Return to Transcripts main page
Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
State Of Emergency Declared In 24 Counties, Tropical Depression 9 Forecast To Be Category 3 Hurricane; Trump's Secret Courtroom Battle To Keep His Inner Circle From Giving Grand Jury Information; Russia's Sham Referendum Versus Reality; Alex Jones' Defense Team Declines To Cross-Examine Him After Explosive Testimony On Thursday; Mother Of Sandy Hook Victim On Alex Jones Civil Trial; Chris Wallace Speaks Exclusively To Ret. Justice Stephen Breyer; Successful Artists Helps Others Climb To The Top. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired September 23, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, it's very just like concussion. Some people recover right away, others take a long time.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Well, it is going to be incredible, and of course, your Special Report on Sunday.
Sanjay, thank you very much.
GUPTA: Good to see you, Erin. Thank you.
BURNETT: And don't miss the Special Report: "Immaculate Concussion: The Truth Behind Havana Syndrome," this Sunday at eight o'clock pm on CNN.
Thanks so much for joining us.
AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
We begin tonight with a large part of Florida under a State of Emergency.
Take a look. Here is the reason why. A storm system that does not even have a name yet, but is heading straight at Florida and could be a major hurricane if and when it arrives.
Jennifer Gray is tracking the storm at the moment known only as Tropical Depression 9. She joins us, so when Jennifer can Florida expect to start to feel the effects of this?
JENNIFER GRAY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, they'll start to feel the impacts as early as Monday night into Tuesday if you are in the Keys, but then it's going to just basically parallel the coast before making landfall somewhere along that Western Coast of Florida by midweek or so. So, we'll be talking about this for a couple of days, early part of
next week, especially. So, this is starting small, 35 miles per hour, gusts of 45, moving west northwest at 15. We already have Tropical Storm Watches, Hurricane Watches in effect.
The water is very warm in the Caribbean, as well as the Gulf of Mexico, so this is going to provide the storm with a ripe environment to thrive. We're going to see this storm intensify rapidly once it gets into the Gulf of Mexico and that's the huge concern. This could be a Category 1 Storm as it crosses over Cuba and then a Category 2, possibly 3, maybe even higher, Anderson as we get closer to Florida.
But the National Hurricane Center is forecasting right now, 115-mile- per-hour winds by Wednesday afternoon and I wouldn't be surprised if those winds go even higher. A lot of the forecast models agree on this forecast as well.
COOPER: And Hurricane Fiona is expected to be the largest storm to hit the Nova Scotia area, in I think in almost 50 years. When is that storm expected?
GRAY: Right. So, they are already feeling the impacts right now. So, by tomorrow morning, we'll see this storm make landfall. Winds of 125 miles per hour right now with gusts of 155. It will weaken slowly, but this could go down as one of the strongest storms to ever hit Canada.
We're already seeing lots of rainfall. We could see up to a foot of rain. We could see up to eight feet of storm surge and 26 to 40-foot waves. So, this storm is really a beast. It's going to slow down significantly and really batter this entire region tonight, tomorrow, and then on into the weekend -- Anderson.
COOPER: Jennifer Gray, appreciate it.
Now exclusive new CNN reporting on the high stakes legal battle that until today had been unfolding in total secrecy. It is the fight being waged by attorneys for the former President to keep one-time close aides from giving certain testimony to the Federal grand jury investigating the 2020 election, senior staffers who could have a lot to say.
CNN's Jessica Schneider joins us now with more. So, what exactly is going on? Because we know certain former aides to the former President, among them White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone had already appeared before the grand jury. So, who is the Trump team trying to block?
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Anyone in the future, Anderson. So, what Trump's legal team is really trying to do here is create this firewall, a situation where this circle of former Trump aides, former White House aides, if they are called before a grand jury in the future, they would have this broad ability to deflect questions under this premise of either executive privilege or attorney-client privilege.
And like you said, we already know that at least four former officials have been before the grand jury regarding January 6th. They've declined to answer at least some questions, citing executive privilege, but the broader question is, you know, how broad are these privilege claims? And that's exactly what DOJ and Trump's lawyers are right now litigating.
And our team actually was tipped off to this when they saw several of Trump's lawyers leaving the DC Federal Courthouse yesterday. And since then, Anderson, our team has uncovered e-mails from Eric Herschmann. He is a lawyer who worked with Trump and he, in these, e-mails is expressing frustration that he was told by Trump's team just to assert privilege over everything he could and resist answering questions.
So now, because of this, his grand jury subpoena is actually on hold while this fight plays out about how broadly privilege can be asserted. And interestingly, Anderson, you know, if Trump's team loses this fight, it could actually mean that those four White House officials that you mentioned before, including former White House Counsel, Pat Cipollone, they could actually be called back to the grand jury to give more detailed information. That's if Trump's team loses this.
COOPER: What is the best case scenario for the Trump legal team? I mean, is it just a few dragging out the claims over privilege and stall the investigation?
SCHNEIDER: That's probably part of the strategy, right? So, the best case scenario here is if they win this, they'd be able to severely restrict what these former officials and aides are able to tell the grand jury about what Trump might have done around January 6th. In the short term, though, they are definitely buying some time by forcing notably, Eric Herschmann's grand jury testimony for example will be put on hold.
You know it's still a very big hurdle for Trump's team. You know, notably, privilege can be overcome if it touches on criminal wrongdoing. You know, history also Court precedent, not on Trump's side here, because, as we know, the Supreme Court allowed Nixon's tapes to be handed over to the grand jury in the 70s because it was a criminal investigation.
So, this is a bit of a different scenario that has not been fully tested in the Courts. So, we're going to see how quickly here, how quickly the Court decides what they decide. But crucially, Anderson, this is all being done under seal in secret, so we're really not getting a lot of information as to how this is proceeding. Maybe we will once the decision comes down.
COOPER: All right, Jessica Schneider. Thanks so much.
Joining us now is CNN contributor, John Dean, who served as Richard Nixon's White House Counsel and later star witness against him during Watergate. Also with us, CNN senior legal analyst and former Federal prosecutor, Elie Honig. So, Elie, what does it say the former President is still waging
battles over privileged claims and to what extent is that almost mood given Cipollone and others already testified?
ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Anderson, it tells me that the former president, first of all is trying to delay and he is trying to limit the testimony that key advisers can give. It also tells me that DOJ is aiming to get the most sensitive, most important conversations that they can get.
And let me give people a concrete example of how this will make a difference. We saw Pat Cipollone testify in front of the January 6 Committee. It was a videotaped deposition. They played some of those excerpts at the hearing, and there were these moments where Cipollone would be testifying, and then he'd be asked, "What did you discuss with Donald Trump?" And Cipollone would then look at his attorney and then say executive privilege, and he would refuse to answer.
If DOJ prevails in these fights, Pat Cipollone will have to answer those questions and those to me, Anderson, are the most important questions. So, they're willing to go to Court. They're fighting for that right now.
COOPER: How long could that take, John?
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It could take a good while. I think what is going on here is Trump sees the light down at the end of the tunnel, where Justice Kavanaugh, in a prior executive privilege fight over the scope of discovery that could be done by the January 6 Committee, a case called Trump versus Thompson, Kavanaugh issued a separate statement. And he said, "I'm one who believes that the Courts cannot prevent former Presidents being blocked from using executive privilege, just because an incumbent President says he is waiving the privilege." And that's really the issue here.
Biden has waived any privilege. He says there is none. Trump is trying to claim a privilege. This could go all the way to the Supreme Court -- Anderson.
COOPER: And Elie, I mean, the fact that based upon the new CNN reporting, one of the would be grand jury witnesses that the Trump team is seeking to block is the former White House attorney, Eric Herschmann, who has already again testified in front of the January 6 Select Committee, millions of Americans have heard what he had to say. Why try to block him from talking to the grand jury? Is it the idea that maybe there was stuff that he didn't say?
HONIG: Yes, I think Donald Trump is trying to limit his testimony and keep him from saying potentially the most damaging things.
As a prosecutor, by the way, you could always bring people back and make them go back into the grand jury. There is really nothing unusual about that. I've put people back into grand jury, two, three, four times.
And John Dean, of course, is correct. It is quite clear in the Courts that it is very difficult for a former President to invoke executive privilege. It's not quite impossible, but it is an uphill climb legally.
COOPER: John, how does the latest reporting align with the foreign President's overall legal strategy because whether it's 2020 election case, the Mar-a-Lago documents, the tactic seem to be prevent the investigators from getting information, instead of actually defending himself on the merits of the case. And when being asked to actually provide evidence on the merits of the case or on claims like, oh, they were planting documents, there's crickets.
DEAN: I think we're seeing the standard Trump playbook, which is stall, delay, stall delay, deflect, and that had been his playbook for decades now and he is very good at it. His lawyers burnout and he gets a new crew and they do the same thing over again. I think this is a repeat performance.
COOPER: Elie, these privilege claims, I mean, are at play in several different investigations in several jurisdictions, how likely does it make it that there could need to be a sort of landmark judicial ruling to bring clarity once and for all? Or do you think it'll just continue to be dealt with piecemeal?
HONIG: Well, Anderson, we don't have a whole lot of precedent when it comes to executive privilege. It has really come up only a few times in our history, of course, notably, with the Watergate era; it came up several times in the Bill Clinton investigation, and a handful of times in between. But it is important to understand this, invoking executive privilege is one thing, winning on an executive privilege claim is something else entirely.
And generally, what the Court has told us, what the Supreme Court told us back with the Nixon tapes case is, executive privilege is designed to protect legitimate policy and strategy conversations that a President might have with say his Secretary of Defense, his Chief of Staff.
It is not designed as a shield to protect against evidence of wrongdoing or criminality. And for that reason, I think DOJ is in good shape here when it comes to the merits.
COOPER: John, what kind of clock is the DOJ up against right now? Midterms are obviously a little more than six weeks away. If the DOJ doesn't make major moves before Election Day, how much longer do you think the investigation could go on?
DEAN: I think it could go on for a good while. This is actually a good opportunity, because they're not going to do anything during this election season. So, this is a good time to sort out these kinds of arguments while they're being done in camera or closed sessions before the Chief Judge to resolve what the grand jury can and cannot hear. These grand jury proceedings are under seal by nature.
So, this is a good time to work these problems out, and I don't think they will delay the investigation, but rather, sort out what the scope of the testimony and it is very important that Justice to get as much as they can.
COOPER: Yes. John Dean, Elie Honig, appreciate it.
An update now to a story that we have been following. Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, a source familiar with the matter tells CNN that Federal prosecutors have recommended against charging Gaetz in connection with their long-running sex trafficking investigation.
One reason according to the source doubts about whether their central witnesses would be perceived as credible by a jury. That said, we're told no formal or final decision has been made.
Next tonight, a live report from Ukraine, as people in occupied areas are facing Russian soldiers going door-to-door demanding their votes to become part of Russia, and we'll talk to a dissident journalist or her take on Vladimir Putin's future leader.
Later, Alex Jones on trial, but silent for a change in the face of the Sandy Hook parents he victimized with his lies. More ahead.
COOPER: People in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine began voting, some with armed troops looking on in staged referenda on becoming part of Russia. In a statement late today, President Biden called them a sham and a flagrant violation of international law.
They are however, part of Vladimir Putin's escalation of the war he launched, which this week included a new round of nuclear saber rattling, which the White House responded, too, today as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We obviously take these threats very seriously, but we have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture at this time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: As to the other aspect of Russian escalation, Putin's military call up, it continues to fuel an exodus. This the border with Georgia, and that's a lot of cars nearly nine miles long, people trying to get out of Russia.
In a moment, my conversation about Vladimir Putin and Russia's future with a leading independent Russian journalist, an incredibly brave woman who is apt to get out of Russia now for her own safety.
But first, we're going to take you inside Ukraine in day one of the staged voting.
CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is there.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As Russia forces a fake choice and a sham vote on occupied Ukrainians, elsewhere, Igor and ZEENA make the daily deadly choice of their own. They must brave the shelling to go and get food.
(ZEENA speaking in foreign language.)
TRANSLATION: We have no relatives. Nowhere to go.
(IGOR speaking in foreign language.)
TRANSLATION: It's worse and worse.
(ZEENA speaking in foreign language.)
TRANSLATION: That's it. We're going home.
WALSH (voice over): They've heard of Russia's stage referendums here in Bakhmut, but Moscow makes itself felt here with artillery, rather than imposing a ballot, likely having entered the city's east.
Streets in a strange quiet, as if in the eye of a storm where nobody is in control. They will still have to fight their way in.
A sign of how things are changing fast here, Ukrainian forces have blown the bridge in the middle of the city, in the last day or so. Russian forces getting close.
The people left ask us not to film the outside of shelters as the Russians will target them and they've already gone underground as much as they can.
They are saying some of these things are taken from buildings that have been bombed and brought to here. A lot of people want the back of their head filmed, possibly because they're concerned that in the days ahead, they may be under Russian control.
He tells me, perhaps 20,000 people are still hiding out here, but there is no real way to know.
The choice Russia imposes on Ukrainians here is spending nights underground and scurrying between shelter.
Days of hot words from Putin haven't cooled Ukraine's advance. The threat of nuclear annihilation carry slightly less aura here on the road to liberated Izium, where it looks like the apocalypse has already come, bar the radiation.
Ten days ago, Russia was kicked out of here after heavy fighting, even the Russian Orthodox Church has collapsed. The devastation seems to almost spur them on.
Announcements in Moscow about partial mobilization haven't really changed the dynamic here of an Army that feels it is moving forward.
They've heard about Russia's mobilization and nuclear bombast here, too.
(IVAN speaking in foreign language.)
"It will have a role," he says, "But you need to train and supply people, so it won't make much difference as you've destroyed most of their armor."
(VLADYSLAV speaking in foreign language.)
WALSH (voice over): "There's nothing worse than nuclear war," and other says, "But you must understand, these decisions aren't taken by one person and we see in Russia, not everyone supports those moves."
This liberated road is where Donetsk region begins. Ukraine already taking back the places Putin made central to his goals where faked ballot boxes and absurd claims of official Russian sovereignty cannot change who owns and who scarred the land.
COOPER: Nick is back. What is it like -- what is likely to be the impact of these referendum on the areas of Ukraine and what it would mean for Putin's larger war?
WALSH: Yes, we know the result, right, middle of next week, we're going to get probably a resounding yes from these occupied areas where people have been forced to vote or even voted at all. This will likely lead to a very fast recognition of these areas as part of Russia. What does that then mean?
Well, there were original thoughts before this partial mobilization that perhaps it was about allowing conscripts to be deployed to Russia. They can't normally be sent overseas, out of Russia, but that partial mobilization kind of puts all of that to one side.
So, there are thoughts now, possibly, this may be about enabling Putin to use Russia's current nuclear doctrine to suggest that those terrifying weapons can be brought into play to protect occupied areas. It may not be as drastic as that, it may be simply that he wants to give Ukraine and its Western supporters the whiff of that idea, we don't really know.
But it is also about Russia's constant desire to show that there are some sort of popular will behind things, which clearly nobody in areas concerned actually want a startling kind of hangover from the Soviet era, frankly, and a very dark week ahead as we see exactly what these referenda are for in terms of longer-term Kremlin policy and this war -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nick Paton Walsh, thanks.
Perspective now from Yevgenia Albats. She is editor-in-chief and founder of the independent Russian news weekly, "The New Times," and was forced to get out of Russia just last month.
Yevgenia, when did you decide you needed to leave Russia.
YEVGENIA ALBATS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF AND FOUNDER "THE NEW TIMES": I decided to leave Russia when my lawyers told me that I had to leave yesterday.
At the end of July, I was accused on three misdemeanor charges of intentional spread of disinformation about the Russian Army. These intentional spread of disinformation was the publication of stories about the fact that Russian army bombed Ukrainian cities, Kharkiv, Luhansk, Odesa and so it goes.
COOPER: And that's a crime.
ALBATS: That's a crime, and Judge in his verdict, he wrote that I was guilty because this information wasn't published on the Minister of Defense website and why it wasn't published on the Minister of Defense website, because commander-in-chief, that is, Mr. Putin said that special military operation, that is no war.
COOPER: What does it say to you that Vladimir Putin is now talking about mobilizing as many as 300,000 Russian troops.
ALBATS: It says that he, that Vladimir Putin is trying to set up a bargaining table with Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
COOPER: That's what this is.
COOPER: It's a chess move to get a bargaining deal.
ALBATS: Exactly, because he is losing the war. He knows that he is losing the war.
Basically, Putin is fighting now for his survival as a President and as a person, because he is a dead body. He failed to deliver to his corporation, you know, Ukraine and the rest of the world. In fact, you know, opposite happened. He is losing the war to Ukraine. And here -- so sanctions were put against his entire entourage.
And to be sure, his government, it's a collection of billionaires, dollar billionaires and millionaires. So now, because of sanctions, they have lost their accounts, they lost their property, they lost --
COOPER: You think, he is really vulnerable to being --
ALBATS: He is very vulnerable.
COOPER: To being tossed out of office.
ALBATS: Absolutely. He is very vulnerable.
COOPER: We saw demonstrations when he talked about calling up as many as 300,000 troops, reservists, are those demonstrations -- I mean, the fact that people would demonstrate now given what they saw happened to the demonstrators months ago at the start of the war, it showed -- I mean that's incredibly brave. Is that a sign of widespread dissatisfaction?
ALBATS: It is a sign that some people in 34 cities of the Russian Federation, in all our 11 time zones dare to protest. They know that -- almost 1,400 were arrested. The majority of them, those who are male are going to receive a draft card and will be summoned to the Army. Others who were accused of disinformation or spreading disinformation about the Russian Army and most likely will get in jail or be fined at exuberant rate.
So, it is really -- you know, they are real heroes and it's very, very dangerous for people to protest now. However, the real protest is silent or you would see at the land borders, in the crossings between Russia and Georgia caucuses, Russia and Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia, Russia and China, you see traffic jams five to ten kilometers long.
COOPER: Yes, we are showing them.
ALBATS: People, you know, people are running there.
ALBATS: You know, it's impossible to get a flight ticket. All tickets are sold until the end of October. People are paying, you know, three, four or five thousand dollars just to get to Yerevan, Armenia, it is a four-hour flight.
So, it is to say that hundreds of thousands of people, they are trying to escape Russia because they don't want to be drafted because, I hope, my fellow citizens understand that they cannot kill, they shouldn't kill. That Putin is trying to involve thousands and thousands of my fellow citizens in this crime of killing innocent people in Ukraine.
COOPER: Yevgenia Albats, thank you so much.
ALBATS: Thank you.
COOPER: A very brave woman.
Coming up, Alex Jones did something rare today during his second defamation trial for the lies he told about the murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School. He decided not to talk. We will have details, next.
COOPER: Alex Jones' defense team today decided not to cross examine him, his second defamation trial for the lies he told about the Sandy Hook massacre is now underway in a Connecticut Courtroom. It is about a 20-minute drive from there to where 20 children and six adults were murdered. Now, the reason his team decided he shouldn't say more, at least today
about the conspiracy theories that Jones has fueled or the money he has made while calling the murders staged and phony may have something to do with his first day of testimony, Thursday.
He said the trial was nothing more than an ambulance chasing, he called it a, quote, deep state situation. And he compared the proceedings to the public terror and intimidation campaigns with the Mao regime in China asking at one point if this were a quote, struggle session, and then he said, are we in China. He also said he was done apologizing, quote, I'm done saying I'm sorry, though, in truth, he's never really fully apologized for his lies and the terror he's inflicted on grieving families.
Outside the courtroom, Jones has acted no differently. Today, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX JONES, HOST, INFOWARS: Totally rigged. It's an absolute total fraud. We gave them all of the discovery they wanted over four years, they found nothing there that show that we lied about Sandy Hook or that we premeditatedly did anything. And so, they found me guilty, the judge did, and now they're having their show trial. And they made up all this imaginary money I have when I'm in bankruptcy, and I'm almost personally out of money.
This is not about these families. They are using these families as pawns. And they claiming I made money off Sandy Hook, but they have no proof of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He was personally out of money. And yet he has lots of black SUVs and security guards who seem very well dressed standing around him.
A key aspect of these trials is not just determining what Jones owes these families financially, having already been found liable for his comments. It's also been an opportunity for them to tell Jones to his face, how his lies and ability to sway a mass audience turned unbearable tragedy into living terror, where they must endure threats along with a loss and never goes away.
Our next guest is Scarlett Lewis, her son Jesse was killed in Newtown. And she just got that opportunity to confront Jones during the first trial in Texas. This is a moment from that testimony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCARLETT LEWIS, MOTHER OF JESSE LEWIS: I think you know, that Sandy Hook is real and that it happened? I know you're shaking your head, no, but I know that you think that it's real, I know that you know that it's real. But I don't think that you understand at all. Because the people that work for you don't understand the repercussions of going on air with a huge audience in line. And calling this a hoax and a false flag. You don't understand the repercussions to individuals lives. You don't understand the net that is cast in a negative way. You don't understand that. You don't understand.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Scarlett Lewis who founded the Choose Love Movement after Newtown to promote social and emotional nurturing joins me now. Scarlett, Ms. Lewis, thanks so much for joining us.
You've said before that you think Alex Jones could make different choices going forward that sometimes greed gets in the way. I mean, from what you've seen so far in this civil trial in Connecticut, including his comments today outside the courthouse. I mean, he's continuing to profit off this. Do you still think it's possible for him to make things right?
LEWIS: I think there's hope for everyone Anderson, but from his actions thus far, he is not making good choices. He is unfortunately continuing down the same path. And it's just really frustrating.
COOPER: On the stand, you were saying to him, I think you I think, you know, this, I think you just don't understand. Do you really believe that -- I mean, it speaks well of you as a person, that you would believe that? But isn't it possible that he is just a horrible human being who does understand the misery he is calling causing others, the terror he's calling -- causing others but just doesn't care?
LEWIS: I can't imagine anyone doing to victims' families, what he's done, intentionally. But the problem is now, you know, we've been through this whole court process in Austin, two weeks, he heard from us, exactly the negativity that he's cast on our lives for the last almost 10 years. It's incredible. And he has not changed his ways.
So, I there's hope for everybody, but he is a really tough case. He really is. I mean, I have to say that I feel compassion for him because I think that -- I think he's trying to fill a void in his life with audience with greed with lies. I think a lot of people try to do that. And it doesn't work. It gets deeper. He's digging himself a really deep hole. He's risking of losing everything that he's worked for and it's a dark path that he's going down right now.
COOPER: I know what Alex Jones approached you?
LEWIS: His (INAUDIBLE) his choices.
COOPER: He approached you in court back in August at your trial in Texas, he handed you a note. Can you share what it said?
LEWIS: Yes, he came the last day to literally, literally I think give Neil and I two separate notes. And it said, I am truly very sorry. I want to make it right. I want to help with the Choose Love Movement. I was able to share what I have created following Jesse's murder with him while I was testifying. And he gave me his cell phone number.
COOPER: And have you called it?
LEWIS: No, I haven't. I mean, that, you know, those are words as of right now, but words have to be followed up with action.
LEWIS: And to date, I've not seen that at all.
COOPER: Yes, I mean in the wake of the murder of your sweet son, you founded this Choose Love Movement, helping kids and communities learn and practice courage and gratitude and forgiveness and compassion. I've been thinking and learning a lot about grief and loss recently. And I wonder how, in the wake of what happened to your son, and faced by this, you know, bloated, damaged person in court, this half a human, how strong you must be to embrace gratitude and forgiveness and compassion.
LEWIS: You know what, this is a formula for choosing love, for being able to thoughtfully respond in any situation, circumstance or interaction by choosing love. That is the strongest response, I practice this formula every single day, I've been strengthened by that and post traumatic growth. Something else that we teach in the Choose Love Movement, using pain and hurt as an opportunity for growth. And it works. My feeling compassion for Alex Jones did help me on the stand. I don't want to give my personal power to somebody who is so hurtful. And I did that through forgiveness and compassion.
But it doesn't mean that that his words and actions don't make me angry. And, you know, honestly, getting on the stand is something I felt like I had to do. I didn't want to do it. It was the hardest thing that I've done since Jesse's murder. But I think that when your bully doesn't stop, I mean, this is literally facing, the biggest bully I've ever faced view, you have to do that. And so that he doesn't do this to other people. And I think about Jesse, you know, he faced Adam Lanza, who, who was the Sandy Hook shooter, and he saved nine of his classmates lives before losing his own.
So, I kept thinking about that while I was on the stand and thinking that this was the easier of the two and if he could do what he did at six years old, I certainly could do this.
COOPER: Yes. Scarlett Lewis, it's such a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you.
LEWIS: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, a new show here at CNN. We'll talk to Chris Wallace all about it, ahead.
COOPER: He's a legendary newsman who can not only hold his own and tough interview and on a debate stage but also can carry too much Shania Twain, the man is my new colleague, CNN's Chris Wallace. And his new show "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE" is on HBO Max and premieres on CNN this Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Very pleased that Chris could be here this evening.
Chris, congratulations on the new show. It's a remarkable series of conversations, particularly your interview with retired Supreme Court Justice even Stephen Breyer, it's his first interview since stepping down. And just for our viewers, I want to play a clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, CNN HOST (on-camera): You had a bad final year, some of the most important cases on the court, abortion, guns, the power of the EPA to regulate the climate. You were on the losing side. Was that frustrating for you to lose important case after important case?
STEPHEN BREYER, FMR SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Yes.
WALLACE (on-camera): But how frustrating.
BREYER: Very frustrating.
WALLACE (on-camera): When the court undoes a right that people have lived with for half a century, doesn't that very much shake the authority of the court?
BREYER: Did you -- did I like this Dobbs decision? Of course, I didn't. Of course, I didn't. Was I happy about it? Not for an instant? Did I do everything I could to persuade people? Of course, of course. But there we are. And now we go on. And we try to work together (INAUDIBLE). I mean, it's a little corny what I think. But I do think it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean is fascinating to hear a Supreme Court Justice kind of talk like that even a retired one. What stood out to you about talking to him?
WALLACE: Well, I agree with you. I think he was remarkably forthcoming, and remarkably open and honest about his feelings, which were clear distress about the Dobbs decision that overturn Roe v. Wade, and took away a constitutional right, for an abortion for women. You know, it's interesting, he didn't take shots at his colleagues, except kind of in a veiled way. And at one point, he said, when the court writes too rigidly, he said the world things change and things are complicated. And it'll come back around and bite you in the back.
And I think he feels that in the Dobbs decision, the court by just taking away this right, as opposed to, for instance, saying from viability down to 15 weeks, that they took a step that's going to hurt the court's credibility and hurt the country.
COOPER: What I'm so looking forward to about the show is just the sheer kind of range of people that you're going to be talking to. And I'm sure that after years of reporting on, you know, politics and current events, that that's one of the thrilling things to do both on HBO Max and CNN I know this weekend you have Tyler Perry, Shania Twain, Justice Breyer that mix is always interesting.
WALLACE: It is such a delight. You know, for 18 years I was doing the Sunday talk show. And you know, each week might be the incremental change between last week and this week and the Build Back Better plan. And that's important. And I enjoy current events and topical news. And we'll have people like Justice Breyer, to talk, you know, to talk about things that are on the news. But like you, I've got a lot of interest. I'm interested in sports, I'm interested in business and entertainment. And to be able to do that, remember, I mean, you know, this network, Larry King, the great Larry King used to do this for every night for years. And it's kind of missing in the TV landscape, not just in CNN, but across television streaming and linear. And I'm delighted to be doing it and it's my dream job.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, having actual conversations between two human beings it's, it sounds so simple and yet a, it's a difficult thing to do and it's rare and television, so I'm so glad you you're doing it. There's no one who does it better.
Chris Wallace, thank you so much.
WALLACE: Thank you, Anderson. I appreciate it.
COOPER: You can catch "WHO'S TALKING TO CHRIS WALLACE" this Sunday night at 7:00 Eastern right here on CNN. His show is also available on HBO Max.
Still ahead, see how the wonderful artists Rashid Johnson is helping those new in the art world. He's Don Lemon's Champion For Change, next.
COOPER: All this week in a series we call Champions for Change we've been bringing you people who are making a positive difference in the world. Rashid Johnson is an extraordinarily talented artist. He's Don Lemon's friend and his Champion For Change.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Rashid Johnson's art is in major museums all over the world. It's always engaging. It always pulls you in beautiful, stirring, infuriating/
(on-camera): Rashid and I have become friends over the last couple of years. And this journey that we have gone on as a country over politics and the state of the world, we sort of written that together.
RASHID JOHNSON, ARTIST: I think what your job is, right is to tell us what's happening. My job is to listen and translate over the next few years.
A big part of what my work speaks about is anxiety and fear and the stresses of occupying space in the world that we currently live in. I started making these kind of brokenmen.
LEMON (on-camera): It's very personal for me. Some of the mirrors, you can fully see yourself. Others are cracked and broken. Others are scarred. When I look at it, it makes me think about all the slings and arrows that come at me. And it makes me very proud that I've survived those.
JOHNSON: From an early age, I knew that they were incredibly important black voices. When I gravitated towards the art world, and I saw fewer of them in some of these larger cultural institutions. I knew that something was missing.
LEMON (on-camera): So many people, especially people of color, were locked out of the arena for so long.
He's a Champion For Change, because Rashid does not just looking out for Rashid. Rashid is doing what our ancestors told us to do as descendants of slaves, each one teach one.
JOHNSON: One of the things that I'm interested in outside of kind of helping younger artists, which is something that I tried to put a real emphasis on is how institutions function. Who are the gatekeepers? And who let's who am what artworks are invited into the conversation.
NAOMI BECKWITH, CHIEF CURATOR, GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM: Right here at the Guggenheim, he has worked to diversify the board and make sure that we are creating a much broader story around American art history, including (INAUDIBLE) artist, including trans artists, including much more women. He created a paid internship program, supporting it financially, and making sure that everyone across any sort of class and education spectrum has the ability to take on an entry level job at this institution.
JOHNSON: My mother was an academic, but she was also a poet. My father was a painter, sculptor. When I went to art school, it's one of the rare scenarios where you hear that a kid goes to art school and his parents feel like they accomplished something.
BECKWITH: I remember seeing a show of Rashid's in London, in 2012. Instead of taking over both floors with his art, he would actually give the second floor over to a show of artists that he could support.
DEREK FORDJOUR, ARTIST: Rashid is a peer mentor, brother, the teacher.
LEMON (on-camera): I'm speaking to a very successful artist, about a very successful artist.
FORDJOUR: We're artists, but we're also kind of small businesses. And we're not prepared for a lot of the kind of rapid growth that happens. So, it really is super helpful to have Rashid give practical, professional resources and advice. LEMON (on-camera): I've been in rooms with Rashid Johnson with the most recognizable people in the world. And you may, oh, oh my gosh, there's Beyonce, there's Jay-Z, whatever. And then when Rashid walks into the room, all of those people go, oh my gosh, it is Rashid Johnson.
(voice-over): Rashid Johnson is living in his success, which is a rarity in this business, especially for a man of color. And everyone wants to be a part of that.
(on-camera): Why is it so important for you to lift people up?
JOHNSON: It's the right way to be. Generosity is something that I think lives in most artists, and I think it's the natural way of kind of giving back after you've been rewarded for your vision.
COOPER: And Don joins us now. I -- it's -- I love his work. I've looked at his work for you here.
LEMON: You'd loves him in person.
COOPER: Yes, he seems just like a lovely, lovely person. It's so, you know, there's so many artists who, you know, it is a very competitive business. And it is a big business for some artists if they're lucky, and to have an artist who is not only so talented, but who also wants to bring others along with him is extraordinary.
LEMON: It is it's extraordinary. And you're right, it is a business. And that's what he teaches artists that it's a business and he teaches how -- teaches them how to navigate that world. He was obviously talented and lucky enough to be able to achieve the success that he's had in the art world. That's a rarity, especially among African- American artists. At least it used to be more so in the last 10 years, as we were discussing during the piece, it's an explosion of black art because it is American art, and its American history.
But to be able to not feel that you're in competition with other people and not feel that, you know, you have to sort of protect yourself in a way that that pushes others out of the business. He brings people along as you heard, you know, he'll give a floor of, you know, an exhibition to artists who had been locked out that's pretty incredible.
COOPER: I'm so glad you did this.
LEMON: I just I mean, I before I came, I just left his birthday party.
COOPER: Oh yes?
LEMON: I told him I was coming to speak to you and he said, OK, tell Anderson, I let -- I allowed you to leave early so that you can come and talk to him, but he's amazing. COOPER: Yes, I know, I loved his work. Don, thanks.
LEMON: Thank you. Good to see you.
COOPER: (INAUDIBLE). Reminder, be sure to tune in tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern for the Champions for Change one-hour special right here.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: News continues. Let's hand over Sara Sidner in "CNN TONIGHT." Sara.