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CNN Live Event/Special
Donald Trump Under Arrest And Awaiting Arraignment; Trump Being Processed In Court, Awaiting Arraignment. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired April 04, 2023 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I watched when the van -- when the door -- when he walked out of the car, he got out of 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 listening, I was kind of guessing who was along for the ride, who might have been with the trip. And it's hard to tell who had accompanied him. Or if you don't even want to go. If the lawyers say, no, you're not coming, you're not allowed to come.
You know, so it's curious --
URBAN: -- who's going to be in the courtroom.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I just think, at a human level, those of us who spent a lot of time with families, you know with folks.
You know, you never feel more helpless than in that situation. The government is bigger than you. The state is bigger than you. You -- you don't have power and control. You're looking at people who can control your life. And it's a very bad feeling.
And I think that there's really nothing to celebrate here, even those of us who are opponents of his politics and his policies. You know, this is a is a sobering moment I think for him.
And there's a lot of pain that comes as -- as you go through this process. There's pain for -- there's pant for your marriage. There's pain for your kids. He's a grandfather. There's a lot of human stuff that the cameras can capture.
But I can tell you, having spent time with defendants, this is one of the worst moments of anybody's life.
URBAN: And I would just say, think about this. We went through two impeachments. This president went through two impeachments. And I would venture to say nothing he experienced is like when you just experience when he walked in that door.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: I just want to show the image of him leaving Trump Tower. That's the image we have just now seeing for the first time.
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, and that car ride was something like 20 minutes over. We don't I don't know if we know whether anyone was riding with him. If anything, I would think it would be an attorney. But that's a very long and lonely car ride.
I've traveled with the former president, whether on Marine One or in the motorcade before, where, if he's in a mood, he's going to want someone to talk to. If he's upset about something, he's going to want somebody to bounce ideas on how to respond to it.
And I think that was probably a time that it was sinking in for him what exactly he was walking into.
URBAN: I would just say, look, this is a president who has normally got a smile on his face, he's upbeat, right, he's -- he's kind of indignant. A very sober, sober picture of Donald Trump right there.
Even, you know, he's kind of got his fist up and he was waving to the crowd. You know, as Alyssa just said, he's -- it's got to be -- it had to be a tough, tough ride.
COOPER: Van, I'm wondering what you see when you see that picture.
JONES: He looks sad. Yes, he looks sad. He looks like the weight of it is hitting him. And you know, just as a human being.
I don't -- I don't take joy. I don't like the prison system. I don't like what it does to people. I don't like this process. I don't take any celebration in seeing him looking that way.
What he looks like now doesn't mean that the accountability is not owed. We don't know what he's going to be charged with. There's a lot more in the bucket.
But at that moment, that is not a conqueror. That is a granddad having a very bad day.
COOPER: And in terms of what -- what is going on right now with the former president -- and before we get this, if we can get the video of him leaving his vehicle, leaving his SUV, entering the building, just for that overhead shot if we can cue it up again.
What do you -- how long is this process, John Miller, that you were talking about, the fingerprinting, the -- what would have been a mug shot, though unlikely to happen here?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT & INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: I know what Karen was saying is, you know, a lot of this could have been done in advance. The forms could be filled out. Everything is ready. Albany could be standing by to expedite the prints.
In this case, it might not be that long. But they have booked time for it. You know, the idea of getting there at 1:34 for a 2:30 or 2:15 arrangement, you know, meant there was going to be time given to filling out the forms, taking the prints, moving through the courthouse.
It's interesting. I'm picking up on what Van was talking about, a unique experience because. Because, as Karen used the term, "he is in custody."
What that means in legal terms is he is not free to go. There's no throwing my arms up and say, that's it, I'm not doing this, I'm walking out of here. He's under arrest. And he won't be free to go today until a judge says so by setting either whatever conditions or no conditions at all to release him on his own recognizance.
COOPER: Just looking at that -- that image again, the video of him arriving at the courthouse.
Try to get the overhead shot or whatever image we actually --
COOPER: Karen, Karen, while we're trying to get that image, Karen, we talked about when his attorneys would get the actual account, to actually get the indictments. They would probably receive it at some point before they actually reconnect with the former president.
He going through this processing. You said, it's very possible they will not connect with him again until they are in the courtroom.
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, FORMER CHIEF ASSISTANT D.A., MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: Yes, I expect that the attorneys spoke to him at length before this, told him what to expect, and told him do not talk, right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
So he is in custody. He should not talk, other than to answer basic questions. He hopefully isn't feeling chatty or -- or anything else.
And -- because law enforcement will write down every word he says. And we -- this may even be recorded, for all we know, this entire arrest processing.
So we wanted the -- his attorneys are saying, do not talk, do not say anything, don't make any speeches, don't disparage the prosecutor or the judge, that sort of thing.
URBAN: -- technical questions.
COOPER: Let me just go to CNN's Kaitlan Collins. She's on the phone from inside the courthouse. She's on the 15th floor at 100 Center Street.
And, Kaitlan, explain where you are, what the scene is.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR & CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, Anderson, is a small group of reporters that were allowed into the 15th floor where we are right now. Still photographers dropped behind the barricade in a part of the play on the 15th floor.
This is the door that Trump is going to come to next whenever he goes into the actual room, when he is before the judge, when he issues that plea of not guilty.
We are expecting him, based on what his attorney said earlier, to come to the cameras and make a brief statement. He has not done so. Obviously, we're still -- he just got here. We're just waiting on him to come up here.
I will say, as we're talking about what the processing here looks like, I was told before this that, as they were discussing the logistics of the actual choreography and visit, Trump had expressed some interest in actually having his mug shot taken.
Obviously they have been chewing a lot of this through the lens of what it would look like when it comes to the 2024 campaign. How to use it to their advantage when it comes to fundraising. And they believe having that mug shot taken could actually be beneficial to them.
So we don't know that that's happening, obviously, but that is part of the mindset into how they're looking, not just from a legal perspective, but also from a campaign and political perspective.
We'll see what it is he says before cameras. His attorneys, his legal team and his aides have been obviously concerned that it could be something that could maybe not help this case in this situation.
COOPER: Yes, Kaitlin, thank you.
We are moments away from history. Donald Trump appearing before a judge as a criminal defendant, is going through processing right now. More of CNN's special coverage right after a quick break.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Just minutes ago, a "where were you when" moment. Donald Trump now technically under arrest after walking inside the Manhattan criminal courts building and into custody.
Soon, he will appear before Manhattan judge where he will enter a not guilty plea, we're told.
Joining us now, our Jeff Zeleny, who's outside Trump Tower.
And, Jeff, Donald Trump just posted on Truth Social. Tell us about his message. JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, as
he was traveling down from Trump Tower here to lower Manhattan, he did post a message, or aides posted it on his behalf, certainly expressing this sentiment that we've heard that he's feeling.
And let's take a look at this. He says, "Heading to lower Manhattan, the courthouse seems so surreal" -- in all caps. "Wow, they're going to arrest me."
The former president writes, "Can't believe this is happening in America. MAGA."
Of course, MAGA is his "Make America Great Again" movement, really the anthem, the rallying cry for his candidacy.
But as we know from covering him for all these many years, these social message postings often offer the best insight into what he is actually thinking.
And there is, you know, for all the bravado, for all the trumpeting how much money they've raised, there was a real sense of apprehension for him, sort of leaving the comforts and security of Trump Tower to walking in to be arrested and alone. And we're getting a first glimpse of this.
This could be the message he also delivered when he is at least expected to speak very, very briefly at the courthouse before, again, delivering a full-throated response, a defense of these charges tonight in Mar-a-Lago -- Jake?
TAPPER: A former candidate who ran for president amidst crowds yelling for the locking up of his then-Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, has been arrested himself.
Joining us now, Adam Kaufmann, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney's office.
Thanks so much for joining us, Adam. Appreciate it.
I would think that District Attorney Alvin Bragg knows that this better be a clear-cut case given the unprecedented nature of such an arrest and arraignment.
What's your take on the case that he will likely present?
ADAM KAUFMANN, FORMER PROSECUTOR, MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S OFFICE: I agree with you, Jake. And thanks for having me on today.
You know, this is an unprecedented exercise of prosecutorial authority over a former president. And you really have to hope that it's a case with some substance to it, some heft to it.
And I think we're all waiting for the arrangement so we can see the indictment and analyze what it says and what the charges are.
I think back to the incident that you just mentioned of Rudy Giuliani on stage leading chants of "lock her up" about Hillary Clinton.
And I remember arguing with friends and saying, you know, you don't you don't lock up -- she may have broken the law, but you don't you don't lock up a presidential candidate for a sort of technical violation, for something where there's not really a criminal intent or a direct harm.
And so I'm very eager to see what this indictment says, and whether it speaks to some sort of substantial fraud, substantial attempt to subvert an election process, or something that is, I hope, more than some entries in the books and records of the Trump Organization.
TAPPER: And you know New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchen, who is presiding over this case. What can you tell us about him?
KAUFMANN: You know, I don't know Juan very well. I have not appeared in front of him. We started together in the D.A.'s office back in the mid-nineties. We were classmates.
As a colleague, Juan was always very -- he was a good colleague. He's a thoughtful prosecutor. He did a good job on his cases. You could count on him to cover a court part or an assignment for you if you needed it.
As a judge, he was in charge of the mental health court, which are cases that present their own sort of challenges.
You know, and I think he showed himself during the Trump Organization/Weisselberg -- well, the Trump Organization trial to be a thoughtful judge who listened to both sides, gave everyone a fair chance to express themselves, and then acted deliberately to make rulings on the law.
TAPPER: So right now, individuals watching CNN right now will see -- they're looking inside the Manhattan courthouse.
And tell us, Adam Kaufmann, former prosecutor with the district attorney's office, what exactly is going on right now, do you expect?
KAUFMANN: Well, as the other panelists have mentioned, you know, there's a whole arrest processing, a booking process that has to occur.
So Mr. Trump was taken into custody, was, of course, formally placed under arrest. He has to be printed, paperwork has to go to Albany, paperwork has to get to the court part. So there is a there's a fair amount of processing and administrative work that's going on.
His lawyers are waiting. He's waiting with the D.A. investigators. And from there, they will bring him to the courthouse to be arraigned.
You know, it is -- in a way, it is really surreal. And it's something where I've been on both sides. I've been the prosecutor waiting for a case to be arraigned and I've walked in clients to be arraigned. And you know the clients, all of them have that feeling of this is
surreal. There's a process that they're going into that they do not control. And the process sort of takes over.
For those who know the criminal justice system, it all makes sense. For someone who's coming, who's never been involved in it, which is most criminal defendants, it is -- it's just surreal.
And you sort of get plugged into the system, and it just -- it just goes and you have no control. You just sort of float along with it.
TAPPER: Adam, do have a TV screen in the room where you are? I'm not sure if you can see these images that we're seeing. If you can tell us what -- what hallway Is this is specifically?
KAUFMANN: Well, I can't say. I heard earlier the 15th floor. I don't -- I think the judge, Merchen, is on the 15th floor. I can't remember.
But that could be a shot of any one of a dozen floors in the criminal court building. They all look more or less identical. Sort of this old 1920s marble with big, ornate doors, a little bit run down. That's -- that's the New York criminal court building.
TAPPER: All right. Adam Kaufmann, former prosecutor with the D.A.'s office, thank you so much for your time.
COOPER: Thanks, Jake.
Kaitlan Collins is on the 15th floor. What you're looking at is the 15th floor.
Kaitlin, explain where you are, what we are seeing. It looks like there's some detectives or Secret Service there in the background.
COLLINS (via telephone): Yes, it looks like a mix of both, Anderson. Obviously, this is as they are bracing for Trump to come in.
I should note that we went through two levels of security to get here ourselves. And you can see there are officers lining the hallway, several barricades as well. And they've got us in a barricade pushed against the wall.
We are told Trump will come over through that door that you can see there, the black door with the aluminum on it or aluminum lining around it. We are told that is the door Trump is going to become through.
And then going into that courtroom before the judge. Obviously, the judge that he has been attacking.
We have not seen before president make it to the 15th floor yet. Our belief is he is still on the seventh floor right now. But he is expected to be up here any moment now. And we are told, Anderson, he is going to come before the cameras to deliver a brief statement. That is according to one of his attorneys, Chris Kise.
He has been wanting to speak to the media about his indictment ever since he arrived here in New York yesterday. He's not actually done so. He went straight to Trump Tower.
But we are told he wants to talk to the cameras. We'll see if he does make his way over here when he arrives on the 15th floor of the criminal court building.
COOPER: And Kaitlan, just quickly, the black-outed doors, where do they go? Is that where the president -- and where is the courtroom that the former president will be going to?
COLLINS: So it's not exactly clear -- it's not exactly clear which door is the courtroom and which door will Trump enter. He's going to come into one of those on that the hallway, though.
So in those two double doors into the courtroom, that is where he is going to be arraigned before the judge --
COOPER: Got it.
COLLINS: -- in a few moments.
COOPER: Kaitlan, thank you and stand by.
I'm here with John Miller and Karen Agnifilo, also Elie Honig.
Explain -- the 15th floor, came in saying he is on the seventh floor right now.
John, you raised the question of his Miranda Rights.
Karen, is he given his Miranda rights?
AGNIFILO: He probably will be, just to remind him not to say anything, not to blurt anything out.
And just in case he does say anything, the prosecutors will want to use that potentially at trial. They would want to have made sure that his Miranda warnings are read because it's -- Miranda warnings are triggered not just from an arrest, but if you're in custody and you're being interrogated and being asked questions.
So they want to be very technical and by the book.
COOPER: That's got to be an extraordinary moment for a former president United States to have a court officer, a former detective or current detectives working for the D.A.'s office reading his Miranda rights to him. MILLER: It's got to be kind of an out-of-body experience for the
investigator to say, Mr. President, you have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney.
The legal complication here is there's a couple of rules and laws in play here. He is represented by counsel. The D.A.'s office understands that. And they're not allowed to question him.
But Karen raises the point, if he starts talking, as Donald Trump is sometimes want to do, and making spontaneous statements, if one of them is relevant, is that is that usable?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, this happens all the time. People make statements during booking to get used against him at trial constantly.
And this is another moment, if he has been read his Miranda rights, you have the right to remain silent, that is another reality hit. That is another sobering moment.
The other thing I should add is, right about now is the time when the defense lawyers would be given the indictment because they need to go through it in advance.
Because what will happen in the actual courtroom is the judge will ask the defendant and the defense lawyers, have you had a chance to go through this indictment, because they have to know what's in it before they can plead.
And then the judge will say, would you like me to read it to you publicly or do you waive the public reading, do you give up the public reading? And 90 percent of the time, maybe more than that, the defendant says, we waive it, we don't need you to read it out loud publicly.
We've got reportedly 30-plus counts here. I imagine they will waive it. Maybe they want to stand on ceremony and have every single one of those 30-plus counts read. But right about now, it should be in their hands.
COOPER: The court -- it was supposed to be 2:15, correct?
MILLER: Yes, it's supposed to be 2:15 now.
COOPER: Is that something they would move up depending on how fast the processing goes or is 2:15 the time?
AGNIFILO: The court, courts take a break for lunch every day from 1:00 to 2:15. That is one of those things that is just --
COOPER: So you think --
COOPER: -- lunch break right now?
MILLER: Because these guys didn't get to eat if that's true.
But I think the other thing is this is -- there is nothing normal --
COOPER: That's the final indignity that they're that they're on lunch break if that's the case
MILLER: -- for security.
But this -- this is a day that -- where nothing is the same. So the courthouse was basically closed down. As of one o'clock, everybody had to be out. So if there was a trial going on, anything else. They're running a couple of arrangement parts downstairs.
But you know, again, there's two sets of magnetometers, one for everybody who comes into the building, and then again for anybody who's on the 15th floor.
Former President Trump would be taken from the seventh floor district attorney's office through the judges elevator to a floor that crosses over to the courthouse.
And then through a warren of back hallways, where he would enter this hallway and come into the courtroom.
The processing, though, which probably started when he -- not long after he arrived, and some of which might have been done in advance is going to take a bit.
So I mean, if everything goes smoothly, he should be produced in this hallway within 15 minutes. It's the judge's call as to when he is ready.
They have a room reserved, we've been told, a conference room or an empty courtroom on this floor for the attorneys and aides to gather. As Elie pointed out, that's probably where they're leafing through what could be a 50-page indictment to learn it.
COOPER: Adam Kaufmann, former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney's office, is also joining us as well in the conversation.
Adam, what are your thoughts as you -- as we wait to get site of the former president about -- what are you going to be listening for in the indictment once they are read out, what's in them and what's not in them?
KAUFMANN: I think it's really interesting to think about how this indictment might be framed.
And you know, we think about the false business records, I wonder if any of the valuation issues, the financial fraud type of issues that were part of the prior investigation and prior special grand jury -- and feature, a large part in the in the civil case filed by the attorney general, I wonder if any of that will be in it.
You know, an indictment like this, if you can, you would want to make it -- you want to have a conspiracy count. You'd want to be able to make it what we call a "speaking indictment." Meaning, you tell a story.
You have a conspiracy count that lets you give a narrative that describes the evidence that the grand jury heard and voted on, which is very different than a dry 30 counts of falsifying business records, which is the same paragraph repeated 30 times.
And so I'm wondering if there is --
COOPER: Let me ask you what -- why does a conspiracy count allow you to then have a narrative? I understand the idea of a narrative in the indictment that tells a story rather than just a dry recitation of facts. But why does a conspiracy count give you that?
KAUFMANN: So a conspiracy count lets the prosecution frame the conspiracy and describe the evidence that the grand jury heard.
If -- generally speaking, if you're talking about, for example, falsifying business records, the boilerplate language is just a dry recitation of the facts, that defending on such and such a date, with fraudulent intent, caused false entries in the records of a business with intent to conceal the commission of another crime.
You can add a little bit to it, but it doesn't lend itself to really telling a narrative or a story. A conspiracy is more of a story. And so that's what I would hope to see.
But on the other hand, you have to have a crime, which was the object of the -- it has to be a conspiracy to do something --
COOPER: So what's a conspiracy?
KAUFMAN: So that's a great question. Conspiracy is nothing more than an agreement between two people to commit a crime.
And you can describe what the agreement was and what the conspiracy hope to accomplish. And so that really gives the prosecution a strong ability to craft this sort of narrative.
Much more common in federal practice than in state practice. But it's a great opportunity for the prosecution to make a public statement within the four corners of the indictment.
COOPER: Given that Michael Cohen has served time for his involvement in this, and there was an unindicted co-conspirator in the federal case, does that lead you to believe that there would be a conspiracy count?
KAUFMANN: The problem is that the crime that Michael Cohen plead to involving Mr. Trump was this -- or involved, I should say, involving co-conspirator number one, involved this federal campaign or election law violation.
The Manhattan D.A.'s office cannot prosecute that crime. It's a federal offense. So they couldn't articulate that as a conspiracy to commit that crime because it's not a state crime.
And so it makes you wonder, is there another financial crime? For example, they could do this through a scheme to defraud. That would be a typical sort of state-level fraudulent scheme that would allow them to describe the type of crime and the type of narrative that I'm referencing.
COOPER: Karen, you wanted to say something?
AGNIFILO: Yes, so it can -- just picking up on what Adam said, a conspiracy charge, it could also be an agreement with David Pecker, for example. It doesn't necessarily only have to be conspiracy with Michael Cohen.
And it's going to be for a period of time. So from on or about a period of time to on or about a period of time. And it allows much more evidence to come in that a judge might otherwise hold out, because it's saying it's not related to these -- did you make this business record entry?
And conspiracies also require that you plead the overt acts that are in further into this conspiracy. So what were the actions that were taken that are in furtherance of this conspiracy?
And I think that, again, you could have so much more in there that are overt acts that aren't necessarily crimes in and of themselves, like did they pay other people off? Did they get together to agree to pay hush money payments? Did they -- how are they going to influence the election?
Things that aren't necessarily elements of a crime or a crime --
COOPER: Obviously, doors opened, a number of people.
KAUFMANN: It's the D.A.'S staff.
COOPER: That's the D.A. staff.
What does that tell you about --
KAUFMANN: It's -- Sue Hoffenger (ph), Peter Pope (ph) were there. I couldn't see everyone. But I see some financial crimes analysts going in. So it looks like it's the team that worked on this indictment.
COOPER: So where are they coming from, and where they're going to? Are they going to the courtroom?
AGNIFILO: Going in the courtroom.
COOPER: So the court -- so that's the door that the president -- Karen, that's the door of the president, the former president is likely to come through and the courtroom is immediately to the left?
AGNIFILO: So there are many doors into the courtroom, and it's not just this one door. There are side doors, and there's a backdoor
COOPER: Not just speaking metaphorically?
AGNIFILO: So --
AGNIFILO: -- there are many doors in the courtroom and many hallways that lead to each door, depending on where someone's coming from.
A judge comes in a different door. A jury comes in even another door. A defendant who is incarcerated comes in a different door. The public comes in the main door.