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New Day

Bannon to Surrender in New Criminal Indictment Over Scheme; Washington Post Reports, File on Mystery Nation's Nuke Capabilities Found at Mar-a-Lago; Judge Cites 14th Amendment to Ban Rioter from Holding Office. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired September 07, 2022 - 07:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Are you saying he's dying?

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I don't know. When I go on vacation grow a beard, it's like -- I look like Gandalf. And he has this like wonderful brown beard. I want to know what he's doing.

KEILAR: You do have a lumberjack look about you. But I also like the beard. I think maybe it should come out sometime on T.V. here.

BERMAN: All right. New Day continues right now.

I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar on this New Day. Why would a former president keep nuclear secrets at his Florida beach resort? The new reporting ahead.

KEILAR: And Trump ally Steve Bannon expected to surrender to New York prosecutors, why a presidential pardon may not save him this time.

BERMAN: And the first day of school canceled for more than 50,000 students in Seattle as teachers there go on strike.

KEILAR: And Britain's new prime minister about to face her first questioning from parliament. We will go there live.

BERMAN: New charges against Steve Bannon this morning, welcome to viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Longtime Trump adviser and ally Steve Bannon expected to surrender to prosecutors in New York Thursday to face state charges related to his fundraising effort to build a wall along the southern border.

Bannon allegedly defrauded donors who contributed to a We Build the Wall campaign. The crowd-funded border wall raised more than $25 million. According to prosecutors, Bannon falsely told donors that all the money contributed would go toward the construction effort.

KEILAR: Bannon in a statement calls the indictment phony charges and a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system. Federal prosecutors charged Bannon with the same alleged crime in 2020 but President Trump pardoned Bannon as he was leaving office. Presidential pardons do not apply to state investigations, of course. CNN's Kara Scannell is joining us now with the details. Kara, what's the latest here?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, John and Brianna. As these are mounting legal problems for Steve Bannon, sources tell me that he will surrender tomorrow to face new New York State charges related to that crowd fundraising effort to build a wall along the southern U.S. Border.

Now, these state charges are very similar to the conduct that Bannon was charged by federal prosecutors in 2020. Then prosecutors say that Bannon and his co-conspirators defrauded donors to this crowd fundraising effort called We Build the Wall, they raised more than $25 million but prosecutors say they diverted more than $1 million of that fundraising effort into their -- to use for their own personal expenses.

Now, Bannon was pardoned by former President Donald Trump just as he was leaving office and presidential pardons do not apply to state investigations. That's within the Manhattan District Attorney's Office launched their investigation into Bannon's activities. They brought some of his closest allies in before a grand jury in June.

CNN reported Bannon is now set to face these charges and an indictment where he will surrender on Thursday.

Bannon has called the charges phony. He also in a statement said that this is nothing more than a partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system. These new state charges come just two months after Bannon was convicted in Washington, D.C. on federal charges of contempt of Congress for failing to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating January 6th. John and Brianna?

KEILAR: All right. Kara, thank you for that reporting.

BERMAN: So, major development this morning in the investigation into the documents marked classified taken from Mar-a-Lago. The Washington Post reports that, quote, a document describing a foreign government's military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month. That's according to people familiar with the matter.

With us now is David Priess, former CIA officer and author of the President's Book of Secrets, the Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America's Presidents.

David, when we are talking about nuclear secrets involving another country, how sensitive is that information?

DAVID PRIESS, FORMER CIA OFFICER: That's about as sensitive as it gets, John. We are not talking about the kind of classified material that there can be a reasonable debate over whether it should have been classified in the first place or whether it's classified at the right level. We can have that conversation later about documents related to, let's say, you know, foreign government's comments about an upcoming trade deal.

That's not what we are talking about here. We are talking about life and death material for other countries, their national defenses, and presumably here a country that has nuclear weapons or is developing nuclear weapons as part of that defense.

This is some of the most sensitive information that the U.S. intelligence community collects on and, therefore, the fact that it is out there and was for 18 months being stored at an unsecured country club, means that countries with those defenses can start taking countermeasures against intelligence collection and the United States government will know less about the military situation out there in the world, including nuclear secrets, which inherently then makes us less secure because we have less information about these very important weapons.


KEILAR: There's usually, David, a point person on special access information where they know what's gone out and they're making sure that it's come back in. So, how did this information get out and not come back in and would you expect that some sort of point person would have realized, hey, we're missing some information here?

PRIESS: You would expect that, and that's the kind of thing that a robust Department of Justice investigation would be getting at if we did not have a judge who has stalled it. And it is absolutely shocking to me at this point that when we now have reporting that some of these documents contain nuclear secrets that you have a stalled investigation, that we are not actively trying to find that out right now while other issues are going on involving a special master.

Traditionally, these special access compartments, the SAPs, as they are abbreviated, these are signed agreements that people have, you know how many people are in them, you know when those documents move and have new people added to the compartment or dropped from the compartment. It makes it much easier to do an investigation if you are allowed to do that investigation.

The rules might be different for the president, however, because we don't know how paper moved in the White House, whether it moved in the way that it traditionally does in an administration or whether people, like the staff secretary, the executive secretary, the National Security Council followed traditional rules for tracking paper. That's all information that should be part of the investigation and we hope very soon it is.

BERMAN: When you are talking about secrets involving a country's nuclear capabilities, David, how much does it matter whether it's friend or foe?

PRIESS: It matters in one sense, which is, obviously, the U.S. military is going to be much more concerned about the nuclear arsenal, the nuclear readiness, the scope of the nuclear program of a potential enemy. So, if it's an ally, that's not of as much concern. But it's still important because in terms of the overall military balance, in terms of the overall strategic picture, the United States needs to understand the whole chess board, not just the pieces on the other side, if you will. So, the nuclear secrets about every country are of interest to the United States to help keep national security and protect national security interests.

In this case the way it's described we can't tell what it's about, and that's okay. I don't think we need to know more specifically what it's about at this point. What we need to do is figure out who else saw this information and possibly what did they do with it during those 18 months.

KEILAR: You mentioned that special master, this third party that is supposed to go through these documents. Is there a risk in having a special master looking at something as sensitive as this?

PRIESS: Both parties agreed that they wanted the special master to be someone with a top secret SCI clearance, which would allow them access to this kind of material. Now, we will see what the two parties agree to and propose to the judge. We will see what the judge agrees to. There are many, many people who have top secret SCI clearances. It's not just a handful. And there are many, many people who have experience in the judiciary with privilege cases.

The overlap between those two, however, is quite small. There are people who will be qualified for this but you are really limiting who can do this in addition to who is available to do it even if they have both tickets punched.

It will be hard to find the right special master, but in theory, if this does go forward, they should be able to find someone who can do this and the question will just have to be, which specialized compartments, which of these SAPs do they need to be read into to even look at these classified documents, which inherently are not subject to executive privilege or attorney/client privilege. We can just put that aside, but the special master in theory would look at all of them and would need to be read into some of these very tightly held compartments.

BERMAN: David, in the DOJ filing it made last week, one of the things it said in its filing was that they had retrieved documents that even its own agents did not have clearance to look at. They had a hard time finding people who could look at some of the documents that they obtained. Does that filing now with this reporting, does that overlap in a way that makes sense to you?

PRIESS: It does make sense. It's also not entirely clear from the reporting, John, that the special access programs were limited to this document or these documents specifically related to the other country's nuclear programs. They it's written, it looks like it's referring to another body of documents or a wider body of documents that are these SAPs.

[07:10:04] If so, it's not that hard to read someone into a SAP and certainly someone investigating these not too hard to quickly get them to sign the piece of paper acknowledging that they're being read into a sensitive program and that they understand the conditions of looking at it. So, I don't think it's that difficult to add it.

They obviously don't want to. Some of these documents are limited to dozens of people, not hundreds or thousands, but just dozens. They don't want to read more people in than they have to. But if it's an FBI agent conducting the search and seizure, not hard, if it's a special master investigating the case, no too hard to read someone into these specialized compartments.

BERMAN: All right, important context there. David Priess, always great to speak with you.

PRIESS: Thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right. We're going to get reaction from Mark Esper, former defense secretary during the Trump administration, ahead.

KEILAR: This morning, the Texas Department of Public Safety referring five of its officers to the state inspector general's office for a formal investigation into their actions during the Uvalde school massacre. Two of the officers are now suspended with pay and the agency says it's revising its training for mass shootings in the wake of the deadliest school shooting in Texas history.

This is the Uvalde school district police's new photos of children returning for the first day of school yesterday. The district has invited ten teams of comfort dogs with the goal of simply being there for students, teachers and staff for the next three weeks.

This morning, water pressure has been restored in Jackson, Mississippi but 150,000 residents remain without clean running water. The city is still under a boil water advisory and samples have to go through two more rounds of testing to be cleared for safe drinking.

CNN's Sara Sidner is joining us now live from Jackson. They were under this boil water advisory before the failure of the water system entirely. They've sort of gotten used to this, but this is not life as it should be, Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely correct, Brianna. The residents here in Jackson, we have talked to several of them, and they basically say this is an insult to the people who live in this capital city. The capital of Mississippi does not have clean drinking water coming out of their taps, water that they pay for both with their money from their checks but also with their tax dollars to make sure that the infrastructure is protected and is taken care of.

Here is the thing here. Just yesterday was the first time kids were able to go back to school because the water pressure was so low or not at all that they actually could not go to school. Now they've got that water back. And we're able to talk to a parent and a child, a six- year-old little boy named Charles Wilson. And I asked him, well, are you drinking the water out of the fountain, and he said this to me and it broke my heart. He says, well, if I drink it, I will die. A six- year-old is worried about dying from water coming out of the taps in his school because the government failed to take care of its water infrastructure.

And this is a problem these residents say that they have been dealing with not for a couple of weeks, not just because of this flood, but for years. They've been dealing on and off with boil water orders, on and off with water coming out of their taps that looks muddy and murky, on and off with their water not coming out of their taps. This is not a new issue. It's just that it's become an emergency because of the flooding. Brianna?

KEILAR: Yes, it's ridiculous. Sara, thank you so much for being there and sharing this with us.

BERMAN: So, new this morning, a CDC study shows nearly one in four young adults are receiving mental health treatment in the wake of the pandemic.

CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Tara Narula joins us. Tara is a cardiologist and practicing physician here in New York. It is your first day here at CNN. We welcome you. We are so excited to have you here. Great to see you.

DR. TARA NARULA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you so much. And actually this is full circle. My very first time on television was on New Day many, many years ago. So, it's nice to be back home.

BERMAN: Well, welcome back, I should say.

NARULA: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, Doctor, tell me about this study.

NARULA: Yes. So, this was a study put out by the CDC that basically looked at the percentage of American adults who received mental health treatment during those pandemic years of 2019 to 2021. And they found a couple of interesting things. For all American adults, the percentage who received treatment went up. But, really, the significant increase was seen in that population between 18 and 44. Those were actually the individuals who were least likely to receive are treatment in 2019 and the most likely to receive it in 2021. There was an increase of 5 about percent.

They also noticed other trends, that there was an increase no matter what you were in the country, metropolitan areas, large, medium, small in size or rural areas, there were racial differences. So, non- Hispanic whites were the most likely to receive mental health treatment and also gender differences.


So, women really outpaced men every year, almost by 10 percentage points in terms of the amount who received mental health treatment. So, that by 2021, we are talking about 29 percent of American women in that -- receiving mental health treatment versus about 19 percent of men.

BERMAN: There are a couple ways you can look at this. I mean, one of them is that there are more young Americans facing mental health challenges, the other way is, well, it's more young Americans recognizing the mental health challenges and seeking help. Is there any way to distinguish the two or where they meet?

NARULA: Yes. I think it's really both, right? And so it's reassuring that we're seeing this increase, but the bottom line, John, is we're not nearly where we need to be in terms of getting treatment to those who really need it in this country. Those numbers should really be much, much higher.

When you think about the collective trauma that we have been through in this country in the last several years, there was already mental issues before. And now add to it the pandemic, which challenged us in every way, economically, our health, our relationships. And we're going to be seeing the ripple effects for years to come.

And so I think the real takeaway, there are a couple things. First of all, we talk a lot about physical health and the importance of that. We can see tumors, we can see blocked arteries. With mental health, it's invisible. And so for many people, they don't think it's as important. The pain and suffering and the damage is just as profound and needs to be tackled in the same way.

Number two, we really need to take a preventive approach, the same way that we screen for things like colon cancer, when we get our mammograms. We should be doing mental health checks and really catching people and treating them before the crisis situation.

And then mental health affects our physical health. So, I'm a cardiologist. I see patients in my office all the time with cardiac issues. And a lot of our visits are spent talking about their mental well being because it impacts their cardiovascular health.

BERMAN: I mean, it makes total sense, and we're being pushed in ways the last couple years we've never ever been pushed before.

Dr. Tara Narula, it's great to see you here. Welcome back to New Day. I look forward to seeing you again very soon.

NARULA: Great to be here. Thanks.

BERMAN: So, for the first time in more than a century, an elected official is removed from office because of participation in an insurrection. Why this could have major implications for those involved in the attack on the Capitol.

And Mehmet Oz won't say if he would support Mitch McConnell as majority leader. Will that help or hurt him in his Senate race?

KEILAR: The new British prime minister, Liz Truss, making history by who she does not have in her cabinet. We're live in London, ahead.


BERMAN: A New Mexico judge has removed a county official from his elected position citing the 14th Amendment for his involvement in the January 6th insurrection. Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin is now the first elected official in more than a century to be removed under the constitutional ban on insurrectionists holding office.

This is what the 14th Amendment Section 3 says, quote, no person shall be a senator or representative in Congress or elector of president or vice president or hold any civil -- any office, civil or military, under the United States or under any state who having previously taken an oath as a member of Congress or as an officer of the United States or as a member of any state legislature or of executive or judicial officer of any state to support the Constitution of the United States shall have engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the same or given aid and comfort to the enemies thereof.

Earlier this year, Griffin, who is also the founder of Cowboys for Trump, was convicted of trespassing when he breached the barricades outside the U.S. Capitol and sentenced to 14 days behind bars with time served.

Here now CNN, Senior Political Analyst John Avlon and CNN Political Commentator, Host of PBS Firing Line Margaret Hoover. Thank you both for being with us.



BERMAN: I read the whole thing because people need to see the language. They need to know how clearly it is written there. Now, John Avlon, if people have been watching New Day --

HOOVER: Which they have.

BERMAN: -- fans of New Day know that this is something you've been talking about for a long time.

AVLON: Yes. I have been railing on about 14th Amendment Section 3 in the face of some of our esteemed legal analysts telling me there's no way it's going to come into the conversation. Look, my point comes from a book about Lincoln and the civil war generation and the fact that this is in the Constitution. The civil war generation gave us tools to deal with insurrection. And when they passed this it was clearly about future insurrections, not just past.

And so this is a very big deal. This lawsuit brought by crew is a very big deal for a couple reasons. First of all, it shows that the 14th Amendment Section 3 can be applied in court. Second of all, the judge clearly says that January 6 was an insurrection and that the founders and framers and the people who wrote this amendment would recognize it as such. And it applies to this individual who had taken an oath to uphold the Constitution in his state court. So, this is a first step, I'm sure it will be challenged, but, again, these tools were given to us by posterity for a reason. And so it's good to see them being treated as something -- a tool in our civic toolbox and not something dusty on a shelf.

BERMAN: What I didn't know was that the 14th Amendment Section 3 fixation was a family thing. I mean, some families talk about carpooling, and you guys talk about --

HOOVER: Who said it first on television?

BERMAN: Actually, I can play the moment here. You talked to Adam Kinzinger about this very thing. Let's listen.


HOOVER: Would you be supportive of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment?

REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): 100 percent. If somebody thought they were giving somebody a tour that ended up being beneficial to them committing the insurrection, that's one thing. If somebody knew what the outcome comes to intention, they don't deserve to be a member of Congress. Not just because they violated the section of the Constitution but because you have an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. You have an obligation to uphold your oath.



HOOVER: Adam Kinzinger said that at a time long before any of us had watched the hours of testimony in the January 6th committee hearing, and now we know that there are members of Congress who had knowledge, prior knowledge, advanced knowledge, and we will learn more in the fall about what Andy Biggs, Representative Andy Biggs from Arizona knew, what Representative Paul Gosar knew, what Representative Mo Brooks knew and whether they aided and abetted the individuals who participated in the insurrection.

What this case demonstrates is that there is a modern application for Section 3 of the 14th Amendment and might that -- might that be a precedent and a tool that judges and the Justice Department can use?

BERMAN: There are two things, right? There are two things that matter there. One is you have to define it as an insurrection. A judge has to define it legally as an insurrection. Number two, you have got to prove that that person participated or aided or abetted.

HOOVER: So, I read the 49 pages of the court's judgment so you didn't have to, and actually that judgment goes to great ends.

BERMAN: I'm sure it was a bedtime story.

AVLON: She already found it very soothing after 12 pages. HOOVER: They fell asleep immediately. It works every time. And that's what this court case actually did. It defined insurrection. It uses -- expert witness testimony, historians, legal scholars to define and then prove that this was an insurrection, this individual participated in the insurrection and, therefore, this Section 3 of the 14th Amendment must apply to him.

AVLON: Look, we should say that this is going to likely wind its way through courts, higher courts, and this is not to get over your skis and say that this will apply to specific individuals as you rise up this sort of constitutional food chain, but it is an incredibly important first step to showing that this provision in the U.S. Constitution is alive and well and has applicability to what we're dealing with today.

BERMAN: All right. Since we played Adam Kinzinger, I want to use that as a segue to talk about the story in The Washington Post today, which said that within the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago, there were documents that involved nuclear information about another country. Adam Kinzinger, if we can put the tweet up on the screen so people can see it so I can read it on off the screen here. He said, defend this, GOP leader.

And the reason that I wanted to talk about this angle of it is, again, the politics of this and if there were these documents at Mar-a-Lago, if The Post reporting is on, that such a thing was there, what is a political defense of the presence of such things?

HOOVER: Well, John, what's so strike to me as somebody who has lamented the course and the direction of the Republican Party is how quickly the party of law and order was to jump on the bandwagon of accusing the FBI and accusing the Department of Justice of acting improperly in this raid of Mar-a-Lago. Every single senior Republican leader condemned the Justice Department and defended Donald Trump.

How do they defend what now appears to be -- not just -- not just the theft of federal material, but highly sensitive, so highly sensitive that senior members of the Pentagon, some of them, don't even know about these programs? You can't defend that.

AVLON: And what's the possible innocent explanation? Now, there is a lot of information we don't have and there's a lot of information we may not get, but it's hard to imagine if this does involve, according to The Washington Post reporting, information on foreign powers' nuclear programs, what's the innocent explanation for that ending up at a hotel, the private residence of a former president where these documents were definitionally not secure? What's the innocent explanation? In the absence of that, you know, what might we learn about his intent?

It's all -- it just shows the danger of reflexively defending Donald Trump, which Republicans seem to keep falling into that particular trap.

BERMAN: All right. John Avlon, Margaret Hoover, thanks so much for joining us this morning and talking about what we talk about at the dinner table apparently, the 14th Amendment, some of the more favorite amendments in the Constitution.

AVLON: It's arguably my favorite.

HOOVER: One of the best sections.

BERMAN: All right. Thank you so much.

So, the United Kingdom's new prime minister, Liz Truss, facing questions in parliament for the first time. This is always fun. We are live in London.

KEILAR: Shootings and homicides in New York City are down, but overall crime is up. So, what's the solution to America's crime epidemic? A reality check, next.