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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Giuliani Suggests Trump Took Documents to Mar-a-Lago to Preserve Them; Trump Accuses FBI as Being Weaponized by Radical Left; Sen. Graham Loses New Bid to Avoid Facing Georgia Grand Jury Next Week; Republicans Argue Midterm Battle For Congress Is A Referendum On Biden, Stress Trump Is Not On The Ballot. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 19, 2022 - 20:00   ET



JACE OLIVERSON, EASTON'S FATHER: Be more grateful and we're just so proud of him for his strength and for all the prayers and love and support we've received from so many around the world.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Easton, nicknamed "Tank" by some who know him was watching it all from his hospital bed, awake and alert to see this message.


BOY: Go Tank.



BURNETT: Tank's team lost, but he is miraculously truly on the mend.

Thanks for joining us, it's time for Anderson.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening and welcome to what might be called the perfect phone call stage of the latest scandal involving the former President.

You recall "perfect phone call" was the phrase the former President used to describe the call that got him impeached, the call in which he tried to strong arm the President of Ukraine into helping him smear Joe Biden.

He called it a perfect phone call after his supporters and enablers had made a slew of excuses about the call, none of which really held up. So the then President embraced the call and said it was perfect.

That is where we've landed tonight, after two business weeks of unprecedented revelations since the FBI agents executed a lawful search warrant at Mar-a-Lago and came away with 11 sets of documents the former President was not entitled to have including four sets of highly classified material.

The President's one time attorney, Rudy Giuliani has now made the perfect phone call excuse.


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: And now, they want to make them responsible for having taken classified documents and preserve them.

Really, if you look at the Espionage Act, it's not really about taking the documents, it is about destroying them, or hiding them, or giving them to the enemy.


GIULIANI: It's not about taking them and putting them in a place that's roughly as safe as they were in in the first place.


COOPER: Taking declassified documents, some marked "Top Secret SCI" for Sensitive Compartmented Information and keeping them in a basement of a Florida club that all manner of people frequent is "roughly as safe" as keeping them in the National Archives or the West Wing, according to Rudy Giuliani, or in the case of some of the material especially if Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility or SCIF.

Contrary to Mr. Giuliani's legal interpretation, the Espionage Act actually does refer specifically to willfully retaining documents and failing to deliver them on demand to the Federal employee or officer entitled to receive them.

Now, as we said, this perfect phone call excuse has come after an evolution of excuses made by the former President's supporters for having the file stashed at a Country Club. Here is his youngest son the evening after the search.


ERIC TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S SON: My father has worked so collaboratively with them for months. In fact, the lawyer that has been working on this was totally shocked because I have such an amazing relationship with these people, and all of a sudden on no notice they sent, you know, 20 cars and 30 agents.


COOPER: Second youngest son.

He is suggesting it came out of nowhere. What we subsequently learned is it may have come from the former President or his legal team acting in bad faith. One of his lawyers as you know, signed a letter back in June, saying no classified material remained at Mar-a-Lago. Investigators subsequently found out this was untrue and sought a search warrant, which required probable cause of a crime to obtain.

As for the search itself, the former President, his supporters painted the FBI as jackbooted thugs. Here is Florida Senator, Rick Scott.


SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): This should scare the living daylights out of American citizens.

The way our Federal government has gone, it is like what we thought about the Gestapo, people like that, that they just go after people.


COOPER: Rick Scott, a US Senator, former Governor of Florida, comparing the FBI to the Gestapo. That was August 9th.

By the 10th, supposedly responsible lawmakers were suggesting with nothing to back it up that the FBI had planted evidence.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): Do I know that the boxes of material they took from Mar-a-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 about what's actually in the boxes? How do we know that was in the box before it left the residence?


COOPER: What's in the box? The former President got in on this one as well, and by week's end, a man was dead after trying to storm the FBI field office in Cincinnati.

By that time, though, we had seen the search warrant and the alleged crimes it was predicated on, we also saw the inventory of what was taken.

So for a while, the argument was there was no classified documents left at Mar-a-Lago. It became that those 11 sets of classified documents actually weren't really classified at all.


JOHN SOLOMON, TRUMP REPRESENTATIVE TO THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES: This is from President Trump's office. It just came in a few minutes ago: "As we can all relate to, everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time."

He had a standing order. There's the word I've been looking for. "That documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them."


COOPER: Where do they find these people? That wouldn't fail the laugh test, as well as a subsequent CNN fact-

check in which 18 former high-ranking officials confirmed the notion was ridiculous, but if one excuse isn't working, there's always another. In this case what about Obama?



ANDREA MITCHELL, ANCHOR, NBC NEWS: Donald Trump tweeted that "President Barack Hussein Obama," this is his tweet, not my words, "Kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is lots."


COOPER: "Word is lots." Truth is none. The National Archives almost immediately put out a rebuttal of all of it.

So fine, whatever. There was, then, of course, another excuse. The former President was just too busy trying to stay in office to keep an eye on the movers, quoting now from "The Wall Street Journal." "If you only start packing with two days left to go, you're just running low on time," a former aide said, "And if he's the one just throwing things in boxes, who knows what could happen?"

The President of the United States just throwing things in boxes, or as Rudy Giuliani might put it, taking them to a better place.

Perspective now from Dan Goldman, who served as Democratic counsel in the first impeachment of the so-called perfect phone call. He is currently running for Congress in New York's 10th District.

Also with us, Tom Blanton, director of George Washington University's National Security Archive, which we should point out is a non- governmental institute.

Dan, I mean, the comments from Rudy Giuliani, is there any chance this idea that, you know, the basement of Mar-a-Lago is just as good as the National Archives or the West Wing would hold up in Court?

DAN GOLDMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT US ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: No, of course not. These documents need to be kept in a SCIF. Now, the National Archives has a SCIF. The West Wing has a SCIF.

I worked in the House Intelligence Committee, which is a SCIF in and of itself. It is possible if the basement of Mar-a-Lago is a SCIF that they could be kept there.

But there are so many things that are wrong with what Giuliani said. First of all, the way he describes the Espionage Act is incorrect. But even under his description, Donald Trump did hide these documents. They were subpoenaed and they were not turned over.

COOPER: We don't know why he hid them. But he hid them.

GOLDMAN: Right. We know that he hid them. That's why they had to do a search warrant after requesting a subpoena.

So no, it is not roughly the same as being in the archives or the West Wing. There are incredibly detailed, sophisticated, and regimented protocols.

If you transfers classified information from one location to another, there is a special pouch that has a key that you have to put the documents and when you go from one place to another. This is not a situation where I will just throw it in a basement.

COOPER: So even how the documents themselves are transported matters.

GOLDMAN: Yes, yes.

COOPER: Tom, CNN is reporting current White House officials are seriously concerned that the material at Mar-a-Lago might potentially jeopardize US sources or methods for Intelligence gathering.

How dangerous would it be to have documents like that laying around the basement in Mar-a-Lago in a storeroom that apparently did not even have a padlock originally on it?

TOM BLANTON, DIRECTOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE: That's right. When the Justice Department visited on June 3rd, allegations of continued classified information in there, they saw no lock on the storage closet. It was only put on, on June 8th.

But you know, this is a slow motion scandal that really started more than a year ago, when the National Archives checked all the stuff they had been getting from the White House at the end of the Trump administration and they couldn't find the love letters from Kim Jong- un, and they couldn't find that map of Hurricane Dorian that President Trump had written on with a Sharpie. And these are famous documents.

It had been talked about, covered on CNN and everywhere else and they weren't in what the National Archives had received. And so National Archives reached out to former White House Counsel for Trump and to Trump's lawyers to say, "Where's the stuff? Where are the love letters?"

And over months, there were discussions about, "Wait a second, you guys have boxes at Mar-a-Lago?" I mean, my own group, National Security Archive, we were in Court against Trump during the transition got a litigation hold. Government lawyers said to Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Yes, we've got to hold and everybody at the White House knows about it. Apparently, the President didn't.

We were worried about a bonfire in the Rose Garden. It turns out we should have been worried about a U-Haul outside the back. The National Archives went after these boxes and finally in January, so eight months after they first inquired, they get 15 boxes back from Mar-a- Lago, and they are stunned.

There's classified information in there, and they begin to -- the wheels began to turn. February, they reached out again and say, wait a second, they asked the Justice Department to investigate. Finally, by June 3rd, Justice serves a subpoena on Mar-a-Lago and gets

their first visual look at that storage unit in the basement doesn't even have a lock.

COOPER: You know, one of the remarkable things -- you know, he mentioned that Kim Jong-un love letters. Maggie Haberman is reporting, Dan, from "The New York Times." She talked about those letters as being something that the former President liked to keep in his office to show off as tchotchkes just like he used to show off Shaquille O'Neal's ginormous shoe in his office in Trump Tower.


COOPER: And that's -- he just likes to sort of keep these tchotchkes. If that becomes the excuse that these are just things he wanted to keep. He viewed them as his. Is that any kind of a justification? I mean, that's not an excuse. That's --

GOLDMAN: Now, look, these classified documents have very clear markings on them. The love letters from Kim Jong-un are probably not marked as classified, but this is apples and oranges here. These tchotchkes are one thing, nuclear secrets are something totally different.

COOPER: They are not his nuclear secrets, they are the country's.

GOLDMAN: Of course, and I mean, frankly, under the Presidential Records Act, pretty much nothing is his personally. It belongs to the office of the presidency, most of it, that's why the archives expects to get it.

But what -- this is no surprise, because we know from Maggie Haberman is reporting as well that we saw documents that were flushed down the toilet. They did not observe the Presidential Records Act at all. And to me, this is -- this is likely criminal what has happened at Mar-a- Lago and you have to wonder why was he hiding these documents even when they were requested?

But you also have to wonder with someone who you cannot trust like Donald Trump, what else is there? What else is he hiding? What else is he doing? What else did he flush down the toilet?

COOPER: Yes, we should point out, we don't know if its nuclear secrets. We don't know the exact nature of what the documents are --

GOLDMAN: Reportedly.

COOPER: Reportedly.

Tom, is there a limit to what a President can declassify? I mean, there are some documents just so sensitive that even if the former President did have some sort of standing order to declassify everything going to Mar-a-Lago, which, as we know, is disputed by just about every former administration official we've been talking to, would there be exceptions to that?

BLANTON: Anderson, you're right on point.

There are statutes that govern nuclear information like Dan is saying. There are statutes, laws that govern sources and methods of Intelligence information.

Presidents have a lot of authority to declassify, and I have to say, I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter approach to declassification, that you wave a wand over a big batch or a big pile of documents, given how much the government over classifies and the mountain of historic secrets.

But that kind of declassification, the Chamber of Secrets should only happen once you've sampled for nuclear and for sources and methods because the President does not have unilateral authority to override those laws.

COOPER: Yes. Tom Blanton, I appreciate it. Daniel Goldman, thanks very much as well.

More now on the FBI, where supporters of the former President, as you saw at the top have compared to the Gestapo. Historically, that is not a typical view for most on the mainstream right to hold. Our next guest writes about it in a "New York Times" opinion piece titled, "Trump is going after one of the most conservative institutions in the US government."

Quoting now: "The FBI has been arguably the most culturally conservative and traditionally White Christian institution in the entire US government. It's an institution so culturally conservative, even by the standards of law enforcement, that Democratic Presidents have never felt comfortable or politically emboldened enough to nominate a Democrat to head the Bureau."

The author is CNN contributor, Garrett Graff, who joins us now.

So how do you square the former President's allies accusing the FBI of being either the Gestapo or a woke mob with a reality that is as you write, it is one of the more conservative institutions that there is.

GARRETT GRAFF, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. And that's particularly even true with this current Director.

I mean, let's remember that Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI who approved the search of Mar-a-Lago last Monday in coordination with Attorney General, Merrick Garland. Chris Wray was appointed by Donald Trump. Christopher Wray came to this job with sterling Republican credentials.

He was the head of the Criminal Division at the Justice Department under George W. Bush. He was a member of the Federalist Society. He clerked for Judge Michael Luttig, and he even was Chris Christie's personal lawyer during the New Jersey Governor's Bridge-gate scandal. This is not some Democratic Deep State now in charge of the FBI.

COOPER: One of the President's allies, Congressman Mike Turner, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, seemed to suggest to Jake Tapper yesterday that because President Biden hasn't fired FBI Director Chris Wray, who was appointed by Trump, as you said, and by law has a 10-year term that he is now a Biden ally.

Does viewing the Bureau through that sort of lens make sense to you?

GRAFF: It doesn't and that goes against almost everything that we know about the history of the Bureau. You know, this is a century-year-old institution that actually still very much today feels the shadow of J. Edgar Hoover who carved out a unique independent role for the Bureau where it's part of the executive branch, but doesn't really report or act on the President's wishes or desires on individual cases.


GRAFF: And there is a proud tradition of Presidents carrying on with the existing Director when they take office. This is not a role, like the CIA Director that does specifically change over as a new President comes to office. That 10-year term is meant specifically to isolate the FBI Director from day-to-day presidential politics.

COOPER: The conservatism within the FBI that you're talking about, is it more the classic version of conservatism as opposed to kind of the new MAGA version of it?

GRAFF: Exactly, the FBI, you know, it has very strong roots in protecting "America" from radicals and subversives, and that was set for many decades by J. Edgar Hoover, who, you know, prosecuted and persecuted Black activists and artists. They amassed 1,800-page file on author, James Baldwin. They surveilled and harassed Martin Luther King. The FBI tried to arrest John Lennon.

This is not an agency that is woke by any standards of modern politics, and in fact, as part of my research for this piece this week, I determined that actually the FBI is the last of the dozen top Federal law enforcement agencies that has never had a leader who was a woman or a person of color. Every FBI Director has been a White male, a White Republican male.

COOPER: Yes. It's a fascinating article you did. Garrett Graff, I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up next, the latest in Senator Lindsey Graham's ongoing Court battle to stay away from the Georgia election grand jury.

Also the Republican lawmakers who are shying away from the former President in the face of midterm elections and how that strategy is working.

And later, Gary Tuchman talks to migrants who Texas authorities are putting on buses and sending to Washington and New York, the human aspect of what's usually seen as just another red/blue political battle, ahead tonight.


[20:21:19] COOPER: Rudy Giuliani spent six hours before the Atlanta grand jury

investigating the former President's attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in that state. Now, we don't know what he said, if anything, other than restating his Fifth Amendment right against self- incrimination. He is the target of the investigation we know.

Senator Lindsey Graham, on the other hand is not, however, he is fighting his own subpoena to testify. And CNN's Sara Murray tonight has the latest on that.

Can you just walk us through this back and forth with the Courts and Senator Graham's multiple attempts to get out of testifying?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. You know, he originally got this subpoena. He went to Court and asked a Judge to quash it. He was arguing that anything that he did was part of his legislative activity. It is protected under the Constitution Speech and Debate Clause. But a Judge earlier this week said, you know, no, I'm not going to quash the subpoena. You have to show up next week on Tuesday before the grand jury.

So Lindsey Graham goes back to the Judge and says, look, I'm planning to appeal your decision. Could you put a stay on your ruling and essentially press pause on my appearance? Today, that Judge said no. Here is what she wrote in her Court filing. "Senator Graham raises a number of arguments as to why he is likely to succeed on the merits, but they are all unpersuasive."

Now, Lindsey Graham does have one other iron in the fire. He did go to an Appeals Court yesterday. He said he is planning on filing an appeal. And today, he asked that Appeals Court the same thing: Will you put a stay on the Lower Court's ruling, press pause, so I don't have to show up before a grand jury next week. And we are still waiting for the Appeals Court to make their decision on that -- Anderson.

COOPER: Do we know what prosecutors hope to learn by speaking with Graham, if and when it actually happens?

MURRAY: Well, one of the things they're really interested in is a call that Lindsey Graham had with Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger. Raffensperger came away from this call, believing that the Senator was asking him to throw away ballots in Georgia. Senator Graham has denied this. He said that wasn't his intention, but the DA wants to know about that call.

She wants to know about what went into organizing that call and she also wants to know if there were any other conversations that came up between Lindsey Graham and the Trump campaign as it relates to Georgia -- Anderson.

COOPER: Sara Murray, appreciate the update. Thanks.

As for all the lawmakers embracing the former President, in some cases even closer since the Mar-a-Lago search, there are some who now see him as liability in the November midterms. A few, as CNN's Melanie Zanona reports won't even say his name.

Melanie joins me now. So, what are you hearing about how some House Republican leaders are advising their candidates to talk about the former President?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, Anderson, I am told that Tom Emmer, the head of the House GOP's campaign arm has been privately advising Republican candidates in battleground districts to not talk about Trump on the campaign trail and to not be distracted by the former President, and to instead focus on the issues that they think are going to be the most salient in the midterms like inflation and crime.

Now, obviously, it depends a little bit on the district. It is also not entirely surprising to see Republicans start to pivot towards the middle as they are looking ahead to the General Election.

But it is clear that GOP leaders want these midterm elections to be a referendum on Joe Biden, not on Donald Trump. And I've talked to some of these Republican candidates who said they indeed are trying to not talk about the former President.

One GOP lawmaker told me that they only bring up Trump when they're asked about him. Another said they don't mention Trump by name ever and they try to focus on his policies, but Anderson, that is going to be increasingly difficult to do with Trump still dominating headlines. He is still under investigation and he is also teasing a presidential bid potentially before the midterms.

And so, yes, Trump is still a dominant force in the party. He energizes the base. He is good for fundraising, but there is a lot of conversation, at least privately among Republicans that he could drag down some of their candidates in the midterms.

COOPER: Is this just in House races or is there concern he could affect Senate seats?

ZANONA: Well, you know, I would actually say the concerns are more pronounced in the Senate and that's largely because a number of GOP candidates who were handpicked by Trump in the primaries have been struggling in their General Election campaigns, both in the polls and in the money game.


ZANONA: I mean, there is a Super PAC aligned with Mitch McConnell that has had to come to the rescue of Republican, JD Vance in Ohio. That's a state that Joe Biden lost by eight points in 2020. And now the Senate race is neck and neck.

And meanwhile, the nonpartisan Cook Political Report just shifted its readings in the Pennsylvania Senate race from toss up to lean Democrat and that was already seen as a huge pickup opportunity for Democrats. But Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate has really floundered there. And so McConnell is starting to sound the alarm. He is warning that

these races are going to be tight in the fall, and clearly reading between the lines here, he is frustrated with the former President's involvement -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes. Melanie Zanona, appreciate it. Thank you.

Joining us now is CNN senior political commentator, former Obama senior adviser, David Axelrod, and CNN political analyst and AXIOS Managing Editor, Margaret Talev.

David, you heard Melanie's reporting, is it possible to run a Republican campaign in 2022 without talking about the former President?

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, not if he can have any say about it.

I mean, the fact is that he has intruded into these -- himself into these elections. He likes to be the center of attention. That worked great for candidates in primaries, because he is still a dominant figure within the Republican Party. But when you get to General Elections, he's much more of a liability, particularly in these swing districts as Melanie said, but it's going to be hard.

And especially now, you know, the investigations closing in on him, the most latest being the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago has pushed him to, according to people around him think that he should accelerate his announcement of a candidacy.

A lot of Republicans -- McCarthy, McConnell -- being at the front of the line have urged him not to because they don't want him to be center. You know, most in these midterm elections as Melanie said, they tend to be referendums on the party that holds the White House.

This year, President Biden's approval rating is low. The economy is challenged because of inflation. Republicans thought they had clear sailing to a big year. Trump has complicated that along with the Dobbs decision, and now they still have a pretty good climate, but it isn't what they thought it would be.

COOPER: Yes. Well, Margaret, I mean, there's been so much talk about whether the President would announce -- the former President would announce ahead of the midterms that he was good trying to seek re- election. Do you think that would be a positive or negative for most Republicans running for office?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Many Republicans, particularly in the swing races, which is what matters, right, the contested Senate races and then the very few number of House races that are truly swing seats would not be a good thing in that case.

And I just think, look, if you're a voter or a news watcher, you probably feel like you're getting whiplash, because last week, all you've heard is, wow, the FBI search has only empowered President Trump. But that's really true inside the core of the Republican base. It's not true when you throw in Independents and Democrats and women.

And when you look at the Republicans' plan, it was a good plan. It made sense. It was like Biden is really unpopular and inflation is out of control. Let's run on that. Then the abortion ruling came down, Roe v. Wade got overturned. And now Donald Trump is dominating the news again, and what do women voters on balance disproportionately care about? Protecting their reproductive rights and they have a much higher sentiment against the former President, and so this is just not the position the Republicans wanted to be in.

COOPER: David, I mean, you were obviously Senior Adviser to President Obama during the 2010 midterms. What lessons did you take away from that experience? I mean, is there anything you would have done differently if you had to do it over?

AXELROD: You know, sometimes there is very little that you can do. I mean, we were the classic case, Anderson, of an incumbent party bearing the brunt of a referendum. You try and make the other party part of the equation, but it is hard to do. And that's why incumbent parties almost always lose seats in a midterm election, only twice since World War Two has the party in power gained seats.

And remember, we're talking about a 50/50 Senate and an almost 50/50 House right now. So Republicans don't have to do very much here.

So, you know, we tried and we tried to draw a contrast, but we didn't -- we weren't able to, but we didn't have Donald Trump, you know, which makes it a little bit easier to draw a contrast as did the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs.

One thing I wanted to mention, Donald Trump is strutting now because he's dominating these Republican primaries, the most recent, you know, high profile was Liz Cheney's loss in Wyoming, but what's going to happen in the General is that Republicans aren't going to start toting up these races where he burdened them with candidates who are loyal to him, who are election deniers, but wound up being bad candidates in swing states and districts.


And that's the number a lot of Republicans are going to be looking at after the election, as they assess the cost of the problem with Donald Trump for them as they can't live with him and they can't live without him. And, you know, that's something they're going to have to resolve.

COOPER: Yes, they can't quit him. Margaret, to that point, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell raised some eyebrows back on Thursday, he said this at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon. I just want to play that.


REP. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think there's probably a greater likelihood the house flips than the Senate. Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome. Right now we have a 50/50 Senate and a 50/50 country. But I think when all of a sudden done this fall, we're likely to have a extremely close Senate.


COOPER: And do you see that as some sort of criticism of the Senate candidates that are have been endorsed by the former president?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he definitely feels that and it's also criticism of the former president. You said the Republicans can't quit Donald Trump, like Mitch McConnell was trying to quit Donald Trump so hard and has been since December of 2020. But look --

COOPER: Seems like he quit it, he just can't say that he quote him.

TALEV: Yes. Well, even if he said it, it wouldn't matter. Because the nominees in many of the -- in many of these races that we're talking about are the nominees because of Donald Trump, not because of Mitch McConnell. And McConnell, kind of like, you can sort of lose or really lose, right? I mean, if these nominees sweep to victory anyhow, and he becomes the majority leader, the President that he will be the majority leader, if these Republicans who were Trump Republicans allow him to be and he will be, you know, at the best, I think he's looking to lukewarm support from a lot of them. And then if he loses, it will be because of candidates probably that he would not have chosen as his top choice.


TALEV: Like I try to try to parse what he said about some great strategy. I think in this case, there's not a lot of Guile there. He's saying what's true. The Senate was always going to be harder to win. Then it was looking easier and now it's looking harder again.

COOPER: Yes. Margaret Talev, David Axelrod, appreciate it. Thank you. Have a good weekend.

Coming up next, CNN's Gary Tuchman talks to migrants getting free bus rides from Texas to Washington D.C. and New York. It's a controversial policy as you know, by the Texas governor. Politicians have had their say. Gary let's the people who are in the middle of this have theirs.



COOPER: Texas officials said the state is now bust nearly 1,000 migrants in New York City in the last two weeks and more than 7,000 in Washington D.C. since April. It's part of a program began by Governor Greg Abbott as a very public dig in the Biden administration's immigration policies. New York's mayor says that Texas is forcing the migrants on buses. The Office of the Texas governor says that's not true and that travel is voluntary.

It's why CNN's Gary Tuchman decided to try to get away from the political back and forth and instead just talk to the people and families riding these buses to see what they think. Here's Gary.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These migrants at the shelter in Eagle Pass Texas most from Venezuela have just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas, surrendered to the U.S. Border Patrol, received future immigration court dates. And some are about to board this bus for a 1,700 mile trip to Washington D.C. A plan started by the Texas governor in April. Some people say it's cool. But this story may not be what you expect. Listen to these migrants like 28- year-old Genesis Figaroa (ph) off from Venezuela.

(on-camera): Are you taking the bus?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): At Washington D.C.?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): So it's a yes.



TUCHMAN (on-camera): Are you happy?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): And listen to those who advocate for the migrants.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Valeria Wheeler is the executive director of Mission Border Hope, a nonprofit organization. Which serves this border community and Eagle Pass and operates the shelter for the recent arrivals. She's aware of the political component to the long bus rides, but says many of these people want to go to Washington or New York, the two locations where the Texas State buses are going.

(on-camera): And you're saying no one has been forced to go on these buses.

WHEELER: No one has been forced.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): They're going out because they want to?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): This free ride to New York, Washington.

Hundreds of people come to the shelter each day. The people that work here face an average of about 500 people daily. And many of these people have family in the United States, family with money, and in no time at all, they'll be in their family's home house. But other people here have no family have absolutely no idea where they're going to go next.

(voice-over): Genesis Figoroa (ph) has no family in the United States. But she traveled a month and a half by foot, bus, and boat to get here.

She says I got very tired, my legs hurt and I got sick. I came down with pneumonia. I was hospitalized for three days in Guatemala. Genesis says she does have friends in Washington. So she says she and her husband are happy to take the Washington bus.

(on-camera): Washington D.C. as quarenta horas, 40 hours.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): She says we've been on the road for so long we don't mind two or three more days.

Cousins Luis Pulido and Ainar Garrido (ph) took six weeks to get here from Venezuela. And then something horrible happened.

Luis says we left in search of a dream, but now it's a very difficult hard situation, because this trip took my brother's life. Tragically, Louisa younger brother Juan disappeared when they were all swimming across the Rio Grande. Shelter officials had just informed him Juan's body was found. He drowned.

The cousin said they will go ahead with their plans and take the Washington bus.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Luis says, our destination is Chicago but ads they will get off the bus along the route in Kentucky and the relatives will pick them up there.

The executive director here confirms the buses have indeed led off passengers along the way once they get out of Texas. The time has come for the bus to leave and Genesis Figaroa (ph) gets processed by members of the Texas State Guard and so the cousins Luis Pulido and Ainar Garrido (ph). And then 41 men women and children come out in the blazing sun to board the bus for the 40-hour ride.


Genesis says she's ready. She says she hopes to support her family back at Venezuela by cleaning, cooking or doing office work, Luis and Ainar so they'd like to help their families by working in the restaurant business.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): The bus pulls away. Each passenger we talked to saying they appreciate getting the air conditioned bus ride to what they hope is a much better road ahead.


TUCHMAN: If you are driving your car from here to Washington, D.C. in order to go in at a good clip, and you can hear in Texas who has some points of speed limits 85 miles per hour, you'd make it in about 25 hours, but this bus goes slowly. It makes a lot of stops. So they do allow up to 40 hours. We were here with that bus and those people yesterday, so it's expected that bus will arrive at the nation's capital sometime tomorrow morning. Anderson.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman, appreciate it. Thank you.

Up next, the southwest of the U.S. expecting heavy rainfall this week, and it won't bring the relief needed for long term mega drought. So many states are being forced to cut to -- cut their use of the Colorado River for water. CNN's Bill Weir is in Arizona for us where they are bracing for the worst. We'll go there next.



COOPER: So the Southwest is bracing for potential flash flooding tonight and tomorrow as the Weather Prediction Center at the National Weather Service forecast a multi-day significant rainfall event, that's what they're calling it. This comes as much the region battles a long term mega drought and prepares for new drastic cuts their use the Colorado River.

CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir is in Arizona where they're facing the largest cuts in the region. Here's his report.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Summer monsoons are adding a few precious inches to the Lake Mead waterline but not nearly enough. America's largest reservoir is still 25 feet lower than last summer, which led to Arizona farmers at the end of the water rights line watching their fields dry up in the first ever Tier 1 cuts. Now, parts of Phoenix will join them as Tier 2, takes 21% of Arizona share the Colorado River.

(on-camera): Do you foresee a day when it's Tier 3, Tier 4 and mandatory cuts that will get really severe?

KATHRYN SORENSEN, DIR. OF RESEARCH KYL CENTER FOR WATER POLICY, ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY: So absolutely. I am genuinely worried about the possibility of this system hitting dead pool.

WEIR: You are?

SORENSEN: Absolutely I am.

WEIR (voice-over): Dead pool is when Mead gets low enough to crash the whole Colorado system. And when Kathryn Sorensen was running water departments in Phoenix and Mesa, it was the biggest worry. But now it's worse. And the feds are begging Western states to cut up to one out of every four gallons consumed.

(on-camera): I know from our reporting, there was some Western water managers that were frustrated that the Bureau of Reclamation wasn't tougher. They said you guys work it out, or we'll work it out for you. But they didn't do that. What are your thoughts on that?

SORENSEN: Well, you know, it is disappointing because the longer that we have to endure the uncertainty, the more risk the entire system is. And I don't envy the federal government. You know, the Biden administration, they have some really tough choices to make. No elected official wants to be the person saying who gets water and who doesn't. I'm sure they are desperately searching for the least worst option. But in the meantime, water levels continue to fall.

GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): And we will invest heavily in conservation, efficiency, reuse and advanced water technologies like desalination.

WEIR (voice-over): Arizona's outgoing governor wants to build a desalination plant in Mexico and canals in Kansas to bring more water eventually. But in the meantime, the call to use less puts fresh scrutiny on thirsty industries like golf, especially after an Arizona republic investigation found that 30 to 50% of courses here use more than their share of water with little oversight.

(on-camera): State Records show that the water cops of Arizona have issued a punishment against a golf course, exactly twice in the last 20 years. So it's pretty obvious that from the feds down to the locals, people aren't exactly lining up to be the tough Sheriff desperately needed to tame water use in the Wild West.

SORENSEN: I don't golf. So I don't feel a need to defend golf. But I will say this, people focus on it because it's visible. But there are lots of things about what we do, what we consume, what we eat, what we wear, that are also very water intensive. So I don't like to think of it in terms of we don't have enough water. I like to think of it in terms of what do we have enough water for.


WEIR: Outside of the cities, Arizona's groundwater is unregulated so anybody can pump as much as they want. You play that out. It leads to a world where the guy with the biggest well wins. We've seen that horror movie, we don't want that. But it's also worth remembering that most of the Colorado River water 70, 80% goes into growing food a lot of it in California that the rest of the country depends on. So this crisis touches us all, it trickles down. No pun intended Anderson in one way or another.

COOPER: Yes, it's fascinating concerning. Bill Weir, appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up, a new report on social media "The Rise Of Antisemitism In America." CNN's Dana Bash joins us with a pretty frightening look at how fringe groups have gone mainstream in many places. Next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


COOPER: Was you know social media has helped some pretty radical and repellent ideas are one fringe to move into the mainstream. It's the focus of a new CNN Special Report "RISING HATE ANTISEMITISM IN AMERICA." And it focuses on the deadly shootings and conspiracy theories brought about by this new radicalization. But also the ways to maybe curb this trend.

We're joined now by CNN's Dana Bash, who reported the new documentary which airs Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. How is anti-Semitism infiltrating social media you think and the internet?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's doing so incredibly aggressively. We spoke to experts who monitor this kind of hate that is just really spreading like wildfire across the Internet, across social media, and looked at why and how it's happening.


BASH (voice-over): A recent study showed there was anti-Semitism on every social platform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Part of what they're trying to do to attract people to their hate is to use almost stylistic type of imagery, and memes. And so here, hey, look, everybody, it's the midnight Jew crew making hate crimes great again. Basically blaming Jews for falsely creating anti-Semitic incidents to get sympathy is essentially.

BASH (voice-over): A new tactic, live streaming confrontation, like here when a white supremacist goes after a Jewish man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Many of these viewers are engaging in real time.

BASH (on-camera): Watch the Jews squirm.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Watch the Jews squirm.

BASH (on-camera): F the Jews.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. They are actually in many cases telling the folks on the ground what they should do. And if you notice there's a donate button. So the more that he say curses out a bystander, the more money will be given. This is again why it's so concerning. Because that we've seen people live stream their actual attacks, their shootings, because they also anticipate that people will watch them. Go on the extremist journey with them.



COOPER: So sickening. BASH: It is sickening Anderson. And what you see is the hate that's online, which is getting into people's psyches, and in some cases radicalizing people. And then it's being transferred and done simultaneously in real life, like that example that you just saw with live streaming and attack.

COOPER: You also talked to some people about how COVID may have fueled some of this online hate.

BASH: It did in a big way, because people were home, and they were on their computers. And if you look at the Anti-Defamation League statistics, they started to rise in about 2015, 2016. But they continued and spiked the highest that they had ever had on record in 2020 and 2021. And that was when people were working from home, not working online, and really sharing a lot of anti-Semitic imagery and tropes.

And then on top of that, Anderson, one of the oldest conspiracy theories, one of the oldest forms of anti-Semitism is saying, well, Jews bring disease, Jews are responsible for disease and Jews make money off of things, they run the world. Well, all of those again, conspiracies kind of collided with COVID. That it's a disease. They blamed -- a lot of people blamed Jews and said that they were responsible for the vaccines, making money off the vaccines, don't use vaccines. So, all of these things came to a head, which is why we're seeing the highest numbers, again, on record in modern times in America.

COOPER: I mean, it's so important to focus on this and I'm glad you've done this. Dana Bash, thank you. The documentary is "RISING HATE ANTISEMITISM IN AMERICA." It airs Sunday night on CNN 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

We'll be right back.



COOPER: The news continues. Let's hand it over Alisyn Camerota in "CNN TONIGHT." Alisyn.