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New Day Saturday
At Least 16 People Killed In Catastrophic Flooding In Kentucky; DOJ Ready For Court Fight To Force Ex-Officials To Testify About Trump; U.S. GDP Drops 0.9 Percent In Second Quarter Of 2022; 9/11 Survivors Protest LIV Golf Tournament In New Jersey. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired July 30, 2022 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Buenos dias. Good morning. This Saturday, July 30th. Welcome to your new day. I'm Boris Sanchez.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Sara Sidner.
SANCHEZ: Sara, great to be with you as always.
We begin this morning in Kentucky the scene of catastrophic flooding, where at least 16 people are dead including six children and authorities warn the death toll is almost certain to rise.
SIDNER: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear says because cell service is out in many areas, it's hard to assess the exact number of the missing or deceased. Rushing waters ripped homes off their foundations and wiped out roads across parts of eastern Kentucky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY STACY, DIRECTOR, PERRY COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: It's hard to put into words this -- the amount of devastation that we've seen, you know you you're talking about some really, really good people here in eastern Kentucky. You know, don't have a whole lot and a lot of mills have lost everything they've got.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: You can hear a just sorrow in his voice. The fast rising floodwaters forced many people to evacuate, but the storms ended up catching a lot of people by surprise because they happened in the middle of the night.
SANCHEZ: Yes. And we are learning some really heartbreaking stories like this one and Knotts County for kids killed when they and their parents were forced to climb onto their roof to escape the rising water. Neighbors see the parents tried to hold on to the kids but the young ones were swept away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a house there and this trailer with this family of six. And it just washed him away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: CNN's Joe Johns joins us live now from Hazard, Kentucky. You can see some of the damage behind him. Joe, tell us what the latest is.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, just let me give you an idea of Sara, where I am, and what we're seeing. This is what's left of an antique store. And as you can see sort of the bottom was ripped out of this building. It's Dexter's General Store been here, and just about 50 years in Hazard, Kentucky. And that's just the beginning of it.
Let's walk up the bank here. And I'll show you a little bit more what appears to be the remnants of a house. This is very typical of what we've been seeing throughout Eastern Kentucky. And as you look this way, you'll see there's the foundation right there. So, around 1:00, 2:00 in the morning, a woman was inside the house, which was sitting right here, she felt that house moving. And she was able to get out, the water picks up the house, and essentially, demolishes it, leaving the debris down both sides of the bank. Very typical of what we're seeing in eastern Kentucky.
Now big picture, the authorities say of course, that woman is one of the lucky ones. And they still don't know the full extent of this tragedy here in eastern Kentucky. What they do know is they have to go through the nooks and crannies and down all the waterways to try to get a feel for the number of people who are missing, the number of people who are dead. And there are real challenges to that because authorities say number one, there are so many remote places. Number two is a real breakdown in infrastructure, gas, electricity, telephone cut off in some places. Just over the past few hours, we learned something like 17,000 people are still out of power that makes it very hard for first responders to try to make contact with people to find out about their welfare. Back to you.
SIDNER: Joe Johns those that store there, you know, people don't realize in some of this places like that's a really important place for people to gather and get things and for that to be gone and then you look at the houses. It's really is devastating. Thank you so much for your reporting Joe.
Joining me now is Zach Caudill, whose home was damaged by the flooding. Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Let me first check in with you, how are you coping this morning?
ZACH CAUDILL, KENTUCKY FLOOD VICTIM: Good morning. Did a lot better this morning, versus what we've seen in the past few days. Now, we're really starting to see the full breadth of the devastation as the waters just starting to recede some.
SIDNER: Where are you now and how is your house?
CAUDILL: Yes, I'm currently in my kitchen right now. We've had several people that have been coming and going, staying in our house. We're one of the last places with internet power and running water here in eastern Kentucky.
SIDNER: Sounds like your house has become sort of a community gathering point. You know, you're going through this, you're seeing the devastation your neighborhood, you, yourself are experiencing some of the damage from these floods. And yet, you did something for your neighbors, you reached out. Tell me what are some of the things that you did to help other people while you're also going through this?
CAUDILL: Yes, so our family kayaks, we gave those to people to get their families out of their homes. People were on jet skis, boats, just trying to rescue whoever they could. I took all of the medical supplies, food and water that I had my home and went and donated it. A friend now both walks about five to six miles total, just to get to a local community center in order to make sure that everyone was OK, try to contact their families and give them food and water.
SIDNER: Zach, can you give me a sense of what this was like? I know that a lot of this flooding started overnight, people were just not expecting it. Can you describe to me what it was like for you and your family and for your neighbors?
CAUDILL: For me personally, it was very scary. My family has been in Florida for the past week. So, to wake up on my own, scared that my house may be one of the ones that would be flooded, was very scary. I didn't know what was going on. And so people were beating on my door at about 6:00 a.m. And then to walk outside my entire community be falling apart. It was -- it still is devastating to me.
CAUDILL: And how are your neighbors, and how have some of those houses fare? I saw some pictures that you took where the water is all the way up to the roof.
CAUDILL: Yes, some people, some of my neighbors have lost entire homes. There was a landslide right in front of my house that took out an entire house. So it's not just the folding, but it's the entire environment around us has been affected by this. Roads are completely torn up. People are getting around on four wheelers and side by sides. There's still jet skis parked on my on Main Street from when the waters were half (ph).
SIDNER: Can you tell me what you need right now for people who see this and they feel helpless? And for, you know, the government, there's not a lot of people have the ability to talk to us and to talk to others because cellphones towers are out. Can you tell me what you need?
CAUDILL: Yes, so we've relocated everyone to our local high school. And we have had the Red Cross come in. We've had National Guard, we've had various organizations that so many people are displaced, that we're already so low on supplies, we've ran out of water. We're in need of baby supplies, we're in need of animal supplies probably displace the animals. And we're in need of cleaning supplies as well. It's just we're getting we're getting these supplies out faster than we can get them in. And water is the big thing right now.
SIDNER: So water, animal supplies, baby supplies. You know, a lot of people forget about the animals when this happens. But they're part of the family. And so, I know that will resonate with a lot of people.
Zach Caudill, I just want to thank you for being such a decent human being and helping out your neighbors while you're going through this as well. You're a great example to all of us. I appreciate your time today.
SIDNER: This has been called a 1,000-year flood. Later this hour, we'll tell you why.
SANCHEZ: And the Justice Department preparing for a legal fight with former Trump White House officials as it looks to compel several members of Trump's inner circle to testify about the former President's actions and conversations surrounding January 6. One major point of interest is the 25th Amendment. We're learning the committee is seeking testimony from Cabinet members who discussed the possibility of removing former President Trump from office.
SIDNER: Key witnesses include former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and former DNI John Ratcliffe, but at issue are claims of executive privilege that prosecutors expect the former president to make in order to shield some information from the federal grand jury as the criminal investigation deepens.
CNN's Ryan Nobles has more details for us.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Department of Justice is inching closer and closer to former President Donald Trump. New CNN reporting reveals the prosecutors are girding for big fight over executive privilege. To force witnesses to testify about the role Trump may have played in the events leading up to January 6.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When courts have considered this separation of powers issues in the context of criminal cases, they haven't really looked favorably toward the White House and the presidency. Now the biggest and the most obvious one is the United States versus Nixon.
NOBLES (voice-over): Trump himself is not considered to be a target yet, but the list of Trump officials who have already cooperated with the select committee and are now cooperating with the DOJ is growing. It comes as the select committee has begun the process of handing over transcripts from their interviews to federal investigators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have indicated they want to have access to a certain number of transcripts, and we've negotiated back and forth, and the Committee sees a way to make that available to them.
NOBLES (voice-over): The committee has also stepped up their outreach and engagement with cabinet officials. Former Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney met with the committee Thursday, and said investigators are very interested in the players pushing false claims of election fraud and their access to the White House.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That sort of inner circle of people that have been described by others as the crazies, how did they get the access that they did when they did.
NOBLES (voice-over): Among the other Cabinet officials they've spoken to former DHS Secretary Chad Wolf. Washington Post reporting that text messages from both Wolf and his deputy, Ken Cuccinelli, were lost from their government issued electronic devices. In a tweet thread in response to the story, Wolf said he handed over his phone intact when he resigned after January 6.
Meanwhile, the House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who Cassidy Hutchinson and said was among the Republican leaders who pleaded for Trump to call his supporters off, claimed he doesn't remember calling her.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: If I talked to her. I don't remember it. If it was coming up here, I don't think I wanted a lot of people coming up to the Capitol. But I don't remember the conversation.
NOBLES: And Boris and Sara, we're learning more about the timeline of when the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security first learned that these text messages may have been deleted, and it's much earlier than when he informed Congress. In fact, we're told Joseph Cuffari, a new and was informed of the fact that these text messages could be gone as early as May of 2021. That's more than a year before he informed the congressional oversight committees that were interested in this information and also the January 6 Select Committee.
I spoke on Friday with Jamie Raskin, a member of the committee, he told me that he is very suspicious about the way these texts were deleted, and he believes the committee needs to know more about why they were deleted. And if it is possible to retrieve these messages in any way, shape, or form. Boris and Sara.
SIDNER: Our thanks to Ryan Nobles --
SANCHEZ: Ryan nobles.
SIDNER: -- there.
SIDNER: Last hour I spoke with former federal prosecutor and defense attorney Shan Wu, about the chance of the DOJ being able to win the battle over executive privilege.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHAN WU, FMR FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I think it's a very good chance they will win that battle. The precedent is on their side starting with the landmark case of Nixon's proceeding back in Watergate when the Supreme Court specifically said that a generalized assertion of executive privilege is going to fail as compared to a particularized need in a criminal case. And that's what the situation would be facing them here.
I think also the issue on executive privilege, is really, it's really a question of delay that that's the big problem for the Justice Department. I think that Garland is uniquely suited to lead the department on the legal battle. He's a former Federal Court of Appeals judge, but it's going to take time and the other side's going to try to run out the clock. They'll go district court, court of appeals, and then Supreme Court. And I think they would win DOJ should win in the Supreme Court. But it's not going to be quite the slam dunk that it was during the Nixon era either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: We should note that courts generally have viewed executive privilege claims to be more easily cleared away in criminal investigations compared to what we have now a congressional probe.
Hey, you got to make sure you check those Mega Millions tickets. We're still waiting to see if anybody won that monstrous $1.28 billion jackpot from last night. The Mega Millions website still lists the next drawing prize as pending and a spokeswoman tells CNN the draw team is still waiting for results from several of its jurisdictions.
If you've been trying to check your lottery ticket, you've been having trouble, you're not alone. The website has been crashing ever since Friday night, when the drawing was done at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. Everybody's trying to figure out if they're a billionaire. Could there still be a chance maybe for you to win. Check out the numbers there 13 36 45 57 67, the Powerball number 14.
Lucky person if they wake up a billionaire. Clearly Sara and I did not, which is why we're with you this morning.
SIDNER: I haven't check my tickets.
SANCHEZ: Yes, well.
SIDNER: I chat.
SANCHEZ: Hey, if you're the winner, we should, we should hang out more often Sara, you and I.
SIDNER: True. Drinks on me. SANCHEZ: So, the Pentagon says it has a contingency plan just in case House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to stop by Taiwan during her visit to Asia. Just ahead, we're going to tell you how China might react to Pelosi's travel plans.
SIDNER: And there is a new wrinkle in the proposed prisoner swap between the United States and Russia. Moscow now wants a convicted killer thrown into that deal.
SIDNER: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is off on a trip to Asia, the big question is whether that trip will include a visit to Taiwan. Uncertainty over the potential visit is heightening tensions between the United States and China.
SANCHEZ: If Pelosi does visit Taiwan, China has vowed to take what it calls resolute and forceful measures and response.
CNN correspondent Blake Essig is live for us from Tokyo. Blake, give us an update on this potential visit. There's a lot at stake here.
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, Boris Sara, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi is planning to visit Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia on her trip to Asia. But will she visit the self governing island of Taiwan? We probably aren't going to know for sure until it happens. Or it doesn't either way. The prospect of her visit alone has infuriated China. And it has also put the White House in a tough position with U.S.-China relations already at a low point.
Now, this was the backdrop for the more than two-hour phone call on Thursday between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Now during that call, she said that China firmly opposes Taiwan independence in a war in the U.S. saying that those that play with fire will perish by it. Well, President Biden reiterated that the U.S. is one China policy that acknowledges Taiwan being a part of China hadn't changed and that the U.S. strongly opposes any unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
If the trip does happen, it would be the highest level U.S. visit to visit the island in the past 25 years. To this point, officials and lawmakers in both the United States and China have weighed in on the Speaker of the House visiting Taiwan. But that hasn't been the case. In Taiwan experts say Taiwanese authorities are likely keeping a low profile to avoid the perception that Taipei is encouraging the speaker's visit, which could provoke Beijing.
Now as for the people living in Taiwan, a general lack of concern has to do with the fact that Beijing has not amassed troops, or issued any new strong warnings against the island. It's important to remember that Taiwan has been living under the constant threat of China for more than seven decades. But some people in Taiwan just don't think Beijing will do anything as a result of Pelosi ease visit. Boris, Sara.
SIDNER: Can you give me a sense of what may happen if Nancy Pelosi does decide to go to Taiwan? What would the plans be to keep her -- to have her be safe? I mean, what kind of apparatus would be going with her?
ESSIG: Well, Sara, with Pelosi's trip to Taiwan still uncertain earlier this week. The Pentagon said that it's developing a security plan involving ships and aircraft in the region to keep Pelosi safe. Experts tell CNN that a military operation to get Pelosi to Taiwan would likely include ships or land based assets with high powered radars to provide a protective bubble around her airplane that could warn of any potential threats. Although senior U.S. Military officials say that no military assets have moved towards Taiwan. The U.S. does currently have an aircraft carrier and its strike group in the South China Sea as part of a routine operation with fighters in reconnaissance aircraft on board. Boris, Sara.
SIDNER: Blake Essig, thank you so much. Joining us there from Tokyo.
SANCHEZ: Blake, thank you.
Keeping our focus overseas, CNN has learned a new details about a possible prisoner swap to get to detained Americans out of Russia. Sources say that Russian government officials have requested that a spy convicted of murder be included in the proposed swap.
SIDNER: Now the original deal being floated would exchange a notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout four Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. The State Department says both are wrongfully detained.
CNN White House correspondent Natasha Bertrand joins us now live. Natasha, what more do we know about this new request by Russia at one point, you know, we understood the Viktor Bout was the person that we would get to people back to the United States. Now they're asking for more. Yes?
NATASHA BERTRAND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Sara. So a surprising request by Russian government officials in response to the U.S. proposal to trade Viktor Bout for these two Americans Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner. Apparently what happened was the Russians after receiving this research proposal by the United States, they responded via informal channels by via back channels that they wanted this former FSB Colonel Vadim Krasikov who was convicted of murder in Germany last year.
Now, the U.S. saw this is very problematic for a number of reasons. The first being that Krasikov is currently in German custody. They also did not necessarily view this as a serious formal proposal by the Russians because as I said this was presented to the Americans kind of through an informal FSB back channel. Now of course the FSB is the domestic security service in Russia.
So, the U.S. did not see this necessarily as a serious legitimate counter proposal. However, they did reach out we are told to the Germans to see whether they might be willing to include Krasikov in the swap, because of course, he is not in U.S. custody. So the United States would have had to try to convince the Germans if they wanted to move forward to release him from the life sentence that he is currently serving in a German prison.
However, we are told that these conversations were never really elevated to the senior levels of the German government and the Germans are not seriously considering releasing this guy, because of how massive a case this was in Germany in 2019, when that murder in broad daylight in Berlin, was carried out by this former FSB Colonel Vadim Krasikov
Now, the United States now is saying that they never viewed this as particularly serious, as I said, but John Kirby, the National Security Council spokesperson did speak to this last night, saying that this is not a serious kind of proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KIRBY, SPOKESPERSON, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: Holding two American citizens hostage in exchange for an assassin, a third party country is not a serious counteroffer, Jim. It's a bad faith attempt to avoid a very serious offering proposal that the United States has put forward. And we urge Russia to take that offer seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERTRAND: So despite reaching out to the Germans to see if this might be feasible, U.S. officials now saying this was probably just an effort by Russia to buy time to stall until Brittney Griner's trial is over. Boris, Sara.
SIDNER: Yes --
SANCHEZ: Natasha Betrand, thank you so much.
SIDNER: And Boris, I think we should also mention like Griner has been in jail for five months, and Whelan has been there since 2018 for four years. It's been a really, really difficult time for these families and for the two of them.
SANCHEZ: Of course (INAUDIBLE).
SIDNER: All right.
SANCHEZ: So there's a big question among economists and they're kind of going head to head with the White House here. Are we or are we not in a recession? Some say yes, the Biden team says no. Up next, we're going to break down the latest economic reports to see if they shed any light on the issue.
[08:31:28] SANCHEZ: After it appeared that Biden's domestic agenda was mired and couldn't go anywhere, secret negotiations helped to revive the President's plan for the United States and it's turning out to be a highly productive time in Congress for pushing forward several key bills.
This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin announced the deal on energy and health care putting Democrats in a position to pass the largest climate investment in U.S. history through reconciliation.
SIDNER: CNN White House Reporter Jasmine Wright joins us live now. Jasmine, can you take us through the President's legislative accomplishments because this has been a long road?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Sara, it has been a long road. And look, the White House needed a shift of energy and this week, that is exactly what they found now. And the first of the winds category for the President here is that Chips and Science Act that was passed bipartisan laid by both sides of Congress House and Senate, now it's meant to boost U.S. semiconductor chip production and increase competitiveness with China. That's something that President Biden has long talked about since being in office and even before.
Now Biden craves the passage of that CHIPS Act, you can see it on the screen there, Chips and Science Act on Thursday. He said it's exactly what this country needs for our economy to grow. Remember, our economy right now for the President is a bit of a sore spot. So now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sent it to President Biden's desk and it awaits signature and we're waiting to hear from the White House on when that would be signed.
Now also, the President urged the senators to quickly pass that Inflation Reduction Act. Again, you can see it on your screen now. That is that surprise deal that was ironed out between Manchin and Schumer. And it puts in a lot of the President's priorities that were thought to be dead just a week ago. And that includes climate and energy provisions, being able to negotiate drug prescriptions, also health care subsidies. So certainly, this is a bountiful week for the President, when just a few weeks ago, we thought a lot of these provisions were really dead in the ground there.
SIDNER: Jasmine Wright, thank you so much.
Many are questioning if there is a recession. And if so, just how bad it will be for their personal finances. The latest GDP report shows that the U.S. economy shrank again in the second quarter and other key measure of inflation also set a fresh 40-year high last month. The personal consumption expenditures price index rose by 6.8 percent compared to the same period last year.
Joining me now is Professor of Economics at Dartmouth University, Andrew Levin. He's also a former Special Adviser at the Federal Reserve Board. All right. The U.S. economy shrank again for the second quarter, isn't that by definition, a recession? ANDREW LEVIN, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, DARTMOUTH UNIVERSITY: Well, great question. You should probably have in mind two different types of recessions. One, what we've seen in the last 15 years in 2008, and again, at the beginning of the pandemic, was a really horrific recession where unemployment went up to 10 percent or more.
If you look back earlier in the early 90s, and again, in the early 2000s, there were mild recessions, where many people weren't very affected by it. The economy is definitely slowing down. It's possible that we will have a, what's up, becomes an officially defined recession that would be more like '91 or 2001. I think we're hopeful that we're not going to have a horrific recession like we have in the last 15 years.
SIDNER: You know, it's so confusing to myself, I'm no economist, but I think to a lot of people because there are some things that feel like a recession. I mean, we can all feel the inflation, we are all struggling with the cost of things, everything from gas to food, to -- you name it, but there are a lot of jobs out there. Is this odd? Is this different than in recessions of past?
LEVIN: Yes. So actually, the inflation picture looks like what we were facing the 1970s. So you're going back 50 years, you know, 40 or 50 years to, you know, to -- inflation is very difficult for ordinary families. Very difficult because their wages now -- of many American workers are growing at 5 or 6 percent. But the cost of living is rising by 7, or 8, or 9 or 10 percent.
It's difficult for a family to pay the rent, to pay for their gasoline, to pay for their grocery bills. And so that's why a lot of ordinary Americans are feeling very tough time right now. It's not the typical recession that we saw 20 years ago, nor is it the horrific recession that we saw in the last 15 years. This is like what we called stagflation in the 1970s, that where the economy is kind of stuck in the mud, growing very slowly or not at all, but inflation is running very high, and workers are struggling to keep up.
SIDNER: Yes. And another key measure of inflation, as you mentioned, is sort of set a fresh 40-year high in June. It is, you know, marked by record gas prices. Do you think that we're going to continue to see inflation rise? And if so, what can be done about it? Is it enough to, you know, change the, you know, the interest rates?
LEVIN: Well, so first of all, I think that, you know, doing thing -- taking actions like making drug prices better, you know, is good for many Americans, right? So there are steps that the administration can take and that Congress can take. But fundamentally, price stability is the responsibility of the Federal Reserve, the buck stops with them.
So absolutely, the Federal Reserve has a commitment to bring inflation back down to low unstable levels, and they have to do what it takes to accomplish that. My concern is the Federal Reserve's still very far behind the curve, and they still don't have a clear strategy for how they're going to bring inflation back down toward normal. SIDNER: All right, to end on a high note or a low note, you hurt my feelings when you said the 1970s is 50 years ago. Wow. Didn't seem like that long ago. Andrew Levin, thank you so much for joining us.
SANCHEZ: Outrage from one survivor of the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and his target, Donald Trump. His New Jersey Golf Course hosting a Saudi-backed golf tournament this weekend. What he wants the former President to do now, as he joins us live after a quick break.
SANCHEZ: The LIV Golf series is hosting a tournament in New Jersey this weekend at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. It's being met with protests. The new Saudi-backed pro-circuit has been drawing PGA players with huge guaranteed pay days. And it's also drawing the anger of activists who say that LIV Golf is simply a way for the Saudi regime to sports wash, to change the conversation and its reputation of carrying out human rights violations.
Among those protesting the tournament, 9/11 Justice, a group of families who lost loved ones in the September 11 terrorist attacks, who say they are outraged that Saudi officials have not been held accountable for their role in the attacks.
Joining us now is Tim Frolich, he's a 9/11 survivor who worked at the World Trade Center and suffered major injuries that day. Tim, we're grateful to have you this morning and sharing part of your weekend with us. I'm wondering what your reaction was to hearing that this tournament was going to be held fewer than 50 miles away from ground zero.
TIM FROLICH, SURVIVED 9/11 ATACK ON WORLD TRADE CENTER, NORTH TOWER: Thank you, first of all, for having me. It's absolutely reprehensible that this tournament is in the United States as being held 50 miles from where thousands of people were killed and hundreds of rescue workers as well as, unfortunately, myself was seriously injured that day.
SANCHEZ: What message do you think that sends not only to the Saudis but to the world?
FROLICH: Well, the message as far as I'm concerned that sending is that former President Donald Trump is now an official ambassador of the Saudi government by holding this tournament. He is representing the Saudi government. And that to me is deplorable, disgusting. And a real slap and a kick in the face to all the 9/11 victims.
One of the things that I wanted to say is, is that thanks to President Biden's release of the operation on court documents. Just last year, the families and the American public now have the truth.
[08:45:03] And three short years ago, I was fortunate enough to be part of a group of families who met with President Trump at the White House on the anniversary of September 11th, 2019. During that meeting, President Trump turned to myself as well as several other -- all the family members that were there that day and said, I'm going to help you. And I'm going to release the operation on court documents.
Less than 24 hours after that meeting, when we were hauled back home with our families, those documents were sealed by the Trump administration under classification of state secrets. Up until last year, and thankfully with the leader -- with the leadership of President Biden, we now have those documents.
When a country like Saudi Arabia sponsors an act of terrorism, when a country's employees working for that government, sponsors an act of terrorism, those individuals must be held accountable. If you remember, back in the Pan Am Flight 103, the Lockerbie terrorist flight that was done by the government of Libya, OK? Our own government was on the family side in that terrible tragedy.
It's just been recently, one year ago --
FROLICH: -- that we got the documents, we waited 20 years for this information to come out. And now the families aren't demanding accountability. We're demanding some form of restitution. And we're certainly demanding that the truth be finally exposed and come out about what Saudi government employees did 20 years ago.
SANCHEZ: And, Tim, you mentioned restitution. I'm wondering what your message is to U.S. lawmakers, perhaps the President Biden himself. What does justice and accountability look like for you and other victims?
FROLICH: Well, the first thing, I think thanks to leadership, again, of President Biden. He has been the leader here, and he has been the one that has stepped forward and release these documents. That's a tremendous help. The families believe that President Biden will stay engaged with us and continue to help us in our call for some kind of accountability from the kingdom, some kind of an acknowledgement, and ultimately restitution for the crime of murder that was done upon this country almost 21 years ago.
SANCHEZ: So Tim, what is the organization doing to show your opposition to the LIV Golf series and the players that have decided to participate in this circuit? I'm wondering what your message is to those players?
FROLICH: Well, again, like I said, you know, Donald Trump has become, as far as I'm concerned, has become an ambassador of the Saudi Arabian government. Every player who accepted blood money and accepts these sports washing of the sins of what Saudi Arabia did to this country, and did to the thousands of victims, some of which today are still dying, because God bless those rescue workers, I was rescued by several heroes. If this is not shown, and this is not understood by the American public -- and I believe they will understand it and they do understand it -- that's one of the goals of 911 justice.org.
SANCHEZ: I saw we were showing our viewers some of the images of the group protesting outside of Bedminster. I understand there supposed --
SANCHEZ: -- to be another LIV Golf tournament that's to be held in Doral, at Trump's Golf Club in Doral, Florida later this year.
SANCHEZ: Do you plan to protest there? What do you expect might come of --
FROLICH: I believe -- yeah, I would love the opportunity. I would love the opportunity to once again, continue the information and continue to have that opportunity to point out that this is an outrage. This is a kick in the gut and a slap in the face, particularly after the blatant lies that President Trump spoke to us about directly when he met with us in 2019.
He assured the families, I am going to help you, with the words that he said to myself, and 12 other families. And within less than 24 hours, those documents were sealed and like I said the idea of state secrets was declared on them.
SANCHEZ: Well, Tim --
FROLICH: So we never had an opportunity to look at the now released operation on court documents that are out there. And that's clearly, thankfully, as a result of what President Biden has done for the families and again, we do hope that he will stay engaged with us and help us move forward in this atrocity of golf tournament and the atrocities and the lies from former President Donald Trump.
SANCHEZ: Tim --
FROLICH: He's no friend of the families. I can tell you, he is no friend of the families. He has friends apparently based on his recent comments in the Saudi government, He's no friend of the families.
SANCHEZ: Tim, we have to leave the conversation there. We hope you'll come back on with us to tell us about your latest efforts to bring awareness to what you pointed out is the consensus in the U.S. intelligence community about Saudi Arabia's involvement in funding the September 11 terror attacks.
Tim Frolich. thank you again for your time.
FROLICH: Thank you, guys. God bless.
SANCHEZ: Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.
SIDNER: This just in. We're learning only one person, one, just one in Illinois match to all five numbers plus the Mega ball number in last night's Mega Millions jackpot pot. It should be called Mega billions at this point.
SANCHEZ: Mega billions, right. $1.28 billion, the estimated cash payout 747. 2 million so much money. It's hard to even say it out loud. That's according to the Mega Millions website. No word yet on who that person is, my new best friend that I've loved ever since I learned who they were.
Once again the winning numbers 13-36-45-57-67. The Powerball number is 14. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. Sara, what are you doing in about an hour from now?
SIDNER: I'm actually going to call my family in Illinois and make sure that they are the winners or if they are, I won't be here.
SANCHEZ: If they're not --
SIDNER: We'll be -- I'll be celebrating.
SANCHEZ: -- I hope you'll be joining us at 10:00 a.m. because we're going to give Smerconish the next hour and we'll see you all at 10:00 Eastern for newsroom.