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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Documents Seized By FBI From Trump, Part Of Espionage Act Probe; Search Warrant Shows FBI Took 11 Sets Of Classified Documents From Trump, Including Highly Classified Material; NY Times: Agent Says Salman Rushdie On A ventilator With Damage To Arm, Liver, Will Likely Lose An Eye After Attack; House Passes Major Climate, Health Care Bill, Clearing Measure For President Signature. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 12, 2022 - 20:00   ET


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They have been cleared. So they are waiting on search warrants to take a closer look at that backpack and those devices.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, thank you very much, Erica Hill.

Obviously a very, very tough situation there for Salman Rushdie. Horrible story.

Thank you so much for joining us. AC 360 starts now.



Tonight at this hour, there is still much we do not know about the documents found in Mar-a-Lago and why they were ever there in the first place, but there is much we do know.

We know the federal government has probable cause to believe the 45th President of the United States may have violated three Federal statutes including the Espionage Act. We also know that when the FBI searched his Florida mansion on Monday, they found and removed four sets of top secret documents, including one marked "Top Secret SCI" Sensitive Compartmented Information, which is some of the nation's closest kept secrets.

And that information, which comes from the search warrant and inventory unsealed today by a Florida Federal Court, whatever you make of it doesn't even begin to capture the distance that we have all traveled this week.

It began with a first, the first ex-President hit with a search warrant. It ends for now with this, in between we saw him and his supporters launch a campaign of intimidation against the FBI.

We saw it amplified into calls for violence online and on right-wing media. We then saw someone armed with a rifle and a nail gun wearing body armor try to storm the FBI field office in Cincinnati, a man law enforcement sources say had ties to January 6, and a far right extremist group. An account bearing his name on the former President's social media

site contained a post on Monday reading in part that: "Patriots are heading to Palm Beach." It continued saying that if what he termed "the Feds" try to break it up, and these are his words, "Kill them."

Today, apparently responding to a report in "The Washington Post" that some of the documents taken from Mar-a-Lago dealt with nuclear weapons, we saw a remarkable statement from the former President, which like many others from him, reads like a confession, accusing former President Obama of doing the very same thing, falsely, according to the National Archives.

We begin with CNN's Sara Murray.

Sara, what more are we learning about the warrant and the items removed?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we're learning of course, that this is a trove of documents that the FBI walked out with after more than a year of this fight over records.

You know, this didn't just happen overnight. This came after there was more than a year of wrangling. It came after a subpoena for these documents and eventually led to this search warrant, where the FBI walked out with 11 sets of classified material.

That includes the four sets of top secret documents that you were talking about. It includes the TS-SCI information. It includes information about the President of France. It includes a parting document related to Trump's -- one of his strategists, Roger Stone, who he has worked on and off with over the years.

So it really is quite a treasure trove of documents that they left with -- Anderson.

COOPER: And what are the potential crimes that FBI agents said they were looking for possible evidence about?

MURRAY: They were looking at potential evidence for three different crimes. One is a violation of the Espionage Act, so that's gathering, transmitting, or losing Defense information. The other one has to do with obstruction, concealing, removing, mutilating documents. And then the last one has to do with destroying documents -- destroying, altering, falsifying records, and of course, we don't know Anderson at this point if this is going to lead to any criminal charges.

We know of course, Donald Trump has not been charged with any crimes as of yet, but obviously, it was serious enough and the FBI's concerns were serious enough that they took this unprecedented step of going in and searching the former President's home at Mar-a-Lago.

COOPER: Sara Murray, appreciate it.

Joining us now is former Federal Judge, Nancy Gertner. She now a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School; with us as well, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and CNN national security analyst, Carrie Cordero. She is the Robert Gates senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Andrew, what kind of national security risks did it pose having top secret documents or SCI documents, some that are only viewed in a secure government location stored at, you know, this resort in Palm Beach.

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Anderson, the place where they were stored is like the polar opposite of where they're supposed to be. Right? So SCI documents, top secret documents that are SCI designated, can only be stored in what's called a SCIF, a Secure Compartmented Information Facility, and these are special rooms that are built to very exacting specifications.

There are all sorts of locks on the doors. There is technology built into them to avoid monitoring of any sort. You can't bring a cell phone in there. They are referred to as vaults within the Intelligence Community and that's where those documents have to be stored.


So to keep them in a basement, room with a padlock at a beach club in Palm Beach, I mean it just -- it boggles your mind like how risky that is to put those documents of the most sensitive security national security documents in a place where they could easily be accessed by, you know, Lord knows how many people. It's just incredibly, incredibly dangerous for the country.

COOPER: And Carrie, I mean, especially for a person who campaigned on, you know, attacks against Hillary Clinton's e-mail server, and I'm not defending Hillary Clinton or the e-mail server issue, but this was the issue which he talked about endlessly. And he has actually taken documents and storing them in this closet at Mar-a-Lago.

How serious is it that a former President is being investigated by the FBI for potential obstruction of justice and Espionage Act violations?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, of course, it's extraordinary to have a former President or any former government leader who is suspected and is being investigated for severely mishandling classified information.

I mean, one of the things that has struck me, Anderson, about the reporting, and about the return on the search warrant, which has now been made publicly available is the volume of documents. This wasn't just one document that accidentally got misplaced, or a couple documents that accidentally made their way into a box.

This was boxes of documents classified at the secret level, or at the top secret level, or SCI. Top secret, by the way, is categorized by the government, as if it were disclosed would cause exceptionally grave damage to national security.

So this is the type of activity that other people, former Intelligence Community employees, contractors have been prosecuted for, convicted for and pleaded guilty for in various cases over the years. COOPER: Does it matter, Carrie, if it was just you know, look, a

disorganized administration in the chaotic days of its -- you know, the end of its administration, just grabbing stuff and bringing it there, and then being even more disorganized once they're there? Because the quality of the people he has around him now is probably even less than it was when he was in the White House and they didn't know what they had? I mean, does any of that matter?

CORDERO: Well, I do think there's a huge amount of factual information that we still have to learn, which is how is it that these documents got into the boxes and got delivered to Mar-a-Lago who ordered it, who directed it, who physically transported them, it's highly unlikely that we know the former President didn't do that physical work himself.

So I think there are a lot of questions as to how it happened. I also have questions as to why. Why were these documents brought there? And why after the Justice Department has been asking for over a year now, over a year for them back, why weren't they returned. But that all speaks to the potential crimes that are at play here, which includes the statutes under the Espionage Act, which is how other individuals who have gathered classified information at their homes or outside of the place they're supposed to be retained, have been prosecuted under.

COOPER: Judge Gartner, does the information in the warrant mean that the former President is himself under investigations for violations of the Espionage Act? How do you interpret that?

NANCY GARTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: Well, I don't think there's any question that he himself is under investigation for violations of the Espionage Act. But let me continue the theme that you've been raising, it's not just a "whoops," right? Whoops would have been gathered up in the chaos of leaving and oh, my God, look what I found.

You're talking about boxes that had been carted away, then returned to the National Archives, then two subpoenas, apparently, in which they asked for this, then a visit from the FBI and then now this search.

So the interesting question, the one question is, why was he keeping this? It would be one thing if it felt accidental, but this doesn't feel accidental? Why would he have been keeping this? I mean, that's the extraordinary part.

COOPER: Andrew, the President claims he declassified all the documents at Mar-a-Lago. Is there a magic wand that a former President gets that allows him to do such things?

MCCABE: No, there is no magic wand. Now, it is true that the President's authority to declassify pretty much whatever he wants, whenever he wants, for whatever reason, is fairly unlimited. However, there's a difference between having the authority to do something and executing that authority effectively.

In order to declassify things he has to somehow communicate that order to the people around him or to the people that he expects to then treat that information as no longer classified and there needs to be a relic of that communication somewhere.

And I suspect that if he had actually gone through that process while he was still President, which would have been necessary, you can't do it while you're no longer President.


Which would have been necessary, you can't do it while you're no longer President, and they had a relic of that decision of some sort, they would have provided that to the Department of Justice, presumably over the course of this one-year-and-a-half long investigation to resolve the issue. But that obviously never happened.

So, no, there is no magic wand, and he certainly can't go back and reach for a magic wand after the fact.

COOPER: Judge Gertner, it is extraordinary. I mean, when you think as you pointed out, that this has been going on for a year, I mean, this is -- that there had been multiple opportunities for somebody to say, you know what, let's go down in that closet, and see what those documents are.

I mean, if that -- if it was like a surprise to somebody that they were there, it's in any kind of rational, former President's orbit, you would have kind of a level of organization and oversight. And I mean, it just seems like it's -- I don't know how to explain any of this.

GERTNER: But that's part of what's -- that's the question mark here. If it had been swept up in the first group of boxes, it would have been one thing, but there is an intentionality about this that has extended over this period of over a year. And if there was a defense, if there was a defense, which is whoops, I thought I had declassified all of it; that would have been said.

So, you know, the notion that after this kind of behavior, the President can claim now, I'm sorry, I didn't realize what was in my basement, it makes absolutely no sense.

You know, I mean, I'm reminded of someone I represented when I was a young lawyer who sold hashish to an agent knowing he was an agent and thinking it was for his personal stash. I mean, there's a certain level of -- there's a certain level of incompetence here that you can't ascribe to the former President of the United States.

Then you have to ask, why is he doing this? What was he going to use it for? And that's a very interesting question.

COOPER: Carrie, one of the Criminal Codes cited in the warrant, if someone knowingly alters, destroys, or covers up a document, "With the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States," is it clear to you what authorities may think the former President may have tried to impede, obstruct or influence? CORDERO: Well, I think that piece of it may speak to the fact that he

hasn't cooperated with them over the time that they've been conducting this investigation. So according to the reports, individuals from the Justice Department have been speaking to his team, went down to Mar-a- Lago and met there and have requested these documents back so it could speak to that.

And then there's also the espionage statutes, and there is no former President exception to the espionage statutes, which is how individuals who mishandled classified information recklessly, I would add, in this particular situation, and for those of us who used to handle classified information on a routine basis, it is really just inconceivable, Anderson, that that information could be accidentally mishandled in this way.

COOPER: Nancy Gertner, Andrew McCabe, Carrie Cordero, thank you. Appreciate it.

Next, more on the former President's reaction and blame shifting as well as the excuses his supporters are now making for him.

And later, especially grim news about the medical condition of author, Salman Rushdie, who's lived for three decades as you know, under a death threat from Iran attacked today. That, and the latest on the investigation.



COOPER: Now that the basis for the Mar-a-Lago search warrant is public and serious, you would think it would silence some of the former President's supporters. Experience, though, suggests otherwise. And what we have seen in just the last several hours would seem to bear it out.

For more in the reaction so far, we're joined now by Kristen Holmes.

What has been the reaction you're hearing?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've heard from the President and several of his representatives and it has been a lot of blame shifting and false narratives.

Now, just moments after the warrant started being leaked out those details, the former President took to Truth Social. Now instead of showing you the post, we're just going to kind of break it down because there are a lot of inaccuracies here that need to be addressed.

The first thing that he said was that all the documents were declassified. Now, the President does have the right to declassify documents, but there is still a protocol in place in order to do so. And it's unclear if Trump ever went through any of that protocol.

On top of that, it's really unclear whether or not that matters because at least two of the laws that are referred to in this warrant are about taking government documents regardless of their classification.

Now, the second thing he said was at the FBI didn't have to seize anything. They could have asked any time and they would have handed it over. Well, we know that not to be true, because the FBI did ask. Not only did the FBI ask, the National Archives asked. They got 15 boxes, then the FBI showed up with a subpoena for more information. They got more documents.

And yet still, they had to do this search because there were more documents on the property and they were able to leave with about 20 boxes of what they believe to be very significant items.

The last part he said, he accused his predecessor, former President Barack Obama of doing the same thing, saying he took millions of documents to Chicago with him.

Now the National Archives has responded to that today. They say that is not true that Obama turned over all classified and unclassified documents, but that millions of those documents were moved to a secure National Archives facility in Chicago.

Now in addition to hearing from former President Trump, as I said, we've heard from some of his representatives, more blame shifting. We heard from Kash Patel. This is a person who has been designated to deal with issues around the presidential records. He blamed the GSA, the General Services Administration that is a small government agency that deals with the transition. Now they have responded saying that yes, they do move boxes, but anything in the boxes that is solely on the President and his support staff to pack those boxes up.


They have nothing to do with that at all.

And now, lastly, we heard from a Trump spokesperson who essentially mischaracterized what was taken.

And Anderson, all of this is to say that there is no credible response right now. There is no seriousness addressed of what we saw in that warrant, talking about what was taken, what laws they referred to, and what his next legal steps would be.

COOPER: Kristen Holmes, appreciate it. I want to give some perspective now from CNN political analyst and AXIOS, managing editor Margaret Talev; CNN senior political analyst and former Obama senior adviser, David Axelrod; and former Pennsylvania Republican congressman and CNN political commentator, Charlie Dent; and Van Jones, CNN political commentator, he served as a special adviser to the President during the Obama administration.

So Margaret, I just want to play some of what Republicans were saying earlier in the week about the FBI.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I actually don't think they went in looking

for documents, I think that was probably their excuse --

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Do I know that the boxes of material they took from our Lago, that they won't put things in those boxes to entrap him? How do we know that they're going to be honest with us?

JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST, "JESSE WATTERS PRIMETIME": We know they doctor evidence, we know they plant evidence.


WATTERS: We know they hide evidence. We know they lie, we know they leak.

RUBIO: They found some Obama donor Judge to write -- and not even a Judge -- a Magistrate to write and give them the search warrant. I think they went into looking to see whatever they could find.

SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): This should scare the living daylights out of American citizens. It's like what we thought about the Gestapo, people like that, that they just go after people.

REP. LAUREN BOEBERT (R-CO): This is Gestapo crap, and it will not stand.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): We have to defend and make cuts in the Department of Justice.

BOEBERT: The Department of Injustice needs to be cleaned out if they are going to start pretending were some sort of Banana Republic.


COOPER: I mean, hearing, Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham's -- you know, sitting there like nodding his head, while you know, some host on FOX is saying that they're planting evidence. It's really remarkable to hear that. Do you expect the party line to change anytime soon? I mean, would hear from Mitch McConnell or McCarthy or anyone who may want to be responsible in the words they use?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Anderson, it has been remarkable, and it shows you the durable lasting, like wholesale impact that Donald Trump has had on the Republican Party.

The Republican Party was always the party of justice, and you'll remember that Republicans railing against Democrats, the progressives in the Democratic Party for talking about defunding the police. You actually had some Republicans talking about defunding the FBI this week.

But my colleague, Andrew Solender at AXIOS spent a day on the Hill, talking to a lot of Republican lawmakers and sensing the beginning of a real split in the party, among those who want to go hardcore to continue defending former President Trump and those who are saying, you know, wait a minute here. So you have folks like Elise Stefanik, saying this is total abuse. But

you also have folks like Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, he's a former FBI agent, just saying that you can't cast judgment until you know all the facts; folks like John Katko, talking about taking a deep breath.

But that is not the norm or the majority at that point, but I think the release of this search warrant is going to make it perilous for some Republicans to continue to wrap themselves in the mantle of President Trump didn't do anything wrong, because it pretty clear when you're talking about the potential violations of the Espionage Act and the highly secure nature, the top, top secret nature of some of the documents they were looking for, and apparently retrieved, it shows you that it's just -- you can't write this off as an abuse of power. These were serious potential violations of law here.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, David, look, the FBI has a history with, you know, under J. Edgar Hoover and with the Civil Rights movement, but have you ever seen anything like what is being said about the FBI now, certainly, coming from Republicans, and just -- I mean, elected officials who I mean, Rick Scott, talking about the Gestapo.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Look, there have been periods in our history where there has been outrage about the FBI. But as Margaret says, the thing that's unusual about this is, you know, the Republican Party has always presented itself as the law and order party. And, --

COOPER: I mean, President -- the former President was presenting himself as a law and order President just two weeks ago in Washington in his return to DC.

AXELROD: Yes, and so that's what makes us unusual, it also makes it dangerous and we saw that yesterday in in Cincinnati, and I fear that's the tip -- just the tip of the iceberg if they continue down this road.

But one thing I'd say, I'm not as sure that in the short run at least these Republicans are going to separate themselves from Trump.


These revelations notwithstanding, remember 70 percent of Republicans still believe or say they believe that the last election was not legitimate. And despite the fact that there's been tons and tons and tons of evidence to the contrary, and Donald Trump is still the dominant force in the Republican Party, we've seen it in these primaries, and we see it in the reaction to, to the events of this week and it is going to take a while, I think, for Republicans to assess whether they can take the risk within their party to split with him and weigh that against both what is right and what is right for them in a General Election.

COOPER: Congressman Dent, I mean, it is stunning to see, Republicans -- and we've seen Republicans do this already, but continuing to just jump off the cliff following this person who, you know, it's one outrage after another.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, and some of those statements you played previously, by some of my former colleagues were simply incendiary and way out of bounds as Margaret --

COOPER: I mean, Lindsey Graham, is on the Judiciary Committee.

DENT: Yes, I mean -- but look, they should be following the lead of John Katko and Brian Fitzpatrick, both of whom have law enforcement backgrounds. They are exercising the proper restraint, circumspection, caution. That's what they should be doing right now.

And I think most of these members know that the former President has no boundaries. These members know too, that had they walked out of a SCIF, a secure containment facility, with classified material, taking them home, they most assuredly know that a G-Man would show up at their door, wanting them back. And there would be no negotiation about returning those documents.

And for the former President to go out there and say that all Americans are under attack. Well, that's absurd, because they're not under attack, because most Americans don't handle classified information. The President did. And he clearly, you know, showed a reckless disregard.

And I would again, caution these Republican members not to get too close to this, because we're going to find out more information. I can't imagine any of it will be good for the former President. He should be subject to accountability, just as any Member of Congress would or any other government official like Dave Axelrod or Van Jones, probably had access to classified material, we were all responsible with it. This President was not.

COOPER: You know, Van, it is also -- it's always constructive to sort of do the what-if. What if this was President Obama, who had, you know, taken documents to a fictional mansion in Florida and had them in his closet, and after a year of the government trying to get them, you know, still hadn't turned them over? The rhetoric coming from former President Trump from other -- from Rick Scott, it certainly wouldn't be calling the FBI a Gestapo.

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: They would want him under Guantanamo. They would be demanding that Barack Obama be held under Guantanamo. And if anybody walks out a SCIF, well, you're not going to be able to do it. Because if you walk out of SCIF with a bunch of secret material and hide it and keep it, you're going to jail.

So I don't understand what these people are talking about. Why does it work, though? Why do they rally around the flag? What's key to the Trump brand is this idea of defiance and defiance requires two things. It requires an unjust attack, and it requires you being strong in the face of an unjust attack.

And so even though this is the opposite of an unjust attack -- the Gestapo went and grabbed people, they didn't go and get little boxes, they grabbed people. So as we were saying, the G-man shows up and takes the boxes back

where they belong. That's not the Gestapo. But you can present it as this unjust attack and look at Trump. He's being defiant and that display of strength and it is something that the Republican Party for right now is just catnip for them. They just fall in love with it, and they take leave of their senses.

But the reality is, the question every American should be asking is, why does he have the stuff at his house? What does he want to do with the stuff in his house? Because if this is beyond top secret stuff, and he's got it at his house, something really weird is happening, maybe something bad is happening, we should be focused on that.

COOPER: Margaret Talev -- go ahead.

TALEV: The legal experts I talked to said it doesn't matter whether this was for sort of petty reasons or for nefarious reasons, or just he wanted to keep souvenirs, it is still a violation of the law that he had it and wasn't authorized to have it.

COOPER: Yes, Margaret Talev, David Axelrod, Charlie Dent, Van Jones. Appreciate it.

Coming up more breaking news on the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. I'll speak with former Trump National Security Adviser and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton.

Also ahead, I'll speak with former Vice President Al Gore on the significance of the House today passing a landmark healthcare and climate bill, as well as his thoughts on the investigation to the former President.



COOPER: One of the many unanswered questions after the search warrant in the former president's home revealed the agents retrieved 11 boxes of classified material including material labeled top secret. The question is why was it there? The intent of the former president will be a key factor and what was also revealed by the search warrant three possible federal crimes that they are investigating.

Want to get perspective now from someone who was literally in the room with a former president during discussions, a top U.S. intelligence former Trump National Security Adviser and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador John Bolton, author of the room Where It Happened, A White House Memoir.

Ambassador Bolton, when you hear that the FBI recovered 11 sets of classified documents including some that were marked top secret Sensitive Compartmented Information which is a high level classification. What goes through your mind?

JOHN BOLTON, FMR TRUMP NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, it doesn't surprise me that Trump kept a lot of things in his files that that were not in the regular system or that had been given to him in the course of intelligence briefings. And I can easily imagine in the last chaotic days at the White House, since he didn't think he was going to leave until the last minute they were just throwing things in boxes. And it included a lot of things he had accumulated over four years and that mildly surprised wasn't there wasn't even more taken to Mar-a- Lago.


COOPER: Is there any reason to why a former president should have any of that kind of material in his private residence, to say nothing of being resistant to turning it in which the government certainly had asked for.

BOSTON: I mean, there are procedures for former presidents in particular, many of whom want to write memoirs, want to write about their time in the White House, to store their records so that they have access to it, to store the classified information and secure facilities. And that easily could have been worked out in a smooth transition. Trump obviously had no interest in a smooth transition, including for himself. So, in substantial part, he's brought this trouble on himself.

COOPER: The search warrant identifies three federal crimes that the Department of Justice looking at violations of the Espionage Act, obstruction of justice, criminal handling of government records. Do you think the former president has legal exposure here, even if there is an explanation for it?

BOSTON: Yes, it depends on the documents. In many cases, it depends on the obstruction of justice. Possibility, obviously, what the interchange was between him and the government. And there's a lot here we don't know and a lot of aimless speculation going on out there. But much of it will depend on what exactly the document say. And you know, we know broad categories at the moment that were taken today. But there's much we don't know.

COOPER: There's been more than just aimless speculation. There's been a lot of people calling for the defunding of the FBI, of the destroying the FBI. What do you make of -- I mean, are you concerned about any of the rhetoric you are hearing from some members of Congress, Republicans who are saying the FBI is planting evidence or seem to be agreeing with people who are saying that?

BOLTON: Well, no, I'm very concerned about it. I think this is a, an unnecessary, mindless criticism of very important institution, the Department of Justice, where I serve, the FBI. Based on very little information, I mean, if I had to give any advice to my fellow Republicans, it would be chill out here and wait for the facts, because the facts may turn out not to be what Donald Trump said they were at first that that has been known to happen before. And let's -- let this process play out. It doesn't help us long term institutionally as law and order conservatives to trash the institutions that help guarantee law and order.

COOPER: It's interesting that, you know, you talked about your own experiences, and you're saying you weren't surprised that there weren't more things given the chaotic nature of the latter days of the administration. The former president has been reported had a habit of mishandling presidential materials, ripping them up sometimes throwing them in toilet says we've learned. While you worked for him, did you ever see him do stuff like that or get a sense of why he might be doing that?

BOLTON: No, I didn't see that. But I'll tell you a different story. And I'm basing this for obvious reasons on press reports of this, but I think these press reports warrant careful consideration. One day and in late August, I think 2019, he tweeted about a failed Iranian ballistic missile launch. And the tweet was kind of snarky, it said, the U.S. had nothing to do with this good luck to Iran, trying to figure out what the cause was. And he attached to that tweet a picture. Which press reports the New York Times and other media outlets said was an intelligence picture that he had been given in his intelligence briefing just a few hours before the tweet went out. That's the kind of thing to be concerned about.

COOPER: Ambassador Bolton, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

BOLTON: Thanks for having me.

COOPER: Coming up, breaking news on author Salman Rushdie's condition, and new details about the attempt on his life.



COOPER: More breaking news tonight after author Salman Rushdie was attacked at an event in New York today. According to New York Times interview with his agent Rushdie is currently on a ventilator and will likely lose an eye, he also suffered damage to his arm and liver. This comes after he was stabbed at least twice today before giving a lecture in Western New York. Authorities have now identified the suspect of the attack is a 24-year-old from New Jersey.

CNN Shimon Prokupecz tonight has details.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Famed author Salman Rushdie was scheduled to speak at a lecture series at the Chautauqua Institution, when witnesses say a man jumped onto the stage just as the event was getting underway and began punching and stabbing Rushdie. One witness tells CNN she counted roughly seven to 10 stabbing motions before fleeing for her own safety. Rushdie suffered stab wounds to the neck and abdomen according to New York State Police, and was airlifted to an area hospital.

GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): Was a state police officer who stood up and saved his life protected him as well as the monitor -- or the moderator who was attacked as well.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): The suspect was quickly taken into custody. New York State Police identified him as 24-year-old Hadi Matar.

JOYCE LUSSIER, WITNESS TO ATTACK: It was a lot of screaming and crying and everything. People rushing from the audience up on the stage.

PROKUPECZ (voice-over): The 75-year-old author was born in Mumbai and later moved to the UK. Rushdie is accustomed to living under threat. His controversial fourth novel The Satanic Verses, published in 1988, sparked public demonstrations all over the world. Some Muslims consider the book sacrilegious. In 1989, the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, a religious decree on Rushdie calling for his death.

Rushdie lived under British protection for nearly 10 years before the Iranian government announced it would no longer enforce the fatwa. Rushdie wrote a memoir about that era of his life called Joseph Anton, the name he used while in hiding. He has been outspoken over the years about living through that time.

SALMAN RUSHDIE, AUTHOR: Best way that I can, what I can do to fight this is to show that you know, in the way that a child shows a bully in the playground, I ain't scared of you, you know. And the best thing I can do is to go on being the best writer I can be and to lead as open a professional and personal life as I can. And that's just a way of saying that there may be this danger and it's a terrible thing and it's an ugly thing and we need to fight it, and we need to defeat it. But we don't have to hide under the bed.


PROKUPECZ: And Anderson, the FBI is now joined this investigation. They're working with local police and the state police here in New York, really trying to sort out if this was part of some bigger plot to assassinate him. It's really concerning. This sounds like a really, really, really brutal attack, brazen in the way it was done. And so certainly has authorities all over -- really all over the world right now concerned as to what really was behind here. We're still have a lot to learn. The suspect left behind a backpack. Authorities are waiting for a search warrant to get some of those contents out and figure out what's in there.


And we also have learned that the FBI as well as local police are at his home, the suspects home in New Jersey as they really try to figure out exactly what was behind all this, Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Shimon Prokupecz, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, I'm going to speak with former Vice President Al Gore about the sweeping green energy and health care bill passed by the House today that's now ready to be signed by President Biden. His thoughts on climate change. Also, he'll talk about the latest on the investigation to the former president. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: As President Biden his predecessor and perhaps future opponent faces a federal criminal investigation to his handling of classified records, Democrats in the House today passed a major bill that includes hundreds of billions for green energy and healthcare initiatives. The bill which the President says he'll sign next week represents a much needed victory ahead of what should it be a difficult midterm election for Democrats.


Perspective now on the bill from someone whose name is virtually synonymous with the fight against climate change, former Vice President Al Gore.

Mr. Vice President, appreciate you joining us.

Before the Inflation Reduction Act was passed by the House this afternoon, Speaker Pelosi called it historic, transformative. Senator Bernie Sanders, who has obviously not been shy about arguing the bill doesn't go far enough, tweeted that it's, quote, a very small step forward. Where do you stand specifically when it comes to its effect on climate change?

AL GORE, FMR VICE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Well, Bernie is right that we have a lot more work to do. But there's no question that the Speaker Pelosi is right that we are crossing a significant threshold here. This is by far the largest initiative to help solve the climate crisis that any country has ever taken. And the amount of money is one thing $369 billion is quite significant. But the way that it's deployed is also very significant, Anderson. There are things in it that I wouldn't have preferred, but they're very minor compared to the huge benefits of the bill as a whole.

COOPER: The energy and climate modelers have said that it could reach its goal, the bill could reach its goal of reducing U.S. carbon emissions by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030. Can you just give us a sense of where you think those reductions will come from?

GORE: Well, they will come from the carbon emitted and generating electricity, they will come in the reduction of emissions from transportation, we will see a huge speeded up shift to electric vehicles with new charging networks and tax credits for purchasing electric vehicles, including used electric vehicles will see the speedy retirement of a lot of fossil fuel facilities that now burn coal and gas and their replacement with new solar and wind facilities, we'll see the rapid deployment of more and more battery storage. Those are some of the most significant items.

COOPER: Some environmental groups have criticized the bill because it provisions require the federal government to auction oil and gas leases on federal land and also in the Gulf of Mexico. Do you agree with those criticisms?

GORE: I do. And those are some of the items I had in mind when I said there's some things in here I don't like. But if you look at the overall bill through the lens of carbon pollution reductions, there, there will be some minor increases, but the huge reductions overwhelm the provisions that I wouldn't have preferred. And here we are in a representative democracy where the only way we're going to pass legislation is to come up with a compromise measure that can gain majority support. And the compromises were very minor compared to the magnitude of these fantastic achievements.

I understand some of those who are critical of the things that had to be a compromise. But the rest of the bill is so historic, it has to be put in perspective. And I think that this is going to unleash so much momentum, we are likely to see even larger pollution reductions from this legislation.

COOPER: As you know, you look at Kentucky and Missouri they're have been dealing with historic flash flooding over the past few weeks, climate scientists have been telling us for decades that climate change will make weather events like these more severe, more frequent, you're obviously been talking about this issue for a long time. Have you seen some climate denialists changing their minds as weather disasters affect more and more people?

GORE: Yes, I definitely have. And even many of those who are not comfortable using the word climate or acknowledging that they have changed their mind. They're looking at their whole cards, and they're seeing the destruction. Every night on the evening news is like a nature right through the book of Revelation, for goodness sake. We've had several once in 1,000 year downpours just in the last few weeks. It's incredible. And that's only in this country all around the world, the same thing is going on.

Seventy percent of the American West is in drought now, think about the scorching heat that people buy, the 100 million and more have endured over the last few weeks and it's likely to get much worse. And the scientists who were spot on in predicting what we've been going through should be given more attention now because they were right in the past when they warn us of what would happen if we did not take steps like the ones in this historic legislation.

COOPER: China suspended climate talks with the United States retaliation for Speaker Pelosi's visit to Taiwan last week. How important is cooperation between China and the U.S. when it comes to responding to what's ahead?


GORE: Well, I think it's crucial. They are the largest global warming polluter in the world, we are second to them. And obviously, cooperation between our two countries is essential. I'm heartened that the news today that President Biden and President Xi Jinping are going to meet in person. And think about the fact that they had this bad reaction to Nancy Pelosi's trip to Taiwan, but it just ended. And I think that the suspension of climate talks is not going to be of long duration. I hope that prediction is right. I would be willing to bet a lot that without the passage of too much more time, we will see the dialogue started again.

COOPER: I do briefly want to ask you about just what we learned today that from the Department of Justice, they removed 11 sets of classified documents from the former president's Mar-a-Lago residence while executing the search warrant. What is your reaction to all we've learned? Does this make sense to you why former president would have such documents in his Florida mansion?

GORE: No, no it doesn't. But I want to hasten that, I don't know the facts. I'll tell you what I do know, I know Merrick Garland. And I don't know that our nation has ever had an attorney general who is more committed to doing things according to the book, according to the proper order. It's unthinkable that he would take any kind of rash step or violate the regular order. I have tremendous confidence in him, his probity. And everyone who knows him and his work with him feels the same way.

So, I'm sure the Justice Department and the FBI haven't -- have acted entirely properly. And we will learn more about the facts as they come out.

COOPER: Former Vice President Al Gore. I appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

GORE: Thank you.

COOPER: We'll be right back.



COOPER: The news continues with Laura Coates, who's in for "DON LEMON TONIGHT". Laura.