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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Justice Department Issues Fresh Round Of Subpoenas In Several States As It Expands Investigation Into Trump's Fake Elector Scheme; Georgia Voters From Across Political Divide React To Testimony; Uvalde School District Police Chief Arredondo Placed On Leave; Senate On The Track To Pass The Gun Safety Plan As Early As This Week; GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Accused Of Appearing To Promote Political Violence In New Campaign Video; 76-Year-Old Russian Artist Calls On Russia To Repent For Invasion Of Ukraine. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 22, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And so he believes that should be inspected and obviously, his Democratic opponents are seizing on these remarks and this latest controversy, a number have called on him to resign. Here is what his spokeswoman had to say about that.
"The Senator has never considered resigning as a result of dozens of false attacks already made against him. Why would this absurd attack be any different?" -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Sara, thank you very much. Thanks to all of you for being with us.
AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We begin tonight with a new report about the Department of Justice and new information about its investigation into the fake electors plot, part of what the January 6 Committee has called a multi-pronged effort by the former President and his allies to illegally overturn the results of the 2020 election, specifically subpoenas issued to people in multiple states who appear to have been involved in the plot.
That includes the Georgia Republican Party Chairman who is said to have played a central role in organizing the slate of fake electors from his state and coordinated the effort with the former President's campaign.
We'll have more than that in just a moment.
The revelation comes the same day that the January 6 Committee said it may delay further hearings after the ones scheduled tomorrow. The reason according to one of its members, Congressman Jamie Raskin, a deluge of new evidence in his words.
Now, he didn't elaborate, saying only that the new information goes beyond what we learned about yesterday, the existence of a documentary crew's interviews with the former President and his family recorded before and after January 6, those recordings have now been turned over to the Committee.
The report of Federal subpoenas also comes a day after we learned two vital pieces of information. The first was testimony by the head of the Republican Party, Ronna McDaniel that directly linked the former President to the plot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: What did the President say when he called you?
RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Essentially, he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors in case any of the legal challenges that were ongoing change the result of any of the states.
I think more just helping them reach out and assemble them. But my understanding is the campaign did take the lead, and we just were helping them in that role.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, that was one new revelation. We also learned about other lawmaker's involvement in the scheme. Now, one of those was Senator Ron Johnson. He spent another day today trying to explain away his role telling CNN today that, "This is a complete non-story," and that "Guys, this happened so fast. It's hard -- this is 18 months ago. This just -- this just happened."
Let's just be clear, though, about what he says "just happened." The Committee on Tuesday presented a text exchange between top aides for Senator Johnson and former Vice President Pence. It occurred -- this text exchange -- on January 6. The timestamp on the text says 12:37 PM. That's less than 30 minutes before the first barriers on Capitol Hill were breached.
Now, the exchange reads as follows: Johnson's Chief of Staff says "Johnson needs to hand something to the Vice President. Please advise." Then the Vice President's aide responds, "What is it?" Then Johnson's Chief of Staff says, "Alternate slates of electors for Michigan and Wisconsin because archivists didn't receive them." And Pence's staffer says, "Do not give that to him."
Now, those texts show Johnson's top aides, Chief of Staff trying to pass slates of phony electors to the Vice President of the United States moments before on the very day he was to do his Constitutional duty, certify the real electors, which would indicate to any reasonable person that Senator Johnson and his top aide were aware of this phony electorate plot and actively trying to subvert the completely valid results of the 2020 election.
I mean, it's not like Senator Johnson's top aide would just randomly pick up an envelope sent to their office and without reading it, try to hand it over the Vice President of the United States at a pivotal moment in American history, right? I mean, no person would be so foolish as to suggest that, but let's play the tape of Senator Johnson's explanation yesterday to several reporters, including CNN's Manu Raju.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Why was even asking for that?
SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): Because somebody delivered this to our office and asked to deliver that the Vice President.
RAJU: Did you support the his efforts to try to get those slates to the Vice President?
JOHNSON: No. I had no knowledge of this.
RAJU: Who was the person that delivered --
JOHNSON: I don't know -- you know, I had no involvement in an alternate slate of electors. I had no idea that this would even be delivered to us. It got delivered staff to staff. My Chief of Staff did the right thing, contact Vice President's staff. They said didn't want it, so we didn't deliver it.
That's the end of the story.
RAJU: Who is the person that delivered it to your office?
JOHNSON: I have no idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Okay, that is so not the end of the story. I mean, to hear Senator Johnson tell it, somebody and he says he doesn't know who, delivered this phony slate of electors to his office and Senator Johnson, a key supporter of the President claims he had no not knowledge that this was going on. Then he is saying that some unknown staffer forwarded the phony electorate slate to his office to pass to the Vice President and his Chief of Staff decided, oh, yes, that's a great idea at this pivotal moment in history, when the Vice President was under tremendous pressure.
COOPER: And there's a huge rally going on, "Stop the Steal" so-called outside, that this would be the time to contact the Vice President and pass along this phony slate of electors, which Ron Johnson claims he never saw and knows nothing about.
And not only did Johnson deny any knowledge of it, but he also says his Chief of Staff, "Did the right thing."
Now, by the way, just as an aside, if you don't know how Washington Senate offices work, you don't want to throw your Chief of Staff under the bus because they pretty much know where all the bodies are buried, you know, not literally speaking.
So Johnson is praising his top staffer for allegedly attempting to pass along a slate of phony electors, sight unseen, to the Vice President, just before this incredibly moment in history -- an important moment in history.
And as you mull over how likely that is, take a look at the senator's exchange with a different reporter yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Senator Johnson, how much did you know about what your Chief of Staff was doing with the alternate slates of electors?
JOHNSON: I am on my phone right now.
REPORTER: No, you're not. I can see your phone. I can see your screen.
RAJU: Can you explain what your Chief of Staff was doing?
REPORTER: Does your Chief of Staff still work for you, Senator?
RAJU: Can you explain what happened there? Why was your Chief of Staff even offering this to the Vice President?
JOHNSON: Guys, this is a complete non-story. We've issued a statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's classic. I mean, really -- yes, I can't hear you, I am in an important meeting -- I'm on a very -- oh, I can't, picture of my son.
When he's caught, he just gives up. He does the fake, you know, let me put down that non-existent phone call.
Now, Federal authorities are winding their probe into the fake collectors' plot and that is where we begin tonight.
I'm joined now by our senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez.
Evan, what can you tell us about these new subpoenas?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, these new subpoenas represent a major escalation of what is clearly a very big part of this Justice Department investigation now.
We now know that these fake electors in Georgia, in Michigan, in Pennsylvania, have received subpoenas. And in Georgia in particular, David Shafer, who is the Chairman of the Republican Party there who played a central role in trying to organize these electors in Georgia. Again, this is one of the states where the FBI and the Justice Department has taken keen interest, of course, the local District Attorney is also investigating it there. And one of the things that we, from talking to people tonight, we
learned that, you know, the investigators are asking for communications with key people in the Trump era, people in the Trump campaign, Trump lawyers, people who are helping to organize this effort that includes Rudy Giuliani, people like John Eastman, who we've heard so much about in the last few days.
According to some of the sources that we've talked to today, they've come back to at least some of these people who we've previously reported, they had come to before, and they wanted access to some of the names on a signal chat that was going on in the days leading up to January 6th.
Again, a major escalation of this investigation that the Justice Department clearly is zeroing in on who was organizing this from the level of the people surrounding the former President to try to set up exactly what Ron Johnson was trying to accomplish on that day on January 6.
COOPER: So the phony electors are communicating via Signal, which for anybody who doesn't know is a highly secure, encrypted app that anybody can use.
PEREZ: That's right. They were having encrypted communications and look, we have -- encrypted communications doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. The FBI clearly wants access to the names of people who were on that group chat, and wants to know more about it. They need to know what was being said on that. And obviously, they've had great success in the other parts of the January 6 investigation, getting to some of those communications on Signal and other encrypted communications.
COOPER: What do they hope to learn from David Shafer, the Georgia Republican Party Chairman? I mean, has he cooperated with any of the investigations into the false electoral plot in the past?
PEREZ: Well, he's now basically a central player in three investigations: The investigation being done by the January 6 Committee, the one being run by the District Attorney in Georgia, and now the one being done by the FBI and, you know, he, because he is the top guy in Georgia helping to coordinate all of this, he would know exactly who in the Trump campaign was helping to organize this.
And again, he would be a key person to understand exactly how this was being organized. And remember, some of these people who initially said that they were willing to be part of this ended up dropping out because they were uncomfortable with what was being done.
COOPER: Evan Perez, appreciate it.
Insight now from our senior political correspondent, Abby Phillip and CNN legal analyst, Norm Eisen, former counsel to the House Democrats during the former President's first impeachment. I want to get to Abby to these subpoenas in a moment. But first, Ron
Johnson, the fact that Johnson was not too long ago, the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, is really extraordinary to me. I mean, how one goes from that, to, you know, having your staffer pass along -- try to pass this along to the Vice President.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think over the last few years, Ron Johnson has also been one of the biggest purveyors of misinformation and lies around the election, but around a lot of other things, including COVID-19.
So this is part of a kind of overall, you know, picture of someone who in the highest levels of government in the United States Senate is committed to things that are verifiably untrue.
COOPER: Is this just to stay in power? I mean, is this where he was just taking cues from his -- he thinks what his voters wanted?
PHILLIP: There are some questions about how much people believe this stuff, how much they're doing it for power, but he is up for re- election coming up and is actually going to face a real significant challenge. So there are some questions about whether his voters even want him to take some of these stances.
But I do think that where he is right now, at the center of this question about what was his staffer doing trying to pass this off to Pence just, you know, maybe minutes before Pence was supposed to do his constitutional duty? It takes it to another level.
He goes from just spreading the lies to participating in it in a particular way or his staffer does. I think that that's just a different place for him to be how actually involved was he in trying to get these fraudulent documents to the Vice President at a critical moment, and does that level of involvement really cross the line, whether politically or legally?
I think that's a really big question, especially for someone like Johnson, who is facing, I think there's going to be a huge amount of Democratic attention, trying to get him out of office and bringing this to voters and saying, it is not just the lies, there were actions behind it, too. I think it could pose a problem for him.
COOPER: We should also know that there are privacy screens you can put on your phone, which actually make it difficult for reporters to see if you are --
PHILLIP: That is a time honored trick, but it is -- when we can see the phone.
COOPER: I'm not saying I haven't done it in an airport every now and then being like, I'm sorry I am --
PHILLIP: When we can see the phone, it doesn't work.
COOPER: Yes, it doesn't work. He needs a privacy screen.
Norm Eisen, could Senator Johnson face legal trouble here or his Chief of Staff?
NORM EISEN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, it will depend on what more there is to the story. His assertion at another point, he said some staff intern passed this along. I've worked up there, including during the impeachment and you know, documents don't go directly from some unnamed staff intern to a United States Senator, to the hands of the Vice President in one of the most consequential and contested moments in American politics.
It just -- the story just doesn't make sense. You'd have to show a high degree of engagement, but others are in that kind of legal jeopardy. That includes the individuals who have received subpoenas and Anderson, we heard that very powerful testimony you played it from Ronna Romney McDaniel, the head of the RNC, saying that Donald Trump himself was pushing these phony electoral slates and others, Rusty Bowers also testified about Trump's involvement.
So I think Donald Trump has got to be feeling a little bit uncomfortable as this evidence continues to come out.
COOPER: And Norm, you heard the reporting about the Justice Department's investigation to fake electors. Why isn't the January 6 Committee just sharing all their information now with the Department of Justice? I know Bennie Thompson said the other day, they aren't going to delay their work to explain things to the DOJ, but why would they have to delay their work? Can't they just e-mail over the transcripts of the witness testimony or have someone in Ron Johnson's office bring it over?
EISEN: Hey, Anderson, it's never easy. We call it the Accommodation Process. I was involved in these conversations between the branches, Congress and the executive branch, and there is always a back and forth.
I think on the Committee's part, their view is they're extremely busy in processing the evidence, and they want to share, but they want to do it on their own pace. There's probably a little bit of a feeling there. You know, the DOJ did not charge Mark Meadows despite the criminal referral. They did not charge Dan Scavino. And so there's that element that comes in.
But I'm confident that they will work it out. One of the criminal trials was continued to allow that process to work out, and it always somehow works out, Anderson. The same thing will happen here.
COOPER: All right, Abby, the Committee said that they are delaying their next round of hearings. There is testimony tomorrow, and then they're delaying the next ones until July. They said there's this whole abundance of evidence to go through. Does that make sense to you?
PHILLIP: Yes, I think it does.
I mean, this is a dynamic process. As these hearings have been going on, you have people who are participating and cooperating with the Committee, and those who weren't, who are watching it, who are seeing the evidence unfold, who are perhaps thinking about their own, you know, self-interest and wondering maybe, how much do I have to contribute to stay out of any kind of legal jeopardy?
And so, I think it is -- it is a dynamic process, and they are genuinely getting more things in as this is going along. And as the politics of it is playing out before all of our eyes.
COOPER: Yes. Abby Phillip, really appreciate it. Good to have you here in New York.
PHILLIP: Yes. Good to see you.
COOPER: Thanks. Norm Eisen, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Still to come, Gary Tuchman looks at what may be the most compelling testimony so far during these hearings. Wandrea "Shaye" Moss, former election worker in Georgia on the threat she received after becoming the center of election fraud conspiracies and direct attacks -- racist attacks -- by the former President, Donald Trump.
And later, we'll be joined by Democratic Senator, Amy Klobuchar to discuss that draft agreement by a bipartisan group in the Senate to reduce gun violence. A lot of questions: Can the bill pass? Can money for Red Flag Laws and other items in the bill help curb mass shootings in America?
COOPER: The January 6 hearings have featured videos are protests and threats to election officials and testimony of key witnesses giving us insight into the events that led up to the day of the attack. But the question is, are the hearings having an impact with voters.
In new polling from Quinnipiac University, 26 percent said they are very closely watching developments, 32 percent said somewhat closely, 17 percent said not so closely, and 24 percent said not closely at all.
There's also, as you've probably guessed, a big partisan split among those who say they've learned new information from the hearings. Sixty-four percent of Democrats say they have, 34 percent of Independents, only 14 percent of Republicans.
Our Jeff Zeleny spoke to voters from across the political divide in Georgia, which narrowly went for President Biden to see what they have taken away from the hearing so far.
FRANK RICHARDS, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: History repeats itself, and so I do think we need to have history record what happens to prevent this from happening again.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN U.S. CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Frank Richards has been closely watching the congressional hearings investigating the January 6 attack, hoping all Americans, not just Democrats like himself are paying at least some attention.
RICHARDS: From the hearings -- and I'm not a big Mike Pence fan -- I really respect what Mike Pence did. I think we all need to be patriots and respect the Constitution, which we are sworn to defend.
ZELENY (voice over): Richards is among the millions who have tuned into the four televised hearings this month, which have shined an unsparing light on Donald Trump's attempts to overturn the 2020 election here in Georgia and beyond.
Yet despite new details of the lengths Trump and his allies tried to cling to power --
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Mr. Trump was told by his own advisers that he had no basis for his stolen election claims. Yet, he continued to pressure state officials to change the election results.
ZELENY (voice over): The hearings have elicited disinterest and disdain among many in the Republican leaning suburbs of Atlanta.
RICHARD BIANCO, GEORGIA VOTER: I really think they are just after Trump, they are not after the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is one-sided and I choose not to watch it.
ZELENY (on camera): Is there anything that could come out in the hearing that would change your mind about things?
RUTH ATKINSON, GEORGIA REPUBLICAN VOTER: All I know is know is I am not going to watch the rest of it. There are other things to do with my time.
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I'm not a crook.
ZELENY (voice over): A half century after the Watergate hearings captivated the country and led to Richard Nixon's resignation, the findings of the House Select Committee, so far, at least, are largely seen through the same partisan lens that deeply divides an exhausted nation.
Yet there is nuance, as we found talking to Richard Bianco who voted for Trump the first time, but not his re-election.
BIANCO: And I'm a Republican and a lot of people need to be held accountable, but we're not going anywhere.
ZELENY (on camera): Is Trump one of those people that needs to be held accountable, do you think?
BIANCO: If we could get the information out, yes. ZELENY (voice over): Franzetta Ivy said she has prayed for people to
watch with an open mind.
FRANZETTA IVY, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I pray that they will actually tune in and watch this so they can see for themselves. You know, you don't just go by what somebody says, you should investigate it and search it out to see for yourself, hear it for yourself, get a better understanding for yourself, so you can make an informed decision.
ZELENY (voice over): The hearing has shined an even brighter light on Trump's meddling in Georgia.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to find 11,780 votes --
ZELENY (voice over): Which voters in both parties told us crossed a line.
DAVID ALEXANDER, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: I need so many votes and that's so ridiculous, this is almost like Trump, first of all, do you really think that's like gangster --
ZELENY (voice over): Harvey and Patricia Newman, both Democrats have watched every moment of the proceedings.
PATRICIA NEWMAN, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: This is an attack on our democracy. I do not think the Watergate hearings rose to that level, even close. Do you?
HARVEY NEWMAN, GEORGIA DEMOCRATIC VOTER: No. I think you're right.
ZELENY (voice over): Finding the truth for history is important, they say but even more for future elections.
P. NEWMAN: They get all then I can't tell you how worried I am about 2024.
COOPER: Jeff Zeleny joins us now. For those who are watching, has anything particularly surprised them?
ZELENY: Anderson, the breadth and the depth of the investigation surprised so many of the voters we talked to. I mean, of course the Committee started with the attack on January 6 with the police officers' testimony and all the images we've seen, but it's gone so far deeper than that into the scheme of the fake electors.
They've also been surprised by the Republican witnesses themselves, many from inside the Trump White House saying that they warned the former President, the President at the time that he simply could not win.
Now Georgia may be a bit of an outlier here, but even among Republican voters we talked to you, they simply do not believe his election lie that he won the State of Georgia.
ZELENY: Of course, he has been at war with so many Republicans there and voters have already asked and answered some of those questions. Brian Kemp, the Republican Governor, he won his primary last month by a huge margin, as did Brad Raffensperger, but overall, Republicans certainly don't want to admit that they're watching, but when you talk to them a little bit longer, they certainly are learning some information that is seeping through.
I think that is the question here going forward. What else is learned about this with a DOJ investigation, as well as the hearings, certainly will shape all this. So it's too early to say that absolutely nothing is going to come from this in the court of public opinion.
COOPER: Yes. Jeff Zeleny, appreciate it. Thanks.
One of the most compelling witnesses in the January 6 hearings was Wandrea "Shaye" Moss who testified yesterday. Miss Moss was an election worker in Fulton County, Georgia during the 2020 election. She became the center of conspiracy theories about the vote count, then the target of direct and racist attacks by the President of the United States, Donald Trump and then by people who believed him.
Her testimony yesterday illustrated how anybody, just regular people doing their jobs can become victims of election laws, and in this case, did.
More from Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): This is Wandrea "Shaye" Moss last month, receiving the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.
WANDREA "SHAYE" MOSS, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: Forgive me for a little case of the nerves unlike my fellow honorees, I'm not used to giving speeches, I am not used to being in the spotlight either.
Okay, what I'm used to is quietly doing my job.
TUCHMAN (voice over): And that's exactly why she was being honored, for quietly doing her job as an election worker in Fulton County, Georgia. She handled voter applications, absentee ballot requests and helped process votes. It's a job she started in 2017 and held until just after the presidential election in 2020.
MOSS: It all changed for me overnight ever since December 2020. My family has been under attack, attacked because people have spread terrible lies -- I am sorry -- lies about me and my mother, simply because we were doing our jobs.
TUCHMAN (voice over): In December 2020, The Trump campaign published a video and falsely claimed the edited clip show Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, also an election worker holding fraudulent ballots from a suitcase in order to help Joe Biden win the State of Georgia.
The claim was immediately debunked by election officials in Georgia, but the damage was done.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: Ruby Freeman and Shaye Freeman Moss --
TUCHMAN (voice over): Trump associates like Rudy Giuliani and White wing media outlets jumped on the story and Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman's lives were upended.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): So help you God.
TUCHMAN (voice over): That's how Shaye Moss found herself testifying in front of the House Select Committee yesterday.
MOSS: Now, people are lying and spreading rumors and lies and attacking my mom, I am her only child, going to my grandmother's house, I am her only grandchild and my kid is just -- I felt so bad.
TUCHMAN (voice over): With her mother sitting behind her, Shaye Moss told the committee about the harassment they faced after the release of the video.
MOSS: A lot of threats wishing death upon me, telling me that I'll be in jail with my mother and saying things like, "Be glad it's 2020 and not 1920."
TUCHMAN (voice over): Ruby Freeman who has the nickname Lady Ruby gave this video deposition to the Committee.
RUBY FREEMAN, FORMER GEORGIA ELECTION WORKER: There is no way I feel safe -- nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States to target you?
TUCHMAN (voice over): Because of all the threats, both Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman have left their jobs as election workers. But Shaye Moss has used this ugly episode is an opportunity to highlight the job she used to love.
MOSS: But I want to give a special thank you to all the anonymous election workers out there, the ones that are doing the heavy lifting and our democracy depends on far from the spotlight.
TUCHMAN (voice over): Gary Tuchman, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well up next, lies and stonewalling by Uvalde law enforcement officials have been going on for weeks in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School.
Tonight, we have new details though on the Uvalde School Police Chief, who has been named as the incident commander and responsible for the hours' long delay before police finally killed the shooter.
Also ahead tonight, with the Senate on track to pass the bipartisan gun safety bill, it is already facing opposition from House Republicans. I'll speak with Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, next. The bill includes her legislation to close the so-called boyfriend loophole.
COOPER: There's some breaking news tonight. Uvalde school district police chief Pedro Arredondo has been placed on leave after weeks of criticism over the shooting that took the lives of 19 children, 19 children were murdered killed and two teachers. The school district superintendent said he placed Arredondo on leave due to the lack of clarity that remains including unknown details from the investigation.
Now this comes as House Republicans today formally requested GOP members to vote against the newly unveiled bipartisan gun safety bill. The deal includes $750 million to help states implement and run Crisis Intervention Programs closes the so-called boyfriend loophole. Requires more gun sellers to register as federally licensed firearm dealers, encourages more thorough reviews of people ages 18 to 21, who want to buy guns, creates new federal statutes against gun trafficking and straw trafficking and increases funding for mental health programs in school security. The Senate is on track to pass it this week. It's expected to pass in the house once it passes in the Senate.
Joining me now is Democratic senator from Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar. Senator Klobuchar, appreciate you joining us.
You colleague --
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: -- Senator Murphy says this bill is not window dressing. These are a quote from him. This bill is going to save lives. Do you agree with that assessment and how much progress is this in your view?
KLOBUCHAR: Yes, I do. The first important point is that this bill is going to save thousands of lives, and this isn't everything that I would have wanted to do. I think Chris would say the same thing. But we had Republicans that were willing to come to the negotiating table. And while I would have banned assault weapons, at least 18 and 21 year olds, but what did they do? They actually did something that's going to save lives.
Number one, you can now look at the records of these 18 to 21 year olds, and take the time to talk to police officers in the area to find out what's going on. That wasn't happening before. Number two, the boyfriend loopholes, 600 women a year, Anderson are gunned down in domestic violence cases, half of them have dating relationships. They're not married to the person. That has been a loophole in our law that they get convicted of domestic abuse, and then they can go out and get a gun that has changed. Straw purchases, so many criminals go out there and get guns on behalf of someone else that's banned from getting a gun. Red Flag Law funding, mental health funding, as you just pointed out.
So, I think my colleagues all of us worked on this together, but particularly Senator Murphy and Cornyn, Senator Tillis, Senator Sinema and so many others. And we have strong support for this bill in the Senate. People are willing to stand up and say we're finally going to do something on gun safety. And it is a beginning. And I think it's sad that the House Republicans are going out against it. Hopefully they will pick up some votes just because we have Republicans in the Senate.
COOPER: Well, there's probably a lot of people who want, wanted this to obviously, as you said you wanted this to go farther in terms of gun safety or gun control. What do you say to those who say this doesn't go far enough, and that this may make it harder to try to get further changes, you know, in the future?
KLOBUCHAR: We have worked on this for decades and after Parkland, I sat across from Donald Trump at the White House along with a number of senators, he said he was going to do something about background check. I still have the piece of paper eight times, nine times he said it with the hash 10 marks that I made that day, nothing happened. After Sandy Hook, nothing happened. And when you talk to the families who've been working on this for so long, they understand how difficult this has been, how disappointing this has been.
So to start with something that's going to save lives, even if a particular provision wouldn't have saved their own babies lives, that is an act of love and generosity of spirit that you hear from the families of those that have lost loved ones. That's why we're moving ahead. And I think it actually paves the way in the future to look at some of these other provisions. But if you do nothing and you just go home, then we've got nothing. And that's why it's so important to pass this bill on a bipartisan basis.
COOPER: CNN's reporting tonight that the lead Republican negotiator, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, spoke at a GOP Senate lunch today take through areas in which the NRA got what it wanted from this process. He noted the boyfriend loophole does not apply retroactively, to past domestic abusers only applies to recent relationships, that there's a 10 year so-called sunset provision to ensure all enhanced background checks on juvenile records will be essentially be repealed in a decade. What do you say to that?
KLOBUCHAR: As someone that has tried to pass this bill for 10 years, I obviously would have looked back at all past convictions. But what is this bill do right now, only 19 states have fully closed the loophole. So, after this bill passes in those other states, if someone is convicted of domestic violence in any of these other states, it is bans them from going out and getting a gun, even if it's a dating partner that has been involved in this. That is a big change. That's a game changer. When I just told you half the homicides actually related to domestic violence are boyfriends.
The final thing in the states that have closed the loophole, Anderson, 13% reduction in domestic homicides, those are real numbers. And so to me, it's not everything that I wanted. And I worked really hard to make this as strong as possible. But to finally close this loophole that the NRA has opposed, year after year after year, issuing statements, testifying against it, doing all kinds of things. We have finally gotten it done.
COOPER: Senator Klobuchar, appreciate your time tonight.
KLOBUCHAR: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Joining me now is Nicole Hockley. Her son Dylan was one of the 21st graders killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. She's now the CEO of the Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit with a mission to stop school shootings.
Thanks so much for being with us. You were involved in this. When you and I spoke first about this in the wake of you the Uvalde killings, you are optimistic.
NICOLE HOCKLEY, CEO, SANDY HOOK PROMISE: Yes.
COOPER: What do you think about the end results?
HOCKLEY: I'm still very optimistic. I mean, we're going to vote tomorrow and I fully expect that this will pass and I want to be so thankful to the senators that have led this because this has not been an easy task for them and I fully appreciate the conversations, the compromises and the actions that they've had to take --
COOPER: Compromises on both sides, Republicans and Democrats.
HOCKLEY: Compromises on both sides. Absolutely. This has not been -- no one is like winning here except for people. Because it's a step forward, that's going to save lives as Senator Klobuchar said.
COOPER: It was so interesting to see John Cornyn, at that meeting in Texas, of, you know, Texas Republican Party getting booed throughout his speech. It just a sign of there's extremes on both sides. And, you know, politicians have to listen to their constituents.
HOCKLEY: There's one that -- yes, you have to listen to all the constituents. And that requires also listening to the noise from the extremes at both ends of this. But I think what Senator Cornyn has done as others have done is stand up for the rest of us that aren't in the extreme that want to see something happen, that care about creating a safer future, that care about keeping our kids safe, and want to create something that helps deliver that change. And that's what he's doing.
COOPER: What to you is the most eminent -- is maybe it's a stupid question, say what's the most important because it's, you know, I was talking to Senator Murphy about this, and he talked about the totality of all these is what's important.
HOCKLEY: Yes. And I do think, the fact that it's a multi pronged package that has so many elements, so it's not just mental health, it's not just school safety. It's not just gun safety. The fact that they're saying this is a problem that comes from all of those areas and their solutions and all those areas. So to be bold enough to say we're going to create solutions in each of those. I think that's huge, really.
COOPER: Is more possible? I mean, what --
HOCKLEY: More is always possible. This is a step forward. And I think it's going to be interesting for some politicians who have been afraid to touch this issue to realize that they can vote yes on this, do something right for their constituents and still retain their political careers. I think that's going to send a positive message that then means. We can look at other causes of gun violence and other areas that we still need to strengthen. You know, these are not perfect solutions there steps forward, there's more steps to take, and there will always be that compromise element required.
COOPER: Yes. Nicole Hockley, thank you so much.
HOCKLEY: Thank you.
COOPER: Appreciate it. Appreciate being there.
Coming up, why Eric Greitens the controversial former governor of Missouri is now running for U.S. senate is accused of promoting political violence with this new campaign ad. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Greitens in Missouri is courting controversy for his new campaign video in which he's pretending to hunt Republicans who don't subscribe to the far-right agenda, when he calls Republicans and name only rhinos. Here's a portion of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC GREITENS (R-MI) FMR GOVERNOR: I'm Eric Greitens Navy Seal and today we're going rhino hunting. The rhino beads on corruption and is marked by the stripes of cowardice. Join the magnet (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This is far from the first time that Mr. Greitens has garnered negative headlines as the disgraced former governor of his state, it marks his quest for political comeback. Sunlen Serfaty has more.
GREITENS: No matter what they throw at me -- SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Former
Governor Eric Greitens is no stranger to controversy with a long line of scandals surrounding him.
GREITENS: I am announcing that I will resign as governor of Missouri.
SERFATY (voice-over): In 2018, he resigned from office in disgrace.
GREITENS: The last few months have been incredibly difficult.
SERFATY (voice-over): After allegations from his former hairdresser that Greitens tied her up, coerced her into oral sex and threatened to blackmail her with partially nude photos of her to cover up their affair they had in 2015.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He use some sort of tape, I don't know it was and taped my hands to these rings and then put a blindfold on me. And he stepped back and I saw flash through the blindfold. He said, you're never going to mention my name, otherwise there will be picture of me everywhere.
SERFATY (voice-over): The then Governor admitted to the affair calling it a deeply personal mistake but denied the blackmail accusation.
GREITENS: We have to hold leaders responsible.
SERFATY (voice-over): Greitens face calls for impeachment from the GOP controlled state legislator and a criminal charge for felony invasion of privacy. Criminal charges have since been dropped in an FBI agent investigating the Republican was later indicted for lying in a deposition about his interview with Greitens accuser.
GREITENS: This is a great victory, and it has been a long time coming.
SERFATY (voice-over): In addition, that same year, he was separately charged with another felony for tampering with computer data, for allegedly misusing a veteran's charity donor lists raise funds for his gubernatorial campaign. A charge the former governor also denies and was ultimately dismissed. A Missouri ethics board also found no evidence of wrongdoing though his campaign agreed to amend its report and pay roughly $178,000 in fees to the Commission.
In 2020, Greitens and his wife announced they will divorce but his legal woes continued. His ex-wife and an ongoing custody battle alleging abuse claiming in court documents that Greitens struck her and their children, including leaving one son with a swollen face, bleeding gums and loose tooth. Greitens has denied these accusations as well.
GREITENS: You guys ready to take back our state?
SERFATY (voice-over): Greitens was once seen as a rising star within the Republican Party. A Rhodes Scholar, former Navy SEAL, war veteran and purple heart recipient.
GREITENS: I am running for the United States Senate -- SERFATY (voice-over): And is now sticking his political future on
winning Missouri's open Senate race, as some Republicans voiced concern his nomination could put the seat in a red leading state in jeopardy.
GREITENS: Thank you guys.
SERFATY (voice-over): Greitens seems to be pulling out all the stops to gain an endorsement from former President Trump, traveling to Mar- a-Lago meeting with Trump as well as Donald Trump Jr., hiring former Trump campaign staff including Kimberly Guilfoyle and aligning himself with the former president's false claims that the election was stolen.
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He said the election was stolen. I'm wondering if you agree with him. The election --
GREITENS: Yes, I agree with the President. Yes, I do.
SERFATY: And the former president has not yet made an endorsement of this race and there are certainly a very large field of Republican candidates here, most whom are vying very hard for the former president's endorsement. Keep in mind this is a state that the President Trump won by more than 15 percentage points in 2020. And separately, there's also another effort from a Super PAC that's led by former Republican Senator John Danforth, they are looking to funnel potentially millions and millions of dollars into potentially putting forward an independent candidate in this race. Anderson.
COOPER: Sunlen Serfaty, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up, you might remember this video from around started Russia's war against Ukraine an elderly woman in St. Petersburg protesting her country's actions. The story of what has happened to her is, next.
COOPER: One of the many memorable images earlier in the war in Ukraine was this video of an elderly woman standing up to Russian police as she bravely protested the war in Ukraine. She was detained for speaking out.
CNN senior national correspondent Fred Pleitgen went to St Petersburg Russia to speak with her after she was released. Here's her story
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Elena Osipova might seem a bit frail, but her will is strong and her creativity seems unstoppable. The 76-year-old artist has been detained for several anti-war protests since Russia began what it called its special military operation in Ukraine. But when we visited her in her apartment in St. Petersburg, she showed no signs of feeling intimidated, instead complaining that police had taken her posters.
They took some away and haven't given them back, although they promised to give them back to me, she says. This has been going on for some time. So, she keeps painting more posters like this one, a bird symbolizing Russia with the writing, Russia is mourning and Russia is not Putin. It's a repentant bird, she says, a bird in mourning, and there are many such people in mourning here.
Elena Osipova is not afraid to speak out about even the most difficult topics like the massacre in Bucha, where hundreds of dead bodies were found in the key of suburb after Russian forces retreated from there in early April. Ukraine and international investigators have launched investigations into possible war crimes against humanity and genocide. Moscow continues to reject its forces were responsible.
The very large poster shows dead people with huge piercing open eyes and the text says, the eyes of the dead will remain open until Russia repents. For me what was important in this poster is this word repentance, she says. It was important to me to emphasize it.
While some Russians took to the streets to protest Vladimir Putin's special military operation during its early days, authorities have now effectively stopped any larger movement from taking hold. Dismantling opposition groups and banning many media organizations not in line with the Kremlin's policies.
Elena Osipova says she understands people's fears. They are afraid of losing their jobs, she says, being expelled from college and there have been such incidents even if they see a photo on the internet showing someone holding a Ukrainian flag that is already grounds for sacking. But Elena Osipova isn't scared, she says, if the authorities keep taking her protest art, she'll paint more and even a battalion of riot police won't silence her creative mind.
PLEITGEN: And Anderson as you can imagine, at 76 years of age, all of this is pretty tough and pretty taxing on Elena Osipova, but she says as long as she's capable, she's going to continue to go out there and voice her dissent. And she says she's not only thinking of new posters that she might make, but also thinking of actually repainting some of the ones that have been taken away by the authorities to display them again. Anderson.
COOPER: Seventy six years old, still fighting. Fred Pleitgen, appreciate it. Thank you.
Ahead, the Justice Department is expanding its investigation to the former president's fake electors scheme, issuing with a new round of new subpoenas. And this comes after January 6 hearings revealed new details, linking the former president directly to the scheme. More on the developments, next.