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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

AG Garland Names Special Counsel To Oversee Trump Probes; Victims Were Found On Second And Third Floors Of Home, At Least One Had Defensive Wounds; Mother Of UVA Shooting Survivor Mike Hollins Describes How Her Son Went Back To Help Others; Chef Andres & Team Make Their Way Into Newly-Freed City Of Kherson. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 18, 2022 - 20:00   ET


SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But society and all the things around you started to change that person that you truly, your authentic self and letting that come back out is really important.

There is a lot more that they talk about. We laughed. We cried. We do all the things.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: I cannot wait to see this. I'm really so fascinated, all of them, and I've been so eager to hear them all over all these years. So, to hear what she has to say. Thank you so much.

And all of you, you've got to see Sara's conversation -- full conversation with them Sunday night at 8:00 PM.

Thanks for joining us. Right now it's time for Anderson.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Three days after the former President officially proclaimed he is running again, the US Attorney General announced that a special prosecutor would now lead two separate ongoing Federal probes that could complicate his path back to the White House to say the least. One into the former President's role surrounding January 6th, the other investigation into the documents more classified taken to Mar-a-Lago and the possible obstruction of that investigation to boot.

I'm John Berman, in for Anderson.

Attorney General Merrick Garland cited the extraordinary circumstances of the situation.


MERRICK GARLAND, US ATTORNEY GENERAL: Based on recent developments, including the former President's announcement that he is a candidate for President in the next election, and the sitting President stated intention to be a candidate as well, I have concluded that it is in the public interest to appoint a Special Counsel.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: The former President today acted furious about the news telling conservative media the move is not acceptable, unfair, political, and he said "I'm not going to partake in this," not that he has much of a choice in the matter.

The new Special Counsel, Jack Smith is a former acting US Attorney who said the investigations would not pause or flag under his watch. We're going to have more on him in just a moment.

Let's get right to CNN senior legal affairs correspondent, Paula Reid. What else, Paula, did Attorney General Merrick Garland say about appointing the Special Counsel?

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, we knew this was something under consideration within the Justice Department. And during that speech, he pointed to the extraordinary nature of these cases and said in order to protect the independence of the Justice Department, he had to make this move.

Now, it was also notable that he said he is not going to be overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Special Counsel.

Now under the regulations, if there are any charges that the Special Counsel wants to bring, those are subject to the approval of the Attorney General, but it is interesting, he wants to really establish that this is going to be an independent entity that is going to be operating separate from the Justice Department, except for the particular instances where they may be required to check in with the Attorney General.

But it's unclear John, if this is really going to satisfy critics and anyone who wants to claim that this is partisan. The former President's spokesman has already said today that this is, "a political stunt."

BERMAN: I would expect nothing less. Tell us more about Jack Smith, all of a sudden sort of the world's most interesting man.

REID: Yes. When I was making calls to sources today on the former President's legal team, I got a lot of "Who?" And then I sent the biography. I haven't gotten too many reactions yet. But it's interesting to look at his biography. This is someone who has been a longtime prosecutor, worked in various offices for the Justice Department, across the country, also led the division of the Justice Department that focuses and specializes in prosecuting public officials who are accused of corruption.

And he was most recently chief prosecutor at the Special Court of The Hague. And we know from sources that they considered many different people for this potential assignment. They were looking for someone that they thought could ultimately withstand partisan critiques.

And John, of course, we know those are coming.

BERMAN: What else did you learn, Paula, about the Special Counsel's team and sort of the base of operations? REID: So we know that they're not going to be operating within the Justice Department. We saw that with special counsel Robert Mueller, he had separate offices that CNN was staking out, and then also John Durham. They don't operate inside main Justice or inside buildings where there are other Justice Department officials doing their work.

He will though, be overseeing many of the same people that are working on this investigation. This is something that's been underway for quite some time. They will also have their own budget. There's really no limit on that. That is, though interestingly, that is one of the few things that they have to go through Congress for. Otherwise, Congress is not allowed to get the details of the Special Counsel's work.

So interestingly, this really does kind of insulate the Justice Department and Garland from congressional oversight on these two highly controversial probes.

BERMAN: Yes, that is a very significant change between yesterday and today, and also potentially pertinent given Republican control of the House.

Paul Reid, thank you so much for your reporting.

More now on the reaction by the former President. I'm joined by CNN's Kristen Holmes.

Kristen, what is the former President saying about all this?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, no surprise the former President is lashing out at the Justice Department and one thing to pay attention to is that we have learned that former President Trump was angry even before the actual appointment of a Special Counsel, that just the prospect of it was something that had been daunting for him, that he reminded him of Robert Mueller, and he thought this would just draw out those investigations.


And he was angry and continued in an interview that he did after that announcement, he said, "I have been proven innocent for six years on everything from fake impeachments to Mueller who found no collusion. And now I have to do it more. It is not acceptable. It is so unfair, the worst politicization of Justice. The Republican Party has to stand up and fight."

And that last line, I do want to point to here because this is coming at a time, we know that there have been a number of Republicans who have said it's time to move on from Trump, many saying that he has too much baggage, and some of these legal battles are what they are talking about when it comes to that baggage.

And in the past, some of them had some of these kinds of incidents, including the search of Mar-a-Lago have galvanized Republicans, but it's really unclear that is going to happen this time around -- John. BERMAN: Yes, we're going to talk more about that a little bit. It is a new dynamic. I also understand that the former President is planning to talk more about this maybe tonight, what have you learned about that?

HOLMES: That's right. So he took the Truth Social and said that he will be making a statement at Mar-a-Lago at 8:30, and I have to tell you, I made a number of calls to members of his inner circle who were surprised to learn from me that he would be making this announcement. There was a last minute scramble. Many advisers essentially telling him not to make this announcement, not to have any kind of statement here, they did not think that it was thought through given that it came just hours before he put it on Truth Social and there was no plan there for that.

And one source in particular, who is familiar with his thinking, saying that it was likely to be more of a rant than an actual statement. Of course, we'll be keeping an eye on that for you.

BERMAN: All right, Kristen Holmes, thank you very much.

And I should let everyone know, we will keep an eye on it and we will let you all know if it makes actual news.

Perspective now from CNN senior law enforcement analyst, Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI.

Director, you've got some pretty unique experience in these types of matters. So, how necessary here was the appointment of a Special Counsel to address even the appearance of a conflict of interest?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Yes, so to be clear, John, first of all, these are very, very hard decisions, issues of first impression, totally unique circumstances. I know what that feels like, I've been in this chair.

This case is not clear in one direction or the other. It's a very close call. Under the circumstances, I think the Department did the right thing, leaning in towards the direction of trying to do everything they can to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Now, you could argue, well, this could cause excessive delay on the prosecution, slow things down, maybe even make it harder to make that indictment or no indictment decision later on. But I think they're doing the right thing to put the investigation on the strongest possible footing early on.

BERMAN: What does it tell you maybe about where investigators are maybe nearly done? Or is this just the beginning of a new phase?

MCCABE: It's hard to say with specificity, but I will say, you don't typically consider and go through the stress and the notoriety of appointing a Special Counsel over an investigation that you think is not going anywhere. So, I think you can safely assume that the Department believes that they are coming up to an indict or no indict decision. There is no question that this investigation, certainly in the Mar-a-Lago investigation, and more broadly, the January 6 investigation is heading to that very controversial point.

And you can assume also that the Attorney General thinks it is beneficial to have an independent Special Counsel make a recommendation as to that decision.

Of course, the final decision is in the AG's hands.

BERMAN: What's your take on Jack Smith's resume? The kind of person you'd want heading up an investigation like this?

MCCABE: You know, I like the fact that we don't know much about Jack Smith. He is a guy that seems to have pursued his career and his prosecutions in a very quiet, lawyerly professional way. There doesn't appear to be any obvious lean in one political direction or another. I think that's much to his credit. So, he seems like an entirely legit candidate for this role.

I will say that that reputation of independence and apolitical nature is not going to insulate him from a withering series of partisan attacks. You know, those are coming.

The days when you can put in a Special Counsel to avoid all of that are far behind us. The one advantage here is that he will be on the receiving end of those attacks, less so the Department and the FBI, and that's a good thing for those institutions long term.

BERMAN: So the DOJ investigation, it seemed to have gone quiet, at least as far as we could tell, or at least we were hearing up to the Midterms. There was the expectation they might amp up again now that the Midterms are over.

What kind of deliberations do you think were happening behind the scenes that maybe led to the Special Counsel appointment?


MCCABE: There is absolutely no question that those investigators and prosecutors are working hard during that entire quiet period. It actually gives them an opportunity to step back from any of the more visible overt actions that they would normally be pursuing, and really go deep on the evidence that they have, making connections, identifying other potential witnesses, getting their subpoenas, and you know, all their ducks in a row to unleash new subpoenas, bring in new witnesses, bring people and new folks into the grand jury, it seems like they've done that as they've issued new subpoenas just this week.

So you can assure -- you'll be assured, they haven't lost any ground, even though we haven't seen what they've been doing.

BERMAN: Andrew McCabe, as I said, if anyone knows what it's like to be in this kind of moment, it's you. I appreciate you being with us tonight.

MCCABE: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Joining me now is conservative attorney and "Washington Post" contributing columnist, George Conway.

So George, what does the appointment of a Special Counsel tell you about the former President's legal situation in regards to these two cases?

GEORGE CONWAY, CONSERVATIVE ATTORNEY: Well, he has the right to remain silent. He probably should exercise that right tonight, but he won't.

I think he's in substantial peril. I've thought that he's been in substantial peril for quite a long time, but I think that the fact that Attorney General Garland has appointed a Special Counsel kind of puts a highlight on that as Mr. McCabe said, it's not really something you do if you think that there isn't a case somewhere there that might be made.

I think they probably -- I think what is driving this as much as anything is the fact that they have a very, very strong case in the Mar-a-Lago documents investigation, one that is, I have to say, I mean, from the public evidence, and we don't know all the evidence, but the public evidence sure looks like he does not have a defense to the Espionage Act charge or to obstruction charges or even to a potential, you know, perjury charge, for at least suborning.

So he is in substantial trouble, and there is no question that this is not going to help him, because it's for input, as Andrew said, it's going to insulate the Justice Department from some degree of political attacks, because this guy looks like he has no political valence whatsoever. He's a professional prosecutor. That's all he's done for 30 years.

And apparently, he has kept his nose clean. I'm sure they vetted him as well as anybody. And I think they're just going to let him do his thing and to and to make a reasoned decision based on the evidence and the law.

BERMAN: You say, decision, and I find that to be interesting, because at this point, how much more investigating do you really think needs to go on? Is this a Special Counsel investigation, or more of a Special Counsel deliberation about whether to press charges?

CONWAY: Well, at least in the Mar-a-Lago documents case, I don't know. I mean, maybe there's some line of investigation that we don't know about. That's always possible, but it seems to be a very, very simple case. The documents were stolen. The documents were found in the defendant's possession.

The defendant tried to mislead the government about the location of the documents and what the contents of the documents. So, it is a pretty simple case. I mean, a lot simpler than frankly -- I'm not a criminal lawyer. I did civil litigation for 30 years, but it's a heck of a lot. This criminal case is a heck of a lot more simple than virtually any of the civil cases I ever saw.

BERMAN: So what do you make of the timing of it, George? You know, coming -- what -- like three days after the former President announced he is running again?

CONWAY: Yes, the timing. I mean, there is no good time for it. Right? I mean, I think you could make an argument as I did in January 2021 in "The Washington Post" that they should have appointed a Special Counsel then, but I don't think they didn't foresee what they were going to have two years later, with the fake electors and with the Mar-a-Lago documents, and I think, if they had done it in the days leading up to the election, for example, the Midterm Election, they would have been criticized for affecting the Midterm Election.

If they had done it immediately after the election, they would have been accused of trying to get in front of former President Trump's announcement. They were going to get criticized any which way, and I think they just -- I just think they did it when they felt like it was the right time to do it.

BERMAN: So Trump says he won't partake in the Special Counsel investigation. How do you think Jack Smith is going to interpret that statement? Do you think it mattered to him in any way?

CONWAY: I think he's the kind of guy who's just not going to pay any attention to that. And I certainly can't imagine what Trump is going to do when -- if and when he gets the point where he is arraigned and he has to plead in front of a Federal Judge. He's not going to be able to say "I don't partake." It just isn't in the criminal rules.

BERMAN: Yes, I don't think that's one of the options you have when you're standing there, if it comes to that point.


BERMAN: George Conway, great to see you tonight. Thank you very much.

We're going to continue this conversation with a look at the political fallout from the former President, who also told conservative media today that, "I hope the Republicans have the courage to fight this."

Also tonight, new information from police about those murders of four college students in Idaho. A new map and timeline of the events, plus a forensic scientist joins us to help us piece together the evidence uncovered so far.



BERMAN: So just a short time ago, Bill Barr who served as Attorney General under former President Donald Trump spoke about the Federal investigation into the potential mishandling of classified documents. It is one of the two investigations now under the purview of the special prosecutor named today by the Justice Department.

Now this interview with Barr was recorded before the Special Counsel was named, but it does air on PBS tonight and it is interesting.

This is what Barr said.



WILLIAM BARR, FORMER US ATTORNEY GENERAL: I personally think that they probably have the basis for legitimately indicting the President. I don't know I'm speculating.

MARGARET HOOVER, PBS: You're speculating.

BARR: But given what's gone on, I think they probably have the evidence that would check the box. They have the case.

HOOVER: And if they have it, should they?

BARR: That's a decision for --

HOOVER: If you were AG, would you?

BARR: I am not going to get into that.

HOOVER: Do you think they will?

BARR: I think it's becoming increasingly more likely.


BERMAN: That was Bill Barr with pir friend Margaret Hoover on PBS.

Joining me now to gauge the political fallout of the situation for the newly declared presidential candidate, CNN political commentator, David Urban, a former campaign adviser to the former President; and CNN chief political analyst, Gloria Borgia.

So, Gloria, we're talking about what this might change for the former President legally. How about politically, Gloria?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, obviously, it'll be the same because he'll continue calling himself the victim, which always works for him. And then he's going to talk about weaponizing the Justice Department against Republicans, and that's something he's also been doing and other Republicans have been doing it.

What will be interesting to see is whether those Republicans who have been saying the Justice Department is weaponized, but don't want Donald Trump to be the leader anymore or don't want to support him for President, how they're going to work that one? Are they going to follow the leader in this particular case, but then distance themselves on his presidential bid? They've already committed in one sense that they don't like the way the Justice Department is behaving, but they don't like the way Donald Trump is behaving either. So, it's going to be a choice for the party.

BERMAN: So what about that, David? Gloria, brings up a great point, which is things have changed for Donald Trump over the last two weeks. There are more and more people, you included, who have come out being to be very critical of him, at least politically. Will these same people be less likely to defend him here?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So John, Gloria does make a good point on that kind of three dimensional chess, it's going to need to be played with this announcement here.

Look, I think that you asked the question earlier, John, what's left to investigate? What's left for this this special prosecutor to look at? I mean, we've been at this now 18 months from January 6th. We've had all these hearings, and you would think that there'd be enough.

I'm assuming that the Department of Justice is running their own investigation, concurrent with the January 6 hearings. So you know, I'd be shocked if there's any rocks to turn over there. And then, with these documents, it's it seems to be pretty clear case that the documents are there. They're not supposed to be there. So what else is left to do? Right?

And so, it is curious to me why the Attorney General just didn't do this himself. You know, interestingly, the special prosecutor reports back to the Attorney General. So, I'm not sure what it really accomplishes at the end of the day except adding another layer.

BERMAN: So, what it might do is maybe it is time for the decision and he doesn't want to make the decision because of the appearance of impropriety -- conflict of interest, maybe, so you have a special prosecutor do it. That doesn't answer the question, David --

URBAN: But, John.

BERMAN: Hang on, David. I am curious --

URBAN: But doesn't he -- I am sorry.

BERMAN: I really am curious if you think that the same amount of Republicans who were defending the President before will do it now, or if it might be different, given the fact that frankly, there are some who seem a little sick of it?

URBAN: No, I think there are still two distinct paths here. Right? So I think people could still be outraged by, you know, the raid on Mar- a-Lago and overreach by the Department of Justice in their views and they're just -- they could be still tired of Donald Trump. I don't think that they are two mutually exclusive ideas.

And, John, I do believe that what I heard the Attorney General say is that, at the end of the day, the special prosecutor still reports back to him and he makes the ultimate decision on whether to prosecute or not, not the Special Counsel.

So again, I'm not quite sure how it insulates him in any way.

BERMAN: Gloria?

BORGER: Well, let me -- can I just add to that? Which is that, you know, these days, people don't believe that an independent counsel is independent anymore.

Go back to the days of Ken Starr and Bill Clinton. Go back to Bob Mueller. Republicans didn't trust Bob Mueller.

BORGER: But those are really independent counsels, Gloria, under the statute, remember?

BORGER: Right, right. But people say Special Counsel, independent prosecutor, somebody who is appointed in order to avoid a conflict. People now, particularly if you're a Donald Trump supporter, believe there is no way to avoid a conflict, that it's all corrupt, that the Justice Department is corrupt.

So Merrick Garland was going to be damned one way or another. And so, we had a choice to make and he decided to kind of say, look, you know, one president to be -- wannabe has announced; and the other one has the intention to announce. So what am I supposed to do?

I want to make it look optically as clean as I possibly can, and that's why I did it.


BERMAN: So, Dave, we've got to let you go here, but Ron DeSantis says what?

URBAN: I don't know. You'll have to ask him. I don't speak for the Governor of Florida.

BERMAN: But what do you think someone who wants to run against Donald Trump? I'm not saying he does. But hypothetically, another Republican candidate who wants to run for President says what?

URBAN: Yes, I think they're going to be still outraged at the overreach of the Department of Justice on many fronts, and I don't think that's going to let up one bit.

BERMAN: David Urban, Gloria Borger, thank you both so much for being with us tonight. Appreciate it.

URBAN: Thanks.


BERMAN: All right, coming up, we have new information on the hours leading up to the murders of four University of Idaho students. Plus, new details from the victim's autopsies revealing what possibly happened during the attack. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: Tonight, we have new information on the investigation into the murders of four University of Idaho students who were killed in an off campus home.

Investigators have finally released a timeline and map showing the students movements on the night they were killed. Also, a father of one of the victims said today the door of the home was opened with a number of code. Police previously said there was no sign of forced entry.

Tonight, authorities are still searching for a suspect as the community gripped by fear remembers the victims.

The University of Idaho plans to hold a vigil for the students on November 30th and CNN obtained this TikTok video from last month showing some of the lighter moments and friendships of three of the victims.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Guys, it's a -- I got to go, taste (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get out of here. You seriously got to get out.


BERMAN: Joining me now is someone who's been covering the story closely. Spokesman Review Reporter and University of Idaho Graduate, Garrett Cabeza. Garrett, thank you so much for joining us. You know, walk us through what you're learning about the investigation so far?

GARRETT CABEZA, REPORTER, SPOKESMAN-REVIEW: Hey, thanks for having me. Mr. Berman. I appreciate it. Yeah, some of the notable things we found out today, actually in the last hour from police is that two of the roommates who were at home at the time of the attack are not believed to be suspects. As well as the autopsies were completed this week, and the results of those worst stabbings. The Latah County Coroner noted that the victim suffered multiple stab wounds. Some had defensive wounds, and it sounds like they were found dead in their beds.

BERMAN: But no suspect also, no murder weapon, correct?

CABEZA: No murder weapon has been found. They did put out a face -- but the Moscow police department put out a Facebook post saying that detectives have contacted local businesses to determine if a fixed blade knife had recently been purchased.

BERMAN: So, as you know, the Moscow police have released a map and timeline of what happened and asked the community for possible tips. You know, how might that help investigators with finding a potential subject or suspect? CABEZA: I talked to an Idaho State police spokesperson yesterday and they are working on leads. But he said that they strongly encourage anyone who has surveillance cameras, or where they're at the notable scenes where the victims were hours before their deaths to contact the police tip line or the email tip line.

BERMAN: Yeah, it sounds like they're asking for anything get at this point. As we mentioned, you're a graduate of the University of Idaho. And, you know, say it's almost impossible for people in such a small college town to think of something like this ever happening there. Just how shaken are students tonight?

CABEZA: I think you said it perfectly. This is a small college town where a very friendly town where I don't think this is something that people would imagine in their nightmares happening here. I know -- I didn't know the victims, of course. But I -- you know, I'm deeply saddened and was impacted on the way I didn't think I would be. And I have other alumni, friends and acquaintances that I've seen on social media. They're heartbroken about it. I think everyone is just absolutely shocked at this this senseless violence.

BERMAN: I'm sure they are. Garrett, Mr. Cabeza, you're doing terrific work. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.

CABEZA: Thank you, sir.

BERMAN: So, joining us now with more perspective, forensic scientist and Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lawrence Kobilinsky.

Professor, thanks so much for being with us. And I do want to warn people, there are some gruesome details about what we're talking about here. But the County Coroner told CNN there was a lot of blood at the scene. So how might that help investigators as well as on the other hand, possibly complicate the collection of evidence?

LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, this is a very complex scene. It's a real challenge for the evidence collection team, because they have to collect the evidence that might be very, very important to solving the case, while not taking everything at the scene and bring it back to the lab, making it impossible for the lab to do much work.

But blood is very important, because this spatter pattern can reveal information as to the position of the victim during the attack, and there's a lot you can tell, for example, if an artery hat was severed, you have a spurting phenomenon. And you can see that in the pattern of blood stain. So, blood stain is very, very crucial in this case. The blood itself is DNA. And, you know, in cases like this, we often see mixtures.

They were four separate victims, but it's possible that the person who committed this terrible heinous crime caught himself during the attack, very common and stabbings when that happens. So, some of the blood could be mixtures of victim and perpetrator and that is very, very important because there are very few things that will allow us to identify a perpetrator, this fate fingerprints and there's DNA primarily.


And so, there are techniques that we have now for taking mixtures and separate -- separating the mixtures into components. So, if the perpetrator was caught if he left his blood, I say him -- we don't know if it's a male or a female. But if he left -- if he or she left their blood at the sin, that can come out with DNA testing. The fact that there's no murder weapon is pretty important, obviously. But the -- during the autopsy, the Coroner or the medical examiner should be able to tell whether the knife was a serrated knife or a straight edge knife.

You should be able to tell the width of the blade, maybe not the length of the blade because the skin is elastic. But there are certain things you can tell about that knife even though you don't have the weapon. And so, there are other experts, there are fingerprint experts trace evidence, experts, a lot of people have to come together and go through this horrendous sin on two floors, the second and third floors of this house. And it's a very bloody scene. We've all seen photos of blood coming down the back of the apartment. You can see the blood stain on the outside of the building. It's very complicated, very difficult, no perpetrator.

BERMAN: And again, yet I did warn people. I want to warn people again, this is a tough discussion. I mean, these are gruesome details. The County Coroner told CNN tonight there appears to be possible defensive wounds on at least one of the victims. First of all, how can investigators figure out what's the defensive wound? And how does that help with the investigation?

KOBILINSKY: Well, it to be honest with you, it doesn't really help tremendously, because when somebody is being attacked with a knife, you're going to put your hands up to try to get in the way, stop the knife or get away, move the hand away from your body. And that's how defensive wounds occur. They usually on the hands, on the arms doesn't really help the investigation, not really. But still an important factor. These people were sleeping. They were in their beds sleeping at the time of the attack. And whoever did this went from room to room to room very rapidly and committing these heinous crimes. I'm guessing that the cause of death was exsanguination. Perhaps the heart was punctured or arteries were punctured. And that they lost enough blood and they died.

BERMAN: Professor Lawrence Kobilinsky, thank you so much for helping us understand the details that we are getting and of course, police they are asking for any and all assistance that they can get.

So, we have a small bit of fortunate news after Sunday's mass shooting at the University of Virginia. The wounded survivors are healing but the struggle and the heartache they remain. We're going to speak to the mother of one survivor next.


[20:41:40] BERMAN: The NFL's Washington commanders will honor the victims of the deadly University of Virginia shootings during Sunday's game. Three of the school's football players were killed in the attack as their bus returned to campus from a field trip.

On Twitter, the commander has revealed decals with UVA football team numbers 115 and 41 that will appear on the commander's helmets, those numbers belong to Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D'Sean Perry, while their families grieve, two other wounded students survived last Sunday's violence. One is out of the hospital. But another remains, that is UVA running back Mike Collins, Jr. His mother, Brenda Hollins spoke with me just before tonight's program.


BERMAN: Brenda, I can't imagine how difficult this past week has been for you and your family. I know your son Mike has gone through two surgeries. He was intubated and has since been taken off the ventilator. How's he doing now?

BRENDA HOLLINS, MOTHER OF UVA SHOOTING SURVIVOR MIKE HOLLINS: Mike is good. Yesterday was a great day. Today was kind of rough. But, you know, it, I'm just thankful that he's still here with me. So, we'll take that one day at a time.

BERMAN: I hope for more days, like yesterday, more great days ahead.

HOLLINS: Absolutely.

BERMAN: When the shooting happened, I understand Mike and a few other classmates originally ran off the bus but then realize that they weren't being followed by everyone else. So, they turned around and went back to the bus to help. And that's when he was shot, is Mike been able to describe that moment?

HOLLINS: He has. He's described it, I'm so sorry. He says that, he ran off the bus. And he was yelling at two of his classmates to run. And they ran. And he noticed no one else was coming out of the bus. So, he said he was going to, you know, try and get them to come out, who's going to try and beat on the windows. He was just going to go into the bus and yell. And so, what he did was he tried to take that first step back onto the bus and he met the shooter.

BERMAN: What's it like to hear that as a parent that your son, he went back, he risked his life to help?

HOLLINS: Mike going back is something that Mike would do. Still doesn't feel good or sound good. I'm thankful that he's able to tell the story. And I -- I'm sorry, today's just been a rough day. And it's just been a rough day.

BERMAN: You have nothing to apologize for Brenda. I can only imagine how overwhelming this all is in the mixture of emotions you have, the pride in your son being proud that he wanted to be there and to help but also the fear that he did put himself back in harm's way. I can't imagine what this -- what's that like for you. You have nothing to apologize for.


I know it's been hard. I know that you've had to be careful with how you've talked to him over the last several days. One of the victims who was killed, the D'Sean Perry was a friend of Mike, and doctors told you, you know not to tell your son initially, that his friend had been killed. What did happen when you had to tell him?

HOLLINS: He was waiting. He was waiting to hear what happened to D'Sean. Well, what happened to all three of the boys. But as soon as they took the -- they took him off of the ventilator, he asked where's D'Sean? And no one said anything. And my daughter, she shook her head. And she told him, he didn't make it. And he just broke down, he broke down. And you know, it's just something that, you know, anytime your child cries, you want to comfort them. And this was a time that I couldn't comfort him. And it just as a parent, as a mother, it just -- that just doesn't seem right that you know, that's what kids always run to their mother, always. And he wasn't able to run to me. And I wasn't able to embrace him.

BERMAN: I'm sure he knows you're there. I am sure that he is leaning on you to get through this. And I know faith has been a big part of helping Mike and your family get through this. What is his recovery look like? Not just physically but emotionally?

HOLLINS: Mike has a long road ahead of him. He has a long road ahead of him. I'm thankful though. I'm thankful because -- I can be one of the other boys parents. They're making preparations to perceive their son's bodies, couldn't imagine, I couldn't imagine. I see my son, he has been good, so hard as good. And so, I'm trying to look at it in that aspect. Because, like I said today, it was just I saw him yesterday. And he was up that date yesterday was just, he was up. He was walking. He was laughing. I mean, we had a good time. And then today, he's hurting back in bed. And I know what's going to be up and down. And I'm grateful for that. Because what the pain, he's here, he's with me. He's with us.

BERMAN: Brenda, you're there for him. And you have so many people, so many people behind you tonight know that. And you're strong and we can all see it. And I'm sure Mike is going to need you in the coming days and weeks, and you'll be there for him.

Thank you so much.

HOLLINS: I would.

BERMAN: Thank you so much for being with us tonight. We are all thinking about you. And we're thinking about Mike. And we hope there are more ups and downs in the days ahead.

HOLLINS: Thank you.


BERMAN: Coming up, chef and humanitarian Jose Andres joins us from Ukraine to give us a first-hand account of the challenges still facing the city of Kherson, days after the Russians left. That's next.



BERMAN: So, hope is rolling down the tracks in Ukraine. Take a look at this.

All right, there is cheering there and that cheering comes from the train station in Kyiv. The first train heading to the recently liberated city of Kherson pulled out today with 200 passengers aboard and official with President Zelenskyy's office said on social media, "this is our train of victory. Like this train we will return to Kherson everything for normal life."

Of course, nothing is normal in Ukraine right now including in Kherson, despite the Russian retreat from the city last week. Chef Jose Andres and his humanitarian team at World Central Kitchen are seeing that for themselves. And Chef Andres joins us tonight from Nikolaev.

Chef, it's always such an honor to speak with you. I know you've been to Kherson several times this week. Tell us what you've seen there?

CHEF JOSE ANDRES, WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN: Well, Kherson obviously has a very amazing by, because people are really happy to be liberated. They're celebrating. Children are walking the streets with Ukrainian flags. You can see the pride of every person in Kherson.


But the reality as the day goes on, and the night falls upon the people of Kherson, they're going to go home without electricity, when the temperatures are already becoming really, really cold, with every store close, with no food, with no water, barely used one gas station opened two days ago. These is the reality. They're proud. They're happy. There are army is liberating them. But at the same time, this is going to be a very hard winter, a very long winter. And that's why we are there, next to the people of Kherson, making sure that somehow we cannot solve every problem. But the very least we can make sure that food and water is not another issue they have to be working for.

BERMAN: How many people have you been feeding?

ANDRES: Well, the situation is very difficult, because the access to Kherson is still control, obviously by the military for different reasons. Some of the main roads, they've been shelled, they are destroyed. It's been raining. So, the way to access Kherson, in one of the quickest main roads is very muddy. So makes the entire process very, very slow.

We've been there the day after deliberation. So, we've been going there for six, seven days, every single day. And we've been bringing what we call our foot box 30-pound food bags, the vast majority of the ingredients are Ukrainian ingredients. So, everything we try to do is keeping the money we invest in the local Ukrainian economy. And we've been delivering anywhere between 2000 and 6000 of these 30-pound bags. You can understand we are doing anywhere between, you know, 20,000, 60,000, 80,000 meals a day. Tomorrow we are going with 6000 bags, we already have more than nine places ready for water distribution.

BERMAN: Where is your team even preparing these meals? And how are you getting the food in?

ANDRES: So, the meals we produce them we have a very big kitchen for example in Mykolaiv, which we've been with this very big food track that can do up to 100,000 meals a day, held by local chefs, but also we've been using restaurants. What better way to use local Ukrainian chefs and local restaurants that we can help them obviously supporting them with money to cook food, bought by law from local farmers that allow us to very quickly be cooking and feeding locally with local chefs and restaurants.

Remember one thing, Ukraine, it's exporter of foot. Ukraine feeds more than 500 million people in the world, then you're going to be saying but if they are exporter of food, why we need to fit them, because they have 50 million people that they've been displace, or they're refugees in countries in Europe and around the world, the entire infrastructure is broken. So, what we're doing is us covering the infrastructure and the logistics until things go back to normal.

BERMAN: Chef, thank you so much for your time.

Coming up, with your breaking news. How the former President is responding tonight to the naming of a special counsel in two federal criminal investigations. What Attorney General Merrick Garland announcement today could meet personally and politically for Trump as we continue.