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CNN Live Event/Special

Donald Trump Awaiting Arraignment in Manhattan. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired April 04, 2023 - 13:00   ET



DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Listen, I think otherworldly is the perfect way to put it, Jake, because I was just thinking that it maybe is a good time to put this in the context of American history, and, frankly, of human history.

This is normally a time when somebody would feel shame, would feel fear, would feel trepidation. And maybe he is feeling that on the inside, but the political thing to do for most normal politicians -- and this has happened throughout history -- in a time like this would be to be more apologetic, to have less bravado, to be more contrite.

And because this is Donald Trump, who has made an entire lifetime, not just in politics, but in business before that, out of doing the opposite, out of leaning into his problems, we are seeing something very different.

To say that that is not normal, never mind the whole notion of an indictment and an arrest of a former president isn't normal, is important context to keep in mind.


ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And it's the shortsightedness of it all I think that really stands out to me.

With the Trump campaign, this is often the case. They look at what is right in front of them, not what is coming around the corner. And in this case, this Manhattan district attorney case against Trump is really just the beginning of this story.

And when we think about the historical impact of it all, I -- from my perspective, I think that we cannot divorce this from the big picture here, which is that Trump, yes, the first American president to be indicted,the first American president to actually face charges. But he would also be the first American president to face the prospect of many other charges as well.

And that is really what the long-term issue is for the Trump campaign. And putting out merch might get them likes on Twitter, but it doesn't help them deal with that broader problem with the American people.

TAPPER: There's also the point I want to make about the otherworldliness of the situation, and that is the Trump supporters, the MAGA base, the Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greenes of the world who are just ride or die. No matter what Donald Trump does, they're behind it.

And she just said to a conservative TV host: "We will stand in support of our very incredible, amazing, best president in history of my lifetime, and innocent, innocent. And, I mean, think about -- gosh, think about this. President Trump is joining some of the most incredible people in history being arrested today. Nelson Mandela was arrested, served time in prison. Jesus. Jesus was arrested and murdered by the Roman government."

This is no doubt representative of a certain part of the Trump base, John King.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, but is there any truth when you pull back the curtain, right, comparing Donald Trump to Jesus or Nelson Mandela? I will leave the common sense of the American people to deal with that one. I will keep my mouth shut on that one.

But the idea Marjorie Taylor Greene says, let's protest in favor of Donald Trump in Manhattan outside this courthouse. She showed up. She stayed for 10 minutes and she left. She got the pictures she needs for her social media and to be on FOX and Newsmax and OAN, and then she left.

Why would she stay there for the day with the real people who may be out there for whatever reason supporting Donald Trump? And they have every right to do so. But back to the earlier conversation here, look, Jason Miller, Boris Epshteyn -- Donald Trump, he is presumed innocent, and he deserves that from everybody here, everybody.

That is the rule of law that he constantly ignores. But that is the bedrock of our society. But Jason Miller, Boris Epshteyn, this is a liar surrounded by liars. Sorry, but that's what we have seen. If you judge a man by the company he keeps, he is surrounded by liars.

And they have repeatedly lied. You can't lie in court. You can't lie in court. He enters a new phase today, where the prosecutors -- has a very high bar. This prosecutor is indicting a former president of the United States. He better damn well prove it when they release that indictment today.

But, in court, you can't lie. You can lie in politics. You can lie on cable television. It's hard to lie in court, especially if the documents prove you wrong.

PHILLIP: And that's been something Trump has never understood and never appreciated...

KING: Right.

PHILLIP: ... that the court is a different ball game for him, and he tries to play the outside game in public and wants to take it into the courtroom.

And his lawyers are like, no, that doesn't here. JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: To Abby's point, though,

about other cases coming, it could very well be that, by the fall, he is charged in three different jurisdictions in four cases.

We have Georgia. We have the special counsel in the federal cases. That said, we should not forget that, other than former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and a couple of others, the Republican Party is still not only standing with him, just out there over and over again supporting him.

Now, if these charges keep coming in these cases, what will the long- term effect be? We have seen Donald Trump go up in popular votes. We have seen him defy the odds. Will this -- will the forever-Trumpers stick with him? Yes.


Will GOP voters who support him, but have had enough, go in another direction? I think that's the question we're going to look at here.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: And, as a logistical matter, as these criminal actions begin to stack up, if he's indicted in these other investigations, the drag on his time, on his attention, and on his resources cannot be overstated.

To defend yourself in a Manhattan criminal court on this case is one thing. And he can go through today. It's the only thing he has to deal with. He's orchestrating and kind of stage-managing this whole event. That is going to become overwhelming when he may be facing indictment in federal court in D.C., maybe facing indictment in state court in Georgia.

The legal team will keep growing. The demands on his time to review evidence, to prepare for testimony, to moderate his statements, which could be conflicting and cause him all sorts of problems in different venues, this is not a trifling matter, and it could very easily overtake him as the months and years go on.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's -- this is a long process.

I mean, I think to a point that was made earlier is, this is the beginning of a really, really long process. If we just take this one particular case, which we still need to see what the actual charges are, there's going to be a motions practice. He's going to make motions to dismiss the case, which I think will have some credible arguments in them, depending on how they actually charge the case and whether there's felonies and underlying crimes that are implicated in the actual case.

He's going to make motions there. That motions practice can continue. And so all of these things are going to be running concurrently at the same time. And even though, as a practical matter, we think, oh, well, the other prosecutors are probably watching this case and paying attention, actually, I tend to think that each of these investigations is being conducted independently. That's the way it should work. And the federal case is on its own

timeline, and this local case is obviously going to be on a timeline.

BASH: You know what, Andy? It almost made me laugh when you said that his lawyers are going to be trying to sort of regulate his comments.

I was talking to one of his close allies this morning who literally laughed and used language that I can't use on family-friendly television, saying, good luck with that when it comes to Donald Trump. Nobody can get him to do that.

But one thing also is about his connection to the litigious nature of what's going on here. He has -- during his time in business, particularly in New York, for decades, he has become incredibly familiar with the legal system, because he has tried to use it to his benefit, and he has been on the defendant's side of it. I mean, it hasn't gotten this far, but he is incredibly familiar with the legal system because of his -- of his background.

MCCABE: But that is a -- that is a very different system.


MCCABE: The system of being a defendant or a plaintiff in a civil trial is very much more at your and your attorneys' -- you have a lot more cards to play in terms of timing, in terms of the agenda, the sort of motions that you file.

Only -- in criminal court, it is literally your freedom that is at stake, and you really have no choice but to respond to what the prosecution is doing and try to manage the judge as best you can.

PHILLIP: And one thing just that you were bringing up that I think people should be prepared for here is that this could take a long time to actually resolve.

And, in the meantime, we may not know the outcome of this case while at the same time he could be facing other indictments. And so the stacking of the...


TAPPER: There's Donald Trump right there. I'm sorry, Abby.

We just saw Donald Trump walk out of Trump Tower and into a waiting limo. And there we see him getting into his car from the helicopter shot from WCBS-TV in New York City. And he is on his way. It's about four miles from Midtown, where he is at Trump Tower, down to the Manhattan court building, which is in the southern part of Manhattan Island.

And I'm sure we will bring that tape back again to show it to people.

Go ahead, Abby. I'm sorry I interrupted.

PHILLIP: No, just to point out that this could be a stacking of indictments against him. It could be a stacking of allegations against him.

And there may not be a reso -- I think one of the arguments politically that his aides make is that, if Alvin Bragg is humiliated in this case, it really undermines the other cases. Well, we may not know for a little while.

And those other cases are going to proceed because those prosecutors have to make their own charging decisions about how this goes forward.

KING: Right.

And, again, Donald Trump on his way to court, Jamie said it best earlier. He will be under arrest in an hour or so. That's not a good thing. I'm sorry. Maybe Donald Trump knows no shame. You mentioned that earlier. Maybe Donald Trump is incapable of shame.


But in terms of defiant, resilient, upbeat -- we keep reading these words -- I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Even if he's 100 percent innocent, you are not upbeat when you are going to court to be fingerprinted and charged, whether you're John Doe or Donald Trump, whether you're a mine worker or the former president of the United States.

It is not a good thing to have to go into a courthouse and face a judge. And, again, he's been attacking the judge, attacking the prosecutor, attacking the prosecutor's wife. You can do that in the court of public opinion. You can't do it inside the walls of a courtroom. You cannot sustain that case.

BASH: No question.

And what I meant by knows no shame was more about the political forward-facing plan and the entire strategy, which is that -- go back in time in -- throughout history, for the most part, certainly in this country. When somebody is facing what we are looking at on our screen right now and what we will hear in a court of law, it is a big political negative in any sense of the word.

KING: Right. Right, absolutely.

BASH: And, for him, because of who he is, because of how he is running, because of how he has run and the supporters he has built up, he is turning it into something different.

TAPPER: We should note also that this is not Donald Trump's first brush with the law. The Justice Department sued him and his father in 1973 for refusing to rent to African Americans.

BASH: There you go.

TAPPER: That ended with the Trumps agreeing to join a consent decree. He did not admit guilt, but he did -- they did change their practice.

The Trump team, Anderson, has said that they are not going to negotiate, he is not going to plead down, that it will be very different this time -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes, it is an extraordinary scene we are watching.

John Miller, you have covered citizen Donald Trump as a young reporter in New York City. This is a very different New York City that Donald Trump is driving through the streets of.


And this is obviously a fateful and historic journey. You're seeing a motorcade which is being led by NYPD Highway Patrol and built largely out of the Secret Service, but you're also seeing a route that is not a frozen route. That's other traffic that you're seeing in other places, not the phalanx of motorcycles that we're used to, not the size of the motorcade that he's used to in his prior trips to New York...

COOPER: He's also...


MILLER: ... and certainly not the destination he had in mind.

COOPER: And he's also traveling through a city which he is no longer the popular figure he once was in, enjoyed being in.

MILLER: Well, and he is leaving a building that bears his name, passing other buildings that bear his name, and on the way to court, literally to be arrested by a district attorney's investigator and charged with serious crimes.

COOPER: And 100 Centre Street, Karen, I mean, this is -- it's a building you know well.

This is where the guilty and the innocent go to face justice, and that is what is happening to this defendant today. Explain a little bit about what will happen when he gets there.

KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, when he arrives, he will be first processed, arrest-processed by the DA's office, the law enforcement arm of the DA's office, which are these retired police officers who are DA investigators.


COOPER: So he's not under arrest now. He's under arrest, what, when he enters that building?


When he enters that building, he will be considered in their custody. He will be arrested. The paperwork will be done, if it hasn't already been done. I mean, this is very quick. Normally, arrest processing takes several hours. So, if the arraignment is scheduled for 2:15, I think they have already streamlined much of it.

And then they will take him to court, where he will be told what the charges are by the judge, and he will be arraigned on those charges, and he will enter a plea of not guilty. The prosecution may or may not file a statement of facts here. Sometimes, they do, so that we can know more about what's going on.

It'll be adjourned for not only motion practice, but discovery. So, in New York, within 15 days of arraignment, or a complicated case, it's 30 more days of arraignment, which this is, you have to turn over all paperwork that's in your possession, the prosecution does. So he will have the entirety of the prosecution's file in very short order.

And that's something we should look at. Is he going to release that or parts of it, so that he can try to have the defense attorneys of the world pick it apart and, again, try to try this case in public? And that could be something that a judge imposes a gag order on, maybe not on his words, but perhaps he -- they could impose some kind of order limiting his ability to release the discovery that will be certainly given to him in short order.


COOPER: Alyssa Farah Griffin, I mean, you spent so much time with him as director of communications in the White House.

It's just stunning to see these images, him driving through this city, which he knows so well, has driven down the FDR Drive, which he's driving down right now, looking at buildings, probably scoping them out. What do you think is going through his mind today?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I can't imagine, to John's point -- I mean, I have and in a motorcade with him more times than I can count, and this is a much smaller motorcade than the former president is used to.

He's not in the Beast. He's not wearing -- in a car with the presidential seal. And I'm sitting here as a former staffer thinking, glad to not be in the car with him. I just -- the -- as much as we have all speculated on his mood and how he feels about this, I know him well enough to say he's not happy about this.

This is a man that, despite his actions, does care about legacy. And now his legacy will be, regardless of where this goes, to be the first former president to have been indicted. And that's got to be weighing on him as he's driving in a motorcade through his hometown.

That doesn't mean his team is not going to be looking for every way to spin this to their advantage. They have reportedly raised $8 million. He's going to give his speech tonight. He may make remarks at the courthouse, but this has got to be a sobering moment for Donald.

COOPER: It's also extraordinary.

There's no fans lining the sides of the roads. There's no supporters cheering him on saying, we support you. This is an average day in New York City where life of the city goes on. He's just -- it's just a couple of cars on the road driving down the FDR Drive, and everyone else is going about their business.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's our system, in a way. He's going to court, and a lot of people got up this morning and went to court.

If you're around the world trying to make sense of this, this is America. Nobody's above the law. Nobody's beneath its protections. It's not Russia. It's not Iran. When he gets there, like you said, he's going to get all the treatment, all the fair process. He's going to get the entire file handed to him, and he will have a chance to defend himself.

But people go to court every day in this country, and they face prosecutors that I think sometimes are too tough and too mean, and they do the best that they can. And that's what's happening here. And it's a sobering moment, I'm sure, for his family, I'm sure for people who have worked for him and for the whole world.

But this is someone who has played at the edges of lawlessness his whole career, and the ice in this case has broken under him.

COOPER: His wife is not with him. He's alone in this.

Elie, what are your thoughts as you see this motorcade?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is a new chapter in Donald Trump's life, and it will be a long and painful chapter. That's just the reality here.

Cases like this will last months, if not years, and this could be the first of up to four of these cases that are happening at the same time. There's just no way out of this. You have to go through this process. He's not going to plead guilty. I think that's safe. His lawyers have said that. He's not the pleading guilty type.

And so if we're talking about trials in one or more case, this is the new reality. He's going to be going into courthouses. He's going to be going through security. He's going to be sitting at defendant's tables for the foreseeable future.

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, but what I think -- what I think is important here -- and we will find out shortly -- is, when we actually see the indictment, as everyone's been alluding to and been talking about, what's contained in the indictment?

If it's the four corners of the document -- we think it's going to be based on the Stormy Daniels -- it's going to be a different outcome this afternoon than if it's more expansive.


URBAN: If it's going to be something that maybe get dismissed in a preliminary motion, what -- how is that going to be different than if it's tried out and pounded for months and years? You're talking about months and years. This could be over in a matter of months on a few motions, and then what does that do to Donald Trump?

HONIG: To be clear, if he wins the motions based on the Stormy Daniels campaign finance, there still will be the misdemeanor charge for falsifying business records.

URBAN: Right.

HONIG: Those are legally safe.

URBAN: Yes, but my point out, what is it -- how different will it be, right..

HONIG: I agree with that.


URBAN: Politically huge, if he wins here.


COOPER: Karen?


So just, in addition to the four cases that everybody's talking about, in three weeks, he will be on trial down the street in Manhattan for rape, for -- civil, but it's -- make no mistake about it. That is a rape case with a defamation piece afterward.

But he will be on trial for rape in three weeks' time. So judges are going to have to schedule -- deal with each other's schedules with that. Then, come October 2, he also has another trial where the attorney general of the state of New York, Letitia James, she has brought this sweeping $250 million case regarding the valuation of assets, the one that was and is an open investigation criminally in the Manhattan DA's office as well.

That case, the civil part of that case, is going to trial October 2. He's going to be very busy, not just in the criminal cases, but I think also in these civil matters that he has to be involved in.

MILLER: He's literally minutes away now from the office of the Manhattan district attorney.


It's interesting, when we talk about history, where he's going. This is the most vaunted, highly regarded local district attorney's office perhaps in the nation. It is the place that -- where Thomas Dewey served as the DA before he went on to become governor as a mob-busting prosecutor, before he ran for president.

It is the place where one of his proteges, DA Hogan, for which Hogan Place, the street that Donald Trump is being brought to, was named, was district attorney for 32 years, bringing mob cases, corruption cases, cases against high-profile defendants, the place where Bob Morgenthau served for another 30 years, and a place that is, next to the federal prosecutors, the most sophisticated prosecutor's office in the country for things like racketeering, complex white-collar crimes and impressive cases with big-name defendants, with a reputation for impartiality.

What you have here is an interesting set of prosecutors, based on Alvin Bragg, and that has made him a target for Donald Trump. But it's the office where Karen Agnifilo spent most of her professional career.

FARAH GRIFFIN: And it is remarkable. I mean, I commented on this a moment ago, but he -- the many times he's come to New York as president. You would expect to see dozens of police vehicles escorting the motorcade, a motorcade probably three or four times this size, and also traffic on the sides of him stopped.

And just knowing the man, I have to imagine it's a bit jarring for him to be seeing. He's only been back to New York a handful of times in his post-presidency, kind of seeing the world has moved on, the country has moved on. He's no longer president, and now he's going to a courthouse as a former president without the pomp and circumstance of the presidency.

COOPER: Yes, I'm struck just by the life of the city continuing around him. He's just a guy in a SUV with a couple other SUVs heading to court, as Van said, as many people are today in various parts of the country.

Shimon Prokupecz is standing by outside the building where the former president is heading.

Shimon, explain what we are about to see.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, any minute now, Anderson, we expect to see the motorcade pull up, Donald Trump step out of the SUV, and enter the Manhattan DA's office, where he will be placed under arrest.

He will be considered in custody. You can see the Secret Service agents here on the ground and the NYPD officers all lined up across here just waiting for the motorcade to arrive. We can hear some helicopters now in the air over us.

But it's at any minute now that we expect for the motorcade to arrive here and for the former president to be taken into custody and placed under arrest. It's just an incredible scene out here, Anderson. There are hundreds and hundreds of cameras just pointed at that door where they expect the former president to walk in, trying to get that shot of him walking into this building.

And we now see one of the first officers arriving. And now we see the SUVs here pulling up, Anderson. And they are pulling up here now to the door.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you guys stand back?

PROKUPECZ: And we see several of the SUVs here, Anderson, pulling up to the corner.

And the former president, Donald Trump, is about to step out of this SUV and enter the Manhattan DA's office, where he will be placed under arrest. And here it is.

From what we can see, a couple of the Secret Service agents now getting out of their cars here down the street on Hogan Place in front of the Manhattan DA's office.


COOPER: And there he is waving to the crowd.

PROKUPECZ: And just -- there he is. We can see him here, Anderson.

And his back is to us. And we can see him slowly walking in, surrounded by the Secret Service agents.

COOPER: Shimon, we have an over-the-head shot that we're looking at now of the former president walking down with several of his Secret Service officers, walking into the building.

And, Karen, you're saying, as soon as he enters that building, he is technically under arrest?

FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: Yes. He will be in the custody of the DA's office investigators, obviously, with his Secret Service guard as well, and he will be told he is under arrest, and he is in their custody at this time.

COOPER: So, at this moment, at 1:24 p.m. Eastern time, Donald J. Trump is under arrest?


MILLER: He's going several floors up in this building to a district attorney's office where the detective squad is.


There's a room there where the electronic machine that captures fingerprints electronically is there. Against one of the walls, there's a small cell. He will not be handcuffed. He will not be placed in the cell. They will capture the prints and take the former president and his legal team to a room to wait where they may be able to read that indictment...


COOPER: Will he see the cell?

MILLER: He will. He will see the cell in the room where they do the print capture, if they use the room they're planning to.

HONIG: And as extraordinary as this all is, and as much as this is a spectacle, this is the same process that hundreds, if not thousands of people go through every week in this very office.

This is how our criminal justice system works. And you can see, one of the challenges throughout this case for the DA, for the cops, for the courts is to -- is going to be how to treat this as close to any normal case as humanly possible. We have seen some unusual, but I think reasonable, accommodations, with the potentially decision not to take a mug shot and with the decision potentially not to handcuff him.

But beyond that, it's a challenge for our legal system. How do we treat this like any other state of New York vs. defendant?

COOPER: So let's just go through the details on the process,the finger -- traditionally, the process, fingerprinting, a mug shot.

What's -- what will happen, what won't happen here?

MILLER: So, you will have the fingerprinting. The mug shot...

COOPER: Not actual fingerprinting with ink?

MILLER: Not fingerprinting with ink. It's an electronic capture. You put your fingers down on it, it reads the prints, and it sends them electronically to Albany.

Now, the purpose of that is to make sure that your prints are captured and that they run them in Albany to make sure you're not wanted in New York or somewhere else for another crime. That's a bit of a moot point here, but, as Elie said, they're trying to go as close to buy the book as you can, given the circumstances here.

Now, that's difficult, because you...

FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: But it also generates a rap sheet.

MILLER: That's right. So it generates a rap sheet that he's been arrested, charged with a crime. He's assigned a NYSID number, New York State I.D. number, that he is an arrested felon at this point.

COOPER: Karen, you said, when he walked in that building, and that's when he is technically under arrest, who is it who says to him -- I don't know if they say, "Mr. President or Mr. Trump, you are under arrest"?

FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: Well, the definition of arrest is, you are in custody, right, somebody's custody.

And so in the moment that he walks in, he is in the custody of them. What the -- the DA investigator will say the words, "You're under arrest, and these are the charges against you," and ask him certain pedigree information, unless that's already been pre-filled-out or prearranged.

COOPER: When you say pedigree information, what do you mean?

MILLER: Name, address.


MILLER: Date of birth.

URBAN: So, John, did you -- I didn't know. I couldn't see. Does his lawyer -- it looked like Secret Service is walking in. Do his lawyers accompany him in there? How many people get to go in that room with him? Is it one lawyer, two lawyers?

It looked like there's a bunch of service members there, but I didn't see any -- it didn't look like staff.

MILLER: So, you've got -- we have got Secret Service, one member of the New York Police Department, one court officer.

And they will stay with him through the DA's office. I will defer to Karen on where the attorneys can go.

FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: Yes, the attorneys, usually, you leave your client with law enforcement, and then you meet them again in court.

So that's how it's normally done. And, just to Elie's point, the Manhattan DA's office handles about 50,000 cases per year. And many of them are felonies. And so -- and this surrendering and turn yourself in after indictment is often done in long-term investigations. So this process is not unusual. This is something that the Manhattan DA's office knows how to do.

They have this investigative staff that's about 80 law enforcement who work there, and they do this type of work. They investigate, and they are well-equipped and know how to process somebody.

COOPER: But it's interesting. You're saying his attorneys are likely not with him at this time during this processing.

FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO: That is correct, yes.

URBAN: A very lonely feeling.

COOPER: Well, I was going to say, I mean, Alyssa, how often has this man been without political advisers, without some sort of inner circle acolytes around him?

FARAH GRIFFIN: Virtually never.

And I have to imagine that he's noticing that feeling right now, because even a minor event in his presidency and immediate post- presidency, he will travel with as many as a dozen people around him, from press staffers, to body men, to lawyers and so on.

And we were noticing, at least from our vantage point, we didn't see what looked like traditional staff, whether campaign or otherwise, get out.

COOPER: Right.

FARAH GRIFFIN: So that's got to be a jarring and lonely feeling. It's been a long time since Donald Trump has been in a public place without a core group around him.

COOPER: David, do you -- you agree with that?

URBAN: Yes. No, that's what I was -- Alyssa and I were talking about that.

I watched. When the van -- when the door -- when he walked out of the car, he got out of the truck, it looked like the Service went with him. And then I didn't see anybody else getting out of the vans or the trucks. And Alyssa and I were kind of guessing who was along for the ride, who might have been with the trip.