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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Sources: U.S. Intel Indicates Russian Officials Have Doubts About Full-Scale Ukraine Invasion; CT, NJ, DE, CA, And OR Set Timelines For End Of School Or Statewide Indoor Mask Mandates; GA Prosecutor Says As Soon As Special Grand Jury Is Seated In May She Will Start Firing Off Subpoenas. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired February 07, 2022 - 21:00   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Good evening.

Breaking news tonight, a succession of Blue states, prepared to end mask mandates, in schools and elsewhere. Also, an interview with the Georgia prosecutor, leading a probe, on the former President's efforts, to overturn the 2020 election results there.

But we start in two world capitals, Washington and Moscow, and efforts by world leaders, to avert a Russian invasion, of Ukraine.

As French and Russian leaders, met in Moscow, President Biden, and his German counterpart, appeared at the White House, both putting on a solid front of unity, even as questions remain, about how far the Germans, are willing to go, to hold Russia accountable, in the event, it further invades Ukraine.

At the center of the dispute, between the NATO allies, a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline, called Nord Stream 2 that travels between Russia and Germany. The president, President Biden, was adamant that an invasion would mean an end to the project. The German Chancellor, far more ambiguous.

In a moment, a report from Ukraine, on the preparations there, for a possible invasion. But let's go first to our Chief White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, at the White House.

Kaitlan, President Biden was forceful, direct, in saying the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would not go forward, if Russia were to invade.

Is the Administration satisfied, with the way, his German counterpart, kind of evaded the same question?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I think some officials had certainly been hoping that the German Chancellor would be a little bit more forceful, in his response to that. Because he was explicitly asked, in a follow-up question, by a reporter, if he would call off the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, if Russia did invade Ukraine. And, of course, that would be a huge step by Germany. This has been built, between Germany and Russia. It's been a really delicate situation given, remember, several months ago, the Biden administration waived sanctions, on the company, behind that pipeline, as they were navigating, this relationship, with the new German Chancellor.

And so, today, you saw, he kind of equivocated. He did not answer specifically, what they would do. And that's been a frustration, among some lawmakers, who've said, it's not just that he won't say directly that he would call off Nord Stream 2. He hasn't really outlined what the sanctions would be, from Germany, if Russia did take that step.

Though, I think, you saw President Biden, and the Chancellor, making an effort today, to say "Yes, we are on the same page." So, of course, this raises big questions about how they're on the same page, given the discrepancy here.

BERMAN: Yes. How far apart, on that one page, they might be!


BERMAN: The Administration walked back some of its language, about an invasion of Ukraine, being imminent, in recent days. Did President Biden say anything about, where he believes Vladimir Putin's head at, is tonight?

COLLINS: Really, what he said, John, was that he has the capability, to do this invasion, if he wants to. But they still don't know what he's going to do.

It doesn't really seem like the White House is going to be able to intercept any Intelligence, showing them that. Because, they've repeatedly said, it's only really Putin, who knows what he's going to do here. Not even his top aides, they've said at times, they believe, knows what he's going to do.

But what they're hoping is to continue the dialog that you've been looking at. You saw the French President there today. The German Chancellor is going to Russia, in a few weeks. And so, they're hoping that that will help this situation. But it's really anyone's guess.

And what they do know is that he has the ability to do it, any day now, according to the President's National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan.

BERMAN: Kaitlan Collins, great to talk to you. Thank you very much.

So, from the diplomacy, to what things could really look like, on the ground, if there is an invasion. CNN's Melissa Bell, got an up-close look. And she joins me now.


Melissa what are the most worrying aspects, of the Russian military buildup, is what's been happening, on the Ukrainian border, with Belarus. What's the latest you're able to tell us?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well John that that buildup, on the Belarusian border, has continued, these last few days, with weapons, troops, aircraft, even now, considerably closer to the Ukrainian border.

Some of that manpower and weaponry now just 15 kilometers, from the Ukrainian border. And therefore, just a couple of hours drive, from the Ukrainian capital, from where I'm speaking to, here, tonight.

Now, as Kaitlan was just saying, we don't know what's in Vladimir Putin's mind. We don't know his intentions. But were he to invade, the latest American assessment, is that it would take Kyiv, just 48 hours, to fall.

Now, no doubt those troops, as they came in from the Belarusian border, if they came in, from the Belarusian border, would pass through one part of Ukraine that's all too well-known to the rest of the world.


BELL (voice-over): Through the forests of Northern Ukraine, it appears.

The Chernobyl nuclear reactor. A monument, to humanity's ability, to unleash uncontrollable forces.

Suddenly, the apparent calm, left behind, by the 1986 Soviet-era accident, is broken.


BELL (voice-over): Ukrainian forces run drills in what remains a radiation-exclusion zone, free of any inhabitants.


BELL (voice-over): They're practicing urban combat. Of course, this is also an information and propaganda war.

Everyone waits for Russian President Vladimir Putin to decide, even as Ukraine questions, an earlier U.S. assessment, of just how imminent a potential invasion is.

OLEKSIY REZNIKOV, UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: We have the same facts, but the different perception, or different estimation.

BELL (on camera): The difference is on the question of intention. You don't believe they intend to invade?

REZNIKOV: I hope that, in Kremlin, they didn't make their decision still.

BELL (voice-over): But Chernobyl is only 10 miles, from the border, with Belarus, where Russia has been holding joint military exercises. These, just some of the 30,000 Russian combat troops that NATO has warned, are on their way, welcomed with bread and salt and open arms.

To the east of Chernobyl, lies this neutral zone, between Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. It's known as the Three Sisters Crossing, in memory of a time, when the three countries were all Soviet Republics.

But more than 30 years on, from the collapse of the Soviet Union, Belarus is a staunch ally of Russia, while Ukraine fears an invasion.

Barely visible, through the freezing mist, across the border, in Belarus, a Soviet-era monument, to the Sister nations.

And, at the Three Sisters Cafe, on the Ukrainian side, there is more nostalgia, for that past, than there is worry about war. Masha (ph), a 64-year-old great grandmother, works here, to supplement her state pension, worth the equivalent of just $77 a month, she says.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Will Putin go to war with civilians? He won't do that.

I have brothers and sisters, living in Russia, in Belarus. I would dissolve the Parliament, in Kyiv, kick them out of Parliament, every last one of them. They should give the people proper pensions, so that people won't be beggars.

BELL (voice-over): The nearby village of SangKeifka (ph) is only a three-hour drive from Kyiv, but feels much further.

This man won't tell us his name, for fear of being labeled a separatist. He too misses the unity of the past, and certainly doesn't appreciate visits to Kyiv, from the likes of the British Prime Minister.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Boris, the uncombed, comes here, only whipping the tensions up. Only a fool would start a war.

BELL (voice-over): Nobody will come out a winner, he says, nobody.


BELL: Now, John, the diplomatic efforts, will continue here, in the Ukrainian capital, tomorrow, when the French President comes, to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart.

Now, Emmanuel Macron, speaking from Moscow tonight, praised President Zelensky, saying, look, if anyone found themselves with 130,000 Russian troops, on their border, they might prove a little nervous. He has proven to be remarkably calm, John.

BERMAN: Shuttle diplomacy, from Moscow to Kyiv, from Macron.

Melissa Bell, in the Ukrainian capital, and I thank you very much, for that revealing report.

Perspective now, from retired Air Force Colonel Cedric Leighton, a former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a CNN Military Analyst, and Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA Intelligence Officer.

Colonel Leighton, you saw Melissa's report there. Ukrainian forces running guerrilla warfare-type drills, getting prepared, if Russia does attack. What do you think an invasion could look like, in your view?



I think it would be a mess. It would be a horrible situation that one person that was interviewed by Melissa, kind of hit it on the head that nobody would win, in the end, a war like this.

So, what you would see, is instead of a full-on invasion, I think, it may be more likely that we have a kind of hybrid warfare that would go into effect here.

So, if this were to happen, then what you'd see is an increase in cyber-attacks. You would see an increase in Special Warfare activities that, would include targeted assassinations, coupled with actual attacks, from the forces that are arrayed, around Ukraine, right now.

So, it would be a combination, of all of those things. And that would then serve to move forward the Russians' interests, and potentially allow them to take Kyiv, very quickly.

BERMAN: Rolf, looking at some of the Intelligence that U.S. officials say, they have on Russia, they say, 70 percent of their military capabilities, are in place, for a full-scale invasion. What does that tell you, just in terms of, the amount of resources that Russia has put in place, there?

ROLF MOWATT-LARSSEN, FORMER CIA INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, SENIOR FELLOW, HARVARD'S BELFER CENTER: Well, John, I think you have to start with what is the risk of that invasion, from the standpoint of using military force, to achieve Putin's objectives? That will be the trigger point.

And what he decides to do, and if he deploys all those forces into Ukraine, particularly from Belarus, which you have to assume the objective would be to take Kyiv. So, there are three big problems, Putin has to resolve, in order, I think, to make that decision.

One would be how does he turn a government, in Kyiv, more like the governments in Belarus and Kazakhstan, from his perspective, friendly governments? That's not as easy as it sounds, even if he does a lightning strike, and takes over Kyiv.

The second problem he has, if this results, as many analysts have said, in massive casualties, on both sides? What do the Russian people think of that, when body bags start coming home? Not to mention the Ukrainian people, in the tragedy of war that, right now, is not being addressed, until people actually start dying? That could actually undermine Putin more than any success he has.

And the third point, is if Putin goes in, what happens afterwards? It's one thing to take Kyiv, and possibly even change the government. But does he plan to fight an insurgency? Does he want to lead? He doesn't have a force large enough to occupy the entirety of Ukraine.

So, this has been a Russian problem, since 2004, when Russian Intelligence attempted to assassinate Viktor Yushchenko, the presidential candidate, and who became ultimately the President of Ukraine.

And they've been trying, for 17 years, to make Ukraine, a puppet state of Russia. And they haven't succeeded. So, I think, Putin understands this, to some extent. But he's listening to the advice of very hardcore, former KGB officers, in Russia, who will not - will not stop, until Ukraine, is back to being part of Russia, from their perspective.

BERMAN: Look, there's a reason this region is called the "Bloodlands!"

Colonel Leighton, President Biden says Russia can still de-escalate here. But is that in Vladimir Putin's nature?

LEIGHTON: Not normally, John. Very few times has he really deescalated. Every time that he's done something, he has grabbed territory, or made a huge imprint, on the target country. Probably the mildest attack that he ever did was in 2007, against Estonia. And that was only a cyber-attack.

But when he went after Georgia, the country of Georgia, and went after Ukraine, of course, in 2014, with the Donbas, and with Crimea, that, showed his true colors. And he - it's not in his nature, to withdraw, to lose space, or to do anything that would show him to be weak.

BERMAN: So Rolf, CNN has some really interesting reporting today that according to communications, intercepted by U.S. Intelligence, some Russian officials may have doubts about the success of a large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

What, do you think, that means?

MOWATT-LARSSEN: Well, John, I think it means there are rational people in Russia. From a military perspective, this is by no means, an easy endeavor, if they - particularly, if they go on a large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

And, in addition to the casualties, the Russian military will take, and the uncertainty of success? They've been deployed out there, now, for weeks and, in fact, months, in many cases.

That's - I was an Army Captain, in Germany, in the mid-70s. And it's very difficult, to be - they're, literally out in the cold, and especially if Vladimir Putin hasn't decided yet, on what he wants to do. That's very difficult on military commanders. It's very difficult, on soldiers. And I'm not surprised, there are opposition voices, in Russia, or at least voices that I've heard, in fact, even some generals, have expressed some reservations, that this is a good idea.

So hopefully, there is still time to talk Putin out of it, whether it comes from the negotiating process, by the Europeans, and the United States, or from internally, in Russia.


BERMAN: Got about 30 seconds left, Colonel. Emmanuel Macron, helping or hurting, in his five-hour discussion, with Putin today?

LEIGHTON: Well John, he's trying to help. But, of course, there's always a risk that he's going to increase the fissures that Putin could exploit. So far, I'd say he's helping. But there's a great danger that it could actually hurt NATO's interests, at this point.

BERMAN: All right, Colonel Cedric Leighton, Rolf, thank you both very much, for being with us, tonight.

LEIGHTON: Thank you.

BERMAN: We have some breaking pandemic news. Mask mandates in schools and elsewhere have been the subject of intense debates, across the country. Now, multiple states, run by Democrats, have just set timelines, to end them. Will more follow suit?

Plus, the D.A. investigating Trump's election interference, in Georgia, she is casting doubt, on the argument that he can't be prosecuted, for any potential crimes, committed, during his presidency. That's ahead.



BERMAN: We do have breaking news. Some strong indicators, of the receding Omicron wave, and the country's move toward a new normal.

One by one, five states, just announced dates, to end mask mandates, in schools, childcare centers, or end indoor masking, entirely. And many of these states are ones that imposed restrictions, very early on.

New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Oregon, all ending their school mask mandates, either this month, or next. Delaware and Oregon will also drop their statewide indoor mask mandates, entirely, soon.

And California, as well. Governor Gavin Newsom says California's indoor mask requirement will expire, next Tuesday, citing a 65 percent drop in cases, since the peak of Omicron.

So, this sounds like great news. But, of course, there are risks that go along with it. Could it lead to a rise in cases?

Let's turn to former CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden.

Dr. Frieden, I understand, you'd rather these states hold out, a little longer. Why is that?

DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, FORMER CDC DIRECTOR: Well, you're seeing a lot of variability here. And the best practice is to adjust mandates, as per the burden of cases and hospitalizations.

There is a reality that masks work. Better masks work better. And mask mandates worked, increased masking. Vaccines remain our first line of defense. But masks are important.

And there will be times, maybe it's the height of flu season, where people will want to wear a mask. That's not a mandate, but something people may want to do. If someone is vulnerable, if you're going out, and you're not feeling well? This is good practice, best practice.

What we're seeing now is rapidly dropping COVID infection rates, followed by dropping hospitalization rates. And soon, we hope, dropping death rates. But still, very high rates. In a few more weeks, they'll be much lower.

So, the states that are saying that sometime-March, mid-March, end- March? That makes a lot of sense. To stop them next week? And California's rate is twice what Connecticut's rate is. So, I think you've got a little bit of a problem there.

But even without a mandate, you've got high immunization rates, and high mask usage rates.

BERMAN: What about schools, specifically? How concerned are you about the fact that we're talking about the five-to-11-year range? The vaccine uptake hasn't been enormous. I mean, it's under 50 percent, almost everywhere, well under.

FRIEDEN: Right. Really, these vaccines just became available, for kids, relatively recently. We're seeing a steady but gradual uptake. We don't yet have vaccines for the 2-to-5-year-olds. That's likely to come within the next few weeks.

So, I do worry about kids, not only getting it, but also spreading it to vulnerable family members, vulnerable community members that it is hard, for kids, to wear masks, in schools. That's why, I think, it really depends on what's the rate in the community.

When the rate goes below, a certain threshold, then it makes sense, to dial back, unmasking, and say, "If you're vulnerable, if you're sick, if you're concerned, wear a mask. But we're not going to mandate at that level."

BERMAN: So, the White House hasn't released guidance on, really, what comes next, a transition plan for the next phase of the pandemic. How important, do you think, it is for them, to do that, sooner rather than later?

FRIEDEN: I think the best practice, is what's called a risk alert level system.

Think of it like a weather report. How hard is it raining COVID outside? Or a fire suppression report, where, if you're going hiking, and there's a huge risk of fires? Can't go camping, can't use a match, can't light a cigarette, because you might cause a forest fire.

Same with COVID, where the virus is spreading explosively, particularly with a deadlier variant? People need to be particularly careful. Where cases are decreasing, or the variant is less severe? Then, it's possible to dial back the level, of precautions that were encouraging or mandating.

BERMAN: What's the danger of not starting, to relax, some of the mitigation efforts? Dr. Leana Wen pointed out, you can't be in a state of emergency, always.

FRIEDEN: Right. But you can track what's happening. And the virus is adapting to people. And we need to adapt to the virus. That means, we need to adjust, as it's changing.

With Omicron being much less severe, than former variants, we've changed some of the protocols. As Omicron recedes, we can certainly dial back, a lot of the precautions. But we need to see what comes next.

We are better-prepared than we've ever been, for COVID. More vaccines, more masks, better masks, more tracking, more testing, more genomic surveillance, more treatments. So, we're really in much better shape than we were before. But unless we're ready to roll with the punches, with the next variant, we may get caught off-guard.

BERMAN: Isn't one of the punches now though, the cases are dropping, and that hospitals aren't overtaxed? If you're actually rolling with the punches, as it were, you have to react, when the punches are coming, as fast and furious.

FRIEDEN: Absolutely. But you have to look at the numbers. And you have to look at the proportion of people, who are infectious, who you might meet on the street, or in a supermarket, or at school.


Right now, there are still a huge number of cases, in the U.S. Tens of millions of people are infectious, with COVID today. In another two weeks, or three weeks, it'll be dramatically lower.

You're seeing cases come down very rapidly. So, I think, for the states that have said mid-March, end-March, even early March, makes a lot of sense, based on what we're seeing now.

But for the states that still have very high case rates? You're just inviting the possible continuation, of this flash flood, of Omicron, especially with this new variant, which is likely to take hold. It doesn't look like it's more severe. But it does look like it can spread, even more readily, the so-called BA.2 variant that does seem to get around immunity, a little better, even than Omicron does. So, you're - the risk here, is that you prolong the tail, as it were, of this curve, longer out. And that means more people sick, more people, with long COVID, more people hospitalized and, sadly, more people dying.

BERMAN: Dr. Tom Frieden, really appreciate your perspective, tonight. Thank you so much, for being with us.

FRIEDEN: Thank you.

BERMAN: We do have some breaking news, to report. A top White House Science Adviser, Eric Lander, has resigned.

This comes, almost immediately, after a White House investigation that found he had violated workplace policies became public. A spokesperson said that, while the investigation found credible evidence of violations, it did not find credible evidence, of gender-based discrimination.

Lander had worked on the pandemic, the President's Cancer Moonshot, and issues surrounding climate change. The White House says the President believes that he will, quote, "Continue to make important contributions to the scientific community in the years ahead."

Up next, an interview, with the Georgia prosecutor, leading the investigation, into the former President's efforts to overturn the election results, in her state.



BERMAN: In a new interview with CNN, the Georgia prosecutor, leading a probe, of the former President's efforts, to overturn the election there, is pushing back, on his lawyers' attempts, to derail the investigation.

She is also offering hints, about the next steps, she may take, in her attempt, to uncover whether anything criminal occurred, after he narrowly lost the state, to President Biden.

CNN's Sara Murray, has the interview, and the story.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Atlanta- area District Attorney, investigating Donald Trump, says as soon as she has a special grand jury, seated in May, she'll start firing off subpoenas.

FANI T. WILLIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: Most of them will probably start to come in a heavier flow, for lack of a better word, in June and, later months. But we will certainly start to do some in May.

MURRAY (voice-over): Fulton County District Attorney, Fani Willis, says she isn't worried about Trump working to slow her probe, into his efforts, to overturn Georgia's election results, in 2020.

(on camera): Are you worried that former President Trump could somehow be able to avoid delay? What's going on with your investigation?


MURRAY (on camera): Why is that? What gives you that confidence?

T. WILLIS: This is a criminal investigation. We're not here playing a game. I plan to use the power of the law.

We are all citizens. Mr. Trump, just as every other American citizen, is entitled to dignity. He's entitled to be treated fairly. He will be treated fairly, in this jurisdiction.

But I plan to do my job. And my job is to make sure that we get the evidence that gives us the truth. I'm not concerned at all, about games, to delay this.

MURRAY (voice-over): And she cast doubt, on whether Trump's oft-used argument that he can't be prosecuted, for actions, while President, will protect him in Georgia.

T. WILLIS: I don't think that that protection will prevent a prosecution, if that becomes necessary, in this state case.

MURRAY (voice-over): Willis has already met, with Trump's attorneys, twice, about her plans, to move the investigation forward.

T. WILLIS: For instance, last calendar year, I met with them. And I assured them what I knew. We would not bring forth an indictment, in the 2021 year.

I met with them, at the very end of 2021, to tell them that I would be moving forward, not necessarily with an indictment, but with the next step of an investigation.

MURRAY (voice-over): Willis launched her investigation, nearly a year ago, after an hour-long recording went public, of Trump pressing Georgia's Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to find the votes, for Trump, to win Georgia.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.

MURRAY (voice-over): Last month, in her request, for a special grand jury, she told the court she had reasonable probability, of criminal disruptions, around the 2020 election.

T. WILLIS: You and I have listened to that phone call. But also, I have the benefit of also having talked to a lot of witnesses, and probably having read more, on this, than most people would like to.

MURRAY (voice-over): She's digging into Trump's actions, as well as those of his allies, including former attorney, Rudy Giuliani, former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, and South Carolina senator, Lindsey Graham, witnesses she may subpoena, as part of her probe.

T. WILLIS: I imagine that we're going to be issuing subpoenas to a lot of people, and that all of them are not going to welcome our invitation, to come speak with us.

MURRAY (voice-over): She hopes to make a charging decision by the end of 2022.

We sat down with Willis in an Atlanta hotel, as their office was under lockdown, from a possible security threat, at the Fulton County Courthouse. Willis was already on high alert, after Trump took aim, at her, and other prosecutors, during a rally.

TRUMP: I hope we are going to have, in this country, the biggest protest, we have ever had, in Washington D.C., in New York, in Atlanta.


MURRAY (voice-over): After those comments, Willis asked the FBI, for help, assessing potential security deficiencies, and sharing Intelligence, on potential threats.

T. WILLIS: I don't want to pretend like I didn't hear what I heard, you know? It would be just crazy for me to not pay attention to that. So, I wanted to make sure that they were also paying attention.


BERMAN: And Sara Murray, joins us now.

Terrific report, Sara! What did District Attorney Willis tell you--

MURRAY: Thank you.

BERMAN: --about Georgia's Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, and whether he will testify?

MURRAY: Yes, I mean, if there's anyone, at the heart of this case, other than Donald Trump, it is the Georgia's Secretary of State.

But Fani Willis made clear, she understands what it is like to be in the middle of a campaign, which Secretary Raffensperger, of course, is in, for his reelection.

She said that she is not going to call him in, right before the GOP primary, which is going to be in May. She said, his head would not be focused, on her case, focused, on her investigation. But she does expect to talk to him after that primary, John.

BERMAN: All right, Sara Murray, thank you very much.


Perspective now, in her first appearance, as a CNN Political Commentator, Keisha Lance Bottoms, the former Mayor of Atlanta. Mayor, welcome aboard. Great to have you.


BERMAN: So, opening investigation is one thing. Bringing charges, is another thing. Getting a conviction, a third thing entirely.

So, do you think this investigation has any teeth?

LANCE BOTTOMS: Absolutely. The District Attorney would not pursue this special grand jury, if it did not have teeth.

And just, by way, a background, with Fani Willis. She is a seasoned prosecutor. She's not an administrator. She's not a bureaucrat. She was one of the top prosecutors, in the District Attorney's office.

Before she sought, to become the District Attorney, I've worked with Fani, in three different places, including her first job out of law school, and she walked in the door fearless.

So, if she is pursuing this, given her experience, given what she knows about what you need, to move forward, with a criminal case? I assure you, there's something there.

BERMAN: We played it in Sara's piece, right there. And in a two-year period, of some of the craziest politics, I've ever seen, the piece of sound, where Donald Trump, says, "I need you to find me 11,000 votes," as a piece of evidence, if that isn't incriminating? I'm not sure I understand what is.

Can you explain?


BERMAN: Yes, go ahead.

LANCE BOTTOMS: Yes, as I was saying, and the other part to this, you have Rudy Giuliani, come and testify, before the Senate, in Georgia. We don't know if he gave false information. I'm pretty sure that he did, during that testimony. At least what I heard, it seemed to be false information. So, you have that piece.

Also, the call from Lindsey Graham, to the Secretary of State, and also the U.S. Attorney, at that time, B.J. Pak, who abruptly resigned, shortly after the election. And, if my recollection is correct, it was based on a call, from someone related to this election.

So, there are still so many things. There are things that we know. And there're things that we don't know. And that's what this special grand jury is about. They have up to a year, to hear testimony. And they can make recommendations, on whether or not criminal charges should proceed.

The judge, who is presiding, over this special grand jury, is also a former prosecutor. So, you have that piece as well. Someone who obviously understands the law, he is a sitting judge, but has also worked as a prosecutor, and I'm sure will be very much, in tune with what the District Attorney is presenting.

BERMAN: What do you think the implications, on other elections, would be? Again, if charges were not brought here, what message would it send about something like this being OK?

LANCE BOTTOMS: This is extraordinary, in and of itself, of the fact that we have a President of the United States, interfering with an election, the fact that we are looking at criminal charges, against a former President of the United States. So, it is also extraordinary work. If not true, it would be very difficult to believe that this were happening in our country.

And so, I think that it's important that not only that Fani Willis, here in Georgia, take a serious look, and make a determination, but also prosecutors, across the country, who may also have reason to believe that something was done inappropriately, to interfere with the election.

Because, our democracy is about more than one person. It's the reason we call it a democracy.

BERMAN: Right.

LANCE BOTTOMS: And whether it be the President of the United States, or anyone, who is seeking to interfere, with the sacred right to vote, in our democracy? They must be held accountable.

BERMAN: We have just a few seconds left, Mayor.

One of the things that we heard D.A. Willis say was that she wasn't going to bring in the Secretary of State, to testify, before a primary election, which in a way is saying politics is going to, supersede the criminal investigation, the legal status. Is that normal?

LANCE BOTTOMS: Well, I think that she is being respectful that this is election season.

And I would argue that by bringing in the Secretary of State, in the midst of a primary, some would argue that she is seeking to tilt the election, one way or the other.

So, I think that it is very smart, very appropriate that she not bring him in, during the primary. Let the voters have their say, and then proceed accordingly.


Again, this special grand jury has up to a year, to make a decision, make recommendations. And so, there's plenty of time, without interfering with the election. And it's also not unusual for charges not to be brought, even that by the U.S. Attorney, during an election.

BERMAN: Former Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, thank you very much, for being with us tonight. And welcome to the CNN Family! LANCE BOTTOMS: Thank you.

BERMAN: The controversy surrounding no-knock warrants, reaching new levels, after the deadly police shooting, of Amir Locke, last week, in Minneapolis. And now, even the White House considering action.

The latest, next.


BERMAN: The Minneapolis City Council had a committee meeting, today, to review the use of no-knock warrants, after the deadly shooting of Amir Locke, last week.

Police body cam video showed officers, shooting Locke, after entering an apartment, while he was apparently asleep. Police say, Locke was not named, in any search warrants.

And the controversy surrounding no-knock warrants has also reached the White House. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki today, said, President Biden is considering expanding a policy that limits the use of no-knock warrants, by certain federal agents.

CNN Correspondent, Omar Jimenez, joins us now, from Minneapolis.


Omar, I do understand that members of Amir Locke's family, joined activists, and community members, today. What are they saying about the fatal no-knock warrant, by police?


Well, for starters, they have a lot of support, in this community that unfortunately has become too practiced, at going through, and dealing with these sorts of police killings.

The parents say that they blame not only the shooting officer, but also the no-knock warrant procedure that put this officer, in the position, in the first place.

I spoke to them, earlier today, about what they want to see, happen next.


ANDRE LOCKE, AMIR LOCKE'S FATHER: Nothing that they can do, can bring our son back. But the best thing that they can do, at this point, with no-knock warrants? And prosecuting the officer, who decided to play God? What they can do is fire him, prosecute him. And just tell the truth, "We messed up. We messed up."

KAREN WELLS, AMIR LOCKE'S MOTHER: He is - this is just sad. I - my son is a hashtag.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JIMENEZ: But I will say, they remember him as more than that. They remember him as a talkative, curious-about-the-world son, whose smile, still brings comfort, to his mom, even on this side of life. And again, moving forward, they say, this is someone, who embodies the meaning of his name, which they say, is "Prince."

BERMAN: So Omar, there was a lengthy City Council meeting today, to discuss this. And the Mayor wanted to speak as well?

JIMENEZ: Yes, John. So, the Mayor was invited. And no one was sure, if he actually was going to accept it. And he did. And as part of it, he admitted that some of the language, around his reelection campaign, and no-knock warrants, was a bit too casual, about what their policies actually were.

And that was in response to criticism that he was giving the impression that they had banned no-knock warrants, outright, which, that was never the policy. Instead, just restricted them to higher- risk situations and had to be approved by certain supervisors.

And that, of course, extends over to the no-knock warrant moratorium that the Mayor instituted, recently that, again, gave the impression to some that it was pausing them altogether, when it still offers the opportunity, for them, to happen.

Only now, it's safe for those high-risk situations. But it has to be approved by the Chief of Police, John.

BERMAN: Omar Jimenez, thank you for being there for us.

The former President is quietly making millions, from a book, detailing his presidency. And it just might be the most, Trumpy thing ever. That's next.



BERMAN: As we touched on earlier, these days, the former President, is engulfed in controversy after controversy, for his role, in the efforts, to overturn the 2020 election results.

But while he's facing backlash, on one end, he also has been allegedly raking in millions of dollars, from a book deal, he signed, a few months ago.

His self-written coffee table book, "Our Journey Together," features hot takes, of his political enemies, filled with hundreds of pictures, even including some with handwritten captions.

CNN White House Correspondent, Kate Bennett, has the details.


KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Trump cashing in as only he can, with a coffee table book, released in late November, featuring pictures, from his presidency, earning him millions, Sources tell CNN.

The book, titled "Our Journey Together," features captions that only Trump could write, and did, a Source, familiar with the publishing of the book, tells CNN.

Along with grandiose crowd shots, important events, Trump taking shots, at his enemies, with his version, of their interactions.

Of the late Senator John McCain, Trump writes, quote, "Asking for a job for his wife. I am smiling, but didn't like him even a little bit."

On Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, "Mark Zuckerberg would come to the White House and kiss my ass."

And thoughts about his own Head of the Military, "General Mark Milley looks like he's praying, and 'Yesper' (who said 'yes' to everything,)" that's Trump's nickname, for Mark Esper, former Secretary of Defense, "doesn't know if he's alive."

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): You're impeached forever.

BENNETT (voice-over): And, of course, Trump's nemesis, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is not spared. "She was screaming and shaking like a leaf, she's effing crazy, hence the name 'Crazy Nancy.'"

John Reznikoff, founder of University Archives, has been dealing in buying and selling famous or historic items, including presidential memoirs, for more than four decades.

JOHN REZNIKOFF, FOUNDER, UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES: I've never seen a presidential book, where not only does he portray, his successes, which is OK. And everybody's done it before him. But he also takes shots at people, in a very interesting and almost comedic way.

In my entire career, I've only seen a couple examples, of where a President uses that bout of a swear word, in a letter, or on a book. And it's very scarce, you just don't see it.

BENNETT (voice-over): But Trump's fans are eating it up. Signed copies of the book go for about $230, each. Unsigned, about $75.

A Source tells CNN, the first 200,000 copies sold out, within eight weeks, grossing $20 million, in less than two months. The publisher, Winning Team Publishing, set up by longtime Republican operative, Sergio Gor, and Trump's oldest son, Donald Trump, Jr.

President Obama's memoir, of his presidency, came out almost three years, after his term ended, at almost 800 pages. George W. Bush's "Decision Points," almost 500 pages.

But, for Trump, captions are all he wanted to write. And the decision to keep his brand, at the forefront, is very, well, on brand.



BERMAN: Kate Bennett with me now.

So, Kate, just how much money, is this picture book of insults, allegedly making, to former President?

BENNETT: Well, I mean, there was a print run of 200,000. I spoke to people in the publishing industry, who confirmed that number. And you figure $75, for an unsigned, $230 for a signed, $100, let's say a book, times 200,000? I mean, we're looking into the millions of dollars.

It's something, of course, you can put his name on. He's done it for steaks, and wine, and bathrobes, and perfumes. So, why not a coffee table book?

The pictures are public domain. He didn't have to pay for them. They belong to the government archive. So, certainly, this is an endeavor that quickly happened. And he's pocketing a lot of cash, from it.

BERMAN: Kate Bennett, terrific report! Thank you very much.

BENNETT: Thank you.

BERMAN: We'll be right back.


BERMAN: That's it for me, tonight. I'll be back, bright and early, in the morning.

And the news continues. So, let's turn things, over to Don, and "DON LEMON TONIGHT."