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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Judge Orders Release Of Redacted Mar-a-Lago Affidavit By Noon Tomorrow; MN GOP Nominee For Top Election Post Compared Changing Voting Rules In 20202 To 9/11 Terror Attack; Election Deniers Win GOP Primaries For Top Election Posts In At Least 11 States; Georgia Prosecutor Investigating Trump Calls For Mark Meadows To Testify; Pres. Biden Touts Dem Legislative Wins In Speech, Draws Contrast With GOP On Abortion, Gun, Economy; Asylum Seekers On Texas Bus Rides, Life In America. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired August 25, 2022 - 20:00   ET


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Which is what they'd like to see if at or below one percent, and much of that is obviously because of the migrants that we've seen arrive here in New York City and that is really what's fueling this call for the Federal government to step in and help expand the shelter system.

They know that many more are coming, 460 migrants arriving here at the heart of Manhattan, at Port Authority just in the last 48 hours -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Polo, thank you for bringing us that story.

And thank you all so much for being with us tonight.

AC 360 starts now.



At any moment tonight, the Justice Department could release a redacted version of the affidavit making the government's case for searching Mar-a-Lago. Now, they have until noon tomorrow to do it.

The former President, as you know, had pushed for the unredacted version to come out. His spokesman recently justifying it based on, and these are his words, "The Democrats' penchant for using redactions to hide government corruption, just like they did with the Russia hoax."

Now, the Department of Justice does not want to make public anything that could jeopardize this or any potential future case; plus, put investigators in jeopardy or expose potential witnesses to pressure.

There is also the longstanding practice at the Justice Department of not saying anything at all about pending cases, especially ones as politically sensitive as this. With that said, as the Judge in the case recognized, there is certainly a public interest involved here.

CNN's Jessica Schneider starts us off.

Do we know why exactly the Judge decided to release this?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: You know, we don't know for sure, Anderson, but it is really possible here that the DOJ may have given a little bit more than they originally thought they could.

You know, the Judge moved really swiftly today. It was less than four hours after he received prosecutors' proposed redactions that he ruled that what they proposed would in fact, be sufficient that it should be released to the public by noon tomorrow.

And the reason it is interesting that this Judge came to such a quick conclusion is that when DOJ argued in Court last week, they said that any redactions could be so extensive that it would make the entire affidavit completely devoid of content in their words, and when they said that, the Judge pushed back and he argued, look, there must be something that you can release.

So, it does seem that maybe DOJ has come up with a version, obviously that is satisfying to the Judge, even though of course, huge portions of this are likely to be blacked out -- Anderson.

COOPER: What parts can we expect to be redacted?

SCHNEIDER: Yes, so we likely won't see any information that relates to the investigation itself, because of course, we know it is a criminal investigation still ongoing into these classified documents; nothing at all about the witnesses who have talked with investigators, and nothing that will remotely jeopardize the work DOJ has been doing.

And the Judge really agreed to all of this, the need for it all to be blacked out because he wrote this, he said: "I find that the government has met its burden of showing a compelling reason, good cause to seal portions of the affidavit because disclosure would reveal one, the identities of witnesses, law enforcement agents, and uncharged parties; two, the investigation, strategy, direction, scope sources, and methods; and three, grand jury information protected by Federal rule of Criminal Procedure 6 (e). So, all of that will certainly be blacked out.

So what we see tomorrow, Anderson, it maybe could reveal a few procedural details, nothing substantial, but maybe some details procedurally about why the search at Mar-a-Lago happened.

You know, so there could be some tidbits in there that brought in the public's knowledge, since really the goal of getting this released from the Judge was to make at least some information, put it out there in the public. So we'll see what we get.

COOPER: Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.

Perspective now from CNN contributor and former Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean; former Federal Judge, Nancy Gertner. She is currently a senior lecturer at Harvard Law School. Also with us tonight, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI Deputy Director, Andrew McCabe.

Judge Gertner, were you surprised the Judge made this call to release the redacted affidavit?

NANCY GERTNER, FORMER FEDERAL JUDGE: I was. I was very surprised.

The only thing that I think that your reporter had it right, that it must be that the government show that it can disclose something without, you know, without sort of unpacking the entire investigation.

The other thing that's said, between the time of the search on the 8th, until now, a lot has come out about the timeline, about the efforts to get this material and the intransigence on Trump's part.

So, there may be public facts that they can happily disclose, not happily, but aptly disclose, you know, without jeopardizing the kinds of issues that she described.

So it maybe, once he saw that it was possible, and they saw that it was possible, he was prepared to do it.

COOPER: So Andrew, we mentioned the Judge ruled the identities of witnesses, law enforcement, the investigation strategy should remain under seal. To what extent do you think that will satisfy the FBI and DOJ? What do you expect will be revealed in the redacted version?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, Anderson, the devil is in the details, right?

The FBI is going to be looking very closely at that category specifically in the protection of witnesses and people who provided information. So, if DOJ was thorough and complete in completely redacting any information that could lead to those identities being revealed, then the FBI will probably be satisfied.


I suspect that Judge Gertner is absolutely right. DOJ took the tact of releasing as much information as they possibly could, those facts that are already well-known, other facts that have been revealed and confirmed by governmental agencies in the last week or so with a correspondence from NARA that we've seen aired out in the press.

So essentially, what we're going to be able to read is things that we already know.

COOPER: John, do you think the redacted version of the affidavit will reveal many new details?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think it could. I think that seems to be what took the Judge over to the side of releasing this material. That was his inclination, and he wanted to see a strong case by Justice as to why not, and he didn't get that, they obviously did come forward.

But I can't imagine that Trump is going to be happy with this document, given the fact that it was an advocacy document written to persuade the Judge to find probable cause to undertake a search. That isn't a document that's going to put a lot of pluses in for Donald Trump, to the exact opposite.

So, I think he's going to be very unhappy with what he finds and what comes out and it will not be good for Donald Trump.

COOPER: And Judge Gertner, I mean, does it make sense to you, from a legal standpoint that the former President's legal team didn't take an official position in Court on whether the affidavit should be released?

I mean, they said a lot of stuff on TV, but in Court, they were silent.

GERTNER: Because he doesn't want -- because he is deeply ambivalent, because if he came out in Court and said, "I align myself with the press that wants this stuff released," if he were then charged, he would have a very difficult time saying that the release of this information was what prejudiced him, when in fact, he was the architect of that release.

So you know, he is playing both games at the same time. That's what he's doing.

COOPER: And Andrew, I mean, according to the Department of Justice, the investigation is still in its early stages. What would the FBI is role be in the probe right now?

I mean, what is the division of labor, essentially, between the Bureau and the Department of Justice? Who is ultimately driving this the train?

MCCABE: Sure. So, you have really two very separate but tied together efforts going on here, Anderson. So, the one thing is the investigation of the possible crimes that were laid out in the search warrant, so violations of the Espionage Act and obstruction of justice, things like that.

So, you've got agents that are looking very closely at what Trump officials said and did in this course of conduct over the last year- and-a-half in retaining the documents.

At the same time, you have Counterintelligence agents that are looking very closely at the material itself, trying to come up with a damage assessment, essentially, to be able to say, how much have we possibly lost in terms of this very sensitive, most classified information? They're looking at those surveillance videos from the area around the basement where the documents are stored. They're trying to identify everyone who comes up on those videos. They are interviewing those people.

So, it's two very complicated and labor-intensive efforts underway at the same time.

COOPER: John, do you think heavy redactions create more confusion? I mean, I read one former prosecutor describe it as a potential Rorschach test, and people will kind of read into it what they want to see in those black boxes.

DEAN: That's a good metaphor, because that is exactly what will happen, and I guarantee you, the Trump supporters and Trump himself will find lots of reasons to complain about all that black space and they'll go on endlessly about how there are things -- there are dark conspiracies that are going on, and this is evidence of it.

Of course, it's not, but that's what they will argue, and no one can refute it until the rest of the document is released, if and when that ever happens.

COOPER: It will be like Wordle. We're all trying to figure out how many letters can fit into a certain space.

Judge Gertner, is there any scenario under which the release of the affidavit, even the redacted version could then complicate things if the case ever got to the point of charges or a trial?

GERTNER: Sure. I mean, we have to step back to some degree. You know, the statute, the Espionage Statute includes people who have disseminated information, not just people who have, you know, collected Defense information, and it is a very broad statute. It deals with unlawful transfer, unlawful destruction, and unlawful retention.

And so it is possible that they would conclude if it is a mere unlawful retention, that they did not want to charge anyone, right? I mean, that's always possible that it was just a "whoops." Now, we've talked about this before, it looks a little bit different than a "whoops" given the length of the steps that the President took, the former President took to keep the stuff in hand.

But the danger here is, if anyone has mentioned in that affidavit quite afar from the President -- former President rather -- who then is not charged? That's the whole concern here. This is an investigative document, an affidavit, not a charging document.


And presumably at the conclusion of the investigation, they may say, well, we're going after you, or you, but not you. And what the release of this information could do is to hurt the people who aren't charged, and then, you know, have serious impact on any prosecution going forward, particularly, given a President who hasn't -- you know, who seems to have no problem calling people or threatening people.

COOPER: So, Andrew, just, I mean, logistically, how does it work? If this is an ongoing investigation, and theoretically, in an ongoing investigation, the FBI would be contacting people conducting interviews. Given all the drama surrounding the search, would that have just for -- I mean, I don't know if it's political reasons or any reasons, would they-- would people in the FBI just be like, okay, let's just put everything on hold while the furor dies down or how does that work? MCCABE: No, I don't suspect that people in the FBI put the effort on

hold. They are going to obviously take the steps that the Department of Justice authorizes them to take and they are going to move forward with this, despite the political furor around it, and the kind of impassioned views on both sides.

The bigger problem, Anderson, is the drama and the attention on this specifically around the revelation potentially of information from the affidavit could have a chilling effect on people's desire to get involved in the investigation.

So the next time the Bureau goes out and knocks on someone's door, having seen all of this played out in the media and fought over the course of these motions, it's much less likely that people will be willing to just sit down and talk to FBI agents and share the information that they know and that will slow them down and impede the investigation.

COOPER: Andrew McCabe, Judge Gertner, appreciate it. John Dean, as well.

We have new reporting tonight on what appears to be a long-running conflict within the former President's inner circle over how to handle the mess he is, and even he is reportedly concerned about it.

CNN's Kristen Holmes shares the byline on this story, joins us now.

So what are you learning about how the former President and his inner circle are handling all this?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Trump is steering the ship and it is clear that he wants this to be a political battle and not a legal one, but allies that we've talked to are growing concerned over this strategy, as well as the competence of Trump's legal team, particularly as many of them have come to believe that Trump could be in real legal jeopardy.

Now, this concern over Trump's legal team started almost immediately after the search sources pointing to an exchange between a FOX TV host who is a Trump ally, and one of Trump's attorneys, Christina Bobb, in which this Trump ally grilled Bobb over the legal strategy and it seemed as though Bobb did not have a lot of real answers.

And just a reminder here, Bobb is a former TV host herself at One America News, the right-wing, pro-Trump network, and she has become the face of this legal team mainly from speaking on conservative media and propagating these conspiracy theories.

The other red flag that a lot of these allies raised to us was the fact that the legal team did not put anything forward in the way of motions for two weeks. And once they did, it was riddled with legal errors. It was widely criticized by both sides of the aisle legal experts, it read like a political document.

And again, this is coming at a time where we're hearing from a lot of these people who are close to Trump, who believe he could be in legal jeopardy.

COOPER: Sure, wait a minute. I should have known this, but one of his attorneys, the one who has been on TV a lot. She comes from OAN? That's where he found her.

HOLMES: That's right. Yes. She is one of several people who used to work at OAN who now works for Donald Trump, but she is one of his lawyers that is representing him. She is the one who you have seen consistently on conservative news networks talking about this.

She is also the one who, when she was at OAN, was a big propagator of the Big Lie, talking about Rudy Giuliani promoting those things during the election.

COOPER: I don't know why I'm surprised, but it just stuns me that the former president United States in his inner circle of attorneys as he is facing what seems to be a pretty serious thing is relying on a former OAN percentage is -- that's news to me. I did not know that.

Kristen Holmes, appreciate it. Thank you.

Stay with us, I want to bring in our Kaitlan Collins, who has herself done a lot of reporting about the former President and his associates.

So, how does it line up what Kristen was saying about the dissonance within the circle? How does that line up with your understanding of what's going on around the President?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: First, I have to say it is funny that you're laughing that he or you're so surprised that he --

COOPER: I'm surprised, I'm not laughing. I'm just -- I'm filled with I don't know what.


COLLINS: But, this is kind of the Trump way. John Eastman, the attorney who is at the center of trying to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the results of the election, Trump found him because he was talking about the Russia investigation on FOX News and that is how he brought him in.

So, it's actually not a huge surprise, as is often held, Trump brings people into his inner circle because he sees them talking about him on TV, boosting him, defending him, and he likes them, and John Eastman ended up in the Oval Office, and of course now, Christina Bobb.

COOPER: Maybe she is a great attorney. I hope she is.

COLLINS: She is the public face of his --

COOPER: Everybody deserves great attorneys around them.

COLLINS: I think Kristen's reporting is spot on about, there are a lot of people in Trump's inner circle who are worried, not necessarily because Christina Bobb is the one making the legal decisions. He does have two other attorneys, Evan Corcoran, and Jim Trusty who were working behind the scenes, they're not publicly on television.

But Trump likes to have people who are on TV defending him, not just in Court. Both of them are almost equal in importance.

COOPER: Is it is coincidence that he picked an attorney named Trusty? Because I know he does like how people look and how people appear. That's important to him. He always liked his Generals to look a certain way.

COLLINS: I think he knows Jim Trusty from being in Washington and from other recommendations that he got, but it is a notable --

COOPER: Okay. He is being described as one of the most experienced attorneys that the former President has around him.

COLLINS: Same with Evan Corcoran, who people would recognize potentially from -- he also defended Bannon. And so you often see when Bannon would come up to the Courthouse and talk, you'd see Evan Corcoran behind him.

So, I do think there's some questioning about the legal team and the strategy here and what that's going to look like. One thing that has surprised me is they haven't added anyone to the legal team in a sense of what we had been expecting.

We know they had been searching for them in the days right after the search happened, because they felt like they needed someone who understood Florida law, given so much of this is happening there. Obviously, his former house is there. They have yet to add a high- powered attorney, a big name from Florida yet.

I think it's in part because there is a mistrust of attorneys who are sought out to work for Trump given he often dismisses them. Remember, he got rid of all his legal team before his second impeachment happened. He often doesn't pay them is a complaint that you've seen from some of them.

But I think also, this is a case where you know, if you work for a really high-powered law firm, you also have to kind of check off with everyone else before you go and work in a case as politically sensitive as this one.

So, I do think the legal strategy will be something to watch over the next few weeks.

COOPER: Right, because even the document that they put to the Court, the Judge kind of went back with them and said, look, you need to -- here is what you actually need to put in a document like that. It didn't seem like it was really a strong legal document. It may have had political implications, or that would might have been the point of it.

COLLINS: It read a lot like his Twitter feed did, and it was making a legal argument, but there is a reason that they have to go back tomorrow and clarify, because they didn't ask for any action beyond they wanted this Special Master, but they didn't put a timeline.

Typically, you'd say, we want an emergency injunction on this, a pause on this. This done by this date. That's why they have to refine that tomorrow.

When it comes to the questions about whether or not they've pursued the right strategy that others want, they didn't file it before the Judge who is the one that's involved in the affidavit, the one that is involved in signing off on what this looks like, they filed it in front of a different Judge.

So, that has also raised some questions. So, we'll see how it plays out. They feel like the affidavit will actually benefit them and show that the Justice Department has overreached.

I do think with the redactions, it could be read a certain way. And so people should be cautious reading it, of reading too much into what they want to read into it, but it could reveal some things about the timeline that could be interesting.

COOPER: Kristen, you also have reporting about the former President's well-known correspondence with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

HOLMES: That's right, Anderson. And this is really fascinating.

So, during this timeframe in which the National Archives was negotiating with Trump's representatives, a senior official from the National Archives reached out to Trump's attorney, Scott Gast, who was appointed to be the liaison with the Archives. And in this e-mail, which our colleague Gabby Orr obtained, it is almost surreal to read because they're talking about how they're going to get these documents back from Mar-a-Lago to the National Archives.

And again, we're talking about correspondence between two world leaders. And in the e-mail, they're talking about how they're going to get it shipped FedEx overnight. He is saying, "Can you please make sure that you give me the codes? We have staff to meet them on the other end of this."

So again, a kind of a surreal moment as we're seeing this negotiation between the two. Now, it is important to note that they never sent the letters. The letters actually weren't obtained for another seven months when the Archives picked up those 15 boxes.

But again, just an insight into what was going on in these negotiations.

COOPER: Right. And these are letters that are, according to Maggie Haberman, the former President liked to show to visitors in the Oval Office like, hey, look at this letter from Kim Jong-un, the love letters, he called them.

Kristen Holmes, Kaitlan Collins, thank you.

Again, the unsealing of the affidavit could come at any moment. So, I'm just going to keep a close eye on that through this hour and throughout the evening.

Next, a CNN K-Files exclusive from the Republican nominee to be the top elections official in Minnesota said, comparing 2020 to 9/11, and that's not all.

Later, how recent primaries, the Supreme Court's abortion ruling, the economy, and President Biden's student loan forgiveness may affect midterm elections this fall. We'll talk to political strategist, James Carville tonight.



COOPER: Tonight a CNN exclusive on what has become a defining trend in this year's primary season, the number of Republican candidates running to oversee elections in their state who believed the 2020 presidential election was somehow illegitimate.

Another trend is the number of them who have actually won their primaries. You can see them there. At least 11 Republican nominees who have disputed the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

CNN K-File senior editor, Andrew Kaczynski has uncovered some especially strong statements from one of them in Minnesota. He joins us now.

So, what have you uncovered?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN K-FILE SENIOR EDITOR: So, Kim Crockett is an attorney and political activist who is running for Secretary of State in Minnesota. She doesn't believe the election in 2020 was legitimate. She has called Democrats cheats.

She said the 2020 election was rigged. She calls it the Big Rig. She doesn't believe the Post Office should be allowed to handle ballots which is kind of an extreme position.

COOPER: Why? What's wrong with the Post Office?

[20:25:10 ]

KACZYNSKI: Well, she says that the Post Office Union endorsed Democrats in general. So, she doesn't think they should be allowed to handle ballots and we're talking millions of ballots every year.

And one thing, in particular, she has been pretty vocal against is Democratic attempts to make it easier to vote in the last couple of years. We've seen Republicans in a lot of states, you know, trying to tighten things up, trying to cut back on early voting, things like that.

And in one instance, that we were listening to, she actually invoked the September 11th terrorist attacks, when talking about the subject, and we have a clip of that.


HOST: I really appreciate all you do, Kim, being on the frontlines of this and helping organize this and helping people get the information about these things.

KIM CROCKETT (R), MINNESOTA SECRETARY OF STATE CANDIDATE: Well, I have good friends in the American Majority and Alpha News have just done an amazing job pulling it together, because you know, we realize people are discouraged.

And this is -- this is still an exceptional nation. We are still the American people. And I'm betting on it.

This is a challenge. Maybe we needed a wake-up call. This is our 9/11.



KACZYNSKI: Yes, so we reached out to her campaign about this on Tuesday. They asked us for some more time to look over all of these comments. They didn't actually get back to us with very much.

She defended calling the election rigged. She -- they did not address any of the various things in our story. What she did say was, we weren't focused on the issues, even though all of this is about voting rights, which is what the Secretary of State does, and she said basically, that the media was intent on character assassination.

COOPER: What's so ignorant about her statement is, "Our 9/11." Is our 9/11. Like, 9/11 is her 9/11. The idea is like our 9/11, that's as if it happened in some other country. It makes no sense.

KACZYNSKI: It makes it makes no sense. That was what was really weird is because wouldn't 9/11 be also your 9/11?

So, that was --

COOPER: I understand she has made some pretty startling comments about President Biden as well.

KACZYNSKI: So, she obviously doesn't like Biden, you know, but she actually thinks probably the progressive movement wing of the Democratic Party is worse, and we can take a listen to this in a second here.

She thinks, you know, Biden is actually expendable to these people, and they're going to possibly get rid of him when the time is right.

COOPER: Let's play this.


HOST: ... after you and drive you out, because you are not progressive enough. Joe Biden is not progressive enough for that wing of the party and that's your rift, that's where you target. CROCKETT: Right. They're just kind of put a pillow over his face when

they get tired of him.

HOST: Whoa.

CROCKETT: So, when I was -- they'll put a pillow over Biden's face. "Oh, go quietly Joe."



KACZYNSKI: Yes, and you know, an article on, we barely covered her comments here, you can read it and you can see some of the other comments she has made both about voting rights and about Democrats.

COOPER: It is so interesting, when like a soft-spoken lady who, you know, you might think, oh, she's the person who you meet in the grocery store. She seems so nice -- is talking about the President being smothered with a pillow.

KACZYNSKI: Yes, I mean, I'm Midwestern. I'm from Ohio. We're generally, I would say nice, mild-mannered people, usually.


There you go. Andrew Kaczynski, appreciate it. Thank you.

Still ahead, more on the nation's political divide and the role of media plays in stoking division. I'll talk to former FOX News political editor, Chris Stirewalt, who was at the center of one of the biggest 2020 election calls that was controversial in the far right after FOX News called Arizona for President Biden during the 2020 election.



COOPER: As we mentioned before the break, there are at least 11 election deniers who are running to oversee elections in their states. One of them being Minnesota's Kim Crockett. According to exclusive new reporting by CNN's (INAUDIBLE) as you just heard, she told her radio interviewer last year the election and fight for election integrity was election -- for election deniers was, quote, our 9/11 comparing election reform and a free fair election to a terror attack. It's not just Minnesota, in fact, Arizona appears to be the epicenter for Republican candidates up and down the ticket who've embraced former presidents conspiracy theories.

My next guest knows the state well. He was at the center of one of the biggest calls on election night as the Fox News political editor at that time, he was responsible for the network being the first to call the state for Biden correctly, something that became very controversial on the far right. He also recently testified before the January 6 committee. His new book Broken News, Why The Media Rage Machine Divides America and How To Fight Back Dives Deep Into Political Division In The Nation, How Polarizing Media Plays An Influence.


CHRIS STIREWALT, AUTHOR, BROKEN NEWS: The reality is the shortest distance between a news organization and profits is anger, fear hatred, we have to earn and deserve the privileges that we enjoy the freedoms that we enjoy as journalists. And if the work that we're doing is not good for the country, if the work that we're doing does not help us to realize the objectives of the founding and the hopes of the people of this country, then it's wrong.


COOPER: And joining me now is Chris Stirewalt, who was literally go from Fox News due to what it said was restructuring. Chris, it's really a pleasure to have you on. It's not just Minnesota as we were just talking about. I mean, there are election deniers on the ballot in Arizona and Michigan, Indiana, the list goes on. How concerned are you given all you've seen that, you know, the people who are hoping to run elections in so many states are some of the same people saying the last election was fraudulent?

STIREWALT: Well, the Arizona Republican Party has really fallen on some hard times. And just as a good example of this Doug Ducey, the very, very popular very successful two-term governor, they're in a more normal Republican Party we'd be talking about whether what kind of presidential campaign wouldn't be coming up, or he would have been drafted to run for the Senate in that state. Instead, some real hardliners with some really, really extreme views on this stuff have gone into place.


The problem is and I think this is something that Democrats should bear in mind as they think about the candidates who they helped Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania for example, his opponent spent many time, many fold more money on his campaign to boost Mastriano, to get a kook through the primary than the Mastriano is spent on his own campaign.


STIREWALT: In a good year for Republicans right now. It's a better year for Democrats than before. There's it's still not a good year for Democrats, but the tide has turned a little bit. But if that were to shift, you could see these really, really extreme people taking over key positions in swing states, which would put them there in 2024.

COOPER: CNN and a lot of other organizations have been polling on the issue. As you know, since the 2020, presidential election poll. Poll after poll we see anywhere between 50% to 70% of Republicans who believe the election was stolen from the former president, the main reason seems to be simply because he tells them that it was stolen despite no evidence and despite all the evidence to the contrary. Do you think there is anything that can be said or shown to those people at this point to change their minds?

STIREWALT: Well, look, the there are, I think you have to divide that group out a little bit. There and I have sincere though it's a danger I have sincere sorrow for the people who are truly duped, right. There are people who are truly, truly duped and they've been snickered. And there's a lot of cynical Republicans and Grifters on the right who took advantage of those people and have taken them for a fairly well amount of money. Then there are those Grifters.

Then there's this other group, these are the folks who resent being told again and again about this, they don't like hearing about it. They don't like to hear from me. They didn't like it when I the team that I was part of called Arizona. They don't like it and they're resentful of it. Those people are the persuade -- those are persuadable people. Those people have to be made to understand about two things. Number one, their duty to the Republic and the system. But number two, that if they keep up like this, their party is going to be relegated to sideline status and Kook (ph) status, and will not be competitive in states where it should be competitive.

COOPER: To you, what is the Republican primary in 2024 look like? If the former president does indeed run again? I personally for some reason feel like he's not going to. I have -- there's -- I don't base that on anything. It's just a feeling. But dude, all the evidence is the contrary. Do you think he'll walk away with it? Or do you think someone like DeSantis or Hawley or Cruz could actually give him a fight or would even try if he was running?

STIREWALT: Well, I don't know about Ted Cruz. Josh Hawley certainly is thirsty enough to give it a shot. DeSantis is formidable. Here's the thing about Trump this time versus last time, doesn't matter whether Trump is declared or not declared, the way to think about Trump is he is the front runner for the Republican nomination in 2024. And until he says otherwise, right, until he says I'm definitely not running. Let's just assume that he is right. Because if it walks like a candidate and it quacks like a candidate, it's probably a candidate.

Trump is in a different position, certainly than he was as an incumbent in 2020. But he is darn well in a different situation than he is in 2016. In 2016, Trump didn't carry the kind of baggage that he does. Now he could change his mind, change his tune from day to day. This time, I've said that he's a little like a mega Jeb Bush. He's got a lot of priors that he's got to drag around about the 2020 election. He's got all these candidates who he's endorsed. He has all this inventory that he's got to move. So he doesn't have the kind of flexibility.

And the other thing and I think it's most significant. And this is, you know, what I was talking about my book, he's not that entertaining anymore. In 2016, he was fascinating, right? You couldn't help but watch Donald Trump as he simulated attempted murder on stage in Fort Dodge Iowa, that was a hard to not hard to not watch. Now, I think we've seen most of the inventory. So I think he'll function as a different kind (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Right. He's now the boring guy at the bar. I mean, doesn't drink but allegedly, but you know, who seems drunk and just keeps talking about the same stuff over and over again, no one wants to listen to it.

STIREWALT: I think there are a lot of Republicans who don't like to -- didn't like the search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, don't like when people pick on Trump, don't like that stuff. But who also don't want him to run again, because they know that he is that that the country if faced with a Biden versus Trump again, that they might make this -- that they would more likely make the same decision again, and that Trump is a liability. He's sort of like the Clinton -- the Trumps are turning into the Clintons for the Democratic Party. They can't shake them. And there's enough of a core constituency there that they drag him around. And it could be a decade's long problem for Republicans depending on how it goes.

COOPER: Chris Stirewalt, the book is Broken News, Why The Media Rage Machine Divides American How To Fight Back. I've just started it. It's really good. I look forward to talking to you more about it because I think it's such an important topic. Thanks very much for being with us.

STIREWALT: Thanks so much.

COOPER: There's potentially significant new development just written right now in the Georgia 2020 election criminal investigation is principally who the prosecutor now wants to go before the grand jury.

CNN's Evan Perez has the story, joins us now. What are you learning Evan?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the district attorney there in Fulton County Georgia is calling on Mark Meadows to appear before the special grand jury that is investigating the efforts to overturn the Georgia election results in 2020. Obviously, this is a significant move by the DA. Meadows was very, very central to the former president's efforts to try to organize efforts, to remain in power with fake electors to try to get states to overturn their election results. And, you know, part of what she says here is that he is a significant witness to the efforts by Donald Trump to overturn those election results.


She is calling for him to testify on September 27th. And, you know, obviously, Meadows was involved, to talk to members of the Georgia Legislature. He was on the phone when the former president was pressuring the Secretary of State there in Georgia to find the exact number of votes in order to overturn Joe Biden's victory in Georgia. We know he also was pressuring the Justice Department Anderson to say that there was significant fraud in Georgia, even though of course, the Justice Department had no evidence of that.

We also know according to Politico that a couple of other important people who were involved in this effort have also been called to testify as significant witnesses before the special grand jury. One of them is Sidney Powell, who was -- one of the president -- former president's lawyers involved in this whole scheme. And the former Army Colonel James Phil Waldron is also being called to testify according to Politico. But Meadows obviously is a big name. He was the Chief of Staff of the former president and central to those efforts by the former president to try to find a way to remain in power.

COOPER: Yes, just that information just in. CNN Evan Perez, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Up next, last hour, President Biden gave some of his sharpest critiques of the Republican Party suggesting they've gone too far predicting the end of quote, extreme MAGA philosophy. We'll have details on what he said ahead.


COOPER: Moments ago in Maryland and President Biden wrapped up remarks touting his recent legislative wins taking swipes at Republicans and kicking off his midterm campaigning calling voters to action.


JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The Social Security you paid for from the time he had a job is on the ballot. The safety of your kids from gun violence is on the ballot. And there's not hyperbole, the very survival of our planet is on the ballot. Your right to vote is on the ballot. Even the democracy, are you ready to fight for these things now?



COOPER: Well prior to his speech, he spoke with a group of Democratic donors. He told them they were seeing, quote, either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy. And then almost immediately, he said that entire philosophy and I'm quoting the president here, it's like semi-fascism. This comes as Democrats believe they've regained some momentum, thanks to recent legislative victories, the Supreme Court's ruling on abortion and a win congressional race, among other reasons.

Join me now Democratic strategist and co-host of the Politics War Room Podcast, James Carville. He was also the chief strategist for President Clinton's 1992 campaign.

So James, you heard the president tonight. What do you make of this idea that he and other Democrats, by way of their legislative victories in Congress, harnessing outrage over the overturning of Roe v. Wade are in a much better midterm position right now? Is that true?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, yes, there's undeniably true. I mean, we've had elections in Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, New York State left to in New York State that New York 23rd if anything was just as impressive as New York 19th. Now, how much does stage and you've seen an uptick in and the polling for Democrats? No. Undoubtedly win, better shape than we were in June 5th piece. Whether that stays? I don't know. I'm hoping it does. But I thought, you know, I'm like a lot of people, I thought we were pretty close to being artistic in early summer. Now, we were very much in the middle of (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: I mean, it's crazy how quickly things seem to turn around or shift direction, which obviously means they could shift I guess the other way, again, given --


COOPER: -- the time before the election. If you were running point on the Democratic Party's midterm efforts right now, how would you try to keep momentum going?

CARVILLE: I talked about extremism, and it just isn't in the Dobbs case it was extremism on the gun case, it was extremism on the climate case. You have all these candidates making these hippie (ph) extreme statements. And I think President Biden was onto something there. And the Republicans no longer have the benefit of the doubt. People say, well, gee, they did this. They'll really do something else. And he's right about those security. Rick Scott talks about sunsetting Social Security, the head of the Republican Senate committee, Ron Johnson spoken favorably about it.

So, these are issues that we thought that people wouldn't touch, but they're touching them now. And we got to be sure to pay a price for it. Absolutely.

COOPER: As you said the abortion issue appears to be energizing Democratic voters. There's reportedly been a surge of voter registration among women, (INAUDIBLE) the search at Mar-a-Lago firing up a segment of the Republican base. Do Democrats risk getting overconfident? Because I mean, if you look at exit polls from elections pass abortion has not been up in the top echelon of what issues people vote on.

CARVILLE: So I worry mo bowhead about a lot of things, Democratic overcome me (INAUDIBLE) in the airport or something else. But I don't think that -- I don't think we can have a governor about. But I do think compared to a few months ago, we do have something to feel better about. But that's a long way to go. There's a lot of football between nine, you know, early November.

COOPER: There's also the historical precedent of the party in power usually loses seats in the midterm. And --

CARVILLE: Right, yes, absolutely.

COOPER: And President Biden himself remains --


COOPER: -- low approval ratings. CARVILLE: He does, but it's amounts untied. And I saw Bo came out of I think Gallup now he was Hodge, he's been in the last year. Thank God, I think he deserves it. But I don't know it's kind of weird because President Biden's approval hadn't figured into somebody's recent elections that we've seen around the country. And I was pretty gratified to see what happened in New York State, I thought well, maybe it's a Midwest phenomenon, but apparently is not in there is a lot of energy and people don't like to have a right to take it away from them.

COOPER: What do you think about the Student Loan Forgiveness Plan says Chuck Schumer or Elizabeth Warren are celebrating the plan, moderate more moderate Democrats running the Midwest are already trying to distance themselves from it. Is it, I mean, is it historic move like that? Is it worth the political gamble?

CARVILLE: But he promised that he'd do something during the campaign. He won by 7 million votes. All right. I mean, it's not like just hadn't, he hadn't talked about it. He hadn't discussed it. He had promised that he do something. You know, it's a complicated issue, but I think it's highly targeted for what I can read. I'm not an expert on this. Large portion of it are going to go to people who really need it, who are really strapped with this debt, and hopefully we'll give them a little relief. I hope it works.

COOPER: James Carville, appreciate it, you and your bald head. Thank you.

CARVILLE: Well, thank you, sir. Not to hurt about Democratic (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: It's always good to talk to you.



COOPER: Coming up, last week CNN's Gary Tuchman introduced us to some of the migrants who've written those free buses out of Texas that have angered Democratic officials in New York and D.C. He caught up with some of them again to hear how they are doing now.


COOPER: New York officials say a record number of asylum seekers arrived by Boston Texas on Wednesday, at least 237 compared to just 13 on the first bus about three weeks ago. Controversial program was done by Texas governor, Texas governor as a very public dig at President Biden's immigration policies. Officials in New York and Washington D.C. where the buses are also headed have said Texas is forcing migrants on buses. Texas officials say no, it's voluntary.

Last week, our Gary Tuchman decided to talk to the people who are on the buses. He spoke with some of the migrants about why they're here and learn they were more than happy to get on one of the buses to the northeast. We asked Gary to stay on the story. So he caught up with some of the same people a week later. Here's what he found.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A boat with mostly Venezuelan migrants in the jungle in Panama. The man behind the child is Juan Pulido. He's trying to get to America with his brother and a cousin. We met that brother Luis Pulido and the cousin Aynner Garrido last week at a shelter on the border in Eagle Pass, Texas, where Luis had just received the horrible news that his brother Juan's body had been recovered in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass. One had drowned in the final minutes of their two-month journey. While they were all swimming across the river to Texas.

One week later after a tragic and traumatizing trip, they are now living in Chicago, where they hope to start a new life minus the poverty and violence they say they experienced in Venezuela. Until a short time ago they had never been out of South America.

Luis says Chicago was very pretty, very peaceful, very beautiful.



TUCHMAN (voice-over): Both cousins took a 42-hour ride and one of the buses provided by Texas as governor who wants migrants to go elsewhere. They rode from Eagle Pass to Washington D.C., and then managed to get to Chicago where they have family. This would have been Juan's 27th birthday. Luis says his brother's legacy is honored by them now being in America.

He says, his sacrifices were not in vain. He's in our hearts. Everyone knew he was an excellent human being. He's here with us. Even though he didn't have a cape, he was a superhero.

Aynner has two brothers who are already here in the U.S. and a part time jobs. They were able to get Aynner and Luis shelter in a small apartment that is shared with others. The two men have wives and children in Venezuela, whom they hope to be able to bring here someday.

(on-camera): Do you have any money?


GARRIDO: No, senor.

TUCHMAN (on-camera): No.


TUCHMAN (on-camera): Clothes?


TUCHMAN (on-camera): Nothing. Nada.

(voice-over): Both Aynner and Luis surrendered to U.S. Border Patrol when they arrived and received documentation that declared they had been paroled into the United States and are required to show up in court and attend their immigration court hearings in two weeks. They both say they will.

We followed them as they went to a Mexican restaurant close to their apartment, asking the owner about the possibility of working there. The restaurant owner saying we don't have anything now. Give me your names and telephone numbers, and I'll let you know when we do. But owner, Alicia Castro whose father emigrated from Mexico know she can't legally employ them without a work permit, which you can't get if you haven't had your asylum request approved by the immigration judge.

ALICIA CASTRO, RESTAURANT OWNER: At least I can help them right now with all my heart, but unfortunately, I can't at the moment.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): So for now, Aynner and Luis will share one bedroom and two mattresses with three other men and hope that one day they in their families back in Venezuela all become Americans. When I tell them that many Americans are very critical that so many migrants are allowed into this country.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Aynner says, I think everyone has their own judgment. We are all different people, different cultures and nationalities. But we are not all bad people. Most of us are good. And they say no one was better than Juan who's example they will try to follow every day they're in America.


TUCHMAN: Sadly, Anderson, Juan's body is still in Texas at a funeral home the whole family wants his Body sent to Venezuela, it's very expensive and they don't have money. The family here is talking to migrant advocates here in Chicago trying to get some tips on how to make that happen.

In addition the family members who have been here for a couple of years who have part time jobs are trying to work more hours to make some more money and they're trying to raise money. Juan is left behind two small children in Venezuela. Anderson.

COOPER: Gary Tuchman, I appreciate it. Thank you.

We'll be right back.



COOPER: The news continues. Let's hand over Laura Coates in "CNN TONIGHT." Laura.