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Griner Back in Russian Court; Formula Shortage Continues; Music Festival Canceled over Gun Laws; Primary Day in Five States. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 02, 2022 - 06:30   ET




And we really noticed that we're getting into the decisive phase of this trial. What the defense tried to do today is it put forward an expert witness that tried to cast some doubt on the original forensics that took place on those vaping cartridges that Brittney Griner admitted to having had on her as she tried to enter a Moscow airport on February 17th saying some of the forensics that were conducted there were conducted improperly and, obviously, in general, trying to somewhat discredit some of the evidence that the prosecution has put forward.

This is all part of a several-prong strategy that we're been seeing from the defense here. And I just actually spoke to Brittney Griner's defense lawyer and she said to me that she thinks right now for them things are going as well as can be expected in a trial like this. Obviously, Brittney Griner pleaded guilty, showed remorse. And also brought in some character witnesses as well.

But one of the main things that we gleaned from today is actually the fact that they said the next hearing is going to e on Thursday and there could be a verdict on that day, even though it's not absolutely clear that that's going to be the case, John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Fred, is there any sense of how the prisoner swap offer has impacted the trial today?

PLEITGEN: Well, it certainly looms over this trial in a big way. And, obviously, is something that's been talked about here all over Russia, just like it is in the United States.

As far as the court proceedings themselves are concerned, the defense tells us that there hasn't been any influence so far. They also say that they haven't been involved in any sort of negotiations. They say that all the things that we're hearing about is a possible prisoner swap, not just for Brittney Griner but, of course, also possibly for former Marine Paul Whelan, who is currently serving a 16-year sentence for alleged espionage which he denies, all that they're just hearing from the media as well. They have no access to any of the negotiations, if indeed they are taking place. However, They've also said to me repeatedly that they believe that a

prisoner swap for Brittney Griner could only take place after there is a verdict in the court that you see behind me right now. They also say that there -- if there is a prisoner swap, they certainly wouldn't be against it. For them, of course, the main thing is getting Brittney Griner out and getting her home as fast as possible, John.

AVLON: For sure.

Fred Pleitgen live from Russia. Thank you very much, Fred.

All right, the baby formula shortage across the United States is easing, but for many it still isn't over. We've got new CNN reporting.

Plus, a January 6th rioter sentence to seven years in prison. The long sentence yet for an insurrection. His 19-year-old son, who turned his father in, is joining NEW DAY ahead with his reaction.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And Atlanta's biggest music festival cancelled because of Georgia's gun laws.



KEILAR: We have some new CNN reporting.

Parents across the nation are still struggling to find and purchase baby formula. The Biden administration's Operation Fly Formula did fill some empty shelves with supplies rom overseas but some problems are still persisting.

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen has this new reporting for us.

What's happening here?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What's happening here, Brianna, is that because of Operation Fly Formula there is more formula on shelves. Things are getting better. But, still, parents are struggling in many instances to find formula to feed their baby.

Brianna, I want to show you photos that we took yesterday at several different stores in Atlanta. So you can see, several empty shelves here. But as the photos progress, you can see it gets better. The shelves at other stores are better. They are more full. So you see a lot of empty shelves there, but it does - other stores are better. So this is just a random selection of several stores in Atlanta.

What we're hearing from parents, what we're hearing from doctors, what we're hearing from dieticians is that many families are doing OK, but they do sometimes have trouble finding formula. And this is what's really key, they have trouble finding the formula that their baby could tolerate. I don't know about your babies, Brianna, but mine, they like what they liked.


COHEN: They didn't want to try another brand. And babies will sometimes vomit or have diarrhea. They just won't tolerate it. So, unfortunately, babies are still ending up at the doctors office with problems because they're not getting enough to eat. And, sadly, even the ER sometimes. So, we are not out of the wood by any stretch of the imagination, but things are getting better.


KEILAR: Yes, it's amazing how, you know, just a baby who is upset by their formula can really affect the entire mood of the household for sure.

COHEN: Right. Oh, yes.

KEILAR: I also noticed on those shelves, sometimes it's just the small cans.

COHEN: Right.

KEILAR: They don't have the big cans. You're going to pay more for those small cans. So then it's also a cost issue, which no one needs right now.

Elizabeth, I really appreciate you following this. Thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

KEILAR: So, Atlanta's biggest music festival is pulling the plug after the state's gun laws presented an obstacle to the festival.

AVLON: Plus, a town near Uvalde bans an AR-15 gun raffle hosted by, quote, friends of the NRA. The reaction from the community. That's ahead.




JIMMY FALLON, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": Over the weekend, President Biden returned to isolation after once again testing positive for Covid in what his doctor called a rebound case. Right now, Biden is looking on the bright side. He's like, well, at least my Covid got a second term.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Extra, extra, man never really that sick, technically still sick!

Happened to a lot of folks. I don't know anyone who's taken Paxlovid who didn't get it again. This is the hottest rebound since J. Lo tested positive for a second case of Affleck.


AVLON: I like it, second case of Affleck. And tough - tough joke about the second term, but fair.

KEILAR: But fair.

AVLON: All right, so, moving on.

Atlanta's biggest festival, Music Midtown, was cancelled reportedly over the state's gun laws. Organizers of the festival didn't specifically give a reason for the cancellation, but various reports say it's because of a recent interpretation of a Georgia gun law that would allow firearms in public spaces, including the park, where the festival is held.

CNN's Erica Hill joins us now to shed some light on this.

Erica, what are you hearing about this?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, you're right, they didn't give a specific reason. So, in a tweet, Live Nation runs this, runs Music Midtown. They said it was due to circumstances beyond our control. What we do know is that is a gun rights activist in Georgia who told CNN that he actually send an email back in May to the organizers of the festival because, specifically, Music Midtown says, that weapons of any kind are banned, right? So they're banned. This was set to take place in Piedmont Park. A big, city-owned public park in the center of Atlanta. And so he said, look, that conflicts with Georgia gun laws which allows firearms to be carried in public places.

Is that the exact reason? They're not saying for sure. But as you mentioned, John, it has been reported by other media outlets that this may have led to it. Concerns over perhaps a potential lawsuit. How would you police that. And so the issue here is, because Music Midtown is essentially renting the park, they have to comply with those laws so that it wouldn't work.

KEILAR: What a shame. I love - I love that festival.


HILL: It's a great festival.

KEILAR: Oh, I love -- I saw the Black Keys play there. I'm just so bummed people are going to miss out on that.

HILL: Yes, I mean, it's been going on for years. So, it started in 1994. I went when I was living in Atlanta in the early 2000s. It's a blast. It really is. Last year, 50,000 people were in attendance. This, of course -- that was, of course, right after Covid. This is supposed to happen over two days in September. They say they're going to be back. What does that mean? Not clear.

AVLON: I mean - and it's important to note that a lot of the musicians' riders (ph) specify that you can't have weapons in the audience, which makes a lot of sense given some of the violence we've seen at concerts in year's past. So the implications for this, not only for this, but potentially other, you know, big concerts that are held in public parks, pretty significant.

HILL: Yes, I think it's a great point. It will be interesting to see what we may see moving forward.

AVLON: All right, Erica, thank you very much.

All right, primary season is heating back up again. Voters going to the polls in five states today with election deniers on the ballot in several swing states. We're going to break down the key races.

KEILAR: The U.S. taking out the world's most wanted terrorists. Clarissa Ward is going to join us on how the operation unfolded. We'll also be joined by the former FDNY commissioner who was serving on 9/11.



KEILAR: It is primary day in five states and today could give us a peek into what might happen in the November midterms. It could gauge Donald Trump's hold on the GOP as well.

Our correspondents are covering it all.



Missouri voters are going to the polls today to choose nominees in the Senate contest to replace retiring Republican Senator Roy Blunt. The Republican race has been a doozie. A fiery contest with former Governor Eric Greitens, who resigned four years ago in disgrace, trying to make a comeback. He, of course, has been running against Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, as well as nearly 20 other candidates.

Now, last night, Monday night, here in Missouri, former President Donald Trump essentially punted on an endorsement. He had promised one all day long. At the end of the day, he said, the good people of Missouri should make up their own minds. He did give a tacit endorsement to the two Erics, that would be Greitens and Schmitt, but clearly wanting to save face in this, not sure who is going to win. Again, a tight three-way contest here. If Greitens wins, Democrats believe they have a chance of winning this seat. That's why an independent candidate is also in the wings. An interesting three months ahead here in Missouri.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sara Murray in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where Republican primary voters will decide today who they want to see take on Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer come this fall. Conservative commentator Tudor Dixon picked up the Trump endorsement, but she's already facing attacks from people like Kevin Rinke, who say she's the establishment candidate. We also have a number of election deniers in the race, including Garrett Soldano and Ryan Kelley, who was charged related to his alleged involvement in the January 6th Capitol riot. He's pleaded not guilty.

Now, after a prolonged an chaotic Republican primary, voters will finally get to make their choice today.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kyung Lah is Scottsdale, Arizona, where there will be another test on whether or not Donald Trump maintains his hold on the Republican Party in a critical battleground state. He's endorsed candidates for governor, U.S. Senate, attorney general, secretary of state. These candidates have all embraced his lie that he did not lose the 2020 election. And many of these candidates already teeing up false election conspiracies that if they lose there must have been cheating involved in this primary.


AVLON: All right, let's bring in CNN political commentators S.E. Cupp and Jonah Goldberg. He's also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of "The Dispatch."

It's great to see you both in person here.

Let's start with this epic troll known as the endorsement of the Erics. This is one of the weirdest things I've actually ever seen in politics. So, Trump teases that he's going to endorse -- high stakes endorsement, eve of the primary, and comes out with an endorsement that just says, and that's why I'm therefore proud to announce that Eric has my complete and total endorsement. The key point being the two top candidates, Eric Schmitt and Eric Greitens, are both, of course, named Eric.


AVLON: What the hell is going on here, S.E.?

CUPP: Well, I call this the - this is the, hey, you, endorsement. You know, hey, you, where you don't remember who someone is, you say, hey, you, and it covers all the bases. Totally non-committal. And that's - that was the point of this, right, because he doesn't want to have to choose.

On a serious note, I - you know, this really just lays bear, yet again, how unmotivated Trump is by ideas and principles and policy. It's - really he just wants the allegiance. Whichever guy is going to fight over me the most is fine with me. He doesn't care what ideas win. And so that's some - I -- he accomplishes that with the hey you endorsement.

AVLON: The hey you endorsement. Patent it. All right.

CUPP: Hey you. JONAH GOLDBERG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think S.E.'s pretty much nailed it. The only thing I would sort of add is that if it remained a joke, it would be kind of funny, right? But my - who can doubt that when one of the Erics wins, he's going to take credit for it, right? You know --

KEILAR: Well, sure.

AVLON: Oh, yes.

CUPP: They're already fighting over what he mans.

GOLDBERG: Yes. And so like if it -- if it was purely like a troll kind of, you know, him basically winking at people saying I don't know what to do here, it would be one thing. But he's going to, like, play it seriously afterwards, or probably will, and that's going to be pretty annoying (ph).

KEILAR: He gets -

CUPP: My favorite part, though, is the state -- the Trump team said in a statement, the endorsement speaks for itself. Which - yes, it does.

AVLON: Good, it does.

KEILAR: If someone asked me who my favorite CNN co-worker is, I'm going to say John.

CUPP: Just say hey you.

KEILAR: It covers like half of my male -

CUPP: John.

KEILAR: John Harwood, Voss, Avlon, Berman, King, who knows.

CUPP: King. Right.

KEILAR: OK. But in all seriousness, Eric Greitens, I mean it also - this is - it is a -- this endorsement's funny. It makes you laugh.


Eric Greitens is an accused abuser. The seriousness of the issues facing this guy are nuts.

CUPP: Well, yes. And he's -- he's used some really violent rhetoric to talk about what he wants to do. Rounding up rhinos and hunting I guess people like us --

GOLDBERG: Yes. Yes. Yes.

CUPP: Who he thinks aren't sufficiently Trumpy. And if that's rewarded yet again, right, it won't be the first time if that's rewarded, I think it's a pretty clear indication of where this party continually wants to go, to the famed seekers, to the cheap thrills, right, the Lauren Boebert's, the Marjorie Taylor Greenes, the Matt Gaetzs and the Eric Greitens, despite whatever demons and skeletons they have, not even in their close. They're in, like, the front hallway.

GOLDBERG: Yes, I mean, and Greitens' basically has hooves. I mean he's a fairly demonic creature. And he's a sign of like - so the death of shame in our politics.

CUPP: Yes. Yes.

AVLON: And one of the many surreal twists is that when he began his political career he was seen as a real hope and how quickly and surreal he has fallen.


AVLON: Let's talk about Arizona, because it's a reminder that in some ways this is much more than a factual fight within the GOP, right? Donald Trump endorsing candidates Kari Lake for governor, Blake Masters for Senate, secretary of state nominee. All are intense election deniers. All have been polling fairly well.

Here's a state that's trending purple. What does that mean for the Republican Party if they elect an all-election denier slate?

GOLDBERG: It could be a disaster. Look, I mean, the way to think about the GOP these days, you know, with -- but not think too hard that you start cutting yourself or anything, but like the way to think about the GOP leaders is, it's not an ideological party anymore. It's just that - it's a conglomeration of weird factions and some of the factions are bat wano (ph) crazy. And so you're going to have a significant -- not a majority, but a significant enough for primaries and for general elections to provide the margin of victory segment of the parties that are basically QAnon adjacent, conspiratorial, and that is going to be like a magnet net to the compass for a lot of the normal because they're going to have to pander to that to some extent.

CUPP: Well, yes, I mean, it's -- it's a cult, right? I think it acts more like a cult than it does a political movement, to Jonah's point. They're not loosely oriented around ideas and principles and getting more voters, new voters. They've completely abandoned that because Trump jettisoned that, right?

So - so now it's - it's really about this weird fringy stuff, including stuff that's really serious, like election denial and voter suppression. I mean Kari Lake, one candidate, said it should be disqualifying if you don't agree the election was stolen. That's bananas and bonkers.

AVLON: Orwell would like to have something to say about that.

CUPP: Yes.

KEILAR: But she has her more reasonable opponent sort of being wiggly on the issue, you know, not really trying to commit one way or the other because of that, even if you want to think that her opponent is sort of maybe not where she is on the issue. I want to ask you because you've written some really interesting stuff

about the right's obsession with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.


KEILAR: And it is like of a love fest. He's going to be speaking at CPAC on Thursday.


KEILAR: So what do people need to know about this and what are you looking for?

GOLDBERG: Well, I mean, look, for a certain segment of the right, it's not the QAnon crowd. It's -- they're smart people. Some of them are dear friends of mine.

Hungary, which is this landlocked country of like 10 million people, is, for them, what Cuba or Sweden were to various aspects of the left in prior generations. They're like this -- imagine glorious place where everything just works the way it's supposed to and that's why we need to become more like them here. And then you actually look at how Hungary actually works and it's like, no, not really. And Orban knows -- there's something about him that just pings the sweet tooth of the - of the -- sort of intellectual authoritarian curious right in America. And CPAC is basically an ATM machine. So they're going there.

CUPP: Right.

AVLON: I -- I love the Cuba parallel in terms of his fascination on the far left once upon a time.

CUPP: Yes.

AVLON: But, in all seriousness, I mean, Orban just gave a speech in which sort of the mask fell off and one of the top aides left. I think we've got a clip of it. I want to just play that and get your reaction, S.E.


VIKTOR ORGAN, PRIME MINISTER OF HUNGARY: We are willing to mix with one another, but we do not want to become peoples of mixed race.


AVLON: So, that's kind of giving away part of the ghost there. Again, one of his top aides quit because she said that this is just outright horrific.

CUPP: Yes.

AVLON: This is what folks at CPAC seem to be endorsing. This is not the (INAUDIBLE) position on it.

CUPP: Yes.


AVLON: This is - this is something quite different.

CUPP: Well, and, look, Orban's been in this for a long time, decades. And so this is not the first time he's talked about this and made overtly racist sort of dog whistles. And he's not the first European leader to sort of rail against ideas of Shangin (ph) and multiculturalism.


All that started with the advent of the E.U. He really is just the most direct about it.