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Pillow Salesman And Trump Ally Mike Lindell: FBI Seized My Phone; Tom Brady Hints At Possibly Retiring Again; Ken Starr, Independent Counsel Who Pursued Clinton, Dies. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired September 14, 2022 - 05:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The House Select January 6 Committee meeting in person on Tuesday as it debates whether to request testimony from former President Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence. Committee chairman Bennie Thompson tells CNN they're learning more about the deleted Secret Service text messages around the Capitol attack.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): You know, we've gotten significant information in the last week --


THOMPSON: -- from the Secret Service -- right.


THOMPSON: And we're still getting it.


KEILAR: Thompson also says the committee will try to release an interim report on their findings in November ahead of the midterm elections. Then, a final report at the end of the year. The committee is scheduled to meet again on Friday.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, My Pillow guy and Trump ally Mike Lindell says the FBI served him with a grand jury subpoena for the contents of his phone as part of an investigation into a Colorado election security breach.



MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MY PILLOW: Cars pulled up in front of us, to the side of us, and behind us. And I said those are either bad guys or the FBI. Well, it turns out they were the FBI. Yes -- I said can you get me in the January 6 corruption? I said I

volunteered to go there. And they go, Mike, this is like -- we're talking about Colorado. And he goes we're taking your cell phone. We have a warrant for your cell phone.

I go no. I said my whole company -- I run five companies off that. I don't have a computer. My hearing aids run off this. Everything runs off my phone.

I said -- and then I said if I don't give it to you will you arrest me then?


BERMAN: All right, with me now is state attorney for Palm Beach County, Florida, Dave Aronberg.

All right, counselor -- so, Mike Lindell had a subpoena issued and his phone taken as part of an investigation that's facing Colorado. It's a federal investigation in Colorado but it seems to be separate from everything else going on in Washington.

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: Yes, and he was picked up, apparently, at a Hardee's drive-thru, which provides further evidence that fast food may not be good for you.

But what happened is that to get a search warrant you've got to have probable cause that a crime occurred and that evidence of the crime is on his phone. So it's really bad for him.

And this whole story is bizarre because it involves him being in cahoots, allegedly, with a surfer turned QAnon election conspiracy theorist who then faked his identity to steal an election (INAUDIBLE). I mean, you can't make this stuff up.

BERMAN: And the timing of this? What do you make of it?

ARONBERG: Well, it all came about 60 days before the midterm elections. That's the quiet period for the Department of Justice. That's when they turn down the volume of an investigation because they don't want to be perceived as being political or influencing an election. So there's a reason why you had this DOJ subpoena blitzkrieg last week.

BERMAN: Because they wanted to all get it in before the 60 days. And I'll get to that blitzkrieg, as you say, in just a moment.

But just one more thing -- and I think people often wonder this when a phone is taken by the FBI. So, whatever happened on January 6 and around January 6 happened almost two years ago now -- 18 months ago now. Why would the FBI investigators think that there's still information on the phone? Wouldn't Mike Lindell, if he knew that he was under the spotlight, start deleting stuff months ago?

ARONBERG: Yes, but they've got really good computer experts and they can get those deleted text messages back in some cases. Also, it depends on the scope of the search warrant to see how broadly they can examine the phone because no one wants their phone taken. There's a lot of bad stuff that could be found on someone's phone and once the FBI gets it, it could be a free for all. But it depends on the scope of the search warrant.

BERMAN: So, Mike Lindell still is in a lot of trouble here. I mean, my advice to him would be to use some of his My Pillow money to hire a good criminal defense lawyer.

BERMAN: All right. Now, the dozens and dozens of subpoenas that appear to have gone out just in the last week to people within the Trump orbit as part of the January 6 investigation -- there appear to be two, sort of, concurrent investigations there -- one into the fake elector scheme; another into some of the funding -- fundraising for the Save America PAC. It's pretty broad. These subpoenas are pretty broad and there are a couple of different ways of looking at that. What do you see?

ARONBERG: Yes, it is broad, but I think you're on to something here. The two main areas I would look at as a prosecutor -- fake elector scheme and the financial crimes related to the Save America PAC.

When it comes to fake elector scheme, all you have to show is that Donald Trump or others knew that these electors were, indeed, illegitimate and that their names were being sent to governmental bodies. If you can prove that, then you can charge under conspiracy to defraud the United States or obstruction of an official proceeding.

And when it comes to the Save America PAC, that's an alleged financial crime -- money diverted elsewhere, like what Steve Bannon allegedly did with his We Build the Wall charity. And that is something that prosecutors salivate over because those are paper trails. And whenever you have a paper trail, that's good for our side -- prosecutors -- because people lie but documents don't.

BERMAN: The New York Times has an interesting take on this flurry of subpoenas. They say the Mar-a-Lago search issue -- that seems to be a very focused finite area. Whereas, if you're looking at January 6, this number of subpoenas -- yes, it means the DOJ is taking this very seriously and pursuing a lot of avenues, but it also shows that they're still casting about some. That they may not be laser-focused on any one thing and therefore, the ties posit (ph) maybe not close to any kind of decision on charges.

ARONBERG: Right, and that's because there are many layers between Donald Trump and the rioters on that day. It's got a lot of people between him and the people who committed violence. And to charge Trump relating to January 6, you really need to tie him to that violence.

That's different than the document matter when he is tied directly to those classified documents. I mean, his passports -- all of his personal items are found intermingled with that.

So on one end, you have the January 6 investigation, which is really important, involving the attempted overthrow of our democracy. But you -- it's hard to tie Trump directly to that as of yet. Whereas, on the other side, the documents, which may not seem as important right now -- you can tie Trump directly to it.


BERMAN: Dave Aronberg, fast-food maligner. Despite that, we're glad to have you here with us this morning. Thank you very much.

ARONBERG: Thank you.

BERMAN: An FBI agent in tears on the stand. Testimony at the Sandy Hook trial for Alex Jones.

KEILAR: And Tom Brady's presence on the field is undeniable, but his wife, Gisele Bundchen says he needs to be more present at home.


KEILAR: The NBA has suspended and fined Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver after an investigation into workplace misconduct.

Andy Scholes has more in the Bleacher Report. Hi, Andy.


So, yes, the NBA has suspended Robert Sarver for a full year and fined him the maximum of $10 million. And this comes after the league commissioned an independent investigation into allegations made in an ESPN report that Sarver used racist and sexist remarks repeatedly during his 18 years owning the Sun.


Now, during the investigation, 320 current and former employees who worked for Sarver were interviewed. The 43-page report says Sarver used the n-word at least five times when recounting the statements of others, used demeaning language toward female employees, and engaged in inappropriate physical conduct towards male employees.

Now, Sarver issued a statement saying in part, "While I disagree with some of the particulars of the NBA's report, I would like to apologize for my words and actions that offended our employees. I take full responsibility for what I have done."

All right, the Las Vegas Aces, meanwhile, are now one win away from their first WNBA title. MVP A'ja Wilson leading the way with 26 points and 10 rebounds in the 85-71 win over the Connecticut Suns. The Aces will have a chance to sweep the finals in game three on Thursday night.

All right, to baseball. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge getting closer to his history last night. He hit not one but two home runs against the Red Sox. That brings his total to 57, inching him even closer to Roger Maris' American League record of 61. Judge now has 20 games left to try to hit five home runs.

The Yankees beat the Red Sox 7-6 in 10 innings last night.

All right, and finally, Tom Brady continuing to hint at retirement after this season in his latest podcast.


TOM BRADY, QUARTERBACK, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: I haven't had a Christmas in 23 years. I haven't had a Thanksgiving in 23 years. I haven't celebrated birthdays with people that I care about that are born from August to late January. And I think there comes a point in your life where you say you know what, I've had my fill -- it's enough -- and time to go on and move into other parts of life.


SCHOLES: Now, Brady's wife Gisele, meanwhile, with some interesting quotes in an interview with Elle magazine. And one of them -- she said, quote, "I've done my part, which is to be there for Tom. I moved to Boston, and I focused on creating a cocoon and a loving environment for my children to grow up in and to be there supporting him and his dreams." She went on to say, "I feel very fulfilled in that way, as a mother and as a wife, and now it's going to be my turn."

And guys, lots of people wondering these days how Tom and Gisele are doing.

KEILAR: Yes. I don't know. I mean, listen, he's amazing and there's only one Tom Brady, but there's only one guy who can be the husband to Gisele Bundchen --


KEILAR: -- and the father to his kids. So it's a choice he has to make, right, and she seems to be spelling it out there in not too veiled of terms.


BERMAN: Well, look, it seems as if she's already where Tom Brady says he will be at the end of this season. She is already ready for him to be celebrating birthdays from the months of August to January and to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And look, they've been very open about their marriage for years. It's been, I think, a wonderful marriage for both of them. But they've also talked how they've had to work through things before. So this is another period where, clearly, they seem to be working through something.

SCHOLES: Yes, and it certainly had to be tough, you know? Tom Brady did fully retire and I'm sure Gisele, in her mind, fully moved on to retirement -- Tom Brady -- only for him to walk that back and come back for another season.


SCHOLES: So, you know, we'll see.

BERMAN: It's one thing for us to be surprised by a decision. It's another thing for his wife to be surprised by that decision. Maybe not so good.

KEILAR: Yes, maybe not.

All right, Andy. Thank you so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

KEILAR: Thousands of mourners in London awaiting the ceremonial procession of Queen Elizabeth's casket, so what to expect. We're live in London.

Also this.





BERMAN: An FBI agent holding back tears at the defamation trial against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. More of this testimony, next.



BERMAN: Court resumes this morning in Connecticut in the defamation trial for Alex Jones. The judge there already decided Jones is liable for damages for the pain he inflicted by making false claims that the Sandy Hook massacre was fake. That means the jury will now only be deciding how much Jones will have to pay.

The first person to take the stand was an FBI agent who was among the first to respond to the shooting.


MATTEI: Is what you saw in that school fake?

ALDENBERG: No, no -- no, sir.

MATTEI: Was it synthetic?

ALDENBERG: No, sir. No, sir.

MATTEI: Did you see any actors that day, Bill?

ALDENBERG: No, sir -- no.

MATTEI: Were those children real?

ALDENBERG: It's awful. It's awful. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Just wrenching stuff from an FBI agent.

With me now is Oliver Darcy, CNN senior media reporter. And this was already so emotional.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes. This was a very hard day of trial to watch and it was only the first day of trial. This trial is expected to last four or five weeks, John, so you can imagine we're probably going to be seeing similar witness testimony over those weeks.

That was an FBI agent testifying -- responded to the Sandy Hook shooting -- yesterday. Also in the opening day, a sister of a Sandy Hook teacher who lost her life during that shooting also testified. And she talked about how, at times, when people asked if she was related to this teacher she wasn't sure how to respond because of this hateful lie that had been pushed by Jones.



CARLEE SOTO-PARISI, SISTER OF SANDY HOOK VICTIM VICKY SOTO: For the most part, when somebody said are you -- are you related to Vicki, I would be overjoyed to say yes because she died a hero and I was proud of her. But there have been times where I said no because I didn't know -- I didn't know were you on my side or do you think I'm an actor. Do you think this is all made up?


DARCY: Really, just hard to watch.

And to give context to viewers, during this testimony, as you can imagine, this courtroom was filled with tears. People were crying. Even a member of the jury did shed a tear, as well as reporters in the room because it was just very hard to watch.

Earlier in the day during opening statements, the plaintiff's attorney asked the jury to send a message to the public with their decision on how much Jones will have to pay by saying that this was not a lie -- this was very real. And the plaintiffs are arguing that these claims are -- sorry, the defense is arguing these claims are exaggerated.

BERMAN: Oliver Darcy, I know you're watching this very closely. Please keep us posted over the next several days. Thank you.

DARCY: Thanks, John.

KEILAR: Former U.S. Solicitor General Kenneth Starr, best known for his dogged pursuit of President Bill Clinton during a series of political scandals in the '90s, has died.

CNN's Joe Johns looks back at the independent counsel and driving force behind an investigation that almost brought down a presidency.


JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kenneth Starr was voted most likely to succeed at his Texas high school and his ambition led him to become the youngest-ever judge on a U.S. Court of Appeals in 1983.

When George H.W. Bush was elected, he made Starr his solicitor general, arguing hot-button cases before the Supreme Court. Less than a year into the job, Starr formally asked the Supreme Court on behalf of the White House to overturn its ruling in Roe v. Wade, guaranteeing the right to get an abortion.

He was even considered, for a time, as a shortlist candidate for the Supreme Court bench.

KENNETH STARR, FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: The future will take care of itself. My job is to work as hard as I can and do the best possible job I can.

JOHNS (voice-over): But Starr would not become a household name until 1994 when he was appointed to replace Robert Fiske in an ever- expanding investigation into President Bill Clinton.

What started as an inquiry into the Whitewater real estate development grew to include other allegations. Clinton was accused of covering up an affair with a White House intern while he faced a sexual harassment suit from former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones.

STARR: We have got to do our job. The job has to be done thoroughly and carefully, and professionally.

JOHNS (voice-over): Starr supervised an unprecedented deposition of the president at the White House, where Clinton admitted his affair with Monica Lewinsky to a grand jury and then to the public.

BILL CLINTON, THEN-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate.

JOHNS (voice-over): Answering criticism from Democrats, Starr said his investigation was not about the president's sex life but about whether Clinton lied in his testimony about Lewinsky and obstructed justice in the Jones case.

STARR: The evidence suggests that the president repeatedly tried to thwart the legal process in the Jones matter and in the grand jury investigation. That is not a private matter.

JONES (voice-over): The Starr report led to only the second impeachment of a president in U.S. history.

CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM H. REHNQUIST: Is the respondent, William Jefferson Clinton, guilty or not guilty?

JONES (voice-over): In the end, Clinton was not convicted and Starr did not find evidence of wrongdoing in Whitewater or the other parts of the investigation. But the former president never let up his anger against Starr.

CLINTON: Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon.

JOHNS (voice-over): After leaving the special counsel's office, Starr entered higher education, eventually becoming the president of Baylor University. Starr found himself in controversy when Baylor officials were accused of ignoring sexual assault by student-athletes. Starr insisted he didn't know about it despite being e-mailed by one of the accusers.

STARR: The president of the university gets lots of e-mails. I don't even see a lot of the e-mails that come into the office of the president.

JOHNS (voice-over): Ultimately, Starr was not implicated but he was ousted from the school's presidency.

In 2020, Starr returned to the limelight of presidential impeachment, but this time from the opposite side, arguing that President Donald Trump should not be convicted of allegations of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.


STARR: The Senate is being called to sit as the high court of impeachment all too frequently.

JOHNS (voice-over): Ken Starr spent much of the last decades of his career as a lightning rod for criticism from Democrats but always insisted he was not driven by ideology. Not motivated by how people would think of his actions in the future.

STARR: Impeachment is a nonstarter. Don't go there. Don't go there. It's a disaster for the country.