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National Archives Sought To Share Mar-a-Lago Documents With Intel Months Ago; State Department Urges Americans In Ukraine To Leave Now; Now, Final Hours Of Voting In High-Stakes Florida, New York Primaries; Whistleblower: Twitter's Security Problems A Risk To Democracy. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired August 23, 2022 - 18:00   ET



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Our coverage continues now with one Mr. Alex Marquardt in for Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM right next door.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, a just released letter reveals new information about classified material retrieved from Mar- a-Lago months before the FBI search shows the National Archives was pushing back in May to share hundreds of documents with the intelligence community, including some of the most sensitive government secrets.

Also tonight, with Ukraine on heightened alert for new Russian attacks, the United States is urging Americans to leave the country now. President Zelenskyy warning that Moscow may do something vicious in the coming hours as Ukrainians mark Independence Day as well as six months of war.

And we're tracking the final hours of voting in high stakes primaries in both Florida and New York, including an ugly battle between two prominent Democrats that will oust one of them from Congress.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Alex Marquardt and you're in The Situation Room.

This hour, former President Donald Trump's new lawsuit stemming from the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago is getting pushback from a federal judge. The judge just set a Friday deadline for Trump's lawyers to clarify their request for a special master to review evidence that was seized by the FBI.

Now, this comes as we're learning more about classified documents recovered from Trump's Florida home earlier this year.

CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider has been following all of the new developments and has this report.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Tonight, new information about the documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago months ago and how they included some of the government's most sensitive secrets. A letter just released by the National Archives details that they received 100 classified documents comprising more than 700 pages back in January, even before the FBI seized 11 sets of classified documents two weeks ago.

The January documents included materials marked as sensitive compartmented information, meaning they must be viewed in a secure government facility. And materials labeled special access program, a classification that significantly limits who is allowed to access the information.

REBECCA ROIPHE, FORMER MANHATTAN ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Obviously, these sorts of documents belong in the National Archives. This is precisely why they are to be held by the government itself, not by somebody who is a former president or anybody else.

SCHNEIDER: The letter also shows how the archives tried to work with Trump's team and delayed providing the documents until mid-may to the FBI and the intelligence community so they could assess the damage done to national security. In fact, sources now tell CNN how the Justice Department initially balked at launching a criminal investigation. Top officials weighed the national security implications of the classified information being stored in unsecured sections of Mar-a-Lago, knowing that political blowback was likely.

JARED KUSHNER, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER: We have lost a lot of faith in the fairness of the judicial system, and it seems like they keep trying to find more and more things to go after Trump on. It just seems like what they keep doing is breaking norms in their attempt to try to get him.

SCHNEIDER: As the letter was released, the former president lashed out on his social media page, accusing the Biden administration of acting for purely political reasons, saying the White House stated strongly that they were not involved and knew absolutely nothing about the political witch hunt going on with me and that they didn't know anything at all about the break-in of Mar-a-Lago. This was strongly reiterated again and again. Wrong.

This comes after Trump's legal team filed in Florida federal court asking for a third party special master to review what was retrieved from Mar-a-Lago and demanding the government stop sorting through any more documents in the meantime. MICK MULVANEY, FORMER TRUMP ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: It sort of telegraphs that the Trump team doesn't trust the FBI. There's some very bad blood between the FBI and President Trump.

SCHNEIDER: The judge is telling Trump's team to refine its legal arguments by Friday and explain why they think the court has the ability to step in now. Meanwhile, CNN has learned the Justice Department just issued a new grand jury subpoena to the National Archives for more documents as part of its investigation into January 6th, a separate criminal probe.

This latest subpoena is on top of what the DOJ already demanded from the Archives earlier this year, and it's just the latest indication that the Justice Department continues to ramp up its investigation and has even broadened the scope of its probe into the potential role White House staff played in the events leading up to the Capitol attack.



SCHNEIDER (on camera): And we have also just learned that Robert O'Brien, who served as Trump's national security adviser, he was scheduled to meet with the January 6th select committee today. That's according to a source. And, you know, O'Brien will be just the latest cabinet official to be interviewed by the committee as they prepare for more public hearings in September and as they continue to investigate those conversations between cabinet members about potentially invoking the 25th Amendment to force Trump from office in those crucial days after January 6th. Alex?

MARQUARDT: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much for that report, and stay with us. We're being joined now by more of our legal and law enforcement experts. Thank you all for joining me tonight. There's much to discuss.

Dave Aronberg, I want to go to you first. The National Archives, they wanted a damage assessment from the intelligence community on those nearly 700 pages of classified documents, and that was only documents that were seized in January. So, this letter from the National Archives, what stands out to you and what more does it tell us?

DAVE ARONBERG, STATE ATTORNEY, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: It tells us a lot, Alex. First, it undermines Trump's narrative that he was cooperative the whole time. Also, it shows that Trump knew that he had 700 pages of classified materials back then, including some at the highest levels of classification, SCI. It also shows that Trump was repeatedly told that the documents were the property of the government, not his, and it also debunked the executive privilege arguments that Trump apparently was trying to make. The document, the letter from the Archives cited that Nixon Supreme Court case to say that the executive privilege is not yours as a former president, it's the current president.

And they note that never before has executive privilege been used to help the executive branch against another executive branch, meaning trying to conceal documents from the executive branch when you are the executive branch. And it is telling, I think, Alex, that nowhere in the letter is there a reference about Trump's attempt to declassify documents. That's because this was a defense he came up with after the search.

MARQUARDT: Jonathan, I do want to get to the classification of these documents, as we just heard from Dave, many of them had some of the highest levels of classification, marked top secret SCI and special access programs, as they're known. Knowing these documents, again, more than 700 pages, were in boxes at a resort down in Florida, how worrying is that to you?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's very worrying, Alex. And the reason being is that the government has a very strict nomenclature that they apply to information in the government structure over these types of documents for a reason. And that reason is what we're talking about is that these are the crown jewels of our intelligence information and they must be protected.

Documents marked sensitive compartmentalized information or documents and information related to special access programs contain information about intelligence sources and methods. And they can include information on how we collect our information, we assess our information and then target it as well.

So, there's an order of consequence that is so significant here. This isn't just a stamp on a piece of paper. There's a significant order of consequences to people in the field, the intelligence community, who risk their lives every single day to collect this type of information in furtherance of our national security. So, this is a very significant issue that needs to be fully adjudicated.

MARQUARDT: And that's why the National Archives asked the intelligence community for that damage assessment, because so much of this is so sensitive.

Laura Coates, I want to ask you about the special master that was requested by the Trump legal team in that new motion, 27 pages filed yesterday with a federal judge in Florida. It also asks for a pause on the investigator's work.

Today, Laura, we saw that federal judge who, by the way, was appointed by the Trump administration, told the legal team of the former president to clarify its arguments by Friday. So, not only was this a request for a special master made two weeks after the FBI search, but now this judge is saying that that motion is not clear enough?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, what's stunning about this is it's hard to think you can really unring the bell. Imagine that you have had documents in your possession, if you are the DOJ, for a period of two weeks, and then someone tells you, don't look at them.

The idea you have been going back and forth since you left the office of the presidency, and they have wanted to have documents back that belonged to the American people and the National Archives has insisted upon having, and that May dated letter tells you the extent of which they were already curious and also very upset about the notion of not having these documents, and you would say, I want you'd not to look at what you likely already have seen, is a bit nonsensical, as is the idea of saying, well, I'm going to present to you in the first form of being on the offense, if you're the Trump legal team, two weeks afterwards and it's still not a very clear motion.


Now, remember, special masters who look at documents are very important to try to preserve whatever might be privileged, executive as one, but attorney/client as well. And in the Trump world with the Michael Cohen case, he already had a special master. But it is important to think about, just because you request a special master does not somehow convert all of the existing documents into privileged data that couldn't be seen.

I note that in the case involving Michael Cohen when that special master happened out of New York, something like 0.2 percent of the materials ended up actually being privileged. So, if that were to be the past being the prologue here, it's not going to convert what was not ever entitled as privileged to suddenly be that. But you're seeing again the idea of hoping that entitlement and one's position as the former president will shield you from having to make straight-faced and evidence-based arguments in court.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, we need to leave it there. Thank you all for your time and for your insights.

And a programming note, Laura Coates will be back for CNN Tonight at 9:00 P.M. Eastern Time.

Now, coming up, more on the top secret documents that Donald Trump stored at Mar-a-Lago. We'll be taking a closer look at potential national security risks with the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper.

Also ahead, the State Department issuing an urgent warning to Americans in Ukraine saying get out now.

We'll be right back.



MARQUARDT: More now on our top story tonight, a just released letter revealing that the National Archives asked the intelligence community months ago to assess the potential damage that was done by former President Donald Trump taking classified material to his Florida home when he left the White House.

Let's dig in deeper now with CNN National Security Analyst and the former director of national intelligence, James Clapper. General Clapper, thank you so much for being with us this evening. You ran the intelligence community for decades. How troubled are you that what we know now about the journey and the potential exposure of these hundreds of pages of classified documents had from the White House down to Mar-a-Lago?

JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, actually, on its face, this is, you know, very serious from the standpoint of the intelligence community. Now, I say that, and I have to caveat that by saying we don't know the actual substantive content of any of these documents, but the classification ascriptions that have been assigned to them is very concerning.

And the thing that the intelligence community will want to focus laser-like on is if a sophisticated adversary obtained access to these documents, what could an adversary glean from them, particularly about sources, methods and tradecraft? And this could be potentially very serious, particularly if it puts human intelligence assets' lives at risk. And that is a potential here. But, again, we don't know the substantive content of these documents.

If -- and you have to make the assumption, that if these documents are not under proper officially sanctioned control, which they weren't at Mar-a-Lago, then you have to assume the worst, that someone, an adversary, would have access and could exploit them.

MARQUARDT: We now have both the head of the House intelligence committee as well as the National Archives asking for a damage assessment about these documents. So, if you were still running the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, how would you go about doing that damage assessment?

CLAPPER: Well, what I would do would be -- this would be a collective thing, depending on the content of a particular document. And if you could assign it to a lead component who was -- if you can identify who an originating element was within the intelligence community, that would be presumably the most knowledgeable about the potential damage that would accrue if a sophisticated adversary got a hold of these documents. So you would divvy up the documents according to who was the principal originating element, and then it would be a collective judgment among those who potentially are also affected.

MARQUARDT: The New York Times is now reporting that surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago showed that people were moving boxes of documents in and out of a storage area, even apparently changing the containers that the documents were held in. Just how far is that from the very strict protocols that are supposed to govern how this sensitive information is handled?

CLAPPER: Well, in the first instance, who are these people? Presumably, none of them are appropriately cleared for access to this information. What were the physical arrangements, which, by definition, don't meet government standards, for the protection of this material?

So the surveillance tapes could potentially be a useful source of information as to who had actual access to these documents, if they can be identified.

MARQUARDT: All right, General James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

CLAPPER: Thanks, Alex.

MARQUARDT: And coming up, the U.S. is urging Americans to leave Ukraine immediately, as the country prepares to mark six months of war.



MARQUARDT: Tonight, an urgent warning to Americans in Ukraine to get out and do so now. And this comes amid growing concerns Russia's war may soon take another brutal turn exactly half a year after Russian forces invaded Ukraine.

Let's go straight to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and CNN Senior International Correspondent David McKenzie. The U.S. yet again telling its citizens to leave Ukraine. In some ways, the six-month mark tomorrow of the beginning of this year does feel like back when the war started in February in that there is a very real concern there could be an attack on Kyiv.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly, the mood has changed here, Alex, and there is this sense of tension, higher alert from the authorities, both civilian and defense, about what may happen in the next 24 to 48 hours.


We asked President Zelenskyy what they're basing that on, and he said it's based on general intelligence from partner countries that there may be strikes, particularly in the capital, that hasn't seen strikes for many weeks now.

This war has been grinding on for many months, and the frontlines haven't moved substantially in many weeks. But there is this heightened sense, they're asking crowds not to gather at this special anniversary celebration, and the six months on from this war starting, both here in Kyiv and in other cities around the country.

Now, as this is all happening, there is still a great deal of worry about the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to the south of where I'm standing. There was a U.N. Security Council meeting just a short time ago. Again, Russia is blaming Ukraine. Ukraine, Russia, they're flinging mud at each other on this issue, but those IAEA atomic energy inspectors are still not gaining access to that plant to ascertain the safety of that, and there's a lot of acrimony on this from both sides. The Ukrainian diplomat ambassador saying that Russia are using these meetings for fictitious sound bites, as he called it. Alex?

MARQUARDT: Yes, very dangerous and troubling situation there in Zaporizhzhia. David McKenzie in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, thank you very much.

Now, let's cross the border to Russia for the latest on the car bombing that killed the daughter of a significant Putin ally. The Kremlin is pressing its claim that Ukraine is to blame despite vigorous denials by officials in Kyiv.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Fred Pleitgen has our report from Moscow.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As Darya Dugina's body lay in an open casket, among the mourners, grief, sorrow, but also massive anger and a thirst for revenge. Dugina's father, the hard line pro-Kremling ideologue, Alexander Dugin, emotional, openly calling for a massive escalation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The price we have to pay can be justified by only one thing, the highest achievement, victory, he said. She lived in the name of victory and she died in the name of victory, our Russian victory, our truth, our orthodoxy, our country and our empire. Some going even further than that, demanding an all-out war.

Maybe this event in the capital will help convey the message to our government that we have to stop playing around with, quote, special military operations and that it's time to start a war, a serious war with, first and foremost, spiritual mobilization, a friend of Darya Dugina said.

After Darya Dugina was killed when her car exploded and crashed on a Moscow highway, it took the Russian intelligence agency only about a day to blame Ukraine, releasing video of what they claim is a Ukrainian special services operative who allegedly infiltrated Russia, killed Dugina, and then fled to a neighboring country.

Those claims cannot be independently verified by CNN and Ukraine's president reiterating Kyiv was not behind the killing.

This is not our responsibility, Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. She is not a citizen of our country. We are not interested in her. She is not in the territory of Ukraine, occupied or not.

But Russia's allegations come as the war in Ukraine has seemingly reached a brutal stalemate, with heavy losses but few territorial gains for either side. Another firebrand pro-Kremlin commentator at the memorial calling for tougher action against Ukraine and lashing out at the U.S. for supporting Kyiv.

Americans at the head of NATO brought this up in Ukraine, very cynically turning Ukraine into anti-Russia. Americans don't care at all about Ukraine. They're only interested in their own future. Ukraine is expendable for them in a war with Russia that they are preparing.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PLEITGEN (on camera): So Alex, as you can see, some really fiery language coming there from the Russians and there was more of that later on from the Russian foreign minister when he said that those behind all this could, quote, expect no mercy from Russia. Again, all of this coming despite the fact that Ukraine now has repeatedly said they were not behind the killing of Darya Dugina. Alex?

MARQUARDT: Yes, really troubling to hear those growing calls for Putin to step up Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Fred Pleitgen in the Russian capital of Moscow, thanks very much.

Now to discuss this more, let's bring in CNN National Security Correspondent Kylie Atwood along with CNN Military Analyst, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. Thank you both for being with you.

Kylie, you are at the State Department, as the U.S. government is now urging Americans in Ukraine to leave the country and to do so immediately.


Just how concerned is the Biden administration about what could be on the horizon in the next 24 hours even as we mark not just six months since the start of this war but as Ukraine will mark 31 years of independence tomorrow?

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Alex, these are very real concerns because the State Department did put out that security alert that you noted, telling all Americans who are still in Ukraine to leave the country, essentially renewing that call for those Americans to leave because of what they say is U.S. intelligence that Russia could step up its missile strikes against Ukraine over the course of the next few days.

Now, they also said that they could target infrastructure in the country and government facilities, so that's what we'll be watching for. But what they didn't say is exactly when these strikes could potentially happen or exactly where in the country they could take place.

So, there is a lack of specificity when it comes to these warning calls, but we do know, according to a senior administration official, notably, that the U.S. diplomats who are in the capital city of Kyiv at the U.S. embassy there are not going to be leaving the country, at least not at this time. But they are going to be taking some extra precautions because of these looming threats.

MARQUARDT: Yes, very important note. U.S. diplomats are staying there despite the warning.

General Hertling, to you. Putin, at least in his mind, has several reasons to step up Russian attacks at this moment, the killing over the weekend of Darya Dugina, which he is, of course, blaming on Ukraine. You have Ukraine's Independence Day tomorrow and Ukraine's recent successful strikes in Russian-occupied crimea. So, General, are you worried about a Russian escalation tomorrow in particular?

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: I think tomorrow is going to be a rough day. And, Alex, may I state, you know, it's 6:30 now on the East Coast of the United States, it's 01:30 in Kyiv right now. The U.S. is telling American citizens to get out, as Kylie just mentioned, and that may be because of intel that we received or the knowledge that Putin loves symbolism and tomorrow -- today in Kyiv's Independence Day, is also all about symbolism.

You know, Dugin, Dugina's father, once said that they should start selling (INAUDIBLE) in Kyiv. That's how adamant he has been as a war hawk. Kharkiv and Dnipro are already being shelled today. There are reports of that. I anticipate that we will see possibly a lot of missile and artillery strikes all around the frontlines but also specifically there will be caliber launches, caliber cruise missile launches toward Kyiv and other major cities tomorrow because of what Dugina represented in her links to Mariupol. We also may see the show trial of the Azovstal fighters in the next few days.

MARQUARDT: Kylie, we only have a few moments left, but the United States is set to announce up to $3 billion, we understand, in new security assistance for Ukraine. That is timed for its Independence Day. How significant is this show of support?

ATWOOD: It's hugely significant, Alex, particularly because it comes at this moment in time. Of course, we have been talking about the fact that this week marks the six months since the Russian invasion into Ukraine. So, the fact that the Biden administration is announcing its largest yet security assistance package to Ukraine sends a very strong signal of continued support. And, of course, it comes as the Ukrainians have been saying that this fatigue from the international community is something that they are most concerned about. Alex?

MARQUARDT: And it comes as Ukraine says that what they need more of is more of that advanced U.S. weaponry for their forces.

General Mark Hertling, Kylie Atwood at the State Department, thank you both.

Now, just ahead, it is election night again in America as voters in three states weigh in on crucial primary races. We'll be following new developments in Georgia where a special prosecutor just announced two Atlanta police officers will not face murder and assault charges of the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks. We have all that when we come back.



MARQUARDT: Welcome back. We're following primary elections in three key states tonight, New York, Florida and Oklahoma, and what the results could foreshadow for the November midterm elections.

CNN Political Director David Chalian is watching all of this for us. David, let's start in New York, where you are. We now have two long- term congressional colleagues, one-time friends who knows what they are now, they are going head to head in a race getting heated and somewhat nasty in this final stretch.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: So true, Alex. It's safe to say they are no longer friend. We're talking about Carolyn Maloney and Jerry Nadler, two liberal lions of New York politics. They represented different districts for the last 30 years in Congress. But due to redistricting, they were put into the same district, and now they're battling against each other. Not how either one of them envisioned their career would end, but only one could come out on top. There's also a third candidate in this race, Suraj Patel, who is making a bit of a generational argument.

We'll see how the votes come in tonight. Jerry Nadler scored two key endorsements here, The New York Times, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader. We'll see if those heavyweight endorsements help him over the finish line.

As you said, it's been getting nasty. Our colleague, Edward Isaac Dovere, reported that Maloney has been telling confidantes that Nadler is, quote, half dead, and she's citing a New York Post editorial calling him senile. Of course, he denies those charges. It is indeed nasty.

In New York's tenth congressional district, we're seeing a bit of an ideological divide.


Mondaire Jones, he is a sitting congressman from the Westchester suburbs but he did not have a place to run up there with redistricting, so he chose to come down to the city. These three candidates are sort of splitting the liberal progressive vote. Dan Goldman, known for his work for the House impeachment of Trump's first impeachment, he worked with the Democrats, was a lead prosecutor, he's running a more moderate lane there. We'll see if he ends up successful tonight.

And in Upstate New York, we actually have a D versus R special election tonight. Pat Ryan, the Democrat, and Marc Molinaro. Watch the results of this, Alex. This is battleground district. It voted for Obama, then Trump, then Biden. It's a closely divided district. This result may give us clues to where the overall political dynamic is heading into the midterms.

MARQUARDT: And, David, let's head all the way down to East Coast, to Florida, a number of interesting races there.

CHALIAN: Yes. The key contest here is the Democratic primary for governor between former Governor Charlie Crist, he was a Republican back then, now a congressman and a Democrat, Nikki Fried, the only Democrat elected state-wide. The winner of this takes on Ron DeSantis, the biggest name in Republican politics other than Trump these days. One of these folks who wins the primary tonight will define how to run against DeSantis. It will be a critical election to watch this fall, Alex. MARQUARDT: All right. Well, lots to watch tonight, and we are thankful that you are the one doing it. CNN's David Chalian in New York, thank you, sir.

CHALIAN: Thanks.

MARQUARDT: All right. The family of Rayshard Brooks is speaking out tonight after a Georgia special prosecutor announced murder and assault charges against the two Atlanta police officers involved in his fatal shooting and their being dismissed.

CNN's Nick Valencia is working the story for us. Nick, you were at the scene where Brooks was killed two years ago. What did special prosecutors say factored into the decision to not bring charges against these officers?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good evening, Alex. It was all about the video and the amount of sources and angles of the video, according to the special prosecutor, Pete Skandalakis. I want to get it out of the way because we are at the scene here where just over two years ago, Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed after an encounter with police. We were expecting some larger demonstrations. So far, just four people there, but it was Skandalakis who said, after this total and complete review provided by those multiple angles and multiple sources did they come to the conclusion that the charges against the two officers involved in Brooks' death should be dismissed.

It was Skandalakis that went on to say the use of force was reasonable and justified and no crimes were committed. He did say and underscore -- it took time during his presentation to underscore the fact under Georgia law, a taser is considered a deadly weapon. And that's important because in the video of the incident, we see Brooks during his scuffle with police take away and seize a taser from one of the officers and then deploy it at least twice against those officers.

We also learned today that one of the officers was concussed after a violent struggle with Brooks. They said that factored into their decision of why it was reasonable for these officers to use that use of force. Skandalakis did say he may upset some people by saying this, but he did not believe that race played a factor, that there were plenty of people in this city who would disagree. In fact, the Wendy's was burned to the ground behind me by demonstrators shortly after that incident.

The Atlanta Police Department did release a statement after today's announcement saying those two officers will be reinstated and will undergo further training. Meanwhile, Alex, the family is saying that they don't understand this decision, they're heartbroken by it, but that they will continue to pursue their case through civil means. Alex?

MARQUARDT: Very tough to watch that video. CNN's Nick Valencia in Atlanta, Georgia, thank you very much.

Now, coming up, a CNN exclusive report. Twitter now under fire from a whistleblower, a former senior executive, who says that the social media giant poses a threat to democracy and national security.

We'll be right back.



MARQUARDT: The National Archives making rare headlines tonight with the revelation that it asked the intelligence community to do a damage assessment of documents retrieved from former President Trump's Florida home months ago.

CNN's Brian Todd is here with a closer look.

Brian, this latest twist does highlight the role of the National Archives.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It certainly does, Alex. You know, the people who run the archives are likely not used to being in this kind of spotlight. Experts tell us the role of the archives in protecting U.S. national security is often minimized or forgotten altogether, but they shudder to think of where we would be without this agency.


TODD (voice-over): The National Archives isn't just a museum in Washington holding the declaration of independence and the Constitution.

TIMOHTY NAFTALI, FORMER DIRECTOR, NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY: The national archives is the repository for all U.S. government material. Its job, the job of the archivists, is to preserve and protect and make available that information.

TODD: From letters between leaders.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I just got a great letter from Kim Jong-un.

TODD: To something with just one mark on it. Everything a president writes, signs, or even jots a little notation on, is supposed to be saved for posterity by the National Archives. Experts say the archives has people dedicated to helping a presidential administration preserve those documents, from the beginning of each presidency to the end.

What if a president wants to take an important document with them when they leave office?

Who do they have to clear it with, the National Archives?

NORM EISEN, FORMER DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, OBAMA TRANSITION: There's a process within. You would work within the White House. There's officials who are there who are in charge of document handling. You would also consult -- they consult with the National Archives.

TODD: A critically important process for preserving history. EISEN: All government documents belong to the American people.


TODD: Despite the recent spotlight on the Archives, it's not what was depicted in the movie "National Treasure" where a historian played by Nicholas Cage believes there is a coded map on the back of the declaration that will leave him to a trove of valuable artifacts.

NICHOLAS CAGE, ACTOR: I'm going to steal it.


CAGE: I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence?

NAFTALI: The National Archives is the national treasure. Now, that's not to say for those who've seen "The National Treasure" series that the National Archives has secrets within secrets, that there is a parallel history to our country, that can only be discerned by burrowing deep into the National Archives.

TODD: Does the archives have enforcement capability to keep a former president comply with the rules for handling classified documents?

NAFTALI: The National Archives is not a law enforcement agency. It has the ability through its security service, to enforce protection of materials at its various facilities.

TODD: But if there is an issue of criminal enforcement, experts say, the Archives have to refer the matter to a building about two blocks away, the Department of Justice.


TODD (on camera): But the archives can also help solve important disputes, can solve legal or legislative battles. As former White House ethics Norm Eisen told us, if there is a dispute between countries about a treaty or another international agreement, if there is a dispute over the legislative history of a law, documents preserved by the archives can be accessed to solve this impasses and protect U.S. national security.

Alex, this agency often minimized, crucial.

MARQUARDT: Fascinating report, thank you for that, Brian Todd.

We will have more news just ahead, including a CNN exclusive for the former security chief authorities in the company for concealing egregious security failures and posing a threat to democracy.



MARQUARDT: A spokesperson for a former Twitter executive whistleblower says that he will take part in closed-door briefings this week on Capitol Hill, following an exclusive CNN report about his explosive allegations. He's sounding the alarm about what he describes as a chaotic recklessness mismanagement inside Twitter, that he says this threatening America national security and its democracy.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins us with these really chilling details.

Donie, what is the whistleblower revealing about the extent of Twitter's major security problems?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, there is a lot in this whistleblower disclosure, Alex, that is now in the hands of multiple U.S. law enforcement agencies. Look, there's everything in there from Twitter's mishandling, alleged mishandling, of personal private information, but also this idea of it being a national security threat.

Now, people might wonder how can Twitter be a threat in that way? Well, two years ago we saw when the teachers were involved in hacking the platform, they were able to take over then presidential candidate Joe Biden's account as well as Obama's, as well as celebrities like Elon Musk's and Kim Kardashian's. The point the whistleblower is making is that Twitter does not have enough access, controls in place of the company, if a nation hackers were to come in that could cause some serious damage.

I want to play some sound for you from the whistleblower.


PEITER "MUDGE" ZATKO, TWITTER WHISTLEBLOWER: Your whole perception of the world is made from what you are seeing, reading, and consuming on line. And if you don't have an understanding what is really what is not, with the trust and whatnot to, whether you are information that you are producing could be misused or could be accessed by the foreign agent to identify patterns, which may or may not even be there -- yeah, I think this is pretty scary.

JOHN TYE, FOUNDER, WHISTLEBLOWER AID: We think it is important that the law enforcement agencies investigate these allegations. And do their job. They are charged with protecting investors and users, so that no social media platform, whether it is this or others, can be abused.


O'SULLIVAN: The real issue here, Alex, is that too many people at Twitter, thousands of employees, have access to some of the platform's critical controls.

MARQUARDT: And, Donie, the whistleblower -- also saying that some of Twitter's most senior executives have tried to cover up the company's most serious vulnerabilities. What's Twitter saying in response to this reporting?

O'SULLIVAN: Yeah, Twitter is pushing back hard against these allegations, I will show you a part of their statement that they put out. They said that there is a narrative being pushed by Zatko about our privacy security practices that is riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies.

They are making these statements, but we send them more than 50 questions over the weekend in relation to this disclosure, and a lot of the questions that matter, they do not give a specifics.

O'DONNELL: And, Donie, Zatko was working at Twitter on January 6, 2021, when, of course, the insurrection happened at the Capitol. We were both there. How did that open his eyes to new concerns?

O'SULLIVAN: That is the incredible thing here. On January 6th, of course, we know how important the role social media played in that day. And, of course, we also saw Trump getting clicked off the platform after it.

But on that day, Zatko, as a security professional, had concerns that maybe an insider AT Twitter who might have had sympathies with the rioters could do an insider attack, trying to takedown the platform in some way. That is when he said he learned just how vulnerable Twitter really was. He went around asking engineers, asking bosses, how do we look in our systems, how do you show that thousands of employees have access to critical controls.

And that's when he learned that there was no real way of taking those access controls over.

The final point on that day as it happened, he said the Biden administration actually offered him a day one job. He decided to stay at Twitter because he says he believes Twitter has played such a critical role in democracy.

MARQUARDT: Well, this is such terrific reporting, Donie. I know you spent so much time on it, you and some of our colleagues.

So thank you so much for that wonderful exclusive reporting. Of course, the story is far from over. Capitol Hill will certainly want to play a role in what comes next. Donie O'Sullivan, thank you.

And thank you all very much for watching. I'm Alex Marquardt.

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