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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Former Trump White House Aside Cassidy Hutchinson Cooperating With DOJ Criminal Probe; Trump's Defense Secretary Denies There Were Orders To Have 10K Troops Ready To Deploy; Source: Biden Administration Has Offered Convicted Russian Arms Deals In Exchange For Griner, Whelan; Manchin, Schumer Announce Deal For Energy And Health Care Bill After More Than A Year Of Negotiations; Robb Elementary School Principal Breaks Silence On Criticism Over School Safety After Uvalde Mass Shooting; Customers Relish Costco's Inflation-Proof Hot Dog And Soda Combo; Happy 100th Birthday To Norman Lear. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 27, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Perhaps most important of all, well he defended Beaver from the likes of Eddie Haskell.

The show debuted all the way back in 1957, but reruns have aired ever since. Dow did struggle with depression in his adult years, but went on to direct other TV shows. Tony Dow was 77 years old.

Thanks so much for joining us.

AC 360 starts now.



We begin with breaking news in the January 6 investigation, the latest in a string of major developments on the subject throughout the day.

CNN has learned from multiple sources that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could sit down for a deposition with the House Select Committee as soon as this week, and we've seen more indications today that the other investigation, the Justice Department's criminal probe has progressed further than previously thought.

Late today, CNN learned that the Justice Department obtained a second warrant for that man, right-wing Attorney John Eastman's cell phone. This one permitting them to actually look at the contents of the cell phone. Eastman, as you know, is the one who cooked up the dubious legal rationale for overturning the election.

Also today, there is word that Cassidy Hutchinson, former top aide to then White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who testified before the January 6 Committee is cooperating with the Department of Justice. That's according to a source with knowledge of the discussions, and it comes with a caveat. We don't yet know the extent of her cooperation.

We're learning though that she is not alone. This morning an acquaintance of hers, former White House Communications Director and current CNN political commentator, Alyssa Farah Griffin said she is "Aware of other White House officials who have been reached out to by the Department and are planning to cooperate." She was more specific when asked about it this afternoon.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: There was someone else in the broader network who I'd consider mid-level that could support some of what they're looking into specifically around similar questions to what Short was asked about, which is the pressure campaign on Mike Pence in the days leading up to January 6th, the schemes of things like fake electors, and even some of these creative ways that certain officials at the Department of Justice wanted to bypass the law to try to hold on to victory.


COOPER: The Short she referred to there is former Pence Chief of Staff, Marc Short, who we now know testified before the grand jury, the Federal grand jury. Greg Jacob as well on the right of your screen served as a top lawyer to the former Vice President. He also testified, which doesn't necessarily confirm that prosecutors are planning to make the former President's campaign to pressure Mike Pence to doing his bidding part of a case against him.

But Short's and Jacob's testimonies also with what Alyssa Farah Griffin just said might suggest it as does "The Washington Post" reporting yesterday that Federal prosecutors have asked hours of detailed questions about the fake elector scheme.

The news of Cassidy Hutchinson's cooperation is also suggestive because what she can tell prosecutors about the former President's apparent willingness to turn the mob, some of whom he knew to be armed on the Capitol and then refuse to call them off. Consider what she has already said to the House Select Committee.


CASSIDY HUTCHINSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE: I was in the vicinity of a conversation where I overheard the President say something to the effect of, you know, I don't effing care that they have weapons. They're not here to hurt me. Take the effing mags away. Let my people in. They can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in.

I saw Mr. Cipollone right before I walked out onto West Exec that morning, and Mr. Cipollone said something to the effect of, please make sure we don't go up to the Capitol, Cassidy. Keep in touch with me. We're going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.

And I remember Pat saying to him something to the effect of the rioters have gotten to the Capitol, Mark. We need to go down and see the President now. And Mark looked up at him and said, he doesn't want to do anything, Pat. And Pat said something to the effect of, and very clearly had said this to Mark, something to the effect of, Mark, something needs to be done or people are going to die and the blood is going to be on your effing hands.


COOPER: The Pat she is talking about in that case, the former White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, whose cooperation with the Department of Justice, if any, is unknown. Mark that she is referring to his former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and he is another piece of the puzzle.

We already know that Mr. Meadows has handed over thousands of text messages to the Select Committee. Yet despite being cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to testify, the Justice Department has declined to prosecute him, which raises questions about whether he too might be cooperating.

It is something legal experts, including Harvard Law School's Laurence Tribe have been talking about and we'll talk to Professor Tribe about it in just a moment.

For his part, when asked recently about it, Mark Meadows literally walked away from the question.


REPORTER: Have you heard from the Department of Justice since the January 6th Committee hearings?

MARK MEADOWS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I don't comment. I don't comment on anything on January 6th.

REPORTER: Did you ask for a pardon?

MEADOWS: I don't comment on --

REPORTER: Seeing these hearings, does it change your mind about what you went through with President Trump?

Do you watch the hearings?

MEADOWS: I don't comment on anything on January 6th. I appreciate the job you're doing, but I don't comment on anything --


REPORTER: Mr. Meadows, today, we know that people like Cipollone and other people will talk about what you were doing in those 187 minutes leading up to the attack. Aides that worked for you like Cassidy Hutchinson have testified against what you've said and what you've been doing that day. Do you have any response to Cassidy Hutchinson?

REPORTER: Have you spoken to Cassidy Hutchinson before or after her testimony? MEADOWS: As I said, I don't comment on anything on January 6th, guys. I appreciate the job you're doing.

REPORTER: Have you been in touch with Members of Congress about asking for pardons? Sir, is there anything the January 6th Committee is doing that worries you? Are you coopering with the Committee?

REPORTER: Do you believe you should provide more documents to the Committee? Testimony? Do you think Donald Trump committed a crime for his inaction on January 6th?

Mr. Meadows, recently, President Trump has said that he will make his announcement about the next election. This has nothing to do with January 6th? What about that? What about that comment?

MEADOWS: The President's opinions obviously speak for themselves.

REPORTER: Would you continue to work with him?

MEADOWS: Again, I am not commenting on anything that relates to the President running or January 6.

REPORT: Mr. Meadows, we've seen the behind the scenes footage. We've seen your texts in real time. Is there anything you want to say about those 187 minutes and that day?

MEADOWS: Obviously, I am not commenting on anything on January 6.


COOPER: So he is not commenting as you have probably picked up from that, not to reporters, at least. However, Attorney General Garland is and that is perhaps the most significant puzzle piece so far, because whatever happens next would be his call. And he's now on record saying he'll prosecute anyone up to and including the former President, even if he's a presidential candidate, again.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We intend to hold everyone, anyone, who was criminally responsible for the events surrounding January 6, for any attempt to interfere with the lawful transfer of power from one administration to another, accountable, that's what we do. We don't pay any attention to other issues with respect to that.

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: So if Donald Trump were to become a candidate for President again, that would not change your schedule or how you move forward or don't move forward?

GARLAND: I'll say again, that we will hold accountable anyone who was criminally responsible for attempting to interfere with the transfer -- legitimate lawful transfer of power from one administration to the next.


COOPER: Who that might be remains perhaps the biggest missing piece of the puzzle, still.

We begin with CNN's Ryan Nobles at the Capitol.

Ryan, what are you learning about former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's interactions with the January 6 Committee?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we know that Pompeo and his team have been engaging with the Select Committee, and I'm told that he could sit for a closed door deposition with Committee investigators as soon as this week, and that is an important development because we know that the Committee has been especially interested in members of the Trump Cabinet. And I'm told that is because they're very interested in conversations related to the 25th Amendment after what took place on January 6th.

There have been several Cabinet members that have already come before the Committee. We've seen some of their depositions during the Select Committee hearings and with some of the video deposition clips that the Committee has released, including Chris Miller, who was the Acting Secretary of Defense. They just released some of his deposition this week. Of course, the acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen, and also the then Labor Secretary, Eugene Scalia.

So we know they've talked to Cabinet Secretaries. They could have talked to Cabinet Secretaries that we don't even know about yet, but this also shows us, Anderson, while the Department of Justice, obviously expanding their investigation, the January 6 Select Committee is far from being finished.

COOPER: What about Cassidy Hutchinson? I mean, we know about the access she had during her time in the White House, the insight she has already provided to the House Select Committee. How valuable a witness could she be for the Justice Department's investigation? Because, you know, some of what she said was based on -- it was hearsay. It was things she had overheard other people said.

NOBLES: Yes, it's a great point, Anderson. And all we know about her engagement with the Department of Justice right now is that she is cooperating. We don't know if she sat for an interview yet, if she has appeared before the grand jury.

But to your point, just what we've seen her already testify to in a public setting under oath to the January 6 Select Committee certainly serves as a roadmap for Department of Justice investigators and it also could lead them to other potential witnesses that they could bring in and ask questions to and the subpoena power of the DOJ is a bit easier to enforce than that of the January 6 Select Committee.

So Hutchinson no doubt is a very key witness for the Department of Justice. We saw how many of the revelations that the Committee were able to bring forward kind of exploded around the Hutchinson testimony and the public testimony that she provided in that hearing.


And you know, when you couple that with what we've learned about John Eastman, who is the conservative lawyer who hatched the pressure campaign on Mike Pence, that the Committee not just interested in what they found on Eastman during a search of him a couple of weeks ago, but that they now where he is exactly where the Department of Justice is headed.

And it couples with what Merrick Garland told NBC this week that it is not just about the riot itself, but also the attempts to stand in the way of the peaceful transfer of power, and that just shows how serious things are getting in the Department of Justice.

COOPER: Yes. Ryan Nobles, appreciate it. As always, thanks.

Perspective now from Harvard Law Professor, Laurence Tribe, co-author of "To End the Presidency: The Power of Impeachment."

Professor Tribe, thanks for being with us.

I want to get to the Justice Department's expanded criminal probe in a moment. What are your thoughts though on former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo potentially sitting for an interview with the Select Committee?

LAURENCE TRIBE, HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR: Well, it is clear that the Select Committee is interested in why there was discussion within the Cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would essentially have sidelined the former President.

That amendment is there only for purposes of removing from power someone who can no longer safely exercise it. What was it that led them to think that this man was so much out of control that he could no longer be trusted with the presidency? Finding out in detail what he said to them or what he said in their presence could be invaluable in deciding whether he is a continuing threat and what his state of mind was leading up to and during the violent insurrection.

COOPER: We've learned that Federal prosecutors are investigating the former President's conversations. They've seized phone records of former top aides. Now, as we just heard, you have Cassidy Hutchinson who is cooperating with the Justice Department, we don't know to what degree at this point.

What does it tell you overall, about the scope of the focus of this federal investigation?

TRIBE: Well, is, especially in the context of what Merrick Garland said to Lester Holt. What it tells me is that they are looking at the entire scheme to prevent the lawful transfer of power. It's a scheme that we now have reason to believe began, right at the time of the election, continued into December, was not simply at or around the January 6 insurrection.

And every indication is that they're looking at the fake elector scheme. They're looking at the pressure on the Vice President. They're looking at the threats to his life. They're looking at the way in which the President encouraged, assembled, and basically aimed an angry mob at the Capitol. They're looking at all of it. And Merrick Garland couldn't have been clearer that he intends through the Department of Justice to completely hold responsible, even the former President of the United States.

COOPER: Do you believe Merrick Garland would do that? I mean, it's -- obviously, it is one thing to say it, it is another -- obviously there's tremendous pressure and it would raise all sorts of political questions and accusations of politics if somebody, a former president who, if he is running for office again, was charged with something.

TRIBE: Do I believe him? Absolutely. I've known him for 50 years. He was my student. He is a straight shooter.

I believe every word he says, and they're very measured words. He clearly believes that it would undermine democracy, not to mention the integrity of the Justice Department and his own legacy, for him to allow a former President simply by waving a magic wand and saying, "I think I'm going to surround myself with the shield of being a candidate. You can't get me now." He is not going to allow that.

If he were, Anderson, then he clearly was misleading the American people in what he told Lester Holt and it's just not in his nature to be sneaky.

COOPER: Well, you heard Ryan Nobles' reporting about the second warrant to search the cellphone of this Trump lawyer, John Eastman. What do you think the significance of that is?

TRIBE: Well, I think it is significant because as the US Supreme Court has said, when you search the contents of a cellphone, you're searching somebody's entire life. You're searching all of their movements with people they talk to, their texts, everything.

Originally, I think it was on June 22nd, they simply had a warrant to seize the physical object. The only way they could get a warrant from a Federal Judge to search the contents of the phone is to persuade a Federal Judge that those contents contain evidence of specific Federal crimes.


And the only crimes that Eastman seems to have been involved with are crimes that involve helping Donald Trump stay in office by any means possible, however illegal.

So I think that is a very strong sign that the Department of Justice is pursuing the entire conspiratorial arrangement.

COOPER: And just finally, with Mark Meadows, the fact that -- I mean, do you think he is cooperating already? Do you think likely that he would cooperate?

TRIBE: Well, I have no way of reading his mind, but I can tell you that the strongest plausible reason that the Department of Justice decided and announced it was deciding not to prosecute him for contempt of Congress the way they did Bannon is that they have higher plans in store for him.

That probably means prosecuting him for part of the conspiracy -- seditious conspiracy punishable by 20 years in prison. That would give him quite an incentive to flip on his boss.

COOPER: Wow. Laurence Tribe, great to talk to you. I appreciate it.

TRIBE: Good to talk to you, Anderson.

COOPER: Coming up next, what the former Acting Defense Secretary told the House Select Committee about the former President's failure to order National Guard troops into the Capitol for the 6th, how it stacks up to Mark Meadows claim that a direct order was given. We'll talk to a former Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen.

Also tonight, CNN exclusive reporting on what the Biden administration is offering Russia for the return of Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.



COOPER: As the pieces of a potential Federal criminal case against the former President or those around him begin to become known, tonight, it is worth focusing as well on what the House January 6 Committee believes was his dereliction of duty as the mob he invited, incited, then turn it loose on the Capitol carried out their assault.

Late yesterday, not long after his return to Washington, the Committee released video bolstering that case and undermining this key claim about the 6th.


MEADOWS: As many as 10,000 National Guard troops were told to be on the ready by the Secretary of Defense. That was a direct order from President Trump.


COOPER: Well, that was former Chief of Staff, Mark Meadows, a month after the assault, and here is the former President.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I definitely gave the number of 10,000 National Guardsmen. I think you should have 10,000 of the National Guard ready.

They took that number from what I understand, they gave it to the people at the Capitol, which is controlled by Pelosi and I heard they rejected it because they think it would look good.


COOPER: Now here is Christopher Miller, who was Acting Defense Secretary at the time appearing before the Select Committee.


QUESTION: To be crystal clear, there was no direct order from President Trump to put 10,000 troops to be on the ready for January 6th?

CHRISTOPHER MILLER, FORMER US SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: No. Yes. That's correct. There was no direct -- there was no order from the President.


COOPER: No order from the President.

Now, you should know the story is not quite cut and dry as "The Washington Post" and others have reported. Although the former President never gave a direct order, Miller told "Vanity Fair" that in a meeting on January 5th, he did say: "You're going to need 10,000 people." Miller went on to say, "And we're like, maybe, but you know someone's going to have to ask for it." To which Miller says the former President said, "You do what you need to do."

Again, not an order, and as "The Post" fact checker points out, he certainly didn't know how to order the National Guard into action as he did in June of 2020, when Federal authorities used gas and flashbang grenades to clear the way for a presidential photo opportunity outside a church across from the White House.

Joining us now, William Cohen, former Republican senator from Maine who served as Secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration.

Secretary Cohen, thanks for being with us.

Are you at all surprised that the former Acting Secretary of Defense's testimony debunks the lies from the former President and Mark Meadows? What would be the process for a President to actually order it -- order troops in?

WILLIAM COHEN, FORMER US SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Sure. A President at any time could order the National Guard to be activated as such, very reluctant to do that, particularly, we have the Posse Comitatus law. We have rules of engagement that have to be very clearly defined, you can't just give an order and say carry it out, you have to have rules in place at some point along the chain of command.

Dealing with the District of Columbia is a bit different, because it's not a State, it doesn't have a Governor. And so you would have basically the mayor of the city making a request that would go to the Joint Forces headquarters in DC or the National Guard, who would then report it up to the Secretary of the Army.

And again, it's complicated, because under the existing structure, the President is the Commander-in-Chief. He has delegated that authority on the National Guard to the Secretary of the Army -- Secretary of Defense rather, who then delegate it to the Secretary of the Army. So very complicated, all being changed. But here's why I think what's clear to me at least with the Acting Secretary of Defense. Number one, remember on January 3rd, ten former Secretaries of Defense wrote an open letter to The Pentagon saying, "Remember your oath of office. Do not allow the military to be used for political purposes. Your oath is to the Constitution and not to any one President."

Secondly, we're finding out that it is unlikely that they were ordered to put 10,000 troops in because the President didn't want the National Guard to foil his plan to have these armed insurrectionists storm the Capitol.

If the Guards had been deployed, they would have come face-to-face with American citizens. They might have had baton and sticks et cetera and that would have been an intolerable situation with a President of the United States using the military, to use armed force against, peaceful, at least at that point demonstrators.


So I don't believe the President gave that order. He may have done it a year before, back in June 2020. He made the statement, he wanted to have 10,000 troops go into the various cities where Black people essentially are supported by their White counterparts and associates, who were demonstrating against the police shooting and killing of unarmed Black men and women. Then he said, I want 10,000 troops.

He did not, I believe, say it here or they would have been deployed.

COOPER: I want to play something that the former President said in his speech just yesterday that the Federal government should circumvent Governor's use of the National Guard to fight crime. Let's watch.


TRUMP: And where there is a true and total breakdown of law and order, where citizens most basic rights have been violated, then the Federal government can and should send the National Guard to restore order and secure the peace without having to wait for the approval of some Governor that thinks it is politically incorrect to call them in.

The next President needs to send the National Guard to the most dangerous neighborhoods in Chicago until safety can be successfully restored, which can happen very, very quickly.


COOPER: Beyond his weird teleprompter reading right now, does that make any sense to you? I mean, there's a reason as you just talked about Posse Comitatus, there is a reason the President isn't sending troops into cities at the drop of a hat.

COHEN: Whatever happened to States' rights? I thought that was a fundamental tenet of the Conservative Party's philosophy, that we allow the States to control their own citizens. In the event that any State Governor says "I'm being overrun by protests, I can't control it. Civil authority is breaking down," he can then request the President to send in troops to help him out.

In extraordinary circumstances, whether there's a flood, a hurricane, where they're losing all forms of law and order, the President might under those circumstances act.

But one other thing to keep in mind here, we supported -- we put a letter out warning The Pentagon not to engage or recommend the Insurrection Act invocation.

In our past -- I want to think about the irony involved here -- in the past, the Insurrection Act, which was passed in 1807 was invoked first by President Eisenhower to help Black children have safe passage into a school. It was done by President Kennedy for the same reason, to help Black people have entry into public schools.

And in this particular case, you have a President -- a former President who wanted to consider using the Insurrection Act to go after people who are protesting the killing of Black people, really a total misuse of the authority of the government there and every conservative should speak out against what he is proposing.

COOPER: Yes. William Cohen, I appreciate it, as always, thank you so much.

Up next, new and exclusive details about the Biden administration's plan for a potential prisoner swap to bring home Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan.

Ahead, also a change of heart for Senator Joe Manchin it appears after he strikes a deal with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for an energy and healthcare bill.



COOPER: Now CNN exclusive sources say that in efforts to secure the release for Americans Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan from Russia. The Biden administration has offered to trade convicted arms trafficker Viktor Bout. This comes as Griner testified in Russia today in her ongoing drug trial. During that testimony, Griner said she had no intention of smuggling drugs to Russia and that she still did not understand how the cannabis oil ended up in her luggage. Her lawyer there told journalists that her detention search and arrest was improper.

Whelan has been held by Russia since June, since 2018, excuse me, on espionage allegations. Bout is serving a 25-year-prison sentence in the U.S.

Joining me now is CNN chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins and CNN senior political correspondent Abby Phillip. Abby also interviewed Griner's wife last month before Griner's trial began. Kaitlan, why did the administration decide to make this proposal public?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: They say that this was a decision they did not take lightly to announce this. Obviously, it's very rare for them to announce any details about a prisoner swap before its actually taken place. Typically, that is something that is done almost entirely behind the scenes with very few people knowing about it, given it's just such a sensitive situation. But they said that a lot of factors went into this Anderson and I think really what it has to do with is the timing here, because this was a proposal the United States made to Russia back in June. Of course, it is now almost August, and clearly, Russia has not responded not at least in a substantive way. I'm told they've only acknowledged that they yes, they have received the offer from the United States. And I should note U.S. officials have not actually confirmed that it is Viktor Bout for Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner, but they've also not disputed that reporting from our State Department team.

And so, I think the timing here is what's concerning them the fact that this is someone they know Russia very much wants, yet Russia has not engaged substantively with them. And that's why they want to make sure they're talking about this. They're putting this proposal out there. Maybe it will increase pressure on the Russians to accept a deal like this. That really remains to be seen. But it is clear that the timing is a consideration here because they have not gotten a real response from the Russians yet on this front.

COOPER: Abby, I know you reached out to the Griner family to get their reaction. What have you heard or anything?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, I think they're being very careful at this moment. And it's partly because of what Kaitlan is referring to. This particular moment is a delicate one. The trial for Brittney Griner is ongoing, they don't expect that it will conclude until about the first week of August and they also don't expect from what I've heard from the people in the Griner family and the Griner camp, they don't expect a whole lot of movement until after this legal process for whatever it is worth is concluded.

And so, they are happy that this is out there that the offer has been made. They've been pushing for this publicly and privately for quite some time, but also being extraordinarily careful to wait for this process in Russia to play out and hoping that at the end of that process, that that this public pressure now from the Biden administration urges Russia to come to the table and do a deal.


COOPER: Kaitlan, is it clear how much President Biden was involved in this proposal?

COLLINS: He approved it. And something this high level obviously goes straight to the President for his approval before an actual proposal like this is made. What's interesting about this is this is not something that officials at the Justice Department wanted to see. They are not often fans of prisoner swaps. And you can understand why Preet Bharara obviously was one of the people who prosecuted Viktor Bout, you can hear from them, you know, the people who worked on this case, they don't often want to see them just exchange, especially given he is serving a 25-year sentence. You know, he's described as this bad guy by prosecutors who worked on that case.

And so, they don't often like to see something like this. But I think also they recognize that it's a reality. And President Biden is the one who really weighs the risks there and makes the decision. And he did make the decision to override any Justice Department complaints or protest of engaging in this and offering Viktor Bout in this prisoner swap. And so, he was involved in that matter. Obviously, he hasn't been involved directly in offering this to the Russians, which we are told has been made multiple times through several different channels. And I asked (INAUDIBLE), you know, does President Biden himself need to get involved in this? They didn't say yes or no yet, Anderson.

COOPER: And Abby, I know you spoke with Brittney Griner's wife last month about a potential prisoner exchange. What did she say?

PHILLIP: Yes, I raised this very prospect with her. And she answered carefully, but directly that she wanted to see the Biden administration do whatever was necessary. Take a listen.


CHERELLE GRINER, BRITTNEY GRINER'S WIFE: To be very honest with you, I don't really listen to much of the talk about the how in measures of you know, what is necessary to get her home. But if that's what's necessary, then yes, do it.

I want us to be able to say yes to what they want, because I want my wife back. So I'm hopeful because our government is telling me she's a priority. So I'm very hopeful that whatever their asks is that our government loves my wife as much as I do that they're willing to say yes, because at the end of the day, no Russian is worth more than BG to me.


PHILLIP: And keep in mind, Anderson, that Viktor Bout obviously is a convicted criminal, but he's also served quite a lot of his sentence. And the argument that some people make is that while he's a high value prisoner for Putin, he's also someone who is nearing actually the end of his prison sentence here in the United States making a swap like this something that ought to be on the table. Anderson.

COOPER: Abby Phillip, Kaitlan Collins, appreciate it. Thank you.

Just hours ago, surprise deal was announced in the Senate for a bill nearly everyone thought was dead after more than a year of negotiation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin reached a deal on an energy and health care bill.

Joining us now from Capitol Hill congressional correspondent, Jessica Dean. So what is this bill? JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, it appears to have risen from the dead. And what is most surprising about this agreement from Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin is that it includes tax provisions and climate provisions. You'll remember not too long ago, we were talking about how Senator Manchin had said he wouldn't be supporting any of those things. So this agreement that we heard about and reported on late this afternoon would include a corporate minimum tax, a 15%, corporate minimum tax, it would also include climate provisions that aim to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, again, things that we didn't anticipate seeing in this. And then it would also allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices and extend these ACA, these Affordable Care Act subsidies for Americans out there who relying on those to pay for their insurance.

But again, Anderson, this news came to be we were talking to senators, they were walking on to the Senate floor to vote, Senate Democrats, they're going to need all 50 of them to get this through. We were asking them what their reaction wasn't a lot of them really didn't know much of anything about this deal. They were still getting information. We do know that they will be meeting tomorrow as a group where they are expected to kind of get this more all laid out. And again, we must underscore this as a Democrats only bill. So they need all 50 Senate Republicans and then it's got to go to the House where of course, Speaker Pelosi is working with that very small vote margin.

COOPER: Do we know what changed Senator Manchin's mind?

DEAN: At this point, Anderson, we know that after he said he unequivocally would not be supporting those climate and tax provisions that he and Schumer restarted their negotiations after July 18th. And then came to a deal today. So this is all just been in the last several days that this is all developed. And again, it's been something that is we've talked about that they've negotiated, it's gone from, you know, some three and a half trillion dollars Build Back Better all the way down to something we thought would be even more narrow than what we saw today. And it's worth noting, Senator Joe Manchin has been out of the Capitol physically, he's been recalled differing from COVID.

So, it remains to be seen Of course we'll hear more from him about kind of what changed his mind, but Senate Democrats really hoping for this big boost as they head into their August recess. Of course, a lot of these Democrats want to go home and talk about things as they campaign for reelection.


COOPER: Yes, Jessica Dean, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, another CNN exclusive, an interview with the principal of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas who has been placed on administrative leave with pay. Her reaction to the criticism of her handling school security that day, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Another CNN exclusive. Now, our Rosa Flores sat down with the principal of Robb Elementary School who has been placed on administrative leave with pay. Her name is Mandy Gutierrez and it's your first interview since a damning report by the Texas Legislature they include a criticism of school safety.


MANDY GUTIERREZ, PRINCIPAL, ROBB ELEMENTARY: When I was calling Chief Arredondo, I heard three shots. The initial three shots.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The principal of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, breaking her silence and answering questions about allegations of lack security at the school.

GUTIERREZ: I believe that I did my job to the best of my abilities.

FLORES (voice-over): While law enforcement is handling of that ill fated day has seen the most scrutiny up to now. The families of the victims.

BRETT CROSS, UVALDE PARENT: (INAUDIBLE) do not give a damn about our children or us.

FLORES (voice-over): Turning their calls for accountability towards the school administration, including the principal who says she was suspended with pay this week, pending a performance review relating to campus security. Last school year was her first year as principal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every starting at that school at Robb, that principal needs to be gone. All of the school board needs to be gone.

GUTIERREZ: I believe they're entitled to their opinion. I followed the training that I was provided with to the best of my abilities.

FLORES (voice-over): The Texas House Investigative Committee report revealed that Robb Elementary had a culture of non compliance with safety policies, requiring doors to be kept locked, which turned out to be fatal.

Gutierrez responding to that criticism.

(on-camera): Was there a culture of noncompliance at Robb Elementary?

GUTIERREZ: Absolutely not. Anytime that an alert went out, every single teacher on that campus took it to mean it could be a potential escalating situation. And so, every, everybody follows protocol.


FLORES (on-camera): So you disagree with the findings of the Texas House investigative report.

GUTIERREZ: I disagree.

FLORES (on-camera): According to the Texas House investigative report, a coach that was somewhere on school property saw the gunman jumped this fence. She used her radio to report it. The principal heard the call and try to initiate a lockdown using a software application. But the Wi-Fi was bad and she did not use the school intercom.

GUTIERREZ: It could potentially magnify a situation.

FLORES (on-camera): That's the door that the gunman used to enter the school according to the report, the door was unlocked. Had the door been locked as the policy required, it would have likely slowed down the gunman.

(voice-over): Instead, surveillance video showed the gunman walked into the building through an unlocked door.

(on-camera): Why was that door unlocked that day?

GUTIERREZ: I am not sure why that door was unlocked.

FLORES (on-camera): So that door was normally locked during the day?

GUTIERREZ: Always locked.

FLORES (on-camera): Always.


FLORES (voice-over): Then walked into a classroom, the report also states that the principal, teachers and even many fourth grade students widely knew of the problem with a locked to room 111 But no one placed a work order to repair the lock. Not the principal, not anyone else. Gutierrez disputes that account.

GUTIERREZ: What I know for a fact is that the door to room 111 did in fact lock.

FLORES (on-camera): It did?

GUTIERREZ: The teacher has to use the key to enter.

FLORES (on-camera): So somehow, the report says that it was likely unlocked. So somehow, it could have been unlocked on that day.

GUTIERREZ: That's possible.

FLORES (voice-over): Some of the families of the victims say any safety lapses were inexcusable.

(on-camera): And what would you tell her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You failed our children, you failed our children.

GUTIERREZ: I am very close to my staff, and my students, and many of their families. It is an unimaginable pain to know that we don't have those individuals with this anymore and that there's families that are missing their loved ones every single day.


COOPER: And Rosa Flores joins us now. Haven't gotten a response from the school district or the Texas House Investigative Committee about your interview?

FLORES: You know, the Texas House Investigative Committee issuing a statement to CNN saying that they stand by their report that it is based on multiple interviews with multiple entities. As for the school district Anderson, they responded to our requests, but they said they're too busy right now because they've had too many media requests. Anderson.

COOPER: And does the district attorney have any update on their investigation?

FLORES: You know, we got an update from her today. The DA says that the investigation is ongoing. She says that right now investigators are trying to sync all of the videos, surveillance videos, body camera videos to actual time and that has not been completed yet. And Anderson, I asked her about seeking justice if she would actually charge law enforcement. And she replied and said that she will not hesitate to indict a law enforcement officer if the law allows. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Rosa Flores, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up on the day, the Federal Reserve announced another major interest rate hike to tackle inflation. Our Gary Tuchman reports on one beloved American Classic that's as cheap as it was almost 40 years ago. Story and how it stayed that way, ahead.



COOPER: All the wrong economic numbers in this country appear to be going up, but one even as the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark rate today likely sending borrowing costs of toward off inflation. This is a 40-year high and even as housing prices are out of the reach many Americans, there is one cost bucking the trend.

When even a vegetarian like our own Gary Tuchman can appreciate. Here's Gary with the dog deal of summer.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A typical scene at a Costco warehouse. Lots of shoppers looking for good deals on items ranging from paper towels, to big screen TVs. But among many Costco customers like those here in Las Vegas, there is an emotional attachment to one thing in particular.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love these hot dogs, especially at Costco.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The hot dog that's inflation proof.

(on-camera): How much do you pay for that hot dog?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot dogs $1.50 with the soda as well.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): Ladies, all three of you enjoying hot dogs. How come you come here for hot dogs?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because they're an $1.50.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): If I told you that this hot dog, and a soft drink that you can refill as many times you want has been $1.50 for almost 40 years, would you believe that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe it because I've been buying it.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And she's far from the only one. Costco says since 1985 it has sold about 1.6 billion hotdogs and stores around the world. And despite inflation now and in the past, the price has stayed exactly the same for all those years.

(on-camera): How old are you?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): How old are you?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): How old are you?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): Do you know these hot dogs with the drink have been $1.50 for longer than all three of you have been alive.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we've been going to Costco since we were kids with our parents. So that's how we know.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): It's the price that kept pace with inflation, that 1985 buck 50 hotdogs soft drink combo, but now costs more than $4. This store alone so that average of almost 1,000 dogs a day in the last week. Costco loses quite a bit of money on hotdogs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's the only place that you've hotdog from. Yes, I don't eat hot dogs.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): Anywhere else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anywhere else, I don't even buy hotdogs. This is the only place I eat hot dogs.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): The Company recognizes the sanctity of the symbolism of the $1.50 price point. So now in this time of high inflation, Costco is publicly declaring it has no plans to raise the price of its hot dog.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's the one thing I can defend on the in the same price.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's great. And it's probably the best hot dog I've ever had. I don't eat other hot dogs.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): And frankly, not increasing the price of the legendary dog looks like a shrewd business move.

(on-camera): Do you think you'd do more shopping at Costco because you can get hot dogs expensive?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): So it makes you shop at Costco more?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): The fact that they have low hot dog prices.



COOPER: First of all, I want a hot dog now, I want a Costco hot dog. But I understand there was some discussion about raising the price of the combo at some point?

TUCHMAN: Right. But these executives at Costco are very aware they would anger their loyal hot dog lovers, if they raised the price too much. And we know that firsthand, because several years ago, there was a very interesting article in a business magazine called 425 Business, 425 is the area code for the eastern suburbs of Seattle, where Costco is based. And it was an interview with the CEO and there's no video of it. But I want to read two sentences from it because it's very funny and interesting. The CEO currently is Craig Jelinek. And he was talking about the former CEO and the co-founder of Costco, Jim Senegal. And the quote is, I came to him once and I said Jim, we can't sell this hotdog for a buck 50. We are losing our rear ends. And he said if you'll raise the price of the effing hotdog I will kill you.


And effing to be honest is not a euphemism for Frankfurter.

COOPER: Yes, I got that.

TUCHMAN: I should tell you also there are other items of the Costco that also stay the same for a lot of history chicken is 4.99.

COOPER: Wow. Then you should be like a pitchman.

TUCHMAN: I should, yes.

COOPER: I know you're a vegetarian. Did you eat one? Because there's no like big dogs. I like -- they look good.

TUCHMAN: Yes, so you know, my college career four years I more hot dogs and hamburgers and cheese steaks I should eat. I just stopped eating that.

COPER: All right.

TUCHMAN: But as a reporter, I felt like I had to eat the hot dogs. It was delicious.

COOPER: All right. Glad to hear. Gary Tuchman, appreciate it. Thank you.

Still to come, special 100th birthday message to a man responsible for some of the funniest moments in U.S. television history.


COOPER: And finally, tonight, we want to wish a very happy 100th birthday to a person who has helped shape this country to social conscience through some of the most beloved and hilarious sitcoms of all time. Norman Lear, who brought us all in The Family, Good Times, The Jefferson's, Maud, and so many others. He is still working. Today he penned an op-ed for the New York Times it starts, well, I made it. He talks about his career but mostly about this present political moment and feeling disheartened by current direction of our politics and courts and culture.

He then explains how he tries to manage the ups and downs of life, an attitude that he explained to me during the interview last year just before he turned 99.



COOPER (on-camera): What's your secret?

NORMAN LEAR, LEGENDARY TV PRODUCER: If there's a secret, there are two little words I don't pay enough attention to, over and next. When something is over, it is over. And we are on to next. And if there was a hammock in the middle, that would be the best way I know of identifying living the expression, living in the moment. So I like to think in the moment, I spent the last days since I knew we were going to be talking, looking forward to this moment, and I adore living it.


COOPER: He adores living each moment. An excellent suggestion for how to live in these complicated times. Happy birthday, Norman Lear, and thank you for all you have done.

The news continues. Let's hand it over to Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT." Laura.