'This Week' Transcript 4-2-23: Joe Tacopina, Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Eric Schmidt

This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, April 2nd.

ByABC News
April 2, 2023, 9:23 AM

A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, April 2, 2023 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.


ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: It's massive election interference.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The first American president to face criminal charges. Donald Trump set to surrender on Tuesday.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): It's a sober moment for the country.

MIKE PENCE (R), FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: The unprecedented indictment is an outrage.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ll get the latest reaction from Trump's attorney, Joe Tacopina.

Rick Klein breaks down our new poll results.

Plus, analysis from our powerhouse roundtable.

Fresh challenge.

ASA HUTCHINSON, (R) FMR ARKANSAS GOVERNOR & (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America needs to move in a different direction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Asa Hutchinson calls for new GOP voices in 2024.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Have you made a decision? Are you running?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon Karl’s exclusive interview with the former Arkansas governor. His big announcement just ahead.

And –

SAM ALTMAN: I think society needs time to adapt. We've got to put this technology out into the world in a gradual way.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Artificial intelligence advancing at warp speed. We’ll examine the staggering implications with chief business correspondent Rebecca Jarvis and tech pioneer Eric Schmidt.


ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's THIS WEEK. Here now, George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK.

How many times in the last decade or so have we described a political development as historic, unprecedented, never seen before? I've lost count. And this week, the norm-busting impact of Donald Trump on our body politic may have reached its peak. On Thursday we learned that he's the first president ever to face criminal indictment. And as we come on the air this morning, that twice-impeached former president, also under criminal investigation for trying to overturn an election he lost, is now his party's top candidate for the White House in 2024, with statement of support from six governors, 26 senators, the speaker of the House and 63 other House Republicans.

That's where things stand right now two days before Trump is scheduled to surrender to authorities in Manhattan. We'll analyze all the fallout this morning.

Senior investigative correspondent Aaron Katersky starts us off.

Good morning, Aaron.


This is going to be an historic and just unbelievable moment for the nation as someone who once occupied the Oval Office walks the same dim courthouse hall here as thugs and mobsters and petty criminals.


KATERSKY (voice over): Two days from now, the defendant in the People of the State of New York against Donald J. Trump will surrender to face about two dozen criminal counts, an extraordinary and jarring moment for a country divided by partisan disagreements. The first indictment of a former American president was handed up, not for election tampering or inciting an insurrection, but for allegedly doctoring the books when accounting for hush money paid to a porn actress, arranged on the eve of the 2016 election by Trump’s one-time fixer, Michael Cohen.

MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: I mean this is a man who held up the Bible and said he’s never apologized to God because he’s never done anything wrong. He doesn’t understand accountability. And, right now, Alvin Bragg has finally put that into his lap.

KATERSKY: The investigation is focused on whether Trump disguised his reimbursement of Cohen as ordinary legal expenses. The specific charges are sealed until Trump appears before a judge. That is expected Tuesday, when the former president is driven from his Fifth Avenue apartment to the courthouse in lower Manhattan, which for days has been surrendered by metal barricades.

The NYPD and the U.S. Secret Service have already choreographed the appearance. Trump will not be handcuffed, but he will be processed as a criminally defendant before walking down a 15th floor hallway for arraignment. The floor was sealed off for days in advance.

JOE TACOPINA, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: You know, we'll go in there, and we'll proceed to see a judge at some point, plead not guilty.

KATERSKY: On social media, Trump has taken aim at the judge assigned to the case. He has attacked the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, and summoned his supporters to protest. None materialized so far, though police are bracing for them.

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene is advertising a rally for Trump on the day of his arraignment. And authorities are monitoring a surge in online rhetoric calling for violence in response to the indictment.


KATERSKY: Trump is not going to be here at court very long. As soon as his arraignment is over, we’re told he’s going to head straight to the airport, fly to Florida to resume his campaign.

George, should this case go to trial, Trump could be here for weeks right as he tries to seek the White House again.


STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Aaron, thanks.

Let’s get more on the political fallout now from Rachel Scott.

And, Rachel, so far, at least, top Republicans seem to be rallying behind Trump.

RACHEL SCOTT, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, George. And this is uncharted territory. Not only is former President Donald Trump the leading Republican candidate, he is also now a criminal defendant. Sources describe him as angry and defiant. His team is already strategizing about how to use this to his political advantage.

Within minutes of this indictment being handed down, his team started fundraising off of this. The Trump campaign says they have allegedly raised $4 million. And the former president has spent a lot of his time calling top Republicans, telling them to rally to his defense, and most of them have. Most notably , one of his biggest potential rivals, Florida Governor Rn DeSantis, calling the Manhattan D.A. a menace to society.

The big question, how long will that type of support hold as we continue to learn more details about the charges in that indictment and as other investigations into the former president continue. But if there is one thing that we know about Donald Trump, he does not back down from controversy or scandal. And even with an unprecedented indictment, this time is proving to be no different, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK, Rachel Scott, thanks very much.

Let's bring in Donald Trump's attorney now, Joe Tacopina.

Joe, thanks for joining us this morning.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Why don’t you start off by giving us some insight into what President Trump is thinking and feeling right now.

TACOPINA: He’s gearing up for a battle. You know, this is something that, obviously, we believe is a political persecution and I think people on both sides of the aisle believe that, that it’s a complete abuse of power. He’s a tough guy, George, as you know, and he’s someone who’s going to be ready for this fight. We’re ready for this fight. And I look forward to moving this thing along as quickly as possible to exonerate him.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What evidence do you have that –

TACOPINA: Despite what it seems to be doing in the polls.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What evidence do you have that Democrats see this as political persecution?

TACOPINA: What – sorry, what’s that?

STEPHANOPOULOS: What evidence do you have that Democrats see this as political persecution? You said people on both sides of the aisle see this as political persecution.

TACOPINA: Oh, yes. I mean this – I mean, look, there’s been – there’s – not only articles that have come out from “The New York Times,” “Financial Times” and whatnot saying this would be a grave miscarriage of justice, a mistake to bring this case, but I've heard Democrats coming out on various talk shows and radio shows and whatnot saying that this is not the case. No that they’re supporting Donald Trump or embracing him, but that’s what I – that’s my point all along, George, it shouldn’t matter what side of the aisle you sit. If you’re an American, and you’re concerned about rule of law, there should be no scenario where you want this to happen, because we all know, and if you’re intellectually honest, we all know that had Donald Trump not been Donald Trump and was John Smith, this case never would have been brought.

If he was not running for re-election, there is no way this case would have been brought. This case is not even legally sufficient. Factually, it’s a joke. And it won’t survive a challenge of law in the courtroom.


TACOPINA: You’ve had federal prosecutors look at this case and – go ahead, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You can’t know that for sure. No one’s seen the charges. There are at least 24 charges according to most reports, perhaps up to 34.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You haven’t seen the charges. I haven’t seen the charges.


STEPHANOPOULOS: You don’t know what’s behind that right now.

TACOPINA: Oh, I do know it, George. I mean, come on, you – look, they can extrapolate counts and make one thing into five counts and say, you know, this check – each individual check’s account or each entry’s account, but we all – we do all know that it has to do with a confidential settlement agreement, a completely legal confidential settlement agreement with Stormy Daniels, her attorney, Michael Cohen, her – and her attorney signed that together. Donald Trump did not. We do know it has to do with that. So, that’s what this is about.

And – and the entries into the legers would be misdemeanors. And they’re not even false. But they would be misdemeanors and way past the statute of limitations.

So, you had to cobble some misdemeanors together to show that it was done with intent to cover up another crime, and that crime will be a violation of federal campaign law, which the FEC said did not happen, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District said did not happen.

So, I really am – I'm not going to be shocked to see what’s in this indictment. I'm going to be curious, of course. But we do know that the counts revolve around the interaction with his settlement agreement with Stormy Daniels.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What should we expect to see on Tuesday exactly?

TACOPINA: That’s a great question, George. I – you know, this is unprecedented. I don’t know. I've done a million arrangements in that courthouse with celebrities and whatnot, but this is a whole different thing.

We have Secret Service involved. I understand they’re closing the courthouse for the afternoon. I just don’t know what to expect to see. Hopefully what I – what I hope is that we get in and out of there as quickly as possible, that it’s, at the end of the day, a typical arrangement where we stand before the judge, we say not guilty, we set schedules to file motions and whatnot or discovery and we move forward and get out of there.

I mean, look, I understand there’s, you know, a lot of emotion on both sides of the aisle here. For me, as a litigatory, as a lawyer, I want this to be done as smoothly and quickly as possible and begin this fight to really put justice back on course to the degree we can because I've said, once the rule of law falls in this country or is stretched so far to try and get a political opponent, it’s often hard to get that rule of law back to its original shape.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Will President Trump hold a press conference on Tuesday following the arraignment?

TACOPINA: I – George, honestly, I can’t answer that question. I don’t know what the president’s plans are. We’ve been speaking, but, you know, he -- he -- he does Trump better than anybody. And he’s not afraid to speak. He’s not afraid to encounter confrontation. But, again, I think that’s a decision he’ll make, his PR team will make, and maybe even the Secret Service in conjunction with that. But -- but we’ll have to wait and see.

STEPHANOPOULOS: “Bloomberg” is reporting that your team may seek to move the trial to Staten Island. Is that on the table?

TACOPINA: No, that -- I mean, he -- here’s what’s on the table. Everything’s on the table. I -- I read that article and I -- I chuckled. I mean there’s been no discussion of that whatsoever. We haven’t seen -- like you pointed out earlier, we haven’t seen the indictment yet. It’s way to premature to start worrying about venue changes until we really see the indictment and grapple with the legal issues.

And there’s -- before you make motions like venue changes, you have to do some -- some research. We’re way to early to start deciding what motions we’re going to file or not file and we do need to see the indictment and get to work. I mean, look, this is the beginning.

STEPHANOPOULOS: President Trump -- but President Trump has attacked the judge. Is that your team’s official legal position? Do you believe the judge is biased?

TACOPINA: No, I don’t believe the judge is biased. I mean, the president is entitled to his own option.

Look, he’s been the victim of a political persecution. You know, I -- George, you don’t have to subscribe to it. I honestly don’t care.

It’s a fact. It is a fact because anyone other than Donald Trump would not have been prosecuted for this ridiculous, factual scenario. That’s why we --

STEPHANOPOULOS: But if you don’t believe the president -- the judge is biased, why is the president saying so?

TACOPINA: I'm -- you’re interviewing me, George, right? I'm not speaking for anyone else except me.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you’re his attorney.

TACOPINA: Yes, I'm -- but I'm his attorney but I'm myself. I -- I don’t -- I'm not his PR person. I'm not his spokesperson. He’s entitled to his own opinion.

And what he’s been through, quite frankly, I don’t blame him for feeling the way he feels. You’re asking me my opinion. Do I think the judge is biased? Of course not. How could I subscribe to that when I've had no interactions with this judge that would lead me to believe he’s biased?

So the answer to that -- your question is -- my response is, absolutely not.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Joe Tacopina, thanks very much.

TACOPINA: OK, George, thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump’s potential rivals for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination have mostly rushed to his defense, but one is speaking out as he prepares to enter the race.

Chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl sat down with former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CHIEF WHASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: When I spoke to you earlier this year, you said you were thinking about running for president. Have you made a decision? Are you running?

ASA HUTCHINSON (R), FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: I have made a decision. And my decision is I’m going to run for president of the United States. While the formal announcement will be later in April, Bentonville, I wanted to make clear that to you, Jonathan, I am going to be going to be running.

And the reason -- as I’ve traveled the country for six months, I hear people talk about the leadership of our country, and I’m convinced that people want leaders that appeal to the best of America and not simply appeal to our worst instincts.

That inspires me when I see everyday Americans just saying, give us good leadership, give us common sense, consistent conservatism, and optimism about our great country. And that inspires me. And I believe I can be that kind of leader for the people of America.

KARL: Now, you’ve got a lot of experience. You've been a prosecutor. You've been a member of Congress. You've been a governor. You've been director of the DEA.

But most people outside of Arkansas don't know who you are. How do you break through?

HUTCHINSON: Well, a lot of hard work and good messaging. But I’ve spent some time in Iowa, and I love the response that I get there. And so, it's still about retail politics in many of these states.

And also, this is one of the most unpredictable political environments that I’ve seen in my lifetime. And so, my message of experience, of consistent conservatism, of hope for our future and solving problems that face Americans, I think that that resonates. And whenever I make the final announcement, I’ll be everywhere. And I think it's a plan that can work in this environment.

KARL: And how does the indictment of Donald Trump by the Manhattan D.A. change this race?

HUTCHINSON: Well, that adds to the unpredictability of it. And I think it's a sad day for America that we have a former president that's indicted. And so, it's a great distraction.

But, at the same time, we can't set aside what our Constitution requires, which is electing a new leader for our country, just because we have this side controversy and criminal charges that are pending. And the American people are going to have to separate what the ideas are for our future, going to talk about border security and the economy. We have to talk about those.

We have to talk about the leadership of America in the world whenever you have Russia and China taking advantage of any weakness that America shows. So, we can't be sidetracked for a year and a half.

KARL: You suggested recently that if Trump were to get indicted, that he should drop out of the race. Do you believe that now that he’s been indicted, should he drop out?

HUTCHINSON: Well, I do. First of all, the office is more important than any individual person. And so, for the sake of the office of the presidency, I do think that's too much of a side show and distraction, and he needs to be able to concentrate on his due process, and there is a presumption of innocence.

But the second reason is, throughout my eight years as governor, and as a political leader, I've always said that people don’t have to step aside from public office if they’re under investigation. But if it reaches the point of criminal charges that have to be answered, the office is always more important than a person.

KARL: And he should step aside and no longer run?

HUTCHINSON: Well, he should. But, at the same time, we know he's not. And there's not any constitutional requirement. And so he's going to pursue, and I understand that, but I stated my principles and belief and how I think it should be handled.

But he's going to proceed on. And so he's going to be a candidate. And I think, ultimately, the voters are going to have to decide this.

KARL: Do you trust this process in New York? Do you think he can get a fair trial, a fair hearing in New York?

HUTCHINSON: Well, the important thing is that the grand jury found probable cause. And that's the standard for any criminal charges in our society. And the presumption of innocence follows you. And then there's a trial. And the termination of guilt or innocence. That's the American system. We don't want to erode confidence in our entire criminal justice system simply because we don't like the beginning parts of the case.

KARL: What about the fundamentals of the case? Put aside the legal issues here. The idea of hush money for a porn star to conceal an alleged affair, does some of this end up making the evangelical voters who supported Trump so strongly in the past think twice about supporting him again?

HUTCHINSON: Well, let’s look at the three different investigations. One is the hush money out of New York. Secondly it is the request and pressure for votes out of Georgia. And the third one, of course, is the mishandling of classified documents in Mar-a-Lago. Those are three very serious investigations. You might say one of them doesn't showcase anything. But when you look at all three of them combined, it should give Americans pause.

When you ask about the evangelical community, I'm part of that.

KARL: Yes.

HUTCHINSON: And I believe that the evangelical community understands that we need to have a leader that can distance themselves from some of the bad instincts that drive Mr. Trump. And I hope that we can do that in the future.

KARL: You recently said that your lane is the non-Trump lane, as opposed to the anti-Trump lane. What do you mean by that?

HUTCHINSON: Well, it means that I'm providing an alternative to the former president, Donald Trump. Now, when I say non-Trump, I want – I want to be able to speak to the Trump voters, I want to be able to speak to all the party and say, this is the leadership that I want to provide, and I think that we need to have border security. I think we need to have a strong America. I think we need to spend less at the federal level. These are the values that I represent.

KARL: Chris Christie, speaking in New Hampshire recently, said that the key is Republicans need to be fearless in taking on Donald Trump. That does not seem to be the case. I mean look at how candidates and potential candidates have reacted to the indictment. I mean they've rallied to Trump's defense, effectively?

HUTCHINSON: I know there’s going to be some that say I should be tougher on the prosecutor, I should be tougher on the unfairness of this. I've expressed my view that I wouldn't bring those charges if I was a prosecutor. But let's let the system work.

And what I don't want to do as a leader is to undermine everything that is good about America, which is our criminal justice system. It’s what sets us apart.

KARL: I mean there are a lot of Republicans attacking that judicial system and that legal system right now.

HUTCHINSON: And I'm different.

KARL: If Donald Trump manages to win the nomination again, becomes the Republican candidate for president, will you support him?

HUTCHINSON: I'm running because I believe that I am the right time for America, the right candidate for our country and its future. And it shouldn't hinge upon anything else.

KARL: But you couldn't see yourself supporting Trump again?

HUTCHINSON: I don't believe he should be the next leader of our country.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC "THIS WEEK" ANCHOR: The roundtable's coming up. Plus, political director Rick Klein breaks down our brand-new poll on the political fallout from Trump's indictment.

Stay with us.


MIKE PENCE, FORMER PRESIDENT: The unprecedented indictment of a former president of the United States on a campaign finance issue is an outrage.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: They're trying to smear the guy. They're trying to take cases that nobody else would take and resurrect them. This is literally legal voodoo.

GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R) FLORIDA: The law has been weaponized for political purposes.

PRESIDENT JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR.: I have no comment at all on that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some of the initial reaction to Donald Trump's indictment, and political director Rick Klein here to break down our new poll and how the public is responding.

Rick, reaction predictably breaks down along party lines, but there are some complications.

RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yeah, and, George, for starters, the public seems to be taking this seriously. We asked people in this ABC/Ipsos poll out this morning whether these are serious charges or not. And you see a clear majority views it that way, but there's a big chunk of the public that seems to be reserving judgment, sitting on the sidelines for now, not exactly sure.

Now, overall, there does seem to be support; a plurality of Americans, 45 percent, say that charges should be filed in this case, and, again, another 23 percent who say they're not sure; they don't know right now. And, yes, partisanship plays a big role in this. As you might expect, George, almost all Democrats feel like charges are appropriate, that President Trump should have been charged in this case, independents pretty deeply split, as you can see.

But maybe the most interesting part of this poll, to my mind, George, is the number of Republicans, especially given the conventional wisdom out there that this somehow helps Donald trump in a Republican primary. Most Republicans think he should not be charged. But 16 percent say that he should be, and another 21 percent say they don't know quite yet.

So take that together, and that's about four in 10 Republicans who say that either that these charges are appropriate, that he should be charged, or they're not quite sure. And I think politics -- look, you can't avoid it in this. And I think, in our poll, you see it as well, we asked people, do you think that there were political motivations in the charges brought by the Manhattan D.A.? And again, a plurality, 47 percent, say yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Any insight in the poll into the public's reaction to the other investigations Trump is facing?

KLEIN: Yeah, George, look, we've been hearing for weeks from analysts about how this case in Manhattan might be the weakest of the various investigations swirling around former President Trump from a legal perspective. And I think that's backed up in our poll. Forty-five percent say that they believe there should be charges in the former president's handling of classified material. We have a pretty similar, slightly higher number that supports the idea of charging him in connection with the January 6th attack. That's 49 percent.

And the clearest public support in any of those investigations, the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Fifty-one percent of -- of voters overall say that he should be charged in connection with that. Again, there's others who still want to see more information. What's interesting to me about that number, George, is that includes about 20 percent, one in five Republicans, that think there should be criminal charges filed against former President Trump over his efforts to overturn the election.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And of course this is before we've seen any of the charges.

Rick Klein, thanks very much.

Roundtable's next. We'll be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re going to get Chris Christie's first reaction to the Trump indictment, plus the rest of our roundtable when we come back.



GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT: I feel that Richard Nixon and his loved ones have suffered enough and will continue to suffer no matter what I do. Now, therefore, I Gerald R. Ford, president of the United States, do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon on to Richard Nixon.

(END VIDEO CLIP) STEPHANOPOULOS: And with that, Gerald Ford prevented Richard Nixon from being the first American president to face criminal charges. Instead, that will go to Donald Trump on Tuesday when he’s arraigned here in Manhattan.

We’re going to talk about that on our roundtable with Chris Christie, Donna Brazile, our chief Washington correspondent Jon Karl, and the executive editor of “The Associated Press”, Julie Pace.

And, Chris, I do have to begin with you. You've not yet reacted to the indictment.

CHRIS CHRISTIE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, I didn't, George, because, in fact, I'd like to read it first. You know, one of the things I found really amazing on both sides of this is that people are willing to comment on the efficacy of an indictment before you've even read it. Having done this for seven years, I feel like --

STEPHANOPOULOS: As a prosecutor?

CHRISTIE: -- we should at least do that. Right.

So, I will say though are two general things. One, with Alvin Bragg, an elected prosecutor, a Democrat, I wonder whether this is really increasing the public safety of the people of Manhattan by going after a 7-year-old charge for a hush money payment.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Should that be a factor in whether or not he makes the decision?

CHRISTIE: Sure, sure. Because, George, you’ve got government resources as a prosecutor and you’ve got prosecutorial discretion. Unlike the European system where they say, there’s a crime, you must charge it. Here, prosecutors are allowed to use the discretion that I don't think this is an appropriate use of my resources given everything I have in front of me.

On the other hand, all this bravado from the Trump campaign is baloney. He is going to be charged officially on Tuesday. He’s going to have to be mugshotted, fingerprinted and he’s going to face a criminal trial in Manhattan and he’s not going to be able to avoid it. You can't make that a good day under any circumstances.

STEPHANOPOULOS: There has been a lot of happy talk from the Trump camp.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC NEWS CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and it's ridiculous. I mean, there’s been talk about how, oh, this has boosted their fundraising. That’s no doubt true.

There's been talk about how he wants -- this means he wins the nomination because Republicans will rally around him. There has been some rallying around him.

But Trump fought hard to prevent this day, and, in fact, after he said he was going to be arrested, you know, what was it two weeks ago, and it didn't happen, he actually was confiding in people, telling people that he thought he had basically pressured Bragg not to bring the charges, and he was celebrating that fact.

He thought he had dodged this bullet. And, you know, that he would -- this indictment was not going to come, and he was happy about it. He does not want this day to come.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Asa Hutchinson, Julie Pace, one of the few Republicans who’s willing to now say, now that the president has been indicted, he shouldn't keep running?

JULIE PACE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, ASSOCIATED PRESS: And I think this becomes the question for Republicans right now. Yes, there's the legality of what will play out through the court system, but then there’s just this question of, is this what Republicans want to be talking about?

Because I do think one thing that Hutchinson said that is true is for every minute, every day that Republicans are focused on Trump and what’s happening with these charges, they're not talking about Joe Biden. They’re not talking about their message on the economy. They’re not talking about their position on foreign policy, and you do wonder at some point, put Trump aside, do they want to be able to focus there?

And as long as Trump is in the picture, it's so hard for them to move in that direction.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A lot of fire focused on the prosecutor Alvin Bragg calling it political persecution. You just heard Chris's argument as well -- he should have used some discretion.

Your response?

DONNA BRAZILE, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first of all, I’m sure that Mr. Bragg can walk and chew gum. I mean, just on Friday, he was on the courthouse for another high-profile case. I don't know the -- you know, the contours of that case.

But, look, the bottom line is if someone is charged with armed robbery and murder, you basically want to make sure that this person is able to be brought to justice. What Republicans are saying that if there are more serious charges -- so, let him get away this one so that we can focus on the other ones.

I think you are absolutely right that we haven't read the indictment. We don't know how serious these charges are. But, again, like every citizen, he is presumed innocent, and he will have to face a judge and a jury trial of ordinary New Yorkers and citizens.

For now, I think everyone should just remain calm and be patient.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I do want to follow up with Chris.

Does the fact that there are at least two dozen charges, perhaps up to three dozen, A, surprise you? And B, does it suggest to you that there actually could be something beyond the scope of what we’ve been expecting, or no?

CHRISTIE: Yes and no, right? It does not surprise me there are that many charges because what you’re talking about are financial transactions. And you can do one of two ways as a prosecutor. You can bulk them all into one or two counts, or you can break them out into individual counts, ands that's about your own decision in terms of how you want to present the proofs ultimately at trial and how you want the jury to consider it. So, those surprise me that there’s a lot.

But I do think we're making a lot of presumptions based upon, you know, media talk and talk from defense lawyers who -- you got Joe Tacopina to admit this morning, he has no idea what’s in the charging document. He hasn't seen it.

So, I do think there may be some surprises in these for us because the one thing I loved when I was the U.S. attorney, George, was, only I knew what I knew. And that’s the secrecy of the grand jury system. And then you have to, as the prosecutor, put your proofs forward. And unlike what Nancy Pelosi said on Twitter this week, Donald Trump doesn’t have to prove his innocence. In fact, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s guilty.

So, the number of charges doesn’t really surprise me at all, but the fact that everyone’s presuming they know what the – what’s in there, when we don’t, I think some people could be surprised on Tuesday.

PACE: And I think one of the questions that we'll be able to answer when we know more of the charges is to this point about prosecutorial discretion. There is – there – you have to imagine there is consideration given to the fact that this is a former president of the United States that does have to come into the – into the discussion here. We know that that's been part of the discussion at the Justice Department, certainly in Georgia as well. And so how does that fact line up with the seriousness of the charges?


KARL: But there’s something else here, and I think Asa Hutchinson made a very good point on this, it’s -- it's the attack on the very system of justice itself. When Trump thought about a week ago that he wasn't going to be indicted, he was praising the grand jury and, you know, their restraint. And now all-out attack on the prosecutor and on the system of justice and on the idea that he can get a fair hearing in -- in the state of New York.

This is like after – after he lost in the 2020 election. It’s not simply, you know, that he lost, it’s that the -- our entire democrat electoral system in this country is rigged, it's broken. It’s -- he's fundamentally attacking the basics of American democracy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Donna, we long ago – long ago learned that Donald Trump may be impervious to charges of hypocrisy, but he does have years long record of calling for the prosecution of his political opponent.

BRAZILE: Fifty plus – fifty plus years. I mean we all recall, you know, lock her up. He not only said it at campaign rallies, he also said it at the presidential debate. Fifty years ago faced with housing discrimination. He's constantly pointing fingers at others, saying, they should be locked -- President Obama should be locked up, President Biden should be locked up. But Donald Trump has to face the music at some point and be held accountable.

You know, later this month, in April, E. Jean Carroll is bringing her suit against Donald Trump here in the state of New York. This is the battery and defamation for sexual assault. So, Donald Trump has a lot of investigations right now that he needs to be worried about.

PACE: And that's what I think makes this from a political standpoint very uncertain because we know what the last couple of years has looked like as Trump has been able to use rhetoric to argue against the court system, to be able to kind of argue and work his way around some of these situations. He is going now through a legal process and probably more that are – that are coming, and we just don't know how the public is going to react when they see him in these types of settings.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Chris, you’ve made no secret that you’re looking at a presidential race, looking perhaps as challenging Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. So, that's on the table. But has it surprised you how quickly so many of your fellow top Republicans have immediately rallied around the president?

CHRISTIE: You know, no, because of what we've seen, you know, throughout the years where Donald Trump has been either the nominee or the president and in the post-presidency period. But I also think that part of it is -- two things can exist at the same time. They're not mutually exclusive. And this goes to Jon's comment. You know, you can be incredibly critical of the way Trump treats all of our institutions, the judiciary, being part it. And he has called for the use of prosecutorial power against people that he's opposed to without knowing at all what the facts are. He should be criticized for that. I've criticized him for it and others have.

At the same time, there can be legitimate questions to be raised about Alvin Bragg's conduct in this and his lack of use of prosecutorial discretion here.

So, what I hate about our conversations on this right now, George, are, that you have to be in one camp or the other. It's not true. You can look at what Donald Trump’s doing right now in terms of what he's saying about the grand jury and the judge and the whole system and say, that's wrong, and it undercuts our system and he has no basis yet to say that the – the same way he had no basis to say the election was stolen. But, at the same time you is can say, but, wait a second, Alvin Bragg, with everything that’s going on in Manhattan from a crime perspective, you’re really spending all this time and resources of your office on this? Is this really what was necessary? And it’s not about giving Trump a pass, it’s about, as a prosecutor deciding, what do you spend your resources on, because they are limited, and what do you spend it on?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon, that's more nuanced than a lot of positions we've seen from some top Republicans right now and it’s made me wonder what they’re going to do if and when Fulton County prosecutes –

KARL: Yes.


STEPHANOPOULOS: If and when the special prosecutor prosecutes on either the classified documents, obstruction charges, or the attempts to overturn the 2020 election.

KARL: Well, I think we know, largely, what they’re going to do, which is what they did here. In Fulton County they're going to say another Democratic prosecutor going after Donald Trump for political reasons.

When Jack Smith acts, this is Biden's Justice Department. And it's really, you know, quite remarkable, but that's -- that's the position we are in. They -- they fear getting on -- I'm talking about, primarily here, his potential presidential -- many of his rivals in 2024, but House Republicans, who are actually calling for an investigation of the Manhattan D.A., want him to testify before the House about what he's -- about what he's doing here.

And -- and that same set of reactions you're going to see in each one of these cases, the weaponization of -- of our prosecutorial system, of our justice system, to go after Donald Trump. That will be the argument from a lot of Republicans.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Donna, as a Democrat, does the prospect of three different sets of criminal charges potentially filed against Donald Trump make you want him to be the nominee?

BRAZILE: Look, Donald Trump has a grip on the Republican Party. I was looking for my notes, Chris. You know, you often get me to write my notes. And as of Friday, George -- and I think you mentioned this -- six Republican governors, 26 United States senators, 63 House GOP members, including the speaker of the House, 10 state attorney generals, all circling and supporting Donald Trump.

He has a grip on the Republican Party. And whether you're in the non-Trump lane, the anti-Trump lane, there's no wiggle room because he is going to keep a grip on the Republicans, especially in the short-term. Long-term, I don't think this will help him in winning the nomination.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Julie, maybe picking up on Chris's point, a little bit, Ron DeSantis can't seem to decide which lane he's in.


PACE: He can't seem to decide which lane he is in. I think, you know, he knows that part of his appeal is that he's a bit like Trump but not totally Trump, so he needs to stay over there a bit. At the same time, I think he's looking for some opportunities to create some -- some daylight there. We've seen this on Ukraine. We're now seeing this with Trump charges. I think DeSantis is still very much, kind of, trying to feel out what his overall lane in the party is going to be.

CHRISTIE: Well, look, George, I think it's interesting that someone says they're going to refuse to extradite someone who's not asking...


CHRISTIE: ... and, by the way, who's not asking not to be extradited, right?

I mean, Trump and his lawyers are negotiating a voluntary surrender, which is what they should do. It's the responsible thing to do. And Ron DeSantis comes out and says, "I won't extradite him." Well, who the hell asked you?


CHRISTIE: I mean, like, you know, it's, kind of, funny, you know?

BRAZILE: He's trying to figure out his position on everything.

KARL: Is he suggesting that Trump's going to be a fugitive in the state of Florida and he's going to be protected by the Florida State Police?

CHRISTIE: I don't know. You'd have to ask him. But my -- my point is, this shows you how, going to Donna's point, how some people tie themselves up in knots by just not telling the truth.


CHRISTIE: Right, like, listen, the governor...

STEPHANOPOULOS: He doesn't have the power not to extradite.

CHRISTIE: The governor has no role, has not role in this, particularly when the defendant doesn't want him to have a role in it, right? So, like, the defendant's not being asked to be defended, but he's jumping to his defense because he knows it's a no-cost position on the substance.

But, as Julie pointed out, stylistically, people want to know that you're authentic and they want to know that what you say is what you believe. So I think that's the bigger problem for DeSantis is, you know, everybody look at that and goes, "Yeah, right, you know, sure" -- except for the most fervent supporters of his.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Two questions. What do you think we're going to see from Donald Trump on Tuesday?

And what do you really think is going through his mind right now?

CHRISTIE: What -- I have no idea what you're going to see, because that's going to be really mostly in the hands of the prosecution and law enforcement. And I think his lawyers are going to try to prevail upon him to not say too much. We'll see how lucky they are at that.

And Jon and I were talking about this earlier. Look, he has spent -- he has modeled his business life, for all the years I've known him, against this day. He doesn't email; he doesn't text message. He often speaks in, kind of, an odd code, to you, when he's talking about business issues. He has been looking to avoid this day. And I don't care what he or Joe Tacopina or anybody else says, Tuesday is going to be a very bad day for Donald Trump because he's that old, been able to avoid this for that long, and that day he won't be able to.

BRAZILE: He's going to be defiant. He's going to be defiant, George. And -- and he's going to wear his best blue suit with his best red tie, and he's going to smile his way through it, but underneath all of it, he is angry.

KARL: And Roy Cohn has been his model for this, you know, the former associate of McCarthy that, you know, Roy Cohn, who taught him to fight, fight, fight, fight, fight. But Trump has told people that Roy Cohn has also said, "You never want to get arrested because you lose control." You lose control.

PACE: Right. That's the thing. He loses control now. He's in a process that is not within his ability to shape it.

CHRISTIE: Right. And that's why the timing, even -- in a civil suit, you can really manage the timing pretty well. Criminally, you can't.

STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. That's all we have time for today. We'll be right back.



REP. JAKE AUCHINCLOSS, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: Mr. Speaker, I stand here today because I am planning to reintroduce the United States-Israel Artificial Intelligence Center Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation that will cement a mutually beneficial partnership between the United States and Israel on artificial intelligence research. This is a critical step forward in an era where A.I. and its implications are taking center stage in public discourse.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Congressman Jake Auchincloss delivering the first congressional speech written by artificial intelligence, or A.I. A.I. is evolving at light speed, with profound consequences for our culture, our politics and our national security.

Former Google CEO and tech pioneer Eric Schmidt is here to discuss what it all means, after this report from Rebecca Jarvis.


REBECCA JARVIS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Even before the announcement of an indictment, purported images appearing to be former President Trump surrounded by NYPD officers went viral on social media last week.

The problem? They weren't real. The images, generated by artificial intelligence, part of a recent wave of deepfake photos and videos spreading online, like another, more convincing image of Pope Francis in a winter coat.

SEN. GARY PETERS, CHAIR, SENATE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE & (D) MICHIGAN: Deepfakes can be used to create convincing or -- but false information that can distort reality, undermine public trust and even be used to cause widespread panic and fear.

JARVIS: New A.I. tools like OpenAI's, ChatGPT and DALL-E and Midjourney have made it easier than ever to create convincing machine-generated text, images, audio and video, making it even more difficult to discern what's real and what's not.

I sat down with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who says society needs time to adapt to this technology.

Sam Altman, CEO, OpenAI: They need time to feel the technology, to see how it's used and to go through a few iterations so that we can get to the right set of regulation.

JARVIS: But time is running out, with deepfakes already making waves on the 2024 campaign trail -- fake videos spreading online of President Biden, using his voice, saying things he’s never said -- demonstrated in this clip from Pod Save America.

AI 'BIDEN' VOICE: Biden will be back on Pod Save America this year. That's not hyperbole folks. Biden out.

TOMMY VIETOR, POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That was obviously fake that was artificial intelligence.

JARVIS: This week, Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak joined over two thousand industry experts, executives and others urging all AI labs to “immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4” citing “profound risks to society and humanity.”

Is this technology going to have the kind of impact that maybe social media has had on previous elections? And how can you guarantee there won't be those kind of problems because of ChatGPT?

ALTMAN: We don't know, is the honest answer. We're monitoring very closely. And -- and again, we can take it back. We can turn things off. We can change the rules.

JARVIS: In this political climate where lines between facts and fiction may already be blurred -- experts warn AI could usher in a new frontier of misinformation.

SAM GREGORY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WITNESS: The likelihood is that both politicians and regular people will deny that real things are true and claim that things have been faked that are real.

JARVIS: Sam Gregory says he’s been working on a set of guidelines to prepare the public for the evolution of AI-generated media for the past five years. He says we need to develop better detection tools to combat misinformation and disinformation in the form of AI.

GREGORY: We don't like being fooled by images, we want to understand how we could detect they've been faked. We really need to avoid putting the pressure on the public to sort of spot these.

JARVIS: For “This Week”, Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News, New York.


STEPHANOPOULOS: Thanks, Rebecca, for that.

We’re joined now by Eric Schmidt, co-author of the book, “The Age of AI.”

Eric, thank you for coming in this morning.

You’ve really been at the forefront of this debate for quite a while right now. Break down both the promise and the peril of A.I.

ERIC SCHMIDT, FORMER CEO & CHAIRMAN, GOOGLE & CO-AUTHOR, 'THE AGE OF AI”: Well, image a world where you have an A.I. doctor that makes everyone healthier in the whole world. Imagine a world where you have an A.I. tutor that increases the educational capability of everyone in every language globally. These are remarkable. And these technologies, which are generally known as large language models, are clearly going to do this.

But, at the same time, they face extraordinary --we face extraordinary new challenges from these things, whether it’s the deepfakes that you’ve discussed, or what happens when people fall in love with their A.I. tutor? What happens when --

STEPHANOPOULOS: We all saw that crazy “New York Times” article.

SCHMIDT: Yes, in fact, I'm not too worried about “The New York Times” reporter, who was married, having the A.I. system try to get him to leave his wife. That was just an error in the computer. But I'm much more worried about the use in biology, or in cyberattacks, or in that sort of thing, and especially in manipulating the way the body politic works, and in particular how democracies work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And this is happening far faster than most of us realize.

SCHMIDT: ChatGPT hit 100 million users in two months. It took Gmail five years to do the same thing. The diffusion of this technology is so fast I can’t even keep up and it’s all I do.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So talk about the impact on politics.

SCHMIDT: Well, let’s think about it. From birth, all of us are taught to believe what we hear and what we see. You can now generate things using computers that sound incredibly authentic. You saw that in the piece from Rebecca. And you can also generate pictures that are as authentic as you could possibly see with your own eyes.

And, furthermore, technologies, like the Midjourney one are open source. So if you put in a rule that that technology has to mark itself. It has to say, hey, I'm a fake, so the other computers know it’s fake. How do you know that that facility has not been taken out of the software?

So, we, collectively, in our industry, face a reckoning of, how do we want to make sure this stuff doesn’t harm but just helps.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But is there any way that the industry can actually come together to do something about that?

SCHMIDT: Well, historically, there have been a couple of moments, after the nuclear age, after the recombinant DNA age, the scientists and the political leaders came together with appropriate restrictions. This is the time for the people in my industry, the government, economists, philosophers to understand this.

What happened with social media is we, including myself, just offered social media because we had a simple model of how humans would use social media. But, instead, look at how social media was used to interfere in elections, to cause harm. People have died over social media.

No one meant that as goal, and yet it happened. How do we prevent that with this technology?

And, remember, another thing about these large language models is, as they get larger, they have what is called emergent behavior. We don’t know what they’re going to do. If you and I are having a big argument, a big fight, I know you’re human. I know you’re -- you have children and a family and a mother and a father and all that. If I'm having an argument with A.I., I don’t know its prominence. I don’t know its theory of mind. I don’t know how far it will go to win.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So, what should we do right now?

SCHMIDT: The – right – right now, first, the government’s got to figure out how it wants to talk to us about this. Second, our industry’s got to get an organization or a set of organizations to discuss how to put appropriate guardrails in place to keep these things in alignment. Everyone’s focused on bias, which is certainly a problem, and it’s being worked on. But the real problem is that when these systems are used to manipulate people’s day-to-day lives, literally the way they think, what they choose and so forth, it affects how democracies work.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What would a guardrail look like?

SCHMIDT: Well, today, again, OpenAI and ChatGPT use a technology called RLHF (ph) where they actually used humans to actually box (ph) it. So, they had this raw thing – think of it as a child without any training, right, and it’s rough and it’s smart and it’s clever and they put – they had humans essentially say, don’t go here, don’t go there. If you ask it a nasty question, it will say no. Those systems, which are now -- they’re only six months old -- are working. We need to make sure that they get built and they get stuck and they can’t get out.

One company I know of took a constitution and put it inside the training and said, you, Mr. Large (ph) Language Model, I'm sorry I'm anthromizing (ph) it (ph), the computer, you can’t violate your own self constitution, and it programed it that way.

So there is hope that we can come up with training mechanisms and algorithms that will prevent the worse uses of (INAUDIBLE).

STEPHANOPOULOS: It’s really hard, though, for us to wrap our head around the scare of this change, isn’t it?

SCHMIDT: Yes, I've never seen – I've done this for 50 years. I've never seen something happen as fast as this. And it -- partly it’s because the technology is there and partly because there’s so much money and so many people. Hundreds of thousands of people.

Another way to think about it is, you and I sit there and say, oh, OK, well, it’s just three or four companies, we’ll talk to them and so forth. That’s not how it works. There’s an enormous number of people and ever country is involved with this. So even if the U.S. fixed it, how do we get the other 197 countries to get it right too.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Eric Schmidt, thanks very much.

SCHMIDT: Thank you.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We’ll be right back.


STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out “WORLD NEWS TONIGHT,” and I'll see you tomorrow on “GMA.”