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CNN Live Event/Special
Trump Pleads Not Guilty To All 37 Charges; Nevada GOP Chairman Testified To Grand Jury Investigating 2020 Election Interference. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 13, 2023 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Former President Donald Trump just took off from Florida after his history making appearance in the Miami federal courthouse where he was arrested, fingerprinted and arraigned. Trump pleading not guilty to all 37 criminal counts he faces in the room. The special counsel who charged him with mishandling highly sensitive classified documents and conspiracy to obstruct justice. I'm Anderson Cooper.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And I'm Jake Tapper with a special edition of The Lead. Mr. Trump stopped at a local restaurant after facing the first ever federal criminal charges against the former president. He's scheduled now to head to New Jersey. He's free to leave Florida with no restrictions. Prosecutors said to the judge that they did not consider him a flight risk. Witnesses say that Trump appeared somber, even scowled, during his arraignment.
His aide and codefendant Walt Nauta appeared with him in court. Nauta not entering a plea to the six counts he faces because he did not have a local attorney. Let's go now to CNN Anchor and Chief Correspondent Kaitlan Collins, who's in Miami.
Kaitlan, Trump is calling this one of the saddest days in the history of the country. It is a sad day, though I'm not sure in the same way he means it. Give us your take.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake. And I think what you're seeing with that comment that Trump posted as he was on his way here to this courthouse for that arraignment and the many others that he has posted online also shows, you know, not just what we've been talking about here today, which is the legal strategy and what that's going to look like, but the political strategy that you are seeing the president use when it comes to this visit and how they are going to be fundraising off of it and using it as, of course, he tries to make his way through this Republican primary.
And I think that was no better illustrated than what we saw happen just moments after he had his attorney plead on his behalf not guilty in that courtroom, which is when he went to Versailles, of course, a famous Miami cafe restaurant with his aides who traveled here with him, but notably with Walt Nauta. Not only his aide, but his codefendant now, as the two were pictured
there, of course, a lot of people have asked questions about what it was the judge said about a level of contact given. Obviously, Nauta is a witness in this case and a codefendant.
We are told they cannot discuss the case. But as you can see clearly, this is something that was acknowledged in the room today, just how closely they work together.
One thing I did notice, Jake, someone who was not there at Versailles and was not here on hand today at the courthouse, the former First Lady, Melania Trump. She is someone who was also noticeably absent when the former president gave his remarks after he was indicted the last time in Manhattan.
Those Clinton remarks that are going to look similar, I believe, to what he's going to do tonight. Noticeably, though, she is not here, Jake, and we've asked where she is, we were told that she went to New York City several days ago, but certainly not here to appear with him, though his political team for the 2024 campaign was on hand.
TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan, thanks so much. Let's bring in CNN's Paula Reid, who's also outside the Miami courtroom where Donald Trump pleaded not guilty to the 37 criminal charges earlier today.
Paula, Mr. Trump still needs to fill out his legal team as this case goes on. Are you learning anything more about that?
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jake, we saw today that Todd Blanche and Chris Kise, the former Florida solicitor general, they both entered appearances to represent former President Trump on a permanent basis. And that's not easy to undo once you've done that.
So it appears they're in it for the long haul. But we do know that they are talking to other lawyers, local Florida defense attorneys, to come on and help them with this case. A case like this, not only is it the case of a lifetime, it's also a full time job.
We know the former president has often had difficulty retaining lawyers. There are concerns about whether a lawyer would get paid. There are also concerns about reputational damage. And he is a notoriously difficult client surrounded by political advisors who often try to meddle in legal affairs.
But after the departure of his three main defense attorneys, who've all been working with him on this case, he does need to build out his legal team, though it does appear that Blanche and Kise will definitely be leading this strategy for a while.
And I think, going forward, what we should expect to see, the legal team has said they're going to try to get this case dismissed. Now, Jake, I don't see any grounds to get this dismissed, but it doesn't mean they're not going to try, because this, of course, has the added benefit for Trump of delaying this as long as possible. And those are his two goals right now, right? Get your legal team in place, delay this as long as possible, and keep Walt Nauta as close and as loyal as you can.
TAPPER: Yes. Paula Reid, good advice.
Joining us now, Tim Parlatore, who worked extensively on the case for the Trump legal defense team before leaving in May. Thanks so much for joining us, Tim.
The judge overseeing this case today, Judge Jonathan Goodman, he ordered Trump to not discuss the case with Walt Nauta. These two work side by side. We just saw Nauta in the Cuban restaurant with Mr. Trump. Is that even feasible, knowing Mr. Trump and knowing how close he and Walt Nauta work?
TIM PARLATORE, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Oh, absolutely. I mean, that's a standard condition of release, and I've seen it even in cases where spouses or, you know, father and son are indicted together where they are certainly allowed to maintain regular contact but they are not supposed to discuss the case except when the attorneys are present. So that is a relatively standard condition.
TAPPER: Walt Nauta's attorney is paid for by a pro-Trump Super PAC. Should he get his own lawyer? Should -- I mean, John Dean yesterday said that his advice would be get your own lawyer and cooperate, don't go down the sinking ship with Mr. Trump. What would your advice to Walt Nauta be?
PARLATORE: Well, the fact that the lawyer is being paid by the PAC is not something that -- it does appear that way to the general public, but the reality is that the ethical rules require allegiance only to the client, not to the third party payer. And you know, his attorney is somebody who is, you know, well-known to be a very ethical person. And so I don't think that that third party payer is going to be an issue for him.
Certainly he has the ability to, you know, consult with another lawyer if he wants to, and the DOJ may even want to, you know, have what we call in the Second Circuit a Curcio hearing where they will actually question him on whether he recognizes the potential conflict and waive that. And they would have potentially a public defender temporarily represent him just to advise him on conflict issues. So that is something that is, you know, regularly dealt with in these cases and is generally not a problem.
TAPPER: So, just a few minutes ago, Trump's former National Security Advisor, Ambassador John Bolton, said to me, quote, "I don't know what the specific documents the special counsel listed in the indictment, but if they're anything like some of the things we presented to Trump in the Oval Office or the Situation Room, it could cause enormous incalculable damage to the U.S." unquote, if they were to be released or if anyone got their hands on it or saw it. This is a very serious day, and I'm just wondering what you make of that comment from John Bolton.
PARLATORE: Well, and that is definitely a concern. And you know, as you and I discussed the other night, they've only charged him with 31 out of the hundreds of documents that they've seized. And I went back and took a look at them, the classification levels of the charged documents versus the uncharged documents, and it does appear that the vast majority of the uncharged documents are lower classification levels.
So, probably not national defense information, but these are the 31 documents that kind of hit the sweet spot of being serious enough to charge, but not so serious that they couldn't get releases from the intelligence community to actually bring it into court and release them and, you know, put them out in that public way.
TAPPER: Right. And that's a key point, because after you said that, we talked about this on the panel, and some of our legal experts said it's quite possible that some of the documents in Trump's possession were actually much more serious and much more grave and could not, as you just alluded to, even be introduced vaguely through the governing law to a jury in any way --
TAPPER: -- because they are so top secret in any case. I wonder if you think --
PARLATORE: That's why --
PARLATORE: That's actually why I went back and took a look at the classification levels of the charged documents versus all the seized documents so that, you know, you can see the world of which ones are probably, you know, not national defense information. And then there's a much smaller subset that could go either way.
TAPPER: As this case moves forward, do you think that Trump's team might seek a change of venue? Or do they view the Florida court and the potential Florida jury as fair or even perhaps an advantage?
PARLATORE: I wouldn't anticipate a change of venue in this case. You know, that's something that is a very high road, you know, to take -- or a high hill to climb, rather, to get a change of venue. And it has to be something where it's very specific to the jurisdiction where the jury pool in this jurisdiction has been so saturated with the case that it would need to go somewhere else. And I don't think that there would be grounds for that in the Southern District, nor would it be tactically advantageous to move it.
TAPPER: So, the notes from Mr. Corcoran, Evan Corcoran, his -- Mr. Trump's attorney, are a key factor in the indictment. I know there's probably going to be a move to get them --
TAPPER: -- removed because they're allegedly -- well, because they are considered or were considered, attorney client privilege. What's interesting about the inclusion of those notes is that in order to get them approved by the judge, it's very rare, right, to get notes --
TAPPER: -- between a lawyer and his client to be part of the case against him. And the prosecution had to have had some inkling that Mr. Trump was allegedly asking his lawyer to break the law. What do you think alerted the prosecution that this was going on?
PARLATORE: You know, I really don't know. You know, part of the problems with litigation in the pre-charge grand jury phase is that because of secrecy laws, we never got to see what the government's motion was. You know, we saw a heavily, you know, redacted version.
We had to respond over that knowing what their arguments were. When went into the hearing, we made our arguments and then we had to leave the room for the government to respond, came back and Mr. Trustee, would you like to reply to what they just said, you know, which we never saw.
And then even Judge Howell's order, half of that looks like, you know, the Exxon Valdez oil slick where it was all blacked out.
PARLATORE: So, we really don't -- I have no idea what their reasoning was at the time, whether their reasoning matched what they found or whether it was, you know, something that was just a shot in the dark, I don't know.
PARLATORE: But it's something that in relitigating it now, both sides will be able to see what each other is saying.
TAPPER: Yes. Pretty big and successful shot in the dark if so. Tim Parlatore, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Let's go back to our panel, which now includes Michael Sherwin, who served as acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia during the Trump administration. Let's just start with you, Mr. Sherwin. What's your reaction to this sad day?
MICHAEL SHERWIN, FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: So, a few things. Let me first comment on the indictment. And with all due respect to Ambassador Bolton, I disagree with him. He mentioned that it's a surgical indictment, it's actually an unusual indictment. This is called the speaking indictment that's very detailed.
Usually this is akin to a criminal complaint. And indictments, as Elie knows, are usually narrowly tailored. So, if it was more narrowly tailored, that could have an impact upon the length of the trial and what the government has to actually prove. So actually, frankly, I was actually surprised with the level of detail in the indictment. So that means a few things. One is, I think DOJ, Jack Smith was trying to show the public the seriousness of the conduct by the former president, which is important. However, you know, you reap what you sow and the fact that the indictment is so long, so many counts, the government now has the burn to prove every single element of every single charge, 37. And that could have a definite impact upon the length of this trial, which I think is going to extend well into 2024.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, so indictments come in all shapes and sizes. I've seen indictments more detailed than this and longer than this. We used to do it sometimes, but particularly, as Michael said, when you want to serve notice to the public and let the public know what's going on. There are also shorter indictments.
An important thing to understand, when this goes to a jury, every one of these counts stands on its own. So it's not 37 guilties or 37 not guilties, you could have a split verdict. Michael's right, every one of them is going to have to be deliberated on separately.
The last point I want to make is there's a lot of question about will Walt Nauta flip? They don't need him. If you look at this indictment, they have Walt Nauta's texts, e-mails, that's admissible evidence. You don't need him as a witness. If he does flip, and I'm the prosecutor, wonderful. But they've made clear that we don't need him.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: I just have found that this indictment is a damning indictment by all counts if you speak to the lawyers. There is one difference, and that is the case is being brought in Florida, and all you need is one juror to hang it up. And this is a state that Donald Trump won. I think John King can tell us whether he get 40 percent of the vote in this county.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Roughly down there.
GANGEL: So I think that the special counsel has to pick this jury very carefully.
TAPPER: Yes. Dana, earlier today, you spoke with Congressman Ken Buck, a Republican of Colorado. He's not only a member of the House Freedom Caucus, he's also a former federal prosecutor. And he said something very interesting to you. Let's run that tape if we can.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEN BUCK (R-CO): He hid documents, you know, purposely putting them in a shower, purposely putting them on a stage. So there clearly is an intent to hide. There was an intent that he knew it. He talked to his attorneys about these documents.
I would not feel comfortable with a convicted felon in the White House. So we'll see how that plays out -- the case plays out, and we'll see how the evidence is presented and what the defenses are.
(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: Now, he sounds very different from some of Trump's other supporters in the House, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And he has not endorsed, he's made pretty clear that he's probably going to endorse anybody other than Donald Trump. So we should put that out there despite being a member of the Freedom Caucus. But you're right, the fact that he worked for the Department of justice for, he said, 15 years, both in Washington and in home state of Colorado, and he said, I think these allegations are very serious, I think there were national security implications from having those documents in an unsecure area is very, very different.
And he was a little bit more cautious than maybe he would have otherwise been because he is a member of Congress and a member of the Freedom Caucus. But I think his comments spoke volumes.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: Yes, I mean, this is getting really hard, I think, for some Republicans, if you're a national security Republican, if you consider yourself to be a law and order Republican, the lengths that Trump is asking people to go to defend his conduct really are taking them to kind of unchartered territory. I'm thinking about seeing some images from outside of that courthouse of Trump supporters walking around with pigs on a stick, on a ted. You know, a pig is sort of almost like, I mean, it's a derogatory term for law enforcement, basically --
PHILLIP: -- that they would condemn Democrats for using if Democrats did something similar. But his supporters are out there using that kind of imagery and that kind of iconography. At some point, this may go too far, even for Trump's most avid supporters and even for people who are skeptical of the DOJ. I mean, look, this indictment, as we've been discussing, this kind of conduct, any random person who did this would be charged. I mean, ask Ron DeSantis, he would have been court martialed.
But now Trump is asking people to defend him on conduct that is just really hard to defend. And I think that's what you're seeing from Ken Buck, you're seeing it from Mike Pompeo, from John Bolton, and so on and so on and so on. It's only going to get harder.
KING: And tonight, he will speak. And so you have the entire Republican Party having to make a choice and you have Donald Trump, and we know the playbook. If he says on camera what he said in his post about the special counsel, about this is a continuation of the rig system that stole the election, now you have a Trump hater on and on and on.
Republicans have to make a choice, which then gets you back to the timing question. Is this a conversation that's going to continue all the way through the Republican nominating process, and if Trump is the nominee, then through the general election, or is this somehow resolved beforehand?
I think that the likelihood most of the smart lawyers will tell you is they think this goes after the 2024 election. Imagine this conversation going on for 16, 17, 18 months. It's possible.
TAPPER: Yes. We're going to take a look at what's on Trump's schedule tonight as he flies to New Jersey. He's returning the campaigning for the White House, despite his new distinction as a federal criminal defendant. Stay with us.
COOPER: Welcome back to this special edition of Jake Tapper's The Lead, the arrest and arraignment of Donald Trump. CNN's Kristen Holmes is in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Donald Trump will give a speech to a select group of donors later tonight after historic federal arrest and arraignment.
Kristen, Trump has been defined, obviously, about this indictment interviews on social media. What are you learning about what he's going to say tonight?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, that stop that we saw in that Versailles just the beginning of what will be him attempting to paint this and play this out in the court of public opinion rather than in an actual courthouse, this is straight from the Trump playbook.
And we expect to hear Trump say the exact same things we have been hearing for the last several weeks and particularly over this weekend. He is going to call it election interference, say that it is a witch hunt, that this is all political, that this is all because he is running for president in 2024. And he's going to be saying it to a sympathetic crowd.
This is going to be filled with -- this area is going to be filled with supporters, the Bedminster club patrons as well as, as you noted, those high dollar donors are going to behind me here. Just for an example, Tommy Tuberville, the senator, is going to be here, as well as Mike Lindell. So, a real who's who of MAGA world, some of his most staunch supporters. And that's something that he has started to do when he holds these kind of press conferences to get this support, to have the people in the crowd cheering for him.
But again, this is a shift that we're about to see really take place here, which is them moving on from that court appearance, we saw this after Manhattan as well, the indictment there, and putting this all into the political spectrum. He is expected to continue his entire campaign schedule. There are events that are already on the calendar and I'm told they're not going away. And I am told by people around him that he is defiant.
Now, the one thing I will say is that there are still Trump allies out there who believe that this is really damning and they are very concerned about this and his electability in 2024.
COOPER: Kristen Holmes, appreciate it. Thanks so much. Back for now with the panel here in New York.
Alyssa, I mean, of course that's what he's going to say, of course that's what he's going to do. Why would he do anything differently?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. And do expect him to be defiant tonight. Folks around Trump are trying to keep him focused on the campaign and they're scheduling a lot of events ahead because, listen, I think they do understand the gravity, at least the former president does, of these charges, but the more that he CNN be on the road being cheered on, feeling like he's that heroic warrior, the more that they can keep him focused on the campaign.
And tonight, this event, I mean, it's a friendly audience. It's a scripted event, I'm certain he's going to go off script and talk about the events, but I'm very curious to see how much he gets into that rather than focusing on a forward looking campaign message, never his strong suit.
But also, you know, we've seen Tim Scott and Nikki Haley kind of walk back, initially siding with him when the indictment came down, I'm curious to see where Ron DeSantis falls in all this. You can't miss in the backdrop, you know, the number two in the polls, this is his home state, Miami Dade, a county that he famously made huge gains in the midterms.
Where does he -- how does he let this play out? Because I expect to see a bump for Donald Trump and I think he's going to be defiant and he's going to tell his supporters, you know, this is them coming after you, not me.
LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they better be careful, because we just heard from our own reporting that a judge has allowed E. Jean Carroll to amend her lawsuit against the former president based on a jury finding where now she can revisit and amend her complaint based on statements he made the day after there was a finding of liability by a jury at our own town hall.
Again, you're talking about prosecutors who are looking at this case right now. They have cited in the indictment already, 2016 statements from the former president. Whatever he says today could likely be enveloped into a prosecutorial strategy or case. He has to balance the idea of being charismatic, being having the bravado that a crowd of donors will want to have. And knowing from his lawyers, you better be careful, because what you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
COOPER: It's hard to keep him looking forward because he's not interested in the actual issues facing the country. This is a grievance campaign. This is --
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. And that's a tough part for the Republican Party, right? So, Trump's still ahead in the polls. If you're Ron DeSantis, if you're some, you know, Chris Christie, if you're another candidate who's running for the nomination, how do you rest that narrative away from the president, the former president, right, and focus it on the Biden administration, the failed policies, inflation, failed, you know, withdrawal from Afghanistan, talk about things that the Republican Party would like to talk about, but isn't talking about, because we're looking in the rearview mirror 2020 and not looking forward to what our country can be under Republican presidency. That's all being denied to Republican voters right now as long as Donald Trump controls the narrative.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: The one thing I'm curious about tonight, how much does he go after Jack Smith? How -- you know, there's a playbook now, it seems, you know --
COOPER: I mean, he's already called him a terrorist.
JONES: Exactly. But this is what I'm saying, now you've had the indictment, you've had the arraignment. There's a playbook here, they went after Fauci. They made Fauci this, you know, this demon figure they could go after. They went after Mueller. So, you're starting to see now things being put in place, in position, to then go after to demonize and discredit special counsel.
And that's very, very dangerous. And if tonight he doubles down, triples down on that, I think that's very, very bad. He's not running for -- to save America, I mean, he's running to save himself. And if that means tearing down the judicial system and special counsel, he'll do it.
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He's already done that with Alvin Bragg, right?
AGNIFILO: There was that famous picture of him holding a baseball bat with a picture next to Alvin Bragg, and he calls him a reverse racist. He does the same thing to the attorney general in New York, Letitia James, who also has a big case against him. I mean, that is his playbook. He tries to delegitimize the prosecution, and he calls people names and bullies them.
And you know, I worry about the witnesses in the case here, I know that the judge said there's no contact with certain witnesses in the case. But it's not about contact, it's about the bullying, the fake tweeting --
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: The demonizing.
AGNIFILO: -- the demonizing. You know, he can ruin people's lives. I mean, the poll workers, you know, if you remember the mother daughter poll workers down in Georgia who said, you know, he ruined their lives. I mean, they had to move from their home. And that's just because of what he does publicly to people. MILLER: And I think if you look, first of all, you know, as we learned from the E. Jean Carroll case, but that's a civil case, even though it involves a sexual assault, any public statements he makes or private statements to somebody else who repeats them or records them can be used against him in this case. It's why your lawyers, once your charge, say, don't discuss the case with anybody anywhere.
So Donald Trump generally has shown us he can't regulate that. So, he could make inculpatory statements where he puts himself in deeper. He could make false exculpatory statements that could then be brought up against him if he ever took the stand in a trial. All of this is fair game, and it's hard for him, as we saw the last time, when he goes off script to keep within the guardrail.
URBAN: John, but isn't that the point, real quickly, because if he doesn't go all in and he loses the presidency, he loses, right? If he wins everything, case goes away. So he's almost better to double and triple down if you're Donald Trump in this case, right, because there's no downside. The downside is, you know, if you lose, you're going to lose anyhow. If you win, if you double and triple down and convince people that you're right, you win and the case vanishes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But it does raise --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but downsize American democracy.
URBAN: No, no.
JONES: There's always -- there's always that.
URBAN: No, I'm just saying politically, though. I'm not arguing on the merit.
COATES: Well, legally what he also risks, remember, one of the things that we've all been focusing on is his Bedminster audio recording, where he talks about the paper and he's waving around in some way and saying and admitting, I could have declassified this while I was president, and now I can.
One thing that he risks is if he's in Bedminster today actually saying and articulating the same thing, he not only does he corroborate the indictment, he buttressed the credibility of the indictment and testimony, and now it makes it such that there's no even need for an evidentiary motion to try to get that audio recording in. There's a lot at risk.
GRIFFIN: Well, quickly, I was keeping an eye on what Walt Nauta might do in all of this, because, of course, in the past people close to the former president who he was paying their legal bills have then flipped and led to some of these investigations into him. And, I mean, you saw him front and center in that cafe visit. You saw him not, to our knowledge, seeking separate counsel. And I think that you have to guess he's going to keep him very close to him.
[17:30:03] COOPER: Yes. As the case against Trump moves forward, his lawyer seems destined for a star turn as a federal government witness. Coming up next, we'll speak to someone who walked that same path, former Trump fixer Michael Cohen. That interview much more after this.
TAPPER: The first hearing in the United States of America versus Donald John Trump is now history. If anyone has a good inkling of what might be going on in the mind of the former president, it will be my next guest, former Trump attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, the author of the book, "Revenge: How Donald Trump Weaponized the U.S. Department of Justice Against His Critics."
He also hosts the podcast Mea Culpa. Michael, thanks so much for joining us. First, let's just start with your reaction to what we saw today. I mean, I think it's fair to say this is a much bigger deal and I don't mean to belittle everything you went through, but this is a much bigger deal than hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.
MICHAEL COHEN, PRINCIPAL OF CRISIS-X: Yes. So, first, all, good to be here with you, Jake. Wish I was there with you in D.C. But today is like a bittersweet day, if you think about it. The fact that a former president now federally indicted, whereas the Alvin Bray case is a state indictment. It's a terrible day for America. But I'll tell you one thing that it's a good day for, and that's accountability.
Everybody believed that Donald Trump was going to escape all of the accountability, whether it's the hush money payment, whether it's this matter, whether it's going to be the Georgia case. Nobody thought, especially Donald, that he would be held accountable. And today goes and shows you that truly no one is above the law.
TAPPER: You, perhaps, more than anyone else in the world, understands the price, the cost, potentially, of loyalty to Donald Trump. Today, his aide, Walt Nauta was next to him in court and then remained by his side at that campaign stop, at that Cuban American cafe even after they were indicted. What's going through your mind as you look at Walt Nauta? What message would you have for him?
COHEN: Yes, I said it the other night, and I'll say it again. Run, Walt, run. All right. Donald will throw you under the bus as fast as he threw me under the bus. He doesn't care about anyone or anything. The curious thing is, I wasn't aware that Walt actually had his own attorney there. Why is Donald not paying for an attorney? Did he not learn once what happens when you, you know, leave people on their own in order to tell the truth and speak truth to power?
TAPPER: Yes. One of the big questions that I've been asking all day of people who know Donald Trump is why? Why did he keep these documents? Why did he show them to people who don't have classification to see them? Why did he refuse to not turn them over? Why did he refuse to turn them over to the FBI? None of it makes any sense to me. Can you give me your best theory? COHEN: Yes. So I have said this on CNN several times before. It's definitively for nefarious purpose whether it's turning some of this information over to some of our adversaries for money whether it is in order to have power to be able to say to the U.S. government if in fact, that you ultimately do indict me. There are copies of this information which will pose a great national security issue to the country and use it as a get out of jail free card.
Donald thought this through, which is why he actually went through the boxes, which he stated that he did, and told people, don't look through my boxes. Just say that there's nothing there. Because he knew the significant information that they contained and he intended to use it for his own benefit at some time, either in the near future or in the distant future.
TAPPER: It's also interesting that this case, like the Stormy Daniels case, involves damning information that Mr. Trump gave to his attorney in the Stormy Daniels case, you in this case, Evan Corcoran, Trump's lawyer. His notes are part of the indictment. The allegation of Donald Trump telling his attorney to do things that are illegal. That must have resonated with you.
COHEN: Well, it did. And, you know, Evan Corcoran will ultimately do the same thing that I did. He will come forward and he will tell the truth, and people will criticize him for doing such. But it is -- at the end of the day, I didn't use the information in order to obtain any benefit. Despite what the Trump trash constantly likes to attack me on, that's not what I did. I realized that my, you know, that I was going down for somebody else's behavior, and I was not going to allow history to remember me as the villain of Donald Trump's story.
TAPPER: Given everything you've been through with the former president, what are the emotions going through your mind today? Not as an American, which you already talked about how bittersweet they are, but as somebody who as you, as Michael Cohen, as somebody who went through everything you went through. Is there a sense of vindication? Is there a sense of righteousness? What are you feeling?
COHEN: Well, it's not vindication. And I'm not elated over what I saw. I am happy. I'm happy that Donald is finally being held accountable for his own dirty deeds. Look, I stood up and I spoke to whether it was Judge Pauley, whether it was the Mueller team, whether it was the seven different congressional committees, to the Attorney General of New York, the DA of New York, to whomever in law enforcement that sought my information. I stood up, I told the truth.
And at this point in time now, I do believe that Donald will be held accountable and it will open up my opinion is it will open up more investigations into other people who worked alongside the Donald Trump acolytes, who also did things that were injurious to our country and to our democracy.
TAPPER: Michael Cohen, thanks so much for joining us. Appreciate it.
COHEN: Anytime, Jake.
TAPPER: After all the drama surrounding Mr. Trump today, we're going to take a look at the big legal challenges ahead for the former President's defense attorneys and the special counsel's team. Among them, should prosecutors push to fast track the trial before the 2024 election? What in Florida is known as the rocket docket. More on this special edition of The Lead, just ahead.
TAPPER: Donald Trump is flying from Florida to New Jersey this hour after pleading not guilty to more than a dozen federal charges, 37 in specific, involving his alleged mishandling of classified documents. His legal battle against this historic indictment is just starting. Let's bring back CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, former acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin. And in Florida, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jeffrey Sloman.
Jeffrey, let me start with you. One of the things that Donald Trump is raising money off of is they're trying to throw me in jail for 400 years. We hear that from his supporters. How likely do you think let's assume that Mr. Trump is actually convicted of these 37 charges. Do you actually think that he would go to jail, theoretically?
JEFFREY SLOMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA: I do. I think the sentencing guidelines dictate serious sentences here, quick calculation of them. They are in the neighborhood of more than 10 years. So I definitely unless a judge varies downward in this district, most judges follow the sentencing guidelines. I think he, you know, he is in line for a jail term.
TAPPER: What do you think, Michael Sherwin? Sure. Hold on one second. We are having an issue with your microphone, so let me just go to you, Elie. Not your fault, Michael. We're going to fix your microphone in a second. What do you think, Elie? How likely is this?
HONIG: Yes, so I actually agree. I actually pulled out the old federal sentencing guidelines, and I arrived at about the same number that Mr. Sloman just said this. If you run the numbers here, it's not going to be a 400 year case, right. Forget about the maximums. It comes out to eight to 12 years, depending on some of the wrinkles. Now, the federal sentencing guidelines are not mandatory, so the judge has to consult with them. They're quite influential. And I think it's likely that a judge would go down from that number.
But I don't see any universe where if this case results in a conviction of Donald Trump, where a judge sentences him to something short of prison, it's possible. But I think even if a judge gives him a break, you're still looking at prison. And this is a --
TAPPER: Really you think you go to prison?
HONIG: I do. And I think it's a huge difference between this and the Manhattan case, because in Manhattan, even if Donald Trump is convicted of all 31 counts or 34 counts, very likely, given New York law and given New York practice.
TAPPER: There'll be a fine.
HONIG: A probationary sentence, a fine, a non-jail sentence. So the stakes here in this new federal case are way higher for that reason.
TAPPER: Michael, your audio is back.
SHERWIN: OK, great. So what I was going to say is let's slow our roll on his conviction.
TAPPER: Sure, of course.
SHERWIN: Let's talk about the trial. If it goes to trial, which I'm sure it will. Let's talk about Miami Vice, D.C. Miami is a game changer. I think Vice, this case being in D.C. for a couple of reasons. One is the jury poll is extremely different than D.C. It's a much more dynamic jury poll. And you have a jury poll that you have a lot of groups, some groups from south and Central America, Cubans, Dominicans, Venezuelan, Colombians that initially a lot of those people in those jury poll have this adverse reaction to a lot of federal type of law enforcement just because of where they were raised and their background.
Also, in terms of the diversity with the Southern District, I think the defense attorneys here have a real shot at maybe a clean sweep of acquittal is not going to happen. But there's a real possibility of just flipping one juror. Just one juror is a mistrial. And that would be, I think, considered extreme loss for DOJ and an embarrassment. So jury selection is going to be critical. And this goes to the prosecution team.
The prosecution team, I trust, is going to have a very seasoned Southern District AUSA. Not someone from D.C., not a trial attorney, but you're going to need someone that knows how to select a Miami jury, because like any good trial attorney, Elie, I'm sure you could say, you could affirm to this, you win the trial. Almost more important than the evidence of the judge is how you select the jury and who's on that jury. That's a game changer.
TAPPER: So one of the things I wonder about, I mean, every legal expert that I've talked to, trump supporters and non-Trump supporters, have said this is just a very damning tight indictment, that the evidence is from Trump's supporters. It's notes, it's transcripts, it's I mean -- other than favoritism towards Donald Trump, and obviously, again, putting the cart before the horse, we have no idea what the trial is going to -- what's going to be in the trial. But are you saying that a juror would -- they just need to flip one juror based on the evidence?
SHERWIN: That's a great question. I think what the strategy you may see is, and this has been raised over the past couple of days and I think, Elie, you may have raised this, there's a concept called jury nullification. If you could plant the seed in one juror that despite the evidence,
despite the elements of the crime, despite what the judge tells you about those jury instructions, a juror has the ability to follow their own inclinations, whether this is a just prosecution or not. And based upon that, they can nullify the government's case.
TAPPER: All right, very interesting. Even as Trump has been in court in Florida, there is a new development in the investigation into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. We'll have details on that next.
COOPER: Not long after Donald Trump's arraignment in the classified documents case, we are learning about new testimony in a federal grand jury probe of his efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Katelyn Polantz has that story. Katelyn, what did you learn?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, Anderson, the Nevada GOP chairman, Michael McDonald, a person who was not only a fake elector in the 2020 election, but also someone who was in touch with Donald Trump's campaign and some of the top people around Trump, if not Trump himself, did testify before a grand jury in Washington, D.C. today.
So that is the investigation being led by Special Counsel Jack Smith, the very man who was in federal court today in Florida in this Mar-a- Lago documents case, a totally separate case, a separate investigation being led by the same team.
But what a reminder, Anderson, that the investigation around Donald Trump and others related to the 2020 election, related to January 6th and the Capitol riot and what happened in political spheres, that is still an ongoing criminal investigation where no charges have emerged out of it, even now that we have this case from Jack Smith against Donald Trump in the Southern District of Florida. Anderson?
COOPER: Katelyn, I appreciate it.
Back with the team here in New York. I mean, it's such a reminder that it's easy to forget this January 6th investigation continues, and it is Jack Smith as well.
COATES: It is. And so the timing of all this will be important in terms of when we might learn more information about that, why it might take longer than, of course, the classified documents is because it is a much more complex investigation to look and talk about election interference, a lot more players involved.
It might be more of a tenuous connection between the conversations. Somebody may spoke on behalf of somebody else. The case involving classified documents, much more cut and dry in the sense of you possessed something you were told you could not, and you retained them nonetheless.
COOPER: Karen, though in the January 6th investigation we don't know, we're told Mark Meadows has testified, we don't know if he made a deal. We don't know exactly what his level of testimony was. If he is cooperating, that could open up a whole new window into what we know about January 6th.
FRIEDMAN: Yes, well, his lawyer said, without saying whether or not he cooperated, did say he answered truthfully anytime any questions are asked of him. And that, to me, says that he actually did speak because otherwise he would have just taken the Fifth, right. Because he -- there is I think from January 6th, he was right side by side with Donald Trump the entire way. So he has a lot of criminal exposure. So again, we're just reading tea leaves, but I think, just based on what his lawyer said, he's cooperating. And he's so high up on the food chain.
You know, as you know, prosecutors, they start with the lower level people and move up and up. He's so high up that I think that investigation is also ripening towards the end. And I think we could potentially see that case being brought in very short order, perhaps by the end of summer. Jack Smith knows he has to bring this case quickly because the general election is coming and the DOJ policy is you can't affect an election --
COOPER: But just the timing, I mean there's no way, I mean if -- if the charges down in Florida are moving forward and say an indictment comes on January 6th, how would that timeline work out?
AGNIFILO: I think judges will coordinate with one another. I think the federal judges and the state court judges will all talk to one another and they will all figure out what makes sense and what goes first and what posture they're in. Although the Mar-a-Lago case is so much straightforward, and you think it could go quickly, there is this issue with classified documents that has to be resolved, and there's some legal issues that have to be resolved that could take time.
And the classified documents piece of this under the Classified Information Procedures Act, which is known as CIPA, that has a whole procedure of how to handle classified documents that can be appealed. If Judge Cannon doesn't rule in a way that the prosecutors think is appropriate, they can appeal that midstream, which normally you have to wait until after a conviction is over before you can appeal certain things.
So that could delay things, because that could go all the way up to the Supreme Court. So you just don't know what happens. But I think you could see both the Fani Willis, Georgia case and the January 6th case coming fairly quickly behind this one.
COOPER: It is extraordinary when you think about it. This is what the next two, three years is going to be, you know.
URBAN: This is like, what did Hemingway say about how you go bankrupt slowly than all at once, right? So maybe I think this is all kind of building. Maybe there's a tipping point at some point where people just like enough, just too much like and, you know, Karen's point, I'm not sure what Mark Meadows said or didn't say, but he sure has been absent from public view for the past six months.
Someone who might have been told to be quiet by his attorney and has been listening, he was a very vocal proponent of the President and then kind of vanished, turned over 6 or 8,000, you know, of his e- mails and documents and then kind of went away so.
GRIFFIN: Well, even in the limited ability that I can say, having met with the January 6th investigators, the focus seemed to be very strongly on the fake electorate scheme. You know, we think of the riot that day and the Capitol damage, that's sort of a separate piece.
It's more this effort to overturn the election, and that's something that Mark Meadows was very intimately involved in. And the fact that we are not hearing from him and that we know he spoke truthfully allegedly, means he wasn't pleading the Fifth and I think suggests he cooperated.
JONES: One good thing today, teeny tiny crowds, no violence, you know, there was a lot of concern going to this, you know, we're going to have big January 6th thing again, that did not happen, so.
COOPER: Yes. Everybody, thanks here in New York. Wolf Blitz and Erin Burnett pick up our special coverage right now.