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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Interview With Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Joe Biden To Appear At Final Campaign Rally For Gov. Newsom Tonight, One Day Before Election; Interview With Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); At Least 5,298 Untested Rape Kits In Texas; Prominent Attorney Shot Months After Unsolved Murders Of Wife, Son; Source: Capitol Police Preparing For Possibility That Sept. 18 Protesters Will be Armed & Violent; Afghan Military Pilots Finally On The Move After Being Stranded Uzbekistan. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 13, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: In the meantime, it's time for "AC 360".
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening. We start with Breaking News. A source tells CNN that Capitol Police are preparing for violence and armed individuals at a rally this Saturday that's meant to protest the arrest of those responsible for the January 6th riot.
Today, a temporary fence around the U.S. Capitol was approved, it will be installed later this week, all of this an example of what former President Bush spoke about this past Saturday during his speech on September 11th at the ceremony outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania honoring those aboard Flight 93.
Bush warned about the dangers of extremism that today can be found within our own borders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders, but from violence that gathers within.
There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home, but in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit and it is our continuing duty to confront them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Those who seek to maim and kill members of our duly elected government are children of the same foul spirit as those who tried to destroy America's institutions 20 years ago, a stark message on how everyone feels about former President George W. Bush, you might think a message that condemns extremists abroad and at home is something everyone could agree on. You might think that, but you would be wrong, because even though George W. Bush mentioned no names, one person clearly heard something that sounded familiar in the phrase "disdain for pluralism and determination to defile national symbols."
Or maybe it was the "foul spirit" because based on his response, the 45th President of the United States clearly felt, hey, that sounds like me. He responded today by saying Bush isn't a winner and that he shouldn't be lecturing us about anything. Or maybe Trump just thinks someone has to stick up for domestic terrorists because they don't get enough love.
To misquote Shakespeare, "The liar doth protest too much, methinks." If you think that's unfair, just look at how we chose to spend it September 11. The day that is generally about sacrifice and unity and patriotism. For Trump, it was about attacks, lies, and self- aggrandizement.
He made quick stops at a firehouse and police station in Midtown Manhattan, and he cut a video for a religious event at the mall in D.C. and by the look and sound of them, you would think they were political rallies because he was the center of attention, a big entrance, glad handing, and of course, attacking the current President, this time over the Afghanistan pullout, one he of course shares the blame for.
Again, this was on September 11th. At the police station, he claimed -- and I hate to talk about it on this day -- well, you could have fooled anyone who watched because there he was at the police station, at the fire department in that video at the religious event talking about it, and not just about Afghanistan, but the big lie at the heart of the January 6th riot and that far right rally this coming weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a rigged election.
You gave me great support. We won the election, but what are you going to do? We are fighting like hell and we're going to keep fighting.
The election was rigged.
If they fought the war the way they fought the election, where they stole it, I don't even say stole it, they rigged it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Again, that was at a police station, at a fire station in New York City on September 11th, while other Presidents were attending solemn events dedicated to the memories of those whose lives were lost.
Later, the former President provided commentary for a pay-per-view boxing match along with his eldest son. This is how he chose to remember 9/11. All in all, indecency at its most indecent.
And the one-term former President, his relevance, though, cannot be easily dismissed. New polling from CNN shows that among Republican voters, almost two-thirds believe he should be the Republican Party's leader, 63 percent said yes, only 37 percent said no.
But Republican voters are almost evenly split on whether he should run in 2024, fifty one percent say yes, but the difference is within the margin of error. What also can't be dismissed is that Biden's predecessor attacked Bush's message the same day the Capitol Police say they arrested a man who had multiple knives in his truck, a truck that had a swastika and other white supremacist symbols painted on it. That was this morning. They were at Democratic National Committee.
Quoting former President Bush again, "Children have the same foul spirit and it is our continuing duty to confront them."
I'm joined now by Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger who serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee and is also a member of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th riots.
Congressman Kinzinger, thank you for being with us.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Yes.
BERMAN: The fact that the former President Donald Trump was somehow offended by George W. Bush's condemnation of domestic terrorists. What does that tell you?
KINZINGER: So, it tells me two things. First off, he just -- I mean, he proved George W.'s point as quickly and as amazingly as you can. I mean, the fact that he's out there dividing on a day, and if we have to pick one day besides like Christmas to be unified, probably September 11th, is a good candidate for that.
But the other thing, and just as a quick aside to anybody that still is kind of looking at Donald Trump as a standard bearer for the Republican Party, this is one of the weakest men that I've ever seen.
I mean, if you think about it, you know, what is strength? Strength isn't somebody that just gets their dander up every time, you know because they feel they have such a lack of self-esteem, they feel like they have to go out and attack. Somebody with strength is somebody that can take criticism, that can go out on a day like September 11th, and bring people together, and you know, folks on my side like to use the term "snowflake" when talking about people that get offended really easy. Well, that's Donald Trump.
And so I mean, again, he just went out and proved George W. Bush's point, and there needs to be more people -- it was so great to hear the President Bush say this, because, you know, there's just been a lack of people out there saying what needs to be said.
BERMAN: You consider Donald Trump weak?
KINZINGER: Oh, certainly. I mean, I guess to the extent that, you know, strength is what people perceive you have, and people look at him in the party and he is obviously the frontrunner. And, of course, he was a former President, I guess, to the extent there, there may be some strength, but I look at who he is as a person, and the amount of offended he gets on anything, how he has to go out and punch down.
You know, I mean, he'll attack a radio host for goodness sakes, when he was President of the United States. That, to me, at least how I grew up, you know, as a kid born in Central Illinois, that, to me was always weakness. Like strength was kind of that steady, calm ability in a rough storm to maintain your steady focus, and certainly that is not the former President.
BERMAN: Have you heard any upset or disquiet in Republican leadership over how Donald Trump chose to spend September 11th?
KINZINGER: No, I mean, I'm not really in the favor of Republican leadership right now, and that in and of itself is telling, because I haven't changed an ounce since -- in the last 11 years. I've been pretty consistent on who I am.
But, you know, I mean, look, just a week ago, he put out an entire statement about Robert E. Lee, and how General Lee could have won in Afghanistan even though Robert E. Lee lost the Civil War. I mean, and I didn't hear anything, you know, condemning that.
So, I guess I've run out of kind of hope that leadership would try to distance themselves, and we've just gotten so tribal in this country. And it really is a point, I think, we all need to self-reflect, and I don't know if we will, I hope so.
But we are so tribal that crazy stuff like this can be sad. And it just, you know, goes over -- it goes over our heads in many cases.
BERMAN: When you say crazy stuff like this. Look, a source tells CNN that preparations, you know, obviously are going on right now at the Capitol for this event this Saturday and law enforcement worry that some of the protesters could be armed. It's called Justice for January 6. That is the name of this rally, Justice for January 6 -- and I guess these are the people the President defended today in a statement -- the former President Donald Trump defended in a statement today.
KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, and let's think about this. These are people that would identify as militia members. They would -- these are the ones that kind of lust after and fetishize this whole idea of overthrowing the Federal government, right, because now the Federal government might bring you a vaccine conveniently, we have to overthrow it.
You know, and that's what you're dealing with. So, I hope Saturday, I hope this rally, obviously isn't violent. That's my hope. I guess that's my expectation. But the fact that we're sitting here, and that this is now a common occurrence. This is where we have to take inventory of where we've come.
You know, for instance, supporting the Second Amendment as I do, doesn't mean you support that people should be able to walk with an AR-15 and occupy the Michigan State Capitol. I mean, there's a point at which we have to just kind of look around and go, is this really what we want our kids -- and how are we going to ever get out of this like such tribal divided moment we're in, you know, without people having to take tough decisions, and kind of get past their own personal animosity, because otherwise this is just going to grow to a really bad place.
BERMAN: You say, it is going to. Look, the Republican Party to an extent has chosen, at least as of today, what direction they want to go in the new CNN poll I mentioned earlier where you show a clear majority of Republicans that say that Trump is the leader. How do you reconcile that?
KINZINGER: You're right. You're right. And, you know, it's slightly better than it was five months ago. But if you look, I mean, there's a few of my colleagues that will occasionally speak out. You know, I have one, Liz Cheney that speaks out as much as I do.
But you know, if you're a Republican base voter, and, you know, you look at every leader that you know that you trust that's a Republican, and none of them say anything. In fact, there's this kind of quiet, you know, acquiescence to yes, the election was stolen, because I don't want to have to stand up and tell you it wasn't, I guess, maybe we should be impressed that a third of Republicans still don't.
But that's why leadership is so important. And, you know, for some reason, we've gone from when we were in high school, thinking that when you get elected, you actually lead people to now believe in that when you get elected, you just kind of have to watch public opinion and you become a dog chasing your tail into traffic.
BERMAN: I guess one of the things that I found striking in all of this is that the country has come to the point where a significant number of people are actually defending -- publicly defending what happened on January 6. I mean, that was the thrust of Trump's statement about George W. Bush. That's the thrust of this event that's going to be at the Capitol this Saturday. It is now a defense, pride almost in what took place.
KINZINGER: You're right, and this is why, you know, I have made the decision to be on the January 6 Committee, I think why I can say Liz Cheney has as well, is because we realize without this nonpartisan investigation of what happened, you're going to have this retelling of history to where it almost becomes a heroic event.
I mean, the number of people I talked to that tell me that there was no violence there or they tell me that this was still Antifa or the F.B.I. drove this. Or even if they admit that it was, you know, Trump supporters that that was okay because in this moment, when an election is stolen, that is our duty.
Well, that's -- look, if an election really was stolen and the government was shutting down elections, that's different, but that's not what happened. But the problem is, leaders won't stand up and tell people the truth because for whatever reason, this job that pays $174,000.00 a year, and you can put a title in front of your name is worth more than your integrity in some cases. I don't get it.
BERMAN: It's the parking space. Listen, Congressman, I want to shift gears here because Secretary of State Antony Blinken was part of this congressional hearing on the U.S. rollout from Afghanistan. This was something you were a part of today. How satisfied were you with what he had to say?
KINZINGER: I mean, completely unsatisfied. I think there are a couple points that stood out to me. I asked the Secretary specifically, you know, there's discussion about recognizing the Taliban now. And I said, tell me, at what point did the Taliban in essence become the governing group of Afghanistan? Or was this an armed coup? And he just said, well, you know, by default there, they're now in charge. Well, that's us acquiescing to a coup d'etat.
And we still don't have answers on how many Afghan SIVs have been pulled out of Afghanistan. And I have to tell you, John, the thing that concerns me a lot is what I hear on the ground in terms of who is not allowed to get out of Afghanistan, versus what we're being told by state are two totally different things.
One person --- one of the entities is not telling the full truth, and you know, history will show that. I give him credit for coming in front of the committee, and he's going to be in front of, I think, the Senate later this week or tomorrow. I am certainly not satisfied though.
BERMAN: Congressman Adam Kinzinger, I do appreciate your time tonight. Thank you very much.
KINZINGER: You bet.
BERMAN: Still to come, the California recall election, a long time in the making. It finally finishes up tomorrow. A preview what to watch for from CNN's John King at the magic wall.
Also, someone who has campaigned for the California Governor, Senator Amy Klobuchar.
And later, it is the stuff of legal thrillers, but this case is real and it involves a prominent, well-connected South Carolina family. A double murder and a new investigation, the details when 360 continues.
BERMAN: President Biden spent the afternoon in California touring the damage left behind from the recent wildfires. In a few hours, he will appear with Governor Gavin Newsom at the final campaign rally for the state's gubernatorial recall election wraps up tomorrow.
The recall has drawn a slew of big name Democrats to the state to support the Governor including our next guest, Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Before we go to her though, CNN's John King at the magic wall to break it all down for us -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, it is the final night of the quirky California recall campaign and tomorrow, we fill in the map, we count the votes.
This is a yes or no election. Yes, recall your Democratic Governor, end his term in the middle. No, keep Gavin Newsom and his policies in place. Let him finish the term to which he was elected back in 2018.
Democrats end this race confident and here is one of the reasons why. If you look at the data, ballots returned so far, a lot of this election is early voting, people sending these ballots back by mail. Well, Political Data is a tracking firm that works with Democrats and nonprofit groups. More than half of the ballots so far returned by Democrats.
Democrats have a two to one registration advantage, right now, 52 percent from Democrats, 25 percent from Republicans. Democrats think they're even exceeding their registration advantage in the returns.
Now, we have to count the votes, but Democrats are happy.
Here's another reason Democrats are happy, just the history of California. Yes, 13 years ago, Gray Davis was recalled, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger won. California is even more Democratic now than it was then. When Governor Newsom won in 2018, sixty two percent of the vote. Look at all that blue. Remember where the red is.
Joe Biden, in the presidential election last year won by even more, 63 percent plus of the vote. Again, look at all that blue. This is the Republican part of California.
Let's go back to that governor's race because the people who want to recall Gavin Newsom the most now are the same people who did not vote for him in the first place.
Let's look at how the recall campaign came about. You have to sign signatures -- petitions to get it on the ballot. The deeper the purple, the higher the percentage of where the signatures came from in those counties. In these Republican places that didn't like Newsom to begin with, as you see here, those are the people trying to push him out, but that won't be enough.
Republicans need an overwhelming turnout in here, overwhelming Election Day turnout, but they need more than that, let's be honest.
If the Republicans are going to have a prayer here, the big surprise, can they retake Orange County? In Ronald Reagan's days, this was the bedrock of the California Republican Party. A lot has changed since then. But watch Orange County tomorrow night. You see, it was close for Gavin Newsom in 2018.
KING: This would have to be a yes tomorrow night for Gavin Newsom to be recalled. We'd also look down here in San Diego County. Again, is there a Republican resurgence in this part of the state? It used to be a strong state Republican Party here, not so much anymore, but we'll watch this as it plays out as well.
But again, this is an overwhelmingly Democratic state. The governor was the mayor of San Francisco, watch the Bay Area, San Francisco, Oakland, the counties around there. If turnout is up, is decent, he is likely safe.
Watch Los Angeles County down here, the largest, most populous area of California. Is the Latino vote turning up for Democrats, or at least not voting yes? That's what we will see down here.
So in the final night of the campaign, Republicans look at this history. And they think, John, when we're filling in the map tomorrow night, on question one, the answer will be blue, no, but we will count them.
BERMAN: We will count them. We will be there all night long counting ballots. Thank you so much, John, for that.
Perspective now on the race from Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, who again recently went to California to campaign for Governor Gavin Newsom.
And Senator, thanks for being with us. Why? Why was it so important for you to go to California? Why is important to you as a national Democrat? And why is it important to you in the Senate?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look at what's happening here, John. This is a Governor that basically has gotten one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, Minnesota has done pretty well, too, with our Governor. The fires are still raging across California, he has been willing to take on climate change and one of his leading opponents actually called climate change a crock.
And then you have what happened in Texas. And I think that matters, where you had a Republican Governor, and I don't think California even moderate Republicans, Independents, of course, Democrats don't want to see this.
A bill passed, signed into law by a Trump Republican that basically makes the citizens of that state into bounty hunters to basically get paid $10,000.00 if they turn in a woman for simply exercising her constitutional rights to access abortion services. All of those things matter right now in California.
And I actually was in Orange County, that is where I campaigned to vote no on the recall and campaigned with the Governor, because I was listening to John, and you know, we have a lot of Democratic victories in that county.
BERMAN: So Larry Elder who is the leading Republican right now and the former President Donald Trump have both already -- they haven't done voting yet, right, but they're both already saying that they think if they lose, if the Republicans lose on the recall here, then the election may have been rigged.
How much of a problem is it? That now you have one side -- that you have one side that basically is going to say any election they lose was somehow stolen?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, by the way, that is the argument for the people and having some Federal standards in place for elections because this is just ridiculous. They are making this up, sadly, and we hope it goes better this time. A lot of this was spread across social media and that's why we want to pass our Federal election bill, it's going to be so important.
You can't have after every election, Donald Trump and his cronies just claiming, oh, it's a lie. I actually won.
We are feeling so good about tomorrow, because the people of California, as you noted, are turning out, they have until 8:00 p.m. tomorrow to vote. They can vote in person. They can drop off their ballots in a drop off box. They can mail them in, and I just believe the night before an election is where you talk about the truth.
And the truth is, this recall is bad for California. It's set up by Donald Trump and his cronies and I believe that's why we're going to win and they're going to vote and they're going to vote strong.
BERMAN: How much is the pandemic response on the ballot? There are Republicans who said -- they say the Gavin Newsom, the way he reacted was too onerous, too many regulations, too many rules. Is that something you're looking for?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, look at what happened last year, before Joe Biden came in where this pandemic was running out of control and there wasn't really a good plan to distribute the vaccines. What has happened since Joe Biden and Kamala Harris came into office, they put in a competent team.
We know this is hard. There's been variants of this virus. We're in the middle of one right now. But they got that vaccine distributed. They got the facts out. They didn't hide from the facts. And that is exactly what Governor Newsom has done in the State of California, getting the vaccine out for people, encouraging them to take it, give them the facts, get it out to the rural areas in every corner of California, every corner Minnesota, and it has made a difference.
That's why so many people are doing better now, starting to go back to work. We know we still aren't completely done with this, but there is a as we say in Duluth, Minnesota, a lighthouse on the horizon. We're going to get through this together.
BERMAN: I just want to close, you recently disclosed that you were diagnosed and treated for 1A breast cancer. You called it "Cancer: The word that all of us fear." How are you feeling now and what message do you have for others who may be hearing that word, too?
[20:25:11] KLOBUCHAR: Well, I'm feeling good, John. For me, it got caught early.
They did a lumpectomy, I got the radiation. And now, I want people to know that, you know, I waited a year of when I should have had that mammogram because of the pandemic, and a lot of people are waiting.
They think thousands of women have undetected breast cancer right now, and one in three Americans have put off just regular exams. And so, one of the most rewarding things about the last few days for me is so many people have told me that they've scheduled their appointment and they know they're going to be safe and they've got to go in there and do what they should have done maybe a year ago or two years ago.
It saved my life and it can save many others.
BERMAN: Well, look, we're thrilled that you're doing well. So glad that is happening. Glad that it may be doing good for others as well.
Senator Klobuchar, thank you so much for being with us.
KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: Still ahead, just days after Texas passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country, its Governor promised to quote, "Eliminate rape from his state."
Randi Kaye shows us why this is much easier said than done, her investigation, next.
BERMAN: A judge in Harris County, Texas today and now she will present a resolution against this States recently passed abortion bill saying it is quote, "harmful to women." The controversial law went into effect on September 1st, and it is considered one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country because it essentially bans abortions at six weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.
When Texas Governor Greg Abbott was asked last week how the law will affect rape and incest survivors. He said he intends to eliminate rape in his state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Rape is a crime. And Texas will work tirelessly to make sure that we eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas by aggressively going out and arresting them and prosecuting them and getting them off the streets. So, goal number one in the state of Texas, is to eliminate rape, so that no woman, no person will be a victim of rape.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: He will have his work cut out for him. There have been as many as 18,000 rapes in a single year in Texas and right now, there's a backlog of at least 5,00 rape kits in the state, meaning many rapists have not been caught. CNN's Randi Kaye has been investigating the backlog for several years. She's in Dallas tonight with the latest.
LAVINIA MASTERS, RAPE SURVIVOR: That would be a beautiful thing to see, but it's not going to happen. Is not realistic.
RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lavinia Masters isn't buying it. She has little hope Texas Governor Greg Abbott can deliver on his recent promise to eliminate all rapists from the streets of Texas.
(on-camera): How can the governor of Texas eliminate all rapists from the street when the governor in the state hasn't even been able to eliminate the backlog of rape kits?
MASTERS: Exactly. That's a really that question. When you say things like that, it's like it's outlandish to say things in that manner.
ABBOTT: House Bill 8 is now law.
KAYE (voice-over): When Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law the Lavinia Masters Act in 2019. Lavinia a survivor of rape was there. The Act was designed to audit untested rape kits across the state and set strict testing requirements. The Texas Department of Public Safety tells CNN as of August, there are still 5,298 untested rape kits. But we've learned that number doesn't include the untested rape kits from 231 law enforcement agencies who did not report their numbers to the state. So the number could be much higher, which means thousands of rapists could be on the run, possibly raping others.
(on-camera): How frustrated are you that thousands of rape kits are still sitting on processed on the shelf?
MASTERS: I'm very frustrated.
KAYE (voice-over): Lavinia, who is a member of Governor Abbott's Sexual Assault Survivors Task Force was raped at knifepoint back in 1985. She was just 13. Her own rape kit with her attackers DNA set untested on a shelf for more than 20 years. By the time her attacker was identified. The statute of limitations had run out and the man was already in prison. He'd been caught after raping two other women while Lavinia's kit set on the shelf.
VICTORIA NEAVE, TEXAS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We still have a lot of work to do. It's not an easy task. It's a heavy lift.
KAYE (voice-over): Texas State Representative Victoria Neave has been working alongside Lavinia for years to clear the rape kit backlog. At one point she says there were about 19,000 untested kits.
NEAVE: Each box is not just a box sitting on a shelf, it represents the survivor story. It represents an individual a family who has been impacted by this, it represents women who are waiting for justice. And so, we know that there's still more work to do. KAYE (voice-over): Neave says the state is making it a priority and has approved $50 million to help test these kits. But with thousands of rape kits still on the shelf, that leaves a lot of women wondering who raped them and a lot of rapists on the street.
NEAVE: That's a big reason why many women do not report that they have been raped because they don't think that their case is going to be prosecuted.
KAYE (voice-over): Beyond the backlog. The new Texas law banning abortions after six weeks even in the case of rape and incest infuriated Lavinia.
MASTERS: That's asinine. That makes absolutely no sense at all. It makes no sense at all.
KAYE (on-camera): Because you may not even know you're pregnant in six weeks.
MASTERS: Exactly, exactly. We've already felt we lost control. We've lost our power. And now you're continuing to strip us by saying by six weeks if you don't get rid of that baby, you have to keep it. No sir. That's ludicrous.
KAYE (voice-over): Lavinia knows if she'd gotten pregnant and that law had been in place, she would have had to carry and deliver her rapist child at 13.
MASTERS: I don't know who he was. And that child wants to know their father. They don't know their background. They don't know their history. I don't know about the illnesses or anything. But I will be forced to carry that baby. That's not common, that's not even common sense.
BERMAN: And Randi Kaye joins us now. Randy, this is so important in so timely. Why are all these rape kids still on the shelf untested?
KAYE: A couple of reasons, John, one of those reasons is manpower. The state representative told me they just don't have enough forensic analysts here in the state of Texas. Also, if you look at the law enforcement agencies, the police and the sheriff's department, I'm told that they are just not processing those kits as quickly as they're supposed to be. So now they've actually updated the Lavinia Masters Act. So now if those agencies, those law enforcement agencies don't comply with processing and reporting in a timely manner as laid out in that Lavinia Masters Act, they can lose some grant funding, John.
BERMAN: Randi Kaye, terrific report. Thanks so much for doing this tonight.
Up next, why investigators have a lot of questions about money and murder and the patriarch of a prominent South Carolina family.
BERMAN: A deadly boating accident to double murder and now a new mysterious shooting reported and allegations of misappropriated funds at a law firm. It sounds like a plot in a Pat Conroy novel. But this is real life, and it's swirls around a prominent South Carolina family.
Tonight the patriarch of that legal dynasty, Alex Murdaugh is facing a new state investigation into the money questions. And investigators keep digging into all the other twists and turns involving the family. With more here is CNN's Martin Savidge.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a story with more turns than in South Carolina country road. It begins in the small town of Hampton just over 100 years ago when residents elect Randall Murdaugh is the 14th circuit solicitor, most states call them District Attorneys. For more than 85 years, three generations of Murdaughs with the supreme law for more than 3,200 square miles to blow country.
SETH STOUGHTON, CRIMINOLOGIST: It's pretty well recognized in law that in criminal justice there is no figure more powerful than the prosecutor.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Keeping residence on the legal straight narrow across five counties get the Murdaugh family well connected to law enforcement.
(on-camera): And probably know each other pretty well, socially too.
STOUGHTON: That's very often the case here. Yes.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The family's grip on the solicitor's office ended in 2005 when Randolph Murdaugh the Third retire. But the family also has a very successful law firm, with offices in three counties known for winning big settlements for their clients. For 53-year-old Alex Murdaugh known as Big Red to his friends, working as an attorney at the family firm offered plenty of reward.
Each evening he'd head home who is more than 1,700 bigger estate and his beautiful family. He seemed to have everything anyone could ever want. Until one terrible night his past year.
ALEX MURDAUGH, ATTORNEY: (INAUDIBLE) Moselle Road I've been up to it now. It's bad.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Murdaugh says he returned home to find his wife and son shot to death out near the dog house on their vast property.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And are they breathing?
MURDAUGH: No, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And you said that your wife and your son?
MURDAUGH: My wife and my son.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Fifty two-year-old Maggie Murdaugh was shot multiple times sources say with a semi automatic rifle. While 22-year- old Paul Murdaugh had been shot at least twice with a shotgun. The gruesome scene suggested two shooters, leaving many wondering at the family's long legal history had played a role.
Seth Stoughton is a former police officer turned attorney and professor.
(on-camera): Two weapons, two people possibly would suggest maybe this had been planned carefully.
STOUGHTON: It's certainly not something that I would expect an investigator to rule out based on the evidence that I'm aware of. It's been publicly available.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh and his surviving son put up their own money for $100,000 reward for information. But at the bottom of the notice was on catch. The tip must be submitted to law enforcement honor before September 30th.
(on-camera): Never heard of an expiration date on an reward.
STOUGHTON: I have not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: South Carolina son and mother who were gunned down --
SAVIDGE (voice-over): It wasn't the only strange thing, in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America, Murdaugh family members said their nephew Paul had been getting threatening messages online before he was killed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't think it was a credible threat. If it was I would have tried to do something or notified someone. But I guess maybe I made a mistake.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The family says the threat started after a fatal boating accident.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul, what bridge is this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911 where's your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're in a boat crash on Archers Creek. We have someone missing.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): February 2019, Beaufort, South Carolina, Paul Murdaugh and five friends all under rage out for a night of parties. Images from investigation piles obtained by CNN show Paul Murdaugh buying beer and then buying more drinks at a bar. Everyone gets into a boat. Witnesses told investigators Paul was driving. Investigators say the 17 foot boats rocket bridge at high speed. Nineteen-year-old Valerie Beach was thrown into the water.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please send someone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're coming OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's six of us and one is missing.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): It would take a week to find Beach's body.
Paul Murdaugh was charged with boating under the influence resulting in death facing up to 25 years in prison. He pleaded not guilty. Despite the serious charges, still pending at the time of his killing. The night of the crash a dash cam recording obtained by the Post and Courier captured the voice of a passenger on the boat suggesting Paul wasn't likely to face serious consequences.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all know Alex Murdaugh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I know the name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's his son.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's who's driving the boat?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): It wouldn't be the first time someone who suggested the Murdaugh name could influence the outcome of an investigation.
In the aftermath of the mother and son murders SLED the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division made a stunning announcement. During their investigation, they said they found something, they wouldn't say what. But as a result, they were going to reopen an investigation into another unsolved death from 2013.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where's your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, I just going down Crocketville Road, I see somebody laying out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll get an officer headed out that way to see what's going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I ain't moving or nothing like that, but, somebody going to hit him. Somebody going to hit him.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Nineteen-year-old Steven Smith was found dead in the middle of the road in the middle of a night just outside Hampton. There were no witnesses but among classmates and friends, there was a lot of talk police file show. And one family name kept surfacing the name many were reluctant to talk about to police. Leading investigators obviously frustrated as interview recording suggests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people seem a little nervous to say the name Murdaugh.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and, you know, I understand that they're pretty big down there in Hampton, but I'm out of Charleston, and that name doesn't mean anything to me. So --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- I want you to feel, you know, like you don't have anything to worry about.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): No one's been arrested and no publicly released evidence links anyone and the Murdaugh family dismissed that.
Then another shock, on September 3rd of this year, the powerful family law firm announces they discovered Alex Murdaugh had allegedly stolen significant funds from the company. Sources tell CNN, it was millions of dollars. Murdaugh had his own stunning admission, saying, the murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I've made a lot of decisions that I truly regret. I'm resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. His lawyer confirming an opioid addiction. But the biggest shock was still to come.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was shot in the head while changing a tire --
SAVIDGE (voice-over): The very next day, Alex Murdaugh says he stopped on the side of the road looking at a leaky tire. Murdaugh says a man in a pickup truck drove past then turned around in a church parking lot and returned. After a brief conversation Murdaugh told investigators the man shot him in the head. He was out of the hospital two days later. So many wondered if the shooting had been staged, Murdaugh's spokesperson put out a statement denying it was self- inflicted. But the church where the truck turned around might just be the answer to investigators prayers.
(on-camera): The church has a number of security cameras, a few which look in the general direction of where the shooting occurred down that way. And another that looks directly into the parking lot where Murdaugh says the pickup truck turned around.
(voice-over): If there's video, he could provide clues about a suspect and Alex Murdaugh.
(on-camera): What do you make of the shooting of Alex Murdaugh?
STOUGHTON: I think it's going to tremendously complicate the investigators job both for that shooting and also for the shooting of his wife and son. It introduces a set of possibilities and facts that investigators are going to have to spend a tremendous amount of time and effort winnowing through to figure out whether they're connected whether or not connected. SAVIDGE (voice-over): With so many new questions and so few answers from investigators. Many who thought they knew the friendly, wealthy, successful lawyer, Big Red, now wonder if they ever really knew him at all.
SAVIDGE: We reached out to every entity and everyone who is connected to this case, we're talking family, friends, law enforcement, lawyers, we even tried to reach political acquaintances, no one would sit down for an on camera interview. It just goes to show you how people here have been so shocked by recent events.
In fact, some people told us have we showed up 10 days earlier, before the allegations of embezzlement, before the admission of a drug (INAUDIBLE), before the shooting at the side of the road. They would have talked to us, but now no one wants to talk because no one knows what the thing. But just about everyone believes there is a lot more to know. John.
BERMAN: I'm exhausted by all the twists and turns, one after another after another. Martin Savidge, what a story. Thank you so much for that.
Still ahead, more on our breaking news as the nation's Capitol prepares for potential violence this weekend at a rally protesting the arrest of rioters who took part in the January 6 insurrection. We'll take a look at the fury behind the country's deep divide. Author Evan Osnos joins us next.
BERMAN: More now on our breaking news, the Capitol Police preparing for the possibility that protesters could be armed and violent at protests at the Capitol this Saturday, they will be protesting the arrest of the January 6 rioters who couldn't accept the results of the 2020 election. So how did we get here?
Evan Osnos, a veteran foreign correspondent in the New Yorker, and a CNN contributor decided to find out he writes about it in his new book, Wildland, The Making Of America's Fury and joins us now.
Evan, this is a terrific book and it's really framed between September 11 and January 6, the period in which you say the United States lost its sense of unity, its ability to come together. So what happened? How did you get to that point?
EVAN OSNOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You know, way I think of it, John, is that we sort of lost the ability to think of ourselves as larger than the sum of its parts in a way. You know, you have to go back to remember that period after 9/11. We were obviously, for good reason, we were afraid. And there were people at the time, who took advantage of it. Let's be blunt political opportunities, people in power, leaders of government, who we would have expected more from who said, this is my chance to make a name for myself, you began to see people talk about the threat from Islam in ways that were out of accord with reality. And to the point that people began to sort of give a distorted sense of what life was like in America.
There's a really telling statistic, John, that there was a survey done not too long ago, in which Americans were asked to estimate what share the population they thought was Muslim, Americans estimated on average, one in six. The real number is one in 100. So Americans had been in a sense, systematically misled and had begun to draw these lines, which we saw play out on January 6, in such dramatic fashion.
BERMAN: We had Adam Kinzinger on earlier in the show, and he basically said there's such a sense of tribalism, tribalism now that we won't get out of it in less politicians are willing to stand up and do things that may not be popular in their own self-interests. What would that take?
OSNOS: It's such a I thought it was such an important point that he made. You know, he, one of things we heard from former President George W. Bush over the weekend, one of the things he called out was what he called a disdain for pluralism. And what I thought when I heard that John was that didn't happen just overnight. Look, Donald Trump is the center of this phenomenon. But you have to connect the dots that go back a few years.
I remember this because as I write in this book, the first day I came back to work in the United States was the day in October of 2013. When the government shutdown and it shut down, in effect, because of a kind of political pageant on the part of some leaders like Senator Ted Cruz, who decided that he was going to advance his personal interest at the cost of United States. The government was shut down for 16 days, it costs $24 billion.
John, I looked up what that could have done for us, you could have sent a rover to the moon and back eight times over. You know, the cost to us as a country because of the Vanities and the self-promotion of some of our political leaders, has begun to exact a toll that we can't deny anymore.
BERMAN: We got about 30 seconds left Evan, you were at the Capitol on January 6, writing for The New Yorker, and you said it was like an inferno powered by the cynicism unreason and deception in U.S. politics. So what does it say that we have a rally in support of the insurrection is happening this Saturday?
OSNOS: It tells you I'm afraid that that apparatus of delusion that so many people who were on that day participating in it still exists. In fact, I think it's deepened in some quarters. Now, the encouraging news and I think you see this in some of the data that CNN has is that there are some people who are beginning to say Donald Trump is not the future of this party, but that is not yet the majority in his party.
And it's going to take a while and it's going to take leadership, and it's not frankly something that we see very much from the top of the Republican Party.
BERMAN: We'll continue this discussion. The book is Wildland on sale tomorrow. Evan Osnos, congratulations and thank you very much.
OSNOSN: Thanks, John. I appreciate it.
BERMAN: Up next, an update on the Afghan military pilots who were stranded after the U.S. pull out of Afghanistan.
BERMAN: Earlier we spoke with Congressman Adam Kinzinger about the testimony on Capitol Hill today on Afghanistan. There's been a lot of questions about the U.S. pull out from the country. Recently, we told you about some Afghan military pilots who were stranded. Tonight we have an update. And there is some good news.
Here's CNN's Alex Marquardt.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): They're among the most highly trained Afghan forces, pilots and crew members of the Afghan Air Force. For the past month they've been stranded. After fleeing the Taliban advanced with their valuable planes and helicopters across the border into neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. They feared they would be sent back where the Taliban is hunting for them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were so many rumors that the Uzbekistan government will send this back to Afghanistan. That's why everyone was afraid. And everyone was worried about that.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): We've spoken with Afghan pilots themselves and American Veterans working to get them to the United States, including retired General David Hicks, who led the training of Afghan pilots in the U.S. and has criticized the State Department for moving too slowly.
RET. GEN. DAVID HICKS: OPERATION SACRED PROMISE: Problem was they're started to become members that wanted to go back to Afghanistan because they were worried about their wives or their families. And so, you know, there they were headed back or we're going to go back for that reason.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): We brought you their story last week. Then over the weekend, word came, they were finally on the move after four weeks. More than 460 pilots maintainers and family members loaded onto buses and charter planes flying Uzbekistan airways to Abu Dhabi for further processing, one step closer to making it to the U.S. where many wants to end up. But fears remain.
(on-camera): How worried are you that the remaining Afghan Air Force personnel, family members are targets of the Taliban now and won't be able to get out of the country.
HICKS: We know, Air Force members or family members have been either detained or killed by the Taliban. So, it's not like it's something that may happen. It is something that is happening right now. So time is of the essence.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Those concerns weighing on the pilots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Taliban understand that our families, parents are in the Afghanistan, they will catch them. And until that we show up.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Since many have already been to the U.S. for training and fought so closely with American forces, the visa process is expected to go smoothly, which would be a huge relief for the men who were forced to dramatically flee their native country and start life in a new one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't explain how happy I am. It's a big pleasure not only for me, but for all those that they were in Uzbekistan.
MARQUARDT: On top of those Afghan Air Force personnel who have gotten out of Uzbekistan there are still around 140 more in neighboring Tajikistan. General Hicks, who we spoke there for the piece has been tracking their cases well and has told us that processing on them has started John, between those two countries Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, around 60 planes and helicopters were flown out of Afghanistan. What will happen to them remains unclear, but thanks to those pilots, the Taliban will not get their hands on them. John.
BERMAN: Nice to get some good news. Alex, thank you so much for that report.
So the news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIMETIME."
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, thanks, John. I'm Chris Cuomo and welcome to "PRIMETIME."