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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Ohio Police Kill Armed Suspect Who Tried To Breach FBI Office; Justice Department Moves To Unseal Search Warrant For Trump's Home; Wash Post: FBI Searched Trump's Home To Look For Nuclear Documents And Other Items; Ohio Police Killed Armed Suspect Who Tried To Breach FBI Office; Elaine Chao Interviewed By January 6 Committee; Betsy DeVos And Trump's National Security Adviser In Talks With Committee. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 11, 2022 - 20:00   ET


DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are calling for that zone to get inspectors and the US government is saying it should be completely demilitarized -- Erin.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: David, thank you very much, in Kyiv tonight.

And thanks to all of you for being with us. AC 360 starts now.



After days of increasingly violent rhetoric against the FBI on right- wing social media and elsewhere, in the wake of the FBI's search of the former President's Florida mansion and attempts to discredit the Bureau by Republican lawmakers in certain cable channels, and now it appears, we've seen the first deadly consequences.

An unarmed man killed in a shootout after trying to breach the FBI Cincinnati office. Someone whose name is on a social media account spelling out in vivid detail the war he apparently believed he was launching.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is doing the reporting on the deeply troubling story, joins us now with the latest.

Brynn, what happened first of all? What are you learning about the suspect?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Anderson. We've learned from multiple sources that the suspects name is Ricky Shiffer, 42 years old. Investigators are still trying to figure out if he has, what kind of a connection he may have with right-wing extremist groups.

But what happened earlier today was at the Cincinnati field office of the FBI, Shiffer walked in there, according to our sources, armed with an AR-15 style rifle and a nail gun and tried to breach that office.

An alarm was sounded. He was pursued by enforcement not just -- law enforcement, not just on the Federal side, but the local and State as well. And there was a standoff for several hours in a rural area of Ohio, which ended when law enforcement tried to have nonlethal ways of sort of bringing him and tried to negotiate with him.

But then he was killed in the standoff when none of that was working. And like you said, we have come across a user account on Donald Trump's social media site, Truth Social bearing the same name of Ricky Shiffer and authorities have not confirmed it's his account. But we do have one source telling my colleague Josh Campbell that there is a government ID matching the same picture.

And in at least one post he actually talks about -- this user talks about what happened at the FBI field office today. I want to read for you word for word for word what this post says. It says, "Well, I thought I had a way through bulletproof glass and I didn't. If you don't hear from me, it is true. I tried attacking the FBI and it'll mean either I was taken off the internet, the FBI got me, or they sent the regular cops while." And it just sort of ends there.

This post was actually about 15 minutes after we learned that this person breached the FBI office. So it's possible, this person on the account wasn't able to finish that thought. And if you look deeper into this social media account, which is actually fairly new, there's not too many posts on there. There is just a ton of violent rhetoric against the FBI.

This person said they were in Washington on January 6, and there are several posts from this user talking about how they believe the election of Donald Trump in 2020 was stolen.

COOPER: Did the user's postings become more violent after Monday's search at Mar-a-Lago?

GINGRAS: Yes, they did. And actually, there was a post hours after the news broke about the search by the FBI of Mar-a-Lago. I want to read that to you, it says: "People this is it, I hope a call to arms comes from someone better qualified, but if not, this is your call to arms from me." And this person encourages people to go get guns, go to pawn shops, to take up arms with Federal authorities and the rhetoric gets even more violent, saying even the next day saying, "Go to Mar-a- Lago and if you face any FBI agents, kill them." is what one of the posts said.

So, obviously, extremely disturbing rhetoric coming from this user account. We know of course, as you already just mentioned, that the FBI has been sort of on alert after the incidents or after the search rather, on Monday.

But right now, this investigation, it's unclear exactly the motive of Shiffer going into this field office today, that's still being investigated. But of course, maybe we'll learn something since there were hours again of negotiation happening between Federal agents and Shiffer before this standoff ended this afternoon.

COOPER: Brynn Gingras, appreciate it. Thank you.

More now on Attorney General Garland's decision today to call the former President's bluff on the warrant for Monday's search.


MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Department filed a motion to make public the warrant and receipt in light of the former President's public confirmation of the search, the surrounding circumstances and the substantial public interest in this matter.


COOPER: Now, the former President has both those documents, could himself make them public any time, something his supporters had been calling on the Justice Department to do and now it's up to him.

The Federal Judge handling this in Florida has given the Justice until tomorrow at 3:00 PM to meet with the former President and tell the Court if he objects to the unsealing. So whatever happens could happen quickly and the Attorney General said all this in motion without revealing a single detail about the investigation, something the Justice Department almost never has. So there's that.


There is also new reporting tonight on the search itself what precipitated it and how sensitive some of the documents in question were. CNN's Evan Perez joins us with that.

Evan, can you just walk us through the Attorney General's decision, which is rare to speak out publicly, and then to ask the Court to unseal the search warrant and inventory items?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR U.S. JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It is rare, Anderson, and let me tell you, on Monday, Merrick Garland was a no on the idea of making a statement at all about this search, which obviously the former President went public with, with that statement, describing it as a siege. And he, the former President has had, frankly, the ground to himself, right?

He has had the ability to fashion the narrative about exactly what happened during the FBI's search on Monday. And so what we've seen in the ensuing few days is some of the things that Brynn Gingras was just talking about, threats against FBI agents. We've seen attacks against their credibility, attacks saying that the FBI may have planted some evidence.

And that's what really helped inform what the Attorney General did today. He stood before us and said that, essentially, the former President has already spoken publicly about this. And so has essentially made it okay for the Justice Department to go to the Court, a very unusual step, by the way to say that we can, you know, release these two documents.

Now, those documents that we're going to get is probably not going to tell us a lot of the underlying information about this investigation, but it will tell us a few things about what the FBI took during that search, as well as possibly what crimes they are investigating, again, that's very important information for us to learn -- Anderson.

COOPER: Is it clear tonight why the government felt it needed a search warrant because the former President's legal team, they tried to paint themselves as cooperating with the Department of Justice all along? I know you have some new details.

PEREZ: Right, Anderson. And so look, I think what you can see even from the comments from the Attorney General, today, you can get a sense that they don't believe there was that level of cooperation.

We know that they issued a subpoena to the Trump team back in June, and then they have a meeting to discuss getting these records from Mar-a-Lago back in June. They leave -- the FBI leaves with some documents, some highly classified documents from that meeting.

We know that they reached out later on, they asked for an additional lock to be put on the room where some of these documents were still being stored. And we also know that they served a second subpoena to ask for surveillance tapes. And that leads us to the search that happened on Monday.

We get a sense, Anderson, from all of this interaction that the escalation that happened that people saw on Monday really began much earlier. It began well before that June meeting. They clearly believe that less intrusive means were not working and that led to Monday.

The Attorney General, real quickly, I will mention in his statement, he says where possible, it is standard practice to seek less intrusive means as an alternative to a search and to narrowly scope any search that is undertaken.

That is him pointing to the fact that we tried lesser means or less intrusive means and then we had to take this ultimate step on Monday -- Anderson.

COOPER: Evan Perez, appreciate it.

More now on the former President and the decision he now has to make perhaps as soon as tomorrow, CNN's Kaitlan Collins joins us with that.

What's the reaction so far from the former President's legal team?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, his orbit was pretty caught off guard, Anderson by this announcement, it was remarkable in and of itself as Evan just laid out, and so they were a bit caught off guard still navigating. In the hours after Attorney General Garland came out, how to proceed and what they are going to do and that involved them contacting outside attorneys.

Of course, the former President has been represented by a slew of attorneys lately. He is focused on one who was present when this search happened on Monday and another one, Evan Corcoran, who has been defending the President and consulting with him on how to proceed going forward here.

What I am told is they have not made a decision yet on how they're going to proceed. Of course, they've got that deadline by 3:00 PM tomorrow. It does appear that they are leaning toward the idea of challenging this, of objecting to the idea of unsealing this search warrant as the Justice Department laid out today, though, just to be clear, they have not made a decision yet.

And so that remains to be seen where they are going to go from here, but certainly this is something that we're not expecting for the Attorney General to come out to do as really Anderson for the last several days. It's been Trump and his allies driving the narrative about this search until of course the Justice Department came out today to talk about it.

COOPER: Kaitlan, stay with us, because we have new reporting tonight in "The Washington Post" and the headline reads, "FBI searched Trump's home to look for nuclear documents."

I want to bring in -- this is crossing right now. I want to bring in Daniel Goldman, a former 10-year veteran of the Justice Department. He was also a Democratic counsel in the former President's first impeachment hearing. He is now running for Congress in New York's 10th District; also joining us with former Federal Judge, Nancy Gertner. She is currently senior lecturer at Harvard Law School.


Judge Gertner, when we spoke earlier this week, you said that something of this magnitude would have been signed off on by the Attorney General himself. We learned today you were certainly right, what do you make of his decision to seek to make public the warrant and the receipt of the items taken?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: I thought it was a brilliant move. I thought it was a brilliant move.

I mean, one of the things he said, which is that, you know, we don't usually comment about cases and that makes perfect sense, but we only come in through our filings. And at the moment, he was saying that they were filing a motion to unseal the document.

I mean, it was really brilliant. He wasn't really going off the script. Public documents are obviously something about which he can comment. And so at that moment, he had created in one sense a justification to speak publicly about this. I thought it was absolutely brilliant to do this.

Trump is in an interesting position. On the one hand, if he opposes the unsealing of this, which he has a right to do and if the Judge nevertheless releases it, which, who knows what the Judge would do, you know, he would try to sort of set up an argument later down the line, that there was undo -- if you ever get convicted -- ever get charged, that there was undue publicity. It would be very hard for Donald Trump to make that argument, since he was the source of the publicity.

But I thought it was a brilliant move on the part of Merrick Garland. COOPER: Daniel, "The Washington Post," as I mentioned reporting

tonight, "Classified documents relating to nuclear weapons were among the items FBI agents sought in a search of former President Donald Trump's Florida residence on Monday according to people familiar with the investigation." What's your reaction to that and to all that we have seen today?

DANIEL GOLDBERG, FORMER ASSISTANT US ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Well, I think what's been coming out and what the Attorney General did today reveals a couple of things.

First of all, if you believe all of the reporting, it is clear that Donald Trump did not satisfactorily comply with a grand jury subpoena to turn over all of the documents that he had, that he should not have had, that were classified. And that's why they had to do the search warrant.

I said on Tuesday, right after this happened that it is very likely that there is a witness who can pinpoint exactly what remained there and there has been reporting that that is the case.

Now, Merrick Garland is coming out, and he is saying, hey, if you're going to bash us, and if you're going to twist things around, then show us the receipts. Donald Trump won't do that, so he is going to the Court. And I'm very interested to see what the statutes are that are listed on that search warrant, because it could range from anything and now that we have this information about nuclear information, you know, it could range from nuclear information, it could range from evidence, potentially, that he has been sharing classified information to other people.

There's a wide range of things, and I do think that the statutes will give us an indication of what this investigation is all about. But I do -- you know, he is in a pickle right now, because if he does not oppose then, we're going to find that out. If he does oppose, then he is clearly hiding something.

COOPER: Kaitlan, if "The Washington Post" reporting is accurate, and they were looking for nuclear documents, what do you -- I mean, does anyone you talk to in Trump orbit have any explanation for why the former President of the United States would be holding on to whether it is nuclear documents or any classified documents in a closet or basement at Mar-a-Lago? Is there an explanation for this?

COLLINS: Not so far that we've heard and I think the confusion that even some of his own allies have is why when there was clearly an effort, a fervent effort by the National Archives to get a hold of the documents that he had taken with him to Mar-a-Lago, did they send 15 boxes, but not everything. And that was what investigators had suspected. That was part of the reason why they went down there on June 3rd and met with his attorneys and looked at the room where these documents were being held.

And clearly, they were concerned with the security of these documents, because I was told that five days later, they got an e-mail from these investigators saying you need to further secure the room. They didn't specifically tell them to put a padlock on the door, but

that is what they did and I think that's really why there's been such concern about this and about what it was that he took with him not just simply that it was a memento or a document, but that it is something that could compromise National Security related information.

COOPER: I mean, this is the person who dined out on Hillary Clinton's server, like it was an all you can eat buffet. I mean, this is what he ran on and the idea that he would then hoard classified documents -- I mean, I am eager to hear any explanation from anybody in Trump's orbit about this.


COLLINS: Well, I think, Anderson, also, it's not just Trump, it is also several of the Republicans that you're hearing from who were calling on the Attorney General to release the warrant, had been very quiet today since he came out and said, we are actually trying to release, unseal the warrant -- the search warrant and make it publicly known. A lot of those Republicans were the same ones who also were heavily critical of Hillary Clinton for how she handled her private e- mails.

And so I think this is a situation where it could be complicated, because what we've heard so far from allies of the former President, is that what they'll say he already declassified everything because as the President, he has the power to declassify things.

But when things are declassified, they say declassified on them.

COOPER: There's a process.

COLLINS: There is a process. It could potentially get very complicated here.

COOPER: It's not the President saying "I hereby declassify this." I mean, it's -- there is like an actual process.

Judge Gertner, CNN is reporting, as I mentioned that the 15 boxes retrieved in January by the National Archives contain some materials that were part of a Special Access Programs, a classification that includes protocols to significantly limit who would have access to the information, according to a source familiar with what the Archives discovered in the boxes.

What legal impact could that have? I mean, does the level of classification matter?

GERTNER: Well, I think the fact of classification matters. My understanding is that the documents that are classified are clear on their face. And also you ask the why question, and we want to ask the why question, because it really doesn't make sense. But the why question is actually irrelevant.

With respect to classification, the fact of unauthorized possession, when you think about David Petraeus sharing that with his biographer or Sandy Berger, just taking documents from the National Archives, the why doesn't matter. It is the fact of it and that's all you need.

Who knows why he would have done it, but it is unimaginable that he would. And clearly, the higher level of classification justifies this even more, but people are making it appear as if it's a technical violation. It's not a technical violation. This is a violation for which there are -- there's a whole administrative apparatus to make sure that classified information doesn't get out.


GERTNER: So, you know, the protocol makes a difference. But as of your last question, it's not like there's a magic wand. You know, he walks out the door, and he says, okay, everything is declassified, obviously they have to sort of document this.

COOPER: I am sorry to interrupt you. If you could just stand by everyone. I want to bring Josh Dawsey, who shares a byline on "The Washington Post" article.

Josh, what more can you tell us about these documents related to nuclear weapons that you and your colleagues report were being sought by FBI agents at Mar-a-Lago?

JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what we've learned is that the federal government, the FBI was working with subpoenas, they were working cooperatively with the Trump folks and then at some point this summer, they decided to take a more aggressive take, partially because of what they were concerned that was the documents about nuclear programs and multiple sources that escalated their desire that they believe those documents were there to get in immediately.

And it is one of the thing that our sources have explained to us is why you such a step was taken like it was on Monday.

COOPER: Is there any reason according to your sources, that a former president would have these particular kinds of documents in his possession and not have turned them over in the initial cache of documents that were turned over?

DAWSEY: Not that I'm aware of, Anderson, no.

I mean, former Presidents often have taken things with him and they returned back in time. That's happened with others. There have been handovers in the past, but the scope of what former President Trump took, you know, 15 boxes had to give back the first time.

Again, you know, they took 12 more boxes out the other day according to his lawyer, and the content of what he took really make this a totally different kind of experience.

COOPER: Do you have any more information on the level of classification of these documents?

DAWSEY: We know that a lot of the things that what was found there were top secret, the highest levels of classification you could find. He had a lot of documents marked with that and then some of the documents that they had taken back were several pages of classified inventory. And my colleague, Jacqueline Alemany reported.

So there was, you know, extensive documents that the Federal government felt were classified, and some of them were even marked top secret.

COOPER: Josh Dawsey, appreciate the reporting from you and your colleagues. Thanks so much.

I want to go back to the panel here. Daniel, a little bit more information there from Josh Dawsey. What sort of timeline do you think the Department of Justice is on now? Not just I mean, not just related to this subpoena, but does this give it any window into their investigations?


GOLDBERG: Well, I do think that it is showing that this investigation related to the classified documents is significantly escalating and is moving quite quickly. My guess is this is the last resort. We have indication that they've interviewed a number of witnesses. But the questions that Josh raises, and that you raised earlier about the nuclear documents are particularly important when you consider the fact that this has been going on for seven months.

He has known that there has been an interest in these documents for seven months. He received a subpoena for them. So, the question is really important to ask, what is he doing? And why is he continuing to obstruct this investigation to hold on to these documents? It is one thing if you're, you're informed that you have documents that need to be turned over and you say, okay, I'll turn them over.

It's entirely a different thing when you're being asked over and over and compelled to do it, and you don't, and it begs the question, what are you doing with those documents, because it's not simply just to put them in a picture frame on a wall? There has got to be some other reason why Donald Trump is hiding documents, especially scary if they are related to nuclear programs at the highest level of classification. And there are higher levels than top secret.

I was on the House Intelligence Committee, as you know, Anderson, and there are secured compartmental information, which, as Judge Gertner said is super-duper top secret stuff that very few have access to.

COOPER: And Kaitlan, I asked you if there was any explanation for why he would have classified documents and you said from people in Trump orbit, not as of yet.

Have you heard any explanation for why they would not have turned over all the documents initially?

COLLINS: No, that's been a big question that even some of his own allies have raised of why not just turn them over? If it was so clear to you how desperately the National Archives was trying to get a hold of these that they referred it to the Justice Department for an investigation, which is why we are in the position that we're in now, the situation with Garland coming out today to talk about this, and instead for the last several days, the President's attorneys had been framing this as we were cooperating all along. We were kind of shocked by the idea that this search happened on Monday and totally caught off guard.

What they left out initially was that there was this subpoena. There was this other step, that of course, as we reported on Monday, these investigators did go down to Mar-a-Lago to see this. They had a very clear interest in these documents.

And so I think that's why it has raised the question of what could potentially be in there, and I think on Monday. You heard a lot of Republicans very critical of this search, and I think now if it does come out, and it is confirmed that these were documents related to the national security of the United States or nuclear weapons programs for other nations, that is going to potentially quiet them some because obviously, that is not something that can just be hanging out the former President's primary residence in Florida, where obviously it's not under the kind of lock and key that it typically would be.

COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, Daniel Goleman. Nancy Gertner, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up next, a former Attorney General's take on what the current Attorney General is doing. We will talk to Alberto Gonzales -- Judge Alberto Gonzales, what he thinks of the search, the former President's response and today's attempted attack on the FBI, and later, what the January 6 Committee has been up to, most notably with cooperation from members of the former President's cabinet.



COOPER: Whether it's the home of a former President searched by the FBI or that same former President taking the Fifth or Attorney General Garland's move today this week has been a first -- a week of first ever as an almost never, as such, it is good to get a former Attorney General's take on things in this case, Alberto Gonzales who served in the George W. Bush administration.

I spoke to him just before airtime.


COOPER: Judge Gonzales, what is your reaction to the Attorney General's decision to not just speak publicly about the search at Mar- a-Lago, but also to move to unseal the warrant in the inventory list of the items that were seized?

ALBERTO GONZALES, FORMER US ATTORNEY GENERAL: You know, watching the press conference by the Attorney General, I was surprised by the unsealing, the rest of the comments were very consistent with what I might have expected in terms of simply confirming that he authorized the search so that the American people don't come to the conclusion we have a rogue agency here, we have rogue agents operating at the Department of Justice. And so I think that he also confirmed the fact that, you know, this

was done as sort of a last resort and that typically as you know, you asked for the information, and then you try to get the information through a subpoena and I think he confirmed that they typically will go through a less intrusive means.

COOPER: In terms of the move to unseal, do you think it's the right move? Because there are those who are saying, well, look, this is calling the former President's bluff. The supporters of the former President was saying, well, you know, they should release the information of what was taken, and now they seem to be moving to try to do that.

GONZALES: Yes, I think why not? Obviously, there were extraordinary circumstances I think that led into that decision given the fact that the former President is out there talking about the seizure.

And so, it is no surprise that he is under some kind of investigation and given the obviously tremendous public interest, yes, it is understandable that he would pursue this course of action and educate the American public generally about the way the department works, how our criminal justice system works and I think given the circumstances here, it was the right decision.

COOPER: The gunman who tried to breach an FBI field office in Ohio today, according to authorities had posted on the former President's social media platform referencing an attempt to storm an FBI office and also encouraged others online to prepare for a revolutionary type war, obviously the FBI was under your purview as Attorney General.


What's your reaction to that not only the rhetoric that preceded it, but also the action itself. Do you worry about what it pretends?

GONZALES: No question about it. I mean, this is why the kind of rhetoric that has followed the disclosure, the seizure in my judgment is it is so dangerous, because we have people out there that we've seen as a result of the January 6, riots on Capitol Hill, who are going to respond with violence at the direction, the suggestion, the encouragement of the former president.

And so, to the extent that, that he's making any public statements, they call into question the integrity of the FBI, the integrity of the search to suggest that that the FBI may have planted evidence, that's the kind of rhetoric that's going to incite. Anger, distrust, and as a result of that people are going to engage in violence, those who, you know, are big supporters of the president. And so yes, I'm very worried about the fact that we may see additional violence as a result of the actions taken this previous Monday.

COOPER: I mean, it wasn't heard and received. You know, Senator Lindsey Graham was on the Judiciary Committee on another network the other night on Fox, as the host was talking about the FBI saying, we know they plant evidence, we know they lie. Lindsey Graham was nodding along with it and sort of saying, yes, as the host was going on. What would your message be to fellow Republicans about the moment that we are in and the rhetoric?

GONZALES: Well, I think it's extremely dangerous. I really do. And with respect to Lindsey Graham, he's on the Judiciary Committee, if in fact that there's this kind of misconduct going on within the Department of Justice, they have oversight authority over the Department of Justice. And that oversight authority is extremely important to ensure that there is not this conduct this doesn't occur.

And so if, in fact, he has any kind of indication or suggestion that it is occurring, why aren't they doing something about it? And the reason is because they don't have any evidence of any indication that that's that that's going on. And so, in particular, coming from a member of Congress to not immediately reject that kind of rhetoric is very, very disappointing. And unfortunately, that's why the world that we live in today and the politics have become so poisonous. It's OK to have significant disagreements over issues. But we need to be civil and we need to be honest about, about these disagreements.

COOPER: Yes. Judge Gonzalez, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

GONZALES: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, we're going to have more on the breaking news on the Ohio attack. Also CNN's Drew Griffin speaking with a Republican Florida State Representative after he called on the state to end ties with the Justice Department and to defund the FBI.



COOPER: More on our breaking news out of Ohio. The armed suspect who died in a shootout with police after trying to breach the Cincinnati FBI office. The attack, as we mentioned comes after repeated condemnation of the FBI from allies of the former president over the search of his mansion in Florida.

Now, one of those figures is Florida State Representative and congressional candidate Anthony Sabatini. CNN senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin spoke with Sabatini about his far fetched proposals.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The threats are out in the open.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will make sure these tyrants pay the price.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): And online. Garland needs to be assassinated. War. This is war. Go buy ammo. The FBI so concerned, Director Chris Wray sent out a memo to the agency reviewed by CNN. It says, let me also assure you that your safety and security are my primary concern right now. Security Division is working across the agency as we continue to stay vigilant and adjust our security posture accordingly. CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: Violence against law enforcement is not the answer no matter what anybody's upset about or who they're upset with.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): In Florida --


GRIFFIN (voice-over): -- ultra MAGA Republican. Florida State Representative Anthony Sabatini is trying to take right-wing outrage one step further.

SABATINI: If it was up to me, I would totally defund the FBI. I'm Anthony Sabatini.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): He's running for Congress in Florida's seventh district and has been making the rounds on far right media after writing a tweet saying, sever all ties with DOJ immediately. And any FBI agent conducting law enforcement functions outside the purview of our State --

(on-camera): Should be arrested upon site.

SABATINI: Common sense.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Because?

SABATINI: Well, because what they're doing is unlawful, it's time to actually start protecting the rights of Floridians under the 10th Amendment and push back against a lawless federal government.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Right now today in Florida, FBI agents are chasing down bank robbers --


GRIFFIN (on-camera): -- organized criminals attacking cyber crime in the State.

SABATINI: Got you.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Helping local law enforcement.



SABATINI: It's a logical argument. The FBI at this point is totally useless. We need to defund it and let (INAUDIBLE) --

GRIFFIN (on-camera): You have no idea what the value of the FBI.

SABATINI: Yes, I do.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Is a former president just above the law, no matter what? SABATINI: The FBI is not above the law.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): If I'm saying they followed the law, which they did to enter into that home, should that just not be allowed the president, the former president is above the law.

SABATINI: He's a political target. He's being harassed by a lawless --

GRIFFIN (on-camera): But do you think he's above the law --

SABATINI: -- (INAUDIBLE) agency that's --

GRIFFIN (on-camera): -- it's not a lawless agency.

SABATINI: They spied on him, they have no respect for him.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): You have no idea.

SABATINI: They hate the conservatives. They hate the Republicans.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Wouldn't it be prudent to wait and see what the facts are before --


GRIFFIN (on-camera): -- we already have such a dragconian statement.

SABATINI: We have enough facts.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): In fact, he doesn't have the facts behind the search warrant. Former President Trump does yet so far is refusing to release them.

Meanwhile, FBI agents across the country are now being forced to watch their backs for doing their jobs.


COOPER: And Drew Griffin joins us now. You know, there's some like ultra right the MAGA folks who are cynical and know what he said, you know, I can't tell does he know what he's saying is absurd or does he actually believe it?


GRIFFIN: You know that's a question I always ask myself when I meet these people and I meet the ultra MAGA members of Congress, they raise money off of this stuff they get on TV because of this stuff. They go on their various podcasts because of this stuff. And you never are quite sure if they're just pandering to the emotions of a public that will vote for him and show money to them, or if they truly do believe it. And this guy I can't really tell.

COOPER: Yes. He does not have the facts, though as you pointed out. Drew Griffin, appreciate it.

Attorney General Merrick Garland today addressed the attacks against the FBI and Justice Department saying he will not stand by silent.


MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Every day, they protect the American people from violent crime, terrorism and other threats to their safety while safeguarding our civil rights. They do so at great personal sacrifice and risk to themselves.


COOPER: Some of the most violent and outrageous threats have also been directed at the Judge believed to have signed off in the search warrant. When social media comment under a picture the judge even read, quote, I see a rope around his neck.

My next guest knows firsthand how dangerous attacks against our public officials can be. Her son was killed, her husband shot in 2020 after an attacker came to her home. She says the attacker was a lawyer who was seeking revenge after being angered by the pace of a lawsuit he filed in her court.

Joining me now is U.S. District Judge Esther Salas. Judge Salas, I appreciate you being with us.

Given what you have been through, what's your reaction to this reporting out of Ohio tonight about this arm man who reportedly tried to storm an FBI building as well as the threats being made against the judge who signed off on the search bar like that.

ESTHER JUDGE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGHE: It's just reinforcement. It's reinforcement that we need to pass the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act. We need to start protecting members of the judiciary, the threats against the judiciary, Mr. Cooper have just right the rising in intensity, and volume. And it's not getting any better since my only child was killed just two years ago in July.

It this is a moment for all of us to take a breath for all of us to say, facts matter, words matter, what we say to one another, what we are doing to one another and what we're doing to this country, we are ripping this country apart. And we are ripping this country apart because we are unwilling to remember that we are one country, one democracy. And we are you know, our justice system falls under one constitution. We are doing some serious damage to one another entity.

And I say to the American people and to our political leaders, let's get back to running this country. Let's get back to protecting judges. This is fundamentally the system this country was founded on.

COOPER: Yes. You know --

SALAS: And I am sad.

COOPER: You hear that candidate Talking to our Drew Griffin. I mean, do you think the public fully grasp what happens to a democracy and the rule of law when judges and public servants and, you know FBI officers become targets for violence? SALAS: You know, I think we need to look at other countries and look how other democracies were toppled. They went after the judiciary first, they went after and used insidious lies, and to talk about judges as ours, and as these, we are not ours, we are not these, we are Americans, we take an oath. And every day we do our job. And sometimes our job requires us to make unpopular decisions. But those unpopular decisions can be appealed. Those unpopular decisions are unfortunately we have to follow the law.

And I can tell you, Mr. Cooper the day I raised my hand and put my hand on a Bible and took an oath, I no longer became anything other than the judge that has to follow the law objectively, the judge that has to apply the law to the facts to the law. And I can tell you, what the American people don't understand is that the system in which these cases are assigned, are random. This judge in Florida was on duty. That's why he got the case. We don't get cases and look at our roster and pick the judge because that looks like the good judge that will follow the, you know, the way we want. Let's go back to basics. Let's go back to logic.

COOPER: Judge Esther Salas, I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much.

Coming up, the latest on the January 6 committee investigation and which former cabinet officials are now cooperating or could soon be?



COOPER: You know the search in Mar Lago is dominated the headlines, there are significant new developments in the January 6 committee's investigation. Foremost among them what we're learning about which former cabinet and other top officials have recently testified before the committee or negotiating to.

Joining me now CNN's Sara Murray. So, what are you hearing about these former high ranking Trump officials?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, my colleagues and I are learning from sources that Elaine Chao who is the former Transportation Secretary and of course the wife of Senator Mitch McConnell, has already been interviewed by the January 6 Select Committee. She's one of a number of high level former Trump officials who are in talks or have already agreed to be interviewed. We've also learned that Betsy DeVos, who was the former Education Secretary, is in talks with the committee. And Robert O'Brien, who was Trump's former National Security Adviser, is set to be interviewed by the committee virtually tomorrow.

Now we know especially with these cabinet officials, the committee has been very focused on the discussions about the 25th amendment. You know, Chao and DeVos. Both had conversations about the 25th Amendment, the possibility of removing Trump from office in the wake of January 6, and both of those women resigned on January 7. COOPER: So obviously Chao and DeVos are two of the nine cabinet level officials who engage with committee. Do we know who the others are and what the committee wants to know from them?

MURRAY: Yes, I mean, it's sort of stunning the amount of information they've already been able to get out of high level cabinet officials. We know that Mike Pompeo, the former Secretary of State he appeared before the committee this week, Treasury Secretary Steve, Mnuchin has appeared before the committee, Jeffrey Rosen who is a former Acting Attorney General as well, even you know, Eugene Scalia, who is the former Labor Secretary appeared before the committee and said he encouraged Donald Trump to concede after the results of the 2020 election were clear.


So I think what they're trying to get to are, you know, this sincere misgivings that were in the highest levels of the Trump administration around January 6, and of course, any more they can learn about how serious these conversations were about trying to remove Trump from office using that 25th Amendment, Anderson.

COOPER: Sara Murray, appreciate it.

Just before broadcast, I spoke about the investigation with Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. She is member of the January subcommittee, as well as the House Judiciary Committee.


COOPER (on-camera): Congresswoman Lofgren, thanks for joining us. How significant in your view is the fact that the committee has heard directly from former Secretary Chao, former National Security Adviser O'Brien has reportedly scheduled an interview that it may hear from former Secretary DeVos, among others.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, it's, you know, under our rules, we can't discuss the testimony, but I think we're tying up loose ends. And I think there are probably more significant matters that we're looking at than that, but we want to be thorough and complete in our investigation.

COOPER (on-camera): Can you say if it's clear to you how close the Trump cabinet came to invoking the 25th Amendment?

LOFGREN: I really can't. As you know, the amendment was not invoked. One of the things that we are looking at, you know, as a committee is various statutes, and the 25th Amendment has a provision for setting up a committee, which has never been enacted. So that's something we may look at whether, you know, we'll come up to a recommendation too early to say.

But obviously, the amendment was not invoked. And there's been public reporting, I won't go into the testimony, but reporters and the like that it was discussed, but ultimately, that did not happen. COOPER (on-camera): You're obviously also in the House Judiciary Committee as I mentioned, I'm wondering what your reaction is to Attorney General Garland statement today and his move to unseal the warrant and inventory list for the search of Mar-a-Lago?

LOFGREN: I thought it was very smart. Actually, the department kept the fact of the execution of the warrant secret. It was the former president himself who announced it, so therefore they don't need to protect, you know, that information, he released it. And here's the concern, in addition is tremendous public interest in this as you know, but there's also some rhetoric among some of my colleagues that I think is dangerous. For example, Paul Gosar, said, the FBI raid on Trump's home tells us one thing, failure is not an option, we must destroy the FBI, we must save America. There are -- there was an individual who was present on January 6, who tried to shoot up the FBI office in Ohio today.

So, there are unhinged people that are taking their lead from over the top rhetoric that has no information. I mean, I don't know what was in that warrant. And none of my colleagues do either. So I think getting the information out so everybody can know what the facts are, would help calm tensions. It would reduce violence. It's in the public interest.

COOPER (on-camera): It does seem rather stunning the number of your colleagues in the House, in the Senate who even if they're not directly saying incredibly, you know, potentially dangerous statements, they're sitting on programs, listening as other people are saying it and they're nodding and smiling along, as Lindsey Graham did the other night on Fox. It's -- how concerned are you? Do you think the danger of political violence is escalated?

LOFGREN: I do very much. So we've already seen it the incident in Ohio, some of these right-wing online platforms, people are talking about violence, just as they did before January 6. I think we need to proceed carefully and not assume the worst. But I do think ratcheting down the over the top rhetoric, finding out what are the facts, and then proceeding from there would be very helpful for the country. I don't understand how some of my colleagues can pop off with things. They don't know anything about any more than I do, any more than you do. Let's find out what the truth is.

COOPER (on-camera): Congresswoman, appreciate your time. Thank you.

LOFGREN: You bet.


COOPER: We'll have more ahead an armed man trying to storm an FBI office in Ohio after making threats against the bureau in the wake of the search the former president's mansion. And we'll have more on that ahead.


[20:59:11] COOPER: We're ending tonight where we began with the Ohio attack on the FBI because this is a developing story. We'll be following it in the days ahead. Here's the latest. The man now dead who tried to breach the Bureau's Cincinnati Office according to law enforcement was armed with an AR-15 style rifle and a nail gun. Has been identified as Ricky Schiffer. He was killed after a long standoff with police. The FBI is now investigating social media presence and whether he had ties to any right-wing extremist groups.

A federal law enforcement source tells CNN that authorities are looking into whether the suspect had ties to any group but also their participate in the January 6 attack on the Capitol where he himself took part. There is a truth social account bearing his name referred to -- referring to his attempt to storm in FBI office and also encouraging others to prepare for revolutionary type war. Authorities are not yet confirmed that the account actually belongs to Schiffer. But a law enforcement source told CNN that a photo on the account matched a government ID photo of the suspect. The FBI declined to comment citing their ongoing investigation.


If you missed "360," you can always listen to our podcasts go to or any of the major platforms. Just search for "ANDERSON COOPER 360."

The news continues right now. Let's hand it over to Sara Sidner in "CNN TONIGHT." Sara.