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The Source with Kaitlan Collins
GA Courtroom Remains Open Past Closing Time As Potential Trump Indictment Vote Looms; GA Grand Jury's Findings Have Been Presented To Fulton County Judge In Trump Election Case; GA Grand Jury Returns 10 Indictments, Awaiting Unsealing. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired August 14, 2023 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBERT MCBURNEY, SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE AT FULTON COUNTY GOVERNMENT: One second. Just making sure (inaudible).
Mr. Royals (ph), everything went, as it should have, in front of the grand jury?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, sir.
MCBURNEY: All right.
Ms. Alexandria (ph), you're prepared to take this? And I guess I'm delivering it to the clerk. You'll maintain custody of it from here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, sir.
MCBURNEY: All right. This one's for you.
Can you take the certification? Or does it go with Madam Clerk (ph)? All right. Thank you all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
MCBURNEY: Yes, you too.
Want you (ph) guys make way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand back, please.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: So, Elie Honig, she's now bringing that document, which the judge has now looked at, to the clerk?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Correct, Anderson. And what we just saw was the judge reviewing that indictment.
And to be clear, that is not a substantive review. That indictment appeared to be quite long. The judge does not read through it, and have to sign off on it. That's the grand jury's province. That's already happened.
The judge is just making sure that there's no procedural irregularities. That's why you heard that quick questioning. "Did everything go as expected in the grand jury room, or were there any problems?" And the individual said, "No problems."
So, now it's being sent to the clerk's office, where the next step is it will be docketed, meaning it will become part of the official record. It will be available to all of us, in the public and the media, assuming it's not under seal. All indications are here that it's not going to be under seal. And if that's the case, if it's not sealed, then we will have access to that document momentarily.
COOPER: And Michael Moore, this is how it always occurs in courts, in Georgia, at this level?
MICHAEL MOORE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Yes, that was a pretty standard return of an indictment in court.
I mean, frankly, you usually see this about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, and the prosecutor comes in, and there's a stack of indictments, and they range everything from carjackings, to drug cases, to sometimes, child support, you just never know what may be in there. And then, there's a stack that is returned into court.
In this case, obviously, the grand jury was doing a pretty targeted session. And they obviously considered the allegations. We'll see how many defendants they indicted. By all accounts, we're expecting a dozen or so, which now sets the stage for the battle. And so, this is the beginning of the race, from the prosecutor's standpoint. Getting the indictment is fairly simple. You know that from seeing this grand jury meet today.
And so now, we'll be offered -- we'll see a flurry of pretrial motions, after we see if those tasked (ph) with the former President, or whoever is charged, to come in, and has to appear before the court. There'll be a question of some bond and how that works. And by all accounts, there'll be no real issue with that. It'll just be a formality.
And then, it's off to the races, for everybody, from the prosecutor, to the defense attorneys, and ultimate to the appellate courts.
COOPER: And, Michael, in terms of the grand jury, how long has this particular grand jury -- I mean, Fani Willis has been doing this investigation, for more than two years. How long has this grand jury been focused on it? And at what stage does she present the charges that she wants to the grand jury?
MOORE: Yes, there have been a couple of grand juries meeting in the recent weeks. And so, I don't know how long this particular one has actually had their hands, on the indictment, and have been presented with the evidence. You can receive evidence, from other grand juries.
The former grand jury, the Special Purpose Grand Jury, which met for about eight months, remember, did not have the power, to return an indictment. That grand jury just simply had the power to investigate, to issue subpoenas, to look at the evidence, to have the witnesses come before them.
A grand jury in Georgia, a regular criminal grand jury, does not have investigative powers. Typically, that grand jury has to be confronted and presented, what we call laying the indictment on the table. And that is that -- there's the prosecutor comes in and says, "We intend to seek an indictment for charges A through Z. And we want to present evidence about that."
And then, there'll be an introduction of some prosecution witness. It can be done by summary witnesses. It's oftentimes done by some investigator, some law enforcement official, who comes in. And of course, the grand jury has a chance, then, to ask questions about the indictment, but is not investigating.
So the accurate return or the decision, by a grand jury, to criminal process to give an indictment can be fairly quick. And, I think, here you can tell, we had eight months of investigation and, really, a relatively short time of consideration, for the return of the indictment.
COOPER: And Elie, just do you have a sense of, from now that it's heading to the clerk, what is the process, for it being released?
HONIG: So, the clerk, really, at this point just, has to add it to the docket. They'll open up a new docket entry, which is all online now. It'll be titled State of Georgia versus whoever the defendants are. And then, presumably the indictment will be docketed. There won't be typically some sort of formal announcement, by a clerk.
Now, the D.A., Fani Willis, may choose to come down, and make an announcement, at any moment. In fact, prosecutors tend to do things that way. As soon as the document hits the docket and becomes public, the D.A. will want to come down and make a basic statement, to inform us of what's in there.
But there's not going to be a judge taking the bench again, in the ordinary course, to say that this indictment has come back.
So, it does look like the documents that were signed, reviewed quickly, and properly, by the judge, and sent back to the clerk, had been walked back into the clerk's area. And that does look like the clerk's office that we're seeing, right now. And so, now it's just a question of, really, the sort of formality, of docketing it, and making this document official, and available to the public.
COOPER: And Kaitlan Collins, I mean, this is something that the team, around the former President, has been expecting, certainly on this night.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN HOST: Yes, he has two different attorneys, than most people would probably recognize representing him, specifically in Georgia. I mean, there are so many different indictments that he kind of has a different legal team, for each of them.
And we're waiting to see what they're hearing, themselves. I mean, we're watching this process happen, as the paperwork is being delivered, to the judge, those findings there. We don't actually have confirmation that it was the indictment we believe it was.
But Trump's team is waiting, just as we are. I mean, they kind of have an expectation of what to do, once he is informed that he is indicted, if that is what happens here. They certainly believe that he is going to be one of those names, potentially indicted. But his legal team has obviously, just been watching this as closely as anyone else has, as we are, to see when this actually happens, when they are actually notified of it.
I will say one thing that I do believe is going to be different here. Beyond the fact that we were just able to watch that moment there, which in and of itself, we have not seen with the other indictments, is that we do believe there's an expectation, we would likely hear, from the District Attorney here. That is the same District Attorney that Trump has been attacking.
And what I have heard is from seeing these other indictments happen, where Trump has kind of been the first person, to come out and present his side of it? It seems like that time span is getting shorter and shorter with each indictment. And instead, we are hearing from the prosecutors, earlier on. We certainly did with Jack Smith, in the last indictment.
There is certainly a potential that we would hear something, from Fani Willis, here, someone who I should note, in recent days, had to email her staff and say, "Ignore the attacks, focus on the work, keep your head down," because there have been these persistent and repeated attacks, from Trump.
But as for his team itself, and how they're preparing for this, I mean, this isn't their first indictment, and they were expecting this. And so, they do have surrogates and allies ready to go.
But I do think it is notable that his legal troubles are certainly piling up. I'm told it's something that is very clear, when you're around Trump, and his inner circle. He's been out in public recently, at Iowa, at the LIV Golf tournament that he had, at his course. But so many people around him are --
COOPER: Hey, Kaitlan. I'm sorry. I just have to interrupt. I got to go to Sara Murray.
Sara, what's happening?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we are learning that the grand jury has returned multiple indictments. We're learning that there were 10 indictments. Again, this is based on the paperwork that has been returned, and has made its way, into the clerk's office.
We are still waiting for the official release of these indictments. And we're still waiting, essentially, for the names, who are unnamed here.
We know obviously, that Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, went into this, intending to seek charges, against former President Donald Trump, and a number of his allies. We don't yet know, who is named, in these indictments, what the details are, of these indictments. But we do know, from the paperwork that the grand jury returned 10 indictments, guys.
COOPER: And do you have a sense of when we will get more details? Will those come anything from Fani Willis, if she chooses to speak tonight, as would make perhaps seem likely? Or will that be will more become clearer, as the document is seen online?
MURRAY: Well, I think two things need to happen. I mean, first of all, these indictments need to be processed. They need to be stamped, by the clerk, potentially, in order, for Fani Willis, to speak freely, about what the grand jury has actually returned today. And it's a little unclear how long that will take.
Again, we're past 9 PM. So, we're well past when most of the clerk's office staff would be here, to assist them, in processing that. So, we don't know exactly how long it's going to take for these full indictments to be made public. And then, it's possible that we could hear remarks, from Fani Willis, on this case.
Again, she spent two-and-a-half years investigating this. This is clearly something that they felt like they could do, in one day, before the grand jury. And they obviously got some bang for their buck, today, because the grand jury approved 10 indictments. And now, we're sort of waiting to see what the timing is going to be like for us to actually see the meat of what is in those.
COOPER: Senior Legal Analyst, Elie Honig, what do you make? 10 indictments, what do you read into that?
HONIG: Important piece of news there, Anderson, because anytime you have a case, with multiple defendants, like this one, there's a key strategic decision, you have to make, as a prosecutor, which is are we going to indict everyone, all together, on one indictment? Or are we going to break it up either into individual indictments or smaller groups? And the fact that we are now hearing that it's 10 different indictments, tells me they've gone, for the latter approach.
One of the strategic benefits of sort of stripping out your defendants into individual or separate indictments, is it does enable you to get any one of those indictments, to trial, more quickly. Because, if you have 10 people together, on one indictment, that's a huge undertaking, that's going to take quite a while to get to trial.
If you have one person charged individually, that's much quicker, to get to trial. So, I think there's a streamlining consideration, happening here.
COOPER: So, 10 indictments, does that mean 10 individuals, or could there be multiple indictments per individual?
HONIG: So, the way I understand that is there are 10 separate charging instruments, 10 separate documents. You could see one person, in each indictment. You could see two, three, four people, in each indictment.
But the way I understand Sara's reporting, if there's 10 different indictments, that means you have a minimum of 10 people. But you could have more. You could have, for example, one indictment, with one person, another one with three. They might have chopped it up into sort of substantive blocks here.
Could you see multiple -- the same person, charged in more than one of those indictments? Yes, theoretically. But that would be a very confusing way to charge this. I don't expect that's how the D.A. has done it.
COOPER: Hey, Charlie (ph), would you just repeat that, please?
I'm told the paperwork indicates that the grand jury did not vote against any of the indictments, presented to it, on Monday.
So, that's as expected, Anderson. In other words, the grand jury will either vote yes or no, on each indictment, by a majority vote. That's all that's required, in the grand jury, 12 out of 23.
And to build off that reporting, that tells us that the grand jury voted yes, on all of the indictments that were presented to it. Sometimes very rarely, but sometimes a grand jury will vote what we call no true bill, meaning, "We are not indicting."
But it sounds like the reporting that you just repeated is that the grand jury voted yes, to indict everyone, who was presented to it.
COOPER: Yes. We're joined now by Jake Tapper, in Washington. Let's go to him.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thanks, Anderson. Appreciate it.
So, I am here with my panel, which includes Abby Phillip, Gloria Borger, Jamie Gangel, Laura Coates, and Andy McCabe.
And, right now, let's start with the Legal Analyst, we have, on the panel.
Right now, we're waiting to hear who got indicted. Is it your assumption that these are 10 indictments, for 10 different individuals? Or are you not going to say? You don't know?
LAURA COATES, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's not entirely clear. But if it was, let's play both out. If it is 10 different individuals, then you're going to have 10 separate potential trials, which of course means that you're going to have issues with the efficiency.
If the underlying factual predicate for everything, means that it could all be tried together, you're going to have delays that otherwise would not be there. If it's all together, you have the delay, of every single duck, trying to get in a row. And every different defense attorney assigned each particular person, trying to figure out, who getting advantage and who does not.
What's so significant here, though, is the way this has happened. People have expected this, for quite some time. The fact that it's taken place, in a day, might confuse some people, towards the voting.
What happens is a presentation of a closing argument, if you will. As the prosecutor, you go in, and you say, "Here's all the evidence I have before you." You essentially say to them, "Here are the potential charges I'd like you to consider." You're going to line up the facts, the data, the testimony that you've already come in, and you're going to align it next to each individual element of a particular crime.
And you're going to say to them, "I'd like you to vote on these charges." And you do it in such a concise and methodical way, as to leave no room for error that they can have a finding of probable cause. That's all this is. It is not beyond a reasonable doubt.
But it is very difficult to have the breadth of information, over multi years, to have a grand jury, who has been meeting, for months and months, if not longer, to try to keep their own individual notebooks of everything. You're going to present it to the jury. And you're going to say, "Here's what I'm asking for you to do."
The fact that there was not a single indictment that was voted against, leads me to believe that there was substantial evidence, to support the probable cause finding. It was done in a clear and compelling way. They had the proverbial horse's mouths, to actually testify to different things.
And this is, of course, not in a vacuum, is it? Georgia and the magnifying glass over Georgia has been there, for quite a long time.
TAPPER: Well, and a lot of this just played out, in front of the cameras, or by the press, for example.
COATES: It is, yes.
TAPPER: What I would imagine, Jamie Gangel, is one of the main exhibits, is the complete audio tape, of Trump, calling the Secretary of State, and telling him to find, I think, it's 11,780 votes. I think that's the number. Is it?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: That is correct.
TAPPER: OK, thank you so much.
GANGEL: And most important, only one more --
TAPPER: One more than was needed.
GANGEL: -- than he needed.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Correct.
TAPPER: But that's something that we learned, because somebody, in Raffensperger's office, presumably, gave the recording, to the Washington Post. And we learned that almost two years ago.
GANGEL: And every time we hear that recording, it's as if it's the first time again.
TAPPER: Yes, it's shocking, every time.
GANGEL: I mean it is stunning.
Look, to Laura's point about we expected this? I think it was about a week or 10 days ago that Fani Willis said "We're ready to go." Clearly, she was ready to go.
We don't know all the names of the people, who were indicted. But certainly, Donald Trump, and people around him think he is one of the people.
Look, in addition to that recording, I just think it's worth knowing that reminding people that Georgia, there were -- Donald Trump, and his allies, put pressure, on a lot of States.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
GANGEL: But nowhere, the way he did in Georgia.
And when you look at the evidence, we're told, there're the recordings, texts, emails, documents, and there're the false electors. What don't we know yet? We don't know who cooperated.
GANGEL: We don't know whether Mark Meadows or others cooperated.
TAPPER: Let's go to the Fulton County Courthouse, right now, if we can, just to check in, with our reporter, on the ground, there, Sara Murray.
Sara, do we have any idea, when we're actually going to see these indictments?
MURRAY: Well, Jake, we're waiting to see.
We're told, from our colleagues, who are in the clerk's office, right now, that again, the clerk has confirmed that the grand jury returned 10 indictments, would not say who was indicted. And when asked, about the timeline, for getting copies of this indictment, said worst-case scenario, three hours.
So, we're hoping that truly is the worst-case scenario that we're not waiting here for three hours, to see the guts, of what is in this indictment. And they can move a little speedily than that.
I think my sense is the District Attorney's Office would certainly like to move quicker than this being made public, in the next three hours.
But again, it takes a little bit for them to actually be able to process this document, to stamp it. It's clear they do want to be able to make it widely public. But it's not clear, at this point, how long that's going to take.
TAPPER: Right, although they are working through the night, right? I mean, that was one of the things that was interesting about this evening is that normally the grand jury, at 5 o'clock, like the whistle, at the beginning of the Flintstones, they run out -- that's an old-dated reference. I apologize for the younger viewers.
But the idea that the workday is done at 5 o'clock and you go home. But today, they did not do that. And that was unusual, right?
MURRAY: Oh, that was absolutely unusual. I mean, we've been, at this courthouse, I can't tell you how many times, and it's a no man's land, when you get past 5 o'clock. Not only, have the judges just left for the day, but the clerk and the clerk's staff has left for the day. This was a very clearly concerted effort, to keep staff around, in order to be able to do this, this evening.
Judge Robert McBurney, who is the presiding judge, this week, gave reporters, who spent all day, in his courtroom, a number of updates, essentially saying, "I'm still sticking around. The courthouse closes at 5. I'm still going to be here."
It was very clear in the clerk's office that while a number of people were leaving today that there was still some staff that was staying behind, in anticipation, of the grand jury, handing up these indictments. So, this is a very different feel, and certainly a very different timeline, from what we're used to seeing out of this courthouse.
TAPPER: All right, Sara Murray, you let us know when to come back to you.
Let's continue with my panel.
I want to go to Andy McCabe, if I can, just because you're somebody, who is more familiar, with the grand jury process than all of us, except for Laura Coates, of course.
What are you thinking, right now? Do you think these are 10 indictments of 10 different people, or 10 indictments of one person? Or you're not going to guess?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's tough to make a guess. I think it's --
TAPPER: OK. MCCABE: -- I think it's -- and I wouldn't rule out seeing some indictments with multiple folks on them. So if, for instance, a particular activity, let's say the fake electors, is condensed into one indictment, and you have multiple fake electors, all --
TAPPER: Oh, so it might be 10 indictments for -- the number is the crimes?
MCCABE: You could organize them by content. You could organize them by individual. If you have three individuals, who are involved in the exact same conduct, it would make sense, to put them together on for instance, on one indictment. So, I don't think we can automatically assume it's exactly 10 people, at this point.
BORGER: Yes, we've been told that nearly 20 people were informed that they could face some kind of charges. So, that's 20, there.
And then, we also know, for example, there was this meeting, of these pro-Trump Republicans, 16 of them, who had this discussion, about casting the fake electoral votes, for him. So, that's 16 people, there.
So, false statements made by the President, the former President's lawyers, of which there are many. So again, it's hard to kind of guess how this was organized. It's like writing a story, which is the --
BORGER: -- which is the best way to organize the story. We know the lead. But kind of which is the best way to make it clearer to people that there are multiple charges that perhaps multiple people participated in?
PHILLIP: And this is with all of these indictments, the most important part for the public, which is what kind of story, to your point, do they actually tell?
In Georgia, as Jamie was saying, this was probably the State, where there was the most concerted effort, at all levels of government, from the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Secretary of State, all the way down to individual election workers, who were targeted, with intimidation. And --
TAPPER: It was the slimmest margin of victory also, is it not?
PHILLIP: It was, I mean?
TAPPER: Of the battleground states?
PHILLIP: It depends -- of the battleground States, yes, it was.
COATES: Yes. PHILLIP: But the reason I hesitated to even respond to that is because we're talking about over 10,000 votes. That's a lot --
PHILLIP: That's actually a lot of votes that Trump was down by. And yet, they still pursued this strategy, of trying to basically fraudulently overturn an election, in that State.
But as it relate to the story, in the indictment, they really do have to show what is the connection, between all of these different storylines that have been playing out that we know a little bit about. And if that connection goes all the way up to the White House, and to former President Trump? That's the crux of the matter.
That is why Georgia matters so much, because it is kind of unlike the January 6 case, which is sort of centered on the broad scope of things, this is almost like a case study, of how to try to steal an election, and luckily, how they failed.
But the indictment needs to show kind of what that connection is, between all of these different schemes that were out there that we do know something about.
COATES: And by the way, the viewing and consuming public has seen an indictment, recently, about election-related interference.
COATES: And although there is absolutely no requirement there be any coordination, or even conversation, between Fani Willis, and of course Jack Smith, the public has already seen one.
And so, there might be a temptation to think this has got to be different from that. Otherwise, why would you have a separate jurisdiction, other than Jack Smith's overseeing of the investigation? Well, simple matter is that's a federal case that Jack Smith has. This is a State-level case.
Why is that, so significant? Well, State cases?
COATES: One can't pardon one from everyone -- in the White House.
TAPPER: Were he to become president, again, yes.
COATES: Were he to become president, or actually, if some of the candidates, who've already vowed that they would indeed pardon him, if they were to become the RNC nominee, and eventual president, that also would not immediately apply to any of that as well. And so, you've got this overarching thing.
And then, one more point, politically, Georgia is significant, because these weren't like Democrats that he was trying to convince, otherwise, to say, I want to find one more than a Democratic candidate.
COATES: This is Brad Raffensperger. This is the General Counsel as well. What was his name? Ryan Germany, the former GC of the Secretary of State. This was the actual Republican governor as well, Brian Kemp. All of who rejected the actual pressure campaign, which is really the crux of the entirety of it.
And so, the arguments that would suggest, "Oh, I couldn't get a fair jury here," like the ones they're talking about in D.C., might not apply for different reasons.
TAPPER: So, Jamie, one of the other things that's interesting about this, obviously, is we can't ignore the political ramifications of it, which is the fact that Donald Trump is far and away likely to be the Republican presidential candidate, based on -- nominee, based on today's facts, anyway.
TAPPER: And, right now, is polling it 43 percent against Joe Biden's 43 percent, in the latest New York Times poll.
I asked Marc Short, Vice President Pence's Chief of Staff, earlier today, do you think the fourth indictment of Donald Trump is going to have an impact? And what he said is that there is a difference. He acknowledged that the indictments have had a rallying effect, to help Trump, in the Republican primaries.
But he said there is a difference, between this period, and of this jurisprudence, and the period, where there is actual information, presented, in a court of law, where Donald Trump is a defendant, and day after day after day damning testimony is presented against him.
Now, that might be wishful thinking. But they are two different things.
GANGEL: So, one thing that may not be wishful thinking? And we don't know when these trials are going to happen. Donald Trump has not yet been named in this one. But in addition to, in Georgia, you couldn't pardon yourself. There are cameras, in the courtroom, in Georgia.
MCCABE: That's right.
MCCABE: That's right.
GANGEL: And I think that has a very different effect.
Think back to the New York indictment, where we just had the still photographs, of Donald Trump, sitting there, at the table. It had a different feel. We have not seen that in D.C. We didn't see it in Florida.
That said, the Republican base, the pro-Trump Republican base, has not seemed swayed thus far. And this Georgia case could go, after the election.
PHILLIP: Well, look, voters are going to have to make up their mind. They're probably not going to get conclusive verdicts, in all of these cases, certainly.
But in a case like this, with a scope, a State-level case, you could be looking at a long period of time. They're going to have to make up their minds based on the allegations, contained in this document, which is why the indictment itself is so important.
Obviously, the process when it plays out, from a legal perspective, is critically important, what happens to Donald Trump. But for the voters, they may not have the benefit, of a verdict, and a conclusion, before they have to decide, whether he's going to be the Republican nominee, or he's going to be potentially the next President of the United States.
BORGER: And --
TAPPER: Right. I mean, the Iowa caucus votes are January 15th.
PHILLIP: In January, yes.
TAPPER: January 15th, which is certainly well before this trial would start.
PHILLIP: And so far, the earliest hearing is May.
BORGER: Can I just say?
PHILLIP: Not this one.
BORGER: The other candidates have to make up their minds too.
PHILLIP: Yes, well, yes.
BORGER: About how they're going to treat this. It's not just the voters out there.
And, by the way, I believe it's up to the discretion of the judge, about whether you televise. You can televise in Georgia. But let's see what the presiding judge would want to do.
But the other candidates have to kind of fish or cut bait at some point. And if this is going to be televised, and some of the candidates have been tiptoeing around Donald Trump, et cetera, they have to decide what tack they take against him.
TAPPER: All right. I want to throw to Kaitlan Collins, right now.
And joining us now is CNN Contributor, Geoff Duncan, who is the former Republican Lieutenant Governor, of the State of Georgia. And tonight, a witness before that grand jury today.
Geoff, what do you think, what role, do you think, your testimony played, in these 10 indictments that we're learning about now?
GEOFF DUNCAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I certainly answered the questions that they gave me with -- and supply them with the facts, and details that I knew existed.
And that's what this is all about, is just getting the facts to the surface. I mean, finally, it's taken two-and-a-half years, to move past all of this misinformation, and all of these conspiracy theories. The facts will rise to the top. And thankfully, it's taken us to this point here, now.
COLLINS: What was it like, I mean, to even be in that room today? Was it intense? I mean, how would you describe it?
DUNCAN: Yes, it certainly felt like the center of the universe. I mean, there was no doubt, in my mind it was a very serious tone, a very prepared tone. Everybody in the room knew why they were there, to weigh the facts and present the facts. And of course, my job was to answer the questions. It was very, very serious. No doubt.
COLLINS: We saw several other witnesses, also going in and out, today, to presumably testify. Can you just give us a ballpark of how many other witnesses were waiting to go in, when you were there?
DUNCAN: I prefer to let the District Attorney answer that question. That just -- it's probably not the right time for me to answer that.
COLLINS: From the questions they asked, did you get a sense that they have a real understanding, of the entire scheme of everything that was happening here?
DUNCAN: Yes, there was certainly a firm grasp, of what the details were, right? And just wanting to confirm information, connections, all of that stuff, around all the different scenarios, you know?
And this isn't specifically speaking about my testimony, today. But I've been, I've literally, like I told you the other night, I've written a book about this, right?
So, connecting these dots, on all these wild, far-fetched conspiracy theories, connecting the dots on how you get to a point, that Brad Raffensperger's, the phone call happens with him, how you get fake electors, how you have mock hearings that are presented, as though they're real, and serious?
There's a whole trail of information that I think America is going to get to see. And quite honestly, as a Republican that wants to see us win going forward, we need to use this as a pivot point, right? Look, we have to take this moment serious. This can't just be about the case. This can't just be about a trial. As a Republican Party, we need to take this as an opportunity to move on.
And look, it's going to take a team effort here. All these candidates that are out there running, can't just kind of stick their toes, in the water, and kind of call Donald Trump out for lying. They can't just kind of call him out for the election wasn't really rigged. They need to fully jump into it and say, "You know what? This is wrong."
We need senators, we need governors, we need everybody, to get on board, and not only say that Donald Trump's wrong, but Donald Trump needs to get out of this race. It's best for the Republican Party and ultimately, it's best for this country if he's not in this race in 2024.
COLLINS: Well, I mean, speaking of Donald Trump, he posted about you, today, saying that you shouldn't go and testify. He talked about how you refused his demands, to call a Special Session. I mean, beyond the fact he also spelled your name wrong, I mean, did you see that, as an effort, for -- to witness-tamper? Or how did you view that post from him?
DUNCAN: Well, I've faced much tougher opponents in my life than Donald Trump. I'm certain of that. And secondly, you spell Geoff with a G, not a J. I got there on time. I was ready to testify. Nothing he was going to say was going to deter me.
And quite honestly, I've been playing this game, for two and a half plus years. This isn't the first time he's tweeted at me. This isn't the first time he's spoken down to me or many others, right? It's just his game. He's a small man, in a big job. And he just gets to put that on display every minute of every day.
COLLINS: But what kind of effect do you think that has, on other witnesses? I mean, you're going into that room today. You're the former Lieutenant Governor of the State. You're someone, who is used to the public eye. I mean, there are other witnesses that we know that have gone that certainly aren't in that same position that you are. I mean, do you believe that he's trying to pressure witnesses here?
DUNCAN: Well, I don't know what Donald Trump's game is. I've stopped guessing what his game is. Look, it certainly was uncalled for. If I was one of his attorneys, I can't imagine they would have enjoyed waking up to watching him send what he sent in my direction, today. I mean, it doesn't make the situation any easier.
And Kaitlan, by the way, this makes the math continuing to be impossible, if you want to win, as a Republican, right? I mean, you can throw red meat to the crowd, and get 35 percent, 40 percent, maybe 50 percent of Republicans, to kind of sort of support you.
But you lose the game, when you try to jump in and try to beat a Democrat, like Joe Biden. This should be the easiest election, for us, to win in decades, maybe in a century. But yet, we can't even break the strings of gravity, because Donald Trump is the wrong candidate, just like Herschel Walker was the wrong candidate. I mean, this is so easy to see coming. We can't just try to win primaries. We got to win generals.
COLLINS: But do you believe that this is -- I mean, this would be the fourth indictment, if Trump's name is on that list of 10 indictments? Do you believe this is a moment that crystallizes that for your party? Because it doesn't seem like the others have? At least not for the Republican primary voters.
DUNCAN: Yes, this one feels different, right? I think, I'm anxious to see the indictment. It sounds like there's 10-plus folks that are going to be mentioned, in this indictment.
I think there's going to be a lot of story behind that, right? Who got indicted? Who didn't get indicted? Who may be cut a deal? Which elements they indicted? What crimes? I mean, there's going to be a lot to have here.
But this is -- this feels different. You know what? Donald Trump did his most damage in Georgia. He sucked the soul out of the Republican Party here. He's sucked the morality out of the Republican Party, the fiscal responsibility out of the Republican Party. He sucked our winning percentage, out of the Republican Party.
He's taken everything from us. And it is our turn to take it back, right? It's our turn to win elections based on the policies that we think we're better on.
This is the prime spot for us to take Joe Biden to the woodshed, and call him out for not running the border, right, not protecting our communities, not putting our best foot forward, internationally. These are our moments in time. But if we make this about the three-ring circus of Donald Trump, we will lose, lose and lose again.
COLLINS: You make a good point that this isn't just about Trump. I mean, there are several other names that we expect to be in here, including, I mean, some pretty prominent members, of your party, in that State, potentially.
Do you expect to see some Georgia Republicans that you're used to working with potentially in this list of indictments when we find out the names?
DUNCAN: Yes, I mean, certainly wait and see the names. But all along, I've certainly, anticipated seeing several folks. I mean, look, this list of fake electors is members of the Republican Party, some elected folks, some successful business owners. I mean, this is just a wide swath of who the Republican Party should have looked like. And they got sucked in.
And I think it's going to be interesting to watch this case play out. Some folks showed up into those -- into that fake elector room, because the sitting president, or some official told them, it was the right thing to do. And some folks showed up, because it was a sinister plot. It'll take time to unpack who is who.
But then, look, even these fake hearings, in the Senate, right? I mean, this was just -- this was all about creating enough theater, to take a little grass fire, and turn it into a forest fire. That's what this was about, each and every day, was taking these little notions, these little tweets, these little kind of blips, on the radar, and turning them into something that was supposed to be reality.
It's taken two-and-a-half years. But I'm starting to tell you that's going to unwind and change directions.
COLLINS: You weren't actually even supposed to testify, until tomorrow morning, you said. And then, something changed. You were asked to come in earlier. I mean, what does that say to you, about how quickly, the District Attorney was moving here?
DUNCAN: Yes, I wasn't behind the scenes. I just answered the -- answered the call, and reported, on a shorter timeline.
Could not be any more grateful for the respect of the law enforcement officers. I mean, there's just heavy, heavy security. Everybody was doing their job. And also the District Attorney's office was very kind, and cordial, and navigated us through what was certainly a difficult day.
COLLINS: Do you think the former President sees the difference, in what could potentially be this indictment, with the federal indictments he's facing? I mean we've talked to sources, in his world, who have said, he sees the 2024 run, as legal installation for that.
But Georgia would be a very different case. He wouldn't be able to presumably pardon himself, for example, if he got reelected.
DUNCAN: Yes, the one tool Donald Trump doesn't have with him anymore, for the most part, is that most folks aren't attracted to wanting to be in his cool kids club anymore, right?
If I looked at kind of the shrapnel flying around, in the post-2020 election, there was a lot of these elected state senators, and local county officials, missing (ph) an opportunity to buddy up with the President of the United States, whether it was calling them, or texting them, or somebody in his inner circle. So, they gravitated towards the cool kids club?
Well, I've got to imagine a number of those folks aren't very attracted by that anymore, right? "Am I going to go spend time in jail, or tell the truth?" My guess is they're going to gravitate towards the truth. And so, that's certainly going to work against him.
And look, there's no doubt about, where I've been on this. Two things we're certain on all of this stuff. It felt so coordinated, right? But it also felt sloppy. And to me, that's probably a bad recipe, for somebody that's in this position. COLLINS: When you look at this, and the bigger picture of this, and what you've just said about what you believe, elected Republicans, and high-ranking Republicans, you feel need to say specifically about this. I mean, what does it say, if they don't? If this indictment does happen, and Trump's name is on that, and he's does still become your party's nominee for 2024? What does that say about your party?
DUNCAN: Yes, it says they're weak. I think any candidate, at this point in the game, that doesn't call somebody out for having multiple state and federal indictments, against them, and all of the other shrapnel that's flown, around Donald Trump, all the losing records, that's gravitated towards Donald Trump? They're weak, right?
Every single candidate with an R next to their name running for president ought to, right now, step out and say, "You know what? Donald Trump, it's time for him to step down. For the good of the country, the best thing for you to do is to step out of this race and let somebody else step up to the plate."
I think we ought to have U.S. Senators ought to do that. Republican governors ought to do that. Influential folks, the biggest donors in the country ought to do that. We need to hold this man accountable, so we not only can get our party back, but so we can get our country back, right?
If we make this about the issues? If we go into 2024, and make this specifically about the issues? We make it about the border? We make it about the Military? We make it about education? We make it about the economy? Republicans will win up and down the ballots from coast to coast.
If we make it about the three-ring circus called Donald Trump, we will lose, lose and lose again, and continue losing.
COLLINS: Geoff Duncan, you testified, for over an hour, today. Thanks for joining us, tonight.
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Kaitlan, thanks so much.
CNN's Sara Murray is outside the courthouse, in Atlanta, with more on what the rest of the night might look like.
Sara, what are you hearing?
MURRAY: Well, look, we obviously want to know when we are going to know what is in these indictments, and if we could hear from Fulton County District Attorney. We are learning that she is still expected to make public statements, this evening. She's likely to hold a press conference, but that that is not going to happen, until these indictments are processed.
We're told that that could take one to three hours. So, we're still in this waiting game, to see how long it's actually going to take, the clerk's office, to process these indictments, to make them available, publicly. And then, after that happens, again, one to three hours from now, we're expecting the Fulton County District Attorney, to make public statements.
We should note the one to three hour clock, we're told, did start when the clerk left Judge McBurney's courtroom, and started heading down to the clerk's office. Your producers tell me that that was that I believe 9 o'clock and 38 seconds. So, we're already a little bit into that countdown. We'll see how quickly that they can actually process this through the clerk's office, and when we may hear something publicly.
COOPER: Sara, you want to get out of there? Don't you?
No, I want to stay here all night. It's finally not 95 degrees.
MURRAY: It's actually very nice out here.
COOPER: It's a pretty broad range of time, though, one to three hours. Any reason for such a huge window?
MURRAY: It's a little unclear to me, why there would be such a large window, other than obviously, they want to make sure that they do this by the book.
I think you talked a little bit earlier, about a document that Reuters had reported, was posted erroneously, potentially related to this case that the clerk's office disavowed is not an official document, earlier today.
So, I think that they want to be very painstaking, in how they process this to make sure it's done correctly, stamped officially, especially after all we've seen earlier today.
COOPER: All right, well, let us know when you hear something from the courthouse.
COOPER: I'm joined by CNN Political Commentator, Alyssa Farah Griffin, a White House Communications Director, for the former President.
Back with us also, Senior Political Commentator, and former Republican Congressman, Adam Kinzinger; Political Commentator, Van Jones, former Special Adviser to President Obama; Senior Legal Analyst, Elie Honig; and former U.S. Attorney Michael Moore.
So Michael, you hear the worst-case scenario. I mean, it's that it'll take three hours, until the documents are made public. Why would it take so long?
MOORE: Well it normally would not. I mean I think this is just the belt-and-suspenders approach, given especially that there was sort of this misfiling that appeared, on the clerk's side, earlier today. So, they're just making sure they've got everything done that there are no technical errors, no clerical errors, out there that need to be corrected.
They can't do anything to change the vote of the grand jury, at this point. But this is just about making sure that the administrative process is done properly. And they know that there'll be a litany of folks that want a copy of this. And I imagine they're expecting that as well.
So, nothing particularly unusual, except this is an unusual case. It should not typically take this long and would not. But again, I think they're just making sure they've got it.
COOPER: Do you have any read on, given Fani Willis' history, what kind of -- how specific these indictments may be? Are they speaking indictments? I mean, what are you -- what are you expecting?
MOORE: I think she'll try to tell the story in the indictment. She gave a press interview, one time, when she really said, "Well, the people want to know what happened." So, it wouldn't surprise me to see that.
And I wouldn't be surprised either to see that this is a single indictment with a lot of defendants named in the document, maybe 10 defendants, so, 10 people were indicted. That's very possible.
Because again, especially, if you're talking about a RICO case, where she's naming several people, she's talking about this scheme?
And remember that RICO really is just being able to talk about everybody's dirty laundry, and not just one defendant's problems, and the allegations against that one defendant. I mean, you get to get sold out by everybody, that you know, who was part of your corrupt organization.
And so, that's why I think there'll be much detail here. She probably remembers that Alvin Bragg was criticized, for the New York case, when it first came out that it was not detailed enough.
And certainly, she's had the time, to prepare, and to give a very detailed indictment, given the time she spent, both with a Special Purpose grand jury, in the intervening time, as she's led up to this very short and abbreviated presentment, to a regular criminal grand jury.
COOPER: Elie, do you agree with that?
HONIG: I do. I think we should expect to see quite a bit of detail out of Fani Willis.
Let's remember, this investigation was opened up two-and-a-half years ago. She has heard from dozens of witnesses, in the grand jury, including Geoff Duncan. And I think she has said, quite a bit, publicly, about what her intentions are. She has been careful to toe the line to not step over.
But yes, I'd be stunned, if we just saw what we call bare-bones indictments that just sort of list the name of the person indicted, the date of the crime and the statutory sight to the crime.
I think what we're going to see here is a detailed narrative. Part of that is because you want to get the public ready for what's to come. And also, there's a story to tell here. I think, Fani Willis clearly understands that. Yes, she's doing the normal job here. But he's also speaking to the general public, enter the history books. So, I do expect to see a lot of detail.
COOPER: And Elie, how are the defendants notified that they've been indictment? I mean, would they learn about it by watching TV? Are they formally notified by the District Attorney's office before the indictments are released to the public?
HONIG: Yes, let's hope they don't learn about it from us.
The way it should work? There's not a rule requiring this. But any practice, any good, courteous practice from the prosecutor, is you call up the defense lawyer, and you notify them, directly. You may tell them, "We're going to send you the indictment now."
But I think what Fani Willis is going to do here is she's not going to want to give potentially Donald Trump, or anyone else, who may have been indicted, any sort of head-start here.
So, if I'm in Fani Willis' shoes here, what I'm going to do is, wait until these indictments get fully stamped, and scanned, and docketed by the clerk. And then, before they become public, I would come downstairs. I would make my public comments. And right at that moment, I would have them sent to the defense lawyers, essentially, as I took the podium.
And I think we can expect to see some strategic thought, into how that goes, tonight, because she does not want to have her first words, to us, sort of preempted by a Truth Social tweet.
COOPER: Alyssa, this is the first time we're hearing from you tonight. What are you anticipating on the eve, literally, on the cusp of hearing what the indictments are?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, listen, I've long said that I think this is the investigation that Donald Trump's most afraid of.
And Kaitlan alluded to this point. But of course, as it's a State case, he does not have the potential, if reelected, to grant himself a pardon, or to wrap up a DOJ investigation.
And going even further than that, even if he weren't to win reelection, I think that there are some within his camp, who think that they could potentially appeal a federal case, up into a Supreme Court.
This is very different. He doesn't have that sort of jurisdiction, in Georgia, if he in fact was indicted, and then charged. So, he's been very afraid of it. And I mean, there -- the facts of this case are -- is clear as day. We all heard the phone call. We heard the pressure campaign.
And I'm just reminded I was actually with the former President, on his last stop, in Georgia. I believe we were in Macon County, right before the election was called for Joe Biden. And I remember him saying like this, "There's no way we could lose Georgia," because he did have such a massive audience turned out for him.
But his team was just wrong. It was a State that they were not predicting well enough, where, how close it was? We were paying more attention to Pennsylvania, to North Carolina, and other States.
So, I think he was genuinely caught off-guard, when he lost. And then, he just kind of got into this survival mode. And I mean, the crimes, the offenses just followed from there.
COOPER: Congressman Kinzinger, I mean, given that the former President was the only person indicted, by Jack Smith, in conjunction with the 2020 election, at least so far, would it be satisfying to you, if others, who were involved or prosecuted, in Georgia?
ADAM KINZINGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's tough. I don't want to say satisfying, because, you know, it's a -- but yes.
I mean, after what we saw on the January 6 committee, after, you've seen people out not just carrying the President's water, because they can carry his water, but out there really just destroying democracy?
I think seeing this, what I call the second tier level of people being indicted, it'll be -- I think it will be essential for democracy. I think it'll be essential for justice. It'll be essential for the defense of this kind of self-governance thing that we've tried to do as this country.
Because it's saying, yes, if you attack the Capitol, as an example, you're going to go to jail. We've done that. We've seen that. But if you instigate that? If you destroy faith in elections, and you do it an illegal way? You'll be held accountable as well.
I just continue though, today -- I mean, I saw I think Vivek Ramaswamy's tweet or something, going after this.
I have no idea Anderson, why anybody, but Donald Trump is running for President of the United States, unless you're somebody like Chris Christie, Will Hurd, or Asa Hutchinson.
Because all these other candidates are doing nothing but defending Donald Trump, for his absolute utter law-breaking, because they're too scared to say the truth. I don't get it. Drop out and endorse Donald Trump, if you're unwilling to go after him. He's the front-runner.
But I just, to this day, and I think once we read this indictment, we're going to be even more shocked at what's in there. And I will be even more shocked, to see some of my former colleagues, and candidates for President, continue to defend him.
COOPER: Van, what are your expectations?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I just think it was really moving, to see regular people, everyday people, doing their job, of walking those documents, up to that judge.
You think about it. We live in a country where that happens every day. It's just the regular kind of majesty of the wheels turning of justice. But in a lot of countries, someone like Donald Trump would be untouchable, absolutely untouchable.
And certainly, just everyday working people would have no shot at all, to say, "Hey, there's a line here and you've crossed it, and you've got to come in this court, and answer." But in our country, that's what happens. And that's what happened today.
And so, I just felt it was moving. Those are just regular working folks. And they put their time in, and they saw information, they got evidence. And they could have said, "Hey, listen. We don't want any of this. He's too big. He's too powerful." They didn't do that.
And so, my expectation is that we're going to hear from this prosecutor. I am hopeful that after two-and-a-half year wait, what's on the papers, will be strong, will be powerful, will give us more insight that maybe we don't have already. And I'm very much looking forward to hearing what she has to say.
COOPER: What do you expect? I mean, do you have an expectation of what these indictments might contain?
JONES: Well, I mean, in order for this to make sense, from just a historical point of view, you already have Jack Smith. I mean, he's put a lot of energy toward this case. Georgia is a part of the federal indictment.
So, I think what you're going to see is a deeper assessment, and more people named. I think you're going to have a better sense of all the different players in the different parts. That's my hope anyway, because this was a straight-up conspiracy.
This is not just Donald Trump making one phone call. That's what we all think about this, what we all know about, which is so outrageous. This is an absolute on-the-ground multi-party conspiracy, to overthrow an election, in Georgia, and to make sure that the voters in Georgia?
And we all know the history of Georgia, and how hard it was, to win the right to vote, in Georgia, how many martyrs we put in the ground in Georgia. You think about a John Lewis. You think about all the things that have gone on, in Georgia. For that State to be the place where Donald Trump says "I'm going to put those votes in the garbage can, because I don't want to leave office," and for an African American, let's just say an African American District Attorney, to stand up, and say, "No buddy. That's not how it works here," I think it's powerful.
COOPER: It's also extraordinary when you just for a moment, reflect on the fact that there was a sitting president, going after two election workers, two Black women, who were doing a job, which they have done before. And a patriotic job, a really important job, that they took pride in, and really went after them, and destroyed their lives.
JONES: Ruined their lives.
COOPER: I mean, they had to go into try to hide. And they're not people, who have a lot of resources, and security teams.
JONES: Right. And I think that's what sometimes gets lost in this whole sense of what's going on here. That's what democracy is, Anderson. It's everyday people, it's working people deciding, hey, I'm going to sit here in front of a little cardboard table --
JONES: -- a little card table, and I'm going to help my neighbors vote.
COOPER: Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, they were.
JONES: Yes. "And I'm going to help my neighbors vote. And I'm going to make sure that all these little documents get done, and things get signed off on, so that everybody matters, everybody's vote counts," and you don't think your life is going to be destroyed for doing that.
COOPER: Yes. And you had Rudy Giuliani sweating hair dye, calling them, like alleging they were drug dealers.
COOPER: And just it's stunning that they were -- these powerful people, reached down, and picked these two Black women, and just destroyed their lives?
JONES: And today, some people, who were also may be considered powerless, in the ordinary course of things, also, African Americans, and others, reached back up, and grabbed Donald Trump, by the lapel and said, "Buddy, that doesn't work in America." And that's the power of today. That's what you just saw.
COOPER: Yes. Let's get back to Jake, at D.C.
TAPPER: Thanks, Anderson.
I'm still here with CNN correspondents, and analysts, Andrew McCabe, Gloria Borger, Abby Phillip, Jamie Gangel, and Laura Coates.
And something interesting that Jamie Gangel reminded us of is that it was just a few months ago, that Judge David Carter, who was ordering Trump attorney, John Eastman, who is thought to be one of the co- conspirators in the federal charge?
Judge Carter ruled that Donald Trump had handed in information that he had sworn, under oath was true, in a Georgia lawsuit, even though John Eastman, according to emails, had told Donald Trump, this information is not true. You cannot swear that it -- you cannot swear that it's accurate. And he did it anyway.
That's a crime, I would think?
MCCABE: Of course. Of course, right?
MCCABE: Signing an affidavit in support of a lawsuit?
TAPPER: Would that be a Georgia crime?
MCCABE: That would be -- that would be a Georgia crime. Could be perjury, false statement, to court officials. So yes, absolutely. You can't deliberately make a false representation to the court, and of course of a civil lawsuit.
TAPPER: It's interesting, because I've wondered why it is that Georgia has been doing this, when we know that the pressure campaign took place, in Arizona, in Michigan --
BORGER: Right, right.
TAPPER: -- in Wisconsin, in Pennsylvania, in Georgia, obviously. Why Georgia?
BORGER: It is (ph).
TAPPER: And it really does seem that he left a lot of fingerprints, on the glass, in Georgia.
BORGER: Right. Right. Yes. And I was just reminded that it wasn't only Raffensperger, he spoke to, in the tape-recorded phone call.
But he also called the Chief Investigator for the State for elections, for the State of Georgia. And what he said to her, apparently, on the phone, is that, "If you don't do the right thing, you're going to be in trouble. I'm not the one who's going to be in trouble. You're the one who's going to be in trouble." So, it was quite threatening to her.
And what she said back to him, apparently, was "We're going to get to the truth, Mr. President. That's our job to get to the truth."
So, was this a tape-recorded conversation? Did Raffensperger tell all his people, "If you ever get these calls, tape-record them?" So they're -- you know, I've got to think that there's a lot of stuff, just like in the federal indictments, that there's a lot of stuff that we don't know, and a lot of conversations that were had, that we don't know about yet, that could really incriminate Donald Trump, because he was not shy --
PHILLIP: Yes. And --
BORGER: -- about calling people.
PHILLIP: And I think that that is why Georgia, right?
BORGER: Right. And it is.
PHILLIP: The "Why Georgia" is because Trump himself was the one making the calls, and doing a lot of the pressuring. And --
TAPPER: -- he was making calls to like --
PHILLIP: That's, yes --
TAPPER: -- county clerks, in Michigan.
TAPPER: I mean?
PHILLIP: That's true. But I think that, I mean, I think that just as at a minimum, the minimum bar is that Trump needs to have been deeply involved, in a lot of this. That was true in Georgia. It was true in Michigan. It was true in Arizona.
And then, the other part of it is Fani Willis. Van just alluded to this. She has decided that she's going to take this on. She's going to take on a former President. Not every prosecutor wants to do that, whether or not the law is clear or not.
So, I do think that the conflict between Trump and these prosecutors, or particularly the Black women, that he is always at loggerheads with, is part of the narrative here, too. She's determined to get to the bottom of this.
And Trump is, I think, particularly incensed by that, and describes all of these people, as not just the Black women, but even the Black man, as in New York, he describes all these people as political operatives going after him, for political reasons.
But that's part of the narrative and the conflict of why I think we're seeing this case, unfolding with the scope that it is.
COATES: And that's why it's so scary, in some respects. The second I saw, the activity inside the courtroom, a part of me obviously, somebody who wants to know what's going on, inside the courtroom, wants to figure out wants to see it live, doesn't want to rely on the sketches. Somebody who wants to be in the courtroom is obviously leaning in.
But then when you see the fact that this now opens up each of the people within that courtroom, to the exposure of the wrath of somebody, who's not afraid, to use the court of public opinion, and bend it at its will, in a way that undermines the safety at times with people?
You already heard Judge Chutkan, in the Washington, D.C. case, leading to the culmination of January 6th, saying "Listen, the more you play in this court of public opinion, the likelihood increases that I may move that trial date up." Now, I wonder if this judge will have a similar notion here.
But for the very reasons you articulated Abby, we just saw, although she is a -- was a clerk, it seemed, we saw a Black woman walk across that screen, next to a Black man.
You've already heard Fani Willis be called "Racist" by Donald Trump. You've heard accusations that she has been somehow in an intimate experience, a relationship, with a gangbanger, for some reason, because it helps his narrative. And so, her security has had to increase.
All of this, the idea of courtroom drama and antics, presents opportunities to become a spectacle. And it really cannot be. It has to be following the notion that we are watching it all unfold that a former President of the United States, chose Georgia at all different levels, to try to, allegedly, go forward with this plan.
That's why the RICO charge would be something so interesting to see, if it happens. That is the quintessential charge, you use, when you want to punish, not just the ringleader, or the minions, but all of the parties involved.
TAPPER: And one of the things, Jamie, I asked a high-ranking government official, in one of these other States that has not brought an investigation forward.
TAPPER: And I said, "Well, how come Michigan is charging its fake electors, and your State is not?"
And the top official said, "They had enough." I'm not telling you this. "They had enough" -- GANGEL: Yes.
TAPPER: -- "They had enough caveats, in his State," in the phony electoral language --
TAPPER: -- unlike in Michigan, where that State didn't feel like they could make out State charges.
TAPPER: So, I think one of the other variables here is what are the State laws, and how ham-handed were these schemers, in that State? It seems as though in some States the people doing this, at least according to this government official, doing the fake electors scheme, were a little bit more clever than the ones in Michigan.
BORGER: I mean, who was involved?
BORGER: I mean, was it not just a bunch of fake electors? Was it the President's former Chief of Staff, who went to Atlanta with him? Was it the former President of the United States?
Nobody had a position low enough for the President to say "Well, I'm not going to talk to that person." I mean, he talked to everybody. So, I think Georgia, the evidence just mounted and mounted and mounted. And Raffensperger tape-recorded him.
PHILLIP: Yes, I would like to see what the State cross (ph) has as well.
GANGEL: There is no question --
BORGER: Yes, yes.
GANGEL: There is no question that Georgia was extremely -- Trump and his allies were extremely aggressive, in Georgia. We see it over and over again. It's --
TAPPER: He's the first Republican to lose that State, since 1996?
GANGEL: And also, to your point earlier --
BORGER: Two Senate seats.
GANGEL: -- these were Republicans. You had a Republican governor. You had Geoff Duncan with a G, Republican lieutenant governor, Brad Raffensperger, Gabriel Sterling. These were all Republicans.
TAPPER: And not squishes either --
TAPPER: -- as conservatives refer to moderates.
GANGEL: No, no.
TAPPER: These are diehard conservative Republicans.
PHILLIP: Right. And can I just say?
GANGEL: But could I just underscore one last thing? Abby, you said earlier the point that Trump was, quote, "Deeply involved." And I think that's what we have to go back to here. He was at the center of all of this. This all happened, for one reason. He refused to accept the outcome of the election.
PHILLIP: My only point? We should not forget. This is the State of Georgia. Trump targeted Georgia, and the parts of Georgia, where people of color lived, to try to disenfranchise them. People like Rudy Giuliani spread racist lies, about election workers, in order to try to disenfranchise voters.
You cannot disentangle that from Fani Willis' will, and her view, that this is necessary and important, to prosecute that, in this particular State, heart of the voting rights movement in this country. Voters' (ph) motivation matters. And I think that's part of it for her as well.
TAPPER: We are at just about 10 PM Eastern Time, seven seconds away, with Donald Trump, seemingly on the cusp of indictment number four.
Jake Tapper, here in Washington, along with Anderson Cooper, and Kaitlan Collins.
COOPER: Jake, a little more than an hour ago, grand jury, in Atlanta, handed up 10 indictments, in Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis' investigation, of the former President's attempt to over his 2020 Georgia defeat.
COLLINS: And Anderson, those indictments are sealed.