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Court Sets Friday Deadline For DOJ To Reveal If Trump Opposes Request To Unseal Mar-a-Lago Search Warrant; Sources: Fmr. Trump Transportation Secy Met With 1/6 Cmte As Other Cabinet Members Engage With Panel; Justice Dept. Moves To Unseal Search Warrant For Trump's Home; Authorities: Standoff With Man Who Attempted FBI Breach Is Over; CDC Ends Social Distancing Guidelines For COVID-19 Control; U.N. Chief Urges Halt Of Military Activity Near Nuclear Plant; Satellite Images Show Russian Warplanes Damaged In Crimea. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired August 11, 2022 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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Our coverage continues right now with Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, former President Trump is now responding to the U.S. Justice Department's new move to unseal the warrant used to search his Florida home. The Attorney General of the United States revealing he personally approved the request to retrieve documents from Mar-a-Lago and condemning attacks on the integrity of his Department and the FBI.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Let's get straight to our top story. We're just learning right now that a federal court in Florida has instructed the U.S. Justice Department to confer with former President Trump about its request to unseal the search warrant and to tell the court by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow if he opposes it. CNN Senior Crime and Justice Reporter Katelyn Polantz is working the story for us.
Katelyn, what's the latest?
KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN SENIOR CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Wolf, we're talking about a court document that is under seal in a federal court right now, and a judge has set a deadline of 3:00 p.m. tomorrow to get an answer on whether Donald Trump and his lawyers want this document out there in the public's eye. And so, the Justice Department just a few minutes ago or little bit more than an hour or so, they requested in court to unseal this document. But of course, they want to give the courtesy to Trump's team as you normally would do in court to get a response there. And so the judge has set up a timeline.
The arguments the Justice Department is making is it's in the public interest to put this document out there and that a lot of it is hardly been spoken about by Trump and his team that there was a search that had occurred at Mar-a-Lago. But I do want to go and listen a little bit to what Merrick Garland said in his remarks around 3:00 this afternoon. Here's him in full.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Since I became Attorney General, I have made clear that the Department of Justice will speak through its court filings and its work. Just now, the Justice Department has filed a motion in the Southern District of Florida to unseal a search warrant and property receipt relating to a court approved search that the FBI conducted earlier this week. That search was a premises located in Florida, belonging to the former president.
The department did not make any public statements on the day of the search. The former president publicly confirmed the search that evening as is his right. Copies of both the warrant and the FBI property receipt were provided on the day of the search to the former president's counsel who was on site during the search.
The search warrant was authorized by a federal court upon the required finding of probable cause. The property receipt is a document that federal law requires law enforcement agents to leave with the property owner. The department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.
Faithful adherence to the rule of law is the bedrock principle of the Justice Department and of our democracy. Upholding the rule of law means applying the law evenly without fear or favor. Under my watch, that is precisely what the Justice Department is doing. All Americans are entitled to the even handed application of the law, to due process of the law and to the presumption of innocence.
Much of our work is by necessity conducted out of the public eye. We do that to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans and to protect the integrity of our investigations. Federal law, long standing department rules and our ethical obligations prevent me from providing further details as to the basis of the search at this time.
There are however, certain points I want you to know. First, I personally approve the decision to seek a search warrant in this matter. Second, the department does not take such a decision lightly. Where possible it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken. [17:05:10]
Third, let me address recent unfounded attacks on the professionalism of the FBI and Justice Department agents and prosecutors. I will not stand by silently when their integrity is unfairly attacked. The men and women of the FBI and the Justice Department are dedicated, patriotic public servants. Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety, while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves.
I am honored to work alongside them. This is all I can say right now. More information will be made available in the appropriate way and at the appropriate time. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attorney General, the former president --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
GARLAND: Thank you all for your questions. But as I said, this is all I can say at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
POLANTZ: Wolf, what Merrick Garland says there in that long public statement is that it's very much in line with what he also had people within the Justice Department writing in the court filing to the judge. We're just going to have to wait and see tomorrow what else is said about this warrant, whether there is interest from Trump's team to see it released, and then what the judge ultimately decides to do. Back to you.
BLITZER: We'll certainly stand by for that. Katelyn, stand by, I'm going to get back to you.
But right now we're quickly going to go to the White House. There's breaking news we're following. Our chief White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins is joining us right now.
Has the former president decided yet how he will respond to this move from the U.S. Justice Department, Kaitlan?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: What we're told, Wolf, based on our reporting is that the former president and his legal team have not yet reached a decision on how to respond to this motion filed by the Justice Department to unseal this warrant. Of course, the government notes and their motion that they favor unsealing it absent the objection of the foreign president. And so as Katelyn was noting, he does have until 3:00 p.m. tomorrow for the Justice Department to talk to his legal team and come to a conclusion on where they stand on this.
And so really, what the Justice Department did today with that statement, that brief statement from Attorney General Garland is put the ball in Trump's court for him to make this decision about whether or not they're going to unseal this warrant and let the public see what was included in it that led up to that unprecedented search on his residence on Monday or they could object to it and try to fight it and then they would lay out why they don't think this information should become public. And that would come after several days of the former president and his allies framing this as a politically motivated search conducted by the FBI. So that remains to be seen how he is going to respond to this.
I am getting the sense, Wolf, from the former president's orbit that they were caught off guard by this announcement from the Justice Department, that they were moving to unseal this warrant. It seemed like something that would stay private unless Trump decided to release it, which of course over the last 72 hours or so they had not yet decided to do. So that remains to be seen.
Trump has responded in a statement online talking about the actual search that happened, again framing it as a raid saying that they went through former First Lady Melania Trump's closets while the agents were there on the ground. That is not something we have confirmed from the Justice Department side about what exactly rooms they went into. We did know they went into his bedroom into his office as well including that basement room where these documents are being stored.
And so, we are of course waiting to see how he responds to this. And he does now have a deadline of 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, Wolf.
BLITZER: Kaitlan Collins at the White House, I want you to stay with us as well.
I also want to bring in CNN Legal Analyst Elliot Williams and CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.
Elliott, how unprecedented is this? The Attorney General of the United States breaking the silence on an ongoing investigation and effectively calling the former president's bluff?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's an excellent way to put it both when you talk about calling the bluff because what this does is it puts the onus on the President to say either whether he wants this information released or not released. You know, the three things that the Attorney General said in this truly unprecedented statement without talking about the substance of what was in there.
But the three things he said were really good, which is that number one, he approved it personally that this is, you know, the buck stops with him and it goes up to him. Number two, the Justice Department doesn't just go knock down -- knocking down people's doors and tries to find the least intrusive means possible. That was the language that he used. And number three, attacks on my folks are baseless and are frankly corrosive to democracy. So they were three sort of very important powerful statements without ever saying what was in the documents, which is sort of along the lines of what any attorney general would and should have done.
BLITZER: They're really dramatic stuff, indeed. You know, Gloria, the Attorney General confirmed as we know that he personally approved this decision to seek a search warrant. This isn't something he takes lightly, isn't?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: No, it certainly isn't. And he took pains to say that they went through a process before reaching this step and reaching the step of probable cause. And so, you know, as Donald Trump has portrayed it, it was a baseless, he called it a raid. It was something that was unprovoked, there was no reason to do it. They had been talking, everything was going just swimmingly.
And then the Attorney General said, you know, wait a minute, you know, wait a minute, we -- you know, there is a process here, that was followed. And this wasn't an FBI that was, you know, that was trying in any way. The implication of his statement was clearly that this wasn't an FBI in any way trying to go in there and make a spectacle of this. In fact, just the opposite.
And I think when he said, look, you know, you -- let's release this. You know, now Donald Trump has to say, OK, I can release it, maybe Donald Trump will decide to release it, we don't know. And what we will not see, however, and Katelyn knows more about this than I do, what we will not see is a lot of the real details, which would be contained in the affidavit. And that is something that will remain under seal. And that would give us more of an indication about why the Justice Department and the FBI really felt that they had to go in there and search for these documents.
BLITZER: Let me bring back Katelyn Polantz who has been doing an enormous amount of reporting in all of this. If these documents, Katelyn, do become public, both the warrant and the list of items seized, what could they reveal?
POLANTZ: Right. So Wolf, we have four documents we're talking about in total here that could become public. There is the warrant, so that's the piece of paper on top that the judge would sign saying yes, go do this search, we approve of it, we've reviewed it, yes, go ahead.
And then, there would be attachments to that, two attachments, in this case. One, describing exactly what should be searched. So in this case, it is very likely to say Mar-a-Lago maybe we'll see something a little bit more specific there, some certain rooms, maybe trying to get into a locked area of some sort, maybe if there was a person that was searched, although we haven't had any indication, that's the case here.
And then there's another document where the Justice Department has to write out in pretty close detail exactly why they believe they need to search this, why they're -- how they're wanting to take possession of it. In that, they have a choice to make. They can either put in that document the probable cause, right? So, the ideas of the crime.
So, these are the specific crimes they are investigating. This is why they believe they can find this evidence of those possible crimes at this very place. But of course, as Gloria was saying, there's an affidavit that is another piece of paper that is not part of what Garland is trying to unseal here.
The other one that that I should have mentioned, too, is the paper that was given back to the Trump lawyers, at the end of it it's essentially a receipt. And it lists out, these are the things we're taking with us that we need to conduct our investigation, we need to take them off the premises.
BLITZER: Yes, it's interesting.
You know, Kaitlan Collins, the former president has effectively from his perspective tried to set the narrative since Monday, calling this yet another witch hunt. But that's harder to do now, isn't it?
COLLINS: Well, he has had the last 72 hours to kind of set the narrative here because something that Attorney General Garland went out of his way to note today is, when he came out, he talked about the search warrant being granted to be executed at this address in Palm Beach, Florida. He noted it was Trump who confirmed it was his address, it was Mar-a-Lago where this search happened. Because that was how the world found out that the search had happened on Monday night is when Trump put out that lengthy statement.
And ever since then you have seen he has been fundraising off of this, they are sending out multiple texts that typically their fundraising texts are about Democrats, about inflation. They have all been about this search of Mar-a-Lago since Monday night, from what I've seen. And he's also using this to bolster his Republican allies where a lot of Republicans have come out and been heavily critical of the Justice Department.
Certainly Republicans who are Trump's allies have been very critical of this and said that Attorney General Garland needed to come out and talk about it as he did today. We'll see if that suffices their criticisms. I doubt it will. But that has really been what you've seen playing out over the last 72 hours.
And so today, for the first time, we've gotten the Justice Department side of things because they -- as they famously do not often not commented over the last several days. And so, what this really does is turn things back on Trump to have his legal team respond to this and it could shed a lot of light on this.
One thing I will note, Wolf, about the Biden White House is that they say they were completely unaware that Attorney General Garland is going to come out and make this statement today. They found out when the rest of us did that he was going to come out and obviously they say they did not know what he was going to say. That matches what happened on Monday, Wolf, when they also said they found out from why watching on television and reading Twitter that this search had gone on.
BLITZER: Interesting, indeed. I want everybody to stand by. There's much more we need to discuss. We will when we come back including how soon we could all potentially see these documents. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: Right now we're following the extremely unusual move by the U.S. Justice Department to have the search warrant for President Trump's Florida home unsealed in the face of increasingly sharp blowback from Trump's allies. Also tonight, a federal court has told the department to let it know by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, whether Trump opposes the unsealing of these documents.
Let's bring back our experts and our reporters. Katelyn Polantz, first of all walk us through what we can expect tomorrow and how soon, potentially, we could see these documents?
POLANTZ: Well, Wolf, this all could be wrapped up by the weekend. That is a real possibility here. When a judge sets an order for a response without further briefing just saying tell us what you think by 3:00 tomorrow, I mean that's well before the end of the day. The judge could look at what the Trump team decides to do on this and make a decision fairly quickly.
The judge could also take it under advisement a little bit, think about it, write an opinion, that is something we also see especially in high profile, really politically charged issues like this, especially in unprecedented issues. But there are also other things that could happen between now and then. There are media organizations already that are also in this docket, in this court asking for some unsealing here. And so potentially, we could see the judge set up additional briefings.
So, this could play out fairly quickly. But there are lots of steps here. The one thing that I do want to emphasize is that this isn't ultimately up to Donald Trump and his lawyers. We are waiting on what they decide to do whether or not they will want this to be released and what they're going to tell the court, what they're going to ask for in court, but ultimately, it is up to the judge.
BLITZER: A good point. Elliot Williams, I want to get your legal perspective on all of this. What do you think? Do you expect we could actually soon see these really sensitive documents?
WILLIAMS: Yes, no, I agree fully with Katelyn. Certainly soon may not be tomorrow, but within weeks, because even if the judge allows Trump's lawyers to brief it over a couple of days on paper, the judge could issue a ruling very soon after that and make the documents public.
You know, the most notable part about this is that both in his comments today and as the Justice Department wrote in the actual motion, essentially they say, you drove us to this, we were perfectly fine keeping this as we would with any other citizen of the -- or any other person, not just citizens of the United States, we would have kept this silent and there was no media attention around it. Number one, the President and his attorneys both issued state -- or spoke publicly about it and therefore, breaking with Justice Department tradition, we are now speaking out publicly on it. But they -- he was, you know, in his comments, and again on paper, legally written out they sort of -- it's a brushback pitch for lack of a better way to put it, but the president saying, you know, this is where we are and this is really your fault.
BLITZER: Gloria, how politically fraught is all of this with the midterm elections looming in November?
BORGER: Look, it's usually politically fraught, very consequential. And I think the Trump people know this. And what they've managed to do and talking to Republicans this week as I have, as one Republican who's close to Trump said to me, look, this has managed to unite Republicans like we haven't seen in a long time. When do you get Mike Pence and Ron DeSantis on the same page defending Donald Trump? Hardly ever.
McCarthy came out, you know, saying, you know, watch out Merrick Garland, and he managed to unite his right flank and the Republican House caucus. So, they have united behind Donald Trump on this. And the Democrats are saying, you know, hold on, there are notably some Republicans, largely in the Senate who have held their fire, because they want to see how this plays out.
And let me just, you know, remind our viewers that we will -- now we know sort of what was happening and the process of all of this. But what we really don't know, we don't have any idea is what specifically the Justice Department is looking for in these documents. We -- and we will not know that by the end of this week.
I think that is still -- the big question mark here is, what is this all about? Is this just -- is this about getting these documents, which should never have been taken? Or is it about specific documents? And what was in these documents? I mean, we just don't really under -- we don't have a full explanation yet of what is behind all of this.
WILLIAMS: Hey, Wolf, if I can say one quick thing on that, even if you don't see the documents themselves, the containers or files they're in will might be marked top secret, top secret, secure compartmentalized information --
WILLIAMS: -- or whatever else. And just that fact alone is indicative that they shouldn't be out of government hands and not in a safe in somebody's house.
WILLIAMS: Even if you don't read the documents themselves.
BLITZER: A good point, indeed. You know, Kaitlan Collins, how was the Trump inner circle reacting to the news that a witness actually cooperated with the federal investigators?
COLLINS: I think they're a little skeptical of this. Of course, there have been many questions of who this person is that spoke to investigators about what they knew about these documents. And I think you have to look back at what a chaotic period it was when Trump did leave the White House in January of 2021. Of course, that was after he had been disputing the election for months trying to overturn the results, pressuring lawmakers, pressuring state officials.
And we spoke to people who were in the West Wing at that time. It was a very chaotic time, and there were a lot of documents going back and forth being taken to the residence. You saw, of course, when Trump left the White House that day, there were aides carrying documents with him as they went to Marine One before they made that final last in flight to leave the Capitol and leave Washington to go to Palm Beach. And so I think that there have been a lot of questions about what was cataloged, what was taken, why it was taken?
And then of course what Gloria was just getting to, which is not just what's in these documents, but once the National Archives reached out and made clear they wanted to get these documents back in their possession, why they got 15 boxes and not all of the documents. That is also been a critical component here.
And as our reporting showed on Monday when investigators visited Mar a Lago on June 3, Trump's attorneys showed them the room where these documents were being kept, the ones that they had not returned to the National Archives. So a lot of questions, of course, about what's in those documents. And clearly, the federal government in the National Archives was very interested in that as well.
BLITZER: I'm sure they are. A lot of sensitive issues indeed. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.
First on CNN, which former Trump cabinet official is the latest to talk to the House January sixth select committee and who might be next? We have new information that's straight ahead.
BLITZER: First on CNN tonight, new developments in the House January 6 investigation as we learned of more former Trump administration officials now talking to the select committee. CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona is joining us with the latest. Melanie, you're learning that what former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao met with the select committee?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Yes, that's exactly right, Wolf. We are learning that Elaine Chao has interviewed with the January 6 select committee, making her the ninth known Cabinet level official to have engaged with the select committee. Elaine Chao resigned one day after the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
We also know that she explored invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the immediate days after January 6. And we're also learning that the committee is in talks to bring in several other key witnesses. That includes Betsy DeVos, the former Education Secretary. She also resigned on January 7th, and she also was involved in conversations about the 25th Amendment.
And then there's Robert O'Brien, a former National Security Adviser. Now, he is not a Cabinet level official. But sources tell CNN he was involved in some of those discussions about using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Although he did deny that in his statement to CNN. He also considered resigning after January 6, but ultimately did not.
And so, this is just the latest sign that the committee is really zeroing in on Trump's Cabinet and really zeroing in particularly on those conversations around the 25th Amendment. Earlier this week, the select committee also interviewed Mike Pompeo, the former Secretary of State. We are told that indeed, the 25th Amendment was a topic of conversation.
We should also mention that John Ratcliffe, the former Director of National Intelligence is also in talks with the committee. And now Betsy DeVos has talked publicly about some of those conversations. She told USA Today that former Vice President Mike Pence told her he would not support invoking the 25th Amendment. And, of course, his support would have been required for a step like that.
But, Wolf, these are the exact types of conversations that the select committee wants to learn about. They want to learn just how concerned Cabinet officials were about Trump's behavior. And just how serious were those conversations about the 25th Amendment. Wolf?
BLITZER: Yes, important questions indeed. Melanie Zanona, thank you very much for that report.
The reaction on Capitol Hill tonight to the stunning announcement by the Attorney General Merrick Garland, that he's asking a judge to unseal the warrant authorizing the search of former President Trump's Florida home at Mar-a-Lago. CNN Congressional Correspondent Jessica Dean is working this part of the story for us. Jessica, very bold move from the Justice Department. What are you hearing up on Capitol Hill tonight?
JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, Wolf, it's important to remember that right now, the House and Senate are on recess. So the members are not physically here. But we are hearing a little bit from both House members and Senate members in reaction to what came down from the Attorney General earlier today.
Specifically, we've heard from Senator Lindsey Graham who is calling for full disclosure and essentially saying that his statements came up a little short. We also heard from Congressman Jim Banks, that it didn't do enough that he didn't answer -- that the Attorney General didn't answer any questions. So things like that.
But generally, what we're noticing is that really Trump's fiercest defenders, especially House GOP leadership, we haven't heard specifically from them thus far. It appears like they are waiting on the former president to see kind of how he's going to proceed forward with this motion to unseal this warrant and what he wants to do. So they're kind of looking to him.
What we do know is that we expect to hear a lot more from them in person tomorrow. They'll be back for votes on the House side. And we know that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee are planning to have a press conference to talk about the search at Mar-a-Lago. We also know that the House Freedom Caucus, of course, staunch supporters of President Trump are also planning to have their own press conference.
So there's going to be a lot of talk about this tomorrow. But at this moment, again, Wolf, you know, over the last couple of days, we've heard a lot from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and we haven't heard just yet from him on this new information. In terms of the Senate leadership, again, we've talked about this that contrast but kind of how the Senate GOP leadership is moving forward with this.
We had heard from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell that he wanted more understanding, that he wanted the Attorney General Garland to really explain this, to explain it to the American people, but nothing as fervent as we had heard from House GOP leadership, Wolf.
BLITZER: Yes, good point. Jessica Dean up on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.
Just ahead, police say a standoff with an armed gunman who tried to break into an FBI field office is now over. What law enforcement is saying about the suspect. Standby for that.
Plus, new hope the sky-high price is facing Americans could soon fall after another better-than-expected report on inflation that just came in. We'll be right back.
BLITZER: Standoff that began this morning after a gunman trying to enter the FBI's field office in Cincinnati armed with a nail gun and an AR-15 style rifle is now over. Authority say the suspect led state troopers on a car chase in which shots were fired.
CNN National Correspondent Brynn Gingras is working the story for us. Brynn, what's the latest?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, well we got an update from local authorities there in Ohio, the Clinton County EMA. They said this, advise that law enforcement operations and response has ended. This is after several hours of a standoff.
The big question though right now is, how did this end? We know that that suspect was keeping authorities at bay with FBI, SWAT team, FBI negotiators, and in addition to state and local law enforcement for several hours. It's just unclear was he brought into custody or how did this end. So that's a big question that we are trying to work on right now.
We did learn, though, that we could expect an update shortly from the Ohio State Highway Patrol. So we'll be looking for that. But as you mentioned, this all started about 9:15 this morning. Sources are telling me and my colleague Josh Campbell that this person tried to breach the FBI Cincinnati field office with an AR-15 style rifle and a nail gun before leaving that area after an alarm sounded. Agents went after him.
And then I want you to hear what the Highway Patrol was telling us happened next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEUTENANT NATHAN DANIELS, OHIO STATE HIGHWAY PATROL: The suspect vehicle did fire shots during that pursuit. Once the vehicle came to stop, gunfire was exchanged between officers on scene and the suspect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: So as you hear there, gunfire was exchanged. We know law enforcement authorities, no one was injured. We don't know what happened with the suspects. But again, then it was a several hour standoff at that point.
We've learned from sources as well that the authorities know who this person is. We'll be looking to see if they released that person's name in this news conference, but a lot of questions still outstanding here, Wolf. But the good news is that standoff has ended in some shape or form.
BLITZER: Well that's good news indeed. All right, Brynn Gingras, thank you very much.
Also tonight, a second key benchmark showing inflation cooled in the month of July here in the United States, offering a glimmer of hope to Americans, that the surging prices they're paying for everything from food to electricity could actually decrease, decrease in the coming months.
I want to bring in CNN Business Correspondent Rahel Solomon, who's -- she'd got some analysis on this new report just released. Rahel, so what does this tell us about the U.S. economy?
RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is now back-to-back reports that showed inflation is actually easing, that inflation is cooling. So this report today, the Producer Price Index report, essentially it's factory level inflation. And Wolf, what it showed is that inflation actually fell, monthly inflation fell last month half a percent.
Now, what you're looking at here is yearly inflation. And you can see it's still hovering just below 10 percent. And that is historically so very high. But, look, coming off of its peak. And what we're seeing within this report is similar to what we saw on the Consumer Price Index report yesterday, largely driven by the declines in energy prices.
However, this report is very important because it gives us a sense of what we will see a few months down the road in terms of consumer inflation, right, until if we're seeing declines for wholesale prices. The hope is that we as consumers will start to feel that a few months down the road. So that's why this report is more closely watched in this high inflation environment.
In terms of what it means, well, now we've gotten to inflation reports that showed inflation easing. We got that really strong jobs report last Friday. So it's feeling like maybe just, maybe, the worst in terms of inflation is behind us. Not quite out of the woods yet, but it's feeling like when you add all of this data together, well, maybe the road ahead is looking a little bit more promising, a little bit more optimistic, leading some to be a bit more optimistic than they had been prior to the last week or so.
BLITZER: Let's hope the price of gasoline is going down as well. Rahel Solomon, thank you very, very much.
Coming up, new CDC COVID guidelines on social distancing and quarantine. Plus, disturbing evidence that polio, polio is on the rise here in the United States.
BLITZER: After more than two years tonight, the CDC no longer recommends that Americans stay at least 6 feet apart, ending the social distancing guideline that was a key hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's get some more with Dr. Paul Offit, he's the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the FDA Vaccines Advisory Committee.
Dr. Offit, thanks so much for joining us. Is this change in CDC policy, the right move given that the U.S. seems still to be at a plateau right now, with more than 40,000 people hospitalized with COVID and more than 400 people dying a day, dying every day consistently over the past month from COVID?
DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: I think it is the right move. I mean, if you think where we were saying the year 2020, we didn't have vaccines, we didn't have antiviral agents. We didn't have monoclonal antibodies. We were a completely naive population. All we had was masking social distancing, testing, isolating quarantine.
Now two years later, you probably have about 90 percent population immunity. We have all those things now monoclonals, antivirals and vaccines that we didn't have before. And if you look at who's dying, generally there are people who are in the highest risk group, meaning people who are elderly, who have -- who are immune compromised, who have the kind of medical conditions that put them at high risk. So they're the most vulnerable. And I think we do need to find the best way to protect them. But I think what the CDC did made sense. BLITZER: So many of them are not vaccinated, so the best thing to do is get vaccinated. To be clear, Dr. Offit, as we move into the fall, do you agree that it's no longer necessary to stay 6 feet apart from others?
OFFIT: Well first of all, I think that's already happened. I think people have already largely thrown away their masks, aren't social distancing. I mean, when you go to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and see 19,500 people to the Sixers game without a mask, I think we can say that's already happened. So I think that people have made a decision that this is really not the pandemic it was.
I mean, the definition of pandemic is it changes the way you live, work or play. And I think we're getting to the point where certainly many people have decided that the level of disease and the level of ICU admissions and hospitalization that we're seeing is something that they're willing to risk. But again, as you said, it is silly to risk this without being vaccinated. If you're vaccinated, if you're fully vaccinated, you have a very, very small chance of being seriously infected by this virus
BLITZER: Still make sense when you're indoors, especially to wear a mask. That's important as well. I want to quickly turn to polio while I have you, Dr. Offit, why are we actually seeing an increase in polio cases here in the United States? And who needs to get an extra dose of the polio vaccine?
OFFIT: Well, we -- first of all, we eliminated polio from this country by the late 1970s. I mean, there was a case now in Rockland County of a man who was paralyzed by polio. I think what's worrisome about that case is that only about one of every 200 people who are infected with polio are paralyzed by it. So I think you can assume that he represents the tip of a much bigger iceberg.
He's in a relatively under vaccinated community. And I think once again, it makes the point that you should get those four doses of polio vaccine that you get as a child, which provides virtually 100 percent protection against this virus, so it's hard to watch. I mean, I'm a child of the 50s. I certainly remember polio well, and that's not a disease we want to relive.
BLITZER: Yes, me too. Just lastly, while I have you, Dr. Offit, in terms of monkeypox, the vaccine manufacturers warning the White House that has some reservations about the plan to administer smaller vaccine doses. Does a shot, that's what, 1/5 of the standards dose size work? Is that method safe?
OFFIT: Well, I think it's safe. I think what I worry about though, is that when you give the 1/5 dose of this particular vaccine, the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is a non-replicating virus, I worried that it's going to be affected. We don't have a lot of studies showing the effectiveness of the studies. We have shown that you can induce an immune response that's likely to be effective. But what I hope happens here is that the CDC is very good at looking at people who got this vaccine as compared to those who didn't. Look at those people who are at high risk and make sure that we have confirmatory data that this is effective and safe.
BLITZER: Dr. Paul Offit, thanks as usual for joining us.
OFFIT: Thank you.
BLITZER: We're also following growing concerns right now over fighting around Europe's last largest, I should point out, largest nuclear power plant, with Russia and Ukraine blaming each other for shelling that's raising serious fears of a potential nuclear disaster.
CNN Senior International Correspondent David McKenzie is joining us. He's from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. David, the United Nations is now sounding the alarm tonight, right?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, the head of the Atomic Energy Agency, Wolf, was telling the Security Council that the situation at that giant nucleolus site is deteriorating rapidly. He said while there isn't the immediate worry of a fallout or a leak or the chance of that, he said that could change at any moment, in his words.
Ukraine and Russia, as you say, are trading barbs saying each other is shelling that side. Of course, there are at least six reactors there right near the frontline and the southern part of this conflict. And what needs to happen now says the United States government is to demurred militarize that zone, something the Ukrainians want as well, but something the Russians are unlikely to agree to. Wolf?
BLITZER: And David, meanwhile, new satellite images now show Tuesday's explosions in Crimea actually destroyed at least seven Russian warplanes. How big of a blow is this to Russia?
MCKENZIE: It's a big blow. It's a big blow militarily. It's a big blow psychologically. And just look at these pictures before and after. In the before pictures, you see these warplanes on the site there, in their base and then afterwards, at least seven, according to CNN's count have been destroyed, several others badly damaged.
According to our research, it could be the worst loss of airplane assets since the Second World War for what was then the Soviet Union. So this is a big deal, Wolf. And it will be a big psychological impact to show that potentially though they remain quiet at this point, potentially Ukraine had the ability to strike at least 200 miles outside of its area of control. And we'll have to see if they can strike again. But at this stage, they're not speaking about this on the record or even off the record. Wolf?
BLITZER: CNN's David McKenzie in Kyiv for us. Thank you very much, David, for that report.
[17:55:00] Coming up, former President Trump speaking out tonight as the U.S. Justice Department seeks to unseal the warrant that authorized the FBI search of his Florida home.
BLITZER: Happening now, a Friday deadline is now in play as the U.S. Justice Department moves to unseal the warrant used to search former President Trump's Florida home. The Attorney General of the United States responding to the backlash over this unprecedented search revealing he personally signed off on seeking the warrant. Also tonight, Trump is weighing in.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
This hour, we're following all the angles of the Justice Department's highly unusual move, taking steps to unseal the Mar-a-Lago search warrant and make it public.
Let's go to our Senior Justice Correspondent Evan Perez.