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Six Capitol Police Officers May Face Punishment for January 6; Declassified FBI 9/11 Document Shows Link between Hijackers and Saudi Nationals; Biden to Campaign for Newsom; Daniil Medvedev Wins U.S. Open. Aired 8:30-7a ET

Aired September 13, 2021 - 08:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Jessica Schneider has these details for us.

Tell us about these recommendations.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Capitol Police finally coming out with what they are recommending here. They're recommending disciplinary action in six specific cases.

But the thing is, we don't know the identity of these officers. We also don't know the actions that are leading to these disciplinary recommendations.

So Capitol Police, they put out these range of violations yesterday. Here is what they're saying about the discipline.

They're saying there are three cases for conduct unbecoming, one for failure to comply with directives, one for improper remarks, one for improper dissemination of information -- so all a little bit vague there. They're not giving too many specifics.

They also say that there is one other case that is still open, under investigation, for an official who is accused of unsatisfactory performance and conduct unbecoming.

Crucially here, though, none of these officers will be charged with any sort of crime here. Of course, this was an internal inquiry that was eight months in the making. This was all done with the Office of Professional Responsibility here.

And we did report on this a little bit on this back in February, reported that six officers had been suspended without pay. We knew specifics about two of them. Two of them were caught in viral video. One showed an officer taking a selfie with one of these accused rioters.

Another one showed an officer in a Make America Great Again hat, where he was directing or seemed to be directing rioters around the Capitol here. Capitol Police are saying, as part of this internal investigation,

they've sent information about this to the Department of Justice, to the U.S. attorney's office. again, no criminal charges are expected here. But this is part of the information that's been released as part of the wider investigation into January 6th and all of the other pending court cases.

So Capitol Police are not saying much about the specifics. But they have released this statement, Brianna, saying, "The six sustained cases should not diminish the heroic efforts of the United States Capitol Police officers.

"On January 6th, the bravery and courage exhibited by the vast majority of our employees was inspiring."

So recommending discipline in six cases here. And, of course, this all comes on the heels of Capitol Police, gearing up for another big day, potentially, waiting to see what happens about that rally Saturday, September 18th -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Look, I want to know more details. Also, I'm really curious, why did you go and release this on September 11th, trying to get it buried?

That's a real thing they did.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, and not many details here.

KEILAR: No, there's not. But thank you so much for taking us through that, Jessica Schneider. Appreciate it.

The FBI just released declassified documents about Saudi links to the 9/11 attacks. A widow and a survivor of the attacks will join us next.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And President Biden heads to California, in the final hours before the deadline to vote in the California recall election, as Republicans lay their groundwork for perhaps a new Big Lie.





BERMAN: The FBI has just released the first of what is expected to be several documents related to its investigations into the 9/11 terrorist attacks in suspected support of the Saudi government for the hijackers, following an executive order by President Biden.

Joining me now is Tim Frolich, he survived the 9/11 attacks from inside the South Tower.

Also with us is Terry Strada, she's the national chair of 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice against Terrorism. She lost her husband in the attacks.

Let me first say I know this has been an emotional weekend. I know this is a difficult time. I want to thank you both for coming in to talk about this, based on what we just went through.

Let me start with you, Tim, here. These documents that were released, the significance of what we're seeing now?

TIM FROLICH, 9/11 SOUTH TOWER SURVIVOR: The significance is, finally, after 20 years, what we're going to see, I believe, and from what I've been told, is that these documents clearly cover and show complicity by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in those evil attacks.

We're certainly grateful for the executive order that the president gave us. And we're looking forward to more of the documents coming out, as the Operation Encore documents, as we get into it.

In essence, you know, the jig is up concerning Saudi Arabia and their complicity here. It's pretty clear that they are behind these attacks. And this has been covered up for a very long time.

BERMAN: The documents don't go as far as to say what you were saying here. What they do suggest is that there are two people, one of whom had consular ties in Los Angeles, another of whom was tied to intelligence, whose stories aren't what they initially said they were, back in 2001 in one of their first interviews.

FROLICH: Exactly.

BERMAN: And they seem to have much more direct contact, Terry, with the hijackers themselves. I want to read you a statement from the Saudi government, based on this release. This comes from the Saudi foreign minister.

"We have, for over a decade, advocated the release of any documents related to that tragic day and the full confidence that the reveal of any data in those documents will completely show that there was no involvement of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in any way."

Terry, your reaction?

TERRY STRADA, NATIONAL CHAIR, 9/11 FAMILIES; MEMBER, SURVIVORS UNITED FOR JUSTICE AGAINST TERRORISM: Well, that's just a flat-out lie. If they really want everything to be out in the open, they could go to the court today and ask for the protective order to be lifted that they insisted be on this case.

And that is why the media has not been able to report on it. That is why we have not been able to even talk to our own lawyers about what goes on in the courtroom in the evidence against the kingdom.

And I would like to say that the report that just came out is explosive. There is now at least eight Saudi government officials with extremist views, who were working with Al Qaeda terrorist operatives, planning and plotting and arranging for the support network that was put in place for these first arriving hijackers in California. [08:40:00]

STRADA: There is a direct tie and link to the Saudi government now and the attacks of September 11th. It's indisputable, at least eight, not just those two.

BERMAN: What's the most important thing you learned from this document, Terry?

STRADA: The communications that were going on. So there was this flurry of phone calls between these eight individuals, Saudi government officials, working with Al Qaeda operatives, speaking with them and having a relationship with them, planning and plotting and putting into place the support network.

So it's undeniable now. It's there. The communication between all of them is there. And they no longer will have this cover that the Saudi government was giving them.

Some of them were here on a student visa, never attending schools. Some of them were working for ghosts -- they were ghost employees at a Saudi aviation company, never went to work but receiving a paycheck. Their paychecks doubled -- or actually tripled when the hijackers arrived.

And the worst one is they were given diplomatic credentials by the Saudi government. And they were involved in the attacks of September 11th.

BERMAN: Tim, talk to me about the decision, which is coming from a Biden executive order, to begin the release of this.

How significant is that?

FROLICH: It's tremendously significant. And what it shows now is that the Department of Justice, as well as the FBI, must start to reveal the real truth and the real documents behind what really should never have been kept secret after all these years.

BERMAN: Do you think you'll get more answers?

FROLICH: I do believe we'll get more answers. I know for a fact more documents will be forthcoming, based on the executive order itself. We're actually hoping, too, that potentially we could get criminal charges of murder against several members of the Saudi officials that were involved in this.

I mean, you know, you have to remember, 9/11 was a mass murder, the greatest mass murder in American history. And there's been no accountability for this. So there should be criminal charges and there should be sanctions to follow, regarding that piece of it.

BERMAN: Tim, thank you so much for coming in. Glad to see you doing well.

FROLICH: Thank you for having me. BERMAN: And, Terry, sorry for your loss. I know this is a difficult

time. Appreciate you coming in and joining us this morning. Thank you.

STRADA: Thank you.

BERMAN: Next, can President Biden keep Gavin Newsom from being recalled by California voters tomorrow with a trip there today?

KEILAR: And the big stunner at the U.S. Open. The man who pulled off an historic upset will join us live.





KEILAR: Just one day left in the California recall election and President Biden will campaign with governor Gavin Newsom as he tries to save his place in the state house. Now most polls already show Newsom's win.

The leading Republican candidate, Larry Elder, has been spreading baseless claims of voter fraud. To discuss more, let's bring in senior political writer for the "San Francisco Chronicle," Joe Garofoli.

Joe, thank you so much for being with us. This is obviously a California story but it's become a national one as well. I wonder what you're expecting the president Joe Biden effect to be. We should mention, this would be added to the Vice President Kamala Harris effect and the Elizabeth Warren effect and the former President Biden -- or former President Obama by video effect.

What do you think?

JOE GAROFOLI, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": And the Bernie Sanders effect. He also cut a video for Gavin Newsom.

I expect, frankly, the Biden effect to be minimal. We already have -- a third of the votes have already been cast here, most likely more after today.

And remember, Bernie Sanders won the California primary, not Joe Biden. Biden sort of coming in here at the end, he was supposed to be here a couple of weeks ago. So I expect the Biden effect to be somewhat minimal.

KEILAR: OK, I do want to ask you, because I think one of the things -- look, whatever the outcome -- but one of the things that this race is going to be most remembered for is this kind of Big Lie or the little Big Lie. I don't know if you would call it -- out of California.

Larry Elder telling reporters last Wednesday that there were shenanigans that he feels interfered in the 2020 presidential election and he said that the same may happen in the recall vote.

How significant is this, him saying this?

GAROFOLI: I think the only effect of that would be to depress his own vote. This is a message that Republicans, out here in California and across the country -- remember, too, there's twice as many Democrats in California as Republicans.

So I think Biden -- or, I'm sorry, I think Larry Elder is eating his own seed corn here. It's only going to hurt him. There's, as you said, Brianna, there's been no evidence of shenanigans. And Larry Elder didn't provide any evidence of said shenanigans, either.

KEILAR: No, he didn't. And look, maybe it depresses his vote but maybe it explains an expected loss that may be coming for him. In the same vein, though, this is something that is damaging to -- in California, the institution of -- the election institution there.

GAROFOLI: Absolutely. And that's the long-term concern here, is cutting down the institutions that we trusted. There's nothing more than we trusted in than our vote. We hope that it's sacred and well counted and all that stuff.

And, again that's been no evidence of that so far. Remember, this is going to be another -- Newsom has 14 months left in his term. So if Elder can explain it by voter fraud or whatever shenanigans he wants to talk about, he may want to run again against Newsom. And that campaign will be starting up in a couple of weeks.


GAROFOLI: So if he can use this as cover or other candidates can use this as cover, then it might make the loss, if it is, indeed, a loss, a little bit more palatable to him and his supporters.

KEILAR: Yes, and just to be clear, as you mentioned, it is a baseless claim that he is making. Joe, great to see you this morning. Thanks for getting up early for us. We appreciate it.

GAROFOLI: Thanks for having me.


KEILAR (voice-over): Just ahead, the new study about to be released on COVID booster shots for most Americans.

BERMAN (voice-over): And history proved to be no match for the number 2 men's tennis player in the world. The U.S. Open new champion joins us next.




BERMAN: So it was supposed to be history at the U.S. Open.


BERMAN: Novak Djokovic poised to win all four major titles in one year but something funny happened on the way to history.

His name -- and he's the guy lying on the court right there -- is Daniil Medvedev, who played near perfect tennis and won his first grand slam title in straight sets. Joining me now is the 2021 U.S. Open men's singles champion, Daniil Medvedev.

Thank you so much for being with us. Congratulations. So much focus has been on the other guy. Let me just start with you.

What did that feel like to win the U.S. Open, your first grand slam title?

DANIIL MEDVEDEV, U.S. OPEN MEN'S CHAMPION: Well, yes, first of all, thanks for having me. And a lot of happiness, a lot of relief, because I was in two finals before and you know tennis is a brutal sport. You never know if you're going to have one more.

Knowing I had one more and playing against Novak, who was on the edge of history, was tough before the match. You know, everybody expected him to win. And I'm really happy that I managed to win and stopped him from doing this,, even if, on the other side I know how it feels. And am sorry for him in a way.

BERMAN: You say you never know if you'll get another chance. You're 25. I'm betting you get here again. I think you might have a bright future in this tennis game.

After you won, you fell onto the court. You flopped onto the court.

Can you explain to us exactly what that was?

Because it's something specific that, if you're not like a teenage boy, you may not actually know.

MEDVEDEV: Yes. It's -- because I usually don't celebrate my victories. That's kind of my style. But I thought, well, it's my first grand slam title. So if I do what I usually do, that's actually kind of not something to remember.

So I was a big FIFA fan before, now I'm playing of course less because I have other stuff to do. But this is a celebration, which you can use many times when you play somebody, especially some of your friends. It's called a dead fish. And that's what came to my mind.

And all my friends texted me, saying it's legendary. Yes, it's just fun and it's definitely something to remember.

BERMAN: Look, yesterday was absolutely legendary. And you earned the right to do the dead fish after the match. Look, Brad Pitt was there yesterday. Rod Laver was there yesterday. These people were there because they thought that they were going to see Djokovic win the first grand slam since, what, like 1969, 52 years.

How much did that weigh on you during this match?

MEDVEDEV: I think, to be honest, it was more pressure on Novak, actually. For me, the calendar grand slam didn't change anything on my side. For me, it was the first grand slam to win, no matter who I played.

And it even helped me in a way because I know that when Novak has pressure, he's an even better version of himself. That's why he's one of the greatest. And I knew that I cannot stop for any second in the match, because he's going to give absolutely everything to try to make his history.

And it helped me to motivate even more and to be even more ready, fighting even more, trying harder to win my first grand slam title, because we all knew what he tries to achieve. But for me, it was just a matter of my grand slam title and not his career calendar of grand slams.

BERMAN: You didn't even give him a chance, right?

You really never let him in the match even for a second there. In your speech after, you talked about your wife. I believe it was your anniversary.


BERMAN: And you still hadn't bought her an anniversary present. I think the prize money for winning the U.S. Open is like $2.5 million.

So have you bought her anything yet?

Do you have any ideas?

MEDVEDEV: No, because I know -- and that's why I love my wife. She knows that and she agrees with that, that is the best anniversary present I could make her, is to win a grand slam. And that is as easy as is. I know we're in tennis life, she's -- a long time she was a tennis player until she was 18 years old. So she knows how it is. And that's why we're together.

BERMAN: Well, far be it from me to give advice to a U.S. Open champion but if I were you, I would use some time over the next day to go out and get her something. Just saying.

In the meantime, you are a champion. I congratulate you for a phenomenal match. You were amazing. You didn't let Djokovic in for a second and all he needs is the slightest opening. So congratulations to you. I look forward to watching for years to come.

MEDVEDEV: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: Champion Daniil Medvedev, about to go buy an anniversary gift.