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CNN NEWSROOM

Veteran Charged in Capitol Attack Worked in Marine One Unit; Trump Heard Pushing Georgia Election Official To Find "Right Answers"; Judge Reinstates Third-Degree Murder Charge Against Derek Chauvin; Joint Base Andrews Intruder Roamed for Hours Before Boarding Plane; Billionaire Investor Warren Buffet Now Part of $100 Billion Club; Soon, Biden to Sign $1.9 Trillion Relief Bill Ahead of Prime-Time Address. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 11, 2021 - 13:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[13:30:33]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: CNN has learned new details about a veteran charged in the capitol insurrection who once worked in the Marine Corp Unit responsible for transporting the president and operating his helicopter, Marine One.

Prosecutors say John Andries breached barriers outside of the capitol and entered the building through a broken window.

CNN's Jessica Schneider is tracking this story for us.

Jessica, what more are you learning?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, another military vet charged in the capitol attack.

And this time, it's a former Marine who had top secret security clearance and was assigned to the presidential helicopter, Marine One, between 2010 and 2019. That's a time that spanned Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Now, 35-year-old John Andries was a helicopter crew chief, where he worked on helicopter maintenance.

But prosecutors said, on January 6th, he was seen facing off with police inside the base of the capitol, though he never physically engaged with them.

It is a startling arrest since Andries was formerly part of the highly restrictive presidential helicopter squadron for several years in the early 2000s.

And it's also just the latest charge against a military veteran. CNN has found veterans are disproportionately represented among the

nearly 300 people facing federal charges so far.

At least 29 current and former servicemembers have been charged so far -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Jessica, thank you for that.

There's newly released audio that shows former President Trump pressuring another Georgia election official into overturning ballot results as part of his efforts to reverse his loss to Joe Biden.

The first call Trump made was to Georgia secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. That was on January 2nd.

But in late December, Trump first talked to the chief of investigations for Raffensperger's office, Francis Watson. And the former president insisted not on that she find evidence of fraud but also that she would be, quote, "praised for it."

(BEGIN AUDIO FEED)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I won everything but Georgia, and you know I won Georgia, I know, by a lot. And the people know it. And you know, something happened. I mean, I Something bad happened.

And if you can get to Fulton, you are going to find things that are going to be unbelievable. Fulton is the motherlode, as the expression goes, Fulton County.

FRANCIS WATSON, CHIEF OF INVESTIGATIONS, GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE: I can assure you that our team and the GBI, that we are only interested in --

TRUMP: Right.

WATSON: -- the truth and finding --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: -- finding the information that's based on the facts.

TRUMP: It never made sense. And, you know, they dropped ballots. They dropped all these ballots.

[13:35:06]

Stacey Abrams really, really terrible. I mean, just a terrible thing.

I will say this. When the right answer comes out, you'll be praised.

(END AUDIO FEED)

KEILAR: CNN's senior legal analyst, Laura Coates, is with me now.

Laura, there are two investigations happening. There's one by the Georgia secretary of state and there's a criminal one by the Fulton County D.A.

Let's talk about the latter here. Do you see the former president breaking any laws in this call we just heard with the investigator?

LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: His statements there are going to be used and looked at in a comprehensive way, a holistic manner to see if there are other things, any other indications of what he's done.

But you can't interfere with an election. You can't encourage the interference of an election. You can't do things like this in order to try to have your hypothesis come true when the evidence just suggests the alternate.

What you're hearing here is a little bit of innuendo and statements that are not the direct statements of somebody saying, if you do this, then I reward you with X, or hear my explicit instructions to commit a criminal act.

But the implications as part of a larger investigation could very well be there, which is why the investigation is happening, and probably increasingly so around what other conversations were had or how it was interested and interpreted.

KEILAR: In the full six-minute exchange that's been released here, you know, you can hear Francis Watson, she's not telling the president straight-up no. She's saying that basically this is going to be truth- based.

I don't know what you sort of take in this. It's a pleasant enough phone call as she is reacting to him.

How significant is it for her to say that she felt pressured or not? Does that matter?

COATES: Well, it is significant because it's part of the larger M.O. of the former president with relations to the actual Georgia officials.

Remember, the Fulton County focus, the idea of the Stacey Abrams statements, alluding to the fact that we all know that one of her extraordinary causes is to encourage widespread voter participation.

But there has also been an emphasis on those who have been disenfranchised with different government policies, and the people who have been impacted by voter suppression. We're talking about black and Latino voters.

And we know what happened in Georgia, the shift from red to blue, was very much in large part the reaction in response from black and Hispanic voters and particularly women.

So the idea of raising her name suggests that they were all on the same page or he wanted you to know exactly what he meant and what sort of fraudulent votes he wanted to have talked about.

Also the idea these ballots have been dropped. I'm not sure what he's referencing in particular about what he's implying about these dropped votes or dropped ballots.

But having a phone call from the president of the United States, who although she was involved in a conversation, it really wasn't a give and take.

It seemed as though the comments she was making, he continued on a diatribe of sorts. So she was interjecting to talk about precisely what they want them to say, which is we're looking for the truth.

It didn't matter to him when it came to Raffensperger or other people as well, even the Georgia governor.

So her feelings of pressure, in conjunction with his insinuations, his suggestions about other hot-button issues, his naming of Stacey Abrams and the like, as part of a larger pattern is going to fuel the investigations even more.

KEILAR: I do want to switch gears with you now and talk about the trial of the ex-officer accused in the death of George Floyd.

The judge has reinstated a third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, who is already charged with second-degree murder, which is more severe. He's also facing second-degree manslaughter.

Laura, explain to us what third-degree homicide is. And does it make it harder for the prosecutors to get a charge on that second-degree murder charge?

COATES: So the more options you give a jury, essentially the more availability you have for a conviction.

You have them able to say, well, you've met elements in certain things or you haven't met in others. Something wrong happened here. And is there a way I can hold him accountable, but it doesn't quite meet the level you're talking about.

As you said, Brianna, second is a higher charge than third degree.

The third degree, in Minnesota, is normally to be interpreted to be, if you are engaged in behavior that could lead to grave bodily harm or substantial risk to life or the loss of life, as long as you didn't have a specific target in mind, as in you were driving down a crowded sidewalk with no one in particular as your victim, traditionally Minnesota had been interpreted to mean that you couldn't be held accountable for third degree.

But now there was a recent court of appeals decision, because of the last officer to actually go into trial and be convicted in Minnesota for the shooting of an unarmed person.

I'm talking about Officer Noor, a Somali-American, who was found guilty of shooting at and killing an Australian woman who was weeks away from her wedding, who was reporting to police about an assault that she saw in her alley. And she came up to his car.

[13:40:10] So there is a question in his case on whether they could have charged third degree. He was not convicted of second degree. So he was fighting for the opportunity to say, this shouldn't apply to me.

Now you have the court in the Chauvin case looking at the appeals court decision there, where they said, actually, third degree can apply to you.

And now he's changed his mind, Brianna, to say, well, we're going to include it in this case as well.

They've raised now an appeal on the issue, and I'm curious to see how it all lands, particularly given the fact that, last year, we understand Chauvin was prepared to plead guilty to third-degree murder before Attorney General Barr stepped in.

KEILAR: Yes. We will be watching. I know you will be.

Laura Coates, thank you.

Top U.S. generals smacking down FOX host, Tucker Carlson, after his sexist and defensive comments about women in the military. You will hear from a top leader in the military.

Plus, some disturbing news just in involving an intruder at Joint Base Andrews.

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[13:45:59]

KEILAR: Just in, we're learning more about the intruder who roamed Joint Base Andrews for hours before boarding a military plane last month.

Let's go now to Barbara Starr at the Pentagon.

This is a terrifying breach, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It's so concerning on any base, Brianna. But, of course, Joint Base Andrews, just outside Washington, D.C., is the airfield that the president, vice president of the United States and so many VIPs, high-level officials use to fly in and out of Washington.

It is a very secure base, very secure area where a president would be.

What happened on February 4th is a man came through the gate, and there you had the first failure. His identification was not properly checked by the gate guard who admitted that he had failed to check that I.D.

The person goes through the gate, and apparently, according to the investigation released by the Air Force today, wanders around Andrews for some five hours or so. He visits various areas on Andrews. And he finally finds the flight

line. He goes through the passenger terminal, which, again, has a good deal of security.

He finds an unlocked malfunctioning gate, which is not supposed to happen right at the flight line, and he walks out onto the flight line.

What he finds there is an aircraft, one of those blue and white painted aircraft -- it's called the C-40 -- that is used to carry high-level government officials.

The president would not typically use that airplane. But it looks to be what the world knows to be Air Force One, but smaller.

It's open because people are doing training on board it, and he walks onto the plane.

This is everything that is not supposed to happen. And he's not noticed. And nobody really asks any questions -- all of this according to the investigation -- until somebody basically thinks about it and says, this is someone who doesn't look like they belong here.

At that point, security forces took the man into custody and questioned him. They said, upon repeated questioning, the man simply said to them that he wanted to see airplanes. He wasn't carrying anything that would cause any harm.

He's, for some weeks now, he has been turned over to local law enforcement authorities.

They also tell us they looked at the highly secure area where Air Force One is at Andrews.

It is behind multiple layers of security. It does have armed guards all the time. The man, they say, could never have approached the planes that are used for presidential travel.

But, still, the Air Force taking all this very seriously, saying this is a breach that they just cannot have repeated -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Yes. As you know, Barbara, for anyone who has tried to or had to for work to get onto Joint Base Andrews, it just defies belief, in a way, that someone was able to do that.

So we really thank you for walking us through that.

Barbara Starr, live for us at the Pentagon.

STARR: Sure.

KEILAR: Moments from now, President Biden will sign the massive COVID relief bill into law ahead of his primetime address. Stand by for that.

[13:49:06] Plus, the pandemic has seen the world's billionaires get a whole lot richer, including Warren Buffett, whose wealth just jolted him into the world's most-exclusive club.

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KEILAR: Legendary investor, Warren Buffett, is just one American billionaire whose net worth was boosted by the pandemic. The 91-year- old chairman of Berkshire Hathaway is significantly richer than one year ago.

CNN's chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, while the country is grappling with a year-long pandemic, the stock market has soared and the world's billionaires have gotten richer, a lot richer.

Legendary investor, Warren Buffett, is now just the sixth person in the world worth $100 billion. That's according to the Bloomberg billionaires index. That puts him in the company of five other men above that threshold, ranking just behind Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

The 91-year-old investor has already added nearly $13 billion to his net worth this year as the share price of his company, Berkshire Hathaway, grows. Berkshire is up nearly 15 percent this year, giving it a market value of than $600 billion.

Buffett recently revealed Berkshire bought stakes in Chevron and Verizon, indicating a new interest in big oil, telecom and media.

Brianna, Buffett has donated billions to philanthropic causes. And in 2006, promised to give away almost all of his fortune to charity.

Earlier this year, a report from Oxfam, found the world's billionaires added nearly $4 trillion to their wealth during the pandemic -- Brianna?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Christine, thank you.

As the country marks one year since declaring a pandemic, President Biden is preparing his first primetime address. Where does the U.S. go from here?

[13:53:54]

Plus, top military brass takes a FOX News host to task over his sexist comments about women in the military.

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[13:58:44] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KEILAR: Hi, there. I'm Brianna Keilar. Thank you for joining me.

Any moment now, President Biden will sign into law one of the nation's largest rescue packages ever, his $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

The massive bill provides, among many things, $1,400 to each person in qualifying households. And advocates say it will cut the country's child poverty in half.

It's arrival could not have come at a more thoughtful time.

One year ago today, Tom Hanks revealed he had coronavirus. The NBA shut down games after an outbreak. And Americans began to realize this could impact their lives.

There were about 1,000 cases on March 11, 2020. And today, the nation approaches 30 million.

Joining me now is CNN senior White House correspondent, Phil Mattingly.

Phil, the president is signing his first major legislative achievement before this primetime address tonight, which will be his first.

Tell us what you know about what he plans to say in the speech tonight?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, a day of major moments. Obviously, signing the bill will be the capstone of the priority, the top legislative priority for his administration going into office. They've accomplished that.

[13:59:57]

And this primetime speech will be an effort to do a couple of things, according to White House officials.

The president will obviously look back at what's transpired over the course of the last year.