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Reporting Indicates Attorneys for Former President Trump Talking Directly with Justice Department about Events of January 6th, 2021; Biden Administration Declare Monkeypox Public Health Emergency; White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha Interviewed on U.S. Ability to Provide Enough Vaccines for Monkeypox; Sen. Angus King (I-ME) is Interviewed on Dems' Massive Economic Bill. Aired 8- 8:30a ET
Aired August 05, 2022 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Prosecutors had previously said that as police entered the home that night, Taylor's boyfriend fired a single shot believing that they were intruders, injuring one of the officers.
CNN has reached out to the attorneys for all four of the officers that are laid out in this indictment, still waiting to hear back. Now, we should also mention that to date no officer has actually been criminally charged, at least at the state level, for the killing of Taylor. However, one of those officers did face a state's charge previously, but they were acquitted in March.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Polo, just extraordinary and new developments, sickening stuff. Thank you very much.
All right, NEW DAY continues right now.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It's Friday, August 5th. I'm Brianna Keilar with John Avlon in for John Berman this morning.
AVLON: All right, let's do this.
KEILAR: Great to have you here.
It is the clearest sign yet that the criminal investigation into January 6th zeroing in on former President Donald Trump himself. Our exclusive new CNN reporting reveals that Trump's lawyers are talking directly with the Justice Department about the events of January 6th. The talks are said to be focused on whether conversations the former president had while in office can be kept from investigators due to executive privilege.
AVLON: Now, in an interview with CNN's Kasie Hunt, Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the January 6th committee, weighed in on a potential Trump prosecution, saying the Justice Department must rise to the challenge. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY, (R-WY) VICE CHAIR, JANUARY 6TH SELECT COMMITTEE: They have to make decisions about prosecution. Understanding what it means if the facts and the evidence are there and they decide not to prosecute, how do we then call ourselves a nation of laws?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Joining us now is CNN anchor and chief national affairs analyst Kasie Hunt, and Daniel Goldman. He is a former federal prosecutor and was lead counsel in the first impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. H is running for Congress in New York's 10th congressional district. We have so much more ahead on that outstanding interview you did with Liz Cheney.
KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Thank you.
KEILAR: But I do want to start with this new CNN reporting where you have Trump lawyers that we know of officially for the first time talking to DOJ, Daniel. Where does that leave us?
DANIEL GOLDMAN, FORMER HOUSE IMPEACHMENT LEAD COUNSEL: Most likely they are talking about whether Donald Trump is going to assert executive privilege over conversations he had with his senior staff, including Pat Cipollone, who we have reporting that he has received a grand jury subpoena. And basically, what this means is executive privilege requires a confidentiality between the president and his senior staff so that they can talk freely. But there is a Supreme Court ruling that says executive privilege cannot hide misconduct.
And so the real question here is -- well, two questions. One, can Donald Trump assert executive privilege, because ultimately it lies with the presidency, not the individual president. And two, if he does, and if he is able to, can the DOJ pierce that privilege by saying and perhaps going to court to get a ruling that Donald Trump's -- the conversations are misconduct and therefore not shielded by executive privilege.
AVLON: And precedent would suggest that that would indeed be a reading of privilege.
But Kasie, I want to talk about the politics of this, because Donald Trump has a history of playing the ref, even when it comes to legal inquiries. So how do you see his standing in the Republican field being impacted by this news?
HUNT: Well, first of all, I just think that the stakes in this particular case are the highest they can or will ever be for Donald Trump. So I'm not sure. Certainly we can look at his past actions and think through how he might handle this, but I do think we're in a new sort of world in terms of what might happen next.
In terms of the politics of it, I think this is one of the things that could potentially have the former president jumping into the 2024 presidential race earlier rather than later. There has been some reporting and some discussions in his inner circle, and particularly it sounds like from the president himself, that doing that potentially gives him a platform or at least some kind of political insulation, because obviously what would we see from Donald Trump in this instance? He gets up on the stage and he says they're just prosecuting me because they don't want me to be president again. It has nothing to do with my actions. It's just a witch-hunt I think is how he would frame it.
So I think it's going to be an enormous challenge for the country, quite frankly, if we find ourselves there.
GOLDMAN: I think there is no question that Donald Trump thinks his best criminal defense is to run for president, because it sets him up for that exact defense, which is to say, this is my opponent trying to get me off the ballot.
But that is why he's going to run, and it's also why whatever we saw on January 6th is the beginning, not the end of his efforts to undermine democracy and steal the next election, because he knows that really the only way to keep from going to trial is to become president again.
HUNT: And this is why what Liz Cheney said to me in this interview is so interesting. She is not going so far as to say that evidence exists, Trump should be prosecuted. That would be obviously huge news. But what she is saying, that question that I asked her was about how would a prosecution of former President Trump affect the country? Would it potentially turn him into a martyr and ultimately accomplish the opposite of what Liz Cheney is out there trying to accomplish, make him more politically stronger?
What she basically is urging and said that the Justice Department has to do is set aside political considerations, set aside -- the Justice Department does make decisions about timing, especially, in prosecutions, as it relates to our elections system, and she was saying, this is going to call into question whether we're a nation of laws if they use political consideration in this case.
AVLON: Daniel, that's what I want to get to, right, because on the one hand, this is an unprecedented situation. And the decision to indict, prosecute a former president is as big as it gets. And some folks will say, look, it is too disruptive to the system that's already been strained. The other competing principle is as simple and as big as equal justice under law. So how do you see that balance playing out?
GOLDMAN: I would add one other consideration. If the evidence is there, and if the Department of Justice believes that they can prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt, if they don't charge him because of the political divisiveness, that is a political decision. And so what Merrick Garland has been very careful from day one of being really clear and really on message about is that the Department of Justice follows the facts and the law wherever it goes. He has been unwavering about that, and that is smart, because at the end of the day, he has to make a decision solely based on the facts and the law, and he has been very clear that that is going to be the only driver of his decision.
HUNT: The reality is the political solution to this would have been the United States Senate. They could have voted to convict Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial and that would have prevented him from running office again, and they failed to do it.
PAUL: Kasie and Daniel, thank you so much for the discussion. We appreciate it. Kasie, we're going to have more with your exclusive interview with Vice Chair Liz Cheney of the January 6th committee here in just a moment.
First, though, the Biden administration has declared monkeypox a public health emergency with the U.S. experiencing a steady increase in the number of monkeypox cases. There was an increase of 42 percent just from last week. And now there are more than 7,000 reported cases in the U.S. So what is being done to address this? Joining us now to talk about it is White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. Sir, what do you make of this, 42 percent increase in one week? How concerned are you?
DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID COORDINATOR: Good morning, and thanks for having me back. A couple of things are going on there. Obviously, we're tracking that very, very closely. Part of it is infections are increasing, but also we have done a lot to ramp up testing. Testing is now much more widely available. Obviously, we know as you get testing more widely available, you're going to see cases go up. I actually see that as a good thing because at least we're identifying infections. I expect in the days and weeks ahead we're going to continue seeing cases rise. Over time, we're going to see that slowing. Over time we want to make sure that is starting to turn. But right now I think a lot of it is being driven by testing as well as increases in infection.
KEILAR: You do not have enough vaccine for this. Far from enough vaccine. And we're learning that the U.S. could have. "The New York Times" is reporting that DHS failed to ask that bulk stocks of already made vaccine be bottled. How did that happen?
JHA: Let's talk about vaccine and vaccine supply. One of the things I remind people, there is one small manufacturer in Denmark that is making vaccines for the whole world. They have very little capacity. And America has obtained, has acquired more vaccines than the rest of the world combined.
In terms of that bottling issue, this company has very limited capability to bottle those vaccines. So we are now bringing that manufacturing onsite, into the United States, working with domestic manufacturers to expand capacity. Again, obviously we want to get more vaccines out both within the United States, around the world, we think a greater vaccine supply is going to be really, really important. Building out the capacity of that company, making sure there are domestic manufacturers who can do it, is a really critical part of our strategy. KEILAR: There is a question about why that happened, though, and
there were other orders put in with that manufacturer, according to "The Times." That's why the U.S. is looking for other places for the bottling. On May 22nd, I want to play something that you said about monkeypox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID COORDINATOR: This is a virus. We understand we have vaccines against it. We have treatments against it. And it's spread very differently than SARS-CoV-2. It's not as contagious as COVID. So I am confident we're going to be able to keep our arms around it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: What happened?
JHA: Well, don't think anything has happened. I think -- I still remain confident we're going to get our arms around it. Again, I want to remind --
KEILAR: Is this number, though, Dr. Jha, is this what you expected, this number that we're seeing right now?
JHA: So, what I would say is, again, just reminding people, yes, we have about 7,000 cases across America. We're going to continue working on keeping that number -- obviously we want to expand testing, we're going to see those numbers go up some, but we want to get this and we are getting this under control.
I want to remind people nobody has died of this yet. Obviously, we want to keep that level of serious illness as low as possible. And the strategy is the strategy I was talking about back in May, which is continue expanding testing. It has been two months, two-and-a-half months since the first case was identified. We have mass amount of testing capacity. Again, we have acquired more vaccines than the rest of the world combined. We have plenty of treatments that we're making easier and easier to get out. So, yes, so this is the effective response that I was talking about back in May, and that continues to be our strategy moving forward.
KEILAR: What we're seeing now is keeping our arms around it?
JHA: Yes, look, again, I want to remind people we're at about 7,000 cases over a two-and-a-half-month period. Obviously, look, the goal here is to eliminate this, right? So that is going to --
KEILAR: Let me ask you this, Dr. Jha. I'm so sorry to interrupt you, but this is obviously important, and we have limited time. How long until the U.S. has the vaccines that they need? Because right now there is a deficit between what you need and what you have. When will you have what you need? JHA: So right now we think about 1.6 million Americans are in that
high risk group that needs to be -- that should get vaccinated. We have about 1.1 million doses that we have sent out. We're getting another couple hundred thousand doses that were supposed to come in November. We've gotten that sped up to September. There are going to be another 500,000 doses coming in October.
And obviously we're working as quickly as possible to expand vaccine manufacturing. Vaccine manufacturing doesn't turn on a dime. It is a very specific, high quality process. That most important part is you want to make sure that the vaccines are safe and effective. That's always going to be our number one priority. We think over the next few months you're going to see domestic manufacturing of it come online, and more and more vaccines will become available.
JHA: No, I think later this -- in the weeks and months ahead we're certainly going to see more vaccines.
KEILAR: By October?
JHA: By October what? I'm not sure what the question is.
KEILAR: You'll close the deficit between what you have and what you need?
JHA: So again, let me remind people where we are. We're at 1.6 million people, there is no reason to think that 100 percent of everybody will want the vaccine, but we are going to try to target making sure there is enough vaccines for everyone. And 1.6 million people in the high risk group, we have got 1.1 million doses already allocated to states. They can order it, about 600,000 have gone out. States are going to be able to get more this month. We have got another about 200,000 doses coming in September. Another about 500,000 doses coming in October. That gets us above the 1.6 million. We're expanding manufacturing. I'm not going to give a timeline on that because we want to make sure we get the manufacturing right. It is in the order of months.
I think -- and again, I'll remind people, the situation we found ourselves, there is one small Danish company that is making this for the whole world. We've got more doses here than the rest of the world combined. And we are going to continue expanding that supply both for Americans and for the rest of the world.
KEILAR: Thank you, Dr. Jha, for your time. People are really starting to take notice of this, and they have so many questions, and we appreciate your answers.
JHA: Thank you.
KEILAR: Democrats locking in a key vote in their sweeping health and climate bill. We're going to speak to Senator Angus King about this significant development next. AVLON: And new this morning, Russian officials say they are ready to
discuss a potential prisoner swap with the U.S. through diplomatic channels. What this could mean for Brittney Griner.
KEILAR: Democrats on Capitol Hill now appear to have the 50 votes in the Senate to move forward on the Inflation Reduction Act. Details of that bill were agreed upon by Senators Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin last week, but that deal needed a few last minute tweaks before Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona would agree to sign off.
Well, she put out a statement last night that said: We have agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate's budget reconciliation legislation. Subject to the parliamentarians review, I'll move forward.
Joining us now, independent Senator Angus King of Maine. He serves on the Intelligence and the Armed Services Committees.
So there she has it, Senator King, and thank you for joining us this morning. She's saying parliamentarian, this thing has to be scored, right, because if you're only going 50 votes with budget reconciliation, it actually does have to reduce the deficit. So, that price tag you're going to get is so important.
Are you confident that it's going to come in where you need it to be?
SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): Absolutely. This is actually going to reduce the deficit. In fact, one of the provisions in the bill is to reduce the federal debt by $300 billion. So that was one of the things that Joe Manchin and I and others insisted be part of the bill.
So, yeah, I don't think there is going to be any problem on the numbers side. There is some sort of in the weeds issues about what you can do in a reconciliation bill in terms of policy, and that's what the parliamentarian is working through this week. But that was a big deal last night that we now appear to have a final deal that you're going to have 50 votes for.
JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Are you feeling confident about the Senate parliamentarian?
KING: Yeah, I think so. I mean, again, it's a complex process, and I can't say that every single provision in the bill is going to -- is going to pass that muster. Interestingly, the process is called the Byrd Bath. And it goes back to Senator Robert Byrd who sort of invented this process, and you got to go through this process with the parliamentarian to determine that you're really doing essentially financial changes rather than straight up policy changes.
But I think it looks good. I mean, this is -- this is the same process, for example, that the Republicans used five years ago for the massive tax cuts for corporations. So I think it's going to clear -- clear those hurdles.
KEILAR: Do you think this will help Democrats in the midterm elections upcoming?
KING: Well, I think the first thing I want to say about the bill -- here is the breaking news, guys, this is a bipartisan bill. It's bipartisan everywhere but in the U.S. Capitol.
The Morning Consult did a poll this week and just going down the numbers. I mean, basically, they polled all the individual provisions of the bill, and it's sort of unbelievable.
Limiting annual pocket drug costs for seniors to $2,000, 72 percent favor, 11 percent against. Minimum tax on corporations, 63 to 21. I mean, the numbers are all just sort of overwhelming in terms of the general public.
And I'll be honest with you -- I really don't understand why the Republicans aren't jumping on this bill, because it really is -- it's paid for, it reduces the deficit, it will help make a real dent in inflation. It's good for seniors.
These are things we should have done years ago. In fact, the first bill I introduced when I came to the Senate was to have Medicare negotiate for drug prices. That was ten years ago. So I'm really glad that that's in the bill. I think it's a big deal.
AVLON: So, Senator King, but, that Republican opposition, whether it's by reflex or simply tradition is very pronounced and your colleague Senator Lindsey Graham sent out a tweet storm last night, essentially threatening Democrats saying, a word of advice to those who support this reconciliation deal, do you expect the CR to deliver political payoff with 60 votes, you might want to rethink, if there's something you want in the bill that can't be achieved in reconciliation, if I were you, I'd get it up front. Stay tuned.
Now, that's a threat, albeit from a guy who has championed reconciliation for Republican priorities in the past.
What do you make of it and what do you think it says about --
KING: I don't remember --
AVLON: Yeah, go on.
KING: Well, I was going to say I don't remember him saying anything like that when they were massively rewriting the tax code and giving a huge break to the wealthiest Americans and corporations.
So, in any case, no. I mean, I think this is a -- this is a winner. And I'm -- that's not my concern, John. I'm not -- I'm not playing one side or the other here in terms of politics. I just think this is something the American people want. It's going to have an immediate impact. It's going to have a long-term
impact on everything from energy prices, to drug prices, to negotiating drugs for seniors, to having billion dollar profit corporations pay their fair share.
Now, I say fair share -- hell, I'll settle for any share. Right now, they're paying zero. There have 150 companies paying zero.
And so, this bill says, hey, you got to pay at least 15 percent. How do I explain to a cop in Portland, Maine, who's paying $5,000 or $10,000 in taxes, that he's paying more than a company that's reporting a billion dollars worth of profit?
So I think this -- this not only is good policy, I think it's going to be very popular in the country.
KEILAR: Sir, thank you, for being with us. Senator Angus king.
AVLON: All right.
All right, CNN anchor Kasie Hunt sitting down exclusively with vice chair of the January 6th committee, Liz Cheney. The interview ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Are we a nation of laws? Are we a country where no one is above the law? Certainly, I've been very clear. I think he's guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation's history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: In a CNN exclusive interview, Republican vice chair of the January 6th committee Liz Cheney sat down with our own Kasie Hunt to discuss the DOJ's investigation into former President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think that the Biden Justice Department is going to stop him from becoming president again?
CHENEY: I think that the Justice Department is going to follow the facts and the evidence. I think that they clearly seen significant activity in terms of, you know, the individuals that they now have testifying in front of the grand jury in D.C. and I think they're taking their obligation seriously.
I think we have certainly seen in our hearings, when you have the former attorney general, former White House counsel, former acting attorney general, former deputy attorney general, you have individuals who served Donald Trump, who were nominated by him, and who served at the highest levels, you know who have testified in front of the committee and made clear, for example, as did Pat Cipollone, that President Trump didn't want people to leave the Capitol.
Now, Mr. Cipollone made that point, trying to protect executive privilege, but I don't think anybody had any doubt what he was saying. And so I think the Justice Department is, from what I can tell, from the outside, committed to following the facts and following the evidence and they're taking it seriously.
HUNT: Some have expressed concern that prosecuting former President Trump would turn him into a martyr and potentially add to his political strength with a base that follows him pretty rapidly. Do you share that concern? Do you have any concern that a prosecution would strengthen Donald Trump's political hand?
CHENEY: I don't think that it's appropriate to think about it that way because the question for us is are we a nation of laws, are we a country where no one is above the law, and what do the facts and the evidence show?
And certainly, I've been very clear. I think he's guilty of the most serious dereliction of duty of any president in our nation's history. You had a federal judge in California say that it is more likely than not that he and John Eastman committed two.