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Trump Records Sought in Capitol Riot Investigation; Trump Makes Executive Privilege Threat; Biden Meets with Israeli Prime Minister; New Numbers on Afghan Evacuations; New Jersey Veteran Shot by Police; Pandemic Unemployment Benefits to End. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 26, 2021 - 06:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[06:30:00]

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: A few snippets in some of these other document dumps, communications between members of the Trump administration and the Department of Justice. This request spans, again, a wide range of actions, which could include what the president knew about the election, efforts to overturn the election, efforts the Trump administration made to remove key players and key agencies and insert Trump loyalists. And then, finally, what happened on the day of the riot. Brianna, that includes possibly -- well, at least requesting -- we don't know if we'll get them -- outtakes from the video that he posted telling the rioters to eventually go home.

Here's what --

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Meaning they want -- they want the ones that didn't get posted.

WILD: They want the -- right, they want what's on the cutting room floor.

KEILAR: Interesting.

WILD: And here -- so we have Representative Zoe Lofgren on CNN last night. Here's what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): We are trying to find out what happened leading up to January 6th, the various elements, the reasoning, who instigated it, why they instigated it and the like. We want to find out every element of it and so we've made this request. And this is, as I said, just the beginning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WILD: Well, she's right. So in those document requests they acknowledge that this is just the start of what will probably be a rolling request for documents. This may set up a lengthy legal battle. And Trump could eventually try to go to court. Again, we know that it's President Biden who has the ultimate say over the White House records and with regards to executive privilege. And, Brianna, all of this is supposed to be due by September 9th. So, we'll see.

KEILAR: Oh, no problem.

WILD: We'll see if -- what they get.

KEILAR: That's coming up fast.

All right, Whitney, thank you so much for that report. Whitney Wild.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, joining me now, CNN's senior legal analyst Elie Honig. He's a former federal and state prosecutor.

Elie, I want to talk about this in-depth, especially the executive privilege. But let's -- let's build up to that point. What has this committee done so far?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, John, they've done a lot of work so far. The stakes couldn't be higher.

Of course they began last month when they called this hearing with D.C. and Capitol Hill police officers. They gave testimony that was gripping and compelling. But one moment that's really important was when this officer, Daniel Hodges, said this to the committee. You guys are the only ones we've got to deal with crimes that occur above us. I need you guys, the committee, to address if anyone in power had a role in this.

Now, Bennie Thompson, representative, who's the committee chair, has said that he's willing to do just that. He said anybody who had a conversation with the White House and officials in the White House, while the invasion of the Capitol was going on, is directly in the investigative sights of this committee. And Representative Thompson has said he's going to play hardball. I have no reluctance whatsoever in issuing subpoenas for information.

BERMAN: All right, Whitney outlined some of the people this might include, but what's the breadth of this and what types of things are we talking about in terms of evidence?

Yes, really broad. We could see some big names getting subpoenas. If you want to know what happened inside the White House on January 6th the logical place to start is Donald Trump. That said, is Congress really going to want that circus? I'm doubtful.

However, Mark Meadows could get a subpoena. He was in touch with Donald Trump on that day. Jared Kushner could get a subpoena. He was in touch with Meadows and later went to the White House.

And this is where it's going to get really interesting. Two members of the House, McCarthy and Jim Jordan, they both admitted, talked about that they had conversations with Donald Trump on that day. Also, we know the committee is going to go out and try to get phone records, key communications. Now, this is bringing me back to my prosecutor days. Let me show you why this is important because this is what a sample

phone record from Verizon will look like. It will tell you what number is making the call. What number is receiving the call. Exactly what date and to the second what time that call was made. And finally, over here, how many seconds long that call was. So this is going to tell you who was in touch with who in those key moments leading up to and during and after the attack.

And then, finally, we know that there have been very broad requests to all these federal agencies. The one that's really interesting to me is the National Archives. And you may be thinking, why the National Archives? That's where the parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence is. Because that's where the prior White House's records are. They have the Trump White House records.

BERMAN: So, executive privilege.

HONIG: Yes.

BERMAN: Former President Trump last night, in an angry Internet statement, says he's going to defend executive privilege. What does that mean? Who actually gets to decide here?

HONIG: That's such an interesting question. So executive privilege generally means a that certain communications between the president and other executive branch officials are privileged, don't have to be turned over to Congress, can be held back. The big question is, who gets to exercise it? Is it the current president or is it the president whose records and communications they were?

Whitney alluded to this. We don't have a definitive answer/ But the better weight of the law and precedent is that it's up to the current president, Joe Biden. So he's going to have to make the decision. Will he invoke executive privilege?

Now, you would think, why would he want the committee to have all the information they could. On the other hand, if the House flips in a year and change, they could throw that back in his face. Of course, Donald Trump said he's going to invoke executive privilege.

[06:35:01]

I think he's going to lose if he tries to fight it in court. But you know what he's going to do, he's going to make it a mess and he's going to drag it out.

BERMAN: Yes, I mean, this is going to court one way or the other, which means it won't be decided any time soon, I would imagine.

HONIG: Exactly. It's like taking a stick and putting it right in the spokes of the wheel. If Donald Trump can obstruct this by going to court, given his history, I look for him to try to do that.

BERMAN: One other thing, you're talking about executive privilege, protecting conversations within the executive branch. Jim Jordan, other members of Congress, not in the executive branch. HONIG: Exactly. That would be an unprecedented expansion of the

privilege. They're a part of the legislative branch. That should not be privilege. But, again, we've seen the Trump administration, the former administration in the past make ridiculous legal arguments designed just to slow things down.

BERMAN: The goal is to delay. They may be able to do that.

Elie Honig, this will be interesting to watch, thank you.

HONIG: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: All right, we are following breaking news out of Afghanistan where the evacuation effort has now entered its final 36 hours.

KEILAR: Plus, we're now hours away from the first face to face meeting between President Biden and Israel's new prime minister. What we've learned about what will be said behind closed doors, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:40:23]

KEILAR: Later this morning, President Biden will hold his first face to face meeting with Israel's new leader, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. And CNN's Hadas Gold is joining us now with a preview of what to expect.

Perhaps turning over a new leaf. We'll see, Hadas.

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, for the first time in 12 years, somebody who is not named Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting the White House as the Israeli prime minister.

And although on many policy positions, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is very much in line with his former boss, the approach will be much different. Already in meetings with the Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Naftali Bennett has talked about this new spirit of cooperation between the new countries, a bipartisan spirit of cooperation, especially after four years of what you could call the political bromance between former Prime Minister Netanyahu and former President Donald Trump, even potentially illustrating where things reached.

"The New York Times" is reporting this morning that Netanyahu, even at one point, curtailed intelligence sharing with the United States because he did not trust the Biden administration. So for the Israelis, this visit is very much seen as a reset in the relationship, really trying to show that Naftali Bennett and Joe Biden will have a clear and solid line of communications and very solid relationship.

But top of mind for the Israelis during this meeting today will be Iran. Now, the Israelis have long been opposed to the return to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. And the prime minister plans to present to President Biden what they're calling a holistic strategy on Iran. One the Israelis say will address not only the Iranian nuclear missions, their nuclear programs, but also their activities in the region. These regional aggressions the Israelis say that they say -- they see in Syria and Lebanon. Of course, the incidents at sea, the attack on the Maersk cargo ship which both the Israelis and the Americans attribute to the Iranians.

Naftali Bennett essentially wants a regional NATO, coalition partners in the region, with the Americans, with the Israelis who will all work together to counter Iran.

Of course the question will be, how will President Biden receive these proposals and what will this relationship look like between these new leaders? Will this truly be a reset in the relationship between the Israelis and the Americans?

But for the Israelis, really Iran is the biggest issue because they truly feel as though time is running out on Iran.

Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, it is so interesting. Obviously, policy differences have played a part in this relationship, but personalities have played such a role as well. We're going to see if perhaps some of that can be alleviated.

Hadas, thank you so much.

A black Army veteran shot and killed by police outside of his home. Why his sister says a crisis team should have responded instead of law enforcement.

BERMAN: Plus, unemployment benefits about to expire for millions of Americans. What does that mean for people still struggling financially?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:46:53]

KEILAR: All right, we do have some breaking news. We did just get some new numbers from the White House on these evacuations that have been conducted in Afghanistan here in the last 24 hours. More than 13,000, that is a lot, it is still far below what we saw the last two days. A sign that things are tapering off here.

Jeremy Diamond live for us at the White House.

Jeremy, tell us about these numbers.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Brianna. We are seeing now that 13,400 people were evacuated from Afghanistan, 17 U.S. military flights have evacuated 5,100 people and then, in addition, there were coalition aircraft which evacuated 8,300 people. So the key number here is that 5,100 which were evacuated on U.S. military flights.

We have seen that number, over the last couple of days, hover around the 10,000 to 12,000 mark. So this is substantially lower.

And what's important here is that this is happening as we're learning that those evacuations are now winding down, expected to taper off in the next 36 hours, according to our colleague Nick Paton Walsh. So this is clearly beginning at least to shift to this withdrawal operation.

We know that perhaps part of this is the fact that so many of these gates around the airport have been closed. And, again, that is not only the motivation for closing these gates, but also the motivation for winding down this evacuation operation is that President Biden, White House officials, are very, very worried about what they see as very credible threats, very credible terrorist threats at and around the airport, especially from ISIS-K, that ISIS off chute that exists in Afghanistan.

So, again 13,400 people evacuated on U.S. military flights. Sorry, that's the total number. And then 5,100 people on those U.S. military flights. So, those are the latest numbers, Brianna. We'll see what more we can get.

KEILAR: Yes, Jeremy, such important news. Thanks you so much for sharing that with us.

Jeremy Diamond live for us at the White House.

BERMAN: All right, in other news this morning, the New Jersey attorney general is investigating the shooting death of a black Army veteran outside his home last month by police. His sister is questioning the police response. She says her brother was having a post-traumatic stress breakdown and a crisis team should have been sent.

CNN's Brynn Gingras joins us now with the latest on this.

Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, by state law, the attorney general has been looking into this since it happened last month. Sixty-one-year-old Gulia Dale III was a decorated military veteran whose family says served in the Iraq War and suffered PTSD as a result of his tour. He was killed by police near his New Jersey home on the 4th of July. Police were called there that night by his wife who said he was, quote, acting crazy and had a gun. Now, his family believes, as John said, a crisis team should have responded to the 911 call not police.

I want to show you body cam footage released by the state attorney general. Parts are redacted by police. And, first, a warning, it is disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Truck! Get out of the truck! Get on the ground! Get on the ground! Get out of your truck! Get out of your truck! Get out of your truck! Get out of the truck!

He's right here.

Get out of the truck!

(GUNFIRE)

[06:50:03]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shots fired! Shots fired!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRAS: As you saw, the video shows police telling Dale to get out of the truck, which he does. But he first goes into the back of the car and then returns to the driver's seat before finally surrendering with an object in his hand. And police fired, killing him. A gun was recovered near his body.

An attorney for one of those officers says their actions were legally appropriate and justified, but Dale's family believes strongly this wouldn't have happened if Dale wasn't a black man. They also believe fireworks from the holiday could have triggered his behavior.

Dale left behind a wife and two daughters. His sister says they are all heartbroken and she has enlisted the help of the NAACP to raise the issue of how police interact with the community. In the meantime, that investigation is ongoing and a spokesperson for the New Jersey AG's office say -- says a comprehensive investigation and assisting the grand jury to determine if those officers should be charged is the best way to honor Dale right now.

John.

BERMAN: That is hard to see.

Brynn Gingras, please keep us posted on this. Thank you very much.

KEILAR: Now, in less than two weeks, millions of Americans who are relying heavily on pandemic-era unemployment benefits will be cut off all together when that assistance ends. And with the virus refusing to release its grip on the economy, many face an uncertain future.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: How are you feeling about September 5th?

GUSTAVO MARIA, LOSING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: Like really scared.

MICHAEL KITTLE, LOSING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: That's been one thing that's constantly gave me anxiety.

GISELLE MANZANO, LOSING UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: The sleeplessness. The -- it's a lot. YURKEVICH (voice over): One date, September 5th, will change the lives

of these Americans and 7.5 million more. Federal pandemic unemployment benefits, which helped many survive in unprecedented economic crisis, are ending. For Gustavo Maria, the timing couldn't be worse.

MARIA: My daughter is a couple weeks from being born.

YURKEVICH: In the last year, Maria says he lost two jobs, broke a bone in his leg and saw the family car repossessed. And in less than two weeks, he will lose all unemployment benefits.

MARIA: My inner voice is me yelling and screaming trying to like -- be like what -- what am I going to do, what I'm going to do, what I'm going to do?

YURKEVICH: It's a question millions of Americans will have to answer. For Maria, his injury makes his previous $15 an hour jobs working in warehouses painful.

MARIA: I have this scar right here.

YURKEVICH: While out of work, he's been teaching himself about computers, hoping he can land a desk job.

MARIA: But I don't just want to be in a warehouse everyday so I'm trying to better myself.

YURKEVICH: There are a record 10 million job openings in the U.S. with millions still looking for work.

KITTLE: It's frustrating because, yes, there are any number of jobs that I can go in and do, but not all of them can support me.

YURKEVICH: Michael Kittle, a Broadway graphic designer, has been out of work since last year. He says he applies to 50 jobs a week but still waiting for a call back.

KITTLE: It's been rough.

YURKEVICH: If he still doesn't have a graphic design job come September 5th, he says he'll pick up shifts at a restaurant.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Why have you not chose on the do that before?

KITTLE: Because we're still in a pandemic. The idea of being close to hundreds of strangers a day, even while being vaccinated, that's not something that appeals to me in any way.

YURKEVICH (voice over): Cutting aid doesn't necessarily mean people going back to work. Between April and July, states that ended unemployment benefits early saw a nearly 1 percent jump in overall job growth. But those states that kept them in place saw job gains of 0.5 percent more.

MANZANO: My dad, my mom, upstairs, I have, you know, my sister. YURKEVICH: Giselle Manzano provides for her large family. Since she

lost her banking job earlier this year, savings and unemployment has kept the family afloat. She's about to lose a crucial extra $300 a week in benefits.

MANZANO: I thought I had everything covered. And then the savings are gone. There's no retirement money. My life insurance policies set up for the kids as well as myself, it's gone.

MARIA: Slowly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Careful.

YURKEVICH: Despite the physical pain of working on his feet eight hours a day, Maria says the financial pain without unemployment is worse.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Would you go back to a job, like a warehouse job, just to be able to provide?

MARIA: I would do any kind of -- type of job that need to do as long as it's providing for my family.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

YURKEVICH: Each American's story is so different when it comes to unemployment. But something we found more generally is that so many Americans are in first-time debt.

[06:55:02]

And they're in steep debt. So even as they get jobs, they're going to be paying bills for quite some time.

And, Brianna, the delta variant, the virus itself, people are nervous. Will schools close again? Will businesses shut down? Creating just more uncertainty for these vulnerable Americans who are still trying to get back up on their feet.

Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes, this has set so many people back.

Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you.

CNN has learned that the Afghanistan evacuation effort is going to end soon. In 36 hours. So, obviously, that is sooner than the August 31st deadline that many folks have been thinking about here. We're going to have all of the breaking news of the Kabul coming up.

Plus, nurses in Mississippi at a breaking point amid a surge of coronavirus cases.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I come in here and it's war. It's sometimes chaos.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: This morning, nearly 75 million Americans are under excessive heat warnings as severe storms threaten the Midwest.

Let's bring in meteorologist Chad Myers.

What are we in for, Chad?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Another hot one. But for you, John, it gets better, much better by the weekend. So we're looking forward to that.

[07:00:01]

Yes, 75 million under some type of advisory.

This weather is brought to you by Carvana, the new way to buy a car.

So let's get to it. Temperatures are going to feel like