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Trump Calls For Release Of FBI Search Documents, But Will His Lawyers Contest?; Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) On FBI Search Of Mar-A-Lago For Nuclear Documents; Toledo Firefighter Helps Save Referee's Life During Basketball Game. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 12, 2022 - 07:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, a federal judge has given a 3:00 p.m. deadline today for Donald Trump's legal team to respond to this motion from the Department of Justice to unseal the search warrant at Mar-a- Lago.

Back with us, our panel now, to understand where we are and the questions that remain about this.

Kara, just talk to me a little bit about this process we're going to see today and when we could possibly see these documents.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, after this kind of extraordinary move yesterday by the Department of Justice filing this motion to unseal the affidavit and the property that they had taken -- this list of this -- the judge said OK, you have until 3:00 p.m. today to confer with Donald Trump's attorneys and get back to me and tell me where their position of if they're going to oppose this motion.

Then the judge will rule. I mean, we'll see if the Trump team enters a motion of their own if they object -- but then the judge rules.

If the Trump team doesn't object, these documents can be unsealed as soon as today in short order. They're already there -- they just have to be released.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Elie, you mentioned there could be this varying level of specificity that you've seen when it comes to search warrants. But what do you think DOJ would have been -- or what do you think DOJ would be inclined to have put in here when it comes to level of specificity? Less specificity?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER STATE AND FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I would suspect a little more specificity than normal.

KEILAR: Oh, interesting.

HONIG: And I have some very, very generalized descriptions in these documents. I mean, I have seen search warrants done where the inventory -- the receipt just says 12 boxes -- that's it. Twelve cardboard boxes. It doesn't get into what's in them.

But I think DOJ had to be aware that these documents -- they knew the moment they turned them over to Donald Trump on Monday he had the right to just post them on the internet. So I think DOJ drafted these documents with that in mind, and I think they're going to try to be more specific than in your typical case so they're not accused of a fishing expedition. You just went in there and looked around the entirety of Mar-a-Lago and grabbed everything you could.


BERMAN: And a reminder, The Washington Post reporting is that this search happened. They were -- the FBI was seeking classified documents relating to nuclear weapons.

I have a viewer question from one of our loyal Republican viewers, Greg, which is that if the FBI was seeking that information -- classified documents related to nuclear weapons, which would be so serious -- why did they wait so long to do it? Why did they only issue a search warrant now?

GREG EHRIE, VICE PRESIDENT OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND ANALYSIS, ANTI- DEFAMATION LEAGUE, FORMER SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE OF FBI NEWARK: I think what we have to assume is that they didn't know that throughout the investigation. Something changed in the complexion of it, whether it was a source information or whether they received a tip that the information is not just the classified presidential information, it's potentially related to nuclear arsenals.

And that would have caused this immediate reaction Because all bets are off then. Nothing is sacred. You have to go get those back.

And if they were there, we have to remember that the investigation doesn't stop there. How long were they there? Who had access to them? Did they copy them? Did that get released?

This investigation has a lot of legs left into it.

KEILAR: So that means that if they didn't know, then let's just put into context what may have happened here for 19 months. And the padlock was only recent.

For 19 months, you may have had nuclear documents, highly classified, sitting in an unsecured room at Mar-a-Lago where Chinese nationals have tried to access the facility. We know that. People have been charged for resisting arrest or whatever doing that. We know they've tried.

What is the risk level here that we're talking about?

JESSICA ROTH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, I think that's what the FBI is trying to assess now. I mean, there's reporting that there was a camera installed in Mar-a- Lago to try to get a sense of who was coming in and out of the room where these documents were being stored. So I imagine that part of what the FBI is trying to nail down now, in

addition to what actually was in those documents, was who had access, potentially. And that camera footage -- if it, in fact, exists -- may give them some insight into the traffic generally.

But I imagine there's a lot of investigation going on outside of Mar- a-Lago as well to try to ascertain who might have had access, if at all, to this information and what damage may have been done.

BERMAN: You know, one thing I think we need to make clear -- and The Washington Post gets to this in their reporting -- classified information about nuclear weapons -- classified documents could mean a range of things. It doesn't mean, like, the nuclear football. That Trump stored the nuclear football and took it with him. It doesn't have to mean that.

It could mean almost any kind of reference or information about nuclear weapons, and not just U.S. nuclear weapons, correct?

HONIG: Sure. And one of the big questions is what was the basis for that? And it's, again, a very important distinction. Looking for and finding are two very different things.

But -- and I don't think this is going to be answered by the documents we're going to see today -- but how solid was DOJ if they said, hey, judge, we have information there may be nuclear-related documents in there? Was that based on an informant? Was it based on something else?

And the big questions -- and Greg was talking about this -- what changed? What caused DOJ to say OK, enough with the negotiation, enough with the padlocks, enough with the subpoenas? We're going in there. We're kicking in the door -- not literally. We're going in there on a search warrant, which is --

BERMAN: The most definitely didn't kick in the door.

HONIG: Right, exactly. But we're going in there on a search warrant, which is really the most invasive way to get this information.

Something changed. Was it this, when did they know it, and why did they leave the documents there as long as they did?

KEILAR: What caused them to go in politely, wearing plain clothes --


KEILAR: -- and seize these --

HONIG: Not even their windbreakers.

KEILAR: -- seize these 12 boxes of documents?

You think that the documents are going to be released?

EHRIE: I think so. I think there's no choice now because, again, the public interest is so high. Both sides have acknowledged they understand. How can we not release it at this point? So I'm very anxious to see at 3:02 what happens today.

BERMAN: Anyone --

KEILAR: Anyone --

BERMAN: Yes, I was going to say --

KEILAR: -- different point of view on that?

SCANNELL: No. I mean, the argument here is about privacy.


SCANNELL: And because the former president made this public himself on Monday -- it wasn't DOJ. He came out. He said it. I think that undercuts his argument. I mean, it will ultimately be up to the judge.

BERMAN: All right. We're going to see. The clock is ticking -- 7:38 now -- 3:00 p.m. is coming pretty quickly.

Thank you all so much for being with us.

We are going to speak to Sen. Tim Kaine, from Virginia, about these developments very shortly.

KEILAR: Plus, officials say the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine has reached a, quote, "grave hour." We'll talk about what the concern is this morning.



BERMAN: New information this morning on the search warrant executed at former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resident. The Washington Post is reporting that some of the documents the FBI were searching for related to nuclear weapons, as well as signals intelligence, which are intercepted digital communications at the highest level.

Joining us now is Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia. Senator, thank you so much for being with us this morning.

Your reaction to the news overnight?

SEN. TIM KAINE, (D-VA): Absolutely, John.

BERMAN: The Washington Post says that the FBI was seeking classified documents relating to nuclear weapons. Now, we don't know if they got any. We don't know why they thought that. But how serious would the existence of such documents be?

KAINE: John, it couldn't be more serious. As you say, we don't know what they got. But it's pretty clear that they had information, likely from some source, that documents at Mar-a-Lago dealt with the most sensitive national security matters that the U.S. must guard very, very jealously. I'm on the Armed Services Committee and the Foreign Relations

Committee and there's nothing more classified than materials related to the U.S. nuclear program.

BERMAN: And as you said, you are on the Armed Services Committee. You can help explain to our audience this doesn't necessarily mean it has to be nuclear codes, but any information about --


BERMAN: -- nuclear weapons, American or otherwise.

KAINE: Right, exactly. We have -- we have intelligence about our own capacities that we wouldn't want to share with adversaries. We also have our own assessments of adversaries' capacities that we would not want to be public.


This could be very, very damaging in the wrong hands. Somebody could try to make money by selling this kind of information.

I mean, it's -- you know, again, this is the opening stages of an investigation and we have a criminal system in this country where everybody's presumed innocent until proven guilty. So, search warrants, and gathering documents, and investigations, and even indictments aren't the same as a -- as a conviction, but it shows the level of seriousness with which the FBI has to treat this matter.

BERMAN: Today happens to be the fifth anniversary of Charlottesville in your state. And I'm mentioning that because today, a man is dead -- killed in Ohio after he tried to enter the FBI field office there. There are some signs that maybe he was inspired by or responding to some of the political rhetoric that is out there or his concerns in line with some of the political rhetoric out there.

Just reflect on this moment.

KAINE: Well, John, it's a tragic moment. Three people lost their lives that day -- Heather Heyer, and then two Virginia state troopers -- troopers Bates and Cullen, one of whom I knew because he was part of the detail that I would sometimes travel with when I was governor of Virginia.

And I think the attack that day was inspired by right-wing extremism, neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, people chanting anti-Semitic slogans, terrorizing students who were in their first Friday at UVA -- first- year students. And they were in the services at the -- at the Hillel center.

It was a -- it was a horrible day and it made me question many assumptions I've had about this country. That violence and President Trump's reaction to cavalierly dismiss it -- it made me question a lot of assumptions I've had about this country.

And there's a direct line between the Charlottesville attack, the attack on the Capitol, January 6, 2021, and then some of the violent rhetoric that you've seen used in -- just in recent days follow the -- following the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, and including this tragic instance yesterday in Cincinnati.

BERMAN: And some of the reaction from your Republican colleagues to the search at Mar-a-Lago -- some floating the notion evidence was planted.

How do you think that factors into this?

KAINE: I'm just shocked at my colleagues. You know, the governor of Virginia went after the Department of Justice and said this is the same Department of Justice that labeled Loudoun school parents domestic terrorists. There's not a shred of evidence for that proposition.

Attacking the FBI for a political investigation. The FBI director is a Donald Trump appointee, Christopher Wray. This is not a Biden appointee, it's a Donald Trump appointee.

I lived in a military dictatorship in Honduras earlier in my life and I know what it's like to live in a society where prosecutors and people trying to hold public officials to account get attacked and even have their lives put in jeopardy. I never thought that would be the case in the United States of America.

But this kind of rhetoric by some of my Republican colleagues challenging the investigation, challenging normal legal processes -- it's the kind of thing you'd see in a third world country, not in a country that respects the rule of law. And I find that very, very difficult.

BERMAN: So, Sen. Kaine, we've been trying to talk to you because I read in Politico this week that you've been dealing with long COVID for two years.

KAINE: I have, John, since --

BERMAN: Go ahead.

KAINE: I'm sorry.

BERMAN: No, I'm just -- I mean, how are you feeling? What has it been like for you? And just, in general, how do you think we as a country have been approaching this issue of long COVID?

KAINE: John, just quickly, my personal experience, but my personal experience is minor compared to many others who are really suffering. I'm dealing with mild symptoms but they're very noticeable.

I got COVID in March of 2020. We were passing the CARES Act in the opening days of COVID and the Capitol was kind of empty, but there was already community spread.

I got an unusual set of symptoms that weren't the normal COVID symptoms at the time. Then I gave COVID to my wife. One more thing for a husband to feel guilty about. But within a couple of weeks, our cases were mild and we were doing fine.

But one symptom that kicked in with me was nerve tingling. Like, every nerve ending is dipped in an Alka-Seltzer. That started in late March of 2020 and it's never gone away. I can work, I can exercise, I can sleep. If I wake up in the middle of the night it's a little bit harder to go back to sleep than it used to be.

But this gives me an appreciation for people who are still dealing with symptoms much more serious -- racing heart rate, intense fatigue, brain fog and confusion, and other pulmonary issues. There's a whole set of symptoms connected to long COVID.


And the estimates are that about 15 percent of people who've had COVID will end up with lingering symptoms, and that's going to be a huge issue for our health care system, for people's ability to work and just enjoy life.

And so, I decided to talk about my own experience because many people are not believed when they share their symptoms and I wanted to let folks know hey, I believe you. Thank God my symptoms are mild, but I believe you. And we need to research and find causes but more especially, find cures and treatments.

BERMAN: Well, Sen. Kaine, we glad -- we're glad that you're well enough to be with us today. We wish you the best. And we're glad you're speaking out about this because a lot of people I think are not being believed here. Nice to see you this morning.

KAINE: They feel -- they feel a stigma. It's great to be with you, John. Thanks so much.

So, this morning, we have some sad news. The family of Anne Heche giving a grave update on her condition.



KEILAR: An Ohio firefighter going beyond the call. After wrapping up a 24-hour shift at his day job, he sprang into action while playing semi-pro basketball and became a hero on the court, too.

CNN's Alex Field has more.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Myles Copeland is exactly the kind of teammate you want. His semi-pro basketball team wins the game, but he makes the lifesaving play. When referee John Sculli collapses, the player doesn't miss a beat.

MYLES COPELAND, TOLEDO FIREFIGHTER: It was kind of a shock because I've never seen anyone fall or and just collapse like that. FIELD (voice-over): Copeland immediately starts giving CPR and never gives up, continuing compressions for 14 minutes until an ambulance arrives.

COPELAND: I was keeping hoping until the last second. It was honestly kind of divine. Like, everything aligned perfectly. The fact that I was there. The fact that I was able to respond so quick. And I kind of just felt something take over my body.

FIELD (voice-over): It might have been his training kicking in. He's used to answering the call of duty as a firefighter with the Toledo Fire Department. At the last minute, he switched shifts to make it to the playoff game earlier this summer.

JOHN SCULLI, REFEREE: Obviously, if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be here.

FIELD (voice-over): It was an unbelievably lucky break for Sculli who beat some incredible odds because of the assist.

FIELD (on camera): You had a major heart attack. The changes of surviving something like this --

SCULLI: One percent. Without a doubt and without him, I don't survive this -- no question.

FIELD (voice-over): Following a successful quadruple bypass surgery, Sculli is spending some time with his fiance, slowing down and recovering, but says he'll be back on the court refing games again soon.

A few days ago, he headed back to the gymnasium where it all happened to meet Myles again.

COPELAND: So we just gave a big hug to each other. So we didn't even say much. We just -- we just had to hug it out.

SCULLI: We just hugged and I was tearful and told him that I -- that he's my hero.

FIELD (voice-over): Perhaps Sculli was a bit overwhelmed, but he was very much back on his feet. His only regret, missing the game's final buzzer.

SCULLI: I woke up and my eyes fluttered. According to Myles, he said that I said to him "Let's go, we've got to finish this game."

FIELD (on camera): What?

SCULLI: Yes, yes, yes.

FIELD (voice-over): That this referee and this player crossed paths at a game in Jamestown, New York was just the luck of the draw that day or exactly as fate would have it for the father of five who got a second chance and a friend for life.

FIELD (on camera): You'll stay connected?

SCULLI: Oh, yes.

COPELAND: There's no describing the feeling that we feel.

SCULLI: I've told you this on the phone -- I love you already.

COPELAND: I love you, too -- yes. We're all family at the end of the day.

FIELD (voice-over): Copeland says after reviewing the tape, he was just doing his job that day.

FIELD (on camera): What did you think watching it?

COPELAND: I kind of -- kind of critiqued myself. I thought I did a good job. I definitely could have reacted a little bit -- a little bit faster but --

FIELD (on camera): We thought you were quick.

COPELAND: -- I thought I was quick enough. Most of the time it doesn't turn out for the best.

FIELD (voice-over): But this was an all-star moment for a man making a life and a career out of helping others.

COPELAND: So I started paramedic school in January to further advance my career and hopefully, be able to do more interventions to save more lives.

FIELD: Alexandra Field, CNN, Toledo, Ohio.


KEILAR: You were quick enough, Myles -- quick enough.

BERMAN: I know. It's so nice he wants to do even more.


BERMAN: So, some sad news this morning. A grim prognosis for Anne Heche. The family of the actress now says they do not expect her to survive her injuries. Heche has been in a Los Angeles hospital since a fiery car crash into a home last week.

CNN's Chloe Melas here with the new details -- Chloe.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Good morning. Yes, it's incredibly sad.

A representative for Anne Heche released a statement to CNN late last night and this is part of what they're saying to me -- to us. "Unfortunately, due to her accident, Anne Heche suffered a severe anoxic brain injury and remains in a coma, in critical condition. She is not expected to survive." They go on to say that they are keeping her alive with a ventilator, which machines, to look and see which organs are viable to be donated because it was her wish to be an organ donor. So, we are tracking this as it's continuing.

Something else, though, I want to point out is that yesterday we learned that the LAPD upgraded the investigation from a misdemeanor DUI to a felony DUI after the results of her blood draw on Friday. So, that is also a development that we are monitoring.