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Daily Beast: Gaetz Associate Wrote in Letter That Congressman Paid for Sex with Minor; Giuliani Says "No Justification" For FBI Raid on His Office; WAPO: FBI Warned Giuliani Directly of Russian Influence Campaign; Biden: Schools "Should Probably All Be Open" This Fall; India Struggles with Devastating Surge in COVID Cases; FL Joins Growing List of GOP-Led States Restricting Voting Despite No Evidence of Widespread Fraud; Weekly Average of COVID-19 Deaths Hits Lowest Point Since October; U.S. Hits Milestone Today: 100 Million People Fully Vaccinated; India's Hospitals and Crematoriums Overwhelmed as Country Deals with Second Wave of COVID-19; Soon: Biden to Pitch Infrastructure Plan in Philly. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired April 30, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Friday. Thanks for being with me. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
We begin with new, shocking revelations in the investigation into Congressman Matt Gaetz. You see, it's not everyday accused criminals write out a physical list of their alleged crimes, but in this case that appears to be exactly what a friend may have done.
"The Daily Beast," has obtained a damning letter alleged to be from Gaetz associate Joel Greenburg. It details how he and Gaetz allegedly paid for sex with multiple women, including a girl who was just 17 at the time.
Now, CNN hasn't seen the letter and we cannot verify "The Daily Beast," reporting, but the news outlet says this letter was drafted at the request of none other than Roger Stone who Greenberg allegedly tried to hire in an attempt to secure a pardon from then President Trump.
We should note, Stone denies ever asking for or receiving payment from Greenberg, and Greenberg's attorney has declined to comment to CNN, citing attorney-client privilege.
CNN's Paula Reid joins us now in Washington. Paula, there are a lot of names, a lot of accusations here - walk us through it.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: All right, here we go. Greenberg reportedly wrote a letter admitting that he and Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, including a minor who was just 17 at the time. The letter was reportedly drafted after Greenberg asked Roger Stone, a close ally of the former President Trump for help obtaining a pardon in the final months of the Trump administration.
Now, there were multiple drafts, reportedly, of this letter. And in an earlier draft obtained by "The Daily Beast," Greenberg claims that he and Gaetz thought this woman was 19 years old, but later they actually learned she was underage.
Greenberg reportedly claims that when he learned this he immediately called the Congressman to warn him. CNN has not seen the letter and can't verify the details of "The Daily Beast," story, but we have spoken with several women who were involved with these two men and we have reported Greenberg paid women on behalf of himself and Gaetz after some sexual encounters.
CNN's own Chris Cuomo spoke to Roger Stone last night. Stone says, he doesn't recall any letter. He says that he never heard Greenberg implicating Gaetz, and that he never tried to get Greenberg a pardon. Stone also told "The Daily Beast," he never asked for, nor did he ever receive any money from Greenberg.
CABRERA: And so, what is Gaetz saying about this latest twist?
REID: Well, a spokesman for the Congressman responded with a statement saying in part, the Congressman has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with a 17 year old as an adult. And the story goes some way to showing how Representative Gaetz was long out of touch with Mr. Greenberg, and has no interest in involving himself in Mr. Greenberg's affairs.
But Ana, Mr. Greenberg is very much involved in Mr. Gaetz's affairs. Greenberg is currently in jail. He is facing 33 federal charges, including sex trafficking. And sources tell CNN Greenberg has been cooperating with federal investigators since last year, and he has shared with them information about encounters he and the Congressman had with women who were given cash or gifts in exchange for sex. And Greenberg is expected to finalize a plea deal with the federal government in the coming weeks.
CABRERA: And that plea deal, obviously, could be integral in all of this. Paula Reid in Washington for us, thank you.
Matt Gaetz is not the only Trump ally under federal investigation right now. Rudy Giuliani is now publically discussing the completely unrelated raid at his Manhattan home and office this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY: They had to break down (ph) - I wouldn't say break down, but smash on my doors in a frightening way. Lucky I don't get frightened very easily. I handled them very professionally and they handled me very professionally.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Kara Scannell is joining us now here in New York. Cara, what else did Giuliani reveal about this raid? KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Well, Ana, in that interview with Fox
News last night, Giuliani kind of got right at the heart of what this investigation is about. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Giuliani and whether he violated foreign lobbying laws by failing to register as a lobbyist for Ukrainian officials.
Now, the focus of this investigation are Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine where he was pushing for the removal of the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. The question here is, was he doing that on behalf of his client, then President Trump, or was he acting on behalf of Ukrainian officials?
During this interview, Giuliani said he never lobbied for foreign officials. In fact, he said he was working for the then president, trying to convince the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into Joe Biden and his family.
Now, Giuliani also said that the FBI had seized about seven or eight of his electronic devices, but he said that they wouldn't take two of the hard drives that he claims belong to Hunter Biden. Here's what he told Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: They got perturbed, it was at the end of the search when they had taken about - I'd say seven or eight electronic items of mine, which is what they took, and two of someone else's. I - they weren't taking the three hard drives, which of course are electronic devices, they just mimic the computer. I said, well, don't you want these? And they said, what are they? I said, those are Hunter Biden's hard drives. And they said, no, no, no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCANNELL: Now, CNN has not seen a copy of the search warrant, but a search warrant has to be approved (ph) by a judge, and prosecutors need to demonstrate that they believe specific crimes are being committed on specific devices. So they're usually allowed to seize any and all devices that they see.
CABRERA: Kara, "The Washington Post," is also reporting today that the FBI warned Giuliani in late 2019 that he was the target of a Russian influence operation, what can you tell us about that?
SCANNELL: Right, Ana. So CNN has not confirmed this reporting, but "The Washington Post," says that in 2019 Rudy Giuliani by the FBI Counterintelligence Division in what is known as a defensive briefing, being told that he was potentially receiving false information from Russian operatives who wanted to harm Joe Biden politically.
Now, CNN had previously reported that the White House and Congress had received briefings that Giuliani was receiving misinformation from foreign nationals, but we have not confirmed "The Washington Post's," report, and we just received a comment from Giuliani's attorney, Robert Costello, and he denies this. He says in a statement, "This story is totally false according to Mr. Giuliani. He never received any such briefing."
CABRERA: Kara Scannell in New York. Thank you. Let's discuss with Carrie Cordero, she's a Senior Fellow and General Council at the Center for New American Security, she's also a former DOJ official, and a CNN Legal and National Security Analyst.
Carrie, let's begin with Giuliani's legal trouble. I want you to listen to this from his Fox interview last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: That warrant is completely illegal. The only way you can get a search warrant is if you can show that there's some evidence that the person is going to destroy the evidence, or is going to run away with the evidence. Well, I've had it for two years and I haven't destroyed it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Is that how warrants work?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No, that's just not correct and it's pretty surprising to hear somebody who was a former U.S. Attorney misrepresent the law in that way.
So an investigation, when they - when the FBI receives a search warrant from the judge, the warrant has to demonstrate probable cause, and it has to demonstrate - it has to articulate the crimes that they believe may have been committed, and it has to tie the devices that they intend to seize and search with information that demonstrates it's likely to contain evidence of the crime that they are investigating.
Now, there are circumstances when a warrant might be executed urgently because they expect that information might be destroyed, but there's not a requirement that they do so.
CABRERA: Giuliani had a lot to say last night, is it risky for him to be talking right now?
CORDERO: It certainly is. I mean, from a perspective of - I would imagine that his defense council would not want him to be speaking publically. Normally somebody who is facing significant criminal exposure, and is the subject of federal warrants should not be speaking publically.
He seems to be carrying himself more in the line of when he was defending the president - the former president in an impeachment proceeding, which is a political proceeding, versus normally the way a defendant would act when they are subject to criminal investigation.
CABRERA: We all know the line, those of us who aren't lawyers - you know, anything you say could be used against you. So that makes me think about just how vulnerable he could be as he continues to talk about this investigation, what he thinks it's all about.
Let's turn to the new developments involving Congressman Matt Gaetz, as we just mentioned, "The Daily Beast," is reporting on an alleged letter from Gaetz close ally, Joel Greenberg. That reportedly reveals that he and Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women, including a minor who was just 17. I should add, CNN hasn't seen this letter, we can't verify "The Daily Beast," reporting and a Gaetz spokesperson is denying it. But if this reporting proves true, what kind of trouble could Gaetz be in?
CORDERO: Well, with respect to the letter - again, I'll be interested to see when CNN confirms it. But regarding reports about that letter, it is important to think about the fact that the individual who allegedly wrote that letter is working in his own interest.
So Mr. Greenberg has already been charged with numerous federal counts. He is acting, I would presume, in his own interest and so we need to keep that in mind. But, Congress Gaetz, given the allegations does seem to have some significant exposure, depending on the facts involving his activities with these girls.
The federal government, the Justice Department treat human trafficking and the obtaining of sex services for payment or for other things of value, very, very seriously. Just this week, for example, there was a case that is charged in eastern district of Virginia of an individual charged with a similar type of allegation - sex with underage girls in exchange for money or gifts. And so that type of crime is something that the Justice Department takes very seriously, and carries very stiff penalties.
CABRERA: Carrie Cordero, it's great to have you with us. Thank you.
CORDERO: Thanks, Ana.
CABRERA: President Biden, today delivering a welcome message to most parents across the nation, saying schools should probably all be open this fall. But how is the White House going to make that happen? We'll discuss with the Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona.
Plus, as the United States makes huge strides in the fight against the coronavirus, the world's second largest country, India, is going through hell. We will take you there live.
And Florida is the latest Republican led state to address a problem that just does not exist. Passing new restrictions on voting, despite the fact that there was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
[13:15:00] CABRERA: (Inaudible) our COVID numbers here in the U.S. all trending in the right direction. Not only does the number of daily new cases continue to drop, but the number of deaths just hit a record low for the year. Now averaging around 680 each day, which is still a lot - too much, if you ask me. But it is an 80 percent drop from where we were in January, and experts say this is largely due to vaccines.
The White House just announcing that as of today, 100 million Americans are fully vaccinated - that is 30 percent of the population. That means people have had the two doses of Moderna and Pfizer, or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Also we should note that the president of Moderna said today that by this summer kids 12 and older may be eligible for the vaccine as well.
So as the U.S. appears to be turning the corner, India is dealing with just a terrifying crisis. They are seeing one of the worst COVID outbreaks in the world. Today is India's ninth consecutive day reporting over 300,000 new coronavirus cases.
The images are just so heartbreaking. Crematoriums are so overwhelmed - like you see here, bodies are piling up faster than workers can cremate them. The dead are left just stacked on tables, waiting their turn in line.
Hospitals can't keep up either. Those who are lucky enough to be seen are being treated in these very packed emergency rooms with dwindling supplies. Others are simply being turned away, leaving many desperate families to fend for themselves.
CNN's Vedika Sud is joining us now from New Delhi. Vedika, are things getting any better? What have you been seeing?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN REPORTER: They're not getting better, Ana, they're just getting worse. A lot of people say they'll get worse before they get better - what we're seeing, India in mourning, that's what I see. I see deaths, I see desperation, I see dejection, and I see a lot of anger on the ground as well at this point in time.
Deaths as you've seen in crematoriums and in graveyards, desperation of people to actually go and fend for themselves at this point in time. You've seen those long queues for oxygen supply, you've seen long queues for beds, you've seen long queues for medicines. I also see anger on the ground, the frustration of people because they feel they've been left to themselves to go and make sure that their relatives survive the night.
There's so much anger on the roads, on social media - everyone's asking just one question, why is it that this government did not realize in time that there would be a second wave? We've heard from people from the Narendra Modi party - the BJP, which is the governing party in India, and they say yes, we are responsible for the country but no one saw this coming.
But experts have said for so long, Ana, that we are about six months to four months behind European nations when it comes to COVID-19 and the waves. So why didn't they see it coming is what a lot of people are asking. And at this point in time, on May 1 is when vaccinations are supposed to begin for those who are 18 and above.
But at least five states today have said we don't have the vaccines, so please don't form those lines, don't come and queue up - and that is the other problem we're facing at this point in time, what is going to happen tomorrow? Will there be a lot of cures at these hospitals when people want to go there and get the vaccine? Because there is no supply in many states as of now.
Back to you, Ana.
CABRERA: Wow. Just 2 percent of India vaccinated at this point, and again, the situation so dire. Vedika Sud, thank you for being there for us.
President Biden says schools should probably all be open this fall. We'll discuss with the secretary of education next.
In just a few moments President Biden will be arriving in Philadelphia talking infrastructure. He'll be giving a speech at the 50th anniversary celebration of AMTRAK in hopes of getting more people onboard with his pricy proposal.
CNN's Kaitlan Collins joins us now from the White House. Kaitlan, remind us what's in this massive plan, and how is the president trying to sell it?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So, it is massive - so it has a lot in here, but I think the way the White House is really framing this, Ana, is as human infrastructure is how they're billing it. Of course, he already unveiled his actual infrastructure plan that had to deal with not only roads and bridges, but broadband and other aspects as well.
This is more focused on education, childcare, paid family leave - things that you wouldn't normally define as this kind of human infrastructure, but the White House is saying that given the pandemic, given the economic devastation that followed, it caused people to take a hard look at what was going on.
And President Biden and his aides believe that this is the time to invest in this, so things aren't just back to normal the way they were at pre-pandemic levels, but that things are fundamentally different because you could see how the pandemic made pretty clear that a lot of people were living one paycheck away from not having money in their bank account, or not being able to afford food to put on the table.
And so, that's how the White House is viewing this. But Republicans have already started pushing back, saying it's really big - it's too big, and it also would redefine the role of the government in education, in childcare, in paid family leave. But President Biden gave a little bit of a perspective on why he
thinks this is something that is a task for the government, and this is what he said earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't have an inordinate faith in government, but there's certain things only the government can do. We rank number eight in the world in terms of infrastructure, for god's sake. Is the private sector going to go out and build billions of dollars worth of highways? Ports, airports, bridges - are they going to do that? And so these are things that only government can really do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: See, there at the end, Ana, that was more of a reference of course, to that hard infrastructure plan that the president has already unveiled. But I think what he was speaking to overall is the way that he views the role of the government in American life, in this post-pandemic life as we are moving into that period. And he's saying that the government has a big role here.
And so, the question of whether he's ultimately successful and what this looks like in the end, it's still far from certain because you even have some moderate Democrats pushing back on some of these proposals, and the size, and the scope of them. And so, of course it's going to go through a massive process - a debate on Capitol Hill. But this is the way the president views things, and he is trying to make this case, and he's trying to make it on the road today in Philadelphia.
He also has several stops scheduled for next week. We should note, the White House just said he is going to Virginia on Monday, he has another trip next Thursday, as well as top officials. Because they're not only just trying to make the case to voters out there and build support with them, they're also making it to governors and local officials as well.
CABRERA: Kaitlan Collins, at the White House. Thank you.
More now on this human infrastructure plan, officially it is called the American Families Plan, and it would reform education, in particular, as we know it. Education is something this pandemic has obviously had a huge impact on, millions of students haven't stepped foot in a classroom in the last year.
The president said this today when asked what happens in the fall?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Based on the science and the CDC, they should probably all be open. There's not overwhelming evidence that there's much of a transmission among these young people.
CABRERA: I'm joined now by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Great to have you with us, thank you.
MIGUEL CARDONA, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Thank you, Ana, glad to be with you.
CABRERA: Secretary, fall is months away. Based on what the president just said there, why aren't schools fully open now?
CARDONA: You know, we're continuing to push to have schools open this spring. And educators and district leaders have been working really hard to take care of some of those challenges that they've had. But it's also about making sure we're communicating the safety in our schools with the community.
There is still some hesitancy, but we are working really hard to try to make sure that all schools open this spring. We're pleased with the numbers that we're seeing, over 80 percent since last February are offering in-person learning options in grades pre-K through eight, but we need to do more for our students.
CABRERA: And why aren't more schools open right now, then? What are the challenges?
CARDONA: You know, I just - I just wrapped up the Help Is Here tour, I visited 10 different schools and eight different states, and what I'm hearing is there is some hesitancy in some communities. Districts are now making changes to go from six feet distance to three feet distance, and transportation safety concerns from some families are issues too. But they're working really hard to make sure that we can continue to bring students in.
Now that we're promoting vaccinations for all educators as the president has done this past year - we know this past month we have over 80 percent of our educators have received at least one vaccine. So we're on the right track, we need to keep pushing hard. Until we get to 100 percent there's a lot of work to do.
CABRERA: Already at least 100 colleges and universities say that they will require students to get vaccinated before returning to campus in the fall as we are seeing an increase in COVID infections in children right now in Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico. Once vaccines are green lighted for younger Americans, should that be a school requirement?
CARDONA: You know, I'll leave that to the CDC to determine whether or not it should be a requirement. But I do know that the vaccinations have helped us safely reopen schools quickly as possible.