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CNN Live Event/Special
Judge Denies Chesebro's Motion To Sever Case From Powell's; Trump Says He Would "Absolutely" Testify In His Own Defense; Attorneys for Chesebro React To Judge's Ruling; Former Attorney: Mar-a-Lago IT Worker Strikes Cooperation Agreement With Special Counsel, Has Agreed To Testify. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired September 06, 2023 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I'm charging RICO intentionally because it was a criminal enterprise.
In order for me to prove that to a jury, I need the members and the people involved at the actual trial.
That's going to be the real lift for her and her team to do at this point to say, all of these people here -- because the great benefit of RICO is, no matter what you are charged with, that actually is applied to other people in the case as well.
That's a really important part for the prosecution in this case.
But at the end of the day, I mean, the logistics will be king.
You can imagine, 19 defense attorneys cross-examining one witness. They mentioned the trauma and the repetition of a witness testifying. What if it's someone like Ruby Freeman or her daughter, who have already had to endure this multiple times?
Nineteen people will cross-examine her and come back separate times. That's part of the consideration, not whether you don't feel like coming to trial today, defendant.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I just want to add one thing. Because, yes, there are a lot of co-defendants here, but the most predominant one, of course, is the former president who was trying to allegedly stay in power after the election that he lost.
He was just on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. And in this interview, he says explicitly that his lawyers and ask that they dismisses the charges against him.
And he also said, if it came to the idea that he could be called to testify, he wouldn't mind doing it.
BASH: I know, that's a big shock.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: In fact, we have that clip and I think we can play it for our viewers.
Let's listen in.
(BEGIN AUDIO FEED
HUGH HEWITT, HOST, "THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW": If you have to go to trial, will you testify in your own defense?
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, yes, absolutely.
HEWITT: You'll take the stand?
TRUMP: That I look forward to.
(END AUDIO FEED)
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: I mean, do you believe it, though?
COATES: He always says he's willing to be under oath --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: -- Mueller, E. Jean Carroll.
Not only in this case, but the other ones, none of them think it's a great idea to have the former president of the United States on the stand.
Not only because of what he could say when they ask him questions, but the greater risk is, of course, what the prosecutors could ask --
REID: -- the cross-examination. To them, that would be a nightmare in any of these criminal cases.
So while he says that's something he would be open to, his lawyers likely have a different viewpoint on that.
BLITZER: The president, does he listen to his lawyers?
REID: Not always. That we know for sure.
BLITZER: We know that for sure. Kaitlan, it's very interesting. And I think some of the major
headlines out of what we learned in the course of this hearing today, that they estimate that this trial could go on for some four months once it actually begins.
And right now, the district attorney wants all 19 to start the trial on October 23rd. And they predict there will be at least 150 witnesses who will be called. This will be very, very huge, indeed.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Absolutely, Wolf. But a heavy dose of skepticism from the judge on having them all go on trial together. We'll see, of course, what he decides.
I also want to bring in CNN contributor and former Democratic State Senator Jen Jordan who is here with us from the state of Georgia.
Jen, listening to what the judge was saying there and then Kenneth Chesebro's attorney was making this argument, in his view, saying he believes this is the case where the state wants a case against Donald Trump.
And saying all of these people together, they're making this about Donald Trump, while he was saying he's just one of 19 defendants. My client is another one of those defendants.
But he was arguing that the state, the prosecutors, who were sitting right there, are trying to make this solely about the former president.
JEN JORDAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is about the former president, right?
I mean, the whole point of this, and specifically with the RICO allegations and the conspiracy allegations, are that really all of these other actors, all of these indicted co-conspirators, even the unindicted co-conspirators, they were acting or marching to the orders that were coming from the top.
It's kind of a waterfall effect. So, yes, I mean, it is all about Donald Trump and that's the whole point. You can't separate it out.
As much as Chesebro's lawyers were trying to minimize what he did, they kept calling it a paperwork case, it was so boring.
And then we heard the same thing with Powell, like Powell's attorney, Mr. Rafferty, was basically like, oh, it's not a big deal. It's just about Coffee County. It's going to take a couple of days.
It was really interesting because their approach was effectively the same, and pointing to the other saying, but that guy sitting next to me has bigger problems.
I don't think that the judge bought that, apparently. And so it will be really interesting as we move forward. But at the end of the day, it is all about Donald Trump.
COLLINS: Yes, but given the role -- and the view that you had of this as all of this was going on, what did you make of their attorneys really downplaying the actions of Sidney Powell and the actions of Kenneth Chesebro?
Who, obviously Kenneth Chesebro wrote the memos and was at the center of that fake elector scheme, which, notice, they weren't saying the word fake electors today. They kept saying alternate electors.
And then Sidney Powell's attorney downplaying her role in Coffee County. I should remind viewers, what prosecutors are alleging here, she helped fund that and helped coordinate the breach of this voting software there.
JORDAN: Well, and what's interesting to me as someone who was here watching, listening, and present, all of the things that Sidney Powell did and was a part of, they're not part of the indictment.
I mean, she was involved in some of the federal court cases. She appeared with various other, you know, indicted and unindicted co- conspirators in media in pushing theories that she knew were lies and untruths like everybody else. And the same with Mr. Chesebro.
That's what they want to do, right? They want to take their just little piece of it and say, look, you know, it's not that big of a deal, right? We're just talking about some false statements or maybe some conspiracies around that. But we weren't really the bad actors.
But that's the problem when you get caught up in a RICO conspiracy like that, you are part of it. Because the only way that the conspiracy works or the only way that you can really move forward to get to the ultimate aim of the conspiracy is through the actors.
And for better or worse, Mr. Chesebro and Ms. Powell were two of the ones on the front lines. And they did everything that they possibly could to overturn an election.
And the whole use of kind of this euphemistic alternate electors really kind of shows an alternate telling of the truth, too, because, at the end of the day, what we were talking about were fake electors, right? That's what we were talking about.
And we were not talking about just getting Donald Trump elected. I heard that a lot from the defense attorneys. It was literally about overturning a lawful election.
And that's really, really important for us to always kind of come back to, no matter what the lawyers say in court.
COLLINS: Yes, Jen. Stand by.
Michael Moore is still here with us. Michael, referencing what Jen just noted there, that was one of the
biggest moments I think that stood out, which was the argument from Scott Grubman, who is Kenneth Chesebro's attorney, one of the two that you saw there.
And he was saying, if the crime here, what the purpose was, was electing Donald Trump, that millions of people could have been indicted here. What went through your head when you heard that?
MICHAEL MOORE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's an argument he's going to make. He's representing his client zealously and that's what he's supposed to do.
I think he could make the argument that everybody that tried to storm the capitol that day and disrupt the electoral count could also have been charged somewhere in the conspiracy.
So there's some tenets of truth at least to the argument.
Look, this was a good day for the defense, for Chesebro and Powell. They've got their case basically severed. The judge has all but been a carrier pigeon to get this message. He all but severed their case from the other defendants.
He essentially said, file your brief by Tuesday and I'm going to be scheduling orders going out by the end of the week. He's not giving a lot of consideration for the idea that the 19 will be tried today. I think he telegraphed that broadly.
These motions, to me, looked like an effort to try to, you know, see what they could get out of the case and get out of the court and save time.
Had they really intended to file or to have their cases severed, Sidney Powell could have filed her motion under the Speedy Trial Act in September, October, after the Chesebro case had been moving forward. So I think this was a win for the defendants.
Think about, too, think about how ridiculous the state looked in this case to ask for 14 days to write a 10-page paper. They asked for 14 days to write a ten-page paper.
Yet they're suggesting somehow that these 19 defendants need to be prepared to go to trial, to question 150 witnesses in six weeks. They need two weeks to write a little paper, but everybody else needs to be ready in six weeks to try a case.
And that's -- I think the judge sees that. I was impressed that he ruled from the bench fairly quickly.
And I was also impressed that he was very candid in his concerns about the continued effort to somehow suggest that it's possible or even feasible or constitutional to try this case with all 19 defendants in October.
COLLINS: Yes, he basically laughed at that. And the prosecutor said, well, I got to ask. He said, well, I got to deny it.
COLLINS: And Jennifer Rodgers -- go ahead, Michael.
MOORE: I just think we're at a point when we're serious. I would have thought that the D.A. would have said, Judge, we will have this by close of business tomorrow.
You know, we're ready to go. We brought this indictment, we've been working on it, we're ready to go.
These aren't novel issues. I mean, when you bring a RICO case like this, especially when you ask the court to move that quickly, you should have already had these things briefed and, in the can, and essentially ready to file with the court.
So I'm not sure what the delay was. I thought it kind of went over as somehow -- we need two weeks to try it. I just -- I just thought it flew in the face of their suggestion to the court. And I think the court saw that. I think it was pretty clear.
Look, we're not going to have time for this back and forth briefing. What are we going to do about removal? What are we going to do about the court of appeals? What are we going to do about the possible Supreme Court?
This is serious business and I think the judge saw it. I was impressed with him.
COLLINS: Yes, the timeline is clearly key here.
Jennifer Rodgers, from what we heard from our colleagues in the room, Fani Willis, the district attorney, was not there today. You saw her prosecutors, Nathan Wade and others making their arguments. She wasn't there.
What do you think of what she makes of how her team did today?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think she should have been there. And I agree with Michael, they need to get busy. They've got a lot of work to do.
This notion of taking 14 days to brief something that the judge has said he's going to deny is silliness. They need to get cracking.
I was impressed with the judge. He seemed comfortable. He's 34 years old and pretty much brand-new to the bench. But he seemed to be in control.
I think he could be a little more blunt, even, with the parties as we proceed, especially when you get upwards of 10, 12, 19 defendants in the room with their lawyers. You're going to have to move things along even more quickly. But I'm impressed with how he did his homework and raised these issues
about what you do in case of a removal action, for example. So he seemed good. I look forward to seeing him handle his case going forward.
COLLINS: And, David Chalian, this is a judge, who we should note, he's the reason we're able to see this play out. It was his order to have cameras in the courtroom.
The big question is whether or not that is going to remain the case. And the big question we still don't know the answer to is whether or not this will get moved to federal court.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: We're waiting on that ruling that -- from Mark Meadows team where he argued to get this moved to federal court. And obviously, if, indeed, it does get moved to federal court, others are going to go rather quickly to try to make that move as well.
This will change the context for Americans assessing this, though. Seeing this on television play out from here on out is going to be a totally different experience than the federal cases that Jack Smith is in charge of right now. And that can change the context were voters.
Now you heard Dana reference Donald Trump today to Hugh Hewitt, he said he's working to get this totally dismissed from him. Whether or not that's successful remains to be seen.
But he is, he says, not at all concerned that this is going to play out on television. Of course, that's Donald Trump's preferred medium when he's trying to convince people to his cause.
COLLINS: Yes, and he's not concerned until potentially he is when this evidence is there.
I mean, Elie, the judge was very, very skeptical of the idea of trying all of these defendants. The concern about this becoming a federal case, what if they start trying it this way and it does all get moved to federal court and you're in the middle of this.
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: The two most important words we heard today were, quote, "very skeptical." The top-line takeaways, Chesebro and Powell will be tried together. Their effort to get apart from each other was denied from the bench.
But much more importantly, it is 99.9 percent clear, they are going to be tried separately from the other 17 and, most importantly, for their purpose, Donald Trump.
People say, why did they invoke their speedy trial rights? Why did they want to be tried so quickly? My guess would be to get away from Donald Trump. And it looks like they won on that.
The only point you raised, this one caught the D.A. flat-footed. David referenced this as well. The judge said, how can we force everyone else to go to trial when we have this separate issue pending? Mark Meadows is trying to get into the federal court. The federal
district court, the trial court judge has that now. Whoever wins or loses, that's getting appealed. And the judge said that could easily take six months, right? And the D.A. had to say, yes, it could.
After that, they're going to try to get it to the Supreme Court. And the judge said, how can we plow ahead here without that issue being resolved? The D.A.'s office had no answer. They sort of whispered in each other's ears and said, can we send you a brief on that.
It happens sometimes but not a good moment for the D.A.
COLLINS: And the judge said it would be risky to do that, it raised the question of double jeopardy.
What was your question, Karen?
KAREN FRIEDMAN AGNIFILO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think that's the biggest open question about whether these two, Kenneth Chesebro and Sidney Powell, actually go or not on October 23rd.
Because, really, the Mark Meadows' case that's pending in front of Judge Jones in federal court, for removal to federal court, we don't know if the judge will say, yes, the whole case should come to federal court or just Mark Meadows. And again, either side is going to appeal no matter what the ruling is.
And what the judge was saying here, what Judge McAfee was saying in court was that you can't get -- you can't -- even if you put the whole trial on and you get a jury verdict, we can't enter the conviction until that's resolved.
So what are we doing here and could double jeopardy attach if it turns out that, say you do have a whole trial and there's a verdict and there's a conviction.
And then the judge -- and then the Supreme Court rules, oh, no, this was supposed to happen in federal court. I'm now removing the whole thing. What happens? Do you try the whole case over again? Do you not?
I think there's a big open question about whether this trial can go on October 23rd, even though the judge has clearly signaled he's separating the two out.
COLLINS: So we are hearing from an attorney -- Kenneth Chesebro's attorney. He's speaking to reporters outside the courtroom.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: How do you feel about the decision?
SCOTT GRUBMAN, ATTORNEY FOR KENNETH CHESEBRO: Well, look, obviously, we're a little disappointed. We're disappointed. We filed a motion and it was denied.
However, we respect the court's ruling. We're preparing for our trial in October. We have a lot of other pretrial motions that we have filed and that we will file.
And there's a common purpose of all of these pretrial motions. It's to continue to ensure that Mr. Chesebro has not only a speedy trial, which we've demanded, but a fair trial.
And it's pretty clear that the state is trying to use RICO in order to connect three or four different alleged conspiracies into one. Folks who have never met each other, folks who are in no way associated as a matter of fact or law.
Again, we respect the court's decision. Clearly, we're going to be tried alongside Ms. Powell.
But we will file additional motions to make sure that the trial that we have with Ms. Powell is fair and that Mr. Chesebro is judged on the evidence that's attributable to him. And that the jury judges everyone on their own accord.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think it's realistic that the prosecution would get their case through in four months? You're looking at RICO case, they're still in jury selection.
GRUBMAN: Four months is just for the trial and not jury selection. That's additional on top of it.
Frankly, there's going to be probably about 20 or 30 more motions that will need to be litigated. They're wrong on the facts when it's RICO, everything goes, and that's not just the case. The trial will be narrow in scope going forward.
MANUBIR "MANNY" ARORA, ATTORNEY FOR KENNETH CHESEBRO: And let me say something about RICO. It's not just this case. We have seen several examples of what I would say is the weaponization of the Georgia RICO statute.
Not only this case, but the trial -- the case that was indicted yesterday, as you may have seen, 61 defendants, including lawyers who are simply trying to raise bail for some other defendants, got indicted in a RICO case by the attorney general's office.
There's a RICO trial going on right now, as we speak, against a bunch of rappers who have no other connection other than being a part of the same record label.
And you have this case where they're trying to connect three or four very different alleged conspiracies into one.
Again, I would argue it is the weaponization of the Georgia RICO statute. And I would implore the Georgia General Assembly when they get back in session early next year to explore ways to amend RICO to avoid this type of weaponization in the future.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you know if this will actually be going to trial in October 23r d or Mr. Chesebro and Ms. Powell as Well?
GRUBMAN: As the way it is right now, yes. Mr. Chesebro and Ms. Powell will be going to trial October 23rd.
Now, as the judge indicated, there's a very significant unknown out there, which is the possibility of removal. That's up to a federal judge, Judge Jones. Judge Jones has not issued his decision.
If Judge Jones were to remove this case, I think there's an argument that all of the defendants, at least initially, are removed alongside the ones who are entitled to removal.
But in that circumstance, you might expect us to try to file a motion to remand because, to be clear, this is where we want to be.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You think this will make it to the election, we'll get to -- make it to the election --
GRUBMAN: I hope not. But that's only on behalf of my client.
Let me make something else clear. My client is Ken Chesebro, OK? My client is not a politician. My client has never run for public office. My client has never met or talked to the vast majority of his alleged co-conspirators.
I'm not disrespecting any other strategy for any other defendants to get more time. If they want more time, they're entitled to it. And every defendant and every defense lawyer has their own circumstances that they have to deal with.
All we can talk about is our circumstances and the circumstances of our client, Mr. Chesebro. And we are ready to go forward to trial on October 23rd.
Now I want to say another thing. The state consistently says that they're ready to go to trial as well. The state responded to our speedy trial demand and everyone said, oh, they called Mr. Chesebro's bluff.
I want to make something clear. There was no bluff. We are statutorily entitled to a speedy trial and that's what we asked for. With all due respect to the district attorney's office, they had absolutely no choice but to say OK.
Now to say that all 19 defendants should be tried together, including ones that don't want to avail themselves of the speedy trial demand, is really just nonsensical.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you spoken to Mr. Chesebro?
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) -- 150 witnesses based on if it's -- you and Powell, how long do you guys need for?
GRUBMAN: I'm not trying to sound too much like a defense lawyer but, quite frankly, we think that there's a good chance that the state's case will be dismissed on a directed verdict after they rest.
So we're hopeful we don't need much time at all. But we haven't made those decisions.
I want to remind you and everyone else that the state has the burden, the state must prove their case and every single element of their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Mr. Chesebro has absolutely no burden. So that's not to say one way or the other whether we'll plan to put up witnesses. Quite frankly, we were waiting for this hearing to decide who we were going to be sitting next to in order to start making those strategic decisions.
One more question and then we do have to go.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you spoken to Mr. Chesebro after today's decision and what was his response?
GRUBMAN: I have not spoken to Mr. Chesebro.
Thank you very much. We appreciate it.
COLLINS: That is Scott Grubman you are hearing from. He is an attorney representing Kenneth Chesebro, the alleged architect of the fake elector scheme. We also saw the other attorney, Manny Arora.
Those were the two attorneys that were just arguing their case in the courtroom to try to sever or separate their case from Sidney Powell's. That was denied by the judge there.
Jennifer Rodgers, you heard Scott Grubman making an argument similar to what he said inside the courtroom, which is that he believes they are weaponizing RICO here, which is the racketeering case that ties this alleged conspiracy together.
We heard pushback from the prosecutors saying evidence against one person in the RICO case is evidence against all of them.
RODGERS: That's how RICO works. You have to prove the existence of the criminal enterprise. And then you have to prove that these people are members of it.
You have to prove that they committed these predicate acts in furtherance of the enterprise's goals. And that's RICO and how the statute was designed.
And that's why they have Ken Chesebro and Sidney Powell, who say they don't know each other, they don't text and they don't email, and yet they're both members, according to prosecutors, members of this enterprise. And so they will be tried together.
He can make motions on the legal side, saying -- just like there's joint or severance of defendants, there is also mis-joined or potentially of counts. He can argue they're using the RICO statute improperly as a legal matter.
He has 20 to 30 motions to make, which is a heck of a lot of motions. So we'll have to see what those are.
And he can make argument to the jury, not on a legal point, but saying let's not make a digger deal out of this than it is, they didn't do all that much, kind of a downplay as a factual matter. And I'm sure they'll do all of that.
But we'll just have to see what he does. It's an interesting play on his part, but I don't think it will get very far on the legal side, at least.
COLLINS: Elie, Michael Moore was saying the defendants, he thought, had a good day today, but Scott Grubman, the attorney for Kenneth Chesebro, walked out and said he was disappointed with the ruling.
HONIG: He had high expectations, I guess.
To me, if I'm representing Kenneth Chesebro, it's no big deal whether I get tried alongside Sidney Powell or not. The big thing is get away from Donald Trump, get away from the other 17, which he all but accomplished today.
To Jen's point, I thought the RICO argument was very interesting because there has been criticism that RICO prosecutors, like the three of us, tend to overuse RICO. I used it very aggressively.
But the D.A.'s response was an interesting preview of their case. They said, our theory is this was an evolving scheme. When one thing failed, they went to the next and they went to the next.
And I think we got a little bit of a trial preview as to how the D.A. will argue this case.
COLLINS: Yes. It could be a preview, indeed.
Wolf, we will wait to see if that is what they argue and whether this does end up in state court as they are trying to make it happen.
BLITZER: They certainly are.
Kaitlan. Stand by.
We are following, of course, all of these details coming out of this very historic first televised hearing in the Georgia election case.
But we also have breaking news in the federal -- the federal classified documents case down in Florida.
One of the key player has flipped against former President Trump and is cooperating with the Special Counsel Jack Smith's office.
That according to the former defense attorney from Mar-a-Lago, I.T. worker, Yuscil Tavares, who says Tavares has agreed to testify in the case, and in exchange, he will not, repeat, not be prosecuted.
Both Tavares and Carlos de Oliveira, the club's property manager, were initially suspected of giving false testimony after denying allegations that they tried to erase incriminating security camera footage. Tavares has not yet been charged.
This filing, by the way, marks the first public acknowledgement that the Special Counsel Jack Smith has won the cooperation of a key witness in this case against Trump, his one-time valet, Walt Nauta, and Carlos de Oliveira.
Our panel is back.
Paula, you've been covering this for a while. So what does this mean for the special counsel's case?
REID: You just said this is significant because this is the first acknowledgement the special counsel has secured the cooperation of a key witness.
Mr. Tavares, he oversaw the security footage at Mar-a-Lago. We know the security, the surveillance footage is a key part of this case because there are allegations that there were efforts to destroy it or at least conceal it.
So we've also learned that one of the things that prompted this cooperation deal was the threat of prosecution. He was threatened with possibly being prosecuted. And so in exchange for not facing charges, he has agreed to testify in this case.
And that's interesting because we also know Walt Nauta, the former president's co-defendant, also faced the threat of prosecution, but he did not flip, which is part of how he became the former president's co-defendant.
One other thing that will complicate this is Walt Nauta and Mr. Tavares were at one time represented by the same person, Stan Woodward. He is a frequent character in this case. He represents a lot of people. He is paid by a Trump-aligned political action committee.
So once Yuscil Tavares decided to sort of change the story that he was giving prosecutors, agreed to cooperate, right before that he changed lawyers. So he is no longer represented by Stan Woodward.
But it still could be an issue, particularly if he was to testify at trial. He could possibly be cross-examined by his previous lawyer. So that's something that the judge is seeking briefings on. That's something they'll have to work out.
But this is a significant development in the Mar-a-Lago docs case.
BLITZER: Very significant.
A lot of the information, Laura, as you and I know, because we just read it, came in as a document, and it has been released, in the United States district court, Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division, the United States of America vs. Donald J. Trump and Walt Nauta. And we get a lot of information there. How significant is this new revelation as far as Trump specifically in the classified documents is concerned?
COATES: Well, it's very significant. Remember, this is a person, as we learned from the initial indictment, that somebody went to him under the advice or the direction of the former president to tell him what to do about the footage.
So this could be someone to tell us what the conversation of the like. We're still looking and trying to piece together the pieces, unlike Jack Smith's team, who we must know before indicting the person at Mar-a-Lago.
What specifically was said? What was the direction given? What is the corroborating evidence to support it and to bring an indictment, and let alone bring it at trial.
Having a key witness and having someone that will tell you what came from the proverbial horse's mouth is immeasurably important in any prosecution.
So if he's actually cooperating, it means, if you do not continue to cooperate, then that indictment for yourself could also be looming.
So this person has every insensitive to be truthful and has every incentive to remain credible and to be forthcoming with anything else that might happen.
I have to scratch my head as well and wonder, clearly, the identity of this person was known to Donald Trump and Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira, as well, have any of the conversations sur conversations surrounding potential intimidation or any witnesses, had they been identifying people or not?
Is that part of why Jack Smith's team wants it to be known there is a cooperator? Because, until now, we haven't heard about them maybe for that very reason.
BASH: To publicly make clear --
COATES: Right, that shield.
BASH: A shield. To make clear to the former president, back off on him.
It is so interesting.
And Sara has covered so much about Donald Trump, politically, legally and everything in between.
That's his M.O. And we've seen this. The most infamous example has been Michael Cohen -- is to keep people, who know things or potentially know things, as close as they possibly can.
And this one got away. And this one has to know a lot or else the prosecutor wouldn't have given him the deal.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We aren't learning this because Jack Smith wanted to share this with us. We are learning about this because there is this dispute about Stanley Woodward, the attorney at the center, whether there is a conflict involving him.
And that's why this is coming up in the filings is to note that now there is this cooperation agreement with Tavares that, according to Stan Woodward, at least, that this was not a cooperation deal that was on the table when he was representing Tavares.
And I think, Dana, to your point, Trump has been able to keep a lot of people in the fold, in this case, people who do have a lot to lose, people like Walt Nauta and Carlos de Oliveira, who are now charged as part of this case.
So to see Tavares break away and get his own attorney and move away from the cushiness of the Trump PAC-funded lawyers.
And outside of that circle, it's not (INAUDIBLE)
BLITZER: Very quickly, this is a nightmare for Trump that some of his co-defendants will flip, begin to cooperate against him.