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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Ex-Trump White House Counsel Cipollone Testified For More Than Seven Hours During Videotaped, Closed-Door Interview; Former Japanese Prime Minister Murdered, Suspect Apparently Used Handmade Weapon; Japan's Strict Gun Laws Make Shootings Rare; CNN Meets With Families Of Uvalde Victims; Abortion Key Issue In Nevada Senate Race. Aired 8- 9p ET

Aired July 08, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Beautiful, and I liked the music, they set the groves. What did you say?


BURNETT: The grieves.

WEIR: So, we were going to put some hip-hop on that and that will go viral.

BURNETT: They aren't too bad. Sorry. All right, Bill Weir, thank you so much.

And we do hope that you'll tune in. The all-new CNN Original Series "Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World" premieres Sunday at 9:00 PM only here on CNN.

Thanks for joining us tonight. AC 360 with Anderson starts now.



Heading into what will be at least two televised hearings next week, the House January 6 Select Committee wrapped up a highly anticipated and potentially very significant day.'

For more than seven hours starting this morning, former White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone sat for the panel. And according to Committee member, Zoe Lofgren, this testimony she says was useful.


REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): I will say, Mr. Cipollone did appear voluntarily and answered a whole variety of questions. He did not contradict the testimony of other witnesses. And I think we did learn a few things, which we will be rolling out in hearings to come.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: So there is that and there is also new reporting on what

could be a big step in obtaining testimony from another figure, Steve Bannon. CNN's Ryan Nobles joins us now with the latest.

So what else can you tell us about what Mr. Cipollone told the Committee? Do we know anything?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the first thing, Anderson, is that he was behind closed doors for a significant amount of time. The Committee heard testimony from Cipollone for more than seven hours, and as you heard from Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, what he had to say was productive. They got information from him that they were looking for.

Now, the question is just how much of what they've heard from prior witnesses was Cipollone able to specifically confirm? And there is a little bit of somewhat of a caveat that Zoe Lofgren provided to that. Take a listen.


LOFGREN: He could say "So and so was wrong," which he did not say. There were things that he might not be present for, or in some cases couldn't recall with precision. My sense was that he, as I say, he did appear voluntarily.

I think he was candid with the Committee. He was careful in his answers, and I believe that he was honest in his answers.


NOBLES: So the way you could interpret what Congresswoman Lofgren said there is, did the Committee actually hand him a statement that was made by Cassidy Hutchinson? And then say, did you say this in the way that she interpreted it? And there appears to be some -- a bit of disagreement as to exactly how that played itself out.

But regardless, Anderson, he was in there for a long time. Congressman Lofgren said that what they learned from him was very productive, and it is going to help their investigation. We'll have to see in the coming days whether or not any of this appears in their hearings, which are scheduled for next week.

COOPER: Yes. What is the new development -- a possible development about Steve Bannon?

NOBLES: So Steve Bannon, as you know, Anderson, is currently under indictment by the Department of Justice because of his lack of cooperation with the January 6 Select Committee. He has been found in criminal contempt by the Committee and is now facing a trial coming up later this summer.

Well, we're learning now that former President Trump is considering sending a letter to Steve Bannon waiving any privilege barriers that would prevent him from testifying in front of the Committee. Now, if you were to do that, that could theoretically set up a

situation where Bannon could then come in and answer questions from the Committee and that would then put him in a situation where he wouldn't necessarily be facing a criminal charge.

Now, how this all plays out? Is this just a tactic to try and prevent Steve Bannon from facing criminal charges in that trial? That is still something that is up in the air. Trump would actually have to do this and then the Committee would have to decide if Bannon coming in and his testimony would even be valuable. So, we're a long way from any of that happening.

But the fact that the former President is even considering this is significant. We're just going to have to see how this whole process plays itself out.

COOPER: Ryan Nobles, appreciate it. Thanks.

For more on this and the hearings ahead, we are joined by CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe; also CNN chief legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeff, you heard, first of all Congresswoman Lofgren talked about Pat Cipollone, didn't contradict any of the testimonies by the other witnesses. But when asked to be confirmed, Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony she said not contradicting is not the same as confirming.

I'm not a lawyer. What does that mean?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there are a variety of things it could mean. I mean, just for example, as she said if he didn't remember certain conversations that Cassidy Hutchison said took place, that would be not contradicting, but it would not be confirming.


If he asserted a privilege about certain conversations that would be not contradicting, but also not confirming. All of that are possibilities. And, you know, I guess we're just going to have to wait and find out. It's really hard to speculate, but there is a large universe of things that are not contradictory, but also not kind of confirm it.

COOPER: Andrew, I mean, if Mr. Cipollone is speaking to other people, not the President, but in the White House in his role as White House Counsel -- the Chief White House counsel, is that under any kind of privilege?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: It's hard to see how any privilege would prevent Mr. Cipollone from testifying about conversations that he had with people other than the President.

So it's -- I totally agree with Jeff, there's a lot of opportunity here, a lot of ways that not confirming, but not contradicting can play out. I tend to think that the privilege is probably not one of the things that weighed in on that. It is likely more just an issue of recollection.

He may not remember, you know, the alleged conversation with Cassidy Hutchinson in which he allegedly said, keep them from going up to the Capitol, or we're going to get charged with all kinds of crimes. And you know, there's nothing wrong with -- you know, it is not a privilege to say, I don't remember, but it essentially has the same effect.

TOOBIN: And here's the problem with -- the Committee's problem with Cipollone -- is ordinarily, they could challenge his assertion of, you know, a reason why he couldn't testify for privilege or some reason like that, but there's no time to go to Court.

So, you know, they could fight it out in these seven hours, and what we don't know is, how much of the seven hours of testimony today was actually the lawyers arguing about what Cipollone could testify about.

But you know, unfortunately for the Committee, Cipollone really held the cards here. And he could testify -- he could make the rules, and presumably, it sounds like from Congresswoman Lofgren, that they did get some productive stuff out of him, but they only got what Cipollone wanted to give them.

COOPER: And Andrew, do you think this has any kind of impact on a potential investigation by the Justice Department? Cipollone's cooperation?

MCCABE: Well, you know, that would be -- that's kind of Cipollone testifying under an entirely different rubric. Right? So that would -- if the Justice Department is interested in talking to him in pursuit of, and you know, along the way, the criminal investigation that they might be conducting, either now or in the future, they essentially have to go through the same process.

He would likely require that they give him the subpoena, kind of a "friendly subpoena," and then they would have to grapple with these same issues. The difference there is what Jeff just pointed out, they would likely have the time and the ability and the will to litigate disputed issues of privilege.

Now, it is interesting that it's going to be hard for him to assert privilege on those things that I mentioned before, conversations that he had with other people, not the President, and also there are specific instances in which we know that the true holder of presidential privilege, which is the current President Joseph Biden, has already waived that privilege with respect to certain conversations.

So in other words, the infamous January 3rd meeting with, you know, the Acting Attorney General and the Acting Deputy Attorney General, and Jeffrey Clark and Cipollone, that meeting is fair game. There is no privilege that covers anything in that.

So there's a lot of ground here for Cipollone to talk about. COOPER: Jeff, what do you make sources telling CNN the former

President Trump is considering signing a letter waiving his executive privilege claims for Steve Bannon? I mean, Steve Bannon was not a White House official at that point, what magic executive privilege claims is he actually under? I mean, does that make any sense to you?

TOOBIN: I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this whole thing is a joke. I mean, Steve Bannon is under criminal contempt prosecution for failing to answer subpoenas that he didn't answer. That's a criminal charge from the Justice Department. That's done.

If he wants to testify now, you know, God bless, but his criminal case is about failure to testify in the past. This sounds like a last ditch effort for Bannon to sort of throw sand in the gears and say, no, no, no, maybe I will testify. Maybe there'll be a waiver of privilege. I mean, the whole thing seems like Steve Bannon trying to yank the Committee's chain and it's not even up to the Committee anymore.

This is a charge from the Justice Department and they're the ones that have to decide whether to go forward with this case. There is a trial date. He is going to Court. I think some letter that Donald Trump may or may not write is utterly irrelevant.


MCCABE: Yes, this is absolutely a Hail Mary pass.

COOPER: Sorry. Yes. Andrew, Stewart Rhodes, you know from the so- called Oath Keepers leader, he has been federally indicted on seditious conspiracy charges. He has offered to waive his First Amendment rights and testify before the Committee, but only if he can do it in person and not from prison. His attorney said he wants to confront them.

I mean, what do you make of this? Is this A., he wants to get out of prison for the day and wants to, you know, grandstand? Or is this serious?

MCCABE: I'd tell you, it smells a little bit like this nonsense about the letter for Steve Bannon in that it is a side show setup to capitalize on some ability to, you know, reduce the kind of exposure that Rhodes is currently facing. I do not think it will work.

It does highlight the tough position that the Justice Department is in here. They are trying to mount a successful prosecution in a big complicated conspiracy case against Rhodes, while the Committee is taking evidence and testimony from witnesses who might be relevant to that prosecution.

So there is a ton of information that they need to review that the Committee is holding right now to ensure that they're meeting their discovery obligations and things like that. So this would only further complicate that mess. I don't think it has any direct relevance to his prosecution, but it is certainly a sideshow.

And if I were Justice, I'd be very, very concerned about this happening. The last thing you need is Stewart Rhodes on tape making a bunch of self-serving, you know, exculpatory statements to Congress while you're in the middle of trying to put on a prosecution.

TOOBIN: But one of the things we've learned in these hearings is --

COOPER: Andrew McCabe --

TOOBIN; Oh, I'm sorry, it is just -- it's actually better for the Committee to have people on tape than live because the Committee has been able to pick and choose. That's why I think it's actually better that they had Cipollone on tape as opposed to live so they can -- you know, they can find the useful parts of the testimony and get rid of any sort of filibuster and hemming and hawing, and the same thing with this joker in prison. You know, they don't need him live. He can just like rot and wait.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, appreciate it, thanks.

Coming up next, how Japan is coping with the almost unimaginable, the assassination of Shinzo Abe who had been the country's longest serving Prime Minister and the fact that he was shot in a society with very few firearms and only a handful of gun deaths a year, sometimes fewer than that.

Later, a month and a half since their loved ones were murdered, the people of Uvalde, Texas still have no answers, just a lot of conflicting information, a lot of lies, a cover up, finger-pointing and evasion from officials. We will have an update on their search for accountability.



COOPER: To understand the shock that people in Japan are experiencing right now, consider this: Not only have they just seen a leading national political figure murdered, something that has not happened in this country since Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, the manner of his assassination was as far removed from everyday Japanese life as anything imaginable.

Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was killed with a firearm in a country that recorded only one such death last year, not 1,000, not 100, just one, and now this one.

More from CNN's Blake Essig.



BLAKE ESSIG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was speaking at a campaign rally east of Osaka on Thursday when chaos ensued.

Two shots are heard, Abe was hit in the chest and neck. The weapon: A handmade gun was found laying on the ground. Bystanders tried to aid the former Prime Minister before he was rushed to the nearest hospital.

But soon, news broke he had succumbed to his injuries and died at age 67.

HIDENORI FUKUSHIMA, PROFESSOR, NARA MEDICAL UNIVERSITY (through translator): There were two bullet wounds. He was in a cardiopulmonary arrest after damage to large blood vessels in the heart. We took resuscitative measures, but unfortunately, he died a 5:03 PM.

ESSIG (voice over): It's a rare occurrence in Japan, a country with one of the world's lowest gun crime rates. Police have arrested the suspect, a 41-year-old man who did not flee after the attack and later admitted to shooting Abe and told police he associated the Prime Minister with a group he held, "a grudge against."

FUMIO KISHIDA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): He loved this country and constantly looked beyond the current generation, working hard for a brighter future of this country, leaving behind many major successes in various categories.

ESSIG (voice over): World leaders have condemned the assassination. US President Joe Biden says he is "stunned and outraged" by Abe's death and called him a "champion of the friendship between our people."

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This hasn't happened to Japan in decades and decades. I've been told, all the way back to the late 30s.

The Justice Department is going to be going in and giving me more detail.

ESSIG (voice over): Former US President Barack Obama said he was shocked and saddened by Abe who he called a friend and longtime partner.

Former President Donald Trump called Abe a true friend.

From China, reaction came from the country's embassy in Japan highlighting Abe's contribution to promoting the improvement and development of Sino-Japanese relations.

Shinzo Abe's relations with Beijing were sometimes contentious. He was the first Japanese Prime Minister to meet with a Chinese counterpart in years, but was also critical of Beijing stance on Taiwan.

His premiership marked Japan's history in bilateral relations. However, his assassination now a black dot in the country's history, a violent act of crime that is due to send ripples of shock across Japan.



ESSIG (on camera): Overnight, Anderson, we've learned more about the suspect involved in the assassination of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Police say, the suspect, a 41-year-old unemployed man has admitted to the shooting. He was swarmed by security after the shots were fired and was arrested on the spot in possession of what has been described as a homemade gun.

Now, despite a specific security plan put in place that included dozens of police officers, it didn't stop the gunman from slowly walking up behind Abe while he was speaking and firing those two fatal shots.

Japan public broadcaster, NHK, says Japan's National Police Agency will now review security arrangements -- Anderson.

COOPER: Blake Essig in Tokyo, thanks so much.

Perspective now from Tobias Harris. He is a senior fellow for Asia at the Center for American Progress. He's also the author of "The Iconoclast: Shinzo Abe and the New Japan." With us as well, CNN law enforcement analyst and former Secret Service agent, Jonathan Wackrow.

Jonathan, just from a security perspective, what do you think -- what happened here? What went wrong? How was the shooter able to get that close to the former Prime Minister? Was it because he was a former Prime Minister? Or is that just how politicking is done in Japan?

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, let me first just frame this one way. You know, threats against political leaders do not end when they leave office. Typically, they do reduce over time, but they're never going to be fully eliminated, especially if you remain in political power.

And I think when we assess, you know, what is going on today, we're taking this -- we're looking at this incident from an American viewpoint, really, when you think about political rallies, we think about large buffer zones, barricades, bike rack, but really, if we flip this and look at it from the Japanese cultural perspective, which is really based upon low crime rates, almost non-existent gun violence, having political rallies out in public spaces that we saw, you know, this incident occurring, really is quite common.

But the point here is that threats facing political leaders anywhere around the world, you know, never remain at rest, and they always do necessitate security measures to be put in place, and I think what we'll see moving forward in Japan is a different type of methodology put forth when it comes to planning political security.

COOPER: Tobias, you actually worked for a Japanese lawmaker years ago. How common is it to see a politician up that close at that level?

TOBIAS HARRIS, SENIOR FELLOW FOR ASIA, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I mean, it's extremely common. I mean, it is Japanese political culture, and in fact, it is probably one of the, I guess, you could say one of the most charming things about how Japanese democracy works, that there is very little distance between elected officials and their voters in a campaign season just like what we're seeing now. They have an Upper House Election on Sunday.

All across the country, you have politicians standing outside train stations talking to voters, I always liked when the politicians would give their business cards to the little kids that would come up. I mean, there's a lot of interaction with voters.

It's not -- I mean, you'd have some online campaigning, some TV ads, but it's still mainly face-to-face interaction with voters. So, this is really exploiting, really something fundamental about Japanese political culture.

COOPER: And Tobias, Abe, I mean, still had incredibly strong presence in the party in Japanese politics.

HARRIS: Absolutely, and in some ways, you wonder, that's why, you know, to some extent, this is why he was targeted, that he remained, you know, an outsized figure. I mean, no Japanese politician, I think could match his public profile.

He of course, was still incredibly powerful, even though it's been nearly two years since he resigned from the Premiership. I mean, it's just a very, almost a larger than life figure. And certainly one with a big global presence, as we're seeing today as tributes pour in. And so certainly, I think, more visible than most Japanese politicians.

COOPER: Jonathan, what was Abe's security detail and protection be like it's a former Prime Minister versus a current Prime Minister?

WACKROW: Well, it's it -- there's a big difference. And the reason being is because the person who holds office holds more power, and the risk rating is different. And what you would see is an application of control measures, again, thinking about more security, more perimeter security, security screening, that would all be different.

But again, you know, what we have to look at is what was going on at the moment here? And what we saw from this attack is that the attacker had the advantage from the very beginning about controlling the time, the location, and the manner of this attack, and that's what caught security off guard.

Again, because, you know, gun violence and these types of attacks are so anomalous within Japanese society, the ability to have clear line of sight, exposure to the target here, the former Prime Minister, and have close distance to the target really was a recipe for disaster that we now know has such a significant consequence.

COOPER: Right, especially with a weapon that seems to have been made it home because, sort of a double-barrel-shotgun-type weapon.


WACKROW: Absolutely. I think that's a really important point here, right? We don't know the exact motivation, but what we do know is that there was a significant level of sophistication put into the pre- planning. Again, this was premeditated.

Just the construction of the weapon itself in an environment that is absent of weapons. So just the thought of building this weapon on your own, testing that weapon to see if it could function properly, and then launching this attack just shows a very sophisticated level of planning that went into this and that's going to be a driver for investigators to get to a motive.

COOPER: And Tobias, just finally, briefly, Abe's legacy in Japanese politics. What is it?

HARRIS: Well, I mean, I think as Japan's longest serving Prime Minister, he was in a position to make a number of decisions that really will guide his successors for years to come, and I think both in economic policy and foreign policy, he basically laid down the blueprints that both former Prime Minister Suga and Prime Minister Kishida are following when it comes to relations with countries, the United States, but also other countries in Asia.

The mix of economic policies that we're seeing all of that, I think all of Abe's successors are going to have a hard time superseding that, finding something that does the job better.

And so in some ways, after Abe, as he was fond of saying, there is no alternative. That his vision was the right way and I think his successors seem to agree.

COOPER: Tobias Harris, Jonathan Wackrow, really appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, more on Japan's strict gun laws and the late Prime Minister's considerable legacy. We will be right back.



COOPER: We're talking tonight about the murder by firearm of Japan's former prime minister in a country where such weapons are so hard to come by that believe the suspect made his own.

Randi Kaye tonight has more on Japan's strict gun laws and how they compare to ours.


RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Japan, this is a rare site, guns are hardly ever seen here and rarely used in violent crime. Last year, according to the country's National Police Agency, there were fewer than a dozen shootings in Japan and just one gun related death. That's in a population of about 125 million people. Compare that to the United States, which has more than doubled the population and saw 20,944 gun related deaths last year. That does not include the more than 24,000 suicides last year. Why such a stark difference between the two countries? Strict gun laws. In Japan handguns are outlawed. In fact, Japan's firearm laws only allow for the sale of shotguns and air rifles. This man told CNN air guns are enough for him saying it's similar to a real gun. And this student said he wouldn't be comfortable with a real gun even if he could buy one.

Buying a gun in Japan takes time and lots of patience. To qualify for a firearm license in Japan, you must attend an all day class, pass a written test and score at least 95% accuracy on a shooting range test. A mental health evaluation and drug tests are also required. Mandatory background checks include a review of the purchaser's criminal record personal debt, connection to organized crime, if any, and relationships with family and friends. This former police officer told CNN it took him 40 days to be approved for a gun purchase. This is a tool that can end someone's life. There should be a strict screening process he said.

In Japan new gun owners must also register their weapon with police and provide details to law enforcement about where the gun and ammunition are stored in separate locked compartments as required by law. Japanese police also inspect your gun each year, and gun owners have to retake the class and the exam to renew their license every three years. All of this has kept the number of private gun owners in Japan to a minimum.

In 2017, this small arms survey shows only an estimated 377,000 guns were owned by civilians in Japan. That was just 0.25 guns per 100 people compared to about 120 guns per 100 people in the U.S. Because private firearm ownership is so low most of the gun violence in Japan is linked to the Yakuza, the Japanese criminal network. Of the 10 shootings last year, police say the Yakuza were responsible for eight of them.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.


COOPER: Want to get some perspective with CNN political and national security analyst, David Sanger, he's the national security correspondent for The New York Times when he was they're a Tokyo bureau chief he covered Abe extensively.

David, given how rare gun violence is in Japan, let alone a political assassination. What kind of impact do you think this is going to have?

DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL & NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I think that the political assassination, part of it will have significant impact in the way the Japanese think about themselves Anderson, and think about the system. The last time that a prime minister or former prime minister in Japan was killed was 90 years ago, it was 1932. And in that case, it was by some Navy officers who were on their way to trying to get Japan to go to war with the United States, nine years before Pearl Harbor.

But I don't think that it's going to have much of an effect on the anti-gun culture, in fact that the extent to which the suspect here had to go to manufacture his own gun tells you that he really couldn't get one on the open market for all the reasons that Randi just described.

COOPER: When you were living in Japan, what was the general attitude you notice toward guns?

SANGER: Pretty much shock if you had one. But, you know, the most interesting thing that just struck me as an American who had grown up in the United States and was moving to Japan and we were there for six years. Was that the Japanese treated gun ownership and basically the license to own a gun the way Americans deal with learning how to drive a car? You've got to go through a process of learning what you're doing. Because the car is a 4,000-pound weapon that can be deadly, you have to take an exam, you have to be of sound mind, they want to test your vision. That's sort of the equivalent of the gun accuracy element here.


So they're not saying you can't own a gun, although, as you heard from Randi, there are many kinds of guns you cannot own. But they are saying you have to treat it as if the licensing procedures are real, and not something that you would just breeze through.

COOPER: Abe focused in as in his long term as, as prime minister on economy and bringing kind of trying to kind of solve some of Japan's economic problems. What do you think his legacy is going to be?

SANGER: You know, I think he wanted his legacy to be about what was called Abenomics, which was basically a way to try to bring Japan back to the kind of fulsome economy that I witnessed when I arrived in Japan in the late 1980s. And the United States was worried that it would become a techno colony to the Japanese. He never succeeded at that. He did succeed at something else, which was that he managed to basically instill a national security culture within the government. He created Japan's first National Security Council, similar to the one that the United States has, he ramped up defense spending quite considerably. He wasn't able to get the Constitution revised, especially Article IX, which is sort of part of the peace constitution that the United States I helped write for Japan, but he reinterpreted it so that Japan was required to come to the collective defense of allies.

In other words, he said, we can't just depend on the United States and others to defend Japan. We have to be willing to defend them.

COOPER: David Sanger, I really appreciate your time. Thank you.

SANGER: Great to be with you.

COOPER: It's been six weeks since 19 students and two teachers were murdered in Uvalde, Texas. Six weeks and still no answers from officials what more than 50 family members told CNN about the accountability that they are still seeking and deserve. Next.


COOPER: A document obtained by CNN today shows embattled Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo asked for temporary leave from the city council to quote, focus on addressing school matters related to the tragedy about two weeks before resigning from the council. This comes as the Texas Department of Public Safety today, citing the Uvalde County District Attorney denied a request or at least a 77-minute video of the hallway outside of the classroom before it was breached.

Meanwhile, families are still demanding and waiting for answers and they haven't gotten them.

CNN's Shimon Prokupecz spoke with some of the victims families.


VELNA DURAN, SISTER OF ROBB ELEMENTARY VICTIM IRMA GARCIA: It was just like putting salt on an open wound.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every drip of new information adding to the pain for the families of the victims.

DURAN: It's just really hard, because there's just so what's the free and it's hard to grieve when there's no closure.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): More than 50 family members gathered together in Uvalde to meet with CNN. The son brother and sister of teacher Irma Garcia, and the father of 10-year-old Jackie Cazeras spoke on camera, six weeks after their loved ones 19 children and two teachers were killed. They still need answers.

(on-camera): When you say there's no closure. What are you looking for?

DURAN: I want people to be held accountable.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): A new report this week said an armed Uvalde police officer had an opportunity to shoot the gunman before he went inside the school, potentially stopping the tragedy before it began. Today the Uvalde mayor disputed that claim. The investigation is now the subject of intense scrutiny with conflicting reports emerging and political infighting between local leaders and top state officials. It's more confusion more frustration for these families.

(on-camera): When you hear about some of the new information that's now come out, what are you thinking?

JACINTO CAZARES, FATHER OF ROBB ELEMENTARY VICTIM JACKIE CAZARES: They should have gone into something in their training that was retraining stop an active shooter, that's the first thing they're supposed to do is aggravated, they didn't do that.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): What we know for sure is that police just feed away in the hallway waited and waited. Two unlock doors a lack of effective command, the officers poorly positioned inside the school were all issues highlighted in Wednesday's report from the advanced law enforcement Rapid Response Training Center.

Irma Garcia's brother is a police officer in San Antonio. He says the inaction in the hallway is unfathomable.

MARCUS LOZANO, BROTHER OF ROBB ELEMENTARY VICTIM IRMA GARCIA: -- breaching tools. I love my blurs and blue but it's just like any profession, you know. This profession is not made for everybody. But when it's time to suit up when, you know, stare, death and faith. You know they went weak on the news.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): Cristian Garcia, Irma's oldest child says he's gone numb, trying to hold his emotions inside.

CRISTIAN GARCIA, SON OF ROBB ELEMENTARY VICTIM IRMA GARCIA: Why did my mom have to go to the door and death in the freaking eye and try to lock that door?

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): After his mother died in the shooting, his father died two days later from a heart attack. Now he wants accountability.

GARCIA: One thing I don't want those officers that were in those hallways. I want them to resign.

PROKUPECZ (on-camera): So you want all those officers gone, that (INAUDIBLE).


GARCIA: The minute I heard that my mom was dead. I yelled out, I should have taken that bullet. Because I'm in the military. I know what has to be done. I signed up for that. My mom protected those kids. But no one protected her.


CAZARES: My daughter was a fighter, took a little bullet to the heart that's still (INAUDIBLE). She fought hard to stay alive. These coward going to go in.


COOPER: Shimon joins me now from San Antonio. Shimon, I don't know that I've ever seen a situation where so many weeks after a slaughter of children, law enforcement across the state and officials across the state have remained silent and have not told the families. What has happened? And I know they say there's investigations going on. But it's hard to see this as anything other than given their statements and given their misdirections and their lies from the beginning as a cover up as misdirection, and the disrespect.

I mean, you had, how many people, how many family members were in that room listening to those family members speak, agreeing with what they were saying. PROKUPECZ: There were 60, about close to 60 family members who had family members of those who survived. And then you had the family members, you know, sadly, of the children who died. We were trying to get more of them to speak out. And we are going to hear from more. We're going to start hearing from some of the surviving families. And look, Anderson, you're absolutely right. It's you know, every time there is a piece of information that comes out, it contradicts something else. You know, we just learned today that the information about it just Uvalde police officer who had the gunman inside and could have taken -- taking him out.

Well, the mayor here in Uvalde, says it's not true. I spoke to the mayor just a short time. He said when that information came out, he went and did his own investigation. He went to the police chief of Uvalde and asked him, is this true? And the chief says no. And that we told this to the DPS that's running this investigation, the Department of Public Safety and the Texas Rangers.

So it's very hard Anderson, after all this time to really understand what is going on here. What are folks hiding? Look, those family members, they certainly think there's a cover up here, they certainly think that the police and law enforcement is hiding. This is a huge embarrassment for the police and how they handle this. They allow these children --

COOPER: Well is the sheriff still refusing to testify?

PROKUPECZ: -- (INAUDIBLE) in blood. No, he's going to testify, but remember, you're right. He didn't want to testify at first. And now he agreed to testify. That's supposed to happen on Monday. But that's happening behind closed doors. So we're not even going to know what he says.

Look, the bottom line is, like we say every night, there's still so many unanswered questions. I don't know I, you know, I hope these families get the answers that they want. You have a district attorney who's telling authorities don't speak, she's texting them, her office is texting the families when this report is coming out, not giving them a heads up, not telling them it's coming, just sending them the report. And then they have to read this horrific information. Basically on Facebook, that's where a lot of them are getting their information.

So something is going on.


PROKUPECZ: It's completely not making any sense. But I could tell you Anderson, and I know this from talking to state officials, and some of the government officials, they're starting to feel the pressure. What these families are doing by speaking out and coming forward like they did last night and today is starting to have an effect on the governor here and the government here. And hopefully soon, we'll start seeing some of the evidence that they've been reviewing.

COOPER: I mean, the governor was lied to as well and went out and put out lies because that's what he was told by I guess by his law enforcement people. And I guess he didn't ask too many questions, even though the questions were obvious about what to be asked and he just went along with the lies he was told, and the disrespect being shown to these family members. It's truly just extraordinary to me. And I so appreciate that you were able to get people together and talk to them and let them voice what they, you know, want to hear from authorities. It's so disrespectful of officials.

Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, President Biden signs an executive order on abortion rights. Question is what actually does? And abortion dominating the Senate race in the key battleground state of Nevada, next.



COOPER: President Biden today signed an executive order aiming at protecting reproductive rights in the wake of last month's Supreme Court decision, the White House saying the Secretary of Health and Human Services will issue a report outlining efforts to expand access to contraception, increased public outreach, provide new legal assistance to patients and doctors and focus on protecting patient privacy.

Doing more the President said calls for electing lawmakers this November who would support federal legislation protecting abortion access. That is CNN's Kyung Lah reports it is a hot topic on the campaign trail in Nevada Senate race.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the battleground state of Nevada, the balance of the U.S. Senate --

SUSAN FISHER, REGISTERED REPUBLICAN: The woman's right to choose is not a partisan issue.

LAH (voice-over): -- may lie with abortion rights supporters like Susan Fisher.

FISHER: I'm a registered Republican the day I turned 18.

LAH (on-camera): How angry are you about what's happened on this issue?

FISHER: On a scale of one to 10 about a nine and a half.

LAH (on-camera): That's pretty angry.


LAH (voice-over): Angry enough to reject her party's Senate nominee and instead support a Democrat. In 1990, Nevada voters codified abortion access into the state constitution. Then a young mother of two, Fisher was one of the activists who went door to door to convince voters. In the 2022 midterms on the heels of Roe v. Wade being overturned, Fisher fears that that work could be unspun.

FISHER: I do think that this is going to be a pivotal issue for a lot of races, and especially in this state.

LAH (on-camera): How many women out there do you think are like you?

FISHER: I think a whole lot more than we know. I really do.

SEN. CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTRO (D-NV): The opponent who was running against me is would be the vote that would support a federal abortion ban.


LAH (voice-over): The majority of Nevadans support abortion rights and incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto is seizing on the issue to hammer away a Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt.

ADAM LAXALT (R-NV) SENATE CANDIDATE: My name is Adam Laxalt. I'm ready to fight for what is right.

LAH (voice-over): Who was mounting a significant challenge backed by Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP (R) FMR PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: And there's no one more trustworthy in Nevada than Adam Laxalt.

LAH (voice-over): Laxalt has said he will honor Nevada State Constitution protecting abortion, but then audio obtained by the Nevada independent suggests Laxalt wants to reverse the state constitution.

LAXALT: Roe v. Wade was always a joke. There was a total complete invention. We are not a pro life state. We've got work to do on that.

CORTEZ MASTRO: Women are outraged because this is a state that we really respect women's freedom and the right to choose and just outraged by what we see happening across the country.

LAH (voice-over): But the outrage front and center among voters is on prices affecting their pocketbooks.

JESSICA RODRIGUEZ, VOTER: Gas prices, grocery prices, housing market, all that.

LAH (on-camera): What do you want to tell the party in power right now, about how you feel?

RODRIGUEZ: You last down.

LAH (voice-over): At this Reno grocery store, other Democrats say abortion rights are vital, but so is feeding their families tonight.

TAURA COLEMAN, REGISTERED DEMOCRAT: I am a registered Democrat. And I'm kind of debating on why, I'm not going to lie.

LAH (on-camera): You know, Catherine Cortez Masto is on the ballot?

COLEMAN: Yes, yes.

LAH (on-camera): Will you be voting for her?

COLEMAN: I maybe actually, maybe. We're going to see. I'm playing it all by ear right now.

LAH (on-camera): Senator Cortez Masto is crisscrossing the state talking not just to women but also to working class Latinos. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump, former President Donald Trump is scheduled to be here in Las Vegas this evening rallying side by side with Adam Laxalt in order to energize Republican voters. Anderson.


COOPER: And the racist go on. We'll be right back.



COOPER: News continues. Want to hand over Kasie Hunt in "CNN TONIGHT." Kasie.