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New Info On Surveillance Video In Trump Documents Probe; New Poll Shows Trump Crushing GOP Rivals Despite Legal Woes; New Explosions Just Heard In Ukraine; Trump's Newest Co-Defendant In Classified Docs Criminal Investigation Released On $100,000 Bond; Police: Officers Shoot Suspect Firing Gun At Hebrew School; Nurse And Child Abducted In Haiti Amid Rise In Gangs. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired July 31, 2023 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do any of Trump's primary opponents have a strategy to slow him down?
And as Russia and Ukraine trade new attacks, we're getting word of explosions in Kharkiv. Stand by for an update on the war and the new ways Presidents Putin and Zelenskyy are trying to strike the other's turf.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in The Situation Room.
All right, this just to CNN, a new court filing in the classified documents investigation revealing surveillance video obtained by investigators in recent weeks.
CNN Justice Correspondent Jessica Schneider is working the story for us. What are you learning, Jessica?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we're actually learning this from new court filings just in tonight. Special Counsel Jack Smith has obtained surveillance footage in recent weeks, and that footage actually relates to the obstruction charges in the classified documents case that were just updated last week against the former president, against Walt Nauta and that property manager at Mar- a-Lago.
And this latest filing tonight, it really does show how this investigation is still ongoing despite these latest charges, and it shows how this case against the former president, it is still growing.
JOHN IRVING, REPRESENTING TRUMP'S CO-DEFENDANT: The Justice Department has unfortunately decided to bring these charges against Mr. De Oliveira. And now, it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is.
SCHNEIDER (voice over): Carlos De Oliveira leaving the federal courthouse in Miami, Monday, escorted business his lawyer and federal agents. A 20-year employee at Mar-a-Lago, De Oliveira walked out of court on $100,000 bond after being charged along with former President Trump and Trump's close aide, Walt Nauta, with attempting to delete security footage from Mar-a-Lago after it was subpoenaed by a federal grand jury. De Oliveira allegedly telling the director of I.T. at Mar- a-Lago, the boss, an apparent reference to Donald Trump, wanted to delete the server where security footage was stored.
CNN also reporting that another Mar-a-Lago employee received a target letter from federal prosecutors. Yuscil Taveras oversees the property's surveillance cameras and has met with investigators in recent weeks. It's unclear if he is cooperating. So far, he is not facing charges, but at latest some of the allegations in the indictment were based on information he provided.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: They're not indicting me. They're indicting you. I just happen to be standing in their way. That's all it is.
SCHNEIDER: Trump defiant as he continued campaigning over the weekend, even as he was charged with additional crimes in the special counsel's classified documents case.
TRUMP: If I weren't running, I would have nobody coming after me. Or if I was losing by a lot, I would have nobody coming after me.
SCHNEIDER: Plus, all signs point to another indictment soon out of D.C.'s federal court --
REPORTER: Can you tell us whether you expect to have an indictment this week?
SCHNEIDER: -- likely against Trump and his allies for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
FANI WILLIS, FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We're ready to go.
SCHNEIDER: And in Georgia, an indictment watch kicks into full gear. Fulton County's district attorney likely a week or two away from presenting her case to a grand jury and announcing whether Trump will be charged for trying to overturn the 2020 election results in that state. Ramped-up security measures are already in place around the local courthouse and a county judge just rejected efforts by Trump's legal team to toss evidence in that criminal investigation and to disqualify the district attorney.
WILLIS: Some people may not be happy with the decisions that I was making. And sometimes people, when they're unhappy, they act in a way that could create harm. The work is accomplished. We've been working for 2.5 years.
SCHNEIDER (on camera): And all of this means that Donald Trump's legal bills are mounting, so much so that sources have told our Kristen Holmes that his team is now creating a legal defense fund to help offset some of these costs. Now, to this point, it's been Trump's political action committee, Save America, that's actually been fronting the legal costs, already spending more than $40 million just this year to pay for the legal fees for Trump and many of his associates, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Jessica Schneider reporting for us, thank you very much.
I want to bring some of our legal and political experts who are following all these Trump investigations very closely, and, Elliot, let me start with you. Starting with the classified documents case, why do you think the latest surveillance video was only found and obtained recently?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that's how investigations work, Wolf, and evidence can come in over a long period of time. If you notice, it's an ongoing investigation with an open grand jury, and they are probably still hear evidence and, in fact, can keep bringing charges after the fact, even after today, if more information comes up.
I think what this surveillance video does is put more meat on the bones of the indictment. They have already alleged any number of facts with respect to surveillance video now, it seems that they have more. So, that's not very uncommon. I'm not all that surprised that it's coming at this point.
BLITZER: It's interesting, George Conway, Trump's new co-defendant, Carlos De Oliveira, still has to enter a plea. What do you think? How strong is this case against him?
And if you were advising him, what would you tell him?
GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE LAWYER: I would tell him to plead guilty and cooperate with the government. And I think that the case looks very strong against him. The fact that he was talking to somebody who then refused to assist him in destruction of the videos, erasing the server, deleting the server as the boss had asked for, I think is very, very damning testimony. And it seems to me that he should have followed the example of this I.T. person who told him, we can't do that. And we'll see.
I think at this point, he ought to cooperate. The problem he has is there's so much evidence against Donald Trump and Walt Nauta, that he doesn't bring that much to the table. But as a prosecutor -- I mean, I've never been a prosecutor. I would defer to Elliot on this. I'd rather have the guy on the stand saying, yes, the boss called me for 24 minutes after we got that subpoena, and he wanted me to get rid of everything. I mean, if he testified to that, it will be like the 15th thing that makes me think that they have Donald Trump dead on arrival on this.
WILLIAMS: And quite frankly, even when a case appears strong, prosecutors want to bolster their case with as much as they can. So, even if you have surveillance video or you have one witness or a document, you are going to want to put as many possible witnesses on as possible, because you never know if some witness is going to have a credibility problem or if he's got a criminal conviction in his past and they're going to --
CONWAY: But think how powerful it would be that he recounts the conversation again with Trump, and then you have another person saying, this is what now De Oliveira told me Trump said to him.
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Can I add one other thing? We're talking about the former president of the United States, so the bar is much higher. And I have spoken to his several former, very senior Justice Department sources who have said to me over and over again, Jack Smith isn't going to have one witness or this piece of evidence. He's going to have double, triple, as one source said to me, it's going to be overwhelming-plus.
CONWAY: And that's just like the whole course of the entire investigation. None of us here, if we had taken home boxes and boxes of documents from the White House, including classified, top secret, you know, really credible stuff, the FBI would have been involved a year before. I mean, he got treated with kid gloves and everybody has to compensate for the fact he was the president of the United States.
BLITZER: Do you agree?
WILLIAMS: I do agree with the fundamental point that when you're charging a former president or a senior government official in a case that's going to be picked apart every single move, it is in prosecutors' interests to gather as much evidence as they can, and sort of to Jamie's point, having to check and double check, and I'm sure --
BLITZER: How soon do you think we'll see new charges from Fulton County, in Georgia, again the president, the former president of the United States?
WILLIAMS: Well, the D.A. in Fulton County has already said that she intended to bring charges at least starting, I think, on July 31st, which should be today, into the month of August. It seems that those are imminent as well.
Now, in prosecutor-speak, imminent can mean 30 days from now. But charges do appear to be coming. She's made clear even before, frankly, to her detriment, made clear even before when she was running for office that she was planning on bringing charges. And so I would think they're coming relatively soon.
BLITZER: And it's interesting, George, because the federal grand jury meetings tomorrow and Thursday here, there's and a lot of people are bracing for yet more charges against Trump from the special counsel.
CONWAY: Yes, and it would make sense. I mean, he's been flipping out on his Truth Social media feed for several days with all caps, tweets, talking about a deranged prosecutor and so on and so forth, and he's been continuing to do that. And I think it's been noted that nobody saw any witnesses go into the grand jury, I think, on Thursday, and they spent all day with the grand jury.
So, one could speculate this might be a presentation with a lot of people coming in the prosecutorial team, leading up to the presentment of the indictment, which could be tomorrow.
BLITZER: It's interesting, Jamie, because despite all the legal problems that the former president has, his popularity among Republicans in this primary contest seems to be going up.
GANGEL: Right. So, the latest post, The New York Times poll, has him at 54 percent, way above DeSantis. We have seen no sign of erosion thus far. So, what that would mean if he's the nominee in a general election may look very different. But right now, there is no evidence. These indictments are now baked in. The public knows about them and his numbers are going up.
BLITZER: Legally speaking, where does he face the greatest threat?
WILLIAMS: The greatest threat is obstruction of justice on the documents cases, because what you have -- you don't need to prove they've been declassified.
You need to prove that there was an investigation, people knew about it, and they tried to take steps to obstruct that investigation. I think that's the biggest threat. The problem is those charges are tied up in all of these issues around classified documents. And it's just going to take a while to bring those to trial. But the proof is clearest on those --
BLITZER: Yes. Obstruction of justice carries a penalty of years and years and years in prison.
CONWAY: Absolutely. And not only he wasn't just obstructing justice here, he was obstructing justice about his other efforts to obstruct justice, which seems to be a pattern. He did it in the Mueller investigation as well. He was trying to ditch the videotapes so that no one could show that he was moving boxes around, to hide them from the feds. So, it's like -- as I said the other day, it's like a matryoshka doll of criminality, where he's opening up and there's another crime, and there's another crime, and there's another, which is why you can't blame Jack Smith for investigating further.
BLITZER: All right. Guys, we'll continue to watch all of this unfold. Thanks very, very much. Just ahead, Ukraine's new strategy of striking on Russian territory and the Kremlin's deadly response on President Zelenskyy's home turf. Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.
BLITZER: We're getting late word out of Ukraine of explosions in the northeastern city of Kharkiv. The mayor there saying three blasts were heard from Russian drone attacks.
[18:15:03] This comes as Ukraine says it's trying to bring Vladimir Putin's war back to where it began, in Russia.
More on that from CNN's Nic Robertson.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice over): Russia's war in Ukraine is increasingly blowing up in Moscow, this Ukrainian drone attack Sunday night bringing Russia's war hundreds of miles away, into the heart of its own capital, shocking citizens.
LIYA, MOSCOW WITNESS: My friends and I rented an apartment to come here and unwind. And at some point, we heard an explosion, and it was like, a wave. Everyone jumped.
ROBERTSON: Attacks like this in Moscow becoming increasingly common. Last week, another Ukrainian drone hit a Ministry of Defense building, a psychological blow for a population repeatedly told by Putin's state media they are winning the so-called special military operation.
POLINA, MOSCOW RESIDENT: I was asleep and woken up by an explosion. Everything started to shake and the whole building had come down.
ROBERTSON: This weekend, Putin was keeping up the pretense everything is okay, celebrating Navy Day. But behind the scenes, his officials appear rattled by Ukraine's refusal to be beaten.
Former President Dmitry Medvedev says if Ukraine's counteroffensive is successful, Russia will use its nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, the Kremlin is dismissing the drone strikes, and Moscow, as an act of desperation, the defense minister calling them terrorist attacks. Reality, they've got Moscow's attention.
Ukraine's president is independent hinting more of these strikes to come.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT: Ukraine is getting stronger. Gradually, the war is returning to the territory of Russia, to its symbolic centers and military bases. This is an inevitable, natural and absolutely fair process.
ROBERTSON: Zelenskyy is stating what is becoming increasingly apparent. Ukraine is ramping up drone strikes inside Russia. In recent weeks, targets just over the border in areas vital to Russia's war efforts have increased, too. The impact even breaking through on Russia's state media.
What is clear, Ukraine's fight on Russian soil is having effect.
ROBERTSON (on camera): But can it really have an effect to sort of put political pain on Putin? That seems unlikely. Ukraine maybe need to puncture a little bit Putin's propaganda that everything is going well in the war, that if you're in Moscow, you're safe. But it's not going to deflate the message coming from Putin and the Kremlin. Why? Because he still controls the narrative. The strikes are relatively small, there are not big casualties. In fact, very, very few casualties, it's structural damage so far.
So, it's not going to -- this time, I think, not going to put a course correction in the way that Putin is fighting the war. It may even bring about a level of more specific retribution. But as we saw today, perhaps not just abstractly hitting Zelenskyy's hometown, maybe there will be intent behind it.
BLITZER: Nic Robertson reporting for us, thank you.
Joining us now, CNN Military Analyst, retired U.S. Major General Spider Marks, and CNN Russian Affairs Contributor Jill Dougherty.
General Marks, we're just getting word of a Russian attack on Kharkiv, right on the heels of the brutal attack on Zelenskyy's hometown. How much could this escalate right now?
MAJ. GEN. JAMES SPIDER MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, it could escalate. And I would tell you that what we're seeing in terms of Ukraine attacking targets inside Russia, and deeply inside Russia, into Moscow, that are not militarily related, I think, sadly, are a waste of military manpower. Look, these are incredible weapon systems that Ukrainians enjoy. I don't think that there is going to be much juice from the squeeze, if you will, in terms of threatening Putin.
I think these weapons systems could be used more effectively, obviously, in their offensive in various places in the Donbas. So, seeing the Russians attack into Kharkiv is a logical response. The best way for the Ukrainians to achieve some great success on the ground is not try to threaten Putin politically. He has got enough problems with that, and I don't know that they're going to be able to do it. But to achieve success tactically on the ground and send the messages back to these mothers back in Russia that their children are being killed, because the Ukrainians are fighting them incredibly well in the various areas in Ukraine where they need to be.
BLITZER: Jill, I want to get your analysis as well. Take a look at this dramatic video of that drone strike on Moscow. You can hear terrified screams. How much of a psychological blow are these attacks inside Russia?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, RUSSIAN AFFAIRS: You know, it's hard to tell precisely, Wolf, because Russian media, state controlled, have not been giving a lot of coverage at all to this. I've seen it mentioned in print stories, but really not on the T.V. media. But I think that is obviously one of the purposes of what the Ukrainians are trying to do. I mean, that place where the latest where they hit, called Moscow's city, that is a financial center. It's really like the heart of Putin's capitalism. There are a lot of big companies there and there are a lot of government offices in those high-rise buildings. So, hitting them, I think, is very symbolic. I think that's what the Ukrainians wanted to do. And maybe they think that they can deflect some of the weapons that the Kremlin would have to bring them back to Moscow to protect Moscow from further attacks like this by drones.
BLITZER: Interesting. Jill, how do you read Russia's latest nuclear threat against Ukraine?
DOUGHERTY: Well, I mean, it's coming from the former president who has been, you know, the minion of President Putin now for years. And, essentially, what they're doing is kind of like good cop/bad cop, Putin, if you can call him a good cop, but he comes across as more rational, more, let's say, controlled in the way he speaks, but Medvedev, who is constantly on Twitter and other social media, is really using brutal language, sometimes actually kind of unhinged brutal language, and this is an example of it.
And he knows probably that Russia is not going to use strategic nuclear weapons and start a war. However, you know, he can talk about tactical weapons. It is all another attempt to intimidate the west, no question.
BLITZER: Yes. All right. Jill Dougherty, General Spider Marks, guys, thank you both very much.
Coming up, a new poll finds Donald Trump crushing the rest of the Republican field. Do the former president's GOP rivals have any plan to try to chip away at his commanding lead?
BLITZER: Donald Trump's Republican rivals are stepping up their criticism of the former president as they try to chip away at his very commanding lead in the polls.
Let's get details from CNN's Eva McKend. Eva, some of these candidates are becoming even more vocal against Trump but there's new evidence that it doesn't seem to be changing a whole lot.
EVA MCKEND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it doesn't, Wolf. Instinctively, it makes a lot of sense to confront the frontrunner, but Trump remains with this pretty decisive lead right now, 54 percent. His closest challengers combined don't even equal that.
And then on this issue of getting things done, you see the former president has 67 percent to Governor DeSantis' 22 percent. That's a real problem for the Florida governor because key to his election argument has been this argument of effectiveness, that he's been effective in Florida and will take that same sort of discipline to the White House. But we see Republicans, at least in this New York Times poll saying not so. They still see the former president as being more -- a more effective leader.
Still, though, we see all of these candidates trying to sort of cautiously take on the former president. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By the time we get on the debate stage on August 23rd, the frontrunner will be out on bail in four different jurisdictions.
NIKKI HALEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If these accusations are true, it's incredibly dangerous to our national security.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): When he hits with the juvenile insult, I think that helps me. I don't think voters like that.
It's just a reminder why there's so many millions of voters who will never vote for him going forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKEND: So, some more cautious than others, obviously, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, nothing cautious about his rhetoric there.
But I'm curious to see if the strategy changes in light of this data point that we have. In my conversations with Iowa voters, they tell me they're not interested in sort of this slug fest and the candidates going after each other, but instead, in these candidates proposing their vision for America.
Keep in mind, we still have six months until the first caucus, and then, of course, the debate, the first debate in late August, Wolf.
BLITZER: Eva McKen reporting for us, thank you.
Let's dig deeper with our political commentators right now. Alice Stewart and Karen Finney are here with me here in The Situation Room.
Alice, what do you make of the seemingly more critical tone coming from at least some of the Republican candidates?
ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They have to do that. The way to win the primary is through Donald Trump, without a doubt. And what we're seeing with these poll numbers, his base is not going anywhere. And, look, in ordinary times and in ordinary campaigns, when you have a candidate who has been indicted already twice and is facing potentially two more indictments, they would be dead in the water.
But what this poll shows, this New York Times/Siena poll shows more than anything, is that Trump's MAGA base isn't standing by him in spite of his flaws, they're standing by him because they don't think he has any flaws.
They don't think he has done anything wrong. They think he won the election. They think January 6th was fine. And they certainly don't see a problem with classified documents or what's happening in Georgia. So, that is basically written off. Those people will stand by him.
The key for Republican -- his challengers is to go after those that do see the flaws and are ready to turn the page and look for someone and show that you can not only win the primary but win the general election.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But that's sort of the rest of the Republican primary electorate is also very fractured, right? I mean, there's a portion that says they would never consider Trump and then there is a portion that just does not see Ron DeSantis as the next best option. And there are sort of some of them are even open to voting for Joe Biden.
I think that is also part of what's critical for Democrats, is to focus on that part of the electorate in addition to mobilizing and motivating the Democratic Party base while we have the time to have a conversation about the economics of the country, and Bidenomics and the things that the president has accomplished, because they're clearly turned off about the conversation happening in the Republican primary.
BLITZER: I'm wondering, Alice, The New York Times/Siena poll that shows, what, Trump is ahead via all the other Republican candidates, including DeSantis, by some 37 points. Do you think DeSantis has what it takes to narrow that.
STEWART: He's got a lot of time, fortunately, and he's got a lot of time and money, fortunately, to do so. And as Eva said, with a month to the debate, six months into the Iowa caucus, so he certainly has a lot of time. So do all the other candidates. Look, I don't discount anyone at this stage of the game. If you look back to where we were at this point in time before the 2016 race, it was Scott Walker and Jeb Bush leading the polls, and things certainty changed.
So, look at the people back of the pack that have the opportunity to make their case with the voters. And, again, Iowa, you don't have to win just Iowa to be meaningful. You can come out in second or third place and have tremendous momentum leading into the rest of these states.
FINNEY: Well, you can also -- I mean, the other pathway is to try to consolidate some support for this sort of other part of the Republican primary electorate and see if something happens that Donald Trump is not able to continue to compete, right? And then can you consolidate some portion of the base.
One of the things, though, Wolf, I thought was so fascinating in this poll, 90 percent said they want Republican leaders to support Trump. So, that tells us a lot about what we're seeing on Capitol Hill and why we're seeing it, and that it is not likely to change any time soon.
BLITZER: You know, it's also interesting that in this new New York Times/Siena poll, likely Republican voters said they thought Trump was more likely to beat Biden than DeSantis. Take a look at this. 58 percent said Trump, 28 percent said DeSantis. What's your reaction to that?
FINNEY: Well, I mean, again, it's very clear that the base, that core base of the Republican Party, that primary electorate, they're all in for Donald Trump. And they've also said, by the way, that while they may even like Ron DeSantis, while Donald Trump is in the race, they're not even going to consider him.
So, unless something fundamentally shifts, someone else is able to, again, consolidate sort of the majority of that party away from that 37 percent, Donald Trump is likely to be the nominee.
STEWART: And the key with these numbers is these people in this poll are Republican primary voters. The voting electorate and the bloc that's going to make the difference in the general election are those independent voters. Donald Trump does not have them, and he's not going to win them over. So, all of these candidates would be well- served to really make their case with independent voters and the Republicans that have fallen off the wayside because of Donald Trump, because that's going to be the difference and the winning formula for the general election.
BLITZER: Alice, Karen, guys, thank you very, very much.
Just ahead, Republicans dig into their Hunter Biden probe, even as his plea with prosecutors remains on hold. Up next, what a former business partner of the president's son just told congressional investigators behind closed doors.
BLITZER: With Hunter Biden's plea deal still in limbo, Republicans in Congress are turning up the heat in their own investigation, inviting a former business partner of the president's son to speak with the House Oversight Committee today.
CNN's Melanie Zanona is up on Capitol Hill. She has the latest. Melanie?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Wolf, first, let me remind viewers who Devon Archer is. He is a former business associate of Hunter Biden's. Him and Hunter Biden both served on the board of the Ukrainian energy company, and Republicans wanted to bring Archer in because they thought he could reveal key information about President Biden and whether he was involved in his son's foreign business deals.
That is a link that the White House has adamantly denied and a link that Republicans have yet to prove. But one of the things that they were particularly interested in was whether President Joe Biden spoke to any of Hunter Biden's business partners.
Democratic Congressman Dan Goldman, he was present for the deposition today, and he confirmed that Hunter Biden did put Joe Biden on speaker phone around 20 times in the presence of his business partners, at the time Joe Biden was vice president. But Goldman was adamant that no business was discussed and that all those conversations were sort of casual check-ins.
And a source also told my colleague, Zach Cohen, that Archer testified that Hunter Biden was selling the illusion of access to his father but provided no evidence today of any direct link between President Joe Biden and any of his son's business deals. And the same source also testified that he had no knowledge of any allegations about a bribery scheme involving Joe Biden and a foreign national.
But Republicans say that these speakerphone calls, in addition to a dinner where Joe Biden was present, are proof that Biden was, in fact, more intimately involved in his son's business than was previously known.
They said Joe Biden lied to the American people and they are vowing to continue digging into this issue, Wolf.
BLITZER: Melanie, as far as the plea deal the Justice Department reached with Hunter Biden, I understand Republican committee chairs are now formally launching a probe into that as well. What can you tell us?
ZANONA: Yes, that's right. A trio of committee chairmen officially launched a probe into this -- what they are calling a sweetheart deal between the Department of Justice and Hunter Biden. They want to know the circumstances of that plea deal and they also want a briefing on the matter as well. They claim that Hunter Biden received special treatment. The White House says that's not true. The DOJ says that's not true.
This plea deal, we should mention, has been put on hold, but it's important to point out that all of this activity comes as former President Trump has continued to put pressure on House Republicans to use their investigative power to go after Joe Biden and his family, as former President Donald Trump faces legal issues of his own.
So, this Hunter Biden storyline not going to fade any time soon on Capitol Hill, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Melanie Zanona up on Capitol Hill, thank you.
Let's continue the conversation now. Joining us, Congressman Ro Khanna, Democrat of California, the deputy whip for the Progressive Caucus and a key member of the House Oversight Committee. Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
This letter the three Republican chairs sent to the attorney general asking for details on Hunter Biden's plea deal, do you think the Department of Justice should comply?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Wolf, they should respond. But it's a shame that these Republican chairs are trying to politicize an investigation. The judge is trying to work it out with both parties. Let the judge do her job. That's how the judicial system is supposed to work. I don't know why Republicans have to try to intervene.
BLITZER: Former President Trump, as you know, is calling on Republicans now to withhold aid to Ukraine until Biden cooperates with the investigators into Hunter Biden's business dealings. What is your response to that?
KHANNA: I don't know why you would want to put our national security at risk for an issue of politics. I mean, our support of Ukraine is to make sure that NATO is strong, to make sure that Europe is strong, to make sure that the principle of Russia invading another sovereign country doesn't stand, so China doesn't get an idea to invade Taiwan. Why are you linking your substantive position on that to a political issue with Hunter Biden? It makes no sense and it's dangerous.
BLITZER: Russia appears to be escalating its attacks on Ukraine right now, hitting President Zelenskyy's hometown and renewing its threat, and this is so disturbing, renewing its threat to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine. How much does this concern you?
KHANNA: It concerns, but this is why I support President Biden's leadership. He has always been cautious not to escalate the conflict into a war with Russia, but he has affirmed our and NATO support for Ukraine. This is why we need to continue to support Ukraine with artillery, with weapons, with money so that they can make the defense, but we should not be ratcheting up the rhetoric, which President Biden has been very careful for over a year not to do.
BLITZER: And what's your reaction to Ukraine launching drone strikes against huge buildings in downtown Moscow?
KHANNA: Well, I don't support our weapons being used to cross Russian airspace or to cross Russian lines. I believe that we want to keep the conflict of Ukraine fighting for their territorial sovereignty, at least with the support that we are providing Ukraine.
BLITZER: Congressman Ro Khanna, thanks so much for joining us.
KHANNA: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Coming up, we'll take a closer look into the background of Carlos De Oliveira, the third defendant indicted in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.
Stay with us. You're in The Situation Room.
BLITZER: Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos de Oliveira was released on $100,000 bond today, just days after being indicted in connection with the Trump classified documents case.
CNN's Brian Todd has been looking into de Oliveira's background for us.
What are you learning, Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, CNN has been speaking to relatives and associates of Carlos de Oliveira who give us a portrait of a seemingly uncomplicated man now caught up in the vortex of Donald Trump's most dramatic legal battles.
TODD (voice-over): People close to Carlos de Oliveira tell CNN the 56- year-old is a hardworking man who came to the U.S. from Portugal to seek a better life. Now, the former maintenance worker in valley at Mar-a-Lago is caught up in his boss's web of indictments, investigations and relentless media scrutiny.
MARC CAPUTO, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE MESSENGER: This is sort of a regular guy who ended up at a very irregular job for an exceptional client we can charitably say and now, you know, long after he's gone and they are gone, this is going to be a story in American history. So there's a tremendous amount of pressure.
TODD: CNN has reported that de Oliveira became the property manager at Mar-a-Lago early last year. Although he's worked at Donald Trump's Florida estate for more than 20 years, and according to his indictment has risen through the ranks there, a number of people close to Trump tells CNN, Carlos de Oliveira is outside the former president's inner circle. Not known by Trump's close confidence, not typically in close proximity to Trump. Some Trump aides and allies said they've never heard of him. That sets de Oliveira apart from Walt Nauta, close Trump aide and fellow codefendant who's often a Trump side. What Nauta and de Oliveira likely to have in common observers say is a willingness to please demand who rules that property.
LAURENCE LEAMER, AUTHOR, MAR-A-LAGO: INSIDE THE GATES OF POWER: He's the son king. This is his real home. His only home in his life is Mar- a-Lago where he is created this kingdom, this palace, where he is god wherever he walks, people stand and applaud him and salute him, including the employees.
TODD: De Oliveira lives in an apartment in middle class neighborhood in Palm Beach, about 20 minutes from Mar-a-Lago. His landlord told CNN, quote, he's not the kind of guy that would break the law. I don't think he's that type.
But in addition to being charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and making false statements to the FBI, sources familiar with the matter told CNN, de Oliveira was involved in an incident last year were a pool was drained in Mar-a-Lago causing flooding in an I.T. room, where computer servers containing surveillance video logs were kept. A relative of de Oliveira's told CNN they didn't think he realized the consequences where Trump allegedly told de Oliveira to delete security footage, which Trump has denied doing.
The relative says, quote, the family feels like he got trap. Could de Oliveira turn on his boss and cooperate with prosecutors? CAPUTO: My assumption is up until now is no, because he has been given
multiple opportunities to cooperate with the federal government and he's declined to do it.
TODD (on camera): As he left the courthouse today, Carlos de Oliveira declined to answer reporters questions, including questions on whether he had spoken to Donald Trump since his arrest and whether he had testified to a grand jury as part of the special counsel's investigation. De Oliveira's lawyer John Irving did tell reporters that it was unfortunate that the Justice Department decide to bring these charges against him and, quote, now it's time to put their money where the money is -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting, thank you, Brian. Thanks very much.
And this note to our viewers. Coming up on "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" right after THE SITUATION ROOM, a veteran Republican strategist who worked for a DeSantis super PAC and just stepped away calling DeSantis a flawed candidate. That's coming up, 7:00 p.m. eastern.
And up next here in THE SITUATION ROOM, we're going to update you with the latest developments in a shooting at a Jewish day school in Tennessee.
BLITZER: Tonight, police in Memphis Tennessee say officers shot and critically wounded a man who allegedly fired a weapon in a Jewish day school.
CNN's Ryan Young is working the story for us.
What can you tell us, Ryan?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Wolf, we're still waiting to see if police will give us another update later this evening. But what we know is a man showed up around 12:20, he apparently was armed, tried to enter the school, due to safety precautions they were able to keep him out of the school.
It appears the school wasn't open at the time that the worst staff workers there. At some point, he began firing his weapon and then ran to a truck. Because of the surveillance video that they had there, they were able to get his picture to police officers in the area who pulled a man over. At some point, when he got out of his car with a weapon they opened fire, like you said, it put him in critical condition. He's at a hospital.
But we're told the FBI, the TBI, and the police department world investigating this to see what drew this man to the school in particular to figure out why he tried to get inside and start shooting. Wolf, it's obviously concerning with schools to getting ready to start all across the country.
BLITZER: Yeah, very disturbing indeed. Ryan Young, thank you.
Meanwhile, an American nurse and her child of being kidnapped in Haiti where she worked for humanitarian aid organization, as the security situation in that country is becoming more unstable.
CNN's Jason Carroll is covering the story for us. He's joining us from Middleton, New Hampshire, the area where she grew up and where her family still lives.
Jason, what is the U.S. doing to try to get her released?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I can tell you, Wolf, that U.S. officials are working with their Haitian counterparts behind the scenes doing what they can, tracking, monitoring any developments, trying to find it who abducted them and whether or not there are any conditions for their release. The issue is that they can't release very much information about what they do know for fear than it might jeopardize whatever it is they are doing behind the scenes.
But here's what I can tell you. It was on Thursday, Thursday, that Alex Dorsainvil and her child were adducted from the place where she had been working as a nurse, a place called El Roi, Haiti. It's a faith-based humanitarian organization. She had been working there. It's located near the Haitian capital, and area that's been plagued by gang violence and kidnapping.
She didn't work there alone. She also worked there with her husband who is the organizations director. In the video that you're about to see, she explains why she left as a small town in New Hampshire and went to Haiti.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALIX DORSAINVIL, AMERICAN VOLUNTEER KIDNAPPED IN HAITI: Sandro invited me to come to the school to do some nursing for some of the kids. He said that was a big need that they had. At first, I didn't think there was going to be much of a need there but when I got there, there were so many cases.
Haitians are such a resilient people. They're full of joy and life and love. And I'm so blessed to be able to know so many amazing Haitians.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: And, El Roi, Haiti, that organization released a statement that says in part, Alix is a deeply compassionate and loving person who considers Haiti her home and the Haitian people her friends and family. Again, the State Department, Wolf, not releasing many details about what they have learned for fear that it could jeopardize what they're doing behind the scenes. Everyone here in the small community praying for their release -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Let's hope soon. Jason Carroll, thank you very much. Six months after suffering a cardiac arrest right in the middle of the
game, Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin return to teen practice today in pads. After practice, he told reporters how he felt mentally being out there on the field with his teammates once again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAMAR HAMLIN, BUFFALO BILLS SAFETY: For me, you know it was tough, you not just first day in pads, but just trying to keep everything as normal as possible, just having my family here today, that was like the joy, the brightness just keep everything in perspective, you know, that I'll be okay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: And we wish Damar only, only the very, very best.
And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WolfBlitzer. You can tweet the show @CNNSitRoom.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.