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tv   Don Lemon Tonight  CNN  August 12, 2022 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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major developments tonight on the search at trump's mar-a- lago home, "the washington post" is reporting that classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items the fbi agents were
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searching for while on the property. i want to bring in cnn legal analyst norm mizen, special council for the house judiciary committee in trump's first impeachment trial, analyst susan glasser and dave arenberg, the state attorney for palm beach county, florida. susan, i almost butchered your name, so i'll begin with you. i've got to ask you "the washington post" report is, frankly, breathtaking. i have to ask what is your reaction to the reports that they were searching for not just classified documents, but those that may be related to nuclear weapons, not somewhere where it's secured under the, you know, cover of the federal government, but mar-a-lago? what's your reaction to that? >> yeah. i mean look, laura, this is a very, very serious allegation. this is the kind of thing that government does not screw around about and obviously the idea of nuclear secrets being
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held in an insecure way at mar- a-lago is just extraordinary and certainly really changes the conversation in a significant way. we three days of gas lighting from the former president and his supporters, right, about this as if it was, you know, merely a matter of some doodles on cocktail napkins. well, obviously classified nuclear information is a whole different ballgame. it reminds me of the story of the four years of trump and the president of the united states himself being in some ways a national security threat. this is sort of another illustration of that. >> susan, you mentioned the idea of nuclear secrets. that was the phrase you used. i want to be clear for the audience what kind of documents, you know, could they be referring to? what would a former president have in terms of the possession what they would have seen? could there be documents? is there any such thing as sort
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of a benign related nuclear document? >> well, that's a good question. even things you and i might consider to be benign, laura, could also hold within it the secret, you know, some information that in the wrong hands would end up revealing something about u.s. sources and methods, for example. there was one detail that really caught my eye in the "washington post" report which was a source, a single source, they attributed to the fact that some signals intelligence was also possibly collected as part of the fbi search at mar-a- lago. that is the most top secret kind of espionage that the u.s. has, eavesdropping, potentially on foreign leaders, again, extraordinary allegations. >> it is extraordinary if that's, in fact, what happened. norm, if this is what we're talking about, if this is the type of documents they were trying to retrieve and that
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they were somehow trying to, it had to be in a position to try to negotiate with to get back? could this explain why authorities seemed so secure in not only getting a search warrant for a former president, but knowing the political risk was enormous, i mean this is really one of those cost benefit analysis. obviously if it's nuclear information, that's going to outweigh a political calculus. >> that's right, laura, and we heard from attorney general merrick garland today that the government doesn't execute these search warrants lightly and only when every step has been taken. so we know that there were conversations. we know there was an earlier subpoena issued. we know there are reports that a witness, an informant of some kind, gave information that materials were still there. so we know there were conversations. so it seems like the government was left with no choice.
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you know, as a former ambassador, i enjoyed a high degree of access to these documents, a security clearance. you get trained in these kinds of informations about weapons systems, nuclear weapons, signals intelligence. again, that is the most sensitive stuff we have and if the former president didn't turn it back over after being asked and subpoenaed, that is as serious as it gets. >> i mean on that point, the idea that you'd have to sort of cajole someone or have several meetings to say here's what i want back, to me and i think to many people just strikes you very odd, that you would have the bargaining power, by the way, to be able to have to keep asking and have the doj request the information. that just strikes me in and of itself as why do you still have what's been asked to be given back? if this is all true, dave, if this is all true, does this
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also explain something about maybe an informant being compelled to tell what is still in the possession of the president? does this sort of go hand in hand now? this >> laura, you had to have an informant because they had to know to retrieve the previous boxes and they had to know mar- a-lago, the inner sanctum of mar-a-lago. i've been there before and i don't know anyone that's been up to the office to look at the safe. i didn't even know there was a safe there. >> that's why they call it safe, of course, but go ahead. >> sometimes you have the safe that's out there in the public in their office or something, but this one, and that's why you had to have something that's as vital as a national security secret, possibly nuclear information, because they're not going to do all this for love letters from kim jong un. so whoever exposed this is
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someone inside trump's inner circle and that's got to be really bothering the former president. he demands complete loyalty even though his loyalty is a one-way street. >> i also wonder, i mean is this a matter of the national archives sort of dotting every i and crossing every t and seeing in some sort of an inventory whether there is something that is not lining up in some way? what you said as well? susan, i just wonder, i mean the idea of the security, i don't know the average person, myself included, that we know essentially where these sorts of documents are kept. what does it mean to have them safely secured? there is a reporting about the phone call made down to mar-a- lago, hey, you got to further secure whatever area you're talking about. what does this look like, the general security apparatus? if you had these documents, are they required to be kept and maintained in a particular way and clearance is the only way to access? that's the theory? >> yeah, absolutely. that's a very important point actually, laura.
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it's not just like well, it's just fine to keep them lying around or trump said in one of his many statements this week, well, we put a padlock on it. therefore, it was okay. no. these documents are so close hold, especially anything concerning nuclear secrets. there are separate compartments known as -- sorry, facilities known as skiffs inside many government offices that are even more secure than the rest of the office complex. you're required to do things like leave your phones outside, only access them in a special way. in the past there have been cases involving government officials and former government officials who did not safely enough secure those documents. i'm thinking of sandy berger, the national security adviser in the clinton administration who was fined and placed on probation for mishandling documents that he was researching of his own documents after he left office and again, it's not just enough
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to put them in a file folder and put a lock on the door. even inside a government office these are kept in the tightest special security. >> norm, you and i were having a conservation about there has been the prosecution and the enforcement of laws like this. it's been enhanced by the way under the trump administration with respect to classified documents more broadly, but i want everyone to hear this because i want to may this clip from merrick garland, the attorney general, from earlier today. >> the department filed the motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former president's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter. >> okay. so if these documents are released and we'll know more about this tomorrow at 3 p.m., what could they reveal? how much detail are we talking about? will we with know all there is
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to know, the affidavit and support? >> no. you'll get the search warrant. you'll get the attachments to the search warrant which probably will tell you which laws the government believes were shown to have been violated to the probable cause standard and you'll get an inventory, but we know because classified is involved that on that inventory document, which is also provided in this case to the former president's lawyers when you have the execution of a search warrant, we know there will be some redactions. you won't get the mother load of information, which is in the affidavit and the other supporting documents. the justice department is not seeking to unseal that. that probably also has classified information and it
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identifies possibly that informant who they want to protect. so that you will not get. >> that's a really important point because you think about that. thank you all for being here because if you're looking for any insight on the next line of defense or political talking points that might come up, what's under the redacted portions of it? what's underneath the black line? would have all seen this. we can all anticipate it because if you no longer have the idea of having there's no transparency on your side, what will be the next thing you say? susan, norm, dave, thank you so much. now the real question is what are we to make of "the post's" reporting on the possibility that classified documents related to nuclear weapons may have been stored at mar-a-lago, trump's florida resort in the state. our guests will weigh in after this.
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tonight there's bombshell reporting from "the washington post" that fbi agents were looking for nuclear-related documents when searching donald trump's mar-a-lago property on monday. we don't yet know what they found which, frankly, is just as important to point out. we don't yet know, but is this nation once again possibly on unprecedented ground because of the former president? to discuss cnn political analyst carl bernstein and presidential historian douglas brinkley, glad to have you both on tonight. carl, i'll start with you because i feel like we're in the wild, wild west more often than not. the novelty of so much of what we've experienced together the past six, seven years is astounding, but nuclear documents potentially being within sort of the documents, not within the federal government's control, but at
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mar-a-lago? i mean the seriousness of the potential threat to national security information, i just don't know what to say. it's so concerning. what's your thought? >> my first thought is let's find out exactly what those materials are. we don't know yet. i'll tell you what i do know. if you go back to what i said on anderson's show the other night because i had spoken with someone in the highest level of intelligence bureaucracy or establishment, the highest level through the trump presidency, throughout those years, who said look, these documents are of the highest magnitude. there is no question or garland and the justice department would never have done this and that's what we're seeing now. we need to wait for the -- you know, identify exactly what they say, what they are, but what we do know and as this person i just talked to a few minutes ago again, this is something of a magnitude to use the word that came up in our
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conversation that is deadly serious and now it's going to play itself out. all of have us to wait and see and what we know, though, is that once again we have a president of the united states who has played fast and loose with the national security by not keeping documents secure, by not being a lawful president of the united states, by being someone who cannot be trusted to be the president of the united states. that's what we're dealing with and now what we've got to find out in the next few days is how grievous is what donald trump has done this time? >> and yet the reality is the second highest number of votes went to him in the 2020 election. so for a large part of our country and part of the electorate believe that he has done nothing wrong and this is a furtherance of a potential
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witch hunt and, of course, carl is correct waiting to see what actually comes out. as we wait to the future -- let's look to the past a second, if we, can because i want to know is there any analogy? have we ever seen a president accused of mishandling such critical information like this, doug? >> no. the old word unprecedented, we could say it 100 times. it's upon us yet again, but look, merrick garland is closing in on donald trump. trump has met a type of prosecutorial legal genius in merrick garland that he doesn't understand. this isn't a typical lawyer that trump's kind of bumped around over the years, some new york d.a. that he's had battles with. merrick garland is everything donald trump isn't. he's the epitome of integrity, educated, civil, cool-minded and only moves when he's forced to. anybody who thinks garland came
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into the attorney general with the idea of raiding mar-a-lago, going after donald trump doesn't know merrick garland. so i think he's been kind of coy this week, got it done, did the press conference today and see what happens, but if this has something to do, which it looks like it does, with trump bringing nuclear documents to mar-a-lago refusing to give them up, we're dealing with a big, big time history moment here where the president of the united states is almost committing a kind of treason by having at a cheesy resort in florida our key nuclear documents. >> do you agree, carl? >> i don't think we're there yet, but i think what we know is that there are in mar-a-lago unsecure, have been for months and months and months documents that the russians, that the chinese, that our foreign adversaries would love to have. that is the importance.
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we are going to learn in a granular way what those documents are. does it relate to nuclear weapons, to nuclear codes? we don't know yet. "the washington post" is reporting it has to do with something nuclear. that's certainly possible. what we do know with more that we can go on with more authority is the magnitude and the importance of what trump took with him and if that is something that no presidents have done before and it goes hand in hand with his total disregard through his presidency for the national interests. we have a seditious president of the united states in donald trump. we have a constitutional criminal in donald trump and now what we are seeing is we have a president of the united states capable of a kind of recklessness and selfishness at the expense of our national
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security that is breathtaking. we're going to learn what those elements are, but we now have some clear definition of what the problem is this time with donald trump. your point, laura, and doug's as well is really absolutely essential to understand. 77% of the people who call themselves republicans in this country support donald trump and in such matters so far as this. that's more than a third of the electorate. >> yeah. >> so we need also look at what this country is today in terms culturally, politically and it is not what democrats in washington want to believe the country is because the reality is that donald trump is a power out of office that is absolutely huge and we'll see how much power he retains as this goes forward, but we are really in a place politically and culturally and this argument is part of that. >> i want to get to you, doug,
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because i see you nodding your head, but just the idea here as part of the power, even if we don't know the nature of these adults as being nuclear, the reaction to the news of searching mar-a-lago was nuclear politically speaking and you had allies hammering the doj, the fbi about this. they called it a political hit job. what do you make of this idea of the visceral reaction to law enforcement and how to contextualize that in terms of where we are politically in the marker this makes in our history? >> well, you're absolutely right and i think that trump right did a very good job effectively of people like sean hannity and others getting on top of this. they were trying to blame barack obama for bringing documents, which he never did. they were trying to turn merrick garland into being some sort of rogue, you know, justice department attorney general. it doesn't hold up. merrick garland doesn't operate
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that way. he's not operating in that kind of political lens. the bottom line is the national archives has been demanding this. trump's known this moment could happen. he just didn't think merrick garland had the spine to do it and trump very well, he doesn't email trump. he doesn't use computers. he may have wanted these documents downloaded so he had a copy of them. maybe he has a nest egg. maybe they had some monetary value to shop to somebody, maybe to write a memoir. i don't know the motives of it, but it's deeply wrong and no ex- president is above the law and merrick garland's doing a great job of showing us that our justice department is serious and our fbi did a marvelous job of raiding there, getting what they needed and now we'll let the legal process play out. >> well, we shall see tomorrow. that deadline the judge has imposed about whether the former president's team wants to oppose making the search warrant public. we will see what happens. this was obviously a game of chess.
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gentlemen, thank you, nice seeing both of you, carl and doug. >> thank you. >> good to see you. well, an armed suspect attempted to breach the fbi office in cincinnati, this after posting a violent ramp on trump's social media platform we believe. that's up next and what the tax says about the dangers law enforcement officers are facing as we speak.
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an armed suspect attempting to breach the fbi's office in cincinnati today, the suspect dead after an hours long standoff with law enforcement. he appeared to post rants on trump's social media platform called truth social about attempting to storm an fbi office. this all comes after the former president and republican
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lawmakers criticized the fbi for its search of mar-a-lago this week. the doj breaking its silence about the search with attorney general merrick garland asking a court to unseal the warrant citing substantial public interest. let's go to contributor garrett graff. we don't yet know the singular motive of the attack on the fbi office. we do know the suspect seemed to encourage violence against the fbi online and more broadly, garrett, it does show that there are some real world consequences at the prospect of violence against law enforcement today. >> yeah. i think what we can see is that donald trump's call to arms and the irresponsible and reckless violence motivated rhetoric of many members of the gop at this time have some real world
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consequences and that the extremism that started and was amplified with white militia groups in donald trump's presidency coming most clearly to the foreground on january 6th is not over and that this is a threat we are continuing to live with and one that the republican party is increasingly embracing. >> speaking of threats and before i get to merrick garland's statement, i want to ask you about the reporting we're learning from "the washington post" tonight that the fbi was searching mar-a- lago for documents relating to nuclear weapons. you actually wrote a book on nuclear weapons. i'm wondering what you make of the danger, the idea of sensitive information like in a residence, let alone that of a former president. >> yeah. nuclear secrets, there's a wide variety of them, which i think is important to point out. i mean some of this could be information about adversaries. some of this could be about nuclear weapon design.
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some of this could be about our nuclear arsenals or our launch procedures, information all that the president would, of course, have had as commander in chief and as someone who would have presumably been briefed in-depth on our nuclear procedures. so there's a variety of information that it could be, but nuclear information is in many ways the nation's sort of highest level of secrets. it exists not just as classified information, but actually as what is known also as restricted data and esi, extremely sensitive information, and those require special clearances and special handling materials and it's something that very, very few members of even the highest ranks of the u.s. government ever get access to. >> well, then thinking about that statement from merrick garland, the attorney general, i mean if that -- and again, we don't know -- but if that's
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indeed what they were looking for at least in part or broader nature of classified documents, you know normally the doj keeps silent about ongoing investigations. i'm wondering, do you think trump's sort of politicization of the doj and allegations that it is becoming that, is that what led to today's rare public statement? >> i think what merrick garland felt and the justice department felt was that they couldn't maintain the normal quiet that we actually ask in our country, in our democracy of the fbi and federal law enforcement when it is conducting investigations. i mean it's worth pointing out that the silence of the justice department and the fbi and the way that they only speak in court with criminal charges and indictments at the end of a case is actually an important part of protecting civil
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liberties in the united states, that you don't want the fbi actually becoming politicized and being weaponized against political enemies to smear them in cases short of criminal charges. so i think one of the challenges and one of the ironies of this week is that actually the justice department was being respectful of donald trump in its silence through this week and merrick garland said in his very brief statement today that he was in many ways only speaking about it at all because the president himself had confirmed the search had happened, that the fbi's intention was to never mention that the search happened at all. >> well, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it, right? that's probably the lesson learned if you are the trump team right now on this very issue. garrett graff, everyone. thank you so much. >> always a pleasure, laura. well, speaking of pleasure, gas prices are falling below $4 a gallon the first time in months, but does it mean we
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could soon see relief from inflation? and later beto o'rourke getting into it with a heckler at a texas campaign rally. >> it may be funny to you, [ bleep ], but it's not funny to me, okay? when y ou take it again the next day. so betty can be the... barcode beat conductor. ♪ go betty! ♪ let's be more than our allergies! zeize the day. with zyrtec. i'm jonathan lawson here to tell you about life insurance through the colonial penn program. if you're age 50 to 85, and looking to buy life insurance on a fixed budget, remember the three ps. what are the three ps? the three ps of life insurance on a fixed budget are price, price, and price. a price you can afford, a price that can't increase, and a price that fits your budget. i'm 54, what's my price? you can get coverage for $9.95 a month.
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every time we shop for essentials prices are still painfully high. i want to bring in gene spurling, senior adviser to president biden and coordinator for the white house american rescue plan. gene, good to see you this evening especially amid some of this very positive news, right? >> thanks. >> all in, this is pretty positive news. can you break down what this means for the economic recovery? is this a sign inflation will cool down and soon? >> well, there's no question july was a very good month in terms of we had 528,000 jobs and we actually had zero inflation just for that month and we saw as you've just said seen gas prices down over $1 from 5.02 to 3.99. the most common price at a gas station in the country right now is 3.59. we saw other things like
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appliances down, air travel down, rentals down, but prices are still too high. food prices are still too high. so this is encouraging. it's encouraging that our job market is still so strong, 3.3 million jobs, 3.5% unemployment this year and it's encouraging that you're seeing more and more signs that inflation is moderating, not just signs that it will moderate, but actually a little more relief, but again, you know, it's one month. we got to keep making progress. what the president's trying to do is make sure the things he can do administratively and legislatively to help ease the burden of pocket costs for american families that we're doing everything we can, whether it's to release the strategic petroleum reserve to help keep more supply of oil in the global economy to his legislation that we hope will pass tomorrow that will reduce prescription drug costs, give people lots of ways to save energy costs as well. >> i mean it's great news about
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the gas prices at the very least, but you're right to point out all the other areas people are spending their money on and the things that are really impacting all of our pockets day in and day out. looking forward to having maybe 11 more months like that in the total year, but, gene, there's actually some more good news for the president tomorrow. house democrats are thinking to push through a climate, healthcare and tax bill after senate democrats passed it this past sunday. there's been a little news since sunday, but the focus is still on this in terms of legislatively. tell us what impact this bill might have for americans. >> well, i was starting to mention that. i'm an old guy. i was working in the clinton administration. that's how long ago people started to say why doesn't medicare have the power to negotiate lower prescription drug prices? why are seniors, people with chronic illnesses having to pay so much? that's finally been achieved. it's going to cap out of pocket
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costs eventually at 2,000. if you're in medicare, you won't have to pay more than $35 very soon. that's good healthcare, but that's also relieving some of the price pressures. for about 14 million americans, they'll be able to continue to get healthcare at an $800 savings. that puts more downward pressure and this historic climate change bill that we have, which is important just for what it means for the future of our planet, is also going to provide a lot of tax incentives for consumers, whether it's solar panels to, you know, the cars you buy to both do things that are more energy efficient, save money that way, but actually get a tax incentive to do so and then obviously as we've seen, it's going to reduce the deficit another $350 billion and that's going to put more downward pressure. so there's no question that the inflation reduction act that passed tomorrow is going to be a positive step in directions from your pocketbook to climate change. >> one can certainly hope that will be the case. it's not without some criticism
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of the normalcy of washington, d.c. and that you never get everything that people want and some things are included that others do not and some lost on the cutting room floor, but this is certainly a form of progress. there's one area a lot of people are looking at and that is mortgage rates. they're up to 5% now and the fed is expecting to raise rates yet again. so things are cooling off, but the food costs are really high. housing costs are high. rental costs also high. tell me, what work is there still left to do even in spite of the legislative victory so far? >> laura, let me be very clear. our job market, our unemployment rate, the job growth, that is very strong. there's a lot more resilience in our economy, a lot more consumers that still have a little extra savings. that is strong. we don't want for a second anybody out there to think we're okay with where prices are. you know, this is obviously a global phenomenon, but we understand that's of little
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comfort to someone going through the grocery line and food is an area that hits all americans. that was not an area we saw come down. so we know there is more to do, but our goal is to try and give you a balanced view. there's a lot of strengths and resilience in this job market and economy. there's some good sides on inflation, but we are the first to get that prices are still too high. that's why the president's number one focus is have the back of working families and he knows right now their number one concern is continuing to get downward pressure on the prices they have to pay to live and as he says, support their family with a little breathing room. >> it's so true. that point, i mean, gene, obviously there are so many americans who are working who still live paycheck to paycheck. that was before the pandemic. it's certainly true now. so if the paychecks are getting stretched thinner and thinner on everyday needs, obviously there is still yet more work to be done. thank you for bringing us the
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good, the bad and perhaps the hopeful coming down the road. >> yes. that's a good summary. thank you so much. beto o'rourke calling out a heckler while discussing the uvalde school shooting and he didn't mince words. we'll hear what he said next. sr and longer when you need it most. its non-habit forming and powered by the makers of nyquil.
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weapon that was originally designed for use on the battlefields in vietnam to penetrate an enemy soldier's helmet at 500 feet and knock help down dead up against kids at five feet it. may be funny to you [ bleep ], but it's not funny to me, okay? >> turning now to our commentator, what is your reaction? >> i think it goes both way for congressman o'rourke. on the one hand, he shows his passion there. he shows that he cares, that this issue isn't just a talking point to him. remember the el paso walmart shooting happened in his hometown where he was a congressman and a city counselor. remember that right after uvalde he confronted governor abbott at a press availability.
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this means a lot to him and i think that comes across clearly and sincerely. on the other hand, the goal here is to win a hotly contested gubernatorial race and even though o'rourke has closed abbott's lead here, governor abbott still leads by about six points. i checked out the real clear politics polling average. it's down from a double digit lead and so if you're the o'rourke campaign and if you're former congressman o'rourke, you have to ask yourself okay, on the one handle i igniting my base and driving turnout? am i showing people that i really mean what i say or am i alienating potentially persuadable voters who may like some of the things i have to say but who might think that i've gone over the top dropping an mf in that kind of situation? >> not just that. i doubt the swear word is probably the big issue for people. it's the idea as you listed out sort of the instances which he
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was speaking about these issues and we know how controversial this topic can be, the idea of the second amendment, the conflation of all these things, it's really fascinating to see how it goes, but i do want to turn for a second. i feel like you and i are always together when there's some sort of breaking news story happening. we're learning right now the former president, donald trump, has now provided a response to whether he would oppose the actual motion to unseal these documents. he his true social feed saying not only will i not oppose the release of documents related to the unamerican, unwarranted and unnecessary raid and break-in of my home in palm beach, florida, mar-a-lago, i'm going a step further by encouraging the immediate release of those documents even though they have been drawn up by radical left democrats and possible future political opponents who have a strong and powerful vested interest in attacking me, much as they have done for the last
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six years." there you have it. of course, you wonder will this be the final word or will his lawyers say your thumbs may have typed that, but here's what we'll say about this? what's your reaction to his statement? >> well, it's not going to be the final word -- it never is -- with former president trump. look, laura, on the one hand if he's not opposing the justice department's motion, i think that's good. the public, we in the media, want to know as much as we can know about what the justice department and what the fbi were looking for with that search warrant. on the other hand, this is a little bit of sleight of hand on the part of the president if for no other reason than he or his lawyers presumably have a copy of the warrant, know what the fbi was searching for and could just announce it. they have that right. attorney general garland when he spoke today said again that president trump has that right as a citizen. if he has nothing to hide, then i suppose he could come out and
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just say what they were looking for or what he potentially has and i think ultimately the most harm done in this situation and many others have said this is not whether we know exactly what the fbi was looking for or exactly what president trump's legal team would do, but the notion perpetuated by president trump still a little bit in that statement, still by leaders in the republican party that this was somehow foul play when based on everything we know right now this was a duly authorized by a magistrate and duly executed search warrant by the fbi and this is something that happens all the time in america, that it is a former president at his residence obviously is extraordinary, but if we believe that no one is above the law, then that should include a former president and his residence if there's a proper warrant and if there's a proper search. >> we'll see what happens next.
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the former president has spoken. thank you and thank everyone for watching. our coverage continues.
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hello and a warm welcome to our viewers joining us in the yuntsz and united states and around the world. just ahead -- >> file the motion to make public the warrant in light of the surrounding circumstances and substantial public interest in this matter. >> an armed man who tried to storm an fbi office in cincinnati, ohio with an ar-15 style rifle and then engaged in a shoot-out with autho


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