment as well as the Special Counsel Jack Smith, and Fani Willis, clearly putting those legal issues front and center here just a moment ago.

And we also saw another clip from a video in which they painted him to be a victim of a corrupt DOJ saying he would never give up, he would never stop fighting for his supporters. And that's really what we expect to hear today. That is what Donald Trump's narrative has been around all of this taking these legal issues that have been mounting these investigations, these charges and turning them into a political winning point.

They believe that they being trumped seem that they can craft a narrative around this that sells votes to Republicans and even possibly some independents. Now, whether or not that can happen is obviously up in the air. But I will tell you, he has a big crowd here. People were waiting outside. And those people that I talked to did say they believe that there is some sort of conspiracy against the former president.

BASH: I'm sure they absolutely did. Thank you so much, Kristen, appreciate it.

And sometime this week, we are going to get a hearing in the election subversion case over evidence rules. But today, a reminder that the Special Counsel is still working. The grand jury that handed last week's indictment against the former president was in today, spotted again. A clear indication that the investigation into Donald Trump is still very much ongoing.

Here to share their legal insights, former FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe and CNN's Paula Reed, Esquire. I like to remind people that you are a lawyer.


BASH: I just play one on TV, you're actually lawyers. So Paula, talk about the back and forth in the filings between the special counsel and the Trump legal team.

REID: Clearly, they're very far apart on exactly what any potential protective order should cover. But these are pretty standard, right? You don't necessarily want defendant sharing sensitive information that they learned in the course of preparing for trial. But here there are pretty extraordinary circumstances, right?

We know the former president, it often goes on social media to share things, the prosecutors have expressed concern about how this could impact witnesses, other people in this case. Now, obviously, prosecutors, they want a very broad protective order. They want this to be quite restrictive. And they laid out their reasons for why.

But the former president's lawyers are asking for something more narrow. They're saying this should be limited to only the most sensitive information. They also pointed the fact that this kind of protective order is what has been applied in other January 6 cases. But fair to note, this is unlike any other January 6 cases.

BASH: Let me read, Andy, a part of what the Trump team filed. "In a trial about First Amendment rights, the government seeks to restrict First Amendment rights. Worse, it does so against its administration's primary political opponent during an election season." A lot to unpack there, namely, that they're arguing that this is a First Amendment case, which the indictment, the sort of preamble the indictment clearly says it's not.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That's absolutely right. It is not a First Amendment case, but it is clearly beneficial to the defendant to continue positioning it that way to kind of recraft the narrative. And, of course, it is enabled him to not address the substance of the allegations against him, which are, you know, overwhelmingly negative.

I think when you get past that top line in their response to the government's motion, their argument about restricting the protective order to only truly sensitive materials, it makes sense. It's not unreasonable. And this both positions anticipate a process by which they can essentially argue later about individual pieces of evidence that have been turned over that the government wants to protect and the defense would like to be able to share with people or disseminate.

So I think the substance of the Trump team's argument is actually once you get past the First Amendment --

BASH: Yes.

MCCABE: -- stuff, it's actually pretty reasonable.


On the other hand, the clear theme in the government's motion is a concern about delay. They want to have this protective order in whatever form in place quickly, so they can hand over what they described as a massive amount of discovery to keep things moving along. And the more we fight over these little details, the more the clock ticks.

BASH: Which they're very well aware of inside --

MCCABE: That's right.

BASH: -- the Trump team. Let's turn to what you heard and saw yesterday, our team did at the courthouse and that is Bernie Kerik, who was an attorney for so many attorneys for attorneys. But an attorney for Rudy Giuliani, also a longtime figure in New Jersey and sort of conservative political world. Talk about that testimony and new information that you have about what happened inside.

REID: Yes, agenda yesterday. This was the first investigative action that we've seen the special counsel take since they indicted former President Trump. And this was an interview. It's actually at the special counsel's office. Bernie Kerik went there to speak with investigators directly. So he did not appear before the grand jury. And some witnesses do, we're told there were five investigators, three prosecutors, two FBI agents there for this interview.

And this is his first time meeting with prosecutors previously handed over hundreds of documents. We assumed that most of the questions would be about Rudy Giuliani. As you noted, he's a longtime associate of Rudy Giuliani. He was on the legal team working looking for any alleged fraud.

But interestingly, part of the interview is about Rudy Giuliani, but they also asked about other people too. Of course, Epstein, Mike Romans, they also asked about Sidney Powell. So it's pretty wide ranging interview.

BASH: I just want to make underline that you corrected me, it was a Bernie Kerik's office, not at the courthouse. Go ahead, Andy.

MCCABE: Sure. So this is an interesting development for the special counsel and it's been a little tough for us to kind of zero in on -- REID: Yes.

MCCABE: -- what is the real heart of their interest in Kerik. I think it's important to remember that Kerik essentially served as an investigator for Rudy Giuliani in pursuit of the infamous fraud, election fraud allegations. He's turned over a lot of documents. We should note documents that the Trump team had an opportunity to review and agreed could be turned over ahead of time.

So I don't expect there's any bombshells in there. But to the extent that Trump attempts to make as a part of his defense, essentially relitigating the question of whether or not there was, in fact, fraud, Kerik and his work, those documents give the government some insight as to what they actually investigated.

So it'll identify other potential witnesses, people who claimed fraud, people who signed affidavits about alleged fraud, and it kind of enables them to move forward on kind of looking into the background of those allegations and how they were disproven before they'll need that, that trial.

BASH: Yes. And it's a big question mark whether or not the Trump team is even going to go there on -- trying to argue that the election was stolen. That's a whole another can of worms.

Thank you both. Appreciate it. Thanks for your new reporting.

And new ads hit the airwaves in Iowa targeting skeptical Republican voters who are on defense about Donald Trump. We're going to talk to an influential Iowa conservative about that next.



BASH: This week, voters in Iowa are waking up to a new ad. And they're watching it on television.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He probably doesn't wake up without 50 emails from his attorneys about current or possible indictments. That's every day of his life now. And that kind of hurts me to say because I had Trump flags up in my house. I had one on my front yard. Like I was that guy. Not this time. I felt like I met my hero when he let me down, so.


BASH: With fewer than six months to go until the first Republican primary nominating contest, the anti-Trump Super PAC win it back is hoping to steer voters away from President Trump. But the question is, does Trump's lead in the polls reflect reality on the ground? And that's what I want to get to with Bob Vander Plaats, he is the president and CEO of the conservative Christian group, The Family Leader, and a very influential voice for Republicans in Iowa. Good to see you. Thank you so much for joining me. You just heard a snippet of that new anti-Trump Super PAC ad. I know we should make clear for our viewers, you've said in no uncertain terms that you do not and will not support former President Trump. You're in touch with conservative voters every single day there. Do you think that what you just heard is a message that will resonate?

BOB VANDER PLAATS, PRESIDENT & CEO, THE FAMILY LEADER: Well, I think that message is resonating, Dana, in regards to we've seen different versions of that ad, where people are basically saying, hey, there's a lot we can thank the former president, his administration, what they've done. But there's an exhaustion level right now about a complaint about the past, the continuing indictments, and the more indictments coming.

That people just really -- they want to turn the page to the next generation or later, somebody with a fresh vision. And I think I was wide open for that person to emerge. So we'll see when and if that happens.

BASH: So you say that there's exhaustion, of course, there's another side to that coin. And I want to give you an example of that. This is a voter who, in Iowa, who spoke to the New York Times. The name is John-Charles Fish, and he said, "Each indictment gets me leaning toward Trump". He's 45. He is from walk on Iowa. He said, "It wouldn't take much for me to change my mind".

PLAATS: Well, I think what it is, is that the indictments, a lot of people are personalizing that. They're seeing the attacks on Trump being an attack on them. And therefore, they feel with their heart in regards to -- they still want to support the former president.


But then they start thinking about, we need a win in 2024. And they believe and like I believe that the former president, although he's done a lot of great things, he presents our biggest risk of losing in 2024. So therefore, we need to choose and choose well, but we need to think clearly when we're choosing well,

BASH: What are you hearing on the ground there in Iowa, in your conversations with Republicans every day that we just can't see here in Washington?

PLAATS: Well, I think what it is, is that just the boots on the ground. The people are -- I mean, you have Ron DeSantis here all the time. You have Vivek Ramaswamy here, Nikki Haley. Mike Pence now making the debate stage. Tim Scott's on the air all the time. People are really kicking the tires.

And for example, Dana, Darla and I took Ron and Casey DeSantis to church on Sundays, something that we do to different candidates. And just organically, people just started forming lines, they want to meet with him, they really thanked him for running, a lot of them pledged their support to him there. They wanted to meet with Casey as well. That organic nature some that the polls don't pick up and a lot of people don't pick up, but which indicates I was wide open.

BASH: You mentioned Ron DeSantis, so I'll ask you about the news today that he just replaced his campaign manager, another shakeup. What does that tell you?

PLAATS: Whether you are it is, as he's refining his campaign, he's playing to win. I think every candidate has to go through that. I think in 2015, I think Donald Trump, it took about six months for him to get his sea legs. Running for president is a tough job. And it's a tough job, just not for the candidate but it's a tough job for the staff as well.

So my guess is each campaign, we'll go through different versions of what their campaign looks like. So I don't think this is inside baseball. I think a lot of people pay attention to it. They're going to be more concerned about the message and the messenger.

BASH: Well, it is Inside Politics, so we're just going to go there on an inside baseball. I want to talk about something that is not inside baseball and that is the question in the issue of abortion. CNN has some fresh polling today about it. And just the sort of preface here, I should tell people is that your organization, of course, is staunchly pro-life. And you personally are advocating for a national abortion ban and encouraging Republican candidates to brace that message.

But I want you to look or at least listen to the findings from this poll. And it shows that among voters who approve of the decision to overturn Roe versus Wade, people like you, 66 percent of Republicans say they think that this should be a state issue. 71 percent of independents say the same. 71 percent of independents say it should be a state issue, not a national issue.

So the question is, are you concerned that you're pushing candidates to take a position that might work in the short term but might be politically unpopular in a general election?

PLAATS: Not at all. We don't believe abortion or the sanctity of human life is a state rights issue. We believe it's a human rights issue. And so, states like Iowa passed a heartbeat bill. South Carolina has done the same. Florida has done the same. But we do believe what's out of step and what's extreme was what Governor Newsom, Joe Biden and others basically projecting that is abortion on demand until the time of birth.

That's why we think there needs to be a limit at the federal level. And right now, well we're saying the pain capable makes a lot of sense, the 15-week limit, but there needs to be some type of limit to rein in the extreme positions of the left like Newsom and like Biden. So I don't think that's an extreme position and like the polling on that is about 70 percent.

BASH: Yes. OK. I just want to say that I have not talked to a Democrat who wants abortion on demand until the time of birth, but we're going to have to leave it there. We have a lot more to talk about next time. You and I have a conversation. Thanks for joining me. Appreciate it. PLAATS: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: And brand new reporting from Capitol Hill, that's next.



BASH: Now the new CNN reporting that goes inside the House Republican fight over, not if, but when to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden. CNN's Manu Raju is the one, of course, who has the new reporting and he is, as you see where else, on Capitol Hill. Manu, what are you hearing?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Speaker McCarthy has not officially said that there would be an impeachment inquiry into President Biden. But that is the belief among a wide range of Republicans that we spoke to over the last several days that, in fact, when they come back in the fall potentially as early as September, they could move forward with an impeachment inquiry as long as part of their allegations that Joe Biden was engaged in a pay-to- play scheme with his son Hunter Biden while he was vice president.

Now there are -- there's no evidence to corroborate that central claim. There's some other evidence that they have come up with through the course of their investigation that they believe requires further probing including an official impeachment inquiry.

Now, if they do go that route to open up an official impeachment inquiry, that would require a vote of the House. That's the expectation at the moment. That means that Kevin McCarthy cannot afford to lose more than four of his members to move forward on that.

And there are some members in swing districts like Congressman Don Bacon who are concerned about going that route or at least believe that at the moment, they should investigate further before they move forward to put essentially charge the President with high crimes or misdemeanors.


He said to me to the -- this is the question that he has. "Did the President committed high crimes or misdemeanors? The committees need to do more digging to clarify this. There's tons of smoke, but let's verify what's beneath that all."

So Dana, this is going to be a major focus for Republicans in the fall. The White House says this is just a partisan political stunt. No evidence to back up their central claims here. But Republicans believe that it requires more digging, and that could mean an impeachment inquiry in the fall. Dana?

BASH: Thank you so much for that great reporting. More, of course of it on Thanks for joining me, Manu.

Thank you so much for joining us here on Inside Politics. CNN News Central starts after a quick break.