Return to Transcripts main page
CNN Live Event/Special
Federal Court Denies Trump Appeal To Block Ex-Aides From Jan. 6 Testimony; NYPD Ramps Up Security Ahead Of Trump's Court Appearance; Soon: Trump Leaves Trump Tower For N.Y. Courthouse. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired April 04, 2023 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We're waiting for Donald Trump to leave Trump Tower for the Manhattan Criminal Court building in his arraignment. But first, we have some breaking news just into CNN. A critical court loss for Donald Trump in the Mar-a-Lago documents case. CNN's Katelyn Polantz has details. What have you learned?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Anderson, its loss after loss after loss what Donald Trump has tried to block testimony of his advisers in federal court when they're called to the grand jury, especially in the January 6, criminal investigation. And again, we just got word that a federal appeals court has denied this emergency attempt of Donald Trump to try and wall off some of the testimony of his top advisers.
Top advisers, including people like his former White House Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows. That means now that the appeals court has says no, we're not going to give you any emergency help here, Donald Trump. We now know that that means the Justice Department could try and get some of these top advisers into a grand jury asking them questions and forcing them to answer about their conversations directly with Donald Trump during the presidency.
Just a reminder that this is another thing happening in criminal investigations at the same time separately from this New York case.
COOPER: So is it just Mark Meadows?
POLANTZ: No, actually, this decision, we believe from our sources, would apply to any of the advisers that are close to him. There's a whole list of them where he was trying to block their answers. People like the National Security Adviser, Ken Cuccinelli at the time who was the Department of Homeland Security Secretary and other advisers Stephen Miller, Dan Scavino. It could apply to all of them if they have declined to answer questions at the grand jury.
COOPER: All right, Katelyn, appreciate the breaking news.
Back to New York on the streets outside the New York courthouse and CNN Shimon Prokupecz. This is a, obviously, a very complex security operation this morning. SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: No, it certainly is Anderson. I mean, there are indications that this could be happening at any moment now. We're seeing certainly an uptick in police presence. There are more officers here than I have seen the past several days.
I want to show you understand exactly what's going on now outside the courthouse. There are court officers lining the entire street here at the front of the courthouse on Center Street. And then this just continues here, down into this area. And when you look down Hogan Place where as you know, I've been the past couple of nights, this is where the motorcade will wind up.
This is the street where the former president will ultimately surrender where he will walk in and turn himself in and be arrested by the Manhattan District Attorney's office. And as you can see, there are several law enforcement officials, high ranking officials, all now waiting for the former president to arrive here.
He will walk into the building, be greeted by staff from the district attorney's office. He's going to be walked in by the Secret Service, taken up to the seventh floor where they will process him. And then that is when his attorneys will learn what the indictment is, what the charges are and then we go from there, Anderson.
COOPER: Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it. We'll check back with you shortly.
I'm joined by Former Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism for the NYPD, John Miller and Former Secret Service Agent Jonathan Wacaro, both CNN contributors. John, does he ever -- does somebody ever say to him, you are under arrest? When is he technically under arrest? Does he get fingerprinted? Does there -- is there a mug shot?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So he's going to meet a district attorney's investigator, not a New York City police detective, this is a civilian investigator who works for the D.A.'s office, who has law enforcement powers carries a badge and a gun. Often they're retired police officers.
And that's somebody who is going to be the arresting officer, first in American history for a former president of the United States. And think of the bizarre moment that you've just set up, which is, someone has to say, Mr. President, you're under arrest. And, you know, then they have to take his prints, do the processing, wait for the prints to come back. The rest is kind of a routine process. Just nothing routine about it for a former president.
COOPER: But -- do we know about a mugshot? I mean, do we know for a fact there will be fingerprints?
MILLER: So there will be fingerprints. That's how you get into the system with the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services and the records, you'll get what we call a NYSID (ph) number, a New York State ID number, showing he's been arrested and charged with a felony. So all that's going to happen.
The mug shot is the nuanced piece. It's part of the normal procedure. But in this case, there are some arguments that, a, everybody knows what it looks like. We don't need his picture. And, b, there's a high risk it's going to leak out which could be prejudicial to the case and against New York state law if there's not a legitimate law enforcement purpose.
COOPER: And handcuffs?
MILLER: No handcuffs, and I'm going to pass to Jonathan. That's the Secret Service decision, which is if you have a protectee in handcuffs or a complication.
COOPER: Jonathan, this is a strange rule for the Secret Service. Explain what their job is here.
JONATHAN WACKROW, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, their job is not as a coordinating entity that we typically see the Secret Service takes --
COOPER: So they're not in charge here?
WACKROW: They are not in charge. The NYPD working with the New York State court officers, they're in charge of the protective structure, not only at the courthouse and around the courthouse, but at the city at large. The Secret Service is primarily focused on protection.
They're getting down to their core remit, making sure that getting the former president from point A to point B safely, allowing him to do the business in front of the court and then returning is done, you know, as efficiently as possible, but as safely as possible.
So when we talk about the processing of the former president, the fingerprinting, the moment that he is actually taken into custody and under arrest that is going to be done under the watchful eye of the Secret Service. But they are not going to interject at all, they've asked for no special accommodations.
Now we get to handcuffing, the Secret Service prefers never to have a protectee in handcuffs, should they meet need to take an immediate emergency action.
COOPER: So from the Trump camp had said last week that the reason he didn't come up immediately to turn himself in was the Secret Service one at a time, is that accurate? Do you know?
WACKROW: No, it's not accurate whatsoever. It's nonsensical, and I said it was nonsensical, here's why. The Secret Service, you know, their mission is protection. They can take any protectee to any location in the world at any time. Don't start, you know, dragging the Secret Service as an organization into the political back and orth.
COOPER: All right, Jonathan Wackrow, appreciate it.
What is Donald Trump thinking as he gets ready to surrender? Coming up next, a former Trump insider weighs in.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: A glimpse at a live pictures from outside Trump Tower. Sometime soon Donald Trump will turn himself in at a New York City courthouse, becoming the first former president to ever face criminal charges. One of his advisers describing his mood ahead of today's arraignment as, quote, defiant and focused.
Joining us now someone very familiar with Donald Trump, former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Good to see you, sir. What do you make of it all? Your former boss, President Trump, former President Trump heading to the Manhattan criminal courthouse today to be arraigned.
MICK MULVANEY, FORMER ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF TO PRES. TRUMP: Yes. Jake, I think the fines and focused is probably consistent with what I would expect. My guess is there was a short period of anger and frustration and shock after the indictment was originally handled down -- handed down and then the team led by Mr. Trump himself immediately switched into PR control, which is OK.
If we're going to go to New York, we're going to make it look good for us. We're going to turn this into a PR event for Donald Trump. It doesn't surprise me that he's proposing to speak at a national address tonight. He's really good at this. He's really good -- he's a great showman.
So my guess is he's tried to take this what can only be perceived as a negative and I'm sure he perceives it as a negative as well. He doesn't like being charged with a crime. But to make it a positive both from a PR perspective and a political perspective.
TAPPER: We hear a lot of Republicans defending Donald Trump, criticizing the district attorney and on and on. One thing you don't really hear is any of his defenders saying that he didn't do this, that he didn't pay hush money to Stormy Daniels or have hush money paid, he didn't have business records falsified. That argument is seldom really made.
MULVANEY: Yes. Well, of course, not that many of his political folks including myself would have any indication as to how the books were handled at the Trump organization so that's not unusual.
But yes, a lot of Republicans are silent on that, a lot of Democrats, Jake, have been silent. Look, a lot of my Democrat friends are very privately concerned that, you know, this is a situation where a D.A. ran for office saying, if you elect me, I will indict somebody.
Where's the next state A.G. in Texas, or Oklahoma or South Carolina going to run for office saying, look, if you elect me, I will indict this Democrat leader. So it's a very unusual time. It doesn't surprise me that folks are coming to the president's aide, but not really speaking to some of the other issues.
TAPPER: Do you expect whatever political boost this creates for Donald Trump within Republican circles? You expect it to last long term, especially given that there are potentially going to be other charges and other cases. CNN just reported that Trump's team lost an appeal to shield some of his closest aides from testifying in the special counsel's probe into his involvement in January 6.
MULVANEY: Yes, I think the boost that he's going to get in the short term, even the midterm for -- within the Republican primaries is undeniable. I think that's there. The sympathy is there. You seeing that in the polling data, you're seeing that in the money that he's raised, and in the new donors, he is added to his cause in just the last couple of days.
The better question, though, I think goes to the November 2024 election, I still think it's an uphill battle for him. But I guess you could sort of theorize a circumstance where the trial on this particular charge is a month or so before November 2024.
And if he's found not guilty, being able to turn that -- him being able to turn that into something positive politically, to make himself out to be a victim of a political Vendetta. So it's really hard to predict politics in general in this country right now other than divisiveness, but it's especially hard to predict Donald Trump.
TAPPER: All right, Former Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, thanks so much.
Joining us now, Former White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews, along with Olivia Troye, who served as an adviser to Former Vice President Mike Pence. Sarah, Trump spent last night huddled with his lawyers at Trump Tower. One lawyer said this morning, the president was resilient, upbeat, and is as determined as ever to fight off drivers of injustice.
I'm not sure if I completely buy that he's resilient and upbeat. But in any case, the former president has also been on an all caps Truth Social, social media tear. In one post he attacks Former Attorney General Bill Barr, his own attorney general saying, quote, "Why does Fox keep putting on Bill Barr? He said he did investigate the 2020 election, but he didn't have the guts to properly do so." And on and on. What do you think is going through Donald Trump's head right now?
SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY TRUMP WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think his Truth Social is revealing of where his mindset actually is, which is he's panicking. They're going to try to spin this into a win the Trump team. They're going to try to say that, you know, this is a good thing for him in the sense of their fundraising, that his supporters are rallying around behind him.
But the truth is that we know this isn't a good day for him. Donald Trump is feeling the walls closing in, he's finally being held accountable for, you know, a potential crime he may have committed. And so this certainly isn't a good positive day for them. But he's probably going to go out there and try to put on a fake bravado and try to, you know, rally up his supporters when he gives an address whether that's later today around 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, or if he does end up making remarks before after the arraignment. So we'll just have to see how he handles it. But there's no way that this is a good day for him or his team.
TAPPER: And Olivia, as Sarah noted, the walls are closing and this is just the first wall of potentially many. There are a special counsel Jack Smith has two investigations into Donald Trump when it comes to classified documents, when it comes to January 6.
Down in Atlanta, Georgia, the Fulton County District Attorney's looking to Trump trying to steal that state during the election, not to mention, of course, civil cases going on. How do you -- do you think this is just the first domino of many? What do you think?
OLIVIA TROYE, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER TO MIKE PENCE: I do. I think this is the first step finally towards accountability. And I think, you know, for many of us, who have been out here speaking the truth, calling things out very honestly, I think, again, and we're all sitting here saying it's about time. I mean, Michael Cohen, he sacrificed a lot. He has been out there telling the truth for years now.
And I think, you know, this is someone who went to jail, he paid his time. So to Americans out there, and I was watching a poll with Republican voters who are saying, this is all politically driven, all of this, because they're parroting the talking points that our Republican leaders are out there saying time and time over and over again, without even really waiting for the facts to play out on this.
I would say if you had broken the law, and you had gone to jail for this, you would -- and somebody else had broken that same law, and you had carried it out breaking that law at their request, you would want that person to be held accountable. And that is why this first case matters to me. I think that is all part of what this country is based on. It's based on rule of law and our principles and saying that no one is above the law and they should be held accountable.
TAPPER: All right, Olivia and Sarah, thanks so much.
We're just seconds away from history and former President Trump leaving for 100 center seat -- Center Street where he is said to surrender to authorities.
Buts the Manhattan hush money case is not the only thing on the president's mind. We have more CNN special live coverage. We're going to squeeze in this quick break. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [12:55:06]
COOPER: No gold colored escalator, but today, Donald Trump steps into a very different kind of history. Any minute, the former president of United States heads for his motorcade and for the Manhattan Criminal Court's building. We're just now seeing a flurry of activity around Trump Tower. Police motorcade drivers getting in position to make the drive of 56th Street.
I'm Anderson Cooper. You're watching special live CNN coverage, "The Arrest and Arraignment of Donald Trump.
TAPPER: And I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, D.C.
Soon Donald Trump will be shepherded by U.S. Secret Service agents as well as NYPD officers away from his New York home to 100 Center Street in the southern tip of Manhattan. When he gets there, he will surrender. He will be booked, he will be fingerprinted. He will appear before a judge.
He will enter a plea of not guilty. He will do that personally, according to his trial team, not through a lawyer. He will likely then be released on his own recognizance and then Mr. Trump will step outside and we will get a reminder as to how he is no ordinary defendant. He will then head to his Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida for a planned primetime speech.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny is at Trump Tower for us. And Jeff, Donald Trump due to leave any moment, tell us what the scene is like there?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Jake, there definitely is a sense that a movement is imminent. I will turn to you and show you he'll be coming up the side door of Trump Tower there, that is the entrance to the residence of Trump Tower on 56th Street. Will be making his way up 56th Street to Madison Avenue and then heading down to lower Manhattan.
So there is a sense of anticipation that his movement is coming. He spent the day I'm told up in his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower huddled with, again, his political and legal advisers. But I'm also told the former president has been thinking about the other cases that are pending potentially before him, not just the one here in Manhattan, that Georgia case, a couple of cases in Washington.
And how all of it will sort of play into his 2024 presidential campaign from scheduling purposes, from scheduling rallies to, you know, just simply appearing at this case here and if there are others in the future. But one adviser told me that these cases will be a constant rallying cry for him.
So Jake, that underscores the point here that his court cases, his legal cases, will be a soundtrack of his presidential campaign. As we turn here, again, he'll be -- he's expected to be coming out of those doors shortly, his aides say. He's been working on two speeches. One, he is going to essentially give a one line speech. At least that's what his advisers are sort of telegraphing to us at the courthouse. Then he's going to be getting a full throated defense tonight at Mar- a-Lago. Jake?
TAPPER: All right. We're told that Donald Trump is at the elevator door and about to come outside, I believe, one of his top aides Jason Miller has been cited.
CNN's Paula Reid is outside the Manhattan Criminal Court's building. And Paula, you'll forgive me if I interrupt when Mr. Trump appears, but tell us more about the Trump legal team with whom you've been texting all morning. What have they been saying to you about the pending indictment?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the legal team is expanding. Yesterday, they added Todd Blanche, a very experienced defense attorney to the team. But there are a lot of questions though about what this means. Is this some sort of shake up? But it appears, Jake, to just be the logical next step.
This has gone from being an investigation to being a full-blown criminal prosecution. The former president is going to need all the help he can get. Also some questions about what this addition meant for Joe Tacopina, who has been the most forward facing member of the defense team.
Joe tells me he is still on the team. He expects to be the lead counsel at today's hearing, which could make sense because Todd has only been on the case for about 24 hours. But amid all these questions about who is the lead, I will note that it's the other lawyer, Susan Necheles, who has been the one who has been filing motions to the judge in this case.
So look, there's plenty of work for everyone on this team. The former president has historically had lawyers who defend him in court, and then also lawyers who defend them on TV. Joe Tacopina is as someone who can do both. Todd Blanche, Susan Necheles are fantastic attorneys who can help the former president as he moves through this case, possibly even successfully.
But once they say this indictment later today, they may even potentially add additional people once they know what exactly this case is all about.
TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid, thank you so much.
This reporting just in from Kristen Holmes, Dana Bash, it says while it's unclear if Trump will have his mug shot taken the campaign. Remember, he's already declared he's running for president 2024 is already discussing creating Trump merchandise using either the actual mug shot if taken or a digitally created version. I mean, that is how otherworldly this entire thing is whether or not he gets a mug shot, they're talking about, maybe we should stage a mug shot.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Listen, I think other worldly is the perfect way to put it, Jake.