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President Biden Gives Speech Stating American Democracy Under Threat from MAGA Republicans; Judge's Decision Imminent on Mar-a-Lago docs "Special Master"; Jackson: "Significant Gains" Overnight on Restoring Water; NASA says no Guarantee Artemis I will Launch Tomorrow. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired September 02, 2022 - 08:00   ET



PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: -- America Airlines protested across the country Thursday, insisting cancelations are the carriers' own creation, and passengers are caught in the middle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We understand that frustration because we live it every day.


MUNTEAN (on camera): Travel site Hopper expects about 12 million people to fly this weekend. The top destinations, John, beach spots like South Carolina and Hawaii. But along with the frustrations of flying right now, they're going up, and so are ticket prices, up 25 percent compared to this time last year. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So you pay more, and like it less. Pete Muntean, thank you very much this morning.

NEW DAY continues right now.

The message was unmistakable, democracy is under assault and Donald Trump and his allies are the ones doing the assaulting. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar, and those were the words from President Biden, taking direct aim at what he calls MAGA extremism. Biden says it is threatening the soul of the nation and fanning the flames of political violence.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Flanked by marines in the shadow of Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the primetime speech was more than a warning. It was a call to action for voters to make their voices heard in the midterm elections. It may have sounded political, but the White House this morning insists it was, quote, entirely about democracy. Here are some highlights.


JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I stand here tonight, equality and democracy are under assault. We do ourselves no favor to pretend otherwise. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic. They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.

MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards, backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love.

Not every Republican, not even a majority of Republicans are MAGA Republicans. But there's no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.

History tells us that blind loyalty to a single leader and a willingness to engage in political violence is fatal to democracy. I will not let the will of the American people be overturned by wild conspiracy series and baseless, evidence free claims of fraud. I will not stand by and watch elections in this country stolen by people who simply refuse to accept that they lost.

Democracy cannot survive when one side believes there are only two outcomes to an election -- either they win, or they were cheated. And that's where the MAGA Republicans are today.

I believe America's at an inflection point, one of those moments that determine the shape of everything that is to come after, and now America must choose to move forward or to move backwards.


KEILAR: Joining us now to react to President Biden's speech is Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Sir, thank you so much for being with us this morning. I just wonder, as you heard the president there talking about MAGA Republicans, MAGA extremism, do you think that he described it correctly?

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON, (R) ARKANSAS: Well, I think it was a political speech. It was a divisive speech. And that's not presidential. And I've said repeatedly that we should not be dwelling upon the last election. We need to be looking at the future and solving problems. And here the president comes out, and he simply talks about the last election and the divisiveness and attacks a segment of America, and that's not unifying.

In his speech, he said we should look at each other as Americans and not enemies, and yet he singled out a segment of Americans and said basically they're our enemy. I don't think it was a presidential speech. I don't think it will be well received. It was divisive. And that's very troubling to me whenever you aren't addressing the serious issues from border security to inflation that he's responsible for and needs to provide answers for.

KEILAR: Are you worried about the future of democracy, or do you think they are not threats to it?

[08:05:02] HUTCHINSON: I believe we're a resilient people. And of course, we've got issues in the Republican Party that we've got to resolve and work through. That's what elections are about. But I remember back in the time when Jimmy Carter was president, and he gave what they called the "malaise speech." He never mentioned that word, but he talked about the crisis of confidence in America.

Well, he was derided for that speech, it became known as the malaise speech. I think this speech of President Biden will have a similar impact. It's going to be derided over time as the threat speech, as the divisive speech, and that's not a good look for America. I have a lot of confidence in where we're going and that we can overcome the challenges that we see today, but we need optimistic leaders that dwell upon the future and present answers and problem-solving, and not the past.

KEILAR: You say there are things as a party that you need to work through. How do you do that when you have a large fraction of your party believing in those lies about the election, that thing of the past that you say you don't want to focus on, but that is also defining the future and potentially another Donald Trump run that seems very likely?

HUTCHINSON: Well, the Republican Party has a lot of different aspects to it. We've always had, you know, Tea Party Republicans. We've had free enterprise Republicans. We've got different categories. And a leader has to bring all of those together. And so that disparate group of Republicans still has to be unified, and it takes leadership.

And so, when you're looking at election denying and things like that, or the last election, let's just speak the truth, let's speak it consistently, and let's address problems, and keep our focus on the problems that we see on the other side, which is President Biden and his leadership, and the direction of the leftwing of the Democratic Party.

And so that is what we have to focus on. And I just think whenever you look at the president of the United States, he needs to take a step above that. If he wants to make a political speech, OK, go out on the campaign trail. But if you want to make a presidential speech, let's unify our country more than divide it as we saw last night.

KEILAR: Former President Trump is, of course, flirting with this idea of running for president again, really giving everyone the impression that it's a when, not and if. Just yesterday, hours before his speech, he said he's considering full pardons for January 6th rioters if he's elected. He also said that he's helping some of them financially. What is your reaction to that?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I'm not in the President Trump's bandwagon. I'm not on his team for reelection. Now, I do think it is important to bring all of his supporters together. But of course, you should not be talking about the last election and the issues of that, and just like the President Biden should not be talking about that. And so we've got to move away from that. My response is to the president, let's talk about the issues of today

and the future. America is a great country. We can unify ourselves, but we don't need the debates over what happened in 2020. And so that's my response to it. I think time is going to tell. And such a --

KEILAR: Can I ask you, governor, who in your -- who in your party does that? Sorry to interrupt you. We just have limited time, and this is so important. Who in your party is the person to do that, to focus on the future, when the prevailing voice is the former president's, and that's not what he's focusing on with Republicans?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I think you look at governors, first of all. Whenever you see Governor Doug Ducey from Arizona that speaks the truth, and you look at Governor Brian Kemp in Georgia, who won a great reelection in the primary contest. These are leaders that speak the truth, and they win. And so, time will tell as to who arises. I hope I'm in the conversation on it as well.

But it's key that we understand that the Republican Party is a diverse party. Obviously, President Trump has a very magnified voice, but there's a lot of other voices. Let's see how this works out over time. Again, what I started to say, this is a distraction what is happening in Mar-a-Lago. It is a serious issue, but this is playing into President Trump's hands whenever he is able to control the dialogue as to what's happening and becomes a victim.


We've got to put that behind us as a country, solve a problem. Let's protect our national interests, but this has got to end in a shorter period of time and not drag out. It's not helpful for our nation.

KEILAR: Governor Hutchinson, it's always great to have you. Thank you so much for being with us.

HUTCHINSON: Thank you. Good to be with you.

BERMAN: So we are waiting for a federal judge to announce her decision on whether to grant former President Trump's request for a special master. That would be an independent third-party attorney to review documents taken during the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago. In court, Trump's legal team argued that the appointment would help re-instill trust in the investigation, and also reportedly compared the legal fight to a fight over an overdue library book. Obviously, classified documents are not akin to an overdue library book.

Joining us new, CNN correspondent Kara Scannell, she was in the courtroom for the arguments yesterday, and Katie Cherkasky, a former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney. Kara, first to you, and I want to look forward if we can to what we can expect maybe as soon as today. The judge said that she will release a more detailed list of the items that were taken from Mar-a-Lago. Remind us what the first list said and what more we might expect today.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Right, so that first list said that there were 11 sets of classified documents. Those are the ones that were marked secret and top secret. And there were also 20 boxes as well as photographs. We saw in that photo that the Justice Department made public, the photograph for the "Time" magazine covers, they have a number of photographs and handwritten notes.

In court yesterday, the judge said that the Justice Department has a more detailed inventory list that they submitted to her under seal. She ordered them to turn that over to Trump's team and said that she would unseal that and make that public. And she asked both sides about that. DOJ said they weren't objecting because they suggested it didn't give us that much more information. It's not going to be super detailed, so they didn't have any concerns it would harm their investigation by making it public. So that's one thing we're waiting on the docket for, possibly as soon as today.

BERMAN: Intriguing, but maybe temper expectations based on that language there.

Katie Cherkasky, sorry, I stumbled on it when I first introduced you. This judge has said she is inclined to appoint a special master. That much we have been told. The question now, though, is if and when she does, how exactly will it work? There are so many questions in this case. Generally speaking a special master is to segregate items taken, maybe from the search of a lawyer's office, to segregate items that are under attorney-client privilege here. But how would this work beyond that in this case?

KATIE CHERKASKY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, you're right. Typically, you would appoint a special master to ensure that there is no privileged information, typically attorney-client privileged information that was taken from a search, and also to ensure that everything taken was within the scope of the warrant, because obviously any warrant that is executed needs to be within the scope of what actually was included there.

So in this case, I'm not sure that ultimately this will get to the big question of if a former president can retain these documents, because that's, I think, what Trump's legal team is suggesting, that there is some sort of executive privileged determination. I really don't think that the special master can do that. But it will be an outside party. I think that they want some transparency on Trump's side from somebody outside of DOJ to have a part of looking at what was taken from the residence.

BERMAN: All right, the judge yesterday, though, said on the issue of executive privilege, there may not be settled law on some of these questions, right?

SCANNELL: Right. Just to build on Katie's point, the judge even asked Trump's teams yesterday, what do you want this special master to do? It has been three weeks. And Trump's team said, well, we want her to separate the presidential from the personal. And then they segued into this issue of executive privilege. The judge saying there, well, OK, I'm not sure the law is settled on whether a former president can still claim executive privilege once he leaves office. And that's where she asked DOJ several times, well, what's the harm in doing this? BERMAN: And the question that I then have, and this is where you

really do get into the phrase I used, this is a legal twilight zone here, say the special master is appointed, say a special master does weigh in and say, OK, these documents are covered by executive privilege. So what in this case? And I don't mean to be glib here, but so what? Because that doesn't get to the heart of what the search warrant was about and the investigation is about, which is whether the documents were there. Whether they're privileged or not doesn't get to the issue of whether they were there. Whether they're privileged or not doesn't get to the issue of whether they were classified or not.

CHERKASKY: I think that's exactly right. I don't think a special master is ever going to be able to give us those answers because, really, this is a very fundamental constitutional question when you get down to it. If a president is in office, obviously they do have this plenary authority to declassify and do things of this sort. Now, the question here is Trump's legal team has spoken out of every side of their mouth about some of these were classified, they refer to them as classified, now suddenly he says they're all declassified. So those questions are not something a special master is going to be able to determine by reviewing documents. I think that really it is just about having somebody outside DOJ, like I said, come in.


I don't think there is going to be any final answers on those very significant legal questions.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST, NEW DAY: And Kara, you have read so many rulings. This role you both have from judges over the years. So this judge, if he does grant a special master in the ruling, will she spout exactly how it's going to work?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, when I've covered these other special masters in the Michael Cohen case and the Giuliani case, the judge does set parameters of what the scope of this special masters' work is going to be. In fact, in Giuliani, the judge narrowed it, you know, they'd collected 28 years of his records.

And the judge said, no, we're going to put borders on this. And we're going to, you know; set up the framework for do it. But a lot of power is given to the special master to run into how that works, because it is supposed to be independent, even from the judge.

You know, they can appeal to the judge if there can be appeals to the judge if they disagree, but the special master is the one that draws the line in the sand.

BERMAN: So we're not only waiting for the ruling very much the language of it and how it's laid out? Kara Scannell and Katie Cherkasky thank you so much for being with us this morning.

CNN is live in Jackson, Mississippi, as officials say significant gains had been made to restore water to residents.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST, NEW DAY: And Serena and Venus Williams defeated in round one of the US Open doubles, but Serena isn't finished yet. And why NASA officials say there's "No guarantee of the Artemis I rocket lifting off tomorrow".


KEILAR: This morning authorities in Jackson, Mississippi are making significant gains in restoring water pressure in the city but some challenges still remain. For five days people have been forced to wait in long lines for bottled water just so they can drink cook or brush their teeth. CNN's Ryan Young is live for us in Jackson inside of a bakery that's been affected by the water issues there.


KEILAR: Ryan, tell us what you're seeing.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Look, this has been a tough few days we've been here watching people in the heat waiting in lines to try to get water. We saw that improve yesterday when the National Guard stepped in with the Brasserie Bakery, though.

They've had to been closed for several days, they do everything in here fresh. We wanted to show you what the preparations like because obviously they need water to make this place be able to run. And you can see all the jugs of water they have just in case, they're going through so much every single day.

This is Katie Leach; she is one of the Managers here. Look, how difficult has this been trying to deal with a situation where you need these have the business open?

KATIE LEACH, BROAD STREET BAKING COMPANY & CAFE, SERVICE MANAGER: Well, you know, a boil water notice is not something that we are unfamiliar with. We go through these a lot, but trying to find water some of our vendors, the demand is so high that some of them run out. But we got there about 60 gallons of water a day just on coffee and tea.

YOUNG: And that's just the front and all the breads and stuff are cooked every day.

LEACH: Yes sir.

YOUNG: So we'll take you back here Brianna, we wanted to show you this. The entire staff was happy to come back. Now let Katie go in front of me. But the idea here is a lot of people have not been able to work for the last few days because of this key. How tough has it been to deal with not knowing when to tell your workers to come in?

LEACH: It's been kind of a roller coaster. We've been dealing with it the best way we know how but due to our outstanding leadership of owners. They always do the right thing and make sure that their employees as well as customers are taken care of.

YOUNG: What's the tough part because people obviously have questions now whether or not they can trust the food in Jackson? I see all the water here. What do you want to tell people about how you're preparing the food on a day to day basis?

LEACH: We go through these big five gallon jugs of water. We really don't use boiled water for anything but food that has been boiled like grits or boiled and stuff like that.

YOUNG: Fantastic. Thank you so much. So Brianna you can see this what an impact it has especially with people who are not sure when they can get a paycheck again, some people still paying their water bills when you add this up as an added cost to small businesses that are already reeling from the effects of COVID this place to open.

They were people waiting outside when they opened the door to them because they couldn't wait to get some of these baked goods. You can understand I wish you could smell what this place smells like right now.

KEILAR: Yes, you have a good assignment there today but their margins are so thin. They don't need this to also be paid for bottled water it just cuts into it into their bottom line there. Ryan thank you so much for showing us what they're going through. We appreciate it.

Chilling video a loaded gun coming just within inches of the Vice President of Argentina's face, the details on this failed assassination attempt next.

BERMAN: What new studies are revealing about Ultra processed food and your health risk.



BERMAN: Time now for "Five things to know for your new day" tens of millions of Americans under heat alerts this holiday weekend as fires also continue in Southern California. Multiple western cities from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and Phoenix will feel 100 plus degree temperatures over Labor Day the hottest forecast and Death Valley up to 125 degrees.

KEILAR: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has now signed off on the updated Coronavirus Vaccine boosters from Pfizer and Moderna. And that means the shots can now be administered which may start as soon as this weekend.

BERMAN: NASA is gearing up to launch its Artemis I moon mission tomorrow but there's still no guarantee liftoff will happen. Officials say they have identified the issues that caused Monday's attempted launch to be scrubbed but they're now comfortable taking some risks.

KEILAR: And studies are finding that eating Ultra processed foods like ready to eat meals and American classics like hot dogs, French fries, soda and even ice cream are linked to cancer and early death why? They are high in added sugars and salt low and dietary fiber and full of chemical additives.

BERMAN: Thundering ovation for Sisters Venus and Serena Williams as they left Arthur Ashe Stadium after they were knocked out in the first round of US Open Doubles. It may not be over just yet for Serena Williams. She will be back for round three of singles play tonight.

KEILAR: Cannot wait for that. Those are "Five things to know for your new day" more on these stories all day on CNN and and don't forget to download the five things podcast every morning.

BERMAN: I will say any study that highlights hot dogs and ice cream is bad of concern to me specifically. So caught on live TV the moment Argentina's Vice President narrowly escaped being shot at point blank range watch this.

So the gun was loaded the trigger pulled but no bullets fired. And she's amazingly unhurt. I want to bring in Stefano Pozzebon with this story. What exactly happened here?

STEPHANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John what we understand and we know these because the Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez gave a nation address shortly after that attack took place was that the suspect is 35 year old the Brazilian National pulled the trigger pointing the gun, just a handful of inches from Christina Fernandez the cuteness face. But for a technical reason that the Vice President of Argentina said a technical reason.