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CNN Live Event/Special

The Arrest And Arraignment Of Donald Trump; Trump Pleads Not Guilty To All 37 Charges. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 13, 2023 - 16:00   ET



KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: Did you observe anything from Walt Nauta as you were sitting there in the room?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yeah. I mean, he also was just really sitting at the counsel table and he's quite much shorter than Trump himself, as well as his own attorney, Stanley Woodward, who was the person that was there representing Walt Nauta in the court. But a lot of the proceedings, that was not as much of a moment in court. And it took up far less of the time than the discussions around Donald Trump and particularly his bond.

So they didn't even read through the charges themselves. That's something that doesn't happen when you have a long indictment like this. They didn't walk through page by page and the judge said it would take us a while if we did. So, Nauta had to sit and wait for several minutes, more than half an hour, for the proceedings to progress through the focus of being on Donald Trump.

His attorney was clearly aware that there were going to be things applying to him as they're discussing these release conditions, who Trump could talk to. And the judge did acknowledge that Walt Nauta works for Donald Trump. He works for him every day. And so having a situation where the two of them can only be -- cannot discuss anything at all and could only communicate through their attorneys would be quite difficult.

COLLINS: Yeah, he's his personal aide, for those who don't know him. He's not a household name. He fetches his Diet Cokes and was seen fixing his collar at a golf tournament at Mar-a-Lago recently. Is there anything that stood out to you, Katelyn, as you were in the room as you were watching this?

POLANTZ: I mean, the thing that is always -- this is one the quietest courtrooms I have been. And court is always quiet, but we were instructed as we were entering, there was no speaking, and there would be no disturbances and anyone who would, have disturbance, would be removed and the number of security officials in the courtroom both protective details, for these two men, Jack Smith, the special counsel, and Donald Trump, the former president of the United States, was quite a lot. I mean, it is more than a dozen of those people plus court marshals from the U.S. Marshal Service, courtroom security officers, courtroom deputies. That is just a massive amount of security inside already an extremely

secure building and an extremely secure proceeding itself, where we had to go through security screens and mags multiple times.

COLLINS: Yeah, Jeff Sloman, who is a former U.S. attorney for the southern district in Florida, was saying that 13th floor, that courtroom is used for ceremonial moments.

Paula, as you look at this, I mean, the question that most people have, we know what is coming next for Walt Nauta, obviously, he's trying to get this Florida attorney. But what's next after this?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: So, I think you're going to start to see motions. They're going to try to get this case dismissed. And they're unlikely to be successful, but they maybe successful in at least delaying this. I think the goal is to delay this case, at least beyond the election. Obviously, special counsel Jack Smith has said he wants a speedy trial, and he believes this will last about three weeks, so about a month approximately. But it's unclear how they would get that done before the election, before they would run into sort of the time where you're not supposed to really do anything that could potentially interfere with the election.

Once again I think we're going to be raising some unprecedented constitutional questions there, but they're going to try to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. As I said, they're likely going to want to litigate every question about privilege before Judge Cannon and even if they're not successful, even if they're not going to win on the merits, they're just going to throw everything to try to delay this as long as they can. That's always the strategy with Trump as you know, but I think the goal right now for him is to try to get back in the White House so he could either try to have this case dismissed, right, try to have his attorney general fire the special counsel and then dismiss this or potentially pardon himself.

Once again, those would be completely unprecedented issues. That would likely go before the Supreme Court. But as per usual, Trump right now, the number one strategy is to delay and the other thing is to keep Walt Nauta as close as humanly possible.

POLANTZ: I mean, you can already see something like this happening in a proceeding like this in that this bond issue of who he could talk to and what he could talk to them about, his attorneys did not want any sort of condition like that. Even if it is something as what the judge said, well, you would clearly agree that you've talked to your client about what he can't say to witnesses in this case or his co-defendant, they can't talk about this case. And his attorney said, yes, your honor, I have done that. And so, the judge said, so what's the issue?

That is the condition I want to impose and they were even trying at that point in time to argue against it. And it really dragged out even this proceeding, which was so procedural in so many ways. It's the signing of paperwork in the courtroom. It's the formality of saying these are your charges and your plea is not guilty. And so, you know, they do have the ability to oppose the people on this list that could be one of the first things that we see in this case when it arises. But it really is a case that is already starting out where the Justice

Department is indicating they want to work with the defense team and make arrangements so that everyone can sort of negotiate and land in a place that's agreeable to progress to trial without too many hiccups, and the defense seemed to be quite taken aback that the judge might want to do something else.


COLLINS: Yeah, Trump is a very different kind of co-defendant.

Jake, obviously, fascinating to hear from Katelyn about what it was like there in the courtroom.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right. Thanks so much, Kaitlan Collins.

This is a special edition of THE LEAD.

As we see Donald Trump leaving the Miami courthouse, where he just entered a not guilty plea to all 37 counts in the indictment. He is, of course, the first former president to become a criminal defendant in a federal prosecution, in the great history of the United States.

And, Dana Bash, one of the things that we want to keep in mind, as we watch this motorcade leave the courtroom, is that in all likelihood, this is just the second of four indictments we will see Donald Trump facing. The next two we expect will be for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. One specific prosecution in Georgia, that we expect. And the other also from special counsel Jack Smith, about his role in January 6th.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, I mean, we'll see how the January 6 part of the special counsel's investigation plays out. But when it comes to Georgia, she's made clear that is going to happen this summer. She's already sent alerts to law enforcement. She did so I believe last month. And so, that was an indicator that this is, we are maybe going to see at least round three of this kind of thing.

But just watching this imagery, and listening to Katelyn Polantz talk about what it was like in that courtroom. Again, to talk about the former president's demeanor, to have the reality, clearly set in, like it did in New York. But there's no question that this feels different, it has to feel different to him.

This is a federal case. This is a federal case that has, despite his, you know, bombast about how it's just politics, a federal case that has really, really serious charges against him. And he knows it.

TAPPER: Yeah, and, Jamie Gangel, one of the things that we heard is from Republicans, not a ton of them but enough, talking how serious these charges are, possibly most strikingly, from Trump's own former attorney general, Bill Barr, saying that even if half the charges in the indictment are true, Trump is toast.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. But as we have seen with Republicans, we've seen as you pointed out earlier today, Republicans who may have a military background, seemed to take this more seriously. On the other hand, we have Nikki Haley said today, she would be inclined to pardon Trump. We've had other Republicans, I believe it was Mitch McConnell, who said basically he didn't want to comment on it at all.

So, by and large, Marco Rubio, who is the ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, was dismissing it.

By and large, Republicans are still standing with Donald Trump, at least publicly, as well as fund raising. I just want to come back to a point.

TAPPER: Can I just interrupt for one second --


TAPPER: -- because people are probably watching what we're -- wondering what we are watching, which is, this is the Versailles Cafe in Miami. You can see there is a group of presumably Trump supporters, it's a favorite -- a famous Cuban restaurant in Miami, and we're seeing a room group of Trump supporters, presumably, waiting for him. And he may be going in there and when that happens we will bring it to you but please go ahead, Jamie, with what you are saying.

GANGEL: My first job was in Miami. I spent a lot of time there.

BASH: And must go to for Republicans on the campaign trail.

GANGEL: I know that we have said this every day, but the question we have to keep asking is why he did it? To Dana's point, a federal indictment, this is different. Trump brought this day on himself, he could have stopped it at anytime, by simply giving back the documents.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And just to bring these to conversations together, what we are watching Trump do right now is cloaked in the self in the politics of it all, surround himself with his supporters, with his acolytes, with people who love him. We are going to probably go into a more quiet period on the legal front for a little bit here. And in the meantime, Trump is going to fill that time with this. And he is going to try to obscure the facts of the case, that are in the indictment, obscure the reality of the consequences that he could face, with just more of the same chants of a witch hunt so on and so forth.


And this is, obviously, a very intentional moment that he is trying to create here, just to say that his support, we've been having a discussion about whether or not Republicans with titles in front of their names are changing their view. But he is trying to say here, that his support really is not waning among his supporters.

TAPPER: All right. Let's listen in as the president shows up. And okay, so we're actually going to be talking. So, John King, the Versailles Cuban restaurant, a big hub for the

Cuban American community in Miami. Randi Kaye is actually in the Versailles Cafe right now.

Randi, what are you seeing?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): I am at Versailles Cuban restaurant, in Little Havana. And there is such a crowd here. The motorcade has just arrived from federal court in Miami. And, this was of course an unannounced visit --



KAYE: That is the crowd, that is a crowd cheering, you hear me over them. Well, there are dozens of people here, all of their phones, all waiting for a glimpse of the former president. This is a very, very popular community, and restaurant in the Cuban community, where it's been here since 1971.

This is a place where almost every presidential candidate comes, for the last few days, just to reach the Cuban vote. These people are very excited. We've been talking some of them off camera about the fact that he may be even be stopping here today.

And they are in full support of him. They don't buy the indictments. They don't believe it. And they just think he is a great businessman, a strongman and that is why they are supporting him.

But the scene here, the entire road is closed off. There are dozens of police and the Secret Service and a lot of very, very passionate supporters. We are waiting for the president to be -- former president to be inside, to greet some of the people here, who have been waiting here and now it seems like for an hour to make this.

TAPPER: And, John King, one of the things one of things, obviously, that Donald Trump and his supporters are trying to do here, and it's obviously preposterous, is compare himself and the fact that he is being -- that he has been arrested and indicted now on two different locales, and it may have been sent to other places, trying to compare himself to the political persecution faced by Cuban American -- Cubans, by the communist government of Cuba. It is absolutely preposterous suggestion and comparison, but they are attempting to make it, John King.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He is -- this is a witch hunt by a bipartisan Justice Department by his opponent in the next election, his likely opponent in the next election. That is the Trump argument.

It's also an effort, Jake, to show I'm fine, I'm good. I'm out campaigning, I'm with you. You know, they're coming after me when they're done with me, they're coming after you. That's the whole persecution theme he makes. But, you know, food for everyone, he says there. So this is the

visuals he wants. I just left the courthouse. I'm good. I'm going to campaign.

I think critically, he's going to get on his plane from here. He's going to do a fundraiser tonight in New Jersey. Then he's going to speak. I think what he says tonight will be more important for the pictures we're seeing right here. But again, this is Trump --

TAPPER: You can see Walt Nauta, his co-defendant, is there. They see him. He's the guy behind the guy with the Miami hat. He's a Trump's body guy. He's with the maroon tie towards the left of your screen. That's Walt Nauta, Trump's co-defendant, also accused of obstruction of justice, and the various charges.

Remember, it's a 37 count indictment. And Donald Trump has been charged with 37 charges. Nauta, charged with, I believe, six of those charges, Elie Honig. And as we watch Donald Trump attempt to turn his arrest and indictment into some sort of campaign commercial, we need to remember that the reason we are watching this is because Donald Trump is accused of breaking some very serious, national security laws and then obstructing and refusing to cooperate with the FBI.

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, whatever this spectacle is that is unfolding before us, let's remember what this case is about. Let's remember what this indictment charges. Again, Donald Trump is charged with a series of federal felonies, for mishandling the most sensitive government documents that we have, and for obstruction of justice, along with Walt Nauta, who isn't charged with intentionally setting applies to the grand jury, to the FBI.


Anyway you look at this, and again, despite whatever maybe going on in that restaurant, this case isn't going to be settled legally in a cafe. It's going to be settled in the court and the facts of law.

TAPPER: The folks in the control room, I don't need to see any more of that. That he's trying to turn it into a spectacle, into a campaign ad. That's enough of that. We've seen it already.

Let's go over again the 37 charges that Donald Trump is facing right now. We don't have to go into each one.

HONIG: Sure.

TAPPER: But, Elie, if you could basically detail what are the allegations here. We have counts 1 to 31. Those have to do with specific documents and the willful retention of national defense information.

Count 32, conspiracy to obstruct justice. Count 33, withholding a document or record. Count 34, corruptly concealing a document or record. Count 35, concealing a document in a federal investigation. Count 36, a scheme -- conducting a scheme to conceal. Count 37, false statements and representations. We should note, Walt Nauta, the aid who is traveling with Trump,

charged with counts 32 through 37. Donald Trump, one through 37.

HONIG: Right. So, let's start with the documents crimes here. Thirty- one counts, each one of them tied to a specific sensitive government document that goes to our national defense. To a point that Abby has made a couple times -- if you want to see whether Donald Trump brought this on himself, it is demonstrably provable from this indictment because all the documents that Donald Trump turned back over to the archives, even after months of negotiation, none of them are the basis for the criminal charges he faces. These are all based on documents that Trump continue to withhold for months and months, and were only recovered through the subpoena and through a search warrant. So, those are the first 31 charges, each of which, on its own, is very serious.

We know from the indictment, they relate to our nuclear programs, our military vulnerabilities, our allies, our retaliatory abilities.

Now, the other six charges in this case, and Nauta in this case, which is one extra, seventh charge on Nauta because he lied to the FBI. Those all go to obstruction.

And the crux of that is that Donald Trump lied to DOJ. He lied to the FBI, he lied to the grand jury through his lawyers, by misleading his lawyers, by hiding boxes of documents from his lawyers, caused his lawyers to lie to those entities, which, this -- the obstruction charges should not be a footnote here because these go to the heart of our criminal justice process. These go to the integrity of what we do.

When you try to mess with the rules of the game, that's very serious as well. So, again, whatever is happening in that cafe, this is what this case is about.

BASH: Can I just ask you another question?

HONIG: Yeah.

BASH: That's also the jury pool, the potential jury pool.


GANGEL: Absolutely.

BASH: That's all I was thinking. Maybe have been hanging out with you too much, Elie. I'm thinking like a lawyer now.

HONIG: A hundred percent. I wrote in the words jury pool right here. And, obviously, that's not a representative sample, but let's be real about what it means that this case is charged in Florida. The right move, I think, legally by DOJ, I think they made a powerful statement by charging this at Donald Trump's home turf.

Here's the reality, though, Donald Trump won the state of Florida. The southern counties where this jury is going to be drawn from have 40 to 45 percent to Trump support in 2020. And so, a fact that you're going to have to deal with as a prosecutor is your jury is going to have minimum four, five, six of Trump supporters there.

TAPPER: On the other hand, Donald Trump is a politician. He's a public figure. He's a former president. He's allowed to campaign.

HONIG: Yes, he is.

TAPPER: Florida is a battleground state.

BASH: Yeah.

TAPPER: I don't know that you can stop him from doing that, right, Andy?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You can't, you can't. That is going to be a part of this narrative until the trial opens. You're going to see many, many more scenes like the one we just saw as the campaigning continues through the next many months. But when that trial happens it will be a very different look.

If I could just add to what Elie was saying about the charges. I think it's really important to point out that these are not charges that are in this indictment based on the word of a furtive informant met with the middle of the night under, you know, cover of darkness, unsupported allegations. These charges are based -- first, all of the documents charges on documents that were seized in his residence at the authority of a federal judge who granted that search warrant.

So, attacking the sufficiency of that evidence, there is nothing there.

TAPPER: And while we're talking about Donald Trump appearing before the judge, the courtroom sketches have started to come out here. They are Donald Trump standing with his lawyers. You see Walt Nauta, the shorter balder guy to his right. To our left, there is Donald Trump, standing in a courtroom.

Remember, this is a federal courthouse, so photographs and cameras are not permitted. As opposed to the -- the previous indictment and arrest we saw two months ago and I'm not sure if there are any other courtroom sketches. But there is one right now. Rather flattering drawing.

HONIG: It's not bad. I've actually been drawn by court house reporters.


It's pretty good.

TAPPER: Not as much on Walt Nauta, his aide, who is the balder guy, but to over from Donald Trump, Elie.

HONIG: Jake, if I could just take a moment to call out the federal courts here because I think this is long overdue. The federal courts are stubbornly old-fashioned, up on their high horse. With the exception of the U.S. Supreme Court which now because of COVID allows live audio. The federal courts will not allow live audio and certainly not cameras. There is a sort of pearl clutching going on for decades, centuries among judges. We don't want our proceedings here to become a spectacle.

Well, guess what? We need to see this. I mean, to put it not so finely, we have a right to see this. This is too important to have, behind closed doors, and we're looking at sketch draws of people.

TAPPER: No, I agree. We're going to have a lot more to say. Donald Trump and his team obviously trying to make the best out of a horrible situation by turning his what might be called a perp-walk or a perp- drive of sorts back to his Doral resort into a campaign stop with an adoring crowd in a cafe.

But, obviously, this is not a day for celebration. It is a sad day and a dark day for Donald Trump and his campaign.

We're going to come back in a second. We're going to squeeze in this quick break and see you on other side.



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: We're back with our special coverage of Donald Trump's historic arrest and arraignment in Miami federal court. You see the motorcade there, former president's motorcade heading to an airport to fly to Bedminster, to his golf club there in New Jersey after pleading not guilty to 37 criminal counts all related to his alleged mishandling of highly sensitive classified documents.

Back with the team here in New York as we continue to watch that motorcade head toward the airport.

Karen, I want to talk a little bit about the argument we're hearing from a number of Republican elected officials and supporters of the former president, is this -- that is an uneven playing field, that he's being treated differently than Vice President Pence, than President Biden, they had -- they had documents that were found that they shouldn't have had. And it is a selective justice.

KAREN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah. So, when we first heard that other people had these classified documents, when it came out that Biden had them, Pence had them as well, a lot of people were speculating that that is the end of the Mar-a-Lago documents case. There is no way they could bring this case because everybody does it.

And I think Jack Smith in this indictment really sets out how this case is so profoundly different than that -- than those other matters. This is not an "oops, I possessed it" or "I possessed it and didn't realize that I had them". You know, everybody else who have them, turned them over right away as soon as they realize it.

What Donald Trump did here was not only did he have them, not only did he intentionally keep them, have them, he recklessly stored them, and these are documents that have to do with defense and weapons capabilities of the United States and foreign countries, the nuclear programs, the United States vulnerabilities. You know, just putting people at risk all over the world. That those documents were just stored in a way that were just moved from place to place, everybody had access to them.

And even more significantly than that, there are a couple of paragraphs in the indictment where he talked -- they talked about in two separate instances in Bedminster -- in his club at Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is actually waving the documents around, bragging about them, and in one of them showed a map to someone in his political action committee, a map related to military operations and bragging about how he still is possessing these documents.

And so, he has them, he knows how serious they are. He's reckless with them. And he's showing them to people, and then when the justice department asks for them back, he moves them so that they can't be found. He asks his lawyers to -- to get rid of them, pluck them out and so they don't get found.

I mean, this is a man who is trying to get away with -- get away with committing a very, very serious crime.

COOPER: Yeah. Laura Coates --

LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, the allegations that have been alleged in the indictment have to be proven up, which is one of the real reasons why it was so stunning to me today that one of the co-defendants does not have counsel present to even get arraigned. Now, if you're talking about the idea of --

COOPER: This is Walt Nauta.

COATES: Walt Nauta, the co-defendant who was the aide of the president who by the way was behind him at the pseudo-campaign event at the restaurant following this arraignment period.

Now, if you're talking about the idea of two separate justice systems, the haves and the have-nots, you're seeing it on full display when you have a power dynamic such as this and one person in the position as alleged as the former president of the United States of America, to be in possession of these documents, unlawfully retaining them, and a person who was a co-conspirator, at a very different power dynamic and level at this person.

Any questions about who might be either, A, running the show, or sort of leveraged that moment of a power is difficult. Second point here is really stunning is, of course, Jack Smith and counsel contemplated the idea that the judge would say, what are the conditions of release you would like? Who do you think they should not be speaking to?

They contemplated that but likely why they don't want to have a full list of the witnesses and the possible universe I don't want you to speak to is not because they're aware of the number of employees at Mar-a-Lago, Anderson. It's because now I have to give you a witness list in advanced? When the government does the whole, ready call, about to begin their trial and hand over discovery, that's beforehand, but you have to give out the full witness list in advance to say here's who can't talk to, wink, wink, the counsel now knows, beyond notice, who are the people you might be able to, well, either lean on, or investigate, or do background information on.


COOPER: One of the things that Governor Christie said last night in the town hall was that, and he was state's attorney, is you don't put everything in your indictment, so that there is likely more that Jack Smith has, information he has. But it's just not all in it. There's a ton that's in the document, in the indictment.

COATES: Yeah. Well, contrast this from the Manhattan D.A.'s indictment. These are very separate cases, full stop. But one of the biggest criticisms was, where is the rest of it? Where is the idea of the underlying claim that might elevate this in certain ways? And that's sort of barebones compared to what we are seeing, 40-plus pages.

Keep in mind, there still yet to be the report that is due issued to Merrick Garland, attorney general, including the declinations of why you chose not to prosecute certain things. But the reason is because, I don't -- I owe you a fair trial. I owe you due process.

I do not owe you a blueprint of my entire prosecution. I do not owe you every single nuance detail. One, I might be developing my case, and my case theory. These are just the facts.

But number two, you are the defendant. You are due not a bear modicum of respect. It's elevated, but you need not get everything from the prosecution.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This -- Trump is terrible. Trump is terrible. --

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Tell him how you really feel.

JONES: Trump went to court with homeboy. He didn't even have a lawyer for his homeboy. Nobody does that. I'm just going to say.

COOPER: If I'm Walt Nauta wondering --


JONES: How do you go to court with your homeboy, and you don't even have a lawyer for your homeboy? This is terrible. If Trump were a rapper, if Trump were a -- come on, if Trump were an NBA player, everybody would say, man, you're wrong for that, you are wrong for that.

But also, how many times can a rapper or an NBA player get pulled into court, month after month, before the right-wing says this person is a terrible person? This person is a bad influence on the culture. What is wrong with the Black culture?

This guy's going to court every month, getting pulled into court every month, he's not even taking care of his homeboy. This dude is terrible.

COATES: I use words like modicum, just now, and you say homeboy.


ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: On the politics front here, and Jake alluded to this, we saw kind of a partisan display after he left the courthouse. You know, you see the former president excited about these demonstrators outside. And then he goes to this renowned Cuban establishment, wanting to make inroads with that community in Miami-Dade, and trying to not so subtly allude to political prisoners and actual suffering and imprisonment, and wrongful actions within the Cuban government, all while he, an American president, has defiled the American presidency in such an unprecedented way.

What he has done from a national security perspective, it opens the door to in the future a president leaving office can basically take with them different backup plans, things that they want to have, leverage that they want to have.

We know at least this Milley document alone, if it's what's been reported, he purely took so that he can say General Milley was wrong. I was right. It was something that had some of the most sensitive military secrets in it. Something that if Tehran were to know who head it, where we had it, would put American lives at risk.

He's just off, you know, kind of campaigning. We are going to see him give a speech tonight. The American public has got to wake up to what this guy's doing.

URBAN: I was going to say, let me just go.

GRIFFIN: You loved it.

URBAN: No, I'm not saying I loved it. I just saying the fact of the matter is, right, Reuters/Ipsos poll out this past Monday, right, still finds that Donald Trump is in the lead by a large margin. He is still widely popular.

You saw that, that the restaurant. And we just -- Karen and I just talked about it off camera. That's the jury pool. That's the jury pool, that's the jury that's going to hear this case. I doubt that there will be a person in that restaurant that could convict Donald Trump today, no matter what the charges are.

And there's the case that is going to be made, and there's a such thing as jury nullification, as you guys know, right? That's very real. That's likely to happen here.


MILLER: That's the jury pool that is going to hear this case. But it's the same jury pool that comprised 23 grand jurors who sat in a closed federal facility, and heard the evidence, and decided to indict.

URBAN: As you know, John, different to indict and convict.

MILLER: It's different -- of course it is. But it's also different to think what you think before you sit through the trial and hear the evidence. And, you know, we are often surprised at who gets convicted, or who gets acquitted based on what happens when you actually hear the evidence.

All the discussion that, you know, leads up today has been an equal justice.


You know, we've heard about, what about Biden? What about Pence? What about Hillary?

But when you look at the difference in those cases between who said -- I think there might be something at my house, go search it, we found it, and the obstruction piece.

URBAN: No doubt.

MILLER: Or you look at cases that are more similar. You know, right now, you've got Jack Teixeira. A 22-year-old airman from the office who is sharing secret documents because he thought it was cool with his online gamer friends. He's in jail. He's also innocent until proven guilty. But he's in jail, because they consider that so dangerous. He's not free.

URBAN: I'm not arguing about the underlying charges. I'm just saying look at the political reality.

MILLER: No, no, but if you look at this guy from the Air Force, he was convicted, and got three years and a $25,000 fine in Florida for possessing 300 classified documents from the Air Force.

So, Donald Trump, I don't know about equal or an equal justice. He got in his car and went to a restaurant.

URBAN: I'm not arguing that, I'm just saying the political reality and that is much different than the legal reality.


GRIFFIN: But even -- you can't talk about Donald Trump's popularity in a vacuum. Part of why such a significant portion of the country supports him because supporters of his, members of Congress, politicians, have lied about his actions, and have misled the public. There is an entire congressional subcommittee dedicated to undermining the Department of Justice and misrepresenting these facts. It's not just his magnetisms that makes him poll where he is.

COOPER: Let's go back to D.C., and Jake -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Anderson, thank you so much.

Here with me right now, somebody who has upfront experience with Donald Trump when he was president of the United States. Let's call it his questionable handling of national security information. The former national security adviser, Ambassador John Bolton.

Ambassador Bolton, thanks so much for joining us.

First of all, let's just start with the basics of the case. Several members of President Trump's administration have been very critical of his actions as described in the indictment. Former attorney general, Bill Barr, said, quote, if even half of it is true that he is toast, unquote.

Do you agree? What's your view of this indictment?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I think it's a devastating indictment. It's very powerful, in the way that it is portrayed. But it's also very narrow, very targeted. The government didn't throw everything and the kitchen sink at the wall. It has focused this in a way that I think, as a matter of law, is going to be very difficult for the president to resist.

I think the real question is the question of timing and scheduling. If Donald Trump were an honest man, if he were an innocent man, he'd be saying I want the trial within 30 days. I want this cloud removed from over my head. I want this stain on my reputation removed.

So, we will wait and see what Donald Trump does. I think he'll try and postpone it to after the 2024 election. So, my suggestion to Jack Smith and the Justice Department's go really lean on the Manhattan district attorney, and get him to move his trial until after the election. This trial should take precedence. We will find out whether Alvin Bragg is a real prosecutor or a political hack.

TAPPER: So there's obviously a historic aspect to what we saw today, a president of the United States being arrested and arraigned in a federal courthouse, looking at it through that lens, from 30,000 feet. What was your take? What was your, what did you experience while watching?

BOLTON: I'm sorry, you are a little bit broken up there. But I think it's important to understand, although this is unprecedented to indict a president, we have had similar kinds of events in American history. Thomas Jefferson, in his second term, personally ordered the arrest and prosecution of Aaron Burr, for treason. Even though Aaron Burr had run hit as Thomas Jefferson's vice president.

How did they break apart? Wait for it. Aaron Burr tried to steal the 1800 election from Jefferson by fiddling with the Electoral College.

So, you know, we have had crisis involving political figures at the highest level of the government. I don't think anybody should think this is necessarily an apocalyptic moment. A lot depends on Donald Trump. I think he will do his best to make it apocalyptic. It is dependent on the rest of us not to make that happen.

TAPPER: You're the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. You are the former national security adviser. You know of classified documents, secret documents. Do you believe, based on the facts laid out in the indictment, that Donald Trump put the U.S. and its allies at risk with his possession in secure storage, and then refusal to turn over these documents? We also know, of course, just from reporting, that there have been at least two Chinese nationals and another con woman of sort to have gotten access to Mar-a-Lago.


BOLTON: Yeah. Look, yeah, sorry, obviously the government has to prove its case to a jury. There's no doubt about it. But I know what kinds of documents we used to give to Donald Trump to help him make decisions. I don't know specifically what the documents look like that the special counsel has listed in the indictment. But if they are anything like some of the things we presented to Trump in the Oval Office and the Situation Room, and the tank at the Pentagon, it could cause enormous damage, incalculable damage, to the United States.

I know some people are saying, well, we don't have any allegation. The Russians have seen these documents. The Chinese have seen these documents.

The purpose of the provisions of the Espionage Act, and other protections around national security information, is to reduce the chances that our adversaries can get the documents, and the behavior that is alleged in the complaint, intentional, clearly intentional. After receiving the subpoena, that Trump didn't want to receive. It's just willfully puts the United States in grave danger.

I think people need to focus on this reality. This is not some case about porn stars and hush money. This is -- the conduct alleged here, it's a direct threat to the national security of the United States.

TAPPER: One of the big questions that I think everybody watching has, is why? Why would he take these documents with him to Mar-a-Lago. Why would he show them as alleged in the indictment to random people that don't really -- that definitely don't have national security clearance? And why would he not just turn them over when the FBI was demanding that he do so?

BOLTON: Well, I think there's a sense of entitlement about Donald Trump. That what he wants, he's entitled to. He can take it. He can do what he wants with it. And he doesn't face consequences. I would have to say, based on his career today, he had very strong reason to think he could do whatever he wanted to do.

So he could show to people, I've got documents. You can't have, you can't see. I can tell the FBI that I don't have information, and I can get away with it. I can do all these things. And his experience would tell him that there would be no downside for him. Now we are about to find out whether there's going to be a downside. I think he's been put in the situation he's never experienced before.

TAPPER: Lastly, sir, I before you go, we do appreciate your time. What is your message to the Republicans who continue to stand by his side, the Lindsey Grahams of the world, the Marco Rubios of the world, the individuals out there who are saying this is just a political prosecution, this is not real, the charges are unfair, this is just people out to get Donald Trump? What would you say to them?

BOLTON: Well -- yeah, I would say this, for those who think there is a double standard, and take, for purpose of this discussion, assume there is a double standard. Assume Hillary Clinton should've been prosecuted. And it was not fair that she wasn't. That Joe Biden should be prosecuted, and it's not fair that he's not. That's what these people believe.

The answer to their complaint about a double standard, the question they should be asked, is even though Biden has escaped scot-free, Clinton has escaped scot-free, fill in the blank has escaped scot- free, is the answer to the double standard, to let Donald Trump escape scot-free? Is the answer to the double standard to revert to not standard at all?

I think that's wrong. I think Republicans have rightly believed for a long time that when you don't prosecute criminals, you get more crimes. The answer is, when you've got the allegations in a complaint like this, with the conduct that that indictment shows, the prosecution is entirely warranted.

Worry about the others later. This is a decision before you. I want Republicans who think Trump should be given a pass to say so, explicitly. Don't what about it, talk about whether you think this complaint, this indictment, shows criminal behavior. If it does, we should all favor prosecuting.

TAPPER: All right. Former ambassador, and national security adviser, John Bolton, thanks so much for your time.

A dramatic day in Miami, as Donald Trump is about to take off on his plane from Florida, after entering a not guilty plea to all 37 counts of his federal indictment. In just minutes, we are going to get reaction from one of his rivals in the Republican presidential contest, Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.

More special coverage on the special edition of THE LEAD, next.


TAPPER: Welcome back to the special edition of THE LEAD. We're covering the arrest and arraignment of Donald J. Trump, unprecedented moment in history. He's getting ready to fly from Miami to New Jersey, to his compound in Bedminster there. He's expected to speak, and there's a $2 million fund-raiser of some sort, maybe more than that, we expect he's going to speak about the charges later today.

Joining us now to discuss, Republican presidential candidate, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. It's a weird day in American politics. It's a sad day in American

politics. He's officially pleaded not guilty, the former president. What's your reaction as a public official, as an American?


ASA HUTCHINSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, first, I just came back from New Hampshire. And talking to Republicans there in New Hampshire, they have two reactions. One, they do see a double standard. That's the argument that they are expecting. And then, secondly, they are really waiting to see facts develop on this.

And so, I think there is a concern out there about whether our commander-in-chief, that we elect, has this high a level of disregard for our nation secrets. I think it's a fundamental issue that's on peoples minds. And then, you know, we are caught up in the process as to why the Department of Justice took this approach, and if they took a different approach with somebody else.

And so, we just got to be patient. And let the system, which is as flawed as it is, the greatest system in the world.


HUTCHINSON: Work its way through. And behind you, equal justice for all. That's sort of important.

TAPPER: So, the judge ruled that President Trump is not considered a flight risk. So, he's free to travel. He's free to attend rallies. You saw when he did not stop at the Versailles Cafe, there were supporters there, cheering him on.

Are you worried, you're out there campaigning for president against him, are you worried that this is going to actually galvanize Republican voters to support him?

HUTCHINSON: Sure, I mean, I'm here talking about it. We are not talking about energy prices and inflation, and the economy. We are talking about Donald Trump and his latest challenges and proceedings in court. It looks like it's going to be that way for some time.

So, it sucks a lot of energy out of the room. Candidates that are running for president, they care about this country, they've got to react to both what is happening in Donald Trump's world, but also trying to make the case that we need to go a different direction in America from Joe Biden's leadership. That is the case I want to talk about.


HUTCHINSON: It's important for America.

TAPPER: You were one of the House impeachment managers against then President Bill Clinton. I mean, there are systems of justice that have worked to a certain degree. I mean, Hillary Clinton was investigated. Ultimately, they found that there was no intent to mishandle the documents in her email server, private server. She was called reckless by the FBI, et cetera.

At the same time, the FBI announced they were reopening the investigation, I think ten days before the election. A lot of Clinton people think that cost her the election. I understand people saying there are two tiers of justice. They are saying that.

But from where a lot of Democrats probably sit, they say you impeached Bill Clinton. There is a special counsel investigation. He had to pay a fine. He gave up his law license. Hillary Clinton, ultimately, probably lost the presidency because of that investigation.

So what are you talking about? What would you say to them?

HUTCHINSON: I would say it reflects the seriousness of obstruction of justice cases.


HUTCHINSON: That's what I prosecuted former President Bill Clinton for, the United States Senate. He was acquitted, but there was ultimate accountability, as you mentioned, in terms of his law license, on a different issue. So, the Constitution worked.

TAPPER: Right.

HUTCHINSON: And both sides can say, you know, they preferred a different outcome, perhaps. But our Constitution worked. You -- just like our system is going to work in this point.

Let me illustrate the challenge the Department of Justice has. Right now, there's a public interest in a resolution of the Hunter Biden case, and the investigation that the U.S. attorney, David Weiss, is handling out of Delaware.

TAPPER: Right, and just for people who don't know, he was appointed by Donald Trump, and Joe Biden kept him on, as he was attorney in Delaware, so he could prosecute this case against his son, potentially.

HUTCHINSON: That's right. That was the right decision. It would look terrible, usually all the U.S. attorneys are fired. But a new administration comes in.

He was -- they licensed, the middle of the investigation. That was five years ago. He was kept on to conclude the investigation. And it hasn't been concluded yet.

Now we have Senator Grassley, and others talking about the whistleblower and the redacted statements that are made by whistleblowers and raises all kinds of questions. So, how can we speed this up? If you are Merrick Garland, the attorney general, head of the Department of Justice. You would ordinarily call up the u s eternity, and say get on this, and make a decision.

TAPPER: Right, but he can't.

HUTCHINSON: He can't do that.

TAPPER: Right.

HUTCHINSON: He can't do that because everybody would say that's interfering, and tilting the scales one direction or another.

So the other option is to point a special prosecutor. But the special prosecutor would delay the whole case for another couple years.


HUTCHINSON: He would have to start over. So, David Weiss needs to make a decision.


HUTCHINSON: That's how the only way this can be resolved.

TAPPER: We only have 30 seconds left. Do you think that other candidates running for president need to speak out more forcefully about the fact that this is, as you have said, a very serious, egregious accusations against Donald Trump, in terms of the national security materials?


HUTCHINSON: I think anyone is a disservice, provides a disservice to our justice system, and our rule of law, if they diminished the seriousness of these charges and the allegations. It does a disservice to our servicemen and women who are bound by the rules. One of them was convicted and sent to three years in prison for mishandling classified information.

TAPPER: Yeah, in Florida, I believe.

HUTCHINSON: So, we need to be straightforward about this, and not play political games. That's the main thing.

TAPPER: Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, thanks so much for being here, really appreciate it. Donald Trump pleaded not guilty, now the hard part, he needs to find a legal team to put on his defense. New reporting on that after this quick break.


COOPER: Former President Donald Trump just took off in Florida after his history making appearance in the Miami Florida courthouse, where he was arrested, fingerprinted, and arraigned.