tv CNN Tonight CNN August 8, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
has warned that the ugs ares still do want to get involved in the systems here in the united states. donie o'sullivan thank you so much for your reporting. terrific analysis. all right. a lot going on, especially with the breaking news out of mar-a-lago, the fbi conducting a search operation there. the news continues, so let's hand it over to sara sidner and hand it over to sara sidner and "cnn tonight." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com i'm sara sidner, and this is "cnn tonight" on a very big news night. former president donald trump's mar-a-lago home in florida has been searched by the fbi. trump confirmed it himself tonight. three sources tell our sara murray and kristen holmes it was related to the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents. those documents may have been brought to mar-a-lago when donald trump left the white house. in order to get a search warrant like this, prosecutors have establish probable cause that a
crime was committed. so, this is a very big deal. make no mistake about it. former president trump has already blasted the move, claiming, as he often does, political persecution and a witch hunt. in a statement released tonight, he says, quote, these are dark times for our nation, as my beautiful home, mar-a-lago in palm beach, florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of fbi agents. nothing like this has ever happened to a president of the united states before. after working and cooperating with the government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate. such an assault would only take place in broken third world countries. they even broke into my safe. cnn has learned donald trump was not in florida when the fbi closed in on his home. he was at trump tower here in new york city. i am joined now by cnn political analyst matt haberman, a cnn political correspondent for the
"new york times," and author of the upcoming book, "confident man: the making of donald trump and the breaking of america" which goes on sale in october, is also with us. former communication director alyssa farah griffin, and former federal prosecutor, shan wu. the president says this has never happened to a president before. of course it hasn't because we've never had a president in this position before. we can say that, right sham? can we talk about this search and how much -- how far up the chain that the fbi would have had to have gone to get this search warrant. the president is calling it a raid and unfair. but the fbi has to go through a process to be able to do this, correct? >> that's right. as you said, there has to be probable cause and for the search warrant, it's got to go before a judge. so, the judge has to agree with the evidence they set forth. for something like this, as sensitive as you could possibly imagine at the justice department, that's got to go to the highest levels. garland has to know about it, has to give green light.
and certainly the head of the fbi, same situation. they have to know about it. they have is to give the green light. >> can you give us a sense of what you think this might be all about. i know this is an educated guess, but from what we know, from what we have heard in the past, and some of the reporting that maggie has done herself, what might this be all about? zblit sounds like from the reporting that it's about the records. and in a sense, this is low-hanging fruit for the justice department. it's very easy to go look and see what other records there are. and that's sort of a pre ma fascia obligation. they don't have to understand it through ages of analysis. so, it's kind of low-hanging fruit. so, it's a little bit in line with garland's approach, which is methodical. and this is something that's sort of a no-brainer. let's go see what we find there. >> apparently there have been from our reporting 15 boxes that have been taken out. maggie, you've been doing a lot of reporting on these documents being torn up and flushed down the toilet, which a lot of
people laughed at, but it really isn't funny. ultimately the former president is here in new york, the fbi is there at his house in florida. why do you think it was done this way? do you think it was calculated? and how dangerous may it be if he would have known that all this is going on beforehand? >> it's hard to speak to danger because we don't really know what we're talking about. we don't know whether he, say, held onto documents that were supposed to be returned to nara. we don't know if there was additional information they were seeking because we don't know a lot about or anything about the underlying search warrant material. there are a lot of unknowns. there are a lot of opeople speculating on both sides of the issue, those against donald trump and his supporters, about what this means. there's a ton we don't know yet. at least a portion of this relates to these boxes. these boxes were supposed to have been returned. the fact that this happened this way indicates stuff was not entirely returned. the fact that it took place when trump was not there is certainly of note. it was the first thing that i thought about because we know
that he has been up here for the summer at his club in bedminster. he's also expected to be deposed by the new york attorney general in the coming days. i think that has been occupying his time as well. did it mean he was not there to potentially interfere, or were they worried about that? i think it avoided the question of the fbi having to go in and maybe be stopped by the secret service or by anybody else who was around a sitting president who was not be there if he was not there. beyond that, there is a whole lot we don't know tonight. it would be good if everybody would just wait until we know. i know that's not how anybody does things these days, but there is a ton we don't know yet. we do know this is unprecedented. this is a remarkable situation. it is a former president. that is not something that is done lightly, where there is going to be a search warrant executed this way. there's no way that merrick garland is doing this lightly. it's hard to imagine he would not know about it. i want to note the fbi director chris wray was appointed by
donald trump. >> trump appointee. you talk about how everyone is speculating, and alyssa, how are conservatives taking this? trump has already started the rhetoric he's been saying a long time, a witch hunt, they're after me, deep state, et cetera, et cetera. >> the rhetoric from the right is already extremely heated and inflammatory and already from elected officials saying how unprecedented this is. marco rubio put out a strongly worded statement that i was surprised by. one thing that is in the speculation space and one that's not. this indicates the specificity of knowing where to look, his personal office, his safe, says somebody pointed to it. this leads to me to believe somebody is cooperating that has information on mar-a-lago. something i can say that is not speculation, these documents were supposed to be archived. many of them were classified. this is not a small crime. as a former tssi security
clearance holder, something that's top security is considered to pose a grave national security risk if it's in the wrong risk. mar-a-lago has been a target of spies, espionage. you cannot just take highly classified documents and keep them in your personal office. that's a very serious offense. you don't even -- and then the final thing i would say is getting into donald trump's head the kind of things he would want to preserve, i couldn't even begin to speculate what kind of classified documents that could pose a serious risk to the u.s. if they got out. >> megan, can i ask you about the potential that there is, i mean, nothing there. 15 boxes. as you said, someone may have pointed to where this was and what they think might be in there. but we know from your reporting that some things have been destroyed. so, how do we know a bunch of stuff hasn't been destroyed. >> that's really all this comes down to. everybody keeps saying around trump, you know, why is everybody assuming the worst? they're assuming the worst in large part because of things like the shredding of documents
and in some cases the flushing of paper that were handwritten notes on it and so forth. we don't know what this is, but there is a reason to assume, again, just based on the fact that a judge signed off on this search warrant, that there was something significant there. now, it depends on what it is. is it something that, you know, his supporters would recognize as major? i don't know. i do know that his folks -- i shouldn't say his folks. some of his folks, certainly not all, and certainly him, have a long-standing habit of conflating legal problems with pr problems. and at the moment, they are treating this like it's a pr problem, but it's a legal problem. it may not be a consequential legal problem. we don't know what that looks like. i have no idea where this is going to result. we have seen investigations of people around trump fizzle. we have seen investigations of people around trump result in guilty pleas of convictions. i don't know if this is going to be anything. obviously an indictment of a former president, should this be where this is leading, will not
be done lightly. whether it is something his supporters see as quote, unquote sufficient, i think is the question i'm already hearing from people around trump, to alyssa's point. if this is, quote, unquote, nothing -- and define nothing -- it may rip the country apart. it may be headed in that direction regardless. but i think the argument from the doj would be we have to follow the law. >> legal problem or pr problem depending how you want to parse this. luckily we have a former federal prosecutor sitting here with us. as a legal problem, how big of a legal problem might this be because, you know, maggie is reporting that things were shredded and flushed down the toilet. how big of a problem could this be for donald trump? what kind of charges might he face if they find something? >> well, in addition to the mishandling of the classified information, there could be destruction of government property as well. so, i think the thing that really strikes me about this is
just how simple of a case it could be to prove. that's why i refer to it as low-hanging fruit. if they find the boxes and the documents are there, that's the end of the story. i think that is the distinction here between a lot of the other probes that are going on. i think it's an open and shut case depending on what they find. of course they're focusing on physical documents. trump doesn't seem big on using the internet that much or emails. but there could be digital records as well involved here. and the fact that they are in there, in his residence, looking at his belongings, that's -- frankly that's enormously intrusive and gives them the opportunity to find all sorts of things. there is something called the plain view doctor, which is if you're there legitimately, anything else you see, you're legitimately able to look at. >> can i just stop and take a breath real quick. a former president's home has been searched now by a number of fbi agents. when you look at this in the
view of sort of 30,000 feet and history, maggie, i'll start with you. how big of a moment is this? is this a moment we are all going to remember? >> yes, we're all going to remember being together on this night because this is a night where you are going to remember where you were, even if this doesn't end up ultimately leading to where trump's critics and political opponents -- and i don't mean in the white house but democrats, some democrats -- hope it would go. it's still a remarkable moment. we have seen six years of norms shattered, of ongoing investigations of a sitting president, that he made more extensive by the fact that he kept trying to get his arms around the mueller investigation. we saw not one, but two, impeachments. then we had the january 6th investigations. and yet none of that led to this point until now. i do wonder -- and we have not raised this yet. we talked about the confines of this investigation. but i do wonder, would we be seeing this, would there be a
willing to go forward the same way, absent knowing what they're looking for, had january 6th not happened? and i think you're going to hear a lot of people asking that question because we know there are already two sitting grand jurys. and actually i think there's a third investigation into the nara documents. >> to the point maggie made, i hope doj went about this meticulously and there is a there there because if not, it will tear the country apart. you are seeing it in the rhetoric that's coming out from my fellow americans and i'm hoping it was done for a reason and it is going somewhere. >> listen, we have so much more to talk about. much more to come on what the fbi search at mar-a-lago could mean for former president trump. the question on everybody's mind, what might all of this mean for him, particularly when it comes to potential criminal exposure? we're right back with more analysis coming up next.
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we are following the latest on the fbi search at former president donald trump's mar-a-lago resort, his current residence, as part of an investigation into the handling of presidential documents, including classified documents. he is already branding himself the victim of a witch hunt by the political establishment. but we have great guests here today, alyssa farah griffin, maggie haber man and shan wu are still with me. i want to go back to something you said before the break, both of you. this is going to tear the country apart if there is no there there. what do you mean by tear the country apart? do you mean the president is going to lawn skpch try to get his supporters to launch some massive lut? >> i think his statement already was inflammatory, saying this is something that's never happened before. it's the weaponization of our institutions. elected republicans are kind of -- are echoing that.
i haven't really seen any come out yet with a let's play this out and see what's going on, putting some degree of faith in our institution of the department of justice. one thing i will note is this. a narrative you're going to hear a lot from the right is the fact that, you know, hillary clinton mishandled classified information, something that, by the way, i criticized when she did. but her home was not raided. so, you're going to start to see this narrative pick up of how it's completely different treatment for him. and he loves to be the victim. it's something that he does very effectively. and i would note oan and extremist right wing networks said, this is war. they put out a statement saying that. and i think we have to be very careful in the next few days as this plays out in how we're talking about it. and i would implore republican leaders to as well. >> maggie, what do you think this means when you talk about the fact that you're hearing, this is war. i know we're all seeing it. it's on social media. it's coming out of some of these far right publications. it's going to be all over the
place tomorrow. what does that mean? >> well, i think it -- all we have to do is look back at january 6th, right, and why there is such concern about rhetoric that gets used in politics around specific moments and specifically by former president trump. the main point that the january 6th committee, the house select committee investigating what took place has made is that donald trump rallied people -- their argument is that donald trump rallied these folks, according to them, knowing that they were carrying weapons or things that could be used as weapons, and sent them on a march up to the capitol. his folks always point to the fact he used the word "peaceful" in his speech before that. that's fine. but a lot of these folks made clear in what they said to journalists and doj in some cases they felt they were being sent there by donald trump. we know he has the power and he has been honing this for six years, seven years, to motivate his followers to do things. he often says it's unlike any
political movement we've ever seen in this country. that's probably not completely true historically, but it's pretty close. because of that, it is not a power that he tends to reflect on. you know, he whips people up to defend him, defend me, defend me is always donald trump's argument, whether it is the people working directly for him or the people who love him. i go back in memory every time to what happened after the "access hollywood" tape in 2016 when he came downstairs from trump tower and immersed himself in the crowd. and that is sort of his playbook. that can have serious consequences. so, rather than waiting to see -- so, i was thinking, actually, as you were talking about hillary clinton and, well, hillary clinton, her home wasn't raided. no, but she was investigated for over a year and her server was subpoenaed. >> she testified to congress. >> she testified. and i think her presidential campaign was kind of impacted by it. so, i think the idea that this just happened and it was shrugged off is not historically accurate. but that is how his people will
frame this. >> that's how it will be spun. i do want to ask you, shan, what the criminal exposure might be if, indeed, it's found that the former president destroyed documents, which would be government property or had kept documents that he should not have and should have returned? >> so, i want to manage expectations here. we often talk about, is this a felony, is this misdemeanor? converting government property for your own use could be a ten-year felony. but before the internet blows up and says he's going to face a ten-year felony, you have to keep in mind what does the context show. he has no prior criminal records. when you're looking at sentencing guidelines, we're not necessarily looking at life without patrol here. manage those expectations. i think any conviction of a former president is enormously significant. and particularly for this man, who has had so many allegations, so many people close to him, michael cohen, saying all these things are wrong, he's going
down. thus far, nothing's happened. this could be the break in the dam. finally, if you have probable cause, first time we're seeing probable cause in front of a judge with these search warrants. and there's a charge and there's a conviction, that's the break in the dam finally. >> isn't the big thing, he can't run? >> no, i don't actually think he will run. if he's indicted, i think you'll see the presidential campaign kick off that afternoon, if it hasn't already. i do want to make a point. i think one of the reasons we did not see indictments or other aspects of investigations in these previous instances is because he was a sitting president. he's not a sitting president now. the ooc, justice department legal opinion says you can't indict a sitting president. and mueller decided not to test that. he's not a president anymore. and i think that, you know, you have seen him struggle with that, struggle with being out of office and what that looks like. he does not have that protection. and a lot of people around him -- a t lot of of opeople close to him are very blunt and
open that they believed part of the reason he was running for president -- and there were many that he will run if he does run. he loses the attention if he doesn't run. he loses the ability to fund raise if he doesn't run. but he also gains a potential shield against prosecution. and people should not underestimate that as a motivating factor. >> he could make it look political, which is already happening. >> or you could get elected and not get charged. >> or get elected and not get charged. alyssa, you have been around all of the people that were around them. are you hearing from them? are you hearing the anything from them? are you seeing what they're saying? and what are they saying the about this? >> my world is a bit disconnected from them personally now. but what i am seeing is kind of a standard party line from the folks still close to the former president, which is this is a witch hunt. this is biden and democrats coming after him, the democratic department of justice, not the independent hand of the fbi. and there's a very quick narrative that's been spun. and i would note, you know, fox news, it's night and day what you're hearing on other news
outlets and his preferred news outlet, which is framing it only one way, that this is a witch hunt and attack on the former president. so, half the country is hearing a very different conversation than the one we're having here. and again, it goes back to my point of why this is sort of a -- you know, it could be a powder keg moment if we don't take down the rhetoric and wait for the facts to play out. >> and you can guarantee that nobody is going to do that in general -- >> right. >> -- especially when you look on sort of the social media aspect. >> right, right. >> the media can be a little more calm and sort of, you know, try to go through all the details. but there is no reason to wrap it up -- >> and i would note because you are the expert in the extremist wings, you're going to see organizing around this. you're going to see oath keepers, the proud boys and others. i'm certain that the department of homeland security will be monitoring different channels that they organize on. and that's something that needs to be done, because this is something that's going to take them into action. >> they were very much involved in the january 6th attack. we will see what happens with them. >> i want to say though, i think
the best answer to that, that mobilization, would be for the charges to come. and many of us have been waiting for that to happen. the best answer here is to actually act, follow the law, and charge the crimes. >> all right. maggie haberman, thank you. i know that you're on deadline, so you have to go. and i know that's difficult. alyssa and shan, you are going to stick around with me. donald trump has complained about being, quote, persecuted at cpac this weekend. that was before the charges. he also raised the prospect of running again and seized on america's culture wars. how does that all read now after this major development, the fbi searching his home, mar-a-lago. we'll be back.
. right now we want to go to our chief white house correspondent, kaitlan collins. she is getting new information on the search at mar-a-lago. kaitlan, can you let us know what you're hearing at this hour? >> reporter: yeah, so we're actually learning more about what happened in the lead-up to this search warrant that was executed at the former president's primary residence today in florida. and this was a meeting that happened in early june, we are told, when a handful of investigators went to palm beach, florida. they met with several of the former president's attorneys while there. we are told that during this meeting, that the former president actually stopped by
and greeted these investigators who were there meeting with two of his attorneys at mar-a-lago. he did not say. we are told he did not answer questions, according to sources telling me that and gabby orr. after he left, the otwo attorneys that were meeting with investigators at mar-a-lago then took them to a room that is in the basement of mar-a-lago and showed them where the boxes that were taken from trump's time in the white house were being stored. we are told the investigators looked around the room and left. i am told that a person who attended that meeting, five days later, trump's attorney got a letter from one of those investigators asking them to secure the documents in the room where the documents are being stored. i'm told it was locked, but they were led to put a padlock on this door with these documents were being stored. that really gives insight into the fact that there had been
discussions between investigators and the former president's attorneys in the lead-up to this search warrant being executed. june 8th, that was two months ago today. so, what happened in those eight weeks that led this from going investigators visiting mar-a-lago to of course this search warrant being executed? that is still a gap that remains to be filled, remains to be seen, what is happening there. but it does shed light and insight into what was happening in the lead-up to this. and it appears to be part of what trump was referencing in his statement today confirming, s sara, that the raid had happened, where he talked about being cooperative with the officials about this. it does shed light on a meeting, a rare meeting, that investigators had with trump's attorneys at mar-a-lago two months ago. >> can i just quickly ask you, kaitlan, just to clarify, trump's own attorneys showed these investigators where there were documents? and then the investigators asked them to secure those documents, padlock the door, or however they wanted to secure them?
that's the sequence of things? >> reporter: yeah, i don't think that they specifically said, you need to put a padlock on the door. but i was told that days later after those investigators had left mar-a-lago, they sent a letter to trump's attorneys asking them to further enhance the security for these documents regarding these documents. and of course part of this major investigation is into whether or not that included classified information potentially. so, you could understand why they would want them to be secured. that is obviously a number one priority in why things like why things like the presidential records act exist. it does show there were conversations between the two sides about what was happening, what documents were being stored. what documents they were remains to be seen. i think another part of this is that trump did stop by this meeting his attorneys were having with investigator. we were told he simply greeted them and then went on. but he was at the property at the time of this visit happening in june at mar lal guo. >> can you clarify whether or
not the white house, the biden white house, knew this was happening today, that there was going to be an fbi search of the former president's home? >> reporter: it's a major development and there are big questions at the white house about who was aware of this. we were told most officials were not aware of this, that they found out when trump confirmed the raid had happened. major questions for whether or not president biden himself knew. we don't have reporting on that front specifically. and we've also reached out to the justice department to comment on this. they have not done so yet. clearly this is an active investigation. but that has been a major question as well. >> kaitlan collins, thank you so much for bringing us the latest update on this huge news. we are, again, joined by former federal prosecutor shan wu and alyssa farrah. happy to have john ablon with us. you all have great insight into what is happening, but this is really interesting. so, as we just heard, donald trump himself saw these
investigators coming and talking to his attorneys. but what i -- call me crazy. is it odd that the attorneys shows the investigators where these documents, i guess, were? >> not necessarily. i mean, they're at that point trying to make things seem like everything is okay, you don't have to be concerned about this. so, they're going to show them the documents. but talk about leaving the fox in control of the chicken coop. those were in a padlocked door. that's second guessing, 20/20 hindsight. something happened between that meeting and the search warrant to take away any trust or confidence that the investigators and doj had that they were going to get that cooperation. it's fine that trump can talk about cooperation. something's happened where they're no longer confident that those records are safe. and that's why search warrant happens. >> alyssa, you alluded to this -- well, you actually spelled it out that you think that what may have happened is that somebody said, there's
stuff in there you need. >> it seems very clear that somebody pointed the finger. this is just way too specific, knowing, you know, his private residence. he has multiple residences. hearing kaitlan's reporting, which is very different than what we even knew an hour ago, this to me sounds like these are highly classified national security documents. i would not be surprised if they were heads of state exchanges of some sort, maybe something he kept as a memento. but that could have national security repercussions. the idea of securing that, when you're protecting those documents, they do have to be in a locked setting in a certain sort of preservation. leaving them on sight is very odd. but if there was a legal back and forth, perhaps if his attorney is claiming as the former president maybe he had some kind of control -- >> he said they broke open the safe, so i don't know if that's where they were. >> that to me -- i can't imagine the department of justice and the fbi would be this worried about something if there wasn't a national security nexus to it.
>> john, you have great insights into the history, presidential history. give us a sense of what you think is going on here. >> remember first of all that presidents don't own their records. they belong to the american people. when we found out about this, that the president had taken boxes of information and things that perhaps, you know, maybe he had just had sentimental attachment to, maybe they had national security implications, what i'm struck by is when he was busted, in effect, for taking those documents that they weren't in the process of being shipped whole sail back to the federal government so historians can study them for the federal record. the fact they're still in possession i find curious. and there is the question of what was in the safe? what is the cause here? presidential records act is a serious thing. destroying records is particularly serious. there's all sort of statutes that go with that. people have been treated for misdemeanor, other people have been jailed. to go after a president, an
ex-president in this way, we're in uncharted territory. we're reminded there is nothing remotely like this in american history. the idea this is in effect a misdemeanor that the fbi decided to raid his primary residence, i find that unlikely. given what we know now, which is the caveat we put in front of it. >> we are at the beginning of this. this is highly unusual. the president said it himself. it is highly unusual. but this is also a highly unusual time in american history with a highly unusual actions by a president. i want to talk to you about extremism. you have covered a lot of this. you have dug deep, as we both have. can you give me a sense of now that this is out there and the right is responding to it, the establishment is responding to it and supporting donald trump at this point. alyssa has looked at that as well. what might the reaction be by groups like the oath keepers, the proud boys, three percenters? >> you and i both have studied and interviewed the three
percenters and these cell-style militia groups, these vigilante groups, in effect that played a role in january 6th. you will hear many say this is the tyrannical federal government we were warning about. i think you will see some groups and politicians fundraising off this with some degree of outreach. but it will become a rallying cry. that's why we all need to take a deep breath but also need to recognize that hope that the doj is incredibly buttoned up before taking this kind of an action. this is not a first choice or a second choice. this must be something that involves serious national security implications. time will tell. but you do not raid a former president's home in this way if you could have gotten those documents in any other way or if they were effectively mementoes. but the far right and radical groups will -- this will become the new call to the ramparts. and it further ratchets up the danger of political violence.
it was underappreciated last week that chris wray, the fbi director, said that political violence and the threats are now a daily occurrence in america. that is dangerous. that is not normal. and this is more fuel on that fire. >> you can ask any politician, any judge, anybody in a political position of power or anybody online who speaks out, and they are getting those threats. all right. alyssa farah griffin, john avlon, shan wu, i thank you. coming up, another important story. ahmaud arbery's mother speaks to me after another emotionally charged day. the men responsible for the murder were sentenced federally today. she'll tell us about the extraordinary choice she has made. that is coming up next.
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justice for ahmaud arbery being furthered tonight after a federal judge added a lot more prison time for the three convicted murderers, father and son gregory and travis mcmichael were both given additional life sentences, while their accomplice, william "roddie" bryan jr. was sentenced to 35 years in prison. bryan, jr. was already sentenced to life in prison in state court. the additional punishment comes after a jury found that the three white men were motivated by racism when they chased and
shot the 25-year-old black man who was simply jogging through their neighborhood. joining me now is wanda cooper jones, ahmaud arbery's mother, and lee merritt, the attorney for the arbery family. thank you so much for taking time to speak to me on such an emotional day. >> thank you for having us. >> we are getting sthen tense two and a half years after your son was killed. when you were in the court, can you give me a sense, wanda, of what it was like to be in yet another courtroom, and this time being able to listen to these men and speak your mind? >> today was a great day, i would say, because i waited on this day for -- actually for the last two and a half years. we finally got to finish the federal case. i was very, very eager to find out what each defendant had to say on an apology.
unfortunately, i didn't get one from travis. but i was able to get one from william bryan and also gregory mcmichael. >> i want to give our viewers a sense of what gregory mcmichael did say to you. and we're going to pull that up now. he apologized to you. and here's what he said. the loss that you've endured is beyond description. there are no words for it. i'm sure the words, my words, mean little to you. but i wanted to assure you, i never wanted any of this to happen to you. >> so, as he -- he goes on to say, there was no malice in my heart or my son's heart that day. he apologized. travis did not. did you accept his apology? and if you did, why? >> i accepted the apology. like i said, i accepted it, but i did not forgive him for what he did. i'm thinking that i'm -- i'm thinking that he sat in jail for the last two and a half years. he's come to terms with he made
a very bad decision, and he wanted to say he was sorry. i did accept it, but as far as forgiving, i haven't forgiven him. >> can you give me a sense -- take me into the court with you. you have been -- i was there in state court. the emotions couldn't have been higher there with some of the words used against your son by both the men and the defense attorney. take me into federal court, where we cannot have cameras. can you give me a sense of what it was like in there for you, as a mother whose son was murdered? >> well, when we entered the courtroom, it split into two sections. on the left is the defendant's family. on the right is supporters of ahmaud arbery. and wanda is sitting right behind the prosecution table. she's been in close contact with the department of justice since february, when these men were first sentenced -- first convicted. and she's prepared impact statements that she was looking
forward to share with the court. having an opportunity to both address the court and the men responsible for her son's murder was a great relief towanda. >> lee merritt, you are attorney for the family. you've been through this with several families. and i'm curious to your reaction and to wanda's reaction to the mcmichael's request to remain in federal custody, saying that it isn't safe for them there, and asking the judge to keep them in federal custody because state custody is too dangerous. what's your response? and can you ask wanda what hers is if she can't hear me? >> sure thing. we anticipated that these men would seek to be transferred to federal custody. while federal custody is no walk in the park, we certainly understand that in a lot of instances, federal resources are more resourced, have greater access to safety and benefits than these men would face at the georgia state level.
i think they made an appropriate argument. they're attorneys made an appropriate argument, that the department of justice itself, the same group of attorneys who were there prosecuting them, trying to send them to state prison, are currently suing the state of georgia because of the kens of their prison. but these men are no different than all the other offenders who have been convicted in the state of georgia. and it is critically important that if the georgia state prisons are in such a state that inmates can't be kept safe, then that's true for all inmates. and i imagine most people who are convicted of serious crimes like murder experience a bit of fear entering state prison with the idea that that can be revisited on them. wanda, i don't know if you're still connected. but she was wondering what was your response to their request to be transferred to federal custody. >> my feelings toward that was ahmaud wasn't given a chance on the day that he was killed. ahmaud wasn't given a chance to
even go around the next block and be able to return home. ahmaud wasn't given any kind of request. and he had one request, was to go home, and he was denied that. so, i'm very thankful that the judge did deny the request. >> wanda cooper jones, i just want to say to you that our hearts are broken for you, and i'm so sorry you've had to go through all of this. and lee merritt, thank you for coming on and bringing ms. jones with you. we appreciate your time and for coming on the show on this day. we'll turn to another search for justice next. who is responsible for the shooting deaths of four muslim men in albuquerque? the latest victim went to the funeral of two other victims just hours earlier. the governor is calling these killings targeted. that story is coming up. plus an extra boost of support for yoyour immunity, brain, and hair, skin & nails. new one a day multi+.
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victims. police are not revealing many details but they are seeking a vehicle of interest. you are looking at a right there. today, albuquerque mayor told he cnn he believes these killings were motivated by hate i want to discuss this with joey jackson. joey, i am so glad to have you on the show. the mayor says these killings are hate driven. in his opinion. law enforcement hasn't really called them hate crimes, at this time. what did they need to find to make that call. because one thing we do know that is similar is that they are all muslim and. >> absolutely. sarah, there is often this thing called circumstantial evidence. and i know law enforcement is really really low to go out on a limb before they know the specifics. this was an investigation into the details, like we did what and when. but when you have something like this. or you have specifically members of a community that are targeted. where you have literally a person going to a funeral and dying right there after. we have members who don't want
to really leave their homes. you heard the stories that they just don't want to go out. they don't want to shop. they don't want to go to school. it is very difficult to have this discussion and not render the conclusion that it is motivated by the fact that they are muslims. and so i think that we have to call it for what it is. and calling for it is i think we need the community support and involvement with regards to bringing people to justice. law enforcement doesn't work in a vacuum, as you know, law enforcement and state enforcement work for law enforcement and federal enforcement inquiry to acquire justice. i think that is what's going to happen here. as, point you showed the vehicle. up interest here. and i think that is a big deal. why, because it narrows down the focus with respect to what they are looking for and who they are looking for, and hopefully they can make a determination as we look there, sarah. as for who is actually doing this. we have the call for what it is. >> people should take a good look at this. especially the people in the albuquerque area. biden, president biden, has
come then this serial killings a muslim and. you can -- we don't know who the person is behind it. and if we are dealing with a serial killer or we are dealing with someone who's motivated by hate. there are steps that have to be taken, correct, before any of those things can be said and we will hear that, first i'm assuming by law enforcement. >> what happens is there is a place for both state and federal law enforcement to be involved. you could have a state prosecution by the person who is brought to justice. but there is also federal hate crime statutes. that could and have been an active to deal with this very issue. and at the end of the day you look at this and you see the heinous nature of it and you see it terrorizing people and communities. and you look at lots, particularly at the federal level, that they will this issue. but you just really wonder, sarah, at the end of the day what we are dealing with and what does justice look like here? >> the community says they are terrified. people do not want to go to the islamic center or the mosque.
they are afraid that they will become targets. and this is important for that feeling of terror. joey jackson, you also get on these issues, thank you for coming on and explaining. and thank you for being, here we will be right back. new astepro allergy. no allergy s spray is faster. with the speed of astepro, almost nothing c can slow you down. because astepro starts working in 30 minutes, while other allergy sprays take hours. and astepro is the first and only 24-hour steroid free allergy spray. now without a prescription. astepro and go. why hide your skin if dupixent has your moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis under control?
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thanks for hanging out with me, let's do this again tomorrow, but first lower xhosa sitting in for don lemon tonight. that begins right now. hey laura. >> hey sarah, they see. particularly this evening. this is don lemon tonight, everyone. i am laura coats sitting in for the great don lemon. and we begin with major, i mean, really big news. a few hours ago we learned from former president trump directly, no less, of an fbi eggs executing a search warrant at the mar-a-lago estate. his resort, of course, and florida. all the sources saying the search is related to the handling of classified documents and where documents were kept. sources were also saying that boxes of items were taken during the search and that documents were seized. trump is calling this a rate. but he des