tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN July 15, 2022 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
. hello, i'm victor blackwell. welcome to "cnn newsroom." >> i'm alisyn camerota. the most controversial part of president biden's trip to the middle east is happening now. the president is meeting with saudi crown prince mohammed bin salman. the cia has assessed it was bin salman who ordered the slaying of jamal khashoggi. >> you'll remember during the
campaign, biden called them a pariah state. today he said a meeting is in the u.s. interest to help normalize gas prices. chief white house correspondent katilan collins is in saudi arabia following president biden. do we know if the president has raised the murder of khashoggi to the prince? >> we don't know and don't have a guarantee if we are going to find out because when white house officials were pressed on this earlier given they had not given a clear direct answer on whether he was going to definitely bring it up. they said it's up to whether or not president biden wants to tell reporters that afterward because they want to keep some of this conversation private. they just took reporters in briefly at the top of that meeting. so it will really be up to president biden whether or not we find out if he actually brought that up with the saudi crown prince. of course, we know a reporter did bring it up when they were taken into the room just briefly. this is how mbs responded.
>> jamal khashoggi, will you apologize to his family, sir? >> reporter: a bit of a smirk from the saudi crown prince when the reporter said jamal khashoggi's name, but no response. of course whether or not he is going to apologize, they still have not said where the remains of his body that was dismembered, where they are, and that has been a big thing that khashoggi's fiance and other supporters have pressed the u.s. administration to push the saudis on during this visit. what you see from that sit-down in the room there, victor and alisyn, is really it seals the fact that this campaign promise from president biden to make saudi arabia a pariah, to punish the kingdom for the grizzly death of jamal khashoggi has been sealed. the white house is basically arguing this is worth the political cost of president biden being seen with the saudi crown prince because they say they want to get the cease-fire
in yemen extended, obviously they would like to see saudi arabia pump more oil. those will be on the table for this. but it does come after you saw president biden downplay the fact he was meeting with mbs, and of course he is meeting with mbs. >> katilan collins for us, thank you very much. >> let's bring in robert jordan who served as amazon to saudi arabia after the september 11th attacks. he also knew jamal khashoggi. thanks for coming back. when we last spoke you defended the president's decision to go to saudi arabia, despite khashoggi's murder and his comments from the campaign. now there's no guarantee that will even be part of the discussion. should it be? should the president raise it? >> i think you can raise it in a number of different ways, as he said in his own statement, he's made it very clear where he
stands on it. i personally would prefer that he raise it. i think it's important to make it clear not just to the saudis, but also to the rest of the world, to jamal khashoggi's fiance, to those who have been hurt in many other ways by saudi repression, by saudi human rights violations, that this is what we stand for. i think the president probably in his mind also has a job to do and that is to protect american interests, military interests, security interests, economic interests, at a time when much of our relationship with the middle east is in crisis. so we need the saudis, they know that. but we also have some leverage with them, which i think the president really needs to consider exercising here. maybe that will occur behind closed doors, but we've got a lot more leverage, i think, than people realize. >> ambassador, what is that
leverage? >> first of all, foreign direct investment is key to the vision 2030 project of the crown prince. this is maybe a vanity project in teyes of some, but they need to wean themselves off the dependence of oil and they need to develop massive operations on the red sea, tourism, new cities. they need to come into the 21st century in so many different ways and be leaders in technology, alternative energy and much of that space. to do that, they have to have foreign direct investment, and as long as this pal continues over the crown prince, that's going to be difficult to achieve. so encouraging american investment and encouraging american competition with the chinese and the russians, who are also very anxious to intervene in this space, i think, is very much in the national interest. we've also got issues with regard to israel.
the saudis clearly would like to have some relationship with israel. they've just cleared the airspace issue, which is very important. we'll likely see something along the nature of the abraham accords with the saudis in due course. we've got so many issues to deal with with the saudis, and i think the saudis very much need our participation as they go forward with this vision 2030 project, with their concerns about iran, with their own existential concerns in the neighborhood. >> the last time an american president was in saudi arabia, there was a sword dance, a glowing orb, portraits stories high of the president, president trump, of course, i'm speaking about. what is the saudi perspective of this administration as you understand it, this president as he is now there with the king and crown prince? >> i think in some ways they see this president as a successor to
barack obama, who greatly disappointed them. obama famously gave an interview to "the atlantic" in which he said the saudis had been free riders on american national security, they needed to be responsible for their own neighborhood. obama, of course, adopted the jcpoa, the nuclear deal with iran, which really drove the saudis crazy at that point. so i think they view biden as a successor in some ways to that attitude toward the saudis. he has aided in that view, of course, by some of his statements about khashoggi, about the saudis, and then, frankly, by having ignored the saudis for the last two years. it wasn't until april of this year that we even had an ambassador nominated to go to saudi arabia and he hasn't yet been confirmed. >> ambassador robert jordan, great to have all of your experience there and have you share it with us. thank you very much. >> thank you. back home here, a potential
devastating blow to president biden's domestic agenda. sources tell cnn that senator joe manchin will not support democrats' efforts to address climate change or taxes on the wealthy, which are key to president biden's economic plans. >> but today senator manchin indicated there might be some wiggle room. cnn's jessica dean is on capitol hill. how much wiggle room is the question when we're speaking about joe manchin, but is he leaving the door open for a deal here? >> reporter: victor and alisyn, it depends on what you mean by deal. if it's severely pared down to one or two things, there might be some room. but the big sweeping reform that democrats were certainly hoping to have, that's gone. we know that's been gone for months now, but these new negotiations had started back up really focusing in on the climate and energy package, the tax provisions, and the democratic leader, chuck schumer, was really hopeful that
they could get a deal done before the august recess that would give people who are running time to go back home to their home states and really run on some of these issues. but that is just simply not going to be the case now that we have reporting that manchin unequivocally said he will not be supporting those climate provisions and tax provisions. he talked about his thinking on local radio earlier today. i'll let you listen to that. >> i said, chuck, until we see the july inflation figures, until we see the july, basically federal reserve rates, interest rates, then let's wait until that comes out so we know that we're going down a path that won't be ininflammatory to add more to inflation. i said, are you telling me you don't do the other right now. i said, chuck, it's not prudent to do the other right now. >> reporter: we've talked to joe manchin here in the hallways for months. they've been going back fits and starts on this and he's come
back to inflation time and time again, so not surprising for him to want to look at the july inflation numbers to move forward. victor and alisyn, i talked about what could be in a potential deal, what might they be able to do. there's really only two things that our reporting indicates manchin is really open to and that's allowing medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and also extending these aca subsidies for another two years. that means the tax provisions are out, closing some tax loopholes to sure up medicare solvency is out. any tax raises on the wealthy or businesses all out. and to give us perspective, this went from a $3 trillion deal to $1.75 trillion, to now potentially, maybe, getting these last two things done. but, again, we'll just see on that. victor and alisyn. >> jessica dean, thank you. so why were secret service text messages sent on the day of the capitol insurrection
deleted? the january 6th committee wants to know. >> and there's been a big spike in the monkeypox outbreak across the united states, so what is being done about it now? when you have technology that's easasier to control... that can scale across all your clouds... we got that right? yeah, we got that. it's easier to be an innovator. so you can do more incredible things. [whistling]
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that watchdog agency had requested them. the secret service denies deleting any texts, quote, maliciously. cnn's jessica schneider joins us now. help explain this. is the secret service saying that, yes, they deleted the texts, but they didn't do so maliciously? >> they're saying this was part of a routine phone replacement and some of these messages were, in fact, deleted. but they say none of them would have been relevant to the committee. as you can see, they are pushing back big time on this insinuation that they did anything maliciously or deliberately. this was all routine, as they say. but the inspector general, who has been trying to obtain these records, he's saying something different. he met with all nine members of the committee earlier today to give them his take and we got a glimpse of his take in the letter he sent out to committees two days ago. in it he said, many u.s. secret service text messages from january 5th and 6th, 2021 were
erased as part of a device replacement program. the secret service erased those messages after oig requested electronic communications from them as part of your evaluation of events at the capitol on january 6th. the secret service is responding and saying dhs/oig requested electronic communications for the first time on february 26th, 2021, after the migration was well under way. the secret service notified of the loss of certain phones' data but confirmed to oig that none of the texts it was seeking had been lost in the migration. really the secret service is adding that they've been cooperative. they say they've provided almost 800,000 redacted emails, nearly 8,000 teams chat messages, but now the committee chairman, betty thomson, after meeting with the oig today, is saying that he wants to hear directly from the secret service about their take. here is benny thomson. >> now that we have the ig's
view of what has happened, we now need to talk to the secret service and our expectation is to reach out to them directly. one of the things we have to make sure is that what secret service is saying and what the ig is saying, that those two issues are, in fact, one and the same. and so now that we have it, we'll ask for the physical information and we'll make a decision ourselves. >> reporter: and so these missing, deleted text messages are so key and potentially crucial because they are from january 5th and 6th, and they could give more insight as to the heart of what the committee is probing here. what happened with former president trump on the day of the capitol attack and the days surrounding it, and of course those key details, those will really be the focus of the next hearing next week, in particular what trump did during those 187 minutes that he just wasn't seen or heard from publicly, guys.
>> jessica schneider following it for us in washington. thank you very much. joining us now, olivia troy, who served as homeland security counterterrorism and covid task force adviser to then vice president pence, and a former secret service agent and cnn law enforcement analyst. jonathan, of course i'm starting with you on this one. are you suspicious of this erasure. >> let me take a quick step back. i think the whole situation is really odd. we have two entities within the same department, the secret service department of homeland security, and the inspector general. we have two conflicting stories coming out of the same department. right now i have a lot of questions for the inspector general and the secret service. first, the inspector general said that many secret service text messages pursuant to january 5th and 6th were erased as part of this technology upgrade. but there's a nuance here. that's a fact that the secret
service doesn't dispute and it's a fact that the secret service actually raised to the inspector general. now, the secret service has also stated that none of those missing text messages that were part of this routine technology upgrade were in the focus of the inspector general looking at january 6th. so, again, it leads to what was the motive of -- what is the motive right now of the inspector general. if it's not material to their investigation, then why raise this so publicly? the second part of it is, secret service is not without blame here. they have to answer for why were text messages, regardless of where in the agency they were deleted from, why were they deleted, and there's no recovery here. that seems to me a clear violation of the federal records act. >> olivia, here is the other confusing part to me. i've also had a device replaced since january 6th. i got a new cell phone. but all of my texts from before july 6th are still on here.
i don't even know how you can permanently get rid of things like that. so do you buy the explanation? >> yeah, i think the whole thing is bizarre. i agree with him and his take on it. i think it's very odd. i'm going to be very honest. i ran a technical migration for the government for 25,000 people around the world globally. i can guarantee you when we did that migration we made sure, it was drilled into our heads that we should not lose data and we should make sure that everything transfers, and so i just don't know how that magically happens, to be honest, especially when you're dealing with information critical and related to one of the darkest periods for our country where you know there's going to be scrutiny on it. it just seems a little bit bizarre. i think we really need to get to the bottom of this and get to the facts. and i think this actually is a great example of why the january 6th select committee's work is so important and this investigation, as they do the
factfinding and really sort of get to the bottom of what really happened here and this entire scenario. >> jonathan, let me ask you about this d.c. police officer who has now corroborated cassidy hutchinson's account of the heated exchange between former president trump and the secret service inside the suv right after the rally on january 6th. certainly relevant here considering that tony ornato and engel disputed it, testified. what's your view of the relevance of this. and the d.c. officer wasn't in the vehicle. how much could he know or she? >> i think what this is doing is confirming parts of hutchinson's testimony that there was a disagreement. now the question is, what level of disagreement was there between the former president and his detail on that day? but i think we all should expect that the president was unhappy that he wasn't able to go with his supporters up to capitol
hill. secret service had assessed the threats were too great, that their ability to protect the president in that movement was limited, so they made the right call and did not go. now, this new information that is out is just further confirming it. what it doesn't do is it doesn't confirm the most salacious part of that testimony, which is the comments of the president leaning forward towards the steering wheel and potentially assaulting a secret service agent. there are only three people who know the truth, the former president, the driver of that vehicle and the special agent in charge. that's why testimony under oath is critical to adjudicate that one outstanding issue. >> and obviously the january 6th committee is working on that. meanwhile, olivia, there's no reporting from "new york magazine", as well as cnn, that donald trump has decided that he will run again for president. he's just deciding when. so it's not if, it's when.
i would like to hear your thoughts on that, and also if you think that the january 6th hearings has weakened him as a candidate in some way. >> i do personally think that he will run. i have no doubt in my mind that he will go ahead and announce h. i think he's at their weakest and the hearings have done their job. it has been incredibly damaging to him, i think as impactful as what has happened here, and firsthand testimonies from republicans and conservatives themselves who lived this firsthand are critical to this, and i think the former president is seeing this and he knows that this is damaging. you can see it by the reactions of his family and the things that he's saying when he's out there on that social media network true social. and i think republicans, i think, are really in a bind here because they'll say things behind closed doors and i think they know this is their worst
nightmare. the problem is they can't alienate their base as we go into the midterm elections. they want to keep the trump base so they're in a good position for the midterm elections. so a donald trump announcement to them is probably not the best scenario. but in donald trump's head, i'm sure he's thinking, you know, he wants to detract from the work of the investigation. he knows this is not good for him so he can flip it and say this is politically motivated, which he's already said. and so i think we'll probably see him announce sooner rather than later, likely. >> olivia troy, jonathan wackrow, thank you both very much. more than half of the u.s. population is living in a county with high enough covid levels that the cdc would recommend indoor masking. will those masks be mandated again? we'll talk about it next.
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the u.s. has seen a big spike in monkeypox cases. the cdc now says there are close to 1,500 cases confirmed across the country. consider the cases crossed the 1,000 mark just yesterday. >> cnn's senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen joins us. are officials worried about this spike? >> this particular spike, the numbers that you just showed, alisyn, that may be just because of the way it's being reported.
the numbers are going up and that is not good. and of course there is concern, so the u.s. government is responding in several ways, one of which is that they're doubling the amount of vaccine that's out there and also they're increasing testing capacity. we saw how important that was with covid. they've had the capacity to do 6,000 tests per week and they're going to be able to do 70,000 tests per week. that's a lot, a big increase. so let's take a look at some of the monkeypox numbers. right now in the u.s., as you mentioned, 1,470 cases, that's 414 cases just in new york state itself and dr. anthony fauci says 1.1 million vaccine doses should be available shortly. so that's a big increase from where it was. and if we look sort of more generally at monkeypox, what we see here is that worldwide we've got nearly 12,000 cases in 65 countries. in the u.s. the cases we mentioned, that's in 42 states. the highest case count is new york, california and illinois.
now, one of the other things that needs to happen to sort of hopefully get this under control, because it's not really under control at the moment, is to educate patients and doctors what monkeypox looks like. no doctor probably learned about this in medical school. this is relatively new to the united states. alisyn, victor. >> speaking of spikes, let's talk about covid. community transmission high in more than half of the country now. are some of these counties reinstating these mask requirements? >> some of them are thinking about it. l.a. county is thinking about it. it will be interesting to see what they do. when you take a look at this map, what you see is that 54% of the country is red, that means high transmission, and the cdc says in those circumstances you should be masking indoors in public, and people who are at high risk of getting very sick from covid should be considering if there's an indoor activity that they don't have to go to, that they shouldn't go to it. it's going to be hard, i think, to tell these places you haven't been wearing masks for a while,
could you put them back on again. that i think feels unlikely to work very well. let's take a look at some other numbers, because in a way it's not the cases that matter, it's the hospitalizations and the deaths. deaths are past 400 a day for the first time in two months. hospitalizations surpassed 2,000 for the first time in two months. hospitalizations have doubled. it's not just that a lot of people have covid right now, it's that we're seeing more people dying and more people going to the hospital. >> elizabeth cohen, thank you for explaining all of that. this is very important. tomorrow the u.s. will launch a new suicide prevention hotline. the goal is to make it easier to get help in a crisis. >> the new number is 988, simplified from the previous ten-digit number. if you call, you'll be directed to a local call center to talk to someone who can help. the nonprofit that operates this hotline plans to launch a pilot
program specifically for the lgbtq community. >> so, again, if you need help, call 988. that is so much easier. i mean, how could people remember the ten digit number. 988 is what you need to know and you can always stay anonymous. house democrats just passed two bills aimed at protecting access to abortion. the bills are on track to run into a brick wall in the senate. i'm going to speak with the co-sponsor of one of those bills next. ...by friday. now let's head over to the tower cam for a - hey! folks, we seem to have a visitor. it looks lik.. looks like you paid too much forour glasses. who? anyone who isn't shopping at america's best whe two pairs and a free exam start at just $79.95. it's a quality exam worth $50. now, let's take a look at traffic. what are you doing?
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the indiana doctor who performed an abortion on an 11-year-old rape victim from ohio says she did nothing illegal. the case has galvanized people on both sides of the abortion debate. the 10-year-old had to travel from ohio to indianapolis for the procedure after roe v. wade was overturned. >> now, indiana's attorney general todd rokita is threatening criminal charges against the doctor. the issue is whether the ob-gyn reported the abortion and child abuse within the required three days of the procedure. cnn's jean casarez is joining us. >> she's saying i'm a mandatory reporter, i know that and i've done everything correct. we went to the source. the indiana state department of health holds public records of what medical abortions were done in their state. of course there are privacy concerns, but we got the records and they show on june 30th that
there was a medical abortion of a 10-year-old girl. so it is confirmed and it was reported within the three-day mandatory time period when you are speaking of a minor. also indiana university contacted us to say that dr. bernard is an gynecologist and she's an adjunct professor and they have privacy concerns and reporting procedures, and they do reviews. she has always followed everything that she is to do. we do have a statement from her attorney responding to the allegations here and it says, my client, dr. kaitlyn bernard, took every proper and appropriate action in accordance with the law and her medical and ethical training as a physician. we are considering legal action against those who have smeared my client, including indiana attorney general todd rokita, and the facts will come out in
due time. attorney for dr. caitlin bernard. that's the story. >> thank you. last hour the house passed a pair of bills aimed at protecting access to abortion. if signed into law, the women's health protection act would codify federal access to abortion and the ensuring access to abortion act makes it illegal for states to penalize women to cross state lines to obtain an abortion. but both bills are expected to fail in the senate. with me now is democratic congresswoman judy chu, co-sponsor of the women's health protection act. thank you so much for being with us. first let's start with what the bills change. do they return access in the country to legal abortion, to what it was the day before the dobbs decision, or does it do more than that? >> the women's health protection act enshrines the protections of roe v. wade into law and ensures that all the subsequent court
decisions are actually incorporated into the law so that every woman in every state can get an abortion and no state could erode those rights. so women will be protected and will be able to make the decisions that they need in order to further their own lives, this personal, private decision, they will have the freedom to be able to make it. >> so as i said, these bills are unlikely to pass in the senate. what's next? >> so we know that in the senate so many bills, including the women's health protection act, have been held up by the filibuster, and they did have a vote on this bill previously. it was close, 49-51. but the senate had a 60 vote necessary in order to get anything passed, so a minority of 10 can hold anything up.
i know that what we need to do is eliminate the filibuster and that is why the vote is so important for november. we need two senators who will both eliminate the filibuster and also vote for the women's health protection act. there are two candidates like this, john fetterman in pennsylvania and mandela barnes in wisconsin. once we get them in, we eliminate the filibuster and we can get this law passed. >> okay, so you're looking ahead to november. but as democrats say, this issue should motivate voters, there's a new "new york times" college poll that asked about the most important issues for voters. it's still the economy, inflation. in fact, for democrats and independents, abortion rights doesn't surpass inflation. it's behind the economy and political divisions and gun policy.
is there any evidence that abortion rights is a topic that is motivating the voters you need to show up in november? >> well, i have never seen such anger, outrage and terror amongst women in this country everywhere i go. everybody is talking about this and talking about what we can do about it. so women are very motivated, as well as the men who support them, to change things. and, in fact, there have been nonstop demonstrations and rallies around the country since the dobbs decision three weeks ago. so i think that women will be more motivated than ever, especially after state after state bans abortion. we know that 26 states will do that. that will affect 38 million women who live in those states. >> again, the polls show that the economy, inflation and the other list of items i just read
there are what's really motivating voters more than abortion rights. but let me switch gears here and talk about what we've learned from senator manchin, specifically on the reconciliation bill. he says that he's leaving the door open, our reporting is that he's a no on the climate clauses, raising taxes as well. your reaction to what we're hearing from senator manchin? >> i'm very disappointed. i think we need to take action on climate, and actually there are these tax incentives for green energy that i think are very reasonable. on the other hand, he seems to be open to ensuring that we lower the cost of prescription drugs and that we have several health measures, which i hope is continuing the subsidy on the affordable care act premiums, because if we don't do something about that, millions of americans are going to see their
health care premiums go up. and that is bad. so we must make sure, first of all, that the health of all americans is preserved, so at least we need to do that. >> you'll pass whatever you can get out of the senate? >> well, he seems to hold the key to this, so if we can move forward, if we can do it with 50 votes, i'm sure voting for it. >> congresswoman judy chu, thank you. >> thank you. it's been a summer of travel headaches. we're going to show you which airports are t the worst offenders. r to control... that can scale across all yoyour clouds... we got that right? yeah, we got that. it's easier to be an innovator. so you can do more incredible things. [whistling]
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just outside new york city. why am i not surprised. that's where we find pete m. >> reporter: newark is number one in flight cancellations since memorial day. a combination of factors and its passengers who are caught in the middle. the summer of travel pain keeps growing with struggling airlines cancelling 30,000 flights since memorial day. now, new data shows where issues are the worst. a flight aware analysis from cnn shows new york airports leading the nation for flight cancellations. 8% of all flights leaving newark have been cancelled since memorial day. >> the pain is not spread out evenly. some airports have much bigger problems than others. >> reporter: florida airports take 3 of the top 10 spots for
flight delays. a third of flights from orlando have been delayed this summer. this break down comes as passengers are packing planes in levels not seen since before the pandemic. short staffed airlines say the federal government is short staffed at air traffic control facilities. >> newark, newark, and florida are air traffic control challenges. there's different issues at other airlines but those two places are really struggling. >> reporter: the faa puts blame back on airline staffing issues as well as bad weather and heavy air traffic. >> we may have to slow stuff coming out of florida. >> reporter: at the around the clock command center, the faa shows how florida airspace becomes tracked with flights like a traffic jam. >> now you have limitations on where you can go. especially in the summer time, if you want to get there on time, try to get there before lunch. >> reporter: airlined argued $50 billion in pandemic aid would make them ready for this rebound. >> the airline industry is
broken right now, and it's failing every taxpayer. >> reporter: transportation secretary pete buttigieg tells cnn he is seeing improvements but still expects airlines to do better. >> look, we are counting on airlines to deliver for passengers, and to be able to service the tickets that they sell. >> reporter: united airlines says newark is bad because there are simply too many flights scheduled here for the airport to handle. in fact, united is scaling back some of its summer flying schedule here. the issue goes beyond marc, rounding out the top top for cancellations since memorial day. lagarde in the number two spot. raleigh, north carolina, and then cleveland, ohio. victor, and alisyn. >> goodton. pete muntean, thank you very much for that. so today the buffalo supermarket, the scene of that mass shooting that killed ten people, it has reopened and not everyone there is okay with that.
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trapped, head first. >> rescuers say she moved toward her baby, hit her head, and then fainted from the stress. she had to be lifted out by a crane. they got the baby out. rescuers revived the mother by jumping on her. >> that's basically elephant cpr. >> i guess. i've seen the video online of the woman, like, this is the video i've seen, of them just kneeing and jumping on this elephant. >> that's elephant cpr right there. >> they survived. look at this. they're going back to their home, thank goodness. that's crazy. >> wow, that is amazing. >> elephant, they're just like us, that's the message that i take from this. she was really distressed about her baby, and look, she's trying to rescue her. oh, my gosh. that is scary, isn't that? >> well, they made it out. >> i know you are a fan of animal stories. >> one story got me, but, you know, i'm happy for the elephants, you know. >> i think we all are.
and it's the top of the hour on cnn newsroom, i'm alisyn camerota. >> i'm victor blackwell. just into cnn, the georgia district attorney investigating efforts to overturn the state's 2020 election now says the chairman of the georgia republican party could be indicted. >> sources tell cnn that gop chairman, david shaffer was warned about this in a letter about his possible indictment. cnn's sara murray has all of this new reporting for us. what have you learned. >> reporter: my colleagues and i are learning that david shaffer, the republican party chairman in georgia received what is known as a target letter from the fulton county district attorney's office, investigating the efforts that donald trump and his allies made to overturn the election, trying to figure out if anything is criminal. the letter says you are a target of the investigation. it's possible you will be indicted as part of the inquiry. this is important because it's the first target letter th