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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

January 6 Committee Subpoena Giuliani, Three Others; White House Says Russia Could At Any Point Launch An Attack In Ukraine; Interview With Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT); Virginia Governor Touches Off School Mask Battle; Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch Declines To Wear Mask, As Bench-Mate Sotomayor Works From Her Office; Biden To Hold Press Conference Tomorrow On Eve Of First Anniversary In Office; Judge Denies Alex Murdaugh's Request To Lower $7M Bail. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired January 18, 2022 - 20:00   ET


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And complicating an already desperate situation, the pandemic. A country which has largely protected itself in the worst of COVID now has to balance the risk of infection coming in alongside much needed humanitarian aid -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Paula, thank you very much.

Thanks so much to all of you for joining us around the world. AC 360 starts now.



We begin tonight with breaking news two major developments from the House January 6 Select Committee, both suggesting it is now aiming higher and closer to the former President than ever before.

First, subpoenas for three of the attorneys in its bid to overturn the election -- Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell, as well as campaign adviser Boris Epshteyn who was working with Giuliani at what has been called the Willard Hotel's Command Center.

Then there's this and it marks a serious escalation for the Committee, exclusive CNN reporting on subpoenas naming a Trump child and a possible future-in-law that has already gotten results.

CNN's special correspondent Jamie Gangel broke the news tonight, joins us now. So who in the former President's family does this subpoena involve?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So Anderson, according to multiple sources, the January 6th Committee has subpoenaed and obtained phone records from two people very close to former President Trump -- his son, Eric Trump, as well as Kimberly Guilfoyle who is engaged to his other son, Donald Trump, Jr.

And as you pointed out, this appears to be the first time the Committee has issued a subpoena targeting one of the Trump children. It really underscores just how aggressive the Committee is willing to be in its investigation.

We reached out, Eric Trump declined to comment on the subpoena of his call records, but a source familiar with his thinking tells me quote, "He is not losing sleep over it." We also reached out to an attorney for Kimberly Guilfoyle, who told us the subpoena is quote, "Of no consequence to her" because she has absolutely nothing to hide or to be concerned about.

For the record, Anderson, the Committee declined to comment on the subpoenas.

COOPER: So in your reporting, do you know why the Committee is interested in Kimberly Guilfoyle and Eric Trump's phone records?

GANGEL: So we don't know yet, but it is my understanding the Committee has made it a practice when it comes to issuing subpoenas is for a very specific reason. These are not just blanket requests for records.

So as an example, there is no evidence that the Committee reached out for call records for Trump's other children -- Don, Jr., Ivanka, or his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and just for context, I want to explain a call detail record we reported on this in the fall or a CDR. This gives the committee a phone log of the date, time and length of incoming and outgoing calls. It's also a phone log of text messages.

But it is not the substance or content of the calls or messages. It is, however, a critical investigative tool, as the Committee pieces together really a roadmap of who is communicating with whom before, during, and after January 6th.

COOPER: And as mentioned, four of the former President's one-time lawyers and advisers have also been subpoenaed. What's the Committee hoping to learn from them and any sense whether they'll comply?

GANGEL: I think the chances are slim to none of any of these four combined many -- maybe none to none. But the committee is making a record. They are saying these are critical witnesses, and when you look at these four names, they are all involved in perpetuating the big lie.

And at least two of them, Giuliani and Boris Epshteyn were at the Willard Hotel on January 5th, the night before in that War Room, we understand communicating with then President Trump. So, I think this is critical. These are four critical people that the Committee wants to say we're going after you whether or not you comply.

COOPER: Jamie Gangel, appreciate it.


COOPER: Let's drill down more on this. We're joined by CNN chief legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin; CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former F.B.I. Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe; also, CNN senior political correspondent, Abby Phillip, host of "Inside Politics" Sunday. So Andrew, how significant could these call logs or phone records be

to the investigation?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So Anderson, the records are exactly as Jamie described them. They give you the incoming and outgoing numbers that were called from that person's account and the time of -- the time the calls went through and their duration.

They are crucial in setting up a timeline of that person's contacts and communications. They don't tell you what they said, but they tell you exactly when they talked to specific other people.

It is usually a record that you want to see very closely before you call that person in for an interview because you want to be able to ask very specific questions about: Did you speak to this person? When you spoke to them, what did they say? What did you discuss? Those sorts of things.


So I would look at these subpoenas as possibly a signal that subpoenas for testimony from these two people would probably be forthcoming.

COOPER: Jeff, I mean, to be clear, would Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle had been aware that their phone records were being subpoenaed, would they have had means to try to stall it? Or do they have to agree to it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: The answer is, they are probably told by the phone company that the records have been subpoenaed. That's the custom. But they have no reason -- they have no legal right to stop it. This is a subpoena to the phone company.

Their participation is not invited or allowed. So the great advantage of this kind of evidence gathering by the Committee is that the subjects really have no ability to delay, which of course, is such a big problem in this investigation.

COOPER: Abby, just in terms of, you know, the politics and political impact, what could the fallout be to this? The fact that the Committee has seized records pertaining to one of the President's sons?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, I mean, I think these individuals are among the closest to former President Trump, and so, it just highlights that the investigation is everyone around him, including members of his own family.

I was also struck because I think this is a basic practice in Trump world. A lot of the things that President Trump does, does not go through official channels. It goes through people who are on the outside.

In fact, the first time President Trump was impeached, it was because he was using outside channels to allegedly conduct his effort to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, and so it would not surprise me that these subpoenas that seem to be inching closer and closer to the President don't involve people with White House titles, they involve people on the outside who are in close communication with him.

And I think that that actually highlights even more how serious they are and what information they could potentially have about the President's involvement or lack of involvement in the riots and the January 6th rally.

COOPER: And Andrew, in a case like this, do they have to have specific information in order to get this information from phone companies? I mean, why not -- you know, if they haven't gotten after Donald Trump, Jr.'s phone records, does that mean they have some specific thing they're interested in Guilfoyle and Eric Trump about?

MCCABE: You know, the standard for a subpoena of this sort is a simple relevant standard that those phone records might contain information that's relevant to the investigation. That's pretty broad.

But I think what Jamie said is accurate. It seems from the subpoenas that we've seen come out of the Committee so far, they are actually going after specific people, specific times and likely specific conversations.

So I would expect that there was a fairly specific motivation behind these, but in truth on the legal level, you don't need that sort of specificity.

COOPER: And Jeff, now that you've got these new subpoenas for you know, Giuliani, Sidney Powell, Jenna Ellis -- the kind whole rose gallery of attorneys, I just want to remind people the caliber of arguments they were making in the early days of the big like. Let's watch.


SIDNEY POWELL, ATTORNEY: So, we have mathematical evidence in a number of states have massive quantities of Trump votes being trashed. Just simply put in the trash like you would on your computer with any file and Biden votes being injected.


COOPER: So that didn't happen. What do you make -- I mean, even if they didn't cooperate, what's the point of doing this?

TOOBIN: Well, because you have to say at the end of your investigation, we sought the testimony of these relevant figures, especially if in your final report, you're going to say they engaged in improper behavior.

But let's remember Rudy Giuliani is under very serious criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York. There has already been a search warrant for his electronic devices. His lawyer can talk all he wants about executive privilege, about attorney-client privilege. The reason Rudy Giuliani is not going to testify is he is going to

take the fifth, because any intelligent lawyer would tell his client to take the fifth under those circumstances, very similar with Sidney Powell, who is also under a different kind of criminal investigation.

So the chances of them testifying are nonexistent, but I think the Committee is doing its due diligence and saying, hey, we want to hear from you if you want to talk.

COOPER: And Andrew, I mean, again, going after the attorneys for the former President, how problematic is that?


MCCABE: I mean, it is incredibly problematic, right? Under the best circumstances, there are all sorts of attorney-client privilege and executive privileges that could apply. Those are all, you know, formidable grounds for opposing the subpoenas.

And let's face it, in this crowd, we know they like to litigate, they like to obstruct, they like to delay. So you can pretty much guarantee that that's going to happen.

COOPER: I mean, this is the kind of thing, you know, Abby, that they -- I mean, I don't know how Sidney Powell makes a living, but if she does fundraising or sells t-shirts or whatever, this is something she -- you know, that a person of that caliber would like to use, the fact that they've been asked, and/or you know, fighting back?

PHILLIP: Oh, a hundred percent. I mean, both Giuliani and Sidney Powell are two individuals who use these types of investigations as fodder to gin up support among the President's base. And, you know, whether or not they use that to help, you know, raise money or do whatever they do, it is part of, of how, you know, the President's supporters build sort of a wall of support among people who believe these lies that they've been spewing, and they use it actually to bolster their position.

I mean, just a couple of days ago, President Trump was at a rally basically calling all of this political prosecution, the prosecution of January 6th rioters. I imagine he'll be saying much of the same thing about these individuals who were very close to him and who he relied on, frankly, as the source of all of this nonsense around the 2020 election.

COOPER: Abby --

TOOBIN: Can I offer a bit of a dissent from that? You know, it's going to cost Giuliani and Powell hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and Donald Trump never helps anybody, but himself. They are going to be on the hook for all of that money.

I don't think this is good for them. I don't think they are going to make a lot of money off of this. I think this is a bad deal for them.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Andrew McCabe, Abby Phillip, appreciate it. Coming up next, breaking news about the state of the Russian military

deployments around Ukraine and the Biden administration preparing for an invasion that it says could come at any moment.

Senator Chris Murphy, just back from Ukraine joins us.

Later, the Supreme Court Justice who wrote a book arguing for greater civility yet stands alone in not wearing a mask around a colleague who is reportedly at high risk for COVID.



COOPER: Hard to imagine that the world could be on the brink of a major land war in Europe, not to mention a return to the kind of climate of fear not seen since the Cold War. Yet, that is where we are with Russian forces now menacing Ukraine.

According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's latest Intelligence assessment shared exclusively with CNN, Russia has now deployed more than 127,000 troops in the region.

Now, the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters an attack could come quote "at any point." And tonight, multiple sources tell CNN the Biden administration is weighing new options to either deter Russian President Vladimir Putin or raise the price he would pay for using those forces.

Senior chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto joins us now with the latest. What are these new options being considered?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the idea here is to grow lethal military assistance to the Ukrainian military both from the U.S. and its NATO allies in a host of ways to increase supplies of anti-tank armor piercing missiles known as javelins, to increase supplies of anti-aircraft, shoulder fired anti- aircraft missile systems known as MANPADS, those would come from NATO allies, mortars as well, you see some pictures there of those javelin missiles.

But also crucially, the possibility of increasing the presence of U.S. Special Operations Forces, trainers for the Ukrainian military. They already regularly rotate in and out and Ukraine, but increasing that presence and the goals here are one, to increase the costs of a potential Russian invasion, frankly, in the simplest terms to make it potentially bloodier for the Russian military, but also to over time, prepare the Ukrainian military for sustained resistance to a Russian occupation.

In other words, equipping them for the long haul here.

COOPER: Are there signs that diplomacy has failed or is failing?

SCIUTTO: Not clear that it has failed yet, but they came out of a week of meetings in Europe last week with no signs of any breakthroughs or really any concrete progress. So increasing pessimism among the administration officials I speak to. People in The Pentagon, the diplomacy is providing the outcome that the administration wants here. They're not closing those doors.

And important conversation today between Anthony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov, but the sad fact is that the diplomatic off ramp that the U.S. has offered Russia, it hasn't taken. So they are making preparations for raising the cost for Russia if that is indeed where we end up.

And Anderson, you know, I've been talking to folks for months about this situation and it is clear that the pessimism is frankly increasing.

COOPER: Jim Sciutto, I appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining us right now is Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, who is just back from Kiev where he and a bipartisan congressional delegation met with Ukraine's President. Senator Murphy, I appreciate you joining us.

Do you think the U.S. should and will move to increase the lethality of weaponry to Ukraine?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): Well, as you know, Anderson, the United States has been the most significant security partner with Ukraine since the initial Russian incursion into Ukrainian territory in 2014. We've provided lethal assistance, nonlethal assistance. We've had literally thousands of trainers inside Ukraine, and I expect that that security commitment will continue. In fact, it should grow.

The United States Congress just a few weeks ago, passed legislation increasing the authorization for direct military assistance to Ukraine and I think it is incredibly important right now that we make Russia understand that well, there may not be U.S. brigades on the ground fighting Russian soldiers, there's going to be continued U.S. assistance -- assistance to an army that's ready to fight and a population that is not just going to let Russia march into the center of Ukraine.


Putin seems to be getting absolutely horrible advice, people telling him that he is going to be greeted as some kind of liberator in a country that has turned against Russia over the last 10 years and is going to fight for its survival.

So I think, the Ukrainians can stand up for themselves, but I do agree, this is a time for the United States to increase our security commitment and that was the purpose of the trip, to have Republicans and Democrats there showing Ukraine, showing Russia more importantly, that despite the sort of divisions you see in Washington between Republicans and Democrats on other issues, we're going to be together supporting more assistance to Ukraine.

COOPER: So you actually think -- you think there would be bipartisan support in the United States and Congress for helping Ukraine? MURPHY: I do. I mean, listen, there may be outliers on both parties

that might oppose certain lethal assistance to Ukraine, but I think it is absolutely critical that we continue to be a security partner.

Remember, we're just helping Ukraine so that they can decide for themselves their future. Russia is invading because they want to force Ukraine to orient to the east.

The United States supports Ukraine's right to decide for themselves whether they want to have an alliance with NATO or E.U., or whether they want to have an alliance with Russia. We're supporting Ukraine's democratic future, whereas Russia is proposing an invasion or threatening an invasion to force the Ukrainian people into an alliance with Russia that they don't want.

COOPER: Do you have -- I mean, have you been there, do you have a sense of what a conflict would look like for Ukraine? I mean, obviously, Russia has massive military might, but it's not like an annexing Crimea, where there's a large, you know, pro-Russian population, the rest of Ukraine is much different than that.

MURPHY: So back in 2012 before Russia invaded Ukraine's east, you know, there was probably 20 to 30 percent support in Ukraine for joining NATO. Today, that number is 60 to 70 percent.

This is a country that has awakened since the initial Russian invasion and has become, you know, inherently anti-Russia. They want a future with the West, they are going to fight for their country. And so this, to me, would be the biggest mistake of Vladimir Putin's career.

He will get bogged down inside Ukraine, just like his predecessors got bogged down in Afghanistan, in 1980-1981. The Ukrainians are going to fight for their lives. There will be a long-term counter insurgency. It will be bloody. It will be drawn out and it will be a black mark on Russia that could end up leading to Russia's downfall as the Afghanistan invasion, arguably contributed to the Soviet Union's downfall.

So, this is a big decision moment for Putin. And well, I'm not sure that we're going to get some magical diplomatic agreement. We can certainly raise the costs to Putin and make clear to him that this is going to be long drawn out and very ugly, and that in the end, he'll wish he never set foot any further inside Ukraine.

COOPER: What is your sense why Russia is doing this now? I mean, obviously, you know, their concerns about Ukraine joining NATO are well known. Why now?

MURPHY: Listen, I think that Putin sort of sees the end of his career coming. He has long believed that the breakup of the Soviet Union was the worst thing that ever happened to his nation and he sees his legacy as attached to reconstructing some version of the old USSR.

I think he also has been given very bad information. There are reports suggesting that he's been told that Ukraine is actually just waiting to be invited back into the Soviet Empire, and he'll be greeted as a liberator.

So I think part of this stems from sort of his completion of a legacy project, but part of this is also due to, you know, his bad advice. The last piece of this is that he knows that the time is running out. Ukraine is getting more anti-Russian, more interested in joining the West every single day. There is not going to be an election, which results in a Ukrainian leader ultimately deciding to do an alliance with Russia.

The only way that he can force Ukraine back in his orbit is through his own use of force. So, he has gotten to this point in which the only thing he can do is to propose and move forward with an invasion like this. We've just got to make sure that we raise the perspective cost.

COOPER: You sit on the Committee of Foreign Relations, obviously. Do you feel as though the United States are on the European allies are on the same page when it comes to how to deal with the threat from Russia?


MURPHY: I think it's taken a little bit of time to convince our European allies of the seriousness of this threat. Remember, Russia had tens of thousands, close to a hundred thousand, maybe a little bit more troops on Ukraine's border in the spring conducting exercises. I think we've had to spend some time with our European allies to convince them that this is serious, and that, together, our proposed sanctions that we make clear to Russia should they invade will be imposed could in fact, be the necessary deterrence.

So my sense is the British have been with us from the beginning, and that other European allies are coming along to our view, and are now finally willing to put up a set of potential sanctions that may ultimately be dispositive and convincing Putin that it's just not worth it.

COOPER: Yes, well, let's hope that works. Senator Chris Murphy, appreciate it. Thank you.

Virginia's new Governor has rescinded mask mandates for schools, but some School Districts are keeping it in place. Why and how parents are reacting, next.


COOPER: A new COVID developments tonight. The Federal government's website to get free test kits is up and running. It's

Also word from the C.D.C. that three-quarters of the U.S. population has gotten at least one vaccine dose. Progress certainly, but still short of many other parts of the world.

Meantime, New York State where the latest surge hit early is now showing signs of a steep decline in cases much the same across the North East, not yet the case in much of the country however. [20:30:10]

On the school front, there's some new data points an overview of 36 studies in 11 countries published in JAMA Pediatrics, finding consistent negative health effects of school closings on kids which, especially when it comes to kids mental health.

Also today, the American Academy of Pediatrics reporting new childhood cases rose 69%. Last week, hospitalizations held steady.

Now with all that on the table, there's also the case of Virginia's new Governor Glenn Youngkin. On Saturday, his first day in office, he rescinded the Commonwealth's K through 12 mask mandate, and in some schools that's not been welcome.

Gary Tuchman went to Virginia and filed this report.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten minutes away from the Virginia State Capitol building where new Governor Glenn Youngkin was inaugurated this past weekend is Richmond's Westover Hills Elementary School, where an executive order he issued is getting panned.

JASON KAMRAS, SUPERINTENDENT, RICHMOND VA: We will be maintaining our mask mandate.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Jason Kamras is the superintendent of Richmond's 55 public schools. Here in Richmond and a number of other school districts across the state, there's concern that without mask mandates, the spike in COVID cases will only get worse. Anna Mason is the mother of a second grade daughter at the Westover Hills School. She says despite her superintendent stance, the governor's order which takes effect next Monday is very concerning.

ANNA MASON, PARENT OF STUDENT: I feel really disappointed.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): Why?

MASON: Because I'm scared, I'm scared for my kid. I'm scared for her classmates. Yes, and I feel like this is what other protection do we have.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dionne McCormick is the mother of a fourth grader.

(on-camera): Your school district says we're not listening to Governor.


TUCHMAN (on-camera): We want our kids in our school to still wear their masks. How do you feel about that?

MCCORMICK: I felt like they're protecting us. They're protecting our kids. I love it.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Notably, one of the governor's children goes to a private out of state high school that does have a mask mandate. We wanted to ask the governor about that, and about school districts in the state defying his order. But our request to speak with him was declined. However, his spokesperson did send us a statement saying, the governor is allowing Virginians to opt out of the mask mandates so that parents can choose what's best for their children. Over the weekend, the Governor did say on camera that school districts need to listen to parents.

GOV. GLENN YOUNGKIN (R-VA): Because we will use every resource within the governor's authority to explore what -- what we can do and will do in order to make sure that parents rights are protected.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And he does indeed get some support from parents at the Richmond school.

MARCUS JOHNSON, PARENT OF STUDENT: It still should be a choice. Nobody should be able to be forced to do anything.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): So you agree with the governor?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Robin Snead is the grandmother of a second grader.

ROBIN SNEAR, GRANDPARENT OF STUDENT: I know what it feels like for me to have a mask on. And it's hard for me to breathe. So I can only imagine how they feel the children.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): But at the school majority of parents we talked to feel differently.

(on-camera): Governor says it should be up to the parent, shouldn't be up to the schools. Parents to make the decisions for their own children. (INAUDIBLE).

JOE CONLEY, PARENT OF STUDENT: I don't know if I agree with that because their decisions affect my child.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): It's not clear what Governor Youngkin can do wants to do or will do when it comes to school districts that disobey his executive order. Either way, though, this district shows no signs of backing down.

Are you concerned your school district could be punished by the governor for not listening to what he's saying?

KAMRAS: I think we'll have to take it day by day. And, of course, if there are any repercussions, we will do our very best to defend ourselves and to continue for what we believe is right.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): This parent agrees with that plan of action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I think I care about everyone and we're responsible for everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So everyone should be possible for each other.



COOPER: Gary joins us now from Richmond. So, you're outside of school board meeting I take it they'll be discussing the -- this issue?

TUCHMAN: They just discussed Anderson and they passed a resolution endorsing the decision made by their superintendent. I can tell you there are a number of districts around the state that either say we're sticking with the mask mandate or still considering it and private schools are part of this too. The order of (INAUDIBLE) private schools. I talked to a spokesperson for the diocese here. The diocese, the Catholic Diocese has about 30 schools a very large diocese, Richmond, and they are maintaining the mask mandate right now.

However, they said they will seek guidance from the Virginia Department of Health. They will review the governor's order and then announce if they're going to make any change before the deadline day when this all takes effect this coming Monday. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

Now to the Supreme Court where Justice Sonia Sotomayor today who has diabetes a pre-existing condition took part in oral arguments remotely. This while Justice Neil Gorsuch again was the only member to enter the courtroom without a mask. He's also the Justice who recently wrote a book decrying the lack of civility in the country.


More in this from CNN, Supreme Court Reporter Ariane de Vogue. So the Supreme Court is famous for its collegiality, what's going on here?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. Well, Justice, Sonia Sotomayor suffers from diabetes. So she's in the high risk category, here. And from the start of the term, at every argument that I've attended, she has always been wearing a mask. The other justices haven't been wearing a mask. But then in January, when the infection rates really started to soar, the court released a statement saying that Justice Sonia Sotomayor would now be participating remotely and the court spokesman made clear that she was not ill.

Well, now sources tell us that, Sonia Sotomayor feels uncomfortable sitting on the bench if her colleagues are unmasked, and they say that she made that concern clear to Chief Justice John Roberts, although we're not quite sure what John Roberts did with the information. So, when that argument started the first argument of the January term, all eight justices appeared in the courtroom wearing masks, except for Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Now during arguments, some of the justices took off their masks for a period of time, although the two liberals kept the masks and they keep the masks on at all times, even when they're asking questions. So we've asked the Supreme Court to give us some comments about Gorsuch, why he's choosing not to even bring a mask to oral arguments. And they haven't responded. It's worth noting that all of the justices are vaccinated. They've received their boosters, and they're also frequently tested.

COOPER: I want to read something from Justice Gorsuch's book titled The Republic, If You Can Keep It. It reads, to be worthy of our freedoms, we all have to adopt certain civic habits that enable others to enjoy them, too. He went on to talk about a civility crisis this country is facing, which, you know, is certainly accurate. It's just kind of an interesting given this latest reporting.

Can Chief Justice Roberts determine what people whether people wear masks on the court or not?

DE VOGUE: Well, I think it's improved in the last few weeks that Chief Justice John Roberts only has one vote on this court. And I think he doesn't see this as his responsibility to mandate masks. That said, I covered an event, a zoom event with Gorsuch and Sotomayor last year where they talked a lot about civility together and their own friendship. But she is being very cautious here because she is high risk. And I did have a source tell me that Sotomayor never directly asked Gorsuch to wear a mask.

And one other important thing is the fact that just recently the court did block President Biden's vaccine mandate, they were on opposite sides. And during oral arguments, Sotomayor spent a lot of time talking about the impact of the pandemic on people with pre existing conditions.

COOPER: Ariane de Vogue, appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

DE VOGUE: Thanks.

COOPER: Up next, look at President Biden's first year in office and the challenges he's faced both here and abroad.



COOPER: President Biden set to hold a press conference tomorrow at four o'clock on the eve of his first anniversary in office. It's been a year afflicted with a global pandemic opposition from both the former president, his supporters, the President's own strategic and policy blunders and several global crises.

CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny captures the years of ups and downs.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge. And unity is the path forward. JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As President Biden enters his second year in office that unity is elusive. With a very same crisis and challenge still burning red hot and complicating his path forward. The optimism from Biden's inaugural address --

BIDEN: Bringing America together --

ZELENY (voice-over): -- tempered by the bitter reality of a capital and a nation even more divided. And a president scrambling to find his footing.

From an unrelenting pandemic, to stubborn inflation to dangerous threats to democracy at home and across the globe. The White House is trying to reset and restore a floundering presidency.

Tonight, election reform on the cusp of failing in the Senate, the latest example of the limits of presidential power in today's Washington, where Republicans are loath to cooperate and Democrats with a razor thin majority struggle to compromise.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There's been a lot of progress made. We need to build on that the work is not done. The job is not done. And we are certainly not conveying it is.

ZELENY (voice-over): Still in March Biden signed a $1.9 trillion American rescue plan to ease the economic fallout from COVID-19. And months later, a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan.


ZELENY (voice-over): A landmark accomplishment that is eluded Presidents of both parties.

BIDEN: Despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together and deliver results.

ZELENY (voice-over): But that bipartisan bridge did not extend to the second part of his economic agenda, the Build Back Better plan stalled in the Senate and facing an uphill road in this midterm election year.

But above all, top White House officials concede the first year of the Biden presidency has been complicated and consumed by coronavirus. Remarkable gains were made on vaccines. But the President summertime declaration of success proved utterly premature.

BIDEN: No longer controls our lives. It no longer paralyzes our nation, and it's within our power to make sure it never does again.

ZELENY (voice-over): A fall wave of the Delta variant followed by a winter surge of Omicron played bear the failures in COVID testing and eroded confidence once again in the administration's grasp of the crisis.

BIDEN: It's clearly not enough if we'd known we would have gotten harder quicker if we could have. ZELENY (voice-over): On the world stage. Biden reassured allies after the whiplash of the Trump era.

BIDEN: America is back.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet the prospect of a new Cold War is now an urgent fear. That was not apparent during Biden's summit with Vladimir Putin in June, which focused on cyber attacks. A threat overshadowed by Russia's aggression toward Ukraine.


BIDEN: Look ahead in three to six months and say did the things we agreed to sit down and try to work out did it work.

ZELENY (voice-over): Biden sought to reset the Russian relationship. Now, Putin is testing Biden and Western allies.

For all the challenges outside any president's control, one of the most devastating periods of Biden's first year was a decision that he made and stands behind.

BIDEN: I was not going to extend this forever war. And I was not extending a forever exit.

ZELENY (voice-over): The Swift follow the Afghanistan government, and the chaotic evacuation that followed, including 13 Americans killed in a suicide bombing, raise critical questions about competence that Biden and his team still struggled to shake six months later.

BIDEN: I take responsibility for the decision.

ZELENY (voice-over): Yet taking responsibility marks a noted change between Biden and his predecessor, who looms even larger one year out of office. That point was clear on the anniversary of the Capitol attack.

BIDEN: He's not just the former president. He's a defeated former president.

ZELENY (voice-over): And that advisors say is a glimpse into Biden's current mindset. He's no longer ignoring Trump and his assault on democracy. The outcome of his second year will help shape how Biden answers the biggest question of all, likely by this time next year. Will he run again?


ZELENY: Now, we are told the President spent the majority of his day preparing for that press conference. But Anderson also we're told, he's been reflecting on his first year in office, no one has ever come into the presidency with as much experience as President Biden. The question now is how will he use that experience going forward in the second year? Will he be offering any big changes?

The White House is not saying that directly, they say he will tout his progress tomorrow, as well as you know, owning up to some shortcomings. But the key question, will there be any big changes going into year two? We may get a glimpse of that tomorrow, Anderson.

ZELENY: Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it. Again, the President's press conference at 4:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow. Of course, CNN will have full coverage of it.

Disgraced South Carolina Attorney Alex Murdaugh is facing nearly 50 criminal charges and tonight new details on how there could be even more, next.



COOPER: There's new information about the legal troubles facing disgraced South Carolina Attorney Alex Murdaugh, who is accused of financial wrongdoing and coordinating a failed insurance fraud scheme that centered on his own faked suicide.

Today, he lost his request to lower his bond keeping it at $7 million. And on top of the 48 charges he's already facing, the State Supreme Court is now requesting records in additional cases that are related to him.

"360's" Randi Kaye tonight gives us a look at one of those cases.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When 19-year-old Hakeem Pinckney was severely injured in a car accident, his family thought they'd found the perfect lawyer to handle the case. His name was Alex Murdaugh, the same Alex Murdaugh who years later would be facing dozens of charges for stealing millions of dollars from former clients and having to explain a botched fake suicide attempt.

JUSTIN BAMBERG, ATTORNEY FOR PINCKNEY FAMILY: He was a predator. Alex Murdaugh was a predator who did not care about your life circumstances.

KAYE (voice-over): Justin Bamberg is the new lawyer representing Hakeem Pinckney's family. Bamberg, who is also a South Carolina State Representative, says Alex Murdaugh allegedly defrauded the Pinckney family out of as much as $1 million.

BAMBERG: Almost a million dollars is gone and unaccounted for and no one knows where it's at.

KAYE (voice-over): The latest turn in the Murdaugh saga dates back to August 2009. When a tire on the car Hakeem Pinckney was riding in came apart. The car rolled over in Hampton County, South Carolina, and Hakeem was left a quadriplegic, unable to move his arms or legs. Hakeem's mother who was driving also suffered grave injuries along with his sister and cousin.

So, Alex Murdaugh sued the tire company on Hakeem's behalf. In the process, Bamberg says Murdaugh arranged for this man, Russell Laffitte to act as Hakeem's conservator or guardian. At the time, Laffittee was president of Palmetto State Bank, and this is where things get complicated.

BAMBERG: What ends up happening at the end of the day, is the trusting, injured, honest person who just believes their lawyer ends up getting duped.

KAYE (voice-over): The Pinckney case is one of the cases mentioned in this subpoena sent by the state Supreme Court disciplinary office to Hampton County, asking for records in cases involving Murdaugh and Russell Laffittee. Court documents obtained by CNN show Murdaugh settled with the tire company on behalf of Hakeem and his family. Trouble is according to Bamberg money that Murdaugh should have sent to his clients, Hakeem's family was instead sent a Palmetto State Bank and deposited into a bank account there.

BAMBERG: And the money completely vanishes. Even today, we have no idea where that money went.

KAYE (voice-over): Hakeem passed away in 2011, two years after the accident. Bamberg says this check for more than $309,000 From December 2011 was drawn on the trust account reserved for client's money from Murdaugh's old law firm. The check is made out to Palmetto State Bank instead of Hakeem's family. According to Bamberg, the checks in question were first discovered by Murdaugh's former law firm last fall, as they began to dig into more recent allegations against Murdaugh.

They also include this $60,000 check that was paid to Palmetto State Bank. The memo says it was for a conservator fee regarding Hakeem Pinckney. The conservator, according to court records, was Russell Laffitte.

BAMBERG: And every penny of this money was intended for these people to be able to take care of themselves.

KAYE (voice-over): The president of Palmetto State Bank told us it permits At least severed the employment of Russell Laffitte on January 7th, legal counsel for the bank also said they are deeply concerned about the troubling allegations regarding Hakeem Pinckney settlement funds and are looking into it.


Laffitte has not been charged with a crime and has not responded to our request for comment. Murdaugh's lawyer declined to comment.

BAMBERG: It's the same exact pattern in scheme that we saw in the Satterfield case.

KAYE (voice-over): Gloria Satterfield was Alex Murdaugh's housekeeper, and back in 2018, Murdaugh scheme to defraud her family of millions of dollars. The housekeeper died after falling down the steps at Murdaugh's home it wasn't until December that Murdaugh apologized to Satterfield's children and agreed to a $4.3 million judgment against him. Money he kept for himself all these years.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.



COOPER: Reminder, don't miss "Full Circle," our digital new show that gives us a chance to dig in some important topics, have in-depth conversations. You can catch it streaming live at 6:00 p.m. Eastern at or watch it there and on the CNN app at any time On Demand.

News continues. You're on CNN with Brianna Keilar in "DEMOCRACY IN PERIL." Brianna.