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Trump On Way To Mar-a-Lago After Facing 34 Felony Charges In New York; Trump About To Speak After Facing 34 Felony Charges; The Indictment Of Donald Trump. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired April 04, 2023 - 19:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And welcome to CNN's special live coverage of the indictment of Donald Trump. This is a special edition of OUTFRONT.

I'm Erin Burnett in New York, along with Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

And Wolf and I have just watched the former president exiting his private plane coming down the stairs. He is heading back to Mar-a- Lago, as you see, coming down those stairs there now in his motorcade, leaving the airport, heading back to Mar-a-Lago.

All after he pleaded not guilty in the New York courtroom to 34 counts related to hush money payments before the 2016 election. All of them were felony counts.

We are all seeing supporters now that some of them lining the roads where Trump will be driving by, waiting for the motorcade to pass. And once he is back at Mar-a-Lago, Trump is expected to take a brief break and then speak publicly for the first time since today's historic meeting that room, that big ballroom in Mar-a-Lago, also filled with Trump supporters.

And we'll just show you some images that we have. This actually happened today. Trump's hearing his arraignment, there's the picture that we are able to see what we're told he was staring straight ahead for much of the time, occasionally looking over prosecutors. This is a pivotal moment, of course, in American history, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Certainly is. Trump, he's already campaigning for president of the United States once again, and it's the first time a current or former president United States ever had to face criminal charges and, according to this indictment from August 2015 to December 2017, the defendant or -- the defendant, that would be Trump, orchestrated a scheme with others to influence the 2016 presidential election by identifying and purchasing negative information about him to suppress its publication and to benefit the defendant's electoral prospects. That's a quote from the charges, very, very significant charges, indeed -- Erin.

BURNETT: That's right, Wolf. And Trump responding to them online. That's all we've had right now is an online response. He wrote: The hearing was shocking to many and that they had no surprises and therefore no case. Virtually, every legal pundit has said that there is no case here. There was nothing done illegally. That's the case he's making.

And, of course, Wolf, we can expect a lot more of that -- a lot more amped up when he speaks tonight.

BLITZER: We certainly can. We have a team of reporters, Erin, standing by. Kara Scannell is OUTFRONT live just outside the courthouse in New York. Kristen Holmes is over at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Let me start with you, Kristen. The former president, he's expected at Mar-a-Lago now any minute now, not a far drive from the airport in Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, over to the Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach.

So what's happened there? What do we -- what can we anticipate?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, just about a 10 minute drive over here, and we aren't likely to see him until 8:15. And we know that he was really crafting and finishing up that speech when he was on the plane.

And sources have told us that he is going to make this political or at least make this in part political, which is what we have seen really since the last several weeks, not even just the last several weeks, the last several months, any legal entanglement, any investigation. That is how Trump has continued to play it.

But if it's any indication, while he was in his arraignment, his team blasted out a fundraising email in which they had manufactured a mug shot on t-shirts, and we're selling them to his supporters in order to raise money off of this.

And, Wolf, one of the things that you noted, is that in addition to being a former U.S. president, he is also a candidate for 2024. A lot of what they're doing is looking at this through the lens of a 2024 candidate and linking it to being political.

That is, in part why you have seen them linking Alvin Bragg, to Democrats to Joe Biden, in particular saying that this is, quote/unquote, election interference and we don't expect that to stop. Now, the one interesting thing we will be watching for is how Republicans change their messaging at all after today. As we have noted, there all of these -- this commentary -- this big defense of the former president comes without anyone having actually seen those charges.


Well, now, they have seen them. But if it's any indication on social media, on conservative talk shows, those Republicans are going to stand by and we have seen several of his allies out there.

And I do want to note also in this room tonight, we have seen several of his allies, a lot of conservative commentator, social media stars, Michael Lindell is here. Bikers for Trump is here. Club 45 members are here. It will be interesting to see how he reacts with the car -- with the

crowd. It certainly feels more of a rally vibe just at Mar-a-Lago, just given the energy in the room. You have a lot of rabid supporters here.

BLITZER: Kristen Holmes is already in that ballroom at Mar-a-Lago. Well, stand by and get back to you.

I want to go to Kara Scannell right now. She was inside the courtroom in New York during the arraignment.

So, Kara, what was so telling about Trump being there? It was also, who wasn't there. That was also significant.

KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Wolf. I mean, if you think about it, it was Trump went from essentially the Oval Office to the defense table. You know, in this courtroom, he entered the courtroom. You could hear a pin drop. It was so quiet just to the kind of historic moment that was really settling in on everyone, including it seemed the former president. He walked very slowly down the center aisle, scanning the aisles that were filled with reporters.

But taking this walk very slowly, added to kind of the weight of the moment and the anticipation in the room, you know. Then he was at the defense table. It was actually off to a pretty quick start. Once the agreement began, the judge asked him how he pled to those 34 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree felony, and Trump said it himself, not guilty.

You know, then they went on to deal with some other legal issues that prosecution also raising some of these questions about Trump's rhetoric, the threats, verbal attacks that he's made against the judge and against the District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Trump's lawyer, saying that he's been frustrated because the D.A.'s witnesses, including Michael Cohen have been on television, in print stories, talking about the case. They said that Trump felt like he couldn't say anything.

The judge said that the frustration did not justify these tweets. He asked everyone, both the prosecution witnesses and the former president to dial down their rhetoric to not say anything that could be viewed as inciting violence, or civil unrest.

You know, interestingly, Trump was flanked by his legal team, including his new attorney, Todd Blanche, who was added just yesterday to this legal team, but he had no family members in the courtroom. The only other associate was another attorney, although he's not working on this case, Boris Epshteyn, but someone who has worked with Trump and his close adviser. Otherwise, he was flanked by the secret service to as he exited the courtroom, and it was only after he left that we were all allowed to leave the building -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Kara Scannell reporting from New York, thanks very, very much.

And, Erin, you can see the motorcade getting closer and closer to Mar- a-Lago. BURNETT: All right. Absolutely, and we are -- we are watching that.

Of course, as we said, Trump will be speaking there.

Margaret Hoover's with me, former George W. Bush, White House staff, veteran of two GOP presidential campaigns, along with the former Democratic Congressman Mondaire Jones of New York who has known the District Attorney Bragg for more than a decade.

Bragg, of course, Mondaire, contributed to your campaign. The congressman held a fundraiser for Bragg. So, obviously, you know each other, you're friendly.

And Ryan Goodman and Karen Agnifilo are back with me.

All right. So, Joe Tacopina just did -- and who was sitting next to Trump today, in that courtroom, Karen and Ryan, just did an interview on Fox News, saying Trump himself wanted to say the words not guilty. Tacopina continued to say they were just -- they expected that they would see underlying evidence here, that they didn't and he does not think it will ever get to trial.


BURNETT: You think yeah, okay.

GOODMAN: It was on its current trajectory. I mean, he might want to say that, but it is a kind of a solid, falsifying business records case. So it looks like other cases like it. It doesn't look like the other charges that might be coming against Trump.

But just comparing apples to apples, it looks like other ways in which the D.A.'s office does charge somebody for falsifying business records, which in this instance is calling the hush money reimbursements to Michael Cohen legal services and illegal retainer that doesn't exist or didn't exist. So that's one part of it.

And then there's been a lot of conversation about they need to tie it to a second crime to make it a felony. That is where I think there will be trouble.

BURNETT: As opposed to misdemeanor, which is just a fine.

GOODMAN: That's right.

BURNETT: They went to felony route. They're trying to go that extra step to say that it was done in the furtherance of winning the election.

GOODMAN: That's right. And then there is a bit of a surprise today and there hasn't received as much attention which is that paragraph two of the indictment last sentence says these words: The participants also took steps that mischaracterized for tax purposes, the true nature of the payments made in furtherance of the scheme. That are that state tax crimes. That is a stronger case because it's insulated from a bunch of the legal challenges, of which there are strong legal challenges to be made to the election law crimes.

BURNETT: All right, but that would be a felony.

GOODMAN: That makes it a felony because you got --


BURNETT: All right. So there's two -- okay, which is significant.

Now, Karen, Trump just moments ago called into a prayer call of sorts. This is what it was. Anyway, he commented on it on the case. This is the first thing that we've heard him say, since he was there. And he said, not guilty.


So let's hit it into the line, he said.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: So, we're going to a fake investigation. That's what it is by radical left people that I believe actually have to hate our country. But we're winning. We had a great day today, actually, because it turned out to be a sham.


BURNETT: So, Karen, put aside the politics for a moment of what he said when they said, turned out to be a sham. He is referring right again putting aside the politics to the fact that we didn't get more information from Bragg, more underlying information, but Bragg has said that it is there, and it will come out.

KAREN AGNIFILO, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yeah. Look, I think it's important. He's trying to politicize this prosecution against Bragg, calling it calling them radical left extremists, et cetera, and you have to remember that Alvin Bragg was handed three separate cases involving Donald Trump, two were investigations. One was -- one was an indictment.

And Alvin Bragg when he took office a few weeks into his term, one of those investigations that was started under Cy Vance was handed to him and presented as if it was ready to go. And Alvin Bragg, if this was political could have just said, oh, great. Let's go. I'm going to bring this case.

But he said, hold on. I reviewed this case. I want more evidence because I'm going to follow the facts where they lead, he said. So, he and he decided to continue to investigate these cases while he prosecuted one of them.

So there's nothing about today that that strikes me as political. And calling this a sham -- there's nothing about this I think that seemed like a sham. I mean, he was handed a statement of facts that gives the information. It's a lot more than just the Stormy Daniels hush money payments. It's clearly talks about the payments to Karen McDougal and payments to a doorman as an overall way of trying to influence the election.

So I think we did get a little bit more today because it was unclear if this was just going to be about Stormy Daniels or a broader --

BURNETT: Right. He did include Karen McDougal and obviously a doorman that had also been part of the catch and kill scheme.

You know, Margaret, one thing about this is when you talk about the law and the politics, you know, Mitt Romney's statement I thought was interesting. He says, I don't think that -- I'm not quoting him, but I'm close to it. Trump is unfit to serve, but this was political. And this is this is a problem.

And that was Mitt Romney, who was, you know, voted to impeach and that there, you're starting to see some of the lines being drawn here, even within the GOP.

MARGARET HOOVER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I mean, I think Romney rather than saying it was explicitly political, said that the district attorney or that Alvin Bragg stretched this beyond the scope of maybe the discretion that another district attorney might have had.

As there are other Republicans have been honest, Erin, and said, as Republicans who do not support Donald Trump, who do not want him to be the standard bearer of the Republican Party, wished this had been frankly, I just -- frankly, a much more robust slam dunk case against the former president. If you're going to take the step of indicting a former president of United States, of arraigning on television a former president, United States you would hope that it was something that just sensibly was easier to explain to the public that is, is as simple as 11,780 votes in Georgia or stealing documents from the White House and not giving them back and then obstructing. I mean, there are other cases that are more cut and dry.

What I continue to wonder as we are here in this moment, and this was relevant because it was the first, but it may just be the first. And against the backdrop of these other cases, all of our analysis about how flimsy this cases compared to that case may become moot.


HOOVER: The fact is, this is a man -- there is a fact pattern here. This is a man who has thwarted the law, who has polarized the country and is diminishing our system of rule of law and all is a series of procedures and laws that we agree upon, that he is going to beat the system. He needs to beat the system from within the system rather than rallying people against it.

BURNETT: Right. And, Mondaire, you -- obviously, you know him, Alvin Bragg, and you know, what you're feeling is to his decision to do this to go first, even given what he knew would be a perception among many, right, maybe partisan in some cases, perception, among many that this was not the way the first thing to go.

MONDAIRE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Largely a partisan consideration that people have been making with respect to, you know, saying that this is attenuated, I think.

Look, we should not be raising the bar for prosecution simply because he is a former president of the United States. I think if I had committed these crimes or if someone else at this onset had committed these crimes, you know, we wouldn't be second guessing I think, Alvin, in the way that --

BURNETT: Do you think if you are running for Congress that anybody would have -- no offense, but I'm saying Congress versus former president -- anybody would have cared enough to look and pursue these crimes? You really believe that?

JONES: I do. I do. I think if the -- if the evidence had been elicited in some way, that the evidence was in the possession of a prosecuting authority, that plenty of people would have been prosecuted for this crime. Look, to your point, I've known Alvin for over a decade now.

And I've made the point that Karen made earlier for a number of days now, which is that? If Alvin Bragg were engaging in political persecution. He would have done the same thing in an easier case, frankly, that someone like Mark Pomerantz and Carey Dunne resigned over.

I mean, Mark Pomerantz famously wrote a book arguably unethically so, in a tell-all, in a tell-all about how, you know --

BURNETT: Trying to get Trump.

JONES: -- if he had been the D.A., then he would have prosecuted Donald Trump for personal and business financial dealings.

So that is consistent -- what Alvin did in that case is consistent with what I know about him, which is he is someone who follows the facts and then applies the law. And he does not care about public opinion. I think that's what we want more district --

BURNETT: Maybe this country needs to have a broader conversation about though, if we're going to keep saying that about people, maybe we shouldn't elect them affiliated with political parties to these positions. I mean, I'm just beyond the scope of this conversation --


JONES: There's a judicial race in Wisconsin today, right?

BURNETT: All right. But we're going to pause. We're all staying here.

Next, more on the historic arrest and arraignment of Donald Trump. The former president's motorcade just made its way through the streets of Palm Beach to Mar-a-Lago where in just a short time, he will speak publicly about today's hearing.

And Trump's former White House lawyer Ty Cobb is my guest. We're going to get his reaction to the 34 felony count charges Trump is now facing. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BURNETT: Welcome back to our special coverage of the arrest and arraignment of Donald Trump. This is a special edition of OUTFRONT.

Donald Trump has now arrived back in Florida, his plane touching down just a few moments ago, and John Miller is with me now here in New York chief law enforcement and intelligence agent.

And, John, I want to talk more about how, you know, Bragg is using basically a complicated set of laws here, right? But -- and very complicated. Now, what's interesting here is trying to use, you know, to get this to a felony account, you say oh, we were doing it in furtherance of winning an election. But what's interesting here from what you're reporting is that Bragg has tried something like this before.

JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So I mean, what he's done here is he is paired up one very standard set of laws with one very unique partner in this idea that the partner well in terms of the muscle left right, the one that the one that says it's not just falsifying business records, but it's for the purposes of influence in an election. And there's a state statute that goes with that.

These haven't been together before, in a similar case in New York state. So people are talking about, you know, motion papers. They're coming. This is going to get dismissed. This is never going to work.

Bragg just did a case where they used a state, New York state, not federal, terrorism law for a crime that occurred in two other countries for a defendant who had never been to New York county, to Manhattan. And everybody said that case is going to fail. It started under -- it started like this and investigation, under Cy Vance and it was completely unique. Defendant was convicted on all charges and sentenced to 18 years about the week before last.

So what I'm saying here is --

BURNETT: Just because it hasn't been done before doesn't mean it can't be done successfully by Alvin Bragg.

MILLER: That's what I was -- that's what I was saying.

BURNETT: That's my summary right, but that's --


MILLER: But I mean, there's a little daring. There's a little creativity, but it's not bound to fail.

BURNETT: Right. I think that's significant because there are some were saying that because you're doing this before, you know, this new thing that it will -- that it will definitional failed, something important to say.

All right. Wolf, you know, interesting context there that John is providing, right? That Bragg is creative and has been successful.

BLITZER: Very successful and very creative indeed, and John knows clearly what he's talking about.

I want to bring in our legal and political experts to assess what's going on right now.

And, David Chalian, Trump clearly wasn't in his element today in that courtroom in New York City, but he will be very soon in his element, and that big ballroom where all of his supporters have gathered to hear his remarks at Mar-a-Lago.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah. You got to imagine, for the former president, the front runner for the Republican presidential nomination, tonight is going to feel a lot better than the day felt. I know, he said, we heard in that audio, in that sort of prayer call he did with some supporters that it was a great day.

This was not a great day for Donald Trump. There's no amount of spin that you can put on it to say that this was a great day. But tonight, he will be back in that comfort zone of solidifying that support where he has such a unique, strong bond with his core supporters and going on the attack.

I think not just on this prosecution. I think you're going to hear him go on the attack on all the other investigations that are out there. The Fulton County one, the two avenues of the special counsel investigation federally here.

I think he's going to try to lump it all together as this is a political set of prosecutions, potential prosecutions, and it's not as he says that the rallies, they're not just coming at me. They're coming for you. And I'm standing in their way. That's his ability to fortify that base.

BLITZER: I want Nia to weigh in. What are you going to be listening for his remarks tonight?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think the thing about Donald Trump is he isn't what he used to be, right? He's almost like a feeding athlete. He's kind of lost a step in his fastball, isn't what it used to be. Much of what we've -- you know, he's going to say tonight, I think David lays it out pretty nicely, w've heard before.

We've heard his attacks, his terrible attacks on Alvin Bragg, on Truth Social. We've heard this sort of grievance. We heard this idea that it's just a -- you know, a radical left plot, and he is the most persecuted man since Jesus Christ. I think he's essentially said that. So that's what we're hear tonight.

It will be interesting to see what his energy is like. We've seen him at Mar-a-Lago over the last few months in the sort of energy isn't necessarily there like it used to be even the energy from his supporters isn't what it used to be. So, we'll see what he says tonight, but I imagine it will be sort of Donald Trump's greatest hits about grievance and people going after him, and him being sort of the only person who can stand for the folks in that audience, in the Republican primary voters.

And I do think it will be sort of a call to arms for other Republicans, right, to say, you know, this is a witch hunt, and you've got to stand by me.


And listen so far, Republicans, even his potential opponents like Ron DeSantis, are essentially, you know, backing him and holding his hand through this whole thing.

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, Elliot. You've been going through the transcript of the actual arraignment in New York earlier today. What stands out to you?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: And it's interesting as we talk about all the politics. There's this court proceeding today that was in many respects quite mundane and not unlike the kinds of criminal hearings you hear about all the time.

So, number one, they really went into just some of the basics of setting dates. When are the motions due? How long do you need to get your papers together? And they set that date for August.

But two legal points that I think were significant. Number one, the judge does give a light warning to the former president about the social media, says that I can't -- because of your role as a as a political candidate and a free speaker in society, I can't silence you now. But sort of watch it. And he sort of puts that out there.

And then, two, he also -- they gently asked Trump's attorneys for what's called a bill of particulars to clarify the indictment a little bit. They hint that they think, you know what? We don't have enough information here, and we'd really like prosecutors to clarify this before we can really fairly respond to it.

BLITZER: We'll see how that unfolds.

All right, guys, everybody stand by.

OUTFRONT next, live pictures from inside Mar-a-Lago as we wait to hear. The former president's first public comments about today's hearing.

Plus, Trump's former White House lawyer, Ty Cobb. He'll join us. Did he learn anything new from today's indictment?


BURNETT: Welcome back to our special coverage of the arrest and arraignment of Donald Trump. We're looking at a live at Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago.

He is expected to speak there very soon, I want to talk about that and a lot more with Ty Cobb, Trump's former White House lawyer.

So, Ty, I appreciate your time.

I know you've had a chance to go through the indictment through the statement of facts. Did you see anything new of consequence in those?

TY COBB, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE LAWYER: Sadly, Erin, I didn't. I will say that as most of your viewers know that, I'm not a big fan of the former president. I never voted for him. And I was sort of hoping based on my former prosecutorial experience that we would see more meat on the bones, but I just don't see it.

I think we see a lot of the facts that we already knew, trying to be shaped into a series of legal theories that as many on your show tonight and elsewhere have acknowledged are untested. That doesn't mean that they can't succeed, but it's -- it's -- it doesn't. I don't feel stronger about the case, having read this then I did previously.

BURNETT: So, earlier, I spoke to the former Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance, right? He's the one who opened this investigation to Trump.

COBB: Sure.

BURNETT: He ultimately didn't bring charges. He said that's because the southern district of New York had told him to stand down and it wasn't because the merit or lack thereof. But he said something different about the indictment. Here he is.


CYRUS VANCE JR., FORMER MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: I found that the document actually quite detailed. I mean, it is a speaking indictment, and it has quite a bit of detail about the history and laid out the facts underlying then the various counts that are listed. So I thought that the indictment provided more detail than perhaps others expected.


BURNETT: I was a bit surprised to hear him say that. What's your reaction? Did -- obviously, he sees it very differently than you do.

Uh huh. Okay. It looks like we just lost. All right. We just lost ties connection there. When we get back, we'll get it back. We're watching this, live ballroom.

All right. Karen, it is interesting that -- I mean, Cy Vance, there aren't a lot of people have said what's Ivan's has said, and being surprised at how much extra detail was there, but I thought ties contacts that he's given us so far was important, right? He was -- he was hoping that there would be more than he got.

AGNIFILO: Yes, so I work for Cy Vance for 12 years, so I speak Cy.


AGNIFILO: And what he meant was the indictment combined with the statement of facts. He felt -- he was calling the whole thing the indictment, and that's what he meant when he said he thought it was not just bare bones.


AGNIFILO: Because the indictment itself -- the actual --

BURNETT: True, but even in the statement of fact, there weren't really any facts we didn't know.

AGNIFILO: I mean, I was surprised to see the Karen McDougal stuff in there. I was surprised to see the doorman. I mean, you know, I'm getting text messages from people all day, you know? Is there a child that we didn't know about? You know?

BURNETT: And I will be fair. We did know about the doorman before and we did know that the -- that the "National Enquirer" looked into it and found it not to be. So I know it was new to some, but it wasn't actually new.

We got Ty back. So, Ty, let me just give you a chance. We were talking about Cy Vance there.

You have spoken tied Ty to multiple former prosecutors in the SDNY today since this came out, what are they telling you?

COBB: So I've talked -- I've talked to a couple of former New York district attorney prosecutors as well. You know, I think the -- certainly, the consensus is nothing new here. You know, there's some debate about, whether, you know, marrying the offenses in the way that was done in this indictment can get -- get passed a motion to dismiss. Some people believe it can, others don't believe it can and this is people on both sides of the political spectrum.

I think -- I think the real challenge here is and I have a lot of respect for Cy Vance. I knew his father. I thought he was, you know, one of the greater public service that we've ever had. But I also think for Cy Vance to complement this indictment is a little bit like the Beach Boys song "Be True to Your School". I mean, it was his -- it was his office. So I wouldn't expect him to say much else.

On the other hand, it is -- it is -- it is a case now it's going to be played out in court. There will be motions and somebody mentioned the bill of particulars earlier.


I think based on the content of the indictment that develop particulars would ordinarily be quite likely here because there are many gaps to fill.

BURNETT: Yeah. COBB: And I do think that there will be motions to dismiss, motions for bill of particulars. I think there are also be, you know, a lot of emotions based on you know, can you really marry the statues in the way they are. And I thought that the most interesting thing for me at the hearing today if I might was the fact that the judge said, you know, have a nice day. I'll see you in December, because that suggests -- that suggests that this case is not going to move at the speed that the public had expected and hoped for.


COBB: So and then I guess the -- you know, the other issue is, you know, I have is -- you know, there is a -- there is a F35 missile armed weapons being piloted by Jack Smith with Merrick Garland as his wingman in D.C. that's going to get off the ground soon in the Mar-a- Lago obstruction case there will that will make this look like you know a water pistol fired earlier.


COBB: It's just -- nobody is going to go to jail in the New York case. The consequences to Trump are not going to be significant, and it's going to cost New Yorkers tens of millions of dollars.

So I just get -- I get back to sort of the why, particularly in view of the strength of the -- of the federal case.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Ty, thank you very much. An important point you raised there by the way, it is going to cost tens of millions of dollars of taxpayers just to get this through the system.

And next, we're going to take you back to Mar-a-Lago where the former president is expected to arrive in just moments. We have more of our Kristen Holmes on what we're expecting him to say, which is important in light of the judge, choosing not to impose a gag order yet or at this time.

Plus, we're hearing from voters for the first time. What they're saying about the 34 charges Trump now faces.



BURNETT: Welcome back to this special edition of OUTFRONT, the arrest and arraignment of Donald Trump. You're looking at a live shot at Mar- a-Lago where we're waiting for Trump to address the crimes that he has now been formally charged with.

Let's go back to Kristen Holmes. She's there at Mar-a-Lago, where Trump is expected to speak in just minutes.

And, Kristen, I know that you've been watching people there that room fill up. You're seeing some notable Trump supporters coming through and a different energy in the room now? HOLMES: Yeah, Erin. That's right. I mean, these events at Mar-a-Lago are usually more low key than a rally. We saw that when he announced his presidential bid back in November there seated. They are members of the club usually. They're shorter. People tend to mingle a little bit, but then take their seats.

That is not what we're seeing right now. There is a lot of energy in the room. It feels a little bit more like a rally. Just seconds ago, we heard chanting, Kari won, because Kari Lake walked in the room, almost the entire room erupted.

We've seen Roger Stone, Michael Lindell -- it's really a who's who of MAGA world here, like tell it by the energy and again. I know I mentioned this earlier, but the entire Bikers for Trump group is here, as well as Club 45, then you also have some of the members among social media stars and the conservative world.

We are expecting him to feed off of this and to make a political speech. I just talked to one source close to Trump, who indicated that this speech was going to really lean into what we heard one of our commentators saying a few moments ago, that Trump's message is that they can do this to me. They can do this to you. They're actually coming for you, but I'm just standing in the way.

And, of course, this is a message. We have heard time and time again, but not a message. We have heard post his arraignment.

There had been some questions as to whether or not the messaging would change once we saw those charges, but we're not getting any indication of that. He is looking at this through the lens of 2024. As we continue to note during his arraignment, they sent out a fundraising email with a manufactured mug shot on it.

So that is the tone they are setting, and that is what they are doing moving forward.

BURNETT: All right and interesting that you say it's really a rally.

And, Wolf, you know Mike Lindell, Kari Lake, Roger Stone, talk about a who's who of MAGA world as Kristen puts it.

BLITZER: Yeah, big crowd getting ready to hear the former president of United States. Erin, thank you.

I want to go to our own Danny Freeman. He's out there in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, not far from Philadelphia, right now.

Danny, you had a chance today to talk to some people there in Pennsylvania. What's been their reaction, at least so far to Trump's arraignment today, his arrest and the list of felonies he's now charged with.

DANNY FREEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I got to be honest with you. It's been a bit of a mixed bag out here in Pennsylvania. We're in Media, Pennsylvania, right now, as you said in Delaware County. It's one of the collar counties around Philadelphia, the suburbs of Philly all important, of course, for presidential elections. And there's a reason why.

And I want to show you two voters that we spoke with, to kind of illustrate that point. First is a gentleman by the name of Patrick Lynch (ph). Now, he actually told us he's a registered Democrat, but back in 2016, he voted for Trump. But since then, he has fallen off of supporting that particular candidate, especially in light of days like today.

And also introduce you to a diehard Trump fan. His name is Michael Leya (ph) who has voted for Trump in the past and still keeping the faith. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's divisive.

FREEMAN: When it comes to thinking about Trump in 2024 --


FREEMAN: -- you kind of feel like you gave him a shot already?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he had his shot and he blew it as far as I'm concerned.

FREEMAN: Does President Trump being charged today, does that change your perspective going into 2024?


FREEMAN: Why not?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all. He still -- still has the same values, views as he did. So I still support that.


FREEMAN: Now, Wolf, I showed you. Those two clips aren't there to illustrate both sides of the coin. You have the diehard Trump supporters who are staying in this camp, even with such a news making daylight today about those charges.

But then in the suburbs of Philly, you have these voters that are all important, the swing voters that sometimes what Republicans sometimes vote Democrat and those are the folks that we had to speak with today that are starting to -- if they had not already in the past, their support for Trump has eroded.

I even spoke to Republican voter today who said, yeah, I voted for Trump twice, like the guy, but with January 6th, with the turmoil of the charges today, he's not my guy anymore. He's not going to go and vote Democrat unlike Patrick, but he said someone like Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, that's more attractive after a day like today -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Danny Freeman reporting for us -- thank you, Danny, very much.

OUTFRONT next, more on the historic arrest and arraignment of Donald Trump. President Trump back in Mar-a-Lago as we wait for him to speak publicly about today's historic hearing.


BURNETT: Welcome back to a special edition of OUTFRONT. The arrest and arraignment of Donald Trump, the former president expected to take the stage at any moment. That's what it is, basically a campaign rally, speaking to a crowd after his historic day in court.

And everyone is back with me.

Now, Margaret, you know, you heard Kristen talked about the energy in the room, and that this often is, you know, people milling around and a little bit more laid back. But this feels like a rally, and then she listed off some people there. Roger Stone, Mike Lindell, Kari Lake, people chanting, Kari won.

Just to give people a feel for that's the energy. That's the vibe. Those are the people. And Trump has an open stage.

HOOVER: Yeah, conspiracy theorists galore. People who refute the veracity of the 2020 election, the -- you know, my pillow guy who is in, you know, in -- you know, construing these bizarre legal theories and pumping out Donald Trump. It's really his comfort zone.

Listen, there is been for the last two years, Erin, a really Pollyannaish strain within the Republican Party that that believe that the days of Donald Trump were behind us, that after January 6th people like Paul Ryan, we're ready to say, you know what? We're ready for a Trump-light, like a DeSantis or a Nikki Haley or a, you know, Mike Pompeo event, you know, a responsible slightly populist, but more mainstream version of the Republican Party that will take over.

Make no mistake. That is done. This event tonight, I don't know what the thing in November was that was supposed to be his campaign launch.


This is Donald Trump's campaign launch. It is true. John Bolton is right. This is rocket fuel. Remember, he has raised a million dollars in the last 24 hours, $8 million in the last week, 25 percent of those dollars apparently are new money to the former president.

This has codified his position within the Republican firmament. He is very likely the Republican nominee because of all of the inertia that he is about to catalyze on his own behalf.

BURNETT: And, Mondaire, you know, have a judge today who declines to put a gag order on clearly, but it says, you know, watch what you say, and he's about to walk into.

The only thing that, he said since arraignment when he said not guilty was, you know to say the whole thing is a sham when he called into a prayer call, and now he's about to, you know, walk into a room literally full of rocket fuel for himself.



BURNETT: I have to say it's a prayer call. It was a prayer call. I'm sorry. I cannot contextualize it anymore. I wish that I could.

JONES: I can't get over that Trump -- the populist -- the economic populist is about to have a rally and what looks like the Versace mansion.

I mean, this is -- this is ridiculous. And of course, he's going to take this and he's going to run with it, and he's going to do well in the polls, and he'll probably as a result of stuff that happened even before the indictment, when the Republican nomination. But that does not mean that he's not going to be at a disadvantage in the general because, if and when the federal Department of Justice finally does its job and the good people down in the Fulton County D.A.'s office do their job today is going to look like nothing compared to the more significant crimes that this president is alleged to have committed.

BURNETT: Right. And you know, Ty talked about it, Ty Cobb, his foreign lawyer, saying the F-35 down in Washington at the DOJ.

But, you know, if you get obstruction of official proceeding, and if you get, you know documents, and if you get Georgia, you get all of those things -- I guess, Ryan -- I mean, I know it's impossible to timeline everything but will we get anything brought to a final conclusion, guilty or innocent in a court of law before the election?

GOODMAN: Maybe not. Maybe this case could wrap up late 2024. But --

BURNETT: And that's the Bragg case, right.

GOODMAN: That's the Bragg case, which is first on the on the conveyor belt.

And -- but I do think that we will get indictments in all likelihood in these other jurisdictions, and they might be something that is not as bare bones as this one that really tell a story so that the public will already have a sense of just how robust this case is, and I do think that the conversation on those evenings are going to be quite different than the conversation tonight.

BURNETT: But, Karen, when we talk about this case, this would probably be the fastest, at least that we understand it and still going to take us possibly into next spring. You know, you were laying this out as we've been talking that that's not delay or anybody slow slowing it. It's just that's the way the wheels of justice turn.

AGNIFILO: Yeah, that's about the right pace here in New York and state court. It takes about a year give or take, and in a case like this, they made they had a long -- a long adjourned date into well into December. But that was because many things are going to be happening. What they call off calendar. BURNETT: Yeah.

AGNIFILO: So there just not going to be a court appearance, but there will be deadlines for the defense to file motions, for the prosecutor to respond, and then the judge will have to make a decision and -- but they're pushing for the spring for this case to late winter or early spring for this to be --

BURNETT: Just to be clear for everybody, that's, you know, well into the primaries, you know pretty much done when you would know who the nominee would be, if we're talking about the spring.

All right. Thanks very much to all.

And next, Trump is now at Mar-a-Lago, getting ready to address that room of supporters. How does Melania Trump view this case about hush money payments and will that affect Trump's speech tonight? Because, obviously, she's there.

We'll be back.



BURNETT: And welcome back to this special edition of OUTFRONT: The indictment of Donald Trump.

You're looking at live pictures from inside Trump's Mar-a-Lago residents where any moment now, the former president is expected to speak about his arrest, and the indictment brought against him.

OUTFRONT now, Sarah Matthews, former Trump White House deputy press secretary.

And, Sarah, good to talk to you again.

So, you know, we're about to see Trump speaking. I do want to ask you about that.

But, first, I want to ask you about something you have a unique perspective on. Just to look at the images that we do have of Trump inside that courthouse today, I'm going to show you this moment after he had been placed under arrest at this point. He's walking into the courtroom to hear the charges against him.

What do you make of the expression on his face and his demeanor in this moment?

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER TRUMP: What I think is interesting. Is that his team this morning prior to him arriving at the courthouse, was trying to describe his mood as upbeat and resilient. But that man pictured there looks like anything but.

To me, he looks defeated. There's -- no way is this a good day for him. Despite what you want to say about, you know, the strength of the case or whether it's weak or not. He was still arrested today. And that's not good precedent to set and I think that it's definitely a humiliating day for him, and his face certainly shows it.

BURNETT: Right and, you know, we're looking right now is family is walking in Don Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, his fiancee. Marjorie Taylor Greene is coming in. We also saw Tiffany Trump his daughter, Eric Trump, his son and their spouses as well.

So, everyone here coming in.

Are you surprised, Sarah, that we have not seen or heard from Melania Trump at all?

MATTHEWS: I'm not surprised and I would be shocked if she does make an appearance tonight. Obviously, if she were to make an appearance, I think that that would bode well for him to have her by his side. But I think that this has to be an embarrassing day for her as well. Obviously in the indictment, it shows that two payments were made to two different women that her husband had an affair with.

And so I think she wants to stay as far away from this as possible.

BURNETT: And as Trump's about to speak, I mean, what do you expect to hear from him? I mean, we know he's defiant. We call it -- he called it a sham on that call he was on. He's raising all this money from this.

But yet, it is a serious day and a gag order would be a very serious thing there have been, you know, countless threats. I mean 60 or more as far as I understand it from John miller's reporting against people involved in all of this. Already, the threats of violence against them.

So what do you expect him to do tonight?

MATTHEWS: I think he probably will stay on message and avoid any attacks on the judge or the D.A. If he is smart, because if he were to not do that, I think that a gag order might be put in place. Obviously the judge has not gone forward with one as of now due to him being a presidential candidate.

But, obviously, if he starts to do the attacks again, which I don't know if he'll be able to resist -- I think he could stay on script tonight. But I think that moving forward, he might not be able to resist having those kinds of attacks against the people involved in the case.

But I do largely expect his message tonight to be the same thing we've heard from him, time and time again, which is they're coming after me because I'm fighting for you.

The only issue here is, is that lately, I think a lot of Trump's rallies have centered around his own personal grievances, and instead of talking about the issues that Americans care about. He's more focused on talking about his own personal grievances, and this case, he won't able to avoid it.

BURNETT: All right. Well, we will see what will happen. Of course, he'll be speaking soon.

And, Sarah, thank you very much.

Thanks to all of you for joining us.

Our special coverage of the indictment of Donald Trump continues now with Anderson and Jake.