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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

The Politics Of Crazy; January 6 Committee Subpoenas 10 More Trump Allies; Election Officials Face Threats And Conspiracies; Prosecution Rests In Case Against Man Accused Of Killing 2, Injuring 1 During Kenosha Protests; Houston Fire Chief: Drugs May Be Involved; Concertgoer Seen On Video Pleading "Stop The Show"; Kirsten Powers On Her New Book And The Toxicity Of Politics Today. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 09, 2021 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: This is according to Adobe Analytics, which says that one out of every 50 pages you view online right now shows unavailable items. Hardest hit products -- electronics, jewelry, and clothing.

President Biden is speaking with the CEOs of Walmart, Target, UPS, and FedEx today, vowing to speed up deliveries and lower prices.

We'll see what happens.

Thanks for joining us. Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

Ask yourself this question tonight: What do you suppose would happen if you went into work one day after posting a video depicting yourself murdering a co-worker and brandishing a sword at the company CEO? Now, most of us know the answer, we'd be fired, maybe reported to the authorities, possibly even arrested and prosecuted.

Sadly, too many workplaces have seen too many acts of deadly violence to do otherwise. Except apparently this one. You're looking at it. And it's not like it hasn't been the focal point of rage and violence before.

It's not like the men and women who serve here haven't just had a very recent lesson in what happens when lies and violent conspiracy theories and outright threats go unanswered. Yet, not only is one of the two parties here with rare exceptions, singularly uninterested, even looking into such things.

We know tonight it doesn't matter if the bad act in question comes from someone they actually work with. Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar is his name. Here is just a brief portion, the only one we will show of the anime he recently posted on Twitter and Instagram depicting him killing Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with a sword and then swinging two swords at President Biden.

[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS] COOPER: So that's part of it. The Congressman's animated fantasy of

murdering a fellow Member of Congress and menacing the President, and this is the Congressman's sister, Jennifer talking about her brother.


JENNIFER GOSAR, REP. PAUL GOSAR'S SISTER: And this is something that I have to openly wonder, does he have to act on it himself before we believe that he is an absolute -- he is a sociopath. Where is the accountability?


COOPER: Now, as to her question, the White House condemned the video. House Speaker Pelosi said quote, "Threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States must not be tolerated." And House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, guess what he said? Nothing.

We invited him on the program as well, but we heard nothing back.

Congressman Gosar, who we also invited on tonight, tweeted out a cartoon response earlier today. The message saying, "It's a cartoon. Relax." Then later, he put out a statement which says in part that the anime quote, "Depicts the symbolic nature of a battle between lawful and unlawful policies and in no way intended to be a target attack against Representative Cortez or Mr. Biden." Which doesn't even make sense because that is what it is. It's a targeted attack. It's not open to interpretation.

Yes, it's an anime. Perhaps the richest sentence though in this one, quoting again, "A chaotic and lawless wind is blowing across our land." He is not wrong about that one.

Just listen to a pair of hate-filled voicemails, two of many that Michigan Republican Congressman Fred Upton has been getting and receiving -- has been getting recently.

Now before you do, just consider this. They're not about abortion or race or immigration or mask wearing or schools, vaccine mandates, or anything really controversial. The outpouring we're going to play, the vitriol is about his vote on a bipartisan bill on infrastructure.


TEXT: Voicemail left for Rep. Fred Upton (R) Michigan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: [Bleep] traitor. That's what you are. You're a [bleep] piece of [bleep] traitor. I hope you die. I hope everybody in your [bleep] family dies. You [bleep] piece of trash mother [bleep] voted for [bleep] Biden. You're stupider than he is. He can't even complete a [bleep] sentence, you [bleep] traitor. Piece of [bleep] mother [bleep] piece of trash, I hope you [bleep] die. Hope your [bleep] family dies. Hope everybody in your [bleep] staff dies you piece of [bleep]. Traitor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to say your days are numbered. You're a dumb [bleep].


COOPER: So those threats, which again, we should point out are about roads and bridges and a bill that by the way, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the top Senate Republican is now cris-crossing his state boasting about, so that's where we are today. That's where the crazy is, too.

The threats, by the way, follow the postings online of another Member of Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene. She tweeted out the names of the Republican House members who voted for the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, writing quote: "These are the 13 Republicans who handed over their voting cards to Nancy Pelosi to pass Joe Biden's communist takeover of America via so-called infrastructure."

In a separate tweet which we are not showing, you she posted their phone numbers.

Now, the Congresswoman, as you know is a big believer in the lie or big lie or at least she claims to be. She has compared mask mandates to the Nazi persecution of Jews in the Holocaust.


She's flirted with the anti-Semitic conspiracy fraud, QAnon. She is not the one facing discipline, though from her party for exposing her fellow Republicans to hate and perhaps even to harm.

And so far, Congressman Gosar isn't being even mildly reprimanded by his party leadership for his threats, instead -- to read from a headline in today's "Washington Post." And I quote, "G.O.P. floats punishment for its 13 apostates."

So in other words, the 13 Republicans who voted on the same bill, 19 Senate Republicans, including Mitch McConnell, also supported. Those are the ones the Republicans are going after.

The piece goes on to report that some party members want to strip these 13 Republicans of Committee assignments, and quotes former Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows today, endorsing the notion. The same Mark Meadows, of course, who has been served with a subpoena to testify about what he knew about the coup attempt, the same Mark Meadows who used to be you know, the big leaker guy.

We'll have more on that story shortly, because 10 more of those dropped late today. But if you're wondering why it's suddenly a sin to support roads and bridges in your district, but no big deal to oppose unhinged murder fantasy videos about co-workers and a sitting President, you might want to look at his knowledge the role his old boss is playing in the current climate, something Congresswoman Liz Cheney addressed head on this afternoon.


REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We are also confronting a domestic threat that we've never faced before, a former President who is attempting to unravel the foundations of our Constitutional Republic, aided by political leaders who have made themselves willing hostages to this dangerous and irrational man.


COOPER: So she, as you know, is also being targeted with hate mail and threats and political retribution along with fellow Republican, Adam Kinzinger. Their friends, of course, is wanting to get to the bottom of what happened on January 6th. That's it. That too, is now considered a sin in the G.O.P., which only enables more misbehavior, more winking and nodding and violent threats, and ultimately sets the stage potentially for more violent eruptions like we saw at the Capitol.

Joining us now "New York Times" foreign affairs columnist, Tom Friedman. He is the author of, among many other bestsellers, "Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it can Renew America."

So Tom, I don't even know where to begin, really. But, you know, is there no depth too low for -- I mean, first of all, you know, Congressman Gosar is certainly in the pantheon of sort of pathetic figures who have served in Congress, but is there no depth too low?

THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, FOREIGN AFFAIRS COLUMNIST, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, you know, I think depth is a good word, Anderson, because I think we're standing as a country and as a people on a false bottom.

What these incidents and the lack of response to them by the Republican leadership tell us is something -- it is very worrying. We're living in a fool's paradise right now.

If this party is able to retake the House, the Senate, and national power, we're in a very, very dangerous situation. It could be the end of our ability to legitimately transfer power, which is really the crown jewel of this country.

We're standing on a false bottom. We can crash through this anytime. That's what these incidents tell me.

COOPER: So as bad as people may feel now or think, wow, well, it can't get much worse than this. You're saying it absolutely can't?

FRIEDMAN: Oh, yes, because we've seen what Donald Trump tried to do when he was in power, we've seen the fact that he was ready to use, as Liz Cheney pointed out, you know, unconstitutional means to stay in power, like some tin pot dictator. And there is absolutely no reason to believe if they gain power, again, that they wouldn't use it in ways to maintain themselves in office, and that's what's really scary to me.

And that's why, by the way, Democrats have to be on their absolute A- game to make sure that does not happen.

COOPER: Which exactly, I mean, it's not a great -- the idea that Democrats have to be in their A-game, we haven't seen necessarily a lot of there A-game of late. You know, the last time you were on, you were talking about what you had witnessed in Beirut when Beirut fell apart during the Civil War there, and it really stuck in my mind.

Because one of the things you said and I'm paraphrasing you and I apologize if I get it wrong, but the politicians in Beirut, essentially, we're just kind of hammering away for political gain here or there, wherever they could, thinking, oh, it doesn't really matter. I can just hammer away at this state. And you know, it'll kind of work itself out in the future, and that doesn't happen. That didn't happen.

FRIEDMAN: Yes. That's exactly the point and something I've been trying to argue for a long time, which is what I saw in Beirut was one politician after another cheating, lying, undermining the system, anything to gain or hold power thinking, once I'm in, then I might behave a little bit better.


Well, when people across the spectrum do that year after year, what ultimately happens is that the whole foundation of the system erodes and then it completely falls apart, which is basically what happened in Lebanon.

And Anderson, once it goes, it's impossible to get it back, and that's what terrifies me about our country right now. That if it goes here, who do we turn to?

You know, in Lebanon, you know what they did, Anderson? They actually -- when Macron, the President France came to visit them, 50,000 Lebanese handed him a petition saying, "Please, recolonize us. Please recolonize us." Are we going to ask Great Britain to do that?

There is no one going to come to our rescue except us. We're the only people we're waiting for. And that's why we have to be absolutely at the top of our game. We cannot play with these crown jewels, and that's what we're doing, we're juggling the crown jewels.

COOPER: And yet, we're also now at a time and I just saw your column. I think it posted just tonight about your experience and what you saw in Glasgow, the Climate Change Summit, you took part in some panels there, I understand.

In an age where we need cooperation more than ever -- I don't know if more than ever before, but certainly on a global scale, and cooperation for a transformation in the economy of the United States to kind of try to advance, you know, more just -- you know, the electrical grid, to remake the electrical grid, to do all the things that need to be done in order for us to continue to, you know, make progress in the world. How do you do that when we can't even get together on these simple things?

FRIEDMAN: Well, that's what infrastructure -- I mean, it's so important. Go back to Eisenhower. Infrastructure is your launch pad. It's the launch pad on which, you know, you build all these other tools and technologies to enable your people to realize their full potential.

There is no Republican infrastructure or Democratic infrastructure, and I think that's what's just so important to keep in mind. You know, this is something -- for me, infrastructure, Anderson, is part of a whole nexus of issues that I would call sacred ground, common ground, shared space that we should all agree on. It should never be politicized.

And the scariest thing that's happening in the country today is that everything is becoming politics. A mask is becoming politics, a vaccine is becoming politics. Infrastructure, roads, highways, broadband are becoming politics.

These aren't politics. These are the sacred common ground upon which we all want to get together to do the right thing, and when you make everything politics, it's the end of politics. When you literally persecute members of your party for voting for an Infrastructure Bill, wow, you need to go see a doctor.

COOPER: So what happened? I mean, so what is -- how does one contribute to, you know, things getting better, as opposed to just you know, contributing to making it worse?

FRIEDMAN: Yes, well, in this case, obviously the Republican Party has got to go through some kind of transformation. I think it'll only happen if they lose power, one or two more times. And when that happens, people will stand up and say, "This is not the road to go down."

Maybe Virginia was -- the election there was a halfway step to that, even though a Republican won, he was someone who didn't really run as a Trumper. But I don't see any other way.

Anderson, I'm more worried about this country than I have ever been in my life. I am not convinced we are going to be able to legitimately transfer power in the next election, and I don't think people realize what a Code Red situation that is.

And if you're contributing to the Republican Party, if you're voting for Republicans, I have no problem with that. But you've got to make clear that this kind of big lie politics at a time when the country needs such big ideas. I guarantee you one thing, I can guarantee this absolutely tonight, that no one in the Chinese People's Assembly is talking about space lasers, is tweeting out, you know, crazy attacks on their other leaders.

The world is a serious place. We have to be on our A-game if we want to our people to realize their full potential. And we're just messing around, messing around making everything politics. And the point I made in my column tonight about Glasgow, is that, you know, we've got climate change barreling down in us.

But I was sitting there in Glasgow, thinking to myself, Anderson, how are we going to rise collectively, to the challenge of climate change, when we can't even get people to put on a mask and get vaccinated against a pandemic, which is a tiny fastball that Mother Nature is throwing at us compared to what climate change would be?

And with climate change, there's no vaccine. How are we going to do that?

COOPER: Tom Friedman, I appreciate you being with us, Tom. Thank you.


COOPER: Thanks. Coming up, next. We have breaking news in the January 6th investigation. Ten more subpoenas including some of the closest -- some of those closest to the former President during the insurrection, we're joined by Robert Costa, co-author of the recent inside account of those moments, the aptly titled "Peril."

And later, the prosecution rests, but not before more revealing testimony in the Kyle Rittenhouse homicide trial.

We will be right back.



COOPER: The House Select Committee on January 6th issued subpoenas to 10 more former White House officials. They include such well-known figures as senior adviser Stephen Miller, blast from the past, who made numerous false allegations about voter fraud in the 2020 election and encouraged state legislatures to appoint alternate electors.

Also Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary who said at her very first briefing, "I will never lie to you." And so her lies began. And eight others including some lesser known people who played key roles in their attempt to overturn a free and fair election.

Joining us now, Robert Costa, co-author with Bob Woodward of the bestseller, "Peril."

Robert, good to have you on. If you look at the 10 latest subpoenas issued today, what do they tell you about -- or do they tell you anything about the direction of the January 6th Committee, where they are heading in the investigation?


ROBERT COSTA, CO-AUTHOR, "PERIL": Number one, Anderson, they're casting a wide net. They're bringing up names that are well-known, like Stephen Miller, General Keith Kellogg, but also some lower level Trump White House aides, trying to see if any of these people will cooperate, publicly testify, and start to share documents. This Committee has been trying to ramp up its efforts in recent weeks, but they still have a lot of work to do to really get answers.

And two, they are looking at the President's activity, the sitting President at the time, Trump, what he did on the morning of January 6th before the rally and after the rally, that's the focus of this latest batch of subpoenas. COOPER: Keith Kellogg, who we mentioned, was then Vice President

Pence's National Security adviser was with the then President Trump for much of the day on January 6th. Based on your reporting, I mean, what could Kellogg have been privy to from that day?

COSTA: We know he was inside the Oval Office, the President's dining room, right off the Oval Office. He's talking to Trump as Trump is updated about Pence, about the insurrection on Capitol Hill. So he is a witness who has firsthand knowledge of what happened.

So you see the Committee with these subpoenas trying to get people who are firsthand participants in events, as well as what we call satellite witnesses, those who had tangential roles in that day.

COOPER: What about John McEntee? I mean, he was the President's body man. A lot of people don't know his name, but he was the President's body man who then became the Director of Presidential Personnel office, which is extraordinary. How much influence did he have with the President?

COSTA: Enormous influence, a former college football player who became close to Trump. Jonathan Karl has a strong piece at "The Atlantic" about McEntee tonight, and you see in McEntee someone who is a total loyalist. In the final days, Trump wanted only loyalists around him. McEntee was an enforcer on everything from the policy of Afghanistan withdrawal to who would be left in the White House in those final days.

All of these people, I'm told, tonight are going to try and wait and see if they can have executive privilege protected for Trump. The Supreme Court may ultimately decide, but there are a lot of cracks in that executive privilege argument, Anderson.

So many of these participants like John Eastman have talked publicly at length about their efforts in these events. So, if they can talk publicly to reporters and podcasts, why can't they talk to the Committee?

COOPER: I mean, you know, you said the January 6th Committee is casting a wide net, is that a sign though of desperation?

COSTA: It might be. As a reporter, it's not for me to weigh in on whether it's desperation, but they certainly need someone to cooperate in a significant way, not just fighting them in the court, maybe providing a little bit here or there.

You think back to Watergate. Woodward and I often talk about John Dean's testimony during Watergate that cracked it open broke it open, because he outlined a criminal conspiracy inside of the White House.

Will some of these names tonight that we know and many we don't really know that well, will they come forward? Or will they be like Steve Bannon and fight it all the way and maybe even have criminal contempt charges?

COOPER: Do you think there are others who might have relevant information who haven't yet been subpoenaed?

COSTA: Oh, there were many people in the White House on the night of January 5th. Some of them talking to people in the Willard Hotel as we've outlined in the book and others have reported on, but he had many, many people in the White House that night.

It is interesting, you see the Committee really going deep on Mark Meadows, the Chief of Staff, his network, his aides, and they still have a lot to piece together around Rudy Giuliani and Steve Bannon, some of these outside allies who have connections to fringe groups. What was their involvement in those crucial hours January 2nd through January 6th?

COOPER: Yes, Robert Costa, appreciate it as always. Thank you so much.

COSTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Again, in light of the conversation, our lead story as well, the consequences of the big election lie coupled with a kind of permissive environment for violence. It's not academic, they are real.

Our Randi Kaye spoke with some election officials who now find themselves under direct threat and fearing what might come next.


COMMISSIONER AL SCHMIDT, PHILADELPHIA CITY: "You're a traitor, perhaps cuts and bullets will soon arrive." It provides my address, it provides my kids names. "RINO stole election, we steal lives."

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The death threat came in the form of a text message sent to Al Schmidt's personal cell phone. He's the Philadelphia City Commissioner, and for the last decade or so, he has run the elections in his city.

SCHMIDT: I don't think there's a single election officials across the country that ever took death threats into account as part of our job description.

KAYE (voice over): For Schmidt, it turned ugly after Donald Trump tweeted about him, calling him a RINO -- Republican in name only -- and falsely claiming Schmidt refused to look at corruption and dishonesty in the 2020 election.

KAYE (on camera): Do you think the former President put you and your family in danger?

SCHMIDT: Oh, absolutely. Within 24 hours, it began.


KAYE (voice over): Trump tweeted about Schmidt on November 11th last year. The following morning he got his first death threat via text. That same day, a few hours later, his wife received a threatening e- mail. SCHMIDT: "Your husband should tell the truth or your three kids

(names them) will be fatally shot."

KAYE (voice over): It got so bad, Schmidt says, he notified the police and the F.B.I. who put them under 24-hour protection. His family even moved from their home since one e-mail threat linked to images of his house.

KAYE (on camera): You have called this domestic terrorism. How so?

SCHMIDT: Well, the point of the threats is to terrorize, and it's to coerce. It's sort of surreal to experience that level of hatred when all you're doing is counting votes.

KAYE: Well, but others -- others believe that you were stealing votes, switching votes, throwing ballots out. I mean, that's what people were made to believe. I mean, those were the false claims out there.

SCHMIDT: Right, and they are deranged by those false claims.

KAYE (voice over): And Schmidt is hardly the only election official dealing with threats on the job.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, the General Registrar and Director of Elections told us he is being harassed, too.

SCOTT KONOPASEK, GENERAL REGISTRAR AND DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA: Oh, you're stealing the election again, you're a Leninist, Stalinist, commie. People like you destroyed America.

KAYE (voice over): Scott Konopasek says he has received threatening phone calls and messages on social media. Many accusing him of corruption, dishonesty and doubting his election integrity. He says he has notified local and Federal authorities.

KONOPASEK: It is constant. It's always on your mind.

KAYE (on camera): You're always looking over your shoulder.

KONOPASEK: Always looking, you know, I always looking to see if anyone is following me. I take different routes to and from work and home.

KAYE (voice over): Konopasek isn't going to let the threats drive him away from a job, but back in Philadelphia, Commissioner Al Schmidt has had enough. He decided before the 2020 election he wouldn't run again, but the threats sealed the deal.

KAYE (on camera): If you don't run again, if others don't run again, and so many election workers leave their position, are you concerned about who will replace you?

SCHMIDT: Yes. I think -- I think the concern that these same officials are replaced by people who don't want to count voters' votes, who want to discredit the results of the elections that they themselves are running.

KAYE (voice over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Philadelphia.


COOPER: And still ahead tonight, the prosecution rests their case in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, their final witness suggesting that one of his victims did not pose a threat, the latest from Kenosha, next.



COOPER: After calling 22 witnesses over six days, the prosecution rested its case against Kyle Rittenhouse today. One of the witnesses a forensic pathologist testified that one of the men killed by Rittenhouse was fatally shot in the back while in a horizontal position, suggesting the victim wasn't a thread when he was gunned down. Rittenhouse is on trial for killing two men and wounding another during a chaotic night of protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August of 2020.

Omar Jimenez joins us now from Kenosha with the latest.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With one phase of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial over the next phase moves forward as the defense begins its case starting with those who were with Rittenhouse on August 25 2020 before and after his shootings that night following heavy protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

NICHOLAS SMITH, DEFENSE WITNESS: He repeats I just shot someone over and over and I believe at some point he did say he had to shoot someone. I tell him to walk outside and turn himself in. He had said, I had to I had to shoot someone.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The next witness said Rittenhouse even personally reflected on what had just happened. Do you recall him saying anything?

COREY CHIRAFISI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Do you recall him saying anything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He pulling it back really hard. And just his comment was, oh my god, my life might be over.

CHIRAFISI: Did Kyle respond to anything that was said?


CHIRAFISI: What was that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was that he had to.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): He was in these moments that Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, the first of two killed that night and it was those moments that were a large focus of the end of the prosecution's case. Rosenbaum was shot four times once in the left thigh, once in the hand, he suffered a graze wound to his head and then he was shot in the back, the lethal shot.

DOUGLAS KELLEY, MILWAUKEE MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE: Gunshot wound is the one that would cause death as a result of the injuries, to the lungs in the liver with the hemorrhage and the injury to the organs themselves.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The doctor's testimony came with graphic pictures especially of the gunshot wounds to the head and back of Rosenbaum. All the while, Rittenhouse appeared to be visibly shaken at times averting his eyes. Similar to what many jurors were doing as well. Prosecutors focused on when Rittenhouse fired the four gunshots at Rosenbaum and from what position.

JAMES KNAUS, ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY, KENOSHA COUNTY: the first gunshots are while Mr. Rosenbaum is facing Mr. Rittenhouse.


KNAUS: And you said that at least one of those was intermediate out to four feet away?


JIMENEZ (voice-over): Then came the graze wound to the head and the shot to the back.

KNAUS: And is it your opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the back the front shots to the head and then the kill shot to the back would have been while he was falling or perpendicular to the ground?

KELLEY: The only way that the trajectories of the gunshot wounds to the right side of the head and the back makes sense is if he's more horizontal to the ground, and that is occurring at the time that the last two gunshot wounds are heard on the video,

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The defense wanted to underscore how fast this deadly interaction occurred.

MARK RICHARDS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The fourth shot is 76 hundredths of a second after that. That is how fast the four shots were fired out of my client's gun and he's goes from the furthest four feet to touching the gun. Correct?

KELLEY: That -- yes.

KNAUS: So, if I was charging like a bull and diving that would be consistent.

KELLEY: It would be.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): The rifle used by Rittenhouse that day was displayed in court both by the prosecutor and the defense to give jurors a better idea of the guns positioning as this unfolded.


But prosecutors went back to the first two shots implying any diving or falling motion from the first shot to the thigh up to the hip wasn't voluntary.

KNAUS: The injuries you noted they'd also be consistent with falling after being struck in the hip?



COOPER: Omar, what can you tell us about the one charge that was dismissed?

JIMENEZ: Yes, Anderson. So right as the prosecution was resting its case the judge dismissed charged number seven against Kyle Rittenhouse. That's a curfew citation charge basically saying that prosecutors did not present enough evidence to show that there was actually a curfew in place, as this was unfolding back in August of 2020. And that the testimony of a Kenosha police officer simply saying there was one wasn't enough.

Now of course, Rittenhouse still faces five felony charges that include murder, homicide, and reckless endangerment along with the misdemeanor of being a minor with a gun. He of course has pleaded not guilty to all of those as we head into day seven of testimony in this trial, day two for the defense. Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Omar Jimenez, appreciate it. Thank you.

There's a dramatic video showing a young man scaling a ladder at the AstroWorld festival when the deadly chaos was going on repeatedly shouting stop the show. Talk to him tonight. He'll join us tell us what it was like to be in that crowd. And to try to have -- and to have his cries to stop the show ignored.



COOPER: The Houston Fire Department chief tells CNN that there's evidence drugs may have been involved in the AstroWorld concert tragedy over the weekend, but they don't have any information on what those drugs were. This in response the Wall Street Journal reporting fake pills laced with fentanyl played a role in some of the deaths or injuries. Also tonight, we're learning more about what it was like in the crowd during that deadly crash. And we're seeing for the first time the desperate attempts by some concert goers to get Travis Scott to stop the show.


AYDEN CRUZ, ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL SURVIVOR: Stop the show! Stop the show! Stop the show! Stop the show!


COOPER: The man you just saw on the white t-shirt in that video where people are shouting stop the show was 18-year-old Ayden Cruz. Unfortunately, his pleas were in vain. The show went on eight people ended up dying. Ayden joins us now.

Ayden, thank you so much for being with us. First of all, how are you doing? Just having some perspective now and what you went through?

CRUZ: I'm doing OK. I've already seeked help for my mental health. And it's just it's been a lot lately.



COOPER: So, I understand that you and your girlfriend purposely kind of held back in the kind of the back of the general admission area, which is where that a lot of the crush ended up being. When did you know though that something was going wrong?

CRUZ: Yes. Like the second it started, our bodies got pushed up against other people's from behind, and someone behind us was panicking, screaming and my girlfriend like that knee and I tried to keep a straight face. And I knew that this wasn't normal and I couldn't hold it anymore. And then I was screaming for help as well.

COOPER: So you were intentionally at the back. So I know you I read that that you had been concerned that there had been problems in the past at concerts and people being aggressive out front with Travis Scott. But even though you were in the back, peep more people were rushing into the general admission area. So even in the back, you were getting started to get crushed from behind.

CRUZ: Yes, that's correct. In the past, I've gone to festivals and I know that the Rangers (ph) are the people who like to, you know, do mosh pits is using the friend. I knew I was with my girlfriend and our friends and we had girls with us too. So I thought you know for in the back, we can enjoy the show with some space because initially before the show, I was actually able to like move our arms around without actually hitting anyone. And the second the show started after the countdown, it just no space at all, to suffer -- just people suffocating because of how tight they were.

COOPER: And I understand a friend of both of you and your girlfriend died during this Brianna Rodriguez. What did you see happen to her?

CRUZ: So, me and her last thing I saw was me and her were around this circle of people who had fallen behind us. And we're like the next layer to basically fall in. And as the ripple effects of the crowds going forward and backward, we were pushed onto our backs. And as that happened, people began to fall on top of us and cause it to be harder to get air and just so much weight on both of us and as well as a friend named x who was with her right next to her fell as well on his back and people are on top of this and it was it was really scary.

COOPER: You know, I have never been in a crush situation like that, where I've actually fallen, I -- it's hard to even imagine the idea that you can't catch your breath in a crowd like that. But that's how it felt.

CRUZ: Yes, I just remember people on my legs on my, on my stomach, on my face. I mean, it was pitch dark. I don't know what exactly was on top of me. It all happened so fast. And I just remember as I was falling back, I just saw Brie yelling and I could see her hair but I can't I couldn't see your face because how much people were on top of us and on top of me like people were covering my face so I couldn't see. And it's just, it's something I really can't forget about.


COOPER: I mean, I'm so sorry for your, the loss of your friends. Watching the video of when you tried to, you know, talk to the cameraman to maybe get him to send a message to try to stop the concert. I mean, first of all, you know, to try to do something like that is incredibly brave. I understand people were like yelling at you angry at you for even doing that not perhaps understanding what was going on? Did you -- was there any -- was there any chance you? I mean, did you think you might be able to get something, somebody to stop it?

CRUZ: Honestly, it was it was just instinctual. I just thought maybe the camera man would have some type of like signaling between someone who could tell Travis Scott, maybe he could stop working or maybe, I don't know, he could send in a cue like, the this is getting bad back here or something.

But I mean, it's very possible that that was never even a practice that they had before the festival even began, and I just felt like there was never considered a code red, there wasn't a limit to where this is bad. And this is where --


CRUZ: -- if you're doing it, this is where you need to stop working. And let me know (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Yes, I'm so glad you're -- you were able to get out and your girlfriend as well. And I am so sorry for your losses and all those who are suffering in this. Thank you so much for talking to us.

CRUZ: Thank you. And can I get --


CRUZ: I just want to one thing, the camera man. I've seen that he's got getting gotten a lot of hate, and death threats. And I just don't want that. I don't think he had the authority like how people want to make him seem like he had but he was just the person I went to at first. And nobody deserves to die. No one deserves to get those messages. So I just want to have those people stop doing that. And remember that we're all human.

COOPER: Ayden your really good person. And I appreciate you saying that. I'm sure he does as well and his family. So thank you.

CRUZ: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, given the kind of hostilities we've been seeing whether in voicemails left for members of Congress, as you heard at the top of the hour. Don't you wish more people would listen to Ayden the way he sees things? We're all just human.

How can a country that feels so divided and so on edge learn how to step back from the break some answers perhaps from a new book, when we return.



COOPER: From the threatening phone calls from members of Congress, and you heard at the top of the program to the Capitol insurrection, and battles over mask and mandates, each headline invites the question how can we stop the anger and maybe just normalize political discourse in our country.

CNN senior political analyst and USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers offers some advice how in her new Book Saving Grace, Speak Your Truth, Stay Centered And Learn To Coexist With People Who Drive You Nuts. It's got an important message we spoke recently.


COOPER (on-camera): Kirsten, congratulations on the book. I think it's so such an important book and kind of the perfect, I'm really the perfect time for a book like this. I feel like a lot of us need this book. I certainly need it. You write about how the toxicity of our current political environment was actually directly affecting your mental health, which I think certainly a lot of people no matter what side of the political aisle you've been on, you know, it's been a long couple of years.


COOPER (on-camera): Can you just tell us a little bit about the moment when you decided that something had to get?

POWERS: Yes, yes. Well, I think 2016 obviously, was a big turning point for a lot of people. And for me, I knew something was off. But for me, it was towards the end of 2018, where I think it just finally I hit a wall. And I just realized, this is not sustainable. The sort of soundtrack of doom in my head, the way I'm thinking about other people, the way I'm demonizing other people in my head, sometimes the way I was behaving, especially online, was not really aligned with my values. And it just it wasn't sustainable.

And so, I realized at that moment that I had to do something different. And I was hearing this from people all around me, people were just saying, like, I can't go on like this. And I was, you know, you mentioned mental health. I know, I was struggling with anxiety. And I mean, clinical anxiety not that I was worrying a little bit. I was struggling with chronic fatigue. I mean, it was affecting me physically in all sorts of ways. And I think a lot of people were having that experience.

COOPER (on-camera): So, in your book, I mean, you're talking about the concept of grace, and how it's often deeply misunderstood. Even weaponized, by some Can you explain what you mean by that? And what you what how that relates to what you decided to kind of do?

POWERS: Yes, because I think a lot of people even watching right now might go whoa, grace, really like at a time like this. And, and that's because a lot of times grace has been weaponized and misrepresented as meaning just let people get away with things. Don't hold people accountable. Don't stand up for marginalized people, don't say things that are true, but none of those things are grace. I use the Christian paradigm though the book is I think, accessible to anybody. I've been told that by people of all faiths and no faiths. But I think the Christian paradigm is a nice paradigm because it means unmerited favor.

So what that means is the other person doesn't have to do anything in order to have grace from you. They just get it because they're part of humanity. If you're a believer, you might say because I see the divine spark in them. If you're not, you might say I just see you as a whole person that's more than the thing that you're doing.


But I think the thing that was most fascinating to me was learning that grace was actually for me, it was the thing that kept me from going down this road of demonization, and basically taking on all of this stuff that was making me so miserable.

COOPER (on-camera): In terms of practicing grace, just from like a, you know, if somebody wants to practice it, how do you practice it?

POWERS: Yes, I practice it by first of all just assenting to that idea, right of that, I'm going to step back and I'm going to remember that this person is more than the thing that they're saying or doing.

COOPER (on-camera): My mom used to repeat the same by this guy name McLaren (ph), who said behind because everybody you meet --


COOPER: -- is fighting a great battle. Which I tried to live by. It's not quite what I mean. It's got hints of what you're talking about I think.

POWERS: Well I actually cite that in the book, I think that is sort of a graceful way to think about people to remember that people are doing the best they can with the tools that they have. One of the things that I talk about I have a whole chapter on humility of developing humility of getting real with the fact that we're not quite as perfect as we think we are, that put in the same circumstances another person who's to say we wouldn't be doing this (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER (on-camera): That I completely believe.


COOPER (on-camera): The book Saving Grace, I really -- I started it. I'm really think it's -- I just clicked with it. I think it's so powerful and I really appreciate you writing it. Kirsten Powers, thank you.

POWERS: Thank you so much, Anderson.

COOPER (on-camera): All right, Saving Grace.


COOPER: We'll be right back.



COOPER: The news continues. Let's hand over Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris.