Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Zelenskyy: Shelling and Storming of Mariupol Steel Plant is Not Stopping; U.S. Provided Intel that Helped Ukraine Target Russian Warship; Politico: Biden-Trump Rematch Likely, But Each Side Waiting On Other To Make First Move; Chief Justice Roberts: Supreme Court Leak 'Absolutely Appalling'; German Prosecutor: New Evidence Found In Madeleine McCann Case. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 05, 2022 - 20:00   ET



ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Thanks so much for joining us.

You can always find the latest episode of our show on our podcast. Just go to or your favorite podcast app and search for Erin Burnett "Out Front."

AC 360 starts right now.


There is a battle on the ground in Ukraine tonight in Mariupol that Vladimir Putin is trying to deny days ahead of a highly symbolic Russian holiday. The storming of the steel plant in Mariupol that his spokesman today says is not happening, and that Vladimir Putin himself two weeks ago said would not need to happen, but it is happening.

This video shows some of the ongoing conflict. It is something we found today. It is harrowing and just a taste of what soldiers and civilians had been suffering under for weeks now.

The video is from the massive Azovstal steel plant in the besieged Ukrainian port of Mariupol. The battle seems to be ongoing. The resistance to war that Vladimir Putin will not call a war. A top official inside the plant tells "The Washington Post" that the situation is quote "critical."


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): The shelling and storming of Azovstal is not stopping, but civilians still need to be taken out. Women many children remain there.


COOPER: An aid to the President says quote: "If there is hell in the world, it is in Azovstal." The hell is intense. It is growing darker by the hour by all accounts, and yet, an official said Russian troops entered the territory of the steel plant but were quote "repelled by our defenders." Again, that's the reality. It is one that Vladimir Putin is trying to deny, so he can secure, we assume something that resembles a win four days ahead of a holiday special to the Russian people that commemorates their victory in World War Two.

And in a war that even Vladimir Putin's closest ally, the dictator of Belarus tells the Associated Press today has quote "dragged on," Putin's spokesman says their troops weren't repelled because they never tried to enter the steel plant in the first place. Fake news he called it.

Comments that come two weeks to the day after Vladimir Putin made a big show of telling his Defense Minister that there was no need to storm the industrial grounds about the plant, days ahead of that major holiday that does not appear to be the case.

And despite the fact that the war in the east after much vaunted reset, following Russia's failures in Kyiv has yet to produce any major results.

Here is the medal ceremonies for Russian soldiers in Mariupol for what they deem its quote, "liberation." There's also this odd statue of an old woman waving a Soviet flag in an attempt to absorb the city into the Russian fold and to project victory. But all that also ignoring the fact that after 71 days of war, victory is being defined down. So, there is a lot to cover tonight.

In just a moment, a look more inside what is happening to the soldiers and civilians in that steel plant. But first, there is breaking news about the level of U.S. involvement in what's become one of the most infamous of Russian failures, the sinking of their prized Black Sea flagship.

CNN's Katie Bo Lillis is with us for that -- Katie?

KATIE BO LILLIS, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Hi, Anderson. Yes, so what we're learning tonight is that U.S. Intelligence played a key role in the Ukrainian sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian naval fleet in the Black Sea.

What sources tell my colleague, Natasha Bertrand and myself is that the Ukrainians spotted the Moskva about operating off of its coast in the Black Sea, and they called their American counterparts for confirmation. The Americans were able to tell them that yes, it was indeed the Moskva and were able to provide more precise details on the location of the ship.

The Ukrainians were then able to fire two cruise missiles and sink the ship, which was of course, as you note, Anderson, a huge military defeat for the Russians, but also a big embarrassment for the Russian military. This was obviously their flagship, and for the sort of ragtag band of Ukrainians that the Russians, you know, at home are sort of trying to indicate are a special military operation and not a serious war, that's a big embarrassment.

COOPER: So was the U.S. involved in the actual decision to strike the ship? LILLIS: Anderson, no. U.S. officials tell us that not only were they not involved in the decision to strike the ship, they also didn't know whether or not Ukraine intended to take the shot once they were aware that was in fact, or had confirmed that it was in fact, the Moskva.

But Anderson, what this really hints at is it gives you a sense of how forward leaning the Biden administration is being in terms of the Intelligence that it is providing the Ukrainians to allow them to take offensive action on Russian targets.

In particular, as we've seen this kind of policy shift from not just helping the Ukrainians try to expel or repel this Russian invasion, but towards actively trying to bleed the Russian military, trying to weaken it over time, perhaps generationally.

COOPER: Just in terms of Intelligence sharing between the U.S. and Ukraine, are there limits to what the U.S. will share?

LILLIS: Yes, there are some pretty clear limits in terms of what the U.S. is willing to give the Ukrainians. For one thing, they are certainly not, according to the sources that have spoken to my colleague, Natasha Bertrand and myself, willing to provide Intelligence on Russian targets inside Russia. They are limiting their assistance to targets inside Ukraine.


LILLIS: And even inside Ukraine, there are some limitations.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby and other sources who spoke to us have said that the U.S. is willing to provide Intelligence about Russian troop movements, they're willing to provide information that comes from intercepted communications, they're willing to provide information about command posts moving from point A to point B.

What they're not doing is providing Intelligence on the movements of specific senior Russian military leaders. So for example, they're not saying General so and so is moving from point A to point B. They are simply saying, look, there is a command post that we have seen observed over here, and now we're observing it over here. So that's a pretty clear limitation in the Biden administration's mind to try to prevent this from being seen in Moscow as too escalatory.

COOPER: Katie Bo Lillis, appreciate it. Thank you.

Now, the civilians and soldiers inside that steel plant. Isa Soares has their story.


(GROUP singing in foreign language.)

ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ukrainian soldiers trapped in the Azov style plant sing the Army's battle him.

"It is sweeter for us to die in battle than to live in chains as dumb slaves," they sing in the darkness. A few of the dozens of Ukrainian fighters defending the last patch of Mariupol, not in Russian hands.

Above them, the bombardment continues, relentlessly.


SOARES (voice over): Later, one of the commanders with a message for the world. "It's been the third day that the enemy is broken through the territory of Azovstal. Fierce bloody combat is ongoing," he says, accusing the Russians of violating the promise of a truce and preventing the evacuation of civilians who continue to hide deep in bunkers at Azovstal.

The U.N. and Red Cross organized the evacuation of one group of about a hundred civilians at the weekend. Since then, none has left.

Now, there is hope of another convoy reaching Mariupol.

MARTIN GRIFFITHS, U.N. UNDER SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS AND EMERGENCY RELIEF: As we speak, the convoy is proceeding to get to Azovstal by tomorrow morning, hopefully, to receive those civilians remaining in that bleak hell that they have inhabited for so many weeks and months and take them back to safety.

SOARES (voice over): Speaking to me earlier, the Military Governor of Donetsk was much more cautious.

PAVLO KYRYLENKO, HEAD OF DONETSK OBLAST MILITARY ADMINISTRATION (through translator): We would like to be frank that with all due respect for the U.N. and their assistance and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the conditions that are such that the occupier keeps changing them.

SOARES (voice over): The Russians and their allies, the separatists of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic are showing off their newly won territory, or at least the ruins they fought to seize.

This Commander points to a massive crater just outside the Azovstal plant. He says the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers are everywhere. "We find more and more of them," he adds.

Amid the ruins of Mariupol once a thriving city of 400,000 people, the new authorities are changing the road signs into Russian. Ukrainian officials expect they will organize a parade on May 9th when Russia celebrates its victory in the Second World War.

Whether the Azovstal complex is quiet and empty by then or still being pulverized, no one knows. What is certain are the scars that will remain.


COOPER: Joining us now from Lviv. Ukraine is Isa Soares, so I understand you have got some news regarding a Ukrainian fighter inside that steel plant. SOARES: Yes, good evening, Anderson, very tragic news of the female fighter who has for the last 60-plus days been inside that steel complex that's really been in many ways pulverized as you saw there.

Her name really Natalia (ph). She joined the fight in her late 40s, Anderson, following her son's death, he was 28 when he died on the frontlines. And she has been, until at least this morning when we were told of her death, she had been fighting this Russian invasion and Russian aggression and I had been exchanging text messages with her until about two days or so ago.

The last messages she sent us, and she sent my team was basically to say that the soldiers are hanging in there, they're strong, and they will win. The victory will be theirs.

I was able to speak to her mother, Paraskeviya before finding out of course, that she had died. And I asked her mother, Anderson, you know, how does she feel seeing so much, really so much disaster in her country and having seen her grandson die, too?

This is what she said in relation to Russia and to President Putin. Have a listen.



PARASKEVIYA VYSOTSKA, LOST FAMILY MEMBERS IN WAR IN UKRAINE (through translator): I want people like Putin to not exist on Earth. I think he is an evil power. I'm a religious person, and I think he is not a normal human being. Even the Germans didn't do as many atrocities as he does.

What can I say? Poor are those mothers that brought up sons that are now killing innocent people?


SOARES: When I spoke to Paraskeviya today, once I heard about the news, I called her. I gave her our condolences, as you can imagine, she was absolutely distraught, Anderson. She has lost, in a very short period, three members of her family because of this war. And you know what she said to me, she said, "Look, heaven also needs angels." Just absolutely heartbreaking.

COOPER: Isa Soares, appreciate it. Thank you.

Perspective now from retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, CNN military analyst. So General Hertling, according to the commander of the Azov Battalion in Mariupol, Russian troops have now breached the steel mill, are engaged in close fighting with Ukrainian forces inside.

Can you just talk about a battle like that? How difficult to storm an industrial complex, heavily fortified obviously with a lot of underground bunkers and tunnels? LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, this is going to be really tough, Anderson. If they think they've seen fighting there already, it's going to get much worse.

You know, this is a lot like fighting in a cave, and that is something the U.S. Army found very difficult in preparing for missions in Afghanistan, and to a lesser degree, Eastern Iraq. We built cave complexes at our training centers and we quickly found out how challenging it was for any attacker going into a cave, and how very few armed men defending in a cave could hold off hundreds, sometimes even thousands of attackers coming into the cave.

Now, the Azovstal plant is the equivalent to a cave on steroids. Multiple levels, long passageways, steel and concrete constructions, all of those things will hinder the Russians communications, their maneuvering, their ability to get past obstacles that I'm sure the Ukrainians have placed in there already.

Now, if the Ukrainian fighters can sustain themselves with ammo, food, and water, they'll be in a pretty good position as the Russians come into the cave, and it will literally take, I'm betting hundreds or more Russians to dislodge them from that underground complex that goes down six different levels.

COOPER: The steel plant, I mean, it has been under constant bombardment for weeks now. We know there are civilians still inside the plant. Russia has said that the humanitarian corridors are open, but only a few have actually been able to get out.

What is the value -- I mean, Vladimir Putin had said very publicly, we don't need to storm this plant, we'll just surround it and make sure nobody can get out and just wait them out? Why go in and storm this plant?

HERTLING: It's a physiological factor, Anderson, and I'll explain it this way. You know, I'm your analyst, I'm CNNs analyst and I'm trying to look at the whole theater of Ukraine. But truthfully, every morning, I wake up with a primary focus on Mariupol and this plant because those soldiers have been fighting in there for 70 days under constant bombardment.

No sleep, sleep interrupted, little food, ammunition running low. The desire to protect the citizens, the women and children that are in the cave. So it is not only a physical fight, but it's a physiological and psychological fight as well and there are studies on human beings in terms of the effects of both fatigue and fear, have some of the same kind of hormonal effects.

When you combine fatigue and fear, the kind of fear that comes in combat, it just destroys the human body. I cannot understand how those heroes of Ukraine are continuing to fight in that cave. The will of those soldiers must be incredible.

COOPER: But from the Russian perspective, why try to -- why not just surround the plant? HERTLING: That's what I don't understand, and we may see them doing that yet. You know, we're seeing a lot of pictures and film of Russian tanks going into the areas, the continued bombardment by the artillery, the BMPs, the infantry carriers that are going in there.

I think they may just surround the upper level and not go into the cave complex. That's a technique for dealing with, I say cave complex, I'm sorry, go into the Azovstal plant, because they know they're going to die if they go in there. I would not want to lead a group of soldiers down those stairs into those hallways to fight against determined Ukrainian soldiers. It would just be -- it's a death pit, truthfully.

COOPER: Retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, appreciate it, as always. Thank you.

In one liberated Ukrainian town tonight, families have been left wondering what has happened to their husbands and their fathers and their sons after the Russians left.

Sara Sidner has that story.


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Every single day, Valentyna Bobko waits for the moment her husband and son return home.

(VALENTYNA BOBKO speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "On March 11th, I called them and Kolya (ph) you just said 'Hold on. Wait a minute.'" And that's all.

What do you think happened to your husband and son?

(VALENTYNA BOBKO speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "I don't know. I have no idea. My husband and son won't hurt a fly. They are very kind."

Day days before Russian soldiers had occupied the town, when she returned home that day, neighbors told her, her husband and son had been taken by Russian soldiers.

(VALENTYNA BOBKO speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "I want them to return my husband and son or at least tell me where they are now. Where did they hide my boys? I can't find my place in life. Where are they?"

(VALENTYNA BOBKO speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "How am I supposed to live now? Tell me? How?"

She is not the only one suffering through this. Across the street and just around the corner, other families are longing for the day their husbands and fathers return.

Yuldo (ph) watched as Russians forcibly took their Papa away.

(YULDO speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): Leaving them with just pictures, for now.

(YULIA VASYLENKO speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "The main thing is they took him and we don't know where he is. We hope we find him and they, the Russians will be punished."

They are relieved that this village is no longer crawling with Russian tanks, but it means there is no one left to ask where the men were taken.

In the rubble of war, Grigoriy Lyhogod has been searching for his brother. He says he was also picked up by Russian soldiers in the same time as the others.

(GRIGORIY LYHOGOD speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "From the story we heard from a guy, we know he was beaten with a club."

We met the guy he is talking about who says he too was detained and held by Russian soldiers, who said it was their job to beat them each day.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "My hands were tied with this rope. Here it is," he says. And another two guys were handcuffed. "One of the men didn't make it out alive," he says.

(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "In the morning, the Russian said that his body was already cold." He reported it to police and it was determined that the man killed was Lyhogod's brother, though no body has ever been found.

(GRIGORIY LYHOGOD speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "They took the body away. Who knows where? We still don't know where he is."

After hearing all this? How do you survive this? How do you live with us?

(GRIGORIY LYHOGOD speaking in foreign language.)

SIDNER (voice over): "It's very hard, very hard."

We happened to be with Lyhogod when he got permission from the homeowner to go on the property where he says his brother was killed. We went down a set of steep stairs. At the bottom, he stayed merely seconds, the memory of his brother's last moment too much for him to bear.


COOPER: Sara Sidner joins us now from Kyiv.

I mean, the not knowing of where your loved one is, is there any evidence to indicate what might have happened to them? And we've heard stories like this in other towns as well, people have disappeared.

SIDNER: Yes, we have and the only evidence that exists are what people saw, and what some of these people saw, some of these mothers, some of these wives, were watching their husbands being taken away by Russian troops. And I know that we have asked the Kremlin about this, they have been asked before about these disappearances, about alleged kidnappings and they have said that, look, you know, we don't know about any disappearances, but we will definitely look into that.

All of these families are saying, look, just do the right thing. Send these men back. These were civilians. They were people who had lives and children. And now, they are just sitting and waiting, and they have no idea if they will ever see their loved one again and no idea if their loved one has survived or if that person has died, if they'll ever be able to give them a proper burial and say a proper goodbye -- Anderson.

COOPER: Sara Sidner, appreciate it. Thanks, Sara.

More on Vladimir Putin, his war and denial of reality as he seeks a major victory to show the Russian people. David Remnick of "The New Yorker" joins us to discuss.

And later, new evidence tonight connected to a suspect in the disappearance, 15 years ago of three-year-old Madeleine McCann. Details, ahead.



COOPER: Israel's Prime Minister says that Vladimir Putin apologized for remarks by his Foreign Minister when Sergey Lavrov claimed Hitler was part Jewish.

We are joined now by David Remnick, editor of "The New Yorker." He is a former Moscow correspondent for "The Washington Post" and is the author of the award-winning remarkable book "Lenin's Tomb."

David, we will get to the apology or non-apology thing in a moment, but I want to talk about Mariupol and what is going on there. It's unclear to me -- I don't understand quite why Vladimir Putin did a whole televised thing with his Secretary of Defense and saying oh no, don't attack the plant, just surround it so a fly can't get out, and he had it pretty much every day it seems like we have seen continued shelling and now reports today of them inside the plant itself.

DAVID REMNICK, EDITOR, "THE NEW YORKER": Well, there is the reality and there is the illusion.

The reality is that this is a fiasco. We are now in Day 70, I think, or something like that and this wasn't expected.


COOPER: Seventy one.

REMNICK: It was expected to go a week. You know, Russian soldiers packed their dress parade uniform expecting to be marching down the streets of Kyiv, after a few days. Obviously, that hasn't transpired, and it's one humiliation after another, whether it's the Pope telling the head of the Russian Orthodox Church that he should stop being the altar boy for Putin, or Putin having to apologize. I've never heard of Putin having to apologize, but what Sergey Lavrov said was so outrageous about Hitler and Jews, he had to crank that back.

And it's a military humiliation every step of the way. So that's the reality.

The illusion that is being created in Mariupol is very important to note. Needless to say, the Russian people are not seeing on their televisions what you've been showing quite brilliantly in the last 15 to 20 minutes. What you're seeing is one of the main propagandists for Russian television, a guy named Vladimir Solovyov, somebody who makes I don't know, Tucker Carlson look like Walter Cronkite was sent down to Mariupol and act like you know, this was part of the salvation narrative. That Russia was saving Mariupol.

And I think what you'll see by May 9th, which is Monday, Victory Day, is a kind of pseudo World War Two narrative in which Russia is saving their Ukrainian brothers, even though they're destroying them and killing them and flattening them and just one city after another, the best they can. They're trying to create an image of salvation. And so that's what you're seeing on Russian TV and that is being drilled into the consciousness of the Russian people.

COOPER: You know, it's remarkable. There is the video that Russian TV was showing, which is of soldiers getting medals in Mariupol for the "liberation" quote-unquote of Mariupol. When you juxtapose that celebration, that ceremony with the images that we're seeing of Mariupol, I mean, this, you know, Russian forces once liberated concentration camps, now their definition of liberation is destroying Mariupol.

And when you look at now, the images of Mariupol, it is a ghost town. It is just -- it's like it's been firebombed block after block after block.

REMNICK: Yes, and, you know, just before we came on, I was reading the news site, "Medusa," which is a very fine independent news site in Russia that is operating now out of Latvia, and they were showing photographs in Mariupol of Soviet imagery brought in by the Russians, you know, Soviet flags. It is all to reinforce this notion of the of the great national narrative that the Second World War, which in the Second World War, of course had a great deal of truth to it.

The Soviet Union was instrumental in the defeat of Nazi Germany. This is an entirely different narrative, but they know that they can't sell it for what it is, which is Russia, invading a peaceful, aspiring democratic, sovereign state, and trying to either flatten it or occupy it, and it can't be explained.

So when our correspondent Josh Yaffa was in a southern city in Ukraine just recently, a young Russian soldier came up to Ukrainian and said, "We're here to liberate you." And the guy said, "Liberate us from what? Liberate us from home?" And the young Russian soldier, of course, had no answer to this. He only had the first line of the propaganda line and that was it.

This salvation narrative exists in the mind of unfortunately, the most powerful and singular figure in Russia and that's Vladimir Putin. And until that's altered, until the politics and the dynamics of Russia, are severely altered. This is going to go on for quite a while. And that includes the cratering of the Russian economy, and the stifling of Russian society in many regards, as well as an outflow of many of the best and the brightest for Russia.

Apparently, half million people have left Russia. And, you know, computer programmers, professors, writers, people who are probably part of the creative class. That doesn't help the future of Russia.

COOPER: David Remnick, appreciate it as always, thank you.

REMNICK: My pleasure.

COOPER: Ahead, there is some breaking news. Maggie Haberman joins me with word of an extraordinary new accusation against the former President by his former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. He claims that then President Trump proposed launching missiles into Mexico. That's next.



COOPER: Tonight, investors are reeling from the worst day on Wall Street this year. The Dow diving more than 1,000 points as the Feds plan to hike its benchmark interest rate begins to sink in. The whiplash for investors comes after the Dow, S&P had their best day in nearly two years yesterday. It's another sign of distress for President Biden and Democrats trying to the midterm season ramps up. Americans are far more concerned about the economy than any other issue. Well, one election nears and other one is not far off, along with what could be massive deja vu for voters.

Politico tonight reports that while a rematch between President Biden and his predecessor may be coming there's one issue, advisors to both men say they both are more likely to run in 2024 if their 2020 rival is back in the campaign. For now however, he's potential candidate waiting until the other makes the first move.

Want to discuss that and breaking news tonight in the former president with New York Times correspondent and CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman.

Maggie, how likely do you think it is that we see a rematch between President Biden and former President Trump?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Honestly, Anderson at the moment, I think it's the likeliest scenario, I realized that there are a number of Democrats who are nervous, both about the prospects that Biden will be the nominee although none of them want to admit that openly or most don't anyway. And there are a number of Republicans who privately hope that Donald Trump won't be the nominee but at the moment, both men are the reason that their own parties are holding together. Democrats are united best against Trump, Republicans right now are just completely united against Biden and everybody is aware of that. I think that Biden is much likelier to run if Trump runs. I think Trump would like a rematch against Biden, and they are in this kind of standoff. We'll see where it goes.


COOPER: Do you think -- President Trump had said something recently about health would be something that would be a factor if there was a health issue about running? I mean, is that telegraphing something, or is that just him saying, what do you said?

HABERMAN: I think it's actually sincere, Anderson. I think that you and I have both watched Donald Trump for a very long time. He's very big on leaving himself an escape hatch, right, on almost everything. And I think that that certainly is what that is. But I think it's grounded in reality. He's aware of his age. He's aware of the fact that, you know, he is out of practice. He has not been in office for a while. And he is aware of the fact that, you know, you start to exhibit yourself differently when you were in your late seventies.

I mean, you know, so far, we have seen him do a bunch of rallies in the last couple of months. It's obviously not the kind of campaign schedule that he would be keeping if he ran himself. He has an ability to sort of determine the terms himself on which he's going to run and how he's going to run, he has always done it that way. But I do think health is a real thing. I just don't think he'd ever admit that that was why, but who knows?

COOPER: Do you think it's personal in some way between the former President and President Biden?

HABERMAN: Oh, absolutely. I think there's no question about that. I mean, I think that look, I think Joe Biden has made very clear that that part of why he ran and I think Biden has obviously been thinking of running for a very, very long time as had Donald Trump before he ran. So it's not the sole reason, but I think certainly Biden, you know, had issues with how he saw Trump running the country, the direction he saw the country taking, and that was a part of the reason that he ran. Now, we're at a point where, you know, Trump has very aggressively gone after Biden's family, we have seen it over and over, you know, asking about Biden's son, you know, became a staple of rallies. There are issues that are legitimate to talk about the way that the former president has gone after Biden has, I think, to the Biden's felt very personal and I do think that that would that would blinker as an issue.

COOPER: If former president does do run, there's certainly no shortage of, you know, issues from his previous administration that he would have to answer for or avoid entering for. You've got some new reporting out tonight, which are new details from former Defense Secretary Mark Esper's upcoming book, about his time in the Trump administration. Esper referred to the former president, as I'm quoting, an unprincipled person who given his self-interest should not be in the position of public service. I mean, that's stunning. There's also a stunning story about possible military action in North America. What does Esper write about that?

HABERMAN: It's a pretty astonishing account, Anderson. I've read a lot of these books, as have you, by people who work for Trump. This one was particularly jarring and the statement about Trump is on principle to something Esper said to me in an interview. But in the book, he writes that Trump at least twice in the summer of 2020, very frustrated about the flow of drugs over the southern border, asked about the possibility of firing missiles into Mexico to wipe out the drug cartels I'm paraphrasing, you know, and to wipe out the drug labs. And Esper sort of stuns that we can't do that that won't work.

Trump mentions it again suggest Patriot missiles, which I don't even think work in that capacity and then says you know, we could do it and just say it wasn't us. And Esper writes that he would have thought it was a joke, had he not been looking Trump in the eye or in the face and seeing what he was saying and what his mood and, you know, disposition was.

I had never heard this story before. I was pretty gobsmacked by it. There was a lot in that book that I was pretty gobsmacked by. I can't think of another Secretary of Defense who has said things like this, about a commander in chief in modern history.

COOPER: Yes. Maggie Haberman, appreciate it. Thank you.

HABERMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: I want to show you some live picture right now from outside the Supreme Court, concrete barriers now visible and the latest sign of increasing security after the road draft opinion leak with abortion rights hanging in the balance.

And as protesters hover around the corner, we'll show you Hillary Clinton's new warning after the leak and I'll speak with the doctor performing abortions in the state fighting to enforce its near total abortion ban. That's next.

Also, new developments in the 15 year search for Madeleine McCann, by a prosecutor says he's quote, sure who's responsible for the disappearance and likely killing the girl who hadn't even turn four years old. Randi Kaye has long reported on the case and updates us, ahead.



COOPER: Supreme Court justices won't meet again for another week. But Chief Justice John Roberts is openly fuming about the leak of the draft opinion that calls for overturning Roe v. Wade. In his first public comments, Roberts today called the leaked quote, absolutely appalling. He was speaking at a conference in Atlanta that he hopes saying and he hopes in his words, that one bad apple would not change, quote, people's perception of the High Court and its staff. The leaker, of course remains anonymous, but Roberts insists if they think it will affect the courts work their quote foolish.

In an interview with CBS tonight Hillary Clinton warned that the conservative majority on the bench could go far beyond ending abortion rights on the federal level.


HILLARY CLINTON, FMR SECRETARY OF STATE: This opinion is dark. It is incredibly dangerous. And it is not just about a woman's right to choose. It is about much more than that. And I hope people now are fully aware of what we're up against because the only answer is at the ballot box to elect people who will stand up for every American's rights in any American who says look, I'm not a woman. This doesn't affect me. I'm not black. That doesn't affect me. I'm not gay. That doesn't affect me. Once you allow this kind of extreme power to take hold, you have no idea who they will come forward next.


COOPER: Nearly two years ago, Alabama's governor signed what was then considered the strictest abortion law in the nation, but it's on hold pending the court's decision on an abortion law in Mississippi which in turn could lead to the overturning of Roe.

Dr. Yashica Robinson was one of the only doctors who performed abortions in Alabama when the law passed. She spoke with us back then and joins me again tonight.


Dr. Robinson, if Roe v. Wade gets overturned and Alabama would be able to enforce an abortion ban what would that mean for providers like you and for women in your state?

YASHICA ROBINSON, ALABAMA WOMEN'S WELLNESS CENTER: Well, our governor signed a bill, send it signed it into law just a couple of years ago, that Alabama would have a complete ban on abortion, with no restrictions for rape or for incest. What that would mean is that people here in Alabama and in the surrounding states who utilize this area for care will no longer have access to very essential health care.

COOPER: And you would -- I assume you would have to stop performing abortions of a ban was enforced. It is my understanding the Alabama abortion ban, as it was passed, said a person who performed one, performed an abortion in violation of the law could be sentenced up to 99 years in prison, is that correct?

ROBINSON: Absolutely. That means that I would have to stop performing abortion care here in the state of Alabama, because there would be the threat for criminal prosecution and spending 99 years in jail. So that means that physicians like me, would have to travel to other areas, or jeopardize our patients opportunity to receive care here in their own communities with providers that they know and trust, because we will face prosecution.

COOPER: Can you talk a little bit about the clients that you have, the patients who come to see you, what situations they're in, what has brought them to you and what this would mean for them if they didn't have this option?

ROBINSON: Yes, I take care of patients from all walks of life, professional women, I take care of young people who are looking forward to very bright futures, I take care of people who are struggling to make ends meet, I take care of people who are pregnant, that already have families already, have children at home, that they are trying to do the very best that they can to provide for. I take care of people from all walks of life. And it's really important to keep in mind that this ban is going to affect many people here, not just in the state of Alabama, but across the nation, millions of people who need this care who are accessing this care.

COOPER: Do you --


COOPER: Do you believe some people in your state, obviously, some people may be able to afford to go to another state. But there is I assume a number of your clients who wouldn't be able to perhaps get off from work or long enough to do something like that.

ROBINSON: You're absolutely right, there are going to always be people who will have access to the care that they need, people who have adequate resources that will be able to travel. But people who are going to be harmed the most are those who are already marginalized and having difficulty accessing health care as it is. That means people of color, young people, people who are not, who are not citizens, people who are already struggling to make ends meet. They're going to experience greater disparities with this legislation that is passing. Because people who are not able to that don't have access to those resources, they're going to have to make the decisions that they will have to continue pregnancies that are not, that is not the appropriate time for, pregnancies that may threaten their life. And even if there aren't, there's funding for them to be able to travel we have to think about all the other needs and all the other things that go into them being able to travel to access care when we move it outside of these communities It won't you we're not thinking about the lost wages. We're not

thinking about the children that they already have at home, that they will have to make arrangements for someone else to care for while they leave their own community to go and access necessary health care.

COOPER: Dr. Yashica Robinson, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

ROBINSON: Thank you.

COOPER: Fifteen-year-old 1-- 5 years ago, I should say, three-year-old Madeleine McCann went missing while on a vacation with her family in Portugal. She's not been found and no one was charged in her disappearance. But now investigators say they've discovered new evidence that could finally help solve the mystery of what happened. We have the new developments, next.



COOPER: Tonight, we have new details in the investigation to the disappearance of three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann. This past Tuesday marked 15 years since Madeline was reported missing from a resort in Portugal. She vanished from her room while her parents were dining at a nearby restaurant. Despite an international search she's never been found. Under Portuguese law, the statute of limitations has run out but authorities are still seeking answers.

Randi Kaye has traveled to Portugal and London years ago to speak with investigators and tonight she has new information on the case.


GERRY MCCANN, MADELEINE'S FATHER: Please, if you have modeling let her come home to her mommy, daddy, brother and sister.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just hours after Madeleine McCann vanished her parents pleaded for her safe return. Madeleine was just days shy of her fourth birthday when she disappeared in the small fishing village of Praia da Luz in Portugal. It was May 2007.

KATE MCCANN, MADELEINE'S MOTHER: We beg you to let Madeleine come home.

KAYE (voice-over): Madeleine did not come home. And now 15 years later, prosecutors say they believe Madeleine is dead and that they know who killed her. German prosecutor Hans Christian Walters told Portuguese broadcaster CMTV that investigators had found new evidence that connects this man Christian Bruckner to Madeleine's disappearance. Bruckner is a convicted rapist and child sex abuser.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is true that you find something belonging to Madeleine in the caravan of Christian Bruckner?


HANS CHRISTIAN WOLTERS, GERMAN PROSECUTOR: To the details of the investigations, I can not give you a command --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But you can deny it, can you?

WOLTERS: I don't want to deny it.

KAYE (voice-over): The prosecutor told CMTV he is sure Bruckner, quote, is the murderer. The night Madeleine disappeared, Kate and Gerry McCann had left her and their twins sleeping alone in the apartment while they had dinner nearby with friends. They were on property just yards away and said they checked on the kids every half hour. When Madeleine was discovered missing, a search began. But the crime scene was never properly secured.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Windows were closed, doors were open and shut. They were searching for a child they weren't worrying about preserving evidence.


KAYE (on-camera): On a corner.

(voice-over): We met private investigator Julian Paragon (ph) is in Portugal back in 2017 while shooting a documentary on this case, he says the location of the McCanns vacation flat put the family at risk.

(on-camera): What made this apartment five a more vulnerable in some of the others in the complex?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes it more vulnerable to see it's in the corner and there's a lot of places that you can be watching the apartment without being noticed.

KAYE (voice-over): Madeleine's face was broadcast around the world.

K. MCCANN: Please give our little girl back.

KAYE (voice-over): But even as tips poured in, investigators zeroed in on Kate and Gerry McCann, cadaver dogs alerted to blood in the McCanns apartment, and just four months after their daughter disappeared, the McCanns were officially named suspects. Then a year later, the Portuguese Attorney General closed the case and cleared them. A few years after that Scotland Yard announced they would re examine the case. It turns out between 2004 and 2010, a string of sexual assaults were reported in the area where Madeleine disappeared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Almost always houses or apartments that were rented or owned by British people with young children.

KAYE (voice-over): Prosecutors first announced the suspect Christian Bruckner's alleged involvement back in 2020. Bruckner is German but lived in that resort town in Portugal from 1995 until 2007. He has not been officially charged in Madeleine's case and has denied any wrongdoing. He told investigators he had been with his then girlfriend the night Madeleine vanished, but the prosecutor told CMTV that Bruckner has no alibi. He is currently in jail in Germany for raping a woman in the same area where Madeleine disappeared. Fifteen years later, and still no sign of Madeleine or her remains.

Randi Kaye, CNN.


COOPER: Well coming up, we have more breaking news out of Ukraine on the shelling and storming of the steel plant in Mariupol. Also, a survivor story from the fighting and another steel factory in the same city, Ukrainian marine talks about his ordeal when he was held as a prisoner by Russia.