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CNN Live Event/Special

Trump Surrenders To Face Federal Charges; Miami Security On Heightened Alert Ahead Of Arraignment. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired June 13, 2023 - 11:00   ET




WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Hello, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington, D.C.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST (voice-over): Good morning, Wolf.

I'm Erin Burnett in New York and welcome to all of you, our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is our special coverage of the historic federal indictment of Donald Trump. We will watch with you, soon to see an unprecedented moment, the former president Trump appearing at the federal courthouse in Miami.

You are looking at it right there. He will then formally surrender, be taken into custody, placed under arrest by U.S. marshals. He's expected to enter a plea of not guilty on 37 felony counts over his handling of classified documents.

Right now Donald Trump is at his resort near Miami. CNN has video of him greeting visitors. We're told he spent the night searching for attorneys to represent him in Florida. Privately, he has been pushing for his legal team to take a more aggressive stance against the Justice Department-- Wolf.

BLINKEN: We are getting new details on how he is keeping an alleged co-conspirator, Walt Nauta, in arm's reach. The close aide flew to south Florida with Trump and had dinner with him just ahead of their court appearances.

Right now, law enforcement is on high alert for potential threats. Miami's police chief vowing this morning they are ready to handle security concerns but there are no barriers to separate protesters and Trump supporters outside of the federal courthouse in Miami.

That is where we begin with CNN's Shimon Prokupecz and Paula Reid.

Shimon, what are you seeing on the ground?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: At the moment, Wolf, you can see the officers from the Miami city police, pushing us all off, because they are investigating something on the other side of this yellow tape. We were all gathered over there for a little while. And then all of a

sudden, the police came in and said everyone had to clear the area. There was media gathered over there as well.

And so, what they are doing, we are told is, that they are doing a sweep. Something caught the eye of law enforcement, something suspicious. And so now they are doing this sweep.

As you can imagine, Wolf, everyone here is on high alert and, generally in this area, they have been allowing the Trump supporters and protesters and the media all to gather here. They have not separated any of the crowds. We have not seen any barricades.

We have seen the officers out here. But this is the first time that we are seeing any kind of pushback from them. Their concern over something that they have discovered there that they are investigating. This is the area where the media has been gathering, Wolf.

But also many of the Trump supporters. I want to show you some of them who are gathered out here on the street now, because the police have closed the street as they investigate what is going on here. And so some of them are now gathered here.

And then on the other side, Wolf, there is, that is where the media is gathered. But this is generally the scene out here right now. I think that also, Wolf, we have a drone shot over the courthouse, where you can see some of the security.

Police, instead of placing the metal barriers that we were talking about, they have decided to use vehicles, their cars as a way to harden the perimeter of the courthouse. It is probably not the most ideal situation and certainly something that we have not seen law enforcement do in other situations, like when the former president appeared in Manhattan.

But I want to try to see if I can show you how much more of this area the police have closed off as they are investigating this suspicious package or something they found suspicious. This is what they have done here, Wolf.

They're using these Federal Protective Services, police SUVs, as a way to harden this. And they've put yellow tape around, trying to keep people out. And then down as far as -- that is the entrance to the courthouse, where they are also using the vehicles to basically harden the area.


PROKUPECZ: For now, Wolf, they are investigating this suspicious package. Hopefully they'll clear that up. It's been peaceful out here, no problems; this is the first time that we are seeing any kind of law enforcement activity to try and push people back because of this suspicious activity.

And people out here are just sort of milling about and trying to figure out what is going on. We expect, once they clear that item, Wolf, that the police will allow the people back into the area.

But certainly, what we are seeing since I got here this morning, Wolf, the number of people coming here is growing, the Trump supporters, vehicles coming through here with the flags. And we will wait to see what the police discover here, Wolf.

BLITZER: Shimon, once you see what is in the suspicious package or what is being looked for, we will get back to you.

Paula, what can we expect today as Trump prepares for this truly historic arraignment, the first time in U.S. history a former president has been arraigned for criminal activity.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It is interesting, Wolf, as Shimon laid out, there are dozens of protesters here, some supporting the former president, some celebrating the indictment.

You also have the world's media and lot of wildlife here at the court. There are roosters walking among the protesters. It is increasingly a circus-like atmosphere when we are here for a pretty serious and solemn occasion.

It is the first former President of the United States to be arraigned on federal criminal charges. In just a few short hours, former president Trump is expected to make the drive from his Doral Golf Club to downtown Miami to surrender.

When he arrives, he will be in a car and expected to arrive in the federal courthouse behind me in a garage underneath the building. So not expected we will see him. But once inside the building, he will be under arrest.

The process more or less likely for any other defendant. We are not expecting him to have a mug shot taken since law enforcement knows exactly what he looks like. But they will take his fingerprints.

And then he will appear before the magistrate judge. Changes will be read. He said he will enter a plea of not guilty. That is just the first step in a very long and historic case. At the defense table will be two attorneys, Todd Blanche and Chris Kise, the former solicitor general of Florida.

This is not expected to be his final legal team. But it is going to take some time. All of the additional proceedings will be before the trial judge, Judge Aileen Cannon. She is a Trump appointed judge. She has made one decision in a matter related to this case that was roundly criticized by legal scholars and ultimately overturned.

Usually the judge is not a central storyline in a trial. But everything that she does in this case is likely to be scrutinized.

BLITZER: All right, Paula.

Shimon, thanks to you as well.

Of course, we will get back to both of you very soon. Erin, your turn right now.

BURNETT: All right, thank you so much, Wolf.

Let's bring in the panel here with our legal analysts and of course, our political experts.

Karen, as Paula was going through some of the people that we expect to be present on Team Trump and, of course, for the DOJ. Obviously the ringleader of the DOJ prosecutors is Jack Smith himself. And you know him.


BURNETT: So tell me about today and what role he is going to play as the person, the ringleader here?

AGNIFILO: He may or may not be present in court. He is directing what happens today. He handpicked the prosecutors himself. It is a carefully choreographed and they are not going to leave anything to chance, arraignment that Jack Smith has done.

And he may or may not appear as you saw at the last arraignment; Alvin Bragg did come to watch the arraignment. But I don't know if Jack Smith will or will not be there.

BURNETT: And Laura, whether he is there or not, obviously, he is still in charge of it but we will get a better sense of it of who is in the weeds here, right?

LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Of course, we saw him present but he did not speak much when he was in a meeting with Trump's attorneys prior to the indictment coming down.

And part of the gravitas here. But this is how routine and mundane this part of the case can be, is the reading of the charges. It is going to be very anti-climatic for Trump to know what the charges are.

But it does not take away from the fact that this is a very, very monumental occasion, a former president walking into a federal courthouse already being indicted in state court, certainly with a federal indictment and multiple, dozens of charges at this point in time and for things related to what he did following presidency.

And so a little bit of humility in terms of the courtroom experience.


COATES: But very, very quick it is expected to happen.

BURNETT: And so maybe we will see some humility and perhaps we should see some humility --


COATES: -- it's a humbling experience. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It should be a humbling experience.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- very different.



BURNETT: And I wanted to talk about the timing of this.

But Scott, something that happened this morning, Byron Donalds came on to defend Trump. And he said, hey, there's 33 bathrooms in Mar-a-Lago. So it is not like this one matters.

And I just have to say, when those are the responses that you are getting and people are putting them out there as if they are serious, how do you even respond to that?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they are -- they don't have much to work with here. If you look at the indictment and the pictures, I guess I will cut Byron some slack, because when seeing pictures of boxes in a bathroom, it's pretty jarring.

It wasn't just a bathroom; it was also on a stage and in other places. What they are trying to do is a political exoneration, put enough mud into the water to give Republicans to hang their hat on as they debate and argue about this in the public domain.

None of this is going to hold water in court nor are the complaints about the Presidential Records Act or he shouldn't have been charged under the Espionage Act because he wasn't committing espionage, well, the title of the bill means absolutely nothing.

There is a bunch of stuff being thrown out. But that's what Republicans are talking about. I was there when Byron gave the interview this morning. And he gave a pretty authentic review of what Republicans are saying.

At the core is, basically, the Republicans want Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Hunter Biden prosecuted. They are not, were not and Donald Trump is and that's basically at the core of what they're mad about.

BURNETT: It is interesting, not just what Asa Hutchison (INAUDIBLE) or what Chris Christie said on CNN last night with Anderson Cooper. Chris Christie was very clear. If you want to talk about your issue with the DOJ, that's a conversation.

But doesn't mean this is invalid, that this is not right to prosecute and it certainly doesn't mean there's any double standard in this case. It doesn't seem like a hard thing to say. Yet as Byron Donalds is showing, it is not what you are getting from the lion's share of the GOP.

MONDAIRE JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it is not. I think we have seen this trajectory since Donald Trump was first elected in 2016. Byron is in a safely red seat and perversely coming to the defense of Donald Trump and even rendering these illogical and incoherent defenses actually help him in a primary and maybe even in other contests.

But there are implications for other Republicans in the House of Representatives in much more competitive seats. Some of them --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If that becomes the norm and the dialogue, it is not good for others.


JONES: But this case is not going to be resolved today and he is likely to be indicted in other jurisdictions.

And what does that mean for someone who is serially indicted and running at the top of the ticket?

Different candidates will come to different conclusions as to how they should deal with this --



JONES: -- Don Baker (ph) in Nebraska, in a Biden district, has probably done the right thing with respect to this in terms of helping his own re-election but many of them have not made that decision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what I think is interesting is serially indicted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's only a couple of phrases that come out but that is powerful when you say that.

Last night Chris Christie says this could go fast and he says that, even understanding that there is going to be arguments and fights, whatever, the rocket docket that he cited in Florida, and he said, theoretically you can get through it in a few months. I'll give it more because of complexity but still, he thought, this winter.

AGNIFILO: I think it depends upon the judge. And Aileen Cannon, who has already demonstrated that she is biased toward Donald Trump when, you can recall, when they executed the search warrant, she inserted herself in that case and appointed a special master.

And the 11th Circuit reversed her. Two of the three were Trump appointees and said she was essentially biased, lawless and didn't know what she was doing. So if that is the case and she stays, I think she should and may be recused.

But if she stays on the case, she could delay it and help him to delay it. He does not want a trial. There's no defense, nothing legal to hold up in court. He doesn't want to mount a defense, because it is a strong case.

BURNETT: And meantime, John, Miami police didn't put up barriers between the different groups. They could have from 5,000 to 50,000 people and, so far, not many people and so far peaceful. There is something -- and I have to say in the moment, because who know where this goes. But something calming about that as a citizen.


JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: So there's a thing going on here which is, you see the Secret Service is leaning into the federal government to say, we don't have the barriers that we want, so we are going to ring the building with vehicles to create that hard perimeter.

They want more security, because in the Secret Service mindset, they have procedures, standards, standard procedures and the ideas of crowds and a protectee, there should be barriers.

The Miami police is looking at that through the lens of we have a group of Trump supporters here and we don't consider them to a threat to Donald Trump. And we have adequate resources in terms of the personnel.

And so there is a little clash of styles there. And the wild card is, of course, when your Trump supporters start to fight with the counter demonstrators, do you lose control of the situation there?

And they are confident that, no, we are not. So it is interesting to see this type of the tension in the background between agencies that usually work very well together.

BURNETT: So all stay with me.

The indictment is going to shine a big light on the split between Republican leadership and the House and the Senate. We have been talking about the House. But the Senate is different. The one side loudly defending Trump, the House slamming the DOJ and why it is OK to have documents in bathrooms.

But the other is not saying much at all. We will have live reports from Capitol Hill.

And the arraignment afterparty.

What about the big money fund-raiser that Trump is going to be hosting tonight?

A wealthy donor just told CNN he is not holding back. That and more after this.



[11:20:00] (MUSIC PLAYING)

BURNETT: All right. Let's go to Capitol Hill as promised. New reaction from Republicans as the president is preparing for the court. Manu Raju is there.

And what is the latest?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is really mixed. You saw a lot of Republicans rushing to Donald Trump's defense. And others said let's wait to see what happens. Even today, Lindsey Graham saying that Donald Trump brought on this just because of his own actions.


RAJU: Shouldn't he have just given back the documents to have avoided all of this mess to begin with?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Most politicians get in trouble by self inflicted wounds. Yes, he believes he had the right to possess these under the Presidential Records Act. I don't know whether that's accurate or not.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not condemning it. I'm not his spokesperson. That is my stance as a member of Congress. If he becomes president one day, then I probably have to comment on it.

RAJU: You're a military guy. He allegedly had national security information --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is very problematic is the reason I'm not defending it.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), MEMBER, SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I think the record is a cause for real concern, that she has to overcome the presumption arising from her past rulings that she somehow favors the president who appointed her, former president Donald Trump. In the total scheme of things, I would advise her to recuse.


RAJU: That last comment coming from Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, referring to the judge who is expected to take the case, Aileen Cannon, who has caused some concerns among Democrats.

You heard Blumenthal calling for her recusal from this case. Dick Durbin, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said that he does have concerns with her potentially overseeing the case but he would not go as far as Blumenthal to call for her to recuse as lawmakers grapple with the indictment and the case that could play out over the next year and shake up the map heading into 2024.

BURNETT: Absolutely, Manu, thank you very much from Capitol Hill -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Erin, thank you.

We will discuss further what is going on, on this truly historic day. Our analysts here in Washington.

And Gloria, let me start with you. We are clearly seeing what I think is a historic divide emerge among the Republicans themselves react to the indictment of Trump.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, it's a canum (sic). It is not just a division. What we hear time and time again is the weaponization of the Justice Department and we hear that justice is not carried out equally.

What we are not hearing a lot about from Republicans is details of what actually happened in this case and questions of obstruction, which is sort of key to this indictment.

Now what is interesting to me is Manu was pointing out that Lindsey Graham, who vociferously defended the president, suddenly came out today to say, well, most politicians commit self-inflicted wounds.

That is a way of saying that none of this had to occur. As we all know, if Donald Trump hadn't insisted on hanging onto these documents, which he did for more than a year. I mean, you know, the Archives went to him and they bargained with him and they tried to find out where the documents were.

They tried to get a hold of them, until they had to execute a search, which the Republicans also criticize as unwarranted.


BORGER: But I do think that what we are going to see is a little bit of softening on some of the Republicans' part. The Senate is different from the House but you just saw congressman Crenshaw walking away from Manu, because he did not want to talk to him, but he said, I'm not defending it. That is as far as he went.

But there is silence, for example, from Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader.

BLITZER: Thunderous silence, I would say.

And Juliette, the very explosive national security secrets contained in these documents clearly make it harder for Republicans to simply brush all of this off.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: And Crenshaw is a veteran and so I think those who put their physical wellbeing on the front line are not going to defend this.

I think what is interesting is that an indictment is a story. And I thought that it was interesting is that this story as it was released started with not law or politics but national security. The first paragraph mentions two key factors at play here. One is our

military intelligence agents and a nod to them; in other words, our obligation to them, not to Trump, is that we protect the work that they are doing.

And the second is that there is a mention of our allies. I think that's playing out here in really important ways, that the United States doesn't exist on the globe by itself. It needs its allies to have confidence that those who have access to the highest security clearances are protecting them or at least not putting them in bathrooms, right?

There may be a gap between always being in the SCIF but people certainly know that those pictures looked wrong. So our present capabilities are impacted by what our allies are likely to believe is the case in terms of classified information and they are also seeing the polling that Trump is the frontrunner.

And if you're gaming out the system, is this the guy you want to be sharing where your covert operatives are throughout the world?

BLITZER: And I wanted you to watch one of Trump's 2024 challengers, Tim Scott.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): What we are seeing today across this nation under Joe Biden's leadership is a double standard. That double standard is both un American and unacceptable.

You cannot protect the Democrats while targeting and hunting Republicans. This case is a serious case with serious allegations. But in America, you are still innocent until proven guilty.


BLITZER: You a former prosecutor.

What do you say to these arguments like Tim Scott is making about a double standard going on?

ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He is absolutely right to the extent that double standards have no place in the American criminal justice system.

I think where he is leaving out some information though is that in order to even go to trial in the first place, often prosecutors would have gotten the charges or the claims they were making past the federal judge in the first place.

To get convicted at a trial, you have to get past a jury of your peers of Americans. And the idea that merely because a Democratic administration, which even that's a little bit misleading because Jack Smith was put in charge of the investigation to take away the taint of politics from the entire case.

So it's a little bit misleading to suggest that merely because you have a Democratic president that nothing could be fair.

I guess the question is, what would the solution be, Wolf?

Would it be if the Justice Department investigated and prosecuted Hunter Biden tomorrow, would everybody suddenly fall in line and say, well, it is OK to prosecute Trump, too, because they prosecuted a Democrat?

It is just -- there is no words for it.


BORGER: And the other side saying, well, they are just prosecuting Hunter Biden, because of Donald Trump. I think they are walking this fine line if you are running for president, because you don't want to condone reckless behavior.

And so he tweaked it at the end but then he comes out in the beginning to talk about the double standard. And that is what we are going to hear. We heard it from Nikki Haley also. We will be hearing from these presidential candidates trying to navigate the line.

BLITZER: It's interesting because one congressman who endorsed Trump said that indictment is a one-sided account from the special counsel, Jack Smith.

I don't know if the defenses from Trump actually hold up from your legal perspective?

NORMAN EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I thought the senator Scott justification, where he acknowledged the seriousness of the charges, speaks to how they hold up. These are extraordinarily serious charges.

But Wolf, now we have a process, right?

And it should be the same process for any of us and for a former president. But now we'll have a process that tests those charges, that answers those questions.