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tv   CNN Newsroom With Pamela Brown  CNN  January 21, 2023 5:00pm-6:00pm PST

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this is cnn breaking news. >> i'm pamela brown in washington, and you are live in the "cnn newsroom." we have more now on our breaking news on this saturday night. the president's personal attorney says more classified documents have been found at the president's home in wilmington.
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cnn's arlette saenz is in ra rehoboth beach, delaware. what more are we learning tonight? >> reporter: pamela, president biden's personal attorney, bob bauer, released a statement in the last -- a little over an hour, saying that the justice department conducted a search of the wilmington, delaware, home and found additional materials with classified markings. bauer stresses that this search was done in coordination with the president's personal attorneys, both the personal attorneys and lawyers from the white house counsel's office were on hand for that search. sources also told us that it was specifically conducted by the fbi. and what bauer said is that they opened up the home for this search. that included a search of the living, the working, and the storage areas in wilmington, delaware. i want to read a bit of the statement that gets into exactly what types of materials they were looking through. bauer wrote in a statement, "doj had full access to the president's home, including
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personally handwritten notes, files, papers, binders, medical ra bila, to-do lists, schedules, reminders going back decades doj took possession of materials it deemed within the scope of its inquiry. some of which were from the president's service in the senate and some of which were from his tenure as vice president. doj also took for further review personally handwritten notes from the vice presidential years." the white house special counsel, rich area saaber, said neither president biden nor first lady jill bide rein on hand for this search yesterday which took close to 13 hours. really, this marks the fifth instance that we know of where documents were found either at locations tied to president biden, first that discovery on november 2nd at the penn biden center, that private office biden used when he left the obama administration. there was another search
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conducted in wilmington, delaware, on december 20th. then also another on january 11th. the following day, more documents were found. yesterday did amount to the fifth time the documents had been found at locations tied to president biden. of course, it wasn't until much later after that initial search on november 2nd, i wasn't until two months later it was revealed that those documents had even been found publicly to this press. this all comes as the white house has been grappling with this ongoing saga related to the classified documents. one thing that they've faced, some criticism over their initial unwillingness to disclose the finding of these documents right away. i want to have you listen to what president biden had to say earlier this week when he was asked whether he had any regrets about their decisions not to disclose things right away. >> hang on, okay?
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look, as we found -- we found a handful of documents were filed in the wrong place. we're fully cooperating, looking forward to getting this resolved quickly. i think you're going to find there's nothing there. i have no regrets. i'm following what the lawyers have told me they want me to do. it's exactly what we're doing. there's no there there. >> reporter: of course, this is a remarkable string of events that has unfolded over the course of the past two weeks. and now with the fbi searching the home of a current sitting president, of course, the white house has been quick to point out that they are trying to cooperate fully every step of the way with the special counsel's investigation, with the justice department, with the national archives. of course, they're trying to draw this contrast with the way that former president donald trump handled the classified documents down in mar-a-lago as he is being investigated down there for obstruction. the white house trying to make
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clear they are trying to follow each step that the justice department has laid out for them and cooperate in this matter. but at this moment, just yesterday, more documents were found at that wilmington, delaware, home bringing the total known classified documents found between the home and then also that private office to close to 30. i will also note that president biden is currently spending the weekend here in rehoboth beach, delaware, with his wife, dr. jill biden. the personal attorneys said the rehoboth beach home had been searched last week, now the couple is spending this weekend here. >> searched by the personal attorneys. we do expect them to search other properties connected to jib. arlette, thank you. what a night in rehoboth beach, delaware, traveling with the president. we have a number of experts to help us better understand what this all mines, including paula reid. she is on the phone.
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we also have national security attorney mark zad, former federal prosecutor michael zoreden, and arne gidur. mark, i want to start with you. you have a lot of experience dealing with classified documents and so forth. what do you make of this latest development, six more classified documents found at the president's residence? and how could this impact the investigation? >> it's embarrassing, let's put it plain and simple. this has been mishandled from day one. i'm not concerned, even with the discovery of additional possibly classified documents, because just because they're still marked "classified" from however many years ago doesn't mean the information is still classified. we'll have to find out. doesn't excuse it. i don't think it will impact the legal case involving president biden, for a number of reasons which we can go into. but this is obviously
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politically going to be fodder for the republicans, and more importantly, unfortunately, it could, though it shouldn't as a matter of law, impact how the justice department deals with president trump. because as you've been saying, so many people are trying to make a comparison that this is apples and apples, when it's not even close. the two situations are completely factually distinct. >> the bottom line, and you're absolutely right, there are key distinctions. most of all, there is an obstruction investigation with trump where evidence was developed, documents have been moved out of their places. in fact, when that search warrant was executed, they did find several classified documents. i think it was around 100, if memory serves me, at mar-a-lago. but that aside, in this case you have a sitting president's personal residence being searched by the fbi for nearly 13 hours. this is truly extraordinary, it's historic.
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in terms of the national security implications, you say, mark, you don't believe that this is going to have serious implications, but what would prosecutors be looking at? they're going to take these classified documents, look at everything that they've gathered through the course of this investigation. walk us through the process what was they're looking for to see if laws have been broken here. >> thank you so much for having me on. so at base, this is deeply embarrassing to the president. and i think a big distinguishing factor that's unfortunate for the president is that he's in the hot seat right now, right? so this is not good. in terms of the process, robert hur, who was just appointed by attorney general garland, is appropriately, as i understand it from the facts that we all have together, using the fbi -- federal bureau of investigation -- to do the investigation, which he must.
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they're the fact-gatherers. it appears from what i've read, same access to information that you have, that this was something that was collaborative and there was cooperation on the part of the president and his attorneys. and it's going to take a very long time. it's a very carefully and meticulously and rigorously go through the information to see whether a crime was committed. and if indeed one was, it's still ultimately going to be the attorney general of the united states who makes the call. >> so we know that six more documents with classified markings were taken, including other information, michael zeldin. they mentioned handwritten letters. they mentioned materials. we don't know if those were classified materials or not from biden's time of service. what would additional materials be on those with classified markings have that would help investigators in this investigation? why would they be pertinent here?
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>> so the fbi and the special counsel are investigating what is a mishandling of documents case now. and that question is, were these documents mishandled? the answer is yes. why were they mishandled? was it intentional or unintentional? that's being inquired of. were they disseminated to anybody while they were mishandled? that's another question they have to ask. they have to answer these particular questions to make a determination whether or not this mishandling of classified document documents rises to the level of a criminal charge or whether it's inadvertent and therefore not criminal. in terms of what's in the documents themselves, that remains to be seen. but i remember, pam, when i did the independent counsel investigation, we interviewed former president george herbert walker bush in his offices in houston. we said to him, "mr. president, do you have any recollection of this?" he said, "let me check my dairy." he went out, came become with
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his diary, "no, i have no indication of that, but i do have an indication of this." here's a former president with a diary in his personal office which probably had classification issues that surround him. so i don't think that is in and of itself significant. but it is what the prosecutors need to ascertain before they can make a determination about whether something is classified or not. to what mark said, though, i think needs reiterating, is these document cases point to the fact that there is overclassification in the united states government and that there are so many documents that shouldn't be classified that are classified that gets politicians who are unintentional in their handling of these documents but sloppy in these sort of legal jams. i think that one of the things that congress should be doing is looking at the classification system. >> and that is, no doubt, a relish ewe here, but it should be pointed out, we don't know
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what was in these documents so we don't know the classified information that they contained. and we do know there were some with top secret classifications. so, you know, that's part of the hard part, right, trying to make sense of this, and what this all means, that there's so much information we don't know. we shouldn't know what's in those classified documents, they're classified for a reason. they belong to the agencies that developed these materials, right? and it does make you wonder, mark zad, you have the situation at mar-a-lago. all these 300, around 300 classified documents there. you have now the fifth batch of classified documents being found at a property connected to joe biden. how common -- i mean, is this just the tip of the iceberg in terms of elected officials leaving office and bringing home classified info? >> when the story first broke initially by cbs news, the first thing that came to my mind was, how could president biden not
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have had his residence and office searched just to be safe after the mar-a-lago case arose? because i will tell you, first of all, before the presidential records act was enacted during the carter administration, it was routine, white house officials, staff, and the president and vice president could bring home anything they wanted. they shouldn't, but they did. i mean, i own a document that truman's chief of staff had for 50 years that was top secret document, declassified and i purchased it at auction. but if i were like former president obama, i'd be going through all my miles. >> right. >> members of the senate, the house. i'd be looking all over. it is common. the difference here, of course, if president trump had allowed the fbi to come into his dens, let's still do that, president trump. you can do it. none of that has happened. that is all the difference in the world when it comes to the criminal mishandling.
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especially for a president or former president of the united states. so i'm not going to say it happens more likely than not to every clearance holder. there are millions of us, including myself, who have security clearances. but it happens fairly regularly in the mishandling context and not, as michael said in a criminal context. it becomes a security clearance matter, administrative matter. >> i think that's important. but this is raising all sorts of important questions, i think, for this country. the overclassification as you point out, also the originating agencies. these documents often come from agencies like cia, other intelligence agencies. why isn't there a better chain of custody for documents? you can copy them and so forth. it's complicated, but this is raising important questions. a lot more on this breaking news. we have to take a quick break. so thank y you.
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welcome back. covering breaking news. the fbi is searching the private residence of the president, president joe biden, on friday for around 13 hours with the consent and working in cooperation with the president's attorney and the white house counsel's office who were present there as the search was being conducted. this is an extraordinary development in this case. we found out in november the first batch was found of classified documents at the penn biden center. they were found then but not -- didn't come out until cbs broke the news after the election. this is the fifth time that we have learned that a batch of classified documents have been found at a property connected to president joe biden. and i want to bring back in our experts. there's a lot of talk about just how embarrassing this is for joe biden, right? there's the legal aspect of this and the potential national security implications, but there's also the political part of this, julian zelzer, and how
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history will look back on this. >> i think that's the way to separate it. there's the law, and there's investigations that many administrations have faced. and it's not clear how serious this is and where this all goes. it's certainly not another watergate at this point. but there's the politics, and the politics matters. the unusual context here is the former president candidate in 2024, donald trump, is being investigated for also having documents in the residence. the cases have been handled differently. it seems that the paper, from what we know, might have been taken very differently. but for a lot of the public, that's what's going to make this politically different. it's perception matters in politics. and that's what the biden administration has to wrestle with right now. >> right. it is clear in the statement from the personal attorney, they're going above and beyond to emphasize they have been working with doj, they have been
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forthcoming, they have been coordinating the search with them. but like you say, perception matters. and joe biden had said that trump was irresponsible in what happened with the classified documents there, and now this happens, classified documents keep getting found at his properties and more searches will likely happen by the fbi at other properties. and so yes, it is true that his attorneys, according to what they have but out there, they've been cooperating. but sometimes that nuance can get lost. and the parallels will, no doubt, be drawn. as we know, on that note, donald trump had said he declassified all that information, it's no big deal. well, president biden also has that classification authority, how might that factor into all of this? >> well, a couple of key and huge differences here. one is that president trump referenced declassification authority during his presidency, but there was no evidence of the
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declassification. that was unsuccessful for him. president biden is the sitting president of the united states. he is actually the ultimate classification authority independent the executive order that governs the classification of national security information in its definition, essentially. and if he wanted to, although i don't think he ever would -- it would be politically disastrous -- he could declassify the very information that is the subject of the investigation, and it would present a huge conundrum, but ultimately one that he would succeed in. but with grave political consequences. but it's also a bit of a shame on you moment. because he is the boss. the buck stops with him right now. and also, from what i gather, there were classification markings on the documents that were found by the bureau. i think that's a big distinguishing point in terms of the arguments over classification that's endemic in the intelligence community, which by the way is totally true.
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>> yeah, i've heard that complaint for years and years, covering national security and doj. i just want to be really transparent with our viewers of just how much we don't know in this case too. while the president's attorneys now seem to be more open and transparent with us about what is being found, there is a lot we don't know. i learned -- you were my national security professor at gw. i've learned a lot about how lawyers, how they write letters and certain words that they use. i'm going through this letter, mark, and i'm looking at the way they say six items consisting of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials. that could be more pages than just six. but the bottom line here is, the number of documents, that is not necessarily as relevant to the investigation as what is in those documents, right? and the intent behind why those documents were at a private residence where they should not have been, correct, mark?
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>> no, absolutely correct. substance matters. you know, if it's a confidentially marked document versus a secret or top secret or what we call tssci into a compartment, you know -- one of those is worth more than ten of the other, so to speak. it's still a mishandling issue. and were the president to ever need a security clearance, which is realistically not going to occur, it could be an issue. and just with former president trump. he's not permitted, unlike prior presidents, to have access to classified information bit discretionary decision of this white house. that could possibly happen to president biden in the future. is that a big deal? i guess depends how you want to look at it. but this, again, is something that happens often. one of the things we need to know when we talk about what we don't know, who had access to these documents at any given time? vice president biden or
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president biden, vice president at the time, his residence is a different situation than most of ours with the amount of security that it has and the staff that's probably been vetted, unlike maybe our cleaning people in our cases in our normal homes. but where were they? when we heard about the garage situation, that there was a document in the adjacent room, what does that mean? there's the transparency that this white house could do better at, where if i were advising, i would suggest it. because that's not going to influence the special counsel to give more details about that. what it will do is minimize the public outcry and the political rhetoric that folks are using to attack president biden in comparing it, improperly, to former president trump and his lawyers and supporters around him have done. >> all right. gentlemen, stick around. more to discuss. more to discuss. we'll be right back.
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breaking news of the fbi searching the president's private residence on friday for nearly 13 hours in cooperation with the president's attorneys and finding six documents with classification markings and also other materials that were taken from the home to assist in this investigation. paula reid, i want to bring you in. you're getting new information about this search, right, and who else was involved in it? >> exactly, and i was surprised to learn that special counsel rob hur, he is not on board yet at justice department. he has not started his role overseeing this investigation. he was, of course, appointed by the attorney general to take over this case and conduct a thorough investigation. after an initial review by a trump-appointed u.s. attorney in
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chicago looked at the facts and recommended that a special counsel be appointed here. what i've just learned is the u.s. attorney, john loush out of chicago, trump appointee still in that position as u.s. attorney, he was the one who oversaw this fbi search of the president's residence. that is significant because this was such a shift in the approach. instead of the biden attorneys conducting their own searches, having the fbi go to the home of a sitting president, something truly extraordinary. i was interested to see if this was the approach that we were going to see under robert hur. but we've learned he's not quite in the job yet, though the justice department tells me they expect him to be on board shortly. i do want to take a step back and kind of set where we are. at this point, over the past few weeks, we're now up to close to 30 documents with classified markings that have been found at two locations connected to the current president -- both a former office and his home.
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and pamela, we've learned that more searches are possible. there are other locations. and just think about how extraordinary that is, that the fbi is going to be the entity conducting other searches. the thought of having the fbi conduct multiple searches related to a sitting president is truly a historic event. now of course, they are trying to soften all of this, the president's team, by emphasizing their cooperation, saying they gave permission for this, they've been respectful, they were present for these searches. but as you know, you don't get extra credit for accompanimaccompaniment ing cooperating with the justice department, that is expected. they hope in the court of public opinion, that will help differentiate the biden situation from what is happening with former president trump. as we've been talking about the past few hours, it's not clear most voters are going to make much of a distinction here. >> we know republicans are going to try to muddy the waters and
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argue that there's a double standard. you're hearing from trump attorneys, i'm hearing from republicans who are already making that argument. we can talk more about that later. julian zelzer, as a presidential historian, has anything like this ever happened before whe where you had a private residence of a sitting president be searched by the fbi? >> i'm not sure on the private residence. there have been investigations involving administrations and sitting presidents. and again -- in fact, it's been most presidencies since nixon have had investigations. president obama was an exception. this ranges from watergate to iran contra under ronald reagan to whitewater with president clinton. so these are issues that come up. the site might be different, but this is something presidents face. again, the difference here politically is the other case that's going on with former
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president donald trump and how those stories converge going into president biden's third year. again, also with the house republican majority that's prepared to spend the next two years investigating anything that comes its way. i think that's the difference we're seeing here. >> i want to get to arem, that the investigation was done in conjunction with paul loush. robert hur still getting on board, if you will. but this u.s. attorney had initially -- did not request, initially, did not request any searches. now you see this search taking place. what do you make of that? >> so i think the u.s. attorney is being rigorous, being straightforward, by the book. not distinguishing the title or
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the position of the president from another citizen. so i think for purposes of political accountability, it's essentially an apples for apples situation. but on main street, though, this entire score is just one big moral equivalency sandbox, at this point. you have the former president and current president, and then if you zoom out enough, national security information, classified documents, in their respective residences. and that's really, really, really bad for president biden. >> yeah, it is bad. no other way to look at it, right? it is bad. it was bad when trump did it, it is bad for biden, that all these different bunches of classified information were at different locations. michael zeldin, what other insight do you have on this? as we pointed out, there is the political part, this looks really bad for biden. but what about legally?
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should this additional search and what it uncovered provide any more concern for joe biden? >> well, it depends on what's in there. but if we look at recent past cases, there were three that are instructive. one is against former attorney general alberto gonzalez in the bush, "w." administration, and he was investigated for misman documents. he fully cooperated, he didn't disseminate them, didn't destroy them, ultimately given a finding of no criminal liability. former army general petraeus took documents that were classified, gave them to his biographer, and was prosecuted, had to plead guilty to crimmina mishandling because of the dissemination. similarly, former national security adviser sandy berger took documents, when they asked about them he altered them. he, too, had to plead guilty. so legally speaking, what is
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distinguishing in all of these cases is, once they were revealed -- and there's no explanation other than error for both trump and, i think, biden's initial mishandling. once identified what do they do? and then what did the prosecutor find was done with those documents? i think in the biden case, it will turn out that he was just sloppy and that he was -- >> is that a defense when it comes to top secret, classified information? >> well -- >> like, what a lower-level employee who was sloppy, put it this way -- if there was a lower-level employee who worked at cia, was sloppy and took home top secret national security classified information, would that lower-level aide be able to say, oh, well, i was sloppy. would that be a good defense? >> well, mark said it correctly,
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that person would lose his security clearance for sure. and probably be asked to leave the government. but it wouldn't necessarily result in a criminal prosecution if there was inadvertence and there was no destruction and there was no dissemination and he returned them immediately upon disclosure. so i think that what biden is trying to do is walk this line between what julian is saying, which is, disseminate information about what happened as quickly and fully as you can, versus the lawyers who are saying, look, doj is asking us to be quiet about this. look at the search, pam. it took place yesterday. we're not learning about it till today because that's what doj asked of biden. he'll be criticized, but why didn't he tell us yesterday? because doj told him not to. so it's a very difficult line between your political reputation and your legal liability. and as a lawyer, my view is, in the end, if there's finding of no legal liability, you can explain away the process
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politically if you're found to have legal liability, all the process stuff doesn't matter one bit. >> that's really interesting insight and perspective. thank you so much. we're going to have much more just ahead on our breaking news. also, another story we're following tonight, violence at a protest in atlanta. we're waiting to hear from the mayor and the chief of police mayor and the chief of police there. myou can make it even smarter. there. now ports can knknow where every piece of cargo is. and where it's going. (dock worker) right on time. (vo) robots can predict breakdowns and order their own replacement parts. (foreman) nice work. (vo) and retailers can get ahead of the fashion trend of the day with a new line tomorrow. with a verizon private 5g network, you can get more agility and security. giving you more control of your business. we call this enterprise intelligence. from the network america relies on.
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♪ the old way of working is deader than me. ♪ ♪ we'll scale up, and we'll scale down ♪ ♪ before you're six feet underground. ♪ ♪ yes, this is how, this is how we work now. ♪ recapping this busy saturday night, more classified documents have been found at president biden's home in delaware. the fbi conducted the 12-hour search yesterday with the consent of biden's attorneys. the president's personal attorney bob bauer says the justice department has taken possession of six items. those consisted of documents with classification markings and surrounding materials. the president's attorney says some dated back to biden's time in the u.s. senate and others from his tenure as vice
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president. we don't know if those materials from when he was senator are classified or not, that was not clear from this statement. still a lot to learn but we are getting a lot of information tonight. we have a team of experts covering the white house, the legal, political side of this, covering this braels news tonight. jeremy diamond, i want to bring you in. look, there's really no way to look at this other than, this is really bad for biden and the biden white house. at least from a political standpoint. what are your white house sources saying about this? >> well, it's certainly a remarkable moment, pamela, to see a sitting president's home, a home that he still uses regularly while he lives at the white house, he regularly goes back to this wilmington home on the weekends. this weekend he's at his other home in rajon bed beach, delaware, not too far of a drive from wilmington where this search was conducted. a 13-hour search, nearly 13
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hours, conducted just yesterday. and what's perhaps most damaging to the president is not the fact that this search occurred but the fact that it is yet another instance of this kind of drip, drip of how much more is there still here? we saw, of course, initially the president's personal attorneys found the first set of classified documents at his office in washington, d.c. at the former penn biden center on november 2nd. then on december 20th, they conducte eed a search of his ho and found documents at the wilmington home. subsequently they found another page of documents on january 11th when the white house special counsel, dick saaber, went to that wilmington home to hand over those documents to the doj. they discovered five additional pages of documents. and now we have this other search. now this time conducted by fbi agents with the cooperation and the permission of president biden's legal team where they
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find six additional documents. and so when you put that all together, it is the drip, drip, drip of this situation that makes this, did from a communications perspective, a political perspective, that much worse for the president. we still don't know whether it makes it worse for the president from a legal perspective. white house officials, the president's pornal attorneys and the president himself have insisted, as the president said the other day, there is no there there. tebl this investigation bit special counsel will eventually exonerate the president. >> so they say there is no there there. this is happening against the backdrop of another investigation, the special counsel investigation into donald trump's handling, mishandling, of classified information and obstruction of justice. it's really just a remarkable time in this country, right, where you have the former president and the current president with both have special counsel investigations looking at their handling of classified information. how do you think that backdrop impacts the perception of what
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is happening right now with joe biden and this latest revelation that the fbi searched his private home and found six additional classified documents? >> well, i think it will have a great deal to do with the perception. if this was happening on its own, if the former president's case was not in motion and at issue, i'm not sure there would be much attention to this or be elevated to this level. what's happening is the comparison. what's happening is it also plays directly into one of the chief rhetorical strategies of the former president. donald trump loves to talk about double standards and hypocrisy and people out to get him. and so this story will fuel that kind of narrative, and house republicans will help him do that. so i think it's affecting the investigation itself, and it will certainly add impact on how doj thinks about the subsequent
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steps in the investigation into trump. all of this is wrapped together -- good evening. welcome to our joint operations center here at the atlanta public safety headquarters. we are joined here with a lot of our partners tonight. first, i want to thank our chief, chief sheerbalm, for his great leadership and the men and women of the atlanta police department. the atlanta fire rescue department, our 911 operators, georgia state patrol, the gbi, the fbi, our state and federal partners, as well as our partners in fulton county, dekalb county, marta, and others. atlanta is safe, and our police officers have resolved the disruptions downtown from this evening. thanks to the quick action of our public safety officials working together, order has been restored in a swift manner. the city of atlanta and the atlanta police department will not tolerate this, and we
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continue to protect the right to peacefully protest. we will not tolerate violence or property destruction. the atlanta police department and our law enforcement partners are fully engaged and have the resources to protect our residents, our visitors, and our businesses in this city. again, i want to thank atlanta's firefighters, our police officers, our 911 operators, ems, and everyone else who has helped to keep order in our city. my message is simple to those who seek to continue this type of criminal behavior. we will find you, and we will arrest you. and you will be held accountable. we have arrested several of them this evening, and chief sheerbalm will give you the details on that. many don't even live in atlanta or the state of georgia, and they don't represent the voices of atlanta. some of them were found with explosives on them. you heard that correctly, explosives.
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and that has led to a police officer's car being set on fire and other destruction has occurred. and so make no mistake about it, these individuals meant harm to people and to property. so to the people of atlanta, i've said from the beginning my administration that king our city's streets safe is my top priority. and we will continue to leverage all of the city's resources to make that happen. so tonight you saw good, swift police work in collaboration with a lot of our regional and state partners. i'll turn it over to chief sheerbalm to give you more details from tonight. >> good evening. i want to start by acknowledging the support we have at the podium from the georgia state patrol and sheriff la bot and the key role they have played in restoring order to our city. this department is equally committed to two things. we will protect the first amendment rights of every citizen, and we will stop lawlessness wherever it may occur in atlanta.
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we were prepared for both eventualities. the protest was being held earlier tonight, 5:00. that group started marching north on piece tree street in a peaceful manner and this department was deployed to protect that right of protest. however, when that group arrived at the intersection of l street and peachtree street, a group inside that marching crowd decided to start committing illegal acts which included the breaking of windows and also attacking police cruisers in the area. that immediately changed the focus of this police department. those in the area were eeg seeing a rapid response of police officers, state patrolmen, and sheriff's deputies. within two blocks the illegal activity had been stop asked we had made arrests of six individuals that chose to take the first amendment as a shield of illegal activity. and we stopped the protesters that were acting illegally, had them in custody, had order restored on peachtree street and in the downtown area. there are three businesses that received damages to their windows.
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the investigation continues to determine who caused that. if there's someone who committed a criminal act who we durntly do not have in custody, we're using resources to identify them and bring them to justice. the mayor mentioned we have a number of federal partners with us in the building. atf, federal bureau of investigation. we also have the attorney general's office of the state of georgia as well as the georgia bureau of investigation. because even though we are just a few hours into this investigation, we already know that we have arrested actors and have already been involved in other criminal activity and are involved in a manner to deter the building of the public safety training center. every citizen of this city should know where criminals should arrive inside of atlanta, georgia, they will be met by their police department, they will be met by the collaboration behind me. anyone who attempts to break the peace and security of atlanta, georgia, will be held accountable. and we will protect the first amendment for everyone that chooses to peacefully do so. our department is equally
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committed to both. yes, sir. >> [ inaudible ] police unit set on fire, was there an officer inside there or [ inaudible ]? >> we are very fortunate tonight that when the men and women of law enforcement responded, none were harmed. no atlanta police officer, no sheriff's deputy, no georgia state trooper has been injured tonight. the men and women of law enforcement put themselves in a very dangerous situation to quickly end this i didn't mean natural activity. so we're able to answer your question by saying no, no law enforcement was injured tonight. i also think we should note, no citizens on our street was injured. protesters put them in a very dangerous situation. the mayor has already spoken about the explosive devices being recovered. we can tell now, early in this investigation, this was not the focus tonight, just to damage windows and set a police car on fire. the intent was to continue to do
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harm, and that did not happen. >> one more question for you, chief. a lot of our viewers are saying these are no longer protesters, these are rioters. is there a fine line between what happened here tonight, between protesters and rioters? >> protests, and i've said this before, is engaging your elected officials. protest is raising your voice. protest is standing on the courthouse lawn, city hall lawn, on every sidewalk. this police department, as quickly as we moved tonight to arrest vandals, we protect with the same dedication men and women that exercise their first amendment right. it doesn't take a rocket scientist or attorney to tell you that breaking windows and setting fires is not protest. that is terrorism. and they will be charged accordingly. and they will find that this police department and the partnership is equally committed to stop that activity. >> fox 5, this is a question for you and the mayor. reaction to just the bold nature of this, and this ongoing issue that's been happening since last
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year surrounding this training facility? what were your thoughts when you got wind of what was going on today? >> you know what, what i know, because i've been involved for a number of months, this is a very small group of individuals that we're dealing with. i think we're going to see tonight some of these individuals, we've already dealt with. we know it's very small. we know it's not representative of the citizens of atlanta. it certainly doesn't reflect the values of our city. and so i'm very aware of that. i know that the mechanisms of the collaboration of lawful stands behind me. the prosecutors that are engaged in this case will hold those accountable, and we will start to see this activity diminish, we will eventually see this activity end. it's only a matter of time. >> chief, do we know yet if those people were from those area, those arrested? >> we're reviewing that now. >> you said in the past, it's typically been people from out of state? >> yes, i don't know which news group it was recently, we saw this great graphic of everyone that was arrested this past week. not a single georgia resident in
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there. it was from across the country. i don't want to give anyone their own promotion for your news agency, but look for that graphic, see where each arrestee was, what state they were associated with. >> any details on charges? >> that will be forthcoming. we already have prosecutors in the room as we speak, and we're reviewing everything. we have a lot of evidence to still go through. even charges you see tonight, those can easily be upgraded and will be upgraded if appropriate. >> >> you just heard police condemning violent protests in downton atlanta. cnn national security analyst juliette cayenne also with us. what a busy night. now forecused on these violent protests. we heard some of the protesters had explosives, according to
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off officials. governor kemp tweeted, violence and unlawful destruction of property are not acts of protest, they are crimes that will not be tolerated in georgia and will be fully prosecuted. david, are you surprised to see the violence we have seen there tonight? what do you think? >> well, i think that there's a real blurring of the lines in the use of the word violence. is property destruction violence? to some people it certainly is. but, you know, this idea that breaking windows or other acts of property destruction are the same as actual violence against humans, it's kind of a dangerous and slippery concept. and, i mean, look. i don't think this is a smart move. i don't think it's a productive move from the standpoint of the
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protesters. but as even the chief himself said, this is a small group. this is also within this defend the forest movement, there are no leaders. so people go off and do their own thing. that doesn't make them justifiable. but i do think that, you know, you keep using these words violent, violent, violent, violent. and it gives the impression -- the only violence or the only acts of violence against people that i saw were actually police tackling protesters. >> hm, and you've been there, you've been watching this unfold. so what do you make of this, juliette? >> so let's put a little context for viewers who probably aren't following what's been happening with cop city and nearly $200 million investment in what's called the law enforcement training center. you know, it's something that will train future cops, one
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hopes, in lawful ways. it also trains citizens, emergency managers, and others. it's been under protest. it's called cop city. it's been dubbed cop city. it's been under protest for a very long while. this last week, there was an altercation, the details are unknown, but one of the protesters at cop city was killed in flight and was also armed. that's going to be investigated. so tensions were high, in any event. to me, this is clearly violence. i understand david's point in the sense of, of course there's a qualitative difference between shooting people or dragging people and violence against buildings. but people live in those buildings, people have their homes in those buildings. i think people have homes in their businesses, businesses in those buildings. we don't know how this unfolds. so the elevation of it clearly had to be stopped relatively
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quickly by the police, which happened, and i think it is telling that most of these people are not from atlanta. not even from georgia. these organizations, those who want to disrupt peaceful protest often come in to interrupt. so it looks like it's under control now, but the distinction between, oh, going after cop cars or buildings really is not a distinction that is knowable in realtime. you simply don't know how this will escalate. and that is why the police have to deal with it as if it were -- as if it were just violence, if that's what it is. >> david, do you know if more protests are planned? >> i mean, i -- you know, i follow social media, and i'm sure there will be more protests. but you know, to be clear, i'm


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