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Giuliani Legal Adviser Hopes Trump Will Join Court Fight; FL Governor Signs Bill Limiting Executive & Local Emergency Powers, Bans COVID-19 Vaccine Passports; House Majority Whip Scalise Says He Has Not Been Vaccinated; Biden Hits The Road To Sell His $4 Trillion Plan To Rebuild The Economy; Air Travel Hits New Pandemic Record; Gas Prices Near $3 A Gallon As Americans Plan Vacations. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 3, 2021 - 14:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: The searches are linked to a criminal probe of Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine. Giuliani claims whatever information was seized is protected by attorney-client privilege.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: So Alan Dershowitz, a lawyer who is not formally representing Giuliani but he's advising him, says Giuliani will likely file a challenge in court.

And he wants former President Trump to also seek to prevent prosecutors from examining what they seized in that raid.

Let's bring in Elie Honig, CNN legal analyst, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Elie, let's start this conversation here and listen to Rudy Giuliani.


RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP (voice-over): Obviously, the assist U.S. attorneys hate me. And they hate Trump, which is probably -- which is probably the whole thing.

I mean, to believe that I'm some kind of Russian agent? Look at my career. I mean, look at my background and my career.


BLACKWELL: So, he is trying to use the Never Trumper argument to try to refute the validity of the entire investigation. What's your take?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, what an embarrassment first of all. Rudy Giuliani has to know better than that. He used to run the Southern District of New York, the very office I worked at years later, which is now investigating him.

To put out there just completely out of nowhere that this is happening because the prosecutors hate him. Where is he getting this? It's this fantasy. Rudy Giuliani was once a respected figure in that office. His picture

is on the wall. He was a former U.S. attorney. If anything, that carries with it sort of this extra notion of respect.

And the idea that he is being picked on, I mean all of this is Rudy Giuliani's own doing. Let's just be completely clear.

The reason they're going in and getting a search warrant is because they have probable cause that he was involved in a crime and that got signed off by a judge. That's the reason they did the search warrant.

And to attribute negative emotions, negative motivations to the prosecutors is something Rudy knows much better than to do.

BLACKWELL: But, Elie, why would former President Trump want to get involved in this investigation?

HONIG: I don't know why former President Trump would want to get involved.

I think what Rudy wants is have somebody come and say the communications, items seized by the Southern District of New York are protected by the attorney-client privilege.

However, there are protections for that already. The way this will work is there's going to be a wall team, a team of people will look at every piece of information seized in that raid and decide if it's privileged or not.

If it's privileged, it won't go to the prosecution people. If it's not, it will go over. And Rudy Giuliani will have the opportunity to challenge that.

Michael Cohen had the same process. He brought a bunch of challenges. He lost on almost all of them.

So this is really much ado about nothing, the idea of attorney-client privilege. It will be protected and respected.

BLACKWELL: And, Elie, you have to think all of this was considered before those up the chain approved the execution of the warrant.

HONIG: Yes, without a doubt. This had to be approved at the highest levels of DOJ.

In fact, the prior Justice Department, which declined to authorize the search warrant on Rudy Giuliani, issued a new policy at the very end of 2020 saying, from now on, if you're going to search an attorney's office, there's already heightened standards for that.

Now it has to go up to the deputy attorney general, the number-two person at DOJ, who had to have signed off on this.

It would shock me if the attorney general himself wasn't involved in authorizing this as well.

People don't take searches of attorneys lightly at all, especially if it's a person who used to run that very office.

BLACKWELL: We'll see if the former president cooperates with Rudy Giuliani's defense. We'll see if that happens.

Elie Honig, thanks so much.

CAMEROTA: So Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is ending all COVID restrictions in that state. And why some Republicans are seizing on the confusion over masks.



BLACKWELL: Across the country, Republican lawmakers and governors are easing restrictions and mandates despite CDC guidance. This is happening as vaccinations begin to slow.

CAMEROTA: So today, Governor Ron DeSantis, in Florida, signed an executive order suspending the power of local officials in Florida to implement and enforce their own COVID protocols.

Joining us to talk about this is CNN's chief political correspondent and co-host of CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," Dana Bash.

Dana, great to see.


CAMEROTA: I know you're not a doctor but I don't think it takes a medical degree to look at this graphic that I'm about to put up on the screen and see that Florida's COVID cases, new COVID cases are hovering at about 5,000 a day. OK?

And obviously, there are always hot spots and pockets where things are worse. So why would Governor DeSantis remove any power from local officials to decide in their own communities what's safe?

BASH: It's a great question. And it is the same kind of move that he took at the beginning, towards the beginning of the pandemic, when he didn't want things closed.

There were some local mayors and so forth, who were Democrats, and wanted to be more aggressive in closing down parts of their communities or maybe all of their community in order to stop the spread of COVID and he tried to stop that.

What he said today is that he is following the science. And he also plead the argument that in is a way to promote vaccinations, that evidence-based -- he called it evidence-based.

And that if you want people to get vaccinated, you have to show them that getting vaccinated pays divides. And those dividends are opening things up. It's an experiment, frankly. We're going to see if he is right about

it or if things are going to get worse there. And -- and perhaps things will have to be reversed.

He did say, as part of what he signed today, that businesses can take it upon themselves. They are allowed to say, no, you can't come in without a mask.


BLACKWELL: Do we have the sound, Control Room, of Governor DeSantis today we can play?

Let's play it.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): My message is the vaccines protect you. Get vaccinated. And then live your life as if you're protected. You don't have to chafe under restrictions infinitum.


BLACKWELL: That's some of the criticism, Dana, we are hearing and seeing aimed at President Biden.

That, if you now believe that because people are vaccinated that they can -- in a small anecdotal example, go outside without the mask, run jump and play, why is the president wearing a mask himself as he goes out to speak to people?

BASH: It's a great question. That criticism is not just coming from political circles. It's coming from some in the medical community, Victor, as I know you know.

And it's, again, kind of the reverse of what we saw a little more than a year ago, where you had political leaders, not necessarily the person in the White House at the time, but then-Candidate Biden saying, please, wear a mask, please, mask up.

And that was the kind of way that, again, leadership in the medical community and in some of politics, tried to socialize the American people to be more protected and protective of themselves and others that they care about.

So the question is, why is President Biden and others in the White House and elsewhere not doing the reverse right now, following even the CDC guidelines in their own government?

When President Biden is outside, when President Biden was in the chamber last week with, we believe, a largely vaccinated group of people, members of Congress, you know, why didn't other people take off the mask in order to show, to lead that way by example?

Those are questions that are going to continue to be posed to this White House. It is -- as we know, this is very difficult. There's no true answer.

But we're seeing the way different leaders navigate the kind of reentry into what they open is going to be a post-COVID world.

CAMEROTA: And even different members of Congress.

BASH: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Dana, tell us about Congressman Steve Scalise. I thought all members of Congress were vaccinated --


CAMEROTA: -- but he is not. He is not vaccinated but plans to be?

BASH: I was surprised by this as well. I honestly thought most leaders are vaccinated.

Perhaps that answers one of the questions I posed, Alisyn, which is, why President Biden and others wanted to wear masks because they weren't sure. Well, this is exhibit A, perhaps.

What he said, when he was at a press conference in the home state of Louisiana, is that he hasn't gotten it because he feels young and healthy and going to wait -- he wanted to wait to let other people go first.

But that he is getting a vaccine and does believe in the science. He is saying he is not anti-vaxxer. That's not where he stands.

But if there are, you know, a large portion of Republicans, especially Republican men, looking at one of the key members of the elected leadership and saying, well, wow, why didn't he get vaccinated yet, what am I missing, maybe I am right in hesitation.

You know, that could add to that, which is why it is important for him to say what he said and perhaps say it more often, meaning the vaccine is safe.

BLACKWELL: Yes, he says he wants to make it a formal event. Maybe that will lead some to get vaccinated.

BASH: There you go.

BLACKWELL: Dana Bash, thanks so much.

BASH: Thanks so much, guys.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Dana.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Dana.

In the last hour, we heard President Biden making the sales pitch for his ambitious nearly $4 trillion agenda to the American people.

Today's speech was the first of many on tap this week as the president and first lady hit the road for the White House's "Getting America Back" tour.

Biden is trying to build support for his proposals, not only with the American public but also members of Congress.

And CNN's Arlette Saenz is traveling with the president.

Arlette, tell us more about his, I guess, marketing pitch you'd call it?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is a being pitch, Alisyn. And President Biden came to Virginia to make the argument that investments in physical and human infrastructure will keep America competitive with the rest of the world.

You saw him at an elementary school and here at a community college as he promoted elements of the American Families Plan.

Arguing that investments in education, like universal pre-K and two years of free community college, will help keep Americans educated and better informed for the workforce as we are starting to compete with other countries.

Now, one big debate over the president's $4 trillion plan is how exactly he is paying for it.

Republicans have balked at the big price tag, along with his proposals to increase the corporate tax rate and increase taxes on wealthier Americans.


But the president defended his pay-fors, the tax increases, saying it's time for the wealthy to pay their fair share.

One component of this road show we have seen from the White House is that they believe they have broad support across the country for these proposals.

And they are hoping those voters, in turn, will help pressure their lawmakers to get onboard with the plan.

Take a listen to the vice-president -- to the president earlier today.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So there's an awful lot of possibilities, an awful lot of hope.

The good news is I think there's overwhelming bipartisan support for this. You look at the polling data, Republican voters overwhelmingly support it.

Now I just got to get some of our Republican colleagues to support it.


SAENZ: The president clear he wants bipartisan support for the proposal. And he is bringing Republicans to the table.

He has engaged in conversations himself, including a phone call last week with Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito.

And he is inviting bipartisan groups of lawmakers to the White House to try to hammer out some type of deal on the proposals.

CAMEROTA: Arlette Saenz, thank you very much for the update there from Virginia.

All right, so have you noticed some of the prices lately at the gas pump? Well, they're apparently not going to get better any time soon. We'll explain what's behind this next.



BLACKWELL: Air travel in the U.S. just hit a new pandemic record. The TSA says it screened more than 1.6 million people at airports across the country yesterday. That's almost 10 times the number screened the same day a year ago.

CAMEROTA: Airlines say this is a clear sign that people want to fly again. And now they're calling for an end to those travel restrictions between the U.S. and the U.K.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN aviation correspondent, Pete Muntean.

Pete, I was on a plane Saturday from New York to Atlanta. The first day Delta filled in the middle seats. At least on the flight I was on, they filled every one.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, things are changing by the minute, Victor. The airlines are trying to keep up with demand right now. 1.62 million people passing through TSA checkpoints on Sunday, a new pandemic record.

Think about where we were a year ago. About 170,000 people flew on the same day a year ago. So, these numbers are inching up steadily.

This new record is a sign that people just want to get back out. We are talking about pent-up air travel demand.

The airlines are catching up with that. You mentioned, as a result Delta ended its middle seat block. No major airline is capping capacity.

American Airlines bringing planes out of storage and back onto the line to be able to fly you.

Things are changing all the time, either by land or air. More Americans traveling every minute.

CAMEROTA: Pete, that brings us to where you are right now, at a gas station. What's happening with gas prices? MUNTEAN: What's interesting here are the gas prices have risen 60

percent from a year ago. The pandemic has been driving them up. More people driving now. There's a bit more demand.

We're learning from industry groups that it's harder to just get the gas here. Industry groups tell us that tanker trucks are in short supply. Those have gone down about 25 percent.

That number has actually gotten bigger in the pandemic because there were fewer drivers to drive those trucks. It's a highly qualified job. More regulation on them, more retirements during the pandemic.

I talked to one of these big trucking companies out in Oklahoma. They have 800 drivers in 15 states. They have doubled their recruiting budget just to deal with this looming shortage on the horizon.

Here's what they told me.


HOLLY MCCORMICK, GROENDYKE TRANSPORT, NATIONAL TANK TRUCK CARRIERS: We've been talking about a driver shortage within the industry for the better part of 20 years. Now you've got this pandemic effect that's accelerated the issue.

So, I think most people probably won't realize that this could be a crippling effect on our economy.


MUNTEAN: Industry groups are forecasting this could be an issue in vacation hot spots, where gas is needed all at once, like today, a Monday, where everybody is going home.

It could be a panic effect. When one station runs out of gas, they run to another station and run it out of gas. A bit of a domino effect here.

That's what groups are worried about. They say there could be a gas shortage because there aren't enough people to get gas to places it needs to go.

CAMEROTA: Pete, during the pandemic, obviously, lots of people were working from home and traffic went way down. It was such a nice silver lining of the pandemic, if we had to have one.

Do we think that's going to hold? Obviously, not at those levels. But do we think people will be working from home and we won't see as much traffic as we did two years ago?

MUNTEAN: Alisyn, just think about where we were in 2019 and how bad traffic really was in a place like Washington, D.C., here, one of the most congested areas in the country.

Right at the beginning of the pandemic, I talked to some folks who forecast how traffic moves throughout the country. They said, if just 10 percent of the people who are working from home

stayed working from home, that would have a huge impact on traffic, maybe cutting in ways it would seem like it went down by half.

Hopefully, there could be a big change. But we'll see, as companies return to work in a big way, whether or not that will stick.

CAMEROTA: Pete Muntean, thank you very much for all of that.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Pete.

There's something special coming up for you on Sunday night. We want you to join Don Lemon for a look at Marvin Gaye's ground-breaking album, "What's Going On," 50 years after its release. Why has it become an anthem for a new generation?


The CNN special, "WHAT'S GOING ON: MARVIN GAYE'S ANTHEM FOR THE AGES," Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

President Trump may have lost the election. He did lose the election. But Trumpism is not going anywhere. Now it seems there's a new loyalty test.