Return to Transcripts main page

Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Missing Inmate, Corrections Officer In Custody In Indiana After Chase; New Russian Missile Strikes In Odessa; Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper On Trump, And His New Memoir; U.S. Marshals: Vicky White Injured By A Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound; "Big Lie" Supporter Doug Mastriano A Frontrunner In Upcoming PA GOP Gubernatorial Primary. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired May 09, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST (voice over): Ukraine is ready for a long war. It's not bending. That's the fortitude that we're seeing and hearing even as the battle rages on.


BURNETT: And thanks so much for joining us tonight from Kyiv. AC 360 starts right now.



We begin tonight with breaking news, a dramatic finish to a more than week long manhunt for fugitive inmate and Alabama corrections officer. It ended in a car crash. This is a picture of the car law enforcement officials say was carrying Vicky White and Casey White when they were finally captured. It occurred in Indiana.

According to a local Sheriff's Office, the Marshals collided with the two fugitives' car in order to end the pursuit. The chase began when a vehicle matching the description of a suspect vehicle was located near the Sheriff's Office. When the U.S. Marshals and Sheriffs arrived, Vicky White and Casey White fled. Their pursuit ended with the crash that you see there.

Now the Sheriff's Office also says that Vicky White sustained self- inflicted gunshot wounds. The wounds are quote "very serious" in their words.

I'm joined now by two U.S. Marshals involved with fugitives' apprehension, U.S. Marshals Martin Keely and Chad Hunt.

Marshal Keely, law enforcement in Indiana is saying that the U.S. Marshals Task Force intercepted the couple, actually collided with them to end the pursuit. Can you talk about just how this search ended?

MARTIN KEELY, U.S. MARSHAL, NORTHERN ALABAMA: Yes, again, we developed information that the suspects were in the Indiana area, and that they were possibly staying in a local hotel. Surveillance was stablished on that facility.

A short time later, Vicky White came out of the hotel. She was wearing a wig. The suspects got into a vehicle. The rolling surveillance continued. We asked for assistance.

And a short time later, there was a chase, a vehicle chase and the suspect wrecked the car and rolled over, and we approached the vehicle to get the two suspects out.

We got Casey White out. We immediately announced that Miss White had shot herself in the head and that he didn't do it.

COOPER: Marshall Hunt, when we last spoke on Friday evening, you said that based on your experience with the type of manhunts, these individual don't usually get away with their escape plan. Do you have any information about the tip that led to today's apprehension?

CHAD HUNT, U.S. MARSHAL COMMANDER, GULF COAST REGIONAL FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: What this was, was a lot of good investigative work by the United States Marshal Service of the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.

You know our investigators were able to locate a vehicle that they purchased down in Tennessee after the orange Ford Edge was located. We were able to subsequently locate that vehicle in a carwash up in Evansville, Indiana. And from that, our teams along with the Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force were able to put some additional information together that led us to the hotel that Marshal Keely was speaking about.

COOPER: And Marshall Keely, you were saying Vicky White, it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound according to Mr. White, the County Sheriff in Indiana said the wounds were very serious. Do you know when this occurred? I mean, was this while the chase was going on after the car had wrecked? Is it clear to you exactly when she may have shot herself in the head or got shot in the head?

KEELY: It's not clear to us, and I want to point out also that to our knowledge, they're not married, and Casey White announced immediately that Miss White shot herself in the head and that he didn't do it. So, we don't know the exact moment that that occurred.

And Marshal Hunt, was it that they both purchased a car or did somebody else purchase it and they stole it.

HUNT: The information that we have right now, Anderson, is that they both collectively purchased, you know, the Ford Edge, the blue F-150, and ultimately this vehicle that they were located in today.

COOPER: And Marshal Hunt, the surveillance Casey White from a carwash in Indiana was taken almost a week ago on Tuesday, May 3rd, it's hard to believe they stayed in the same area for this long. Why do you think they chose to stay in Evansville? I mean, is it just the suspects just trying to lie low somewhere?

HUNT: You know, unfortunately, we don't have that information right now. Hopefully, when we have a chance to speak with Casey maybe we can, you know obtain some of that information.

Unfortunately, we had no information that they had any relatives or associates in the area. But we do know that they intended to stay in the Evansville area for a period of time.

COOPER: And Marshal Keely, the local sheriff in Alabama said tonight that Casey White is going to eventually be brought back there, will stay in a cell by himself with handcuffs and shackles on. What measures are authorities likely to take now to make sure he stays in custody and can be transported safely?

KEELY: It's my understanding from the Sheriff that when he is returned, Casey White is returned to Alabama, they will process him. There will be an arraignment in Lauderdale County and then he will be housed in another facility and I'm sure it'll be maximum in terms of the security level.


COOPER: And Marshal Keely, did you know that they had -- did they have enough cash on them to purchase those vehicles -- all those vehicles?

KEELY: We know that they had somewhere between $65,000.00 and $90,000.00 cash. We know that the first vehicle that was purchased, the pickup truck that they paid $6,000.00 for that vehicle. It was purchased from an individual who had a truck for sale on his property, close to his home. So, we don't know how much of the money that they used over the period of time that they were on the run.

COOPER: And was that the money that that she got from selling her home? Because I understand her home sold for $95,000.00, which was well below the market value?

KEELY: That's correct. We know that she received the $95,000.00 from the home again below the market value. She also withdrew funds from various bank accounts. She discontinued her credit card also.

COOPER: And Marshal Hunt, just -- I mean, looking back on this, how does this compare to other kinds of manhunts?

HUNT: So like I said previously, I think on your show, Anderson, you know, no, two manhunts are alike. But thankfully, for the United States Marshal Service, we have this rapidly advancing manhunt program. And we evaluate, you know, some of these past cases that we've had that presented challenges to us. And so from that, you know, we just, you know, lead on our past experiences with support from our headquarters, and every personnel and tipster out there, that was able to give information really kind of put all this together.

COOPER: Well, Chad Hunt and Martin Keely, I so appreciate your time tonight and appreciate the work you do, not just on this case, but always, so thank you so much.

KEELY: Thank you, Anderson. COOPER: Joining me now, former F.B.I. Assistant Director, Chris

Swecker, and former F.B.I. deputy director and CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Andrew McCabe.

Andrew, how surprising to you, I mean, not so much that they were ultimately caught because it seemed obvious at some point they would be caught. They kind of stood out, but that they were able to purchase three separate vehicles.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, that's really interesting, Anderson, it is maybe reflective of the fact that at the end of the day cash talks, right. So they were maybe unique from other manhunts we've seen lately and that they were walking around with anywhere from $60,000.00 to $95,000.00 in their pocket, and to roll up to somebody's house who is trying to sell a pickup truck, basically on his front lawn or near there, too and to be able to offer that person cash to walk away with a car is a pretty strong incentive to do that deal.

But it is, you know, it's getting harder every year to pull these things off successfully with the ubiquitous nature of video surveillance and the ability of the media and quite frankly, social media to get that sort of intelligence out to the public in a real- time manner. These things are harder and harder for fugitives to pull off.

COOPER: Yes, I mean, Chris, to Andrew's point, the fact that reporting to law enforcement a tip is what helped lead to this arrest, and there were a number of tips over time, how often is that the way that fugitives are captured in the end?

CHRIS SWECKER, FORMER F.B.I. ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Well, in a high profile case like this, I mean, it's a pretty high percentage. It is probably up in the 90s.

The Marshal Service did get a lot of help from the public, it sounds like here, and you know, there's a lot of ironies here. They had a plan, they obviously planned this thing out pretty well. But they, you know, they didn't seem to have a destination.

You know, they were at a hotel. They were being surveilled at the hotel is my understanding, and you would have thought they would have gone to ground pretty quickly given the publicity.

They were probably watching the news shows, getting on the internet, getting access to the information real time. So, one of the most shocking things about this is that they were -- you know, they got outside the hotel or they were moving about instead of just holing up somewhere for 30 or 45 days with all that cash, it wouldn't have been a big problem renting a place.

COOPER: Andrew, I mean, did it surprise you that they took the risk of staying in a hotel?

MCCABE: Yes, absolutely. I agree with Chris. I mean, it's almost confounding that they didn't take that money and the vehicles they were able to procure and head straight, you know, for the border just to keep moving, staying ahead of law enforcement's ability to track their movements. That's the best advantage you have, the advantage of time as the escaped convict.

They frittered that advantage away by holing up in a hotel someplace where they could easily be spotted and recognized and then, you know, be the subject of law enforcement surveillance.

COOPER: Chris, I mean, what do you make of Vicky White's role in in all of this?

SWECKER: Yes, there's another irony there. I mean, you know, I can -- this is not terribly unusual that you have this guard falling in love with a with a prisoner who probably groomed her over a period of time, got himself transferred to that facility just to work with her, to be able to collude with her on this escape.


But, you know, you would have thought that he would have been the one to kill himself. He is the one that said he was not going to be taken alive. His attorney mentioned that he can't function out in the public, that he can't -- you know, without his meds, he is dysfunctional. So he obviously needed her, you know, that you would think someone with law enforcement experience, Assistant Director of Corrections in that county, would have thought a little bit further down the line and realized that she was dealing with someone that would eventually, she would be sort of excess baggage.

You know, she obviously lost, you know, all judgment over the last few months or so, and maybe that's not the first time that's happened. She's lost and lonely and she found somebody, but looking for love in the wrong places here.

COOPER: Andrew, I mean, you look at the local Sheriff in Alabama, what he said tonight about Vicky White that you don't know who you can trust. What do you think, might need to change, if any? I mean, does this kind of thing just happen? Is this really something you can, you know -- I don't know, have seminars about it? It just seems like such a -- I mean, I guess, you know, Chris was saying it's happened before, but how unusual is this?

MCCABE: You know, Anderson, it's no different than the sort of insider threat issues that any large organization deals with, particularly, you know, law enforcement or intelligence organizations deal with.

You have to constantly -- you have to create a culture of compliance among your employees to not fall into these gaps, but you also have to constantly monitor what's happening. There are a few obvious red flags in this story, the ability for this officer to take a prisoner out by herself, that should never have happened under any circumstances. The ability to take a prisoner out for medical appointment that doesn't exist. There is another one that they should have been able to find.

But more broadly, to understand how in this case, your guards, your Corrections officers are interacting with prisoners and whether or not they are establishing relationships that could lead to some sort of compromise that is a basic insider threat premise that all law enforcement agencies and particularly Corrections agencies really need to stay on top of.

COOPER: Andrew McCabe, Chris Swecker, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

Coming up, the latest on the war in Ukraine, brutal new images of the civilian cost of this war and what was missing from this Victory Day speech Vladimir Putin gave on this highly symbolic National Holiday for Russia.

Later, we'll talk about Vladimir Putin and the war as well as some serious accusations against the former President of the United States, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper joins us to discuss his new memoir.



COOPER: In Russia today, it was Victory Day, the annual remembrance of the Soviet defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two. But for all the expectation that Vladimir Putin might declare war or make another dramatic announcement, he did not. In fact, he did not even use the word victory when speaking about the war in Ukraine.

There was, as you see, no shortage of pomp and pageantry and military might on display but nothing to indicate the sick brutality of the war still raging, and that brutality continues.

This new video was taken in Odessa in Southern Ukraine, the aftermath of missile strikes that happened just overnight. At least two injured, no reports of fatalities. Officials say wide area of destruction including possibly some residential areas.

This new video also reportedly shows what remains of a civilian convoy that was trying to escape fighting near Kharkiv in the northeast last week. Ukrainian officials say there had been 15 vehicles in the convoy, contact was lost. The wreckage was discovered Friday.

It's unclear when the video was taken, but it clearly shows cars that have been shot up. The man in the video says it's unclear how many people were in the convoy. During the video, he points out baby strollers and infant car seat, also toys. That means there were children here, he says.

Officials say four corpses were removed before this video was taken, also that the remains of a 13-year-old girl were positively identified. Others remain unaccounted for.

In the Luhansk region of Ukraine, this is satellite image according to Ukrainian officials, the highlighted area there shows a Russian pontoon bridge and the Ukrainian say that the Russians had built three of these bridges to try to cross and try to cut off Ukrainian troops. Images reviewed by CNN indicate that at least one pontoon bridge had

already been destroyed with ruined tanks and other equipment half submerged in the river.

And in Poland today, which has taken in so many Ukrainian women and children, a sign of how many there feel about Russia's invasion. This is the Russian Ambassador to Poland. Protesters doused him with red paint after he arrived to the cemetery.

He was there to lay flowers for buried Soviet soldiers. That did not happen.

Vladimir Putin might not have used the word victory today, but President Zelenskyy did.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY, UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We are fighting for our children's freedom, and therefore we will win. We will never forget what our ancestors did in World War Two, which killed more than eight million Ukrainians.

Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine and someone won't have any. We won then and we will win now.

Happy Victory over Nazism Day.


COOPER: Joining us now is Nick Paton Walsh from Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine. Nick, there were concerns from Ukrainian officials and Russian could escalate attacks today or announced some big escalation in the war. From what you're hearing or seeing on the ground, was there anything different?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, I have to be honest. I mean, we have not had that feeling of an enormous escalation today. Yes, there is no comfort for people in Odessa, who have seen a shopping center on fire, huge blasts there.

At two points during the day, in fact in the evening and early on in the day as well and in previous. On Sunday, 10 cruise missiles appear to have hit the Odessa region as well, so we're talking about a pattern sustained there although possibly a slight peak here.


Also increase in Kryvyi Rih, we've heard sirens during the day. You also mentioned the escalation in Russian moves to the east. Now, certainly there appears to be a Ukrainian counteroffensive there as well. So not entirely fast progress there as well.

And also the Azovstal steel plant, yes, that's come under continued bombardment in Mariupol, but that's been the case over the past days, too. So we've been certainly in a country that's been bracing itself for at least 48 hours, if not longer, that May the 9th might bring something awful and new.

But frankly, at this stage, and it is coming up to four o'clock in the morning the following day here. They haven't seen it yet -- Anderson.

COOPER: What have you been seeing?

PATON WALSH: Well, certainly in the south around here, this morning, we were with some Ukrainian troops who themselves have been bracing since four o'clock in the morning for the potential of an escalation, and that didn't occur, but certainly in the south here, and that is very much reflected in the bombardment Odessa has seen. There is a bid, I think, for the Russians to try and move forwards, but they're finding a strong Ukrainian resistance.

They haven't taken any real significant ground, but that is absolutely no comfort for the civilians caught in between this long range artillery war.


PATON WALSH (voice over): Both nothing and everything has changed here. The frontlines have barely moved on the road to the southern city of Kherson, the first Russia captured in the six weeks since we were last here.

But instead, since then, almost everything in between has been torn up by shelling that literally does not stop, trapping people who physically cannot flee in the churn of a brutal stalemate.

Here in the village of Shevchenko are two neighbors, both called Lyuba.

(LYUBA speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: This granny lives on the second floor And she's learned quickly how to run.

PATON WALSH (voice over): We moved to the yard as the shells get closer.

(LYUBA speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: OH Lord, this is a nightmare.

PATON WALSH (voice over): Leonid (ph) still manages to get down to his wife's basement shelter. She's installed a plank on the way here to help him rest.

They used to get dressed up to go to bed. It was so cold down here, but mention leaving and she chuckles.

(LYUBA speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: I've got plans for tomorrow. Every day I go out, the goats are waiting for me. I'd sleep longer, but there's shelling and the goats are asking for food. They are my children of war. That's what I call them.

PATON WALSH (voice over): Night spent here have focused her hatred.

(LYUBA speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: Russian soldiers are just following orders. Putin, I would cut into four pieces and scatter the pieces around the world.

PATON WALSH (voice over): Across the road is Valentina alone. Shells always seem to just miss her.

(VALENTINA speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: I was born in a time of war and will probably die in one. When I die, as my mother said, bury me in the garden. So I can see what happens here.

Lord, how much more?

PATON WALSH (voice over): Overwhelmed, yet hauntingly eloquent.

(VALENTINA speaking in foreign language.)

TRANSLATION: Look at these torments. The house was smashed to clay. I'm left alone in four walls. Nothing anywhere.

I cry to my dead husband to rise up and see what's happening.

Better to lie down at night and never get up. Neither see nor hear. Pity the people, the soldiers.

PATON WALSH (voice over): It's not so much that life goes on here, but that it has nowhere else to go.

These men selling cow's milk, although that's not what Leonid (ph) has been drinking.

(LEONID speaking in foreign language.)

PATON WALSH (voice over): "Hello to everyone," he says, "40 times a day and night they shell." Barely a window is intact. Shrapnel flying through the glass daily.

Yesterday was Svetlana's (ph) turn but she can't leave and she is waiting for her son to return from the war in Mariupol.

(SVETLANA speaking in foreign language.)

PATON WALSH (voice over): "Our children are all at war," she says. "My son is a prisoner. If he comes back and if I have gone, it's like I've abandoned him. We wait. Hope, worry. He is alive and we will live."

On the road out of here, the shrapnel rises fiercely above the warmth fields. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The line you said it's not the life goes on is that it has nowhere else to go. I mean that woman waiting for her son who is a prisoner from fighting in Mariupol, I mean the choices that people are forced to make in a situation like this, it's that -- they're not even choices. They're just -- they don't have choices.


PATON WALSH: No, their obligations and certainly, I think, for Svetlana, it was a difficult moment for her because she has minimal information and she says she has made multiple phone calls to agencies trying to work out what has happened to her son, and from what we were able to establish there does appear to be some suggestion on pro- Russian Telegram channels that there is a picture of him potentially as a prisoner of war, and she hasn't received notification of death from the Ukrainian authorities, she says.

So her hopes are still high from that, and you're left with this obviously chilling feeling for her that she can't go from the house because in the event that her son does come back and she's not there, then his first feeling will be that he has been abandoned.

You see, repeatedly, Anderson, in these villages, utter destruction, and people stuck often because they simply have not got the means. They laugh when you say, "Why haven't you left?" "Where am I going to go? Where am I going to find the money to move myself somewhere else and start afresh," or they simply physically could not make that journey because they are dependent entirely on themselves.

And it is remarkable when you see someone like Valentina whose backyard has a huge hole from a blast, who front yard has a huge hole from a blast, and still finds the strength to carry on each day. Although you hear a talking there that may be dwindling inside of her, it just shows the impact of how as this war continues to catch villages between the two warring sides here, obviously Russia, the one that began this conflict in an unprovoked fashion, the damage is taking to Ukraine seemed monumental and will take just decades to rebuild.

COOPER: Yes, and the goats need feeding, they are her children.

Nick Payton Walsh wonderful, wonderful reporting. Thank you.

Coming up, former Defense Secretary Mark Esper joins us to discuss his new book. We'll talk about the former President's handling of Ukraine and Russia and some of the extraordinary accounts in his new memoir about the former President and key advisers.

We'll be right back.


[20:30:53] COOPER: Want to spend some time now with former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, he has written a startling new memoir about his time as Defense Secretary it's called a Sacred Oath Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times. It includes not only an insider's look at the former president, including his actions regarding Russia and Ukraine, the memoir also includes a number of just truly stunning anecdotes involving the President's top aides.

Mark Esper joins us now. Thanks so much for being with us.


COOPER: I want to ask you just one question about Ukraine, and then --

ESPER: Sure.

COOPER: -- some of the stuff in your book, which is just extraordinary. The former president has claimed that Russia would not have invaded Ukraine, if in his words, quote, our election was not rigged. And if I was the president, obviously, the election was not rigged.

Do you believe that had he been in office that Russia would not have invaded Ukraine?

ESPER: Who knows? Right? It's speculative. I think the only person that knows why he invaded Ukraine when he did his Vladimir Putin, and there may have been signals along the way that he misinterpreted. Clearly, it's a strategic failure. And what has been a devastating tragedy for the Ukrainian people. But I don't think that question is answerable.

COOPER: Had the U.S. not started to supply weapons to Ukraine and training as they did. Do you think Ukraine would be doing as well as they are?

ESPER: Look, I do think it's an accomplishment for President Trump to have begin sending lethal aid to the Ukrainians. And I think 2017 I visited there in early 2018, to see United States training of Ukrainian forces. I think those two things have made a big difference. And I'm glad to see that the Biden administration is continuing with that.

COOPER: Right. President Trump did hold up the aid, which was voted --

ESPER: That's right.

COOPER: -- by Congress, he was --

ESPER: As I talk about my book.

COOPER: Right, yes. So one of the things you said to Maggie Haberman of The New York Times an article about your book, you said about the former president, he is an unprincipled person who given his self interest should not be in the position of public service. I mean, that's a really extraordinary statement. When you say he's an unprincipled person, what do you mean?

ESPER: Well like, what are the fundamental principles that guide you. Right? And for me, its country, your duty, honor country, what I learned at West Point, and I never got a clear sense of what those principles were or are. And so for me --

COOPER: Do you think he has any?

ESPER: I don't know. So I can't discuss it or opine on it, right? To me to be president United States or any elected official, you have to have some core, you know, a core base there. It begins with putting country over yourself. It begins with integrity and principles. And then it begins with being able to reach across the aisle and work with others to advance the nation's national agenda. And Donald Trump just doesn't make meet the mark for me on these things.

COOPER: The President obviously has gone after, you he goes after anybody who has spoken up in any capacity. He says that you are weak, totally ineffective, and that because of you he had to run the military. Was he running the military?

ESPER: No, he wasn't running the military. I was running the Military Secretary Defense. And look, I think we accomplished a lot of great things during the Trump administration for the military. We began modernizing the services, we began advancing the national defense strategy implementing that pivoting toward China that I see as our strategic adversary. Warp Speed produced the vaccines. There was a lot of good work we did at the Pentagon.

And by the way, I think the administration in general had some good accomplishments. We could talk about the Abraham accords or again, the vaccines lower taxes.

COOPER: Yes, in the book, you were very fair in you give praise to the administration where you thought --

ESPER: I tried to be fair.

COOPER: -- you think there is reason for that. One of the things, though, that really stunned me in the book, just overall is that the President did not seem engaged. I mean, when he was running for president, I remember interviewing him and he was talking about in Iraq, we should steal their oil, we should surround -- the U.S. military should surround the oil fields, steal the oil, and then get out. Obviously, that doesn't make any sense. I mean, that's just not a military plan. It doesn't seem like while he was in office, or did you get the sense that he -- there was a big evolution of his understanding of military -- of the military and of what is possible. I mean, he was talking about sending missiles, Patriot missiles --

ESPER: Right.

COOPER: -- to take out drug cartels in Mexico.

ESPER: Well, look, I clearly can't speak about the four years because I was defense secretary for the last 18 months or so. But I did see a change a shift if in him and the behavior of the team around him after he beat impeachment in January 2020, I talk about this, right? I say how fresh troops come in more loyalists coming, it's Johnny McEntee, the head of Presidential Personnel. Rick Grinnell comes in, Mark Meadows, others that seems to take, you know, some of these outlandish ideas to a new level.


COOPER: It was more -- it became more reckless. That was the change.

ESPER: And maybe it was due to COVID as well, right? The President was sitting on this great economy doing well, and all of a sudden, COVID crashes in, it dashes that it has a big impact on his electoral prospects, if you will. And I think all of that factored into this. And look, this is just me speculating as somebody who was there on the scene watching it unfold, but clearly something changed. And I try and describe that in the book.

COOPER: But -- that you saw that after the first impeachment.

ESPER: I did.

COOPER: That, once he got through that there was --

ESPER: We went to a new level.

COOPER: When you're sitting across from the President, and he is suggesting something like, oh, shoot the Black Lives Matter protesters in the legs. What do you -- what does your face look like?

ESPER: Well, that's clearly an extraordinary situation where I was just dumbstruck by and he was speaking to General Mark Milley when he asked that question of, you know, can't you just shoot them just shoot them in the legs or something. And I was, you know, shocked by it, to hear this from the President of the United States saying that we shoot our fellow Americans in the streets of the nation's capitol. And I think that --

COOPER: And we're not even talking the police national, he's talking about the U.S. military like calling U.S. military.


COOPER: (INAUDIBLE), he wanted 10,000 U.S. military forces outside the White House because the protesters.

ESPER: Right, that's right. And look, there was violence. I believe in law and order. There was violence. People were getting hurt people who are protesting peacefully, we're not being allowed to do so. But the answer is not a heavy hand, and certainly not lethal force.

And so, I think we're all dumbstruck, I think, between Bill Barr and myself, and with General Milley support, you know, we started putting ideas out there that law enforcement should lead this, and the military should back up only as necessary. And even then it should only be the National Guard and kind of walking him back off of this, this notion of sending in the active duty military.

COOPER: The people around the President, you know, when he was campaigning, he was talking about how he only hired the best. From the portrayal you have the in the book of someone like Stephen Miller, who at one point is suggesting after Baghdadi I think it was killed, that you find his head, dip it in pig's blood and paraded around frayed around. Yes, let's put the quote up on the screen just so, you say Stephen Miller suggested later in the evening that U.S. forces try to locate the ISIS leaders head so that we can dip it in pig's blood which Muslims consider to be unholy, and paraded around or some barbarous idea along those lines to deter other terrorists?

I mean, again, that's extraordinary.

ESPER: Yes, he made this clip and it was in the situation room while we were observing the attack on the big screens, and you know, Milley, and I quickly shut it down. But look, I don't think the President was so well served by some of the people he brought in around him. And unfortunately, he kept attracting people like that. And I think, you know, my job and the job of other cabinet members was to kind of help lead him in the right direction to kind of give him the best advice we could offer in terms of a way forward.

Look, for all the turmoil of the for the Trump administration, there were a lot of good accomplishments. Again, if you're a Republican, you like lower taxes, you'd like deregulation, you'd like border security. You'd like conservative judges on the bench, there were achievements, but too often they were, they were marred or undermined by the President himself with kind of that tough talk the course language, the divisiveness. And what we need are leaders who bring people together. Particularly in this day and age, and I think the biggest problem facing our country is the extreme partisanship on both sides of the aisle.

COOPER: Yes. Do you worry about what the President has done? I mean, this man, is the standard bearer still of the Republican Party. As if you're a Republican, do you worry about what that means for the Republican?

ESPER: I do. Look, I'm a Reagan Republican I've worked for Republicans, my entire life, for conservatives. And in my view, we need to move beyond Donald Trump at this point in time, we need to look for the next generation of leaders who can advance those same core Republican principles, right. And at the same time, grow the base win elections and, and bring the American people together. We just don't have that right now.

COOPER: Yes. Do you -- I mean does the Ronald Reagan Republican Party still exist?

ESPER: I think it's out there. I think there are too many have been cowed by fear of Donald Trump, humiliating them, calling them names, whatever the case may be, and we need to give them the space to grow. I think that party is out there. I want to believe it is out there because we need to competitive parties, speaking to the American people and bouncing ideas off of one another -- COOPER: Sure.

ESPER: -- and sharpening those policy proposals.

COOPER: Yes. We are made better by having people good people have different opinion and good people can hold different opinions and having a middle course worked out between them.

ESPER: Well, I spent 25 years in D.C., right working in Congress, the executive branch all around. My observation has been that the best form of government is when you have split government, when you have both parties occupying either one of the two houses in the White House and then they have to work together to come up with enduring solutions to the problems that our country faces.


COOPER: You write about this in the book, you thought about resigning plenty of times.


COOPER: General Milley thought about it as well. You guys discussed it. You didn't do it. People criticize you for it --

ESPER: Right.

COOPER: -- and say, now you're writing a book profiting off it. Why not resign while you were there?

ESPER: I hid this in the first few pages of my book, as we were discussing beforehand, it was the, you know, I wrestled with this all the time, Anderson. I -- it really tore me apart. And I tried to figure out what is the best thing for me to do. And for me, came back to my training at West Point, duty, honor country. And I thought the best thing for me to do for the country was to serve, the best thing for me would have been to quit. And I got this line in my book that my wife used to say --

COOPER: I was going to reference this line, it's a great line.

ESPER: No, she says, you know, as your wife, I want you to quit, please quit. But as an American, I want you to stay and I wrestled with that. And I, I ended up you know, calling the predecessors of mine from both parties. I mentioned before I spoke to Secretary Colin Powell and to a person, he said, you got to stay, you got to stay. And I -- look I wrestled with is this, this tough issue. And for people to criticize me, that's fair. But I think they should also respect how I was approaching the problem and what I thought would be best for the country.

The other factor was, I didn't know who was going to come in behind me. I had seen what the President done by replacing the DNI, the Director of National Intelligence with Rick Grenell. He had talked about doing it again. I was concerned about who might come in behind me him and look what happened right in the last two months of the administration.

COOPER: Yes. Mark Esper, appreciated. The book is really startling, it is A Sacred Oath, Memoirs Of The Secretary Of Defense During Extraordinary Times. It is out tomorrow. Thank you so much (INAUDIBLE).

ESPER: Great. Thank you. Thank you very much.

COOPER: Coming up next, projection from the Biden White House on a COVID wave this fall and winter a possible 100 million cases, why that has to do with or what did that has to do with the push for more congressional funding to fight the virus. Next.



COOPER: We have more breaking news in the capture those two fugitives from Alabama. The Alabama inmate and corrections officer had been found in Indiana after a dramatic car crash with U.S. Marshals. Authority said the officer has sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound. We now have the Sheriff of Vanderburgh County, Indiana where the two were captured.

Sheriff Dave Wedding joins us now. Sheriff, what more can you tell us about the condition of Vicky White?

DAVE WEDDING, SHERIFF, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: I would say she's in great condition right now. I probably wouldn't expect her to live overnight due to serious injury that she sustained.

COOPER: Can you walk us through how all this unfolded today?

WEDDING: Yes, I can. The Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office is part of a United States Marshals task force along with the Evansville Police Department in the Indian State Police and we were met with the U.S. Marshals Task Force from Alabama and Mississippi. They advised us that a vehicle had been here in Evansville, dated back to May 3rd, and that that vehicle was associated with the escapees from Alabama.

Along with that they had obtained some surveillance footage that showed them exchanging vehicles and driving off in another vehicle and leaving the pickup truck at the carwash in Evansville, Indiana. Throughout the day, they were investigating different leads and trying to determine if the suspects may or may not have been in our area. Most of us had the belief that because it's been six days that they had probably left Evansville, Indiana. But sometime in the afternoon, we were notified by the Evansville Police Department that one of their officers thought that they had seen the vehicle that was known as a suspect vehicle at our parking lot.

So members of our task force teams drove down to where the suspects were supposed to be located possibly. They knew we were coming somehow or another and they got into their vehicle, fled on a local highway to Evansville. It was a short pursuit. They went off into a grassy area where our task force officers basically rammed them into a ditch. When we went to the vehicle, we noticed that the suspect driver she had inflicted herself with a gunshot wound and was seriously injured in the passenger. The large male subject had minor injuries.

COOPER: Is it clear to you when she -- did the suspect, the male passenger, did he say anything? I understood that he said something to deputies when he was apprehended?

WEDDING: He has spoken to several of our deputies, however, we will have them taken to the sheriff's office operations center for formal interviews so that we can get more concrete information on what has occurred because he could have uttered multiple things and I will not talked about that until such time that we have a formal interview with the suspect.

COOPER: OK. We had a Marshall on earlier who said that that Mr. White had said my wife shot herself in the head. I didn't shoot her. Is that roughly --

WEDDING: That was our understanding that it was supposed to be in a self-inflicted wound. That's correct. And it appears that way. But we will always investigate to ensure that is in fact what happened.

COOPER: And is it clear to you when if it was a self-inflicted wound or inflicted by somebody else, is it clear to you when that occurred if she was driving the vehicle? Was that in the in the moment after the vehicle was rammed I assume?

WEDDING: I think based on her driving skills, it would probably happened at the time of her being pushed into the ditch.

COOPER: Sheriff Wedding I appreciate all your efforts and your officers efforts. I appreciate you talking to us tonight. Thank you.


WEDDING: OK, thank you very much.

COOPER: We'll continue obviously to follow this him saying that Vicky White, a former deputy is in very grave condition. He said that he does not expect her perhaps to live through the night, we'll obviously continue to follow that.

Coming up, the big lie going strong so I'm still helping the former president spread. It is now running for governor and one of the key states that decided the 2020 election, and has a good chance of winning next week's GOP primary. We'll take you inside one of his rallies, ahead.


COOPER: When the thousands outside the Capitol on January 6 was a little known state senator actually trying to help the former president steal the election. Pennsylvania lawmaker has since been subpoenaed by the January 6 Committee over his alleged ties and insurrection. And now Doug Mastriano is a front runner for the GOP nomination for governor in his key battleground state and apparently still pushing the big lie.

CNN's Kyung Lah has more.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just days left before the gubernatorial primary in the battleground of Pennsylvania. We arrived at Republican state senator Doug Mastriano's campaign rep. Open to the public the campaign had said CNN could come. To this event at an indoor hotel courtyard next to the pool. But at check-in a volunteer says journalists are not welcome.


(on-camera): Do you know why media isn't being allowed in?

(voice-over): We're here because Mastriano is one of the leading contenders for the Republican nomination for governor. He's avoided nearly all independent press. The voters rely on reporters to understand their candidates.

(on-camera): After the Mastriano campaign said that media wasn't allowed at their political rally. We rented a room from the hotel who gave us permission to record the event from here.

(voice-over): With a CNN producer registered as a guest in the crowd and us in the balcony, Mastriano took the stage railing against abortion rights, COVID restrictions, and what he claims is Marxist ideology and public schools.

DOUG MASTRIANO (R-PA) STATE SENATOR: Wow, any God fearing flagwaving patriotic Americans in house here.

LAH (voice-over): Mastriano shot to national prominence in 2020, baselessly, raising doubts about Pennsylvania's presidential election results. Donald Trump lost here by more than 80,000 votes, but Mastriano has ignored the truth. Instead, being in the bogus drumbeat of election lies as a state senator.

MASTRIANO: We are here today to try to find out what the heck happened in the election.

LAH (voice-over): As a gubernatorial candidate his rally opened with a prayer mentioning fraud without offering any evidence.

SANDY DEWITT, PASTOR: We ask God to as the violence go forth for God that you remove every fraudulent violet Lord God.

LAH (voice-over): The campaign fuses politics with Christianity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God use you to call us.

LAH (voice-over): Mastriano is one of nine candidates vying for the Republican nomination. A hotly contested race that could impact the next presidential election. The next governor has the power to a point the top elections official in the Commonwealth. BILL MCSWAIN (R-PA) GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I am Republican candidate for governor.

LAH (voice-over): The field includes former U.S. attorney Bill McSwain, two state senate president Jake Corman. But it's Mastriano who Democrats believe and hope they'll face in November.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mastriano win. It's a win to what Donald Trump stands for.

LAH (voice-over): This statewide ad is paid for by Shapiro for Pennsylvania, our next governor in Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our next governor in Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro.

LAH (voice-over): Josh Shapiro is the likely Democratic nominee for governor and current state attorney general. Gambling that by boosting a more right-wing candidate in a swing state Democrats come out on top this November.

JOSH SHAPIRO (D-PA) GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: They are extremists. They are out of touch with where I know Pennsylvanians to be.

LAH (voice-over): At an abortion rights rally, Shapiro hammered away at Republicans and Mastriano.

(on-camera): Has the general already started them for you.

SHAPIRO: I think it's pretty clear he's going to be their nominee. We think it's important that the people of Pennsylvania know that there's a clear contrast between here and I. Our democracy was birthed just a few blocks away here in Philadelphia, we have a unique responsibility as Pennsylvanians to defend it.


LAH: In these final days, both Democrat and Republican have been talking about abortion rights. Josh Shapiro has been leaning into protecting access, really trying to gin up that support from suburban female voters before the primary. Doug Mastriano has also been talking about it but in this way that he wants and he pledges to sign a so called heartbeat bill if he is elected governor. This primary Anderson is going to be taking place a week from tomorrow. Anderson.

COOPER: Kyung Lah, thanks so much.

Much more ahead on our breaking news on that dramatic capture, the escaped invading corrections officer-at-large for more than a week. We'll get the latest.

And we'll go back to Ukraine where new attacks of (INAUDIBLE) the key port city of Odessa.

Plus, some news on U.S. aid to Ukraine and President Biden's new warning about intelligence, coming up.