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The Situation Room

Police In Georgia, D.C. Prep For Potential Trump Indictments; Soon, Trump's First Campaign Event Since New Charges; Amid Fallout From Interview With Wolf, Netanyahu Tries To Clarify How He'd React If Judicial Overhaul Is Overturned; 150 Million Americans In Over 30 States Under Heat Alert; Barricades Placed Outside Atlanta Courthouse Ahead Of Possible Trump Charges In Georgia 2020 Election Probe; North Korea Rolls Out The Reed Carpet For Top Russian And Chinese Officials. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 28, 2023 - 18:00   ET



WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, law enforcement in Georgia as well as here in Washington are tightening security right now, ahead of possible new criminal indictments of Donald Trump, this as Trump is now facing additional charges in the classified documents investigation, including an alleged attempt to destroy surveillance video at Mar-a-Lago.

Also tonight, we are standing by for Trump's first campaign event since those new charges dropped. The former president set to appear in Iowa along with a dozen of his GOP primary rivals. Will any of them bring up Trump's legal troubles?

And the nation's scorching summer is clearly getting worse, with 150 million Americans under heat alerts in more than 30 states. We will take you to the hottest spots in the country. That's coming up.

Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Tonight, Donald Trump's very busy legal team is preparing to defend him against newly revealed charged, even as additional indictments of the former president are very, very possible in the immediate days ahead.

CNN's Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is following all of these for us. Paula, the classified documents case against Trump is broader and even more serious now that these new charges have been added.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: New charges and a new co-defendant. Yesterday, Wolf, as everyone was watching the grand jury here in Washington, a grand jury down in Florida returned a superseding indictment, expanding the current case against the former president. The big question now is whether these new charges and another defendant might allow the former president to delay a potential trial until after the 2024 election.


REID (voice over): Former President Donald Trump facing new legal peril tonight. A Florida grand jury returned a superseding indictment Thursday adding two charges against Trump for an effort to alter, destroy, mutilate or conceal surveillance footage that is at the heart of the prosecution's case. Trump reacting in a new interview right after the charges dropped.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It shouldn't even be a case.

REID: Prosecutors also added Mar-a-Lago Property Manager Carlos De Oliveira to the case charging him with obstruction and lying to the FBI during a January 2023 interview. The indictment describes how De Oliveira told another Ma-a-Lago employee that, quote, the boss wanted the server with the surveillance footage to deleted.

Prosecutors also added one more count against Trump a willful retention of national defense information related to a classified document he showed to visitors at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in 2021. That meeting was recorded by one of his aides.

TRUMP: These are the papers. This was done by the military given to me. See, as president, I could have declassified it, now I can't, you know, but this is classified.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now we have a problem.

TRUMP: Isn't that interesting?

REID: CNN has learned that document, a presentation concerning military activity in a foreign country, was actually returned to the Archives in January 2022. Prosecutors will have to prove that document was willfully retained, even though it was eventually returned, even before Trump received a subpoena.

The former president firing back, suggesting he would have Smith fired if he is re-elected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And if you are elected president again, is he somebody you would fire?

TRUMP: Well, I wouldn't keep him, Jack Smith. Why would I keep him? He is deranged.

REID: And in a social media post this afternoon calling for Smith to be thrown in jail.

Smith was appointed by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee investigations into Trump after the former president launched his latest bid for the White House.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: When I appointed Mr. Smith, I did so because it underscores the Justice Department's commitment to both independence and accountability.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us whether you expect to have an indictment this week?

REID: Smith has said little publically, recently ignoring questions about another Trump indictment related to January 6. Trump's lawyers met with Smith and his team Thursday ahead of an expected indictment in that case.

TRUMP: We are going to walk down to the Capitol.

REID: Amid all the legal peril, concerns too about security at the courts. In Atlanta, where Trump may also face charges in the coming weeks, barricades are going up around the courthouse.


REID (on camera): Carlos is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday. It's unclear how his addition to this case or these new charges will impact the timing of a trial. It's currently scheduled, Wolf, for May.

But prosecutors insist this shouldn't impact the timing at all.


As we know, Trump's legal, they are keen to push this back after the election. And it's expected that they will try to use this to push it back a little day here, another week there. That all adds up.

BLITZER: It certainly does. Paula, stay with us. We got more questions for you.

I also want to bring in our legal analysts and political experts into this conversation. And, Elie, let me start with you. Reading these new charges, how do they bode for the former president?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Wolf, there's a lot of bad news for Donald Trump in this superseding indictment, but also some important good news for him. The bad news is these new charges are remarkably straightforward and damning. He is now charged with one more classified document. I think most important one, the actual Iranian war plan that he showed to other people at his club in Bedminster. He is also charged with this new scheme to obstruct justice by deleting his own surveillance video. That's remarkably damning.

The good news, though, is I know prosecutors will going to fight to keep the May trial date, but Donald Trump now has a golden opportunity to go in front of the judge and say, we have been hit with three new charges, we need to push this date back. And, ultimately, that's Donald Trump's best and maybe at this point only defense.

BLITZER: We shall see.

Kaitlan Collins is with us. She's been doing excellent reporting in all of these. Trump keeps railing immediately after these new charges for example were announced and suggesting he's simply a political target in all of these. Is this a new playbook he's engaged in? KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF CORRESPONDENT: I mean, he is trying to argue that this is a prosecution that is tainted politically because he is the Republican frontrunner. Of course, we know that when launched his campaign last fall, we were told by sources at the time that was in part because they anticipated he was going to be facing some potential legal exposure.

And also, what you are seeing from him today is he is now claiming on Truth Social that he voluntarily handed over the surveillance footage that he's now accused of seeking to delete. Of course, we should note, that is not the case. He got subpoenas for this. And that is actually what's laid out in this indictment is that his attorneys found out there was a draft of a subpoena that would require this footage to be turned over. They were notified about it.

And that's when Trump called his new co-defendant, where the indictment implies that they discussed what he laid or sought to do, which was to delete the server, as he said to one of the other employees. And, of course, a few days later is when they got the real subpoena, the final grand jury subpoena for this footage.

I think Trump is also forecasting that he doesn't think that meeting went well between his legal team and Jack Smith's team with regards to the January 6th indictment that we believe is looming, because he is saying he doesn't believe it will make a difference publicly.

BLITZER: Yes, important information, indeed.

Sarah, you worked for former President Trump. What do you make of these allegations of covering up evidence and flaunting classified Iran-related documents?

SARAH MATTHEWS, FORMER TRUMP ADMINISTRATIVE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY: I think that this follows the pattern of Trump always trying to shift the blame and blame others. He is now claiming that this is a two- tiered system of justice and they are coming after him because he is running for president. In reality, this all could have been avoided, in particular relating to this classified documents case, because if he had just given the documents back when they asked for them, then he would not be facing these charges.

And I think particularly the nature of these documents, that Iran document, is so concerning to see his lack of care for our nation's top secrets and our men and women in military who are in harm's way protecting our country and that he would so recklessly hold on to a document like that, and not just hold on to it, but then flaunt it and show it off to people.

And so I think that is really concerning, and I wish that more fellow Republicans of mine would also be just as concerned with that.

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, Paula, this new co-defendant, Carlos De Oliveira, he is due in court on Monday. How much does having a new defendant and new charges complicate potentially the timeline of this case? REID: That will be up to the judge. I was in court about ten days ago when she asked both sides a lot of detailed questions to try to understand what the timeline should be for this case. She then issued an order laying out over 30 different deadlines for both sides to try to get this to trial in May.

Now, I think she's probably going to have some questions about why she wasn't put on notice, that there was going to be potentially a superseding indictment, additional charges, now a defendant. It is very likely that she is going to have to alter that schedule, which, again, has the impact of delaying this a little bit closer or a lot closer to the 2024 election.

BLITZER: Yes. Elie, let me get back to you. What do you think of the growing complexities around this case? Are prosecutors risking frustrating the judge overseeing this case, Aileen Cannon, with these new developments?

HONIG: Well, I think in terms of the substance of the indictment, the indictment itself remains, to me, clear and straight forward and supported by the evidence. So, I don't think it's overly complex for a jury.


But, yes, with regard to the scheduling issues here that Paula just raised, that's a problem. If you are a prosecutor and your standing in front of a judge less than two weeks ago and you ask her to expedite this, but you are going to supersede, you are going to replace that indictment, and you don't give the judge a heads-up, you're going to have some hard questions to answer from that judge next time in court and you are setting the table for the judge to have a perfectly legitimate reason to postpone this trial. So, this could have been a misstep by prosecutors.

BLITZER: You know, it's interesting, Kaitlan. Trump just posted on Truth Social, his social media site, about the Special Counsel Jack Smith's January 6th probe. How is he thinking, Trump, in this regard, how is Trump thinking about a possible indictment there?

COLLINS: He thinks it's basically a foregone conclusion. I mean, it hasn't happened yet. We don't know definitely that is happening. We expect it to happen because he got the target letter.

That's what they were bracing for yesterday, Trump's legal team, when they actually got the superseding indictment that came down yesterday afternoon. They were not expecting this. And they knew that Carlos de Oliveira, the new co-defendant, had been a source of interest. He had been interviewed extensively. They were not expecting him to also be charge and be indicted here. So, that was a surprise to them.

So, essentially, what you saw yesterday was they were trying to force out one indictment by meeting with Jack Smith's team, not knowing that Jack Smith, in a matter of hours, was going to pass down even more major accusations against Trump.

BLITZER: In the classified documents case.

COLLINS: Exactly.

BLITZER: Sarah, you were in the west wing, as a lot of us remember, during the insurrection, and you testified before the House January 6th select committee. Do you expect to see Trump charged in regards to January 6th insurrection?

MATTHEWS: I think that the January 6th committee definitely laid a great roadmap for the DOJ to follow. Obviously, we saw in the hearings extensive evidence to prove that Donald Trump was actively trying to overturn the results of the election.

I'm not sure what ultimately if an indictment does come down, which we expect, what those charges will be. But I think that there is more than enough evidence and the DOJ obviously has even more resources on hand. They have been able to talk with other witnesses who the January 6th committee was not able to get to.

And so I fully expect him to be charged, which I think he should be. Because I think that he tried to overturn a free and fair election all because he couldn't accept the fact that he lost to Joe Biden.

BLITZER: Strong words. Thank you very much, Sarah. Thanks to everyone. Kaitlan, by the way, will be back later tonight, of course, 9:00 P.M. Eastern for her excellent program, The Source.

And just ahead, the former Trump national security adviser turned critic of the former president, John Bolton, he will share his reaction to the newest criminal charges against Trump and the alleged cover-up detailed by prosecutors.



BLITZER: Tonight, some current and former national security officials are expressing alarm as they review the newest charges against Donald Trump in the classified documents case.

Joining us now, the former Trump national security adviser, John Bolton. Ambassador, thank you so much for joining us.

Prosecutors, as you know, they outlined how this new co-defendant said the boss, referring to Trump, wanted the security footage deleted. It's sort of a mob boss language. Does that line up with the Trump you knew when you worked with him?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, I think his disdain for the importance of classification and protecting classified information is pretty clearly established and his belief that constraints, rules, procedures didn't apply to him if he wanted to do something different is manifest throughout the original indictment. This is a pretty straightforward addition in the superseding indictment. But it does demonstrate his mindset. He thinks he can do whatever he wants. BLITZER: Trump could have handed back all these highly classified documents when requested. Is the cover-up, Ambassador, worse than the crime, in your view?

BOLTON: Well, I would reserve judgment until I can actually see the documents and see if they are as bad as they may be. But it's classic conventional wisdom now in Washington that the cover-up is always the most vulnerable point, and Trump doesn't learn much very quickly and he obviously didn't learn much about prior Washington scandals, because the cover-up is obviously now a major part of the charge in this documents case.

BLITZER: Yes. If he was trying to destroy evidence, that's a major -- that's obviously a huge crime. It's a felony, a serious felony, potentially resulting in years and years in prison.

Trump claimed he never had a classified document on Iran war plans, the one he was heard discussing, though, on audiotape. How significant is it that the government has this document?

BOLTON: Well, I think it's going to be very significant for a jury. It also demonstrates Trump's kind of a default position, if you are caught in a difficult situation, lie about it. Just make things up and hope that you can get away with it.

His record, unfortunately, demonstrates over time he has been pretty good at getting away from things. I think in this case, so far at least, I think the prosecutors have shown they are way ahead of him. And we haven't seen all of their evidence by any stretch of the imagination.

I suspect there are a few surprises in there. One reason Trump's attorneys are complaining about the voluminous nature of the discovery they have been handed, in effect, they are complaining, my goodness, the trial has to be delayed because there's so much evidence against our client.

BLITZER: Ambassador John Bolton, thanks so much for joining us.

BOLTON: Thank you.

BLITZER: Coming up, we'll take to you Iowa where GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is about to share the stage with his chief rival, Ron DeSantis, and his former vice president, Mike Pence.

Stay with us. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Next hour, more than a dozen Republican presidential contenders will audition for critical Iowa votes as the state's GOP -- at the state's GOP Lincoln Dinner, and that includes the frontrunner Donald Trump, who's making his first campaign appearance since facing new charges, criminal charges in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.

CNN's Kyung Lah is in Des Moines for us watching all of these unfold. Kyung, Donald Trump will certainly be the center of tonight's dinner, but how are other candidates trying to break through now?

KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, that has been the perpetual difficulty for all of these candidates who are trying to challenge Donald Trump in this primary. They need to court the Trump voters, of which there are many in this room. And at the same time, they need to try to defeat him.


So, that is the difficulty for them. What we are here trying to listen for is any sort of deviation from what we have heard previously.

This event that I'm in, this very large hall filled with Republicans, and are continuing to come in, is the Lincoln Dinner. It is the first major gathering of all of these Republican candidates. It is going to be a large field, 13 people here scheduled to speak. It's also the very first Iowa event where Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are both listed in this one event, the very first time, so certainly something to watch. And it's also the first time that they're gathering since the news broke about these additional charges.

Now, we have already heard what Trump has to say about this. And as far as what the candidates are saying today, Ron DeSantis has been out on his bus tour. He has stuck to familiar tones. He has also said, though, that he will continue to try to not be a distraction if Republican primary voters select him. Here is what he says.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): It requires that we are focused on the issues that matter. We don't have time for distractions. You can't take your eye off the ball. You got to get the job done. So, as president, I'm going to conduct myself in a way that has focused on the people's issues.

There's going to be a lot of people shooting at you. We know that. A lot of people shot at Donald Trump. We know that too. But here is the thing, when they are shooting at you, the way you handle it is to not shoot yourself in the foot and make sure you keep the eye on the ball.


LAH: So, here is the difficulty for him. If you look at the poll numbers, look where Ron DeSantis is. This is the latest Fox Business poll of Iowa Republican caucus goers. And you could see how far behind DeSantis is. The next one is Scott and then the rest of the field in single digits.

So, Wolf, they are trying to turn that around here, those challengers, but those poll numbers certainly suggest they have a way go in order to catch up with him. Wolf?

BLITZER: They certainly do. Kyung Lah on the scene for us, thank you.

Joining us now is CNN Political Commentator Alice Stewart, the former communications director for Republican Senator Ted Cruz, along with Democratic Strategist and CNN Political Commentator Maria Cardona.

And, Alice, let me discuss with you, first of all, DeSantis. He is not only trying to deflect away from Trump's new charges, he is also alluding to the possibility that if you were elected president, there could be a possible presidential pardon for the former president. Listen to this.


DESANTIS: Well, what I have said is very simple. I'm going to do what's right for country. I don't think it would be good for the country to have an almost 80-year-old former president go to prison.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, that's a yes?

DESANTIS: It doesn't seem like it would be a good thing. And I look at like, Ford pardoned Nixon, took some heat for it. But at the end of the day, it's like do we want to move forward as a country or do we want to be mired in these past controversies?


BLITZER: Is that the right message he's sending?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If he wants to appeal to Trump's base and the people that are still in support of Trump, that is exactly the message that you need to do. And other candidates are doing the same, showing somewhat sympathy towards Donald Trump.

But I can guarantee you, Wolf, what we are seeing tonight in Iowa, this is what we call the political prom. This really kicks off the season for politics in Iowa. Well, there's rubber chicken on the plate. Donald Trump is the entree. He is going to be the main speaker, all eyes are on him. But all the other candidates are out there trying to make their case as to why they are a better alternative for Donald Trump, not just for the primary, but for the general election. And each of these candidates are trying to show Donald Trump cannot win in a general election, but I can.

And we are seeing DeSantis will be talking about the economy and electability. Vivek will talk about the economy. Tim Scott is also going to talk about a new optimistic vision for the future. And that's the goal, is to make your case why you are better for the general than Donald Trump, but you're also not wanting to alienate his base.

And the people there in Iowa, many of them are supportive of Trump. You saw the numbers at 46 percent. Many of those people in that room are open to hearing someone else and ready to move on and put Donald Trump in the rearview mirror.

BLITZER: What do you think, Maria? How should Trump's Republican rivals out there for 2024 deal with his legal problems that he is facing right now?

MARIA CARDONA, CNN POLITICAL STRATEGIST: I think that's the big conundrum, Wolf, because they don't know how to deal with him. You know, Alice is right. If they want to continue to kowtow to Trump's base, they can't go after him. But the problem with that is that it's Trump's base. He is indisputably the frontrunner. We saw just how far ahead he is from DeSantis, who was supposedly going to be the one that was going to give Trump the competition. And the only thing that has happened since he has announced his candidacy is that he has spiraled downward.

You can't dethrone an undisputed frontrunner with kid gloves, because that's going to do nothing to show exactly those base voters that they should be voting for someone other than Trump.


You can't out-trump Trump.

And so I don't think that any of them really understand how to dethrone him. The only one I think out of that group, a couple of them, that are actually going about it the right way, or at least in a different way, Chris Christie, Asa Hutchinson. They are the ones who -- are the only ones so far that have the backbone to demonstrate that there is a contrast between them and Donald Trump. Right now, there is no contrast. So, why would the base go with anybody else other than Trump?

STEWART: What we're going to say, they are not going to attack Donald Trump in this room tonight because they are going to get booed, and they don't want that to be headline. What they are doing is they are making their case in what we call the full Grassley, going to all 99 counties in Iowa, going to the pizza ranch restaurants, talking with them one-on-one and making their case directly with the voters, because that's how you build support and build consensus for the Iowa caucus.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Alice Stewart, Maria Cardona, guys, thank you very much.

This just in, President Joe Biden has now publically acknowledged his seventh grandchild for first time, breaking a long held silence while describing the situation as a family matter.

For more on this, I'm joined by our Senior White House Correspondent, our newest White House correspondent, Kayla Tausche, who is over at the White House for us. Kayla, what are you learning?

KAYLA TAUSCHE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we are just getting this in from President Biden, his first acknowledgement of his seventh grandchild. And I'm going to read this statement in full, Wolf. The statement says, our son, Hunter, and Navy's mother, London, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interest of their daughter, preserving her privacy as much as possible going forward. This is not a political issue, President Biden says, it's a family matter. Going on to say, Jill and I only want what is best for all our grandchildren, including Navy.

Now, as for why the president is choosing now to acknowledge this child, who is four years old and lives in Arkansas, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN it is because last month, the child's mother, London Roberts, and the president's son, Hunter Biden, largely resolved a protracted and bitter court proceeding over child support. Hunter Biden agreeing to provide the child with some of his paintings, which she is able to either keep for her own use or to sell for proceeds. He had previously agreed in 2020 to pay about $20,000 a month in child support. It is unclear how much he will be paying under the new agreement.

But, Wolf, it does come also as the president has been under scrutiny for not acknowledging this grandchild, from both The New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd, who published an op-ed earlier this month, urging the president to acknowledge this child, and from GOP presidential candidates, like Governor Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley as well. So, certainly, there had been pressure on the president to speak out, and he is choosing today to do so. Wolf?

BLITZER: Thanks for that update, Kayla Tausche, and welcome, of course, to THE SITUATION ROOM, your first time here in our SITUATION ROOM. Welcome to CNN. Thanks very much.

TAUSCHE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: And just ahead, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, responding to major fallout over what he said right here in THE SITUATION ROOM during our interview yesterday, his remarks adding to the outrage over his controversial judicial overhaul.



BLITZER: Tonight, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is attempting to clarify comments he made to me here in THE SITUATION ROOM last night about his controversial judicial overhaul. Listen to Netanyahu's response to my question, remarks, that have outraged his opponents.


BLITZER: Looking at to September when Israel's Supreme Court will hear appeals to this new law, if the court does strike this down, will you abide by that ruling?

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Well, look, we will go into unchartered territory. And I really would like to believe that they won't do that. And the reason is that -- first of all, we are all subject to the rule of law. The prime minister is subject to the rule of law. The Knesset, our parliament, is subject to the rule of law. The judges are subject to the law. Everybody is subject to the law.

Now, the closest thing we have to a constitution are basic laws. That's what we are dealing with. And what you are talking about is a situation or a potential situation where, in American terms, the United States Supreme Court would take a constitutional amendment and say that it's unconstitutional. That's the kind of spiral you are talking about, and I hope we don't get to that.


BLITZER: Let's go to CNNs Fred Pleitgen. He's in Jerusalem. He is getting more on the reaction to the interview that I conducted with the prime minister and what Netanyahu is saying now. Fred?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Wolf. Well, that interview that you did with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, certainly is causing quite a big stir here in this country. In fact, we have seen clips on it on various Israeli T.V. channels throughout the day. And, of course, one clip in particular, and that is the one where Benjamin Netanyahu, after your question, doesn't appear to fully answer whether or not he would abide by and recognize a verdict by Israel's Supreme Court if the Supreme Court shot down the reasonableness law.

Now, as you can imagine, there have been some opposition politicians who have been ripping into Netanyahu throughout the day, one of them being Benny Gantz, one of the top opposition politicians here in this country, who, by the way, since the turmoil surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu and the judicial overhaul, have been riding high in the polls here in this country.

I want to read you some of what he said today, because it is quite remarkable. This is a quote, if Netanyahu, like any elected official, does not follow the court's ruling, he says, he will carry out a regime coup d'etat that will change the nature of the regime in Israel, something that will negate his legitimacy to hold office. Those are some pretty strong words there coming from Benny Gantz.


And the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu, they felt they needed to react to all of this and to the backlash that Netanyahu was receiving. They put out a statement during the day as well saying that, of course, the Israeli government always respects the court's decisions, but then also added a caveat saying the court itself feels bound by the basic law of this country. So, still not really clear whether or not Benjamin Netanyahu would abide by the court's ruling if they decide to shoot down this new law.

Now, as you can imagine, the turmoil here in Israel, because of that, is continuing. He would spoke to some people who support some judicial overhaul here in this country, specifically the law on reasonableness. But they also said if things go too far, they wouldn't support that either. At the same time, the opposition here in this country is vowing to continue to go out on the streets. We saw protests, of course, last night. And the opposition says, come tomorrow night, they will be in the streets in Jerusalem and in force, and Tel Aviv as well. Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes, those demonstrations continue. Fred Pleitgen in Jerusalem, thank you.

Coming up, millions of people across the United States are under a heat alert right now and what scientists are calling the hottest month on record.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Oppressive record breaking temperatures are blanketing the United States, putting more than 150 million people in danger.

CNN's Miguel Marquez has the latest on how some areas are now preparing for a possible overflow of heat-related deaths.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deadly heat. More than 30 states under alert. Temperatures, record breaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my god, this is hell on earth.

MARQUEZ: Over 150 Americans sweltering nowhere worse than Phoenix, Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is unreal. Day, night, never seen anything like it.

MARQUEZ: A city accustom to heat now overwhelmed by it. A new record, 15 days so far this year, over 115 degrees.

The morgue in Maricopa County adding ten refrigerated containers, prepping for a possible spike of heat-related deaths. Already, the morgue is over its normal capacity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If it started to tilt, bad sign.

MARQUEZ: Arizona's ultra hardy saguaro cacti, some essentially suffocating from the heat. Wildlife suffering, too, a great horn owl cooling off at a Phoenix sanctuary. At the Minneapolis zoo, ostriches taking a shower. A polar bear in search of ice.

The Midwest baking. Indianapolis construction workers taking extra precautions. Conditions being pushed to the extreme.

DAN LIVINGSTON, SAFETY SUPERINTENDENT, RIETH-RILEY CONSTRUCTION: This isn't for the unseasoned worker. Don't try to attempt to come out and start working in this heat until you have been fully acclimated.

MARQUEZ: Along the eastern seaboard, the heat index, that mix of temperatures and humidity, hitting upwards of 110 degrees in some areas. TESSA BORBRIDGE, NEW YORKER: I'm sweating within -- I probably am

sweating within seven seconds stepping outside. I'm not -- I'm not joking. And then also, like, you know, as soon as I'm on the subway platform, it gets really ugly, really messy.

MARQUEZ: Public cooling stations set up throughout the country. Power companies urging customers to conserve energy. Power grids everywhere under pressure.

COMMISSIONER ZACHARY ISCOL, NYC EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT : We recommend setting your air conditioning unit to 78 degrees, with the lowest of the cool settings, remembering it's about maintaining your comfort while also ensuring energy consumption for the entire city.

MARQUEZ: While summer and heat go together, Copernicus Climate Change Service calculates July will be the world's hottest month on record ever.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL: The era of global warming has ended. The era of global boiling has arrived.


MARQUEZ (on camera): So, global boiling. But coming out to a live picture here in Washington Square Park in New York City, people are coping. New Yorkers are tough and they are enjoying the summer evening. The fountain certainly helps. But the temperature is meant to come down in the days ahead, not only New York but many parts of the country. But I'll just say, we are going to have to deal with more extreme weather for the foreseeable future -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Miguel Marquez in New York for us, thank you.

Also tonight, all eyes are on Georgia, where security barricades have now been placed around an Atlanta courthouse as a decision on whether to indict former President Donald Trump and his allies appears imminent in Georgia.

CNN's Sara Murray is covering the story for us. She's here with me in THE SITUATION ROOM.

There are signs the Fulton County district attorney potentially is moving very, very quickly.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. I mean, her window for when she may announce, if anyone will face charges as part of this sprawling investigation, really opens on Monday. That's based on letters she sent to security partners as well as other officials in the county.

We think these indictments are more like weeks instead of days away. But there is another wrench in the plan, which is that the Trump legal team in Georgia is still trying to get Fani Willis disqualified from this case, still trying to get her evidence thrown out. A judge has set a hearing on some of the matters on August 10th, which is smack dab in the middle of this indictment period over the next couple of weeks.

So, we are going to have to see, Wolf, if that impacts the timing at all. As of right now, we are looking at sometime in the next couple weeks, charging announcement.

BLITZER: And you have a whole new report coming up on the whole story with Anderson Cooper, Sunday night, 8:00 p.m. Eastern on what happened in Georgia. Let me play a little excerpt. Listen to this.


MURRAY (voice-over): We are more than two years past the pressure campaigns, the harassment of public and private citizens, the coordinating of fake electors, the breach of election equipment.


And we still don't know, will Trump and his allies face charges here in Georgia? And, if so, will there be convictions?

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: They rigged the presidential election in 2020. And we're not going to allow them to rig the presidential election of 2024.

MURRAY: Did voters deserve an answer to this question before Donald Trump became, you know, an announced candidate again?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah, I don't think there's any question about that. From a national perspective, no question about it. From a local perspective here, no question about it.

MURRAY: We saw former President Trump lie to the American people, you saw him gin up this outrage. Is it a remedy if he's charged with a crime in Georgia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they indict him and they can't convict him, it will be an exoneration. Is that better or is that worse? I don't know.


MURRAY: So you certainly see some criticism, Wolf, from people who think Fani Willis should've moved faster in this investigation. But this documentary is going to give you a better look at just how sprawling the activities were to try to mess with the 2020 election in Georgia. Things like a former publicist for Kanye West showing up and trying to pressure a Georgia election worker. Of course, the many lies Rudy Giuliani told before Georgia state lawmakers and much more in that.

BLITZER: Really looking forward to your report, Sara. Thank you very much.

And be sure to tune in an all-new episode of "THE WHOLE STORY WITH ANDERSON COOPER" airs Sunday 8:00 Eastern and Pacific, only here on CNN. And this note to our viewers, coming up on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT"

right after THE SITUATION ROOM tonight, the dangerous effects of rising ocean temperatures and their impact on coral. That's coming up 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

And we'll have much more news coming up right here in THE SITUATION ROOM. North Korea now playing host to Russian and Chinese dignitaries, including the Russian defense minister in a move seen as a dig at the United States from three of its biggest adversaries.



BLITZER: North Korea has been hosting visiting dignitaries from China and Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. But it's also being seen as a not-so-subtle message to the United States and its allies.

Brian Todd has got the story for us -- Brian.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, U.S. officials are monitoring these events in North Korea very closely not just for the weapons on display, but for more information on some threatening partnerships among their adversaries.


TODD (voice-over): In Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square, a signature flamboyant display of military might. On his arrival, Kim Jong Un embraces and salutes eager, bouncing children. The supreme leader takes his spot on the podium alongside his honored guest, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Shoigu came to celebrate with Kim with what the North Koreans call Victory Day, the 70th anniversary of the armistice ending the Korean War.

The defense minister presented Kim with an autographed letter from Vladimir Putin, the exact contents not publicly known. In the parade, North Korea's massive Hwasong 17 and Hwasong 18 intercontinental ballistic missiles, which the Kim regime says can strike the United States, a site prompting uniform children to jump for joy and a thumbs up from the dictator.

PATRICK CRONIN, HUDSON INSTITUTE: This is the new no-limits friendship. It's not between Russia and China but between Russia and North Korea.

TODD: Late last year, U.S. officials said Russia was trying to purchase rockets from Kim's regime, and then accused North Korea of supplying other weapons as NSC spokesperson John Kirby explained to Wolf Blitzer.

JOHN KIRBY, NSC SPOKESPERSON: We do believe that North Korea is covertly supplying Russia with a significant number of artillery shells. We think they're going to covertly funnel these through third- party nations to try to hide the fact that it's going to Russia for use in Ukraine.

TODD: It's not clear whether any North Korean armaments have actually been used in the Ukraine war. But analysts say Shoigu could be trying to cut a deal with Kim for more weapons.

CRONIN: He's trying to get maybe new systems, maybe drones, maybe -- who knows what other shells, maybe even tactical nuclear weapons, although I think Russia's got enough tactical nuclear weapons. But whatever he's trying to get, he is now working that supply chain for the Russian ministry of defense.

TODD: The events in Pyongyang had the throwback look of old Cold War battle lines, with the Chinese delegation also showing up to celebrate victory day, and presenting Kim with their own personal letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping. Analysts say all of this collectively sends a clear signal from Putin and Xi to the West.

CRONIN: Message to New York and message to the United Nations and the United States and your allies, we're not helping you with sanctions against our friend North Korea.

TODD: It comes as tensions on the Korean peninsula are again at a boil. In recent days, Kim's regime test-fired two ballistic missiles, and the U.S. sent a nuclear armed ballistic missile submarine and a nuclear powered attack submarine to dock at South Korean ports.


TODD (on camera): Now, this also comes as the mystery continues surrounding U.S. soldier Travis King who bolted across the North Korean border recently. King likely remains in North Korean custody, and the U.S. and its allies have reached out to North Korea to discuss King's state, but the U.S. has so far gotten only radio silence in return, Wolf. They have no idea where he is or what his condition.

BLITZER: All right. Brian Todd, reporting, thank you.

And finally tonight, I want to share my best wishes and appreciation to a longtime colleague Christine Romans. She's leaving CNN after more than 24 years at the network, including truly amazing work as our chief business correspondent, also as an anchor of "EARLY START". I often woke up early to be sure to catch her excellent reporting.

Christine, we will miss you and we wish you only the very best as you move on to your next chapter.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.