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Trump-Backed Candidate Gets GOP Nod; Latest Primary Elections; Gas Prices Drop; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) is Interviewed about the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago; Heat Eases in Northeast. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired August 10, 2022 - 06:30   ET



KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Where former Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch was considered the heir apparent to the Republican candidacy here. She had worked alongside Scott Walker for eight years and was supported entirely by the GOP establishment. But, Tim Michels, a businessman, with the help of former President Trump and millions of dollars of his own money which he poured into that campaign, was able to secure a win.

Now, part of how he did that is that he would not take decertifying the 2020 election results off the table were he to become governor. Brianna, let that sink in for a second, the candidate that won last night will not say if he will work to overturn the 2020 election results should he win.

Now, of course, we're going to watch his rhetoric as we move forward here, see as -- if it shifts now that we are out of the primary and into the general election against the Democratic incumbent Tony Evers.

Now, the other bit race here is that Senate race. Last night Democratic Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes won his primary easily. He will take on incumbent Republican Ron Johnson. This is going to be a critical race to watch. We have heard from Republicans who say that Johnson is vulnerable, and Democrats are seizing on that. They believe this could be an opportunity to help them hold on to their majority or even potentially grow their majority in the fall.

And, Brianna, I want to point out one other race here. Now, this was a little bit of a smaller race, but it was very important, had a lot of significance, and that was of the Wisconsin assembly speaker. Incumbent Republican Robin Vos was able to hold on to his seat even after attempts from former President Donald Trump to try and essentially punish him for not helping him decertify the election. Vos was the subject of a pressure campaign by the president, receiving calls even just a few weeks ago to try and decertify the election. When he didn't, Trump endorsed his little known opponent. But, Vos was able to pull that out.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, fascinating races and watching some of these Republicans give themselves that wiggle room for the general election, we're keeping an eye to see where they go. Kristen Holmes, thank you so much for that that, live for us from


All right, let's -

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, joining us now, CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon here with me in New York.


BERMAN: John, let's talk about a few of these races that kind of have had national implications or maybe signs of things to come.

First, Wisconsin. This was one of those races where there was a Trump proxy against a Mike Pence proxy.


BERMAN: And the guy who won, Tom Michels, you know, he has flinted with some of the most extreme notions in terms of election denial.

AVLON: That's right. Michels, a largely self-funded businessman, construction magny (ph), really got Trump's backing. And he was flirting with stuff like decertifying an election, which is as far out there as you can get. But he was constantly ponging between the maximalist (ph) Trump position and trying to hedge his bets.

What's interesting is Rebecca Kleefisch had been the lieutenant governor for Scott Walker. She had the establishment backing. She had Mike Pence's backing. She's losing by not inconsiderable margin. And so that's a win, if you're keeping track at home, in the Trump column v. Pence.

BERMAN: Right. We should be sort of two for Trump, one for Pence.

AVLON: Correct.

BERMAN: Pence backed candidate in Georgia.


BERMAN: Arizona, Wisconsin, going for the Trump backed candidate.

I want to talk about Washington. Now, Washington didn't vote yesterday.


BERMAN: But Jaime Herrera Beutler, who is an incumbent Republican member of Congress, I think six terms -

AVLON: Yes, since 2010.

BERMAN: Voted to impeach Donald Trump, conceded that she has lost.

AVLON: Right. And what's - you know, crucially, Washington state is one of these top two primaries. So, the top vote getter in the primary is a Democrat. But it is a Republican-leaning seat. So it was really Herrera Beutler versus Trump-backed Joe Kent. And this was her colleague in Washington state, knew (ph) house, got in, in the top two. He survived. He and Valada (ph) were the two Trump Republican impeachers from the House who survived to date.

This was a heartbreaker for a lot of folks, though, because Herrera Beutler is somebody who represented her district, somebody who had called out, you know, Kevin McCarthy, what he was really saying on the House floor on January 6th, narrow loss, less than 1,000 votes, but Kent will go to the general.

BERMAN: It may end up being that two out of ten, only two out of the 10 Republicans who voted to impeach Donald Trump survive.


BERMAN: I want to look at two races in Minnesota that may have been under the radar but are kind of interesting.


BERMAN: First, Ilhan Omar, running for re-election, she only barely won.

AVLON: This is a squeaker and it's the second time she's faced a very competitive primary challenge in the Democratic primary. So you take a look at that. I mean Don Samuels had the backing of a lot of the business community, the incumbent mayor from Minneapolis. Omar squeaking it out, but that is close. That is a close race for a Democrat incumbent. It speaks to the fact how polarizing she is even within the Democratic base of her district.

BERMAN: And the other race there is a special election for Minnesota's first congressional district to replace a Republican who has died. And this was a district that was a plus 10 Trump district, OK. And in this special election, which is a Republican against a Democrat, the Republican, Brad Finstad he won but only by about four points. So Democrats are looking at this saying, here is another race where Democrats might be overperforming post Dobbs where abortion might be a factor.

AVLON: Yes. This is the, so you're saying there's a chance result.


But it is significant, right, because, you know, typically these sort of special election to replace a seat that, you know, was opened up when the incumbent died of cancer back in February, this is a much closer race than Democrats had any right to believe. Jeff Ettinger, you know, former CEO of Hormel, Brad Finstad, in poll position, as you say, this is a heavily Trump district. The fact it's this close in a special election that is off cycle gives Democrats a reason to think that maybe that energy post Roe that we saw in Kansas might continue.

BERMAN: They now have Kansas and Minnesota to look at with their fingers crossed.


BERMAN: John Avlon, thank you very much for that.

AVLON: Yes. Be well.

BERMAN: So, gas prices down for the 56th straight day. What does this mean going forward? How much lower will it go?

Plus, an arrest in the murders of four Muslim men in Albuquerque. Police now have a possible motive.

And --





KEILAR: A little leaguer beaned (ph) and he winds up consoling the pitcher. Both players coming up on NEW DAY to talk about their viral, heart-warming moment.



BERMAN: All right, new in morning, gas prices are down. This is the 57th straight day. This is according to the AAA national average. Just one cent over $4 per gallon. That's 70 cents less than it was a month ago. You know, it's about a dollar off the high. So, gas prices have dropped a lot.

Let's go to CNN's Pete Muntean. He is outside a gas station in Washington, D.C.

Oh, I see the number three up there, Pete.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I know, isn't that wild, John, $3.89 at this Citgo station in northeast D.C. You know, emblematic of what's going on in the rest of the country. Half of the U.S. now seeing gas less than $4 a gallon. We have not seen prices this low since March. $4.01 is the national average for a gallon of regular according to AAA. A two cent slide overnight. We're down 67 cents over this time last month.

But think about where we were back on June 14th. That's where we saw the all-time record for a gallon of regular gasoline, $5.02. So, we've gone down a full dollar since then.

Patrick De Haan of GasBuddy says all of that amounts to a collective savings for drivers in the U.S. of $400 million. They're spending $400 million less on gas than they were back 57 days ago. Fifty-seven straight days of decline. Likely that the next milestone, according to GasBuddy, is $3.69. We will see when we hit that, although this trend could keep up.

There is a bit of a wrinkle here. Patrick De Haan of GasBuddy says mother nature could throw a bit of a wrench into things.



PATRICK DE HAAN, HEAD OF PETROLEUM ANALYSIS, GASBUDDY: We're not in the clear yet. The peak of hurricane season starts in mid to late August. And I think my anxiety is going to be pretty elevated because if we see any major storm, I would say a category three or stronger, targeting an area between New Orleans and Houston, buckle up.


MUNTEAN: A bit of cautious optimism here.

One little extra piece of optimism could come later today with the Consumer Price Index coming out. It will tell us how much inflation went up during the month of July. And inflation may have gone up a little bit less aggressively than once thought because these gas price are so low. That means businesses are passing less of that cost on to consumers. Good news for everybody, John.

BERMAN: Pete Muntean, gas a dollar cheaper than it was off its high. Thank you so much.

So, we're learning new details this morning about the unprecedented search of Donald Trump's home. What investigators found inside. We have reaction from a congressman, next.

KEILAR: Also ahead, we have new CNN reporting on what Fox boss Lachlan Murdoch really thinks about Donald Trump and why he isn't saying it publicly.



KEILAR: CNN is now learning from a source that the FBI's search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort came after authorities were suspicious that the former president, or his team, had not returned all documents that were property of the government.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. He is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Good to be with you.

KEILAR: So, you've heard Republicans. They are downplaying the potential reasons for the search and seizure of this material from Mar-a-Lago. How confident are you that it was a national security threat to have some of these documents even behind a padlock hanging out there?

MEEKS: Yes, look, what I'm concerned about is, why would the Republicans think that Donald Trump is above the law? You know, clearly, when you look at our system and how it's set up, there's checks and balances in that system. And we always talk about a democracy. Clearly, I mean, back when Nixon was the president, Democrats and Republicans came together when the evidence was - the investigation was done, evidence came in and everybody came together for the benefit of the president -- benefit of the country and said the president had to go. So, I'm puzzled why the Republicans are -- you know, think that Donald Trump is above the law. We've always talked about no one is above the law.

And so I have faith and confidence in our system. That's what a democracy is all about. Our system and our way of justice is what we talk to people about around the world. When we see their system of justice is not working, we condemn it. And we talk about how good ours are.

And so I would hope that my Republican colleagues, for the good of the country, will say, nobody's above the law and allow the process and the system to work because there has to be a grand jury and people coming up with probable cause. They see the evidence. We don't. But in the end, all will come out. So, we should have faith and confidence in the system of justice that we have.

KEILAR: They're raising the -- you know, they're raising the specter of, maybe this was just a clerical error, as they put it. Was this an issue of just getting the columns to match up with documents that, yes, should be national archives, or was this actually an issue of classified information that posed a national security threat? There are distinctions, both could be corrected, obviously, trying to get those documents. Are you sure that it's a national -- are you confident there was a national security threat having those documents there?

MEEKS: I'm confident that there had been an investigation. I'm confident that there have been witnesses or others that have talked to the attorney general's office, to the FBI. I'm confident that it was presented to a judge. I'm confident that it was presented to a grand jury. And I'm confident that they thought that there was probable cause to give a search warrant which caused them to go into the president's residence to look for the information that they were looking at.


That's what I'm confident about. I'm confident that they did what they were supposed to do and it was a check and balance to make that happen so that we are - are where we are now. We will find out at the process, with the appropriate time, you know, because when you have these kind of procedures -- I used to be a prosecutor myself - they're supposed to be secret until such time that they're not. So I'm confident of what they're doing is not corrupt. Many -- you know, the person that was appointed to the FBI was a Donald Trump appointee. Many of the judges that are looking at that are Donald Trump appointees.

So, it's not just a Democratic forum that's put -- Democratic individual that are put in place. There are people from both parties that are looking and moving at this. I'm sure members of the grand jury are both Democrats and Republicans. And so I want the people that are in charge that are looking at it and if, in fact, there is nothing there, then you will see that and they will hear that. And if, in fact, there is something there, then we will see and hear that, too.

But I think that what we should be doing is not making the presumption that Donald Trump is above the law.

KEILAR: I want to ask you about your recent trip to Taiwan with Speaker Pelosi because the trip gave China an excuse to basically carry out this dry run of an attack on Taiwan. That is how they responded. That is what they used it for. Did that benefit China, having that opportunity?

MEEKS: No, it didn't benefit China. Look, what we have at stake here is, number one, is democracy and whether or not the United States of America will stand with its friends and allies. Clearly, Taiwan has been a friend and -- and a democracy. And that's at stake. And people around the world, in particularly in that region, because not only did we visit Taiwan, we went to Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore. They're all concerned about China also, the South China Sea, as well as the Taiwan Strait, and they want to know that -- whether or not those individuals -- those countries, like us, will stand by Taiwan as we have said and the president has said in the past.

So, it was tremendously important for us to make that trip, for us to visit the entire region and let them know that they're friends of the United States of America. We are going to stand and work with them as we have.

And, you know, let me tell you something, the Taiwanese were very happy to see us there. You should have seen the crowds that were there when our plane landed. They were lined up across the street. Buildings with, "we love you, Nancy." When we spoke with the president, thank you for being here. They wanted to see us. They're not afraid of what's taking place right now. They wanted to see us and it was the right thing and the right message and tell Xi that he can't tell us where to go and what to do.

KEILAR: Yes, we certainly saw that. They were very welcoming and very happy to have U.S. representation of that level there.

Congressman Meeks, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

MEEKS: Thank you for having me.

KEILAR: More legal woes for former President Trump. He is just hours from being deposed by the New York attorney general's office.

BERMAN: Russian officials getting trained in Iran on how to use new drones. What does this mean for the Russian invasion of Ukraine?



KEILAR: As the heat eases in the northeast over the next 24 hours, flooding remains a threat in other places. So, let's get to meteorologist Chad Myers and see, Chad, what you have your eye on.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Brianna, part of the same front. I mean this same front that's going to cool us down in the northeast is going to make rain showers, heavy rain, across parts of the flood-ravaged areas here across parts of West Virginia and Kentucky.

This weather brought to you by Safelite, your vehicle glass and recalibration experts.

So, let's get to it. That's the happy front right there. The cold front moving through the Great Lakes. It will push all of the rain away. And eventually today we could even see some of that heavy rain move into Washington, D.C. But it would be the last day. This will be the last day for the potential for flooding across these areas that have been hit so hard. By 4:00 there are big storms. Certainly, they're going to be most of the day. Showers and thunderstorms are going to be here. But look at this, Boston, you are 98. Today, 74. How about that, Brianna?

KEILAR: All right, Chad Myers, thank you so much.

MYERS: You're welcome.

And NEW DAY continues right now.

BERMAN: Twelve boxes carried out of Mar-a-Lago. That is according to new reports this morning.

I'm John Berman in New York. Brianna Keilar in Washington.

CNN has also learned the FBI executed the search warrant at Donald Trump's home because they suspected the former president and his team were not being honest with them about the materials he took from the White House after leaving office. Materials the investigators believe have national security implications.

Also this morning, presumably separate from this, we learned that the FBI seized the cell phone of a Republican congressman and Trump ally, Scott Perry, in relation to the January 6th investigation.

KEILAR: There is still, of course, so much that we do not know about the search of the former president's home. What exactly was taken by investigators? What probable cause evidence was presented to get the search warrant here? And exactly what did Trump take home with him when he left the White House?

BERMAN: Yes, again, there's so much we know and so much we don't know.

Here with me now, CNN's senior legal analyst, and former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig.


Elie, nice to see you.