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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Appeals Court Dubious Of Trump's Arguments For Special Master Review Of Mar-A-Lago Search; Texas Judge Rules Against Alex Jones; Suspect In Nightclub Shooting Out Of Hospital, In Sheriff's Custody; Mother Of Matthew Shepard, Who Was Killed IN 1998 For Being Gay, On Massacre At Colorado LGBTQ Club; Authorities Provide Mixed Messages On Investigation Into Four University Of Idaho Student's Deaths; "The Progressive Liberal," A Wrestlers Fans Love To Hate. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 22, 2022 - 20:00   ET


SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: But to come out of this experts say, there needs to be a few major changes.

Number one, the vaccination rate of the elderly population needs to increase. Secondly, China's messaging needs to change. There is growing outrage, but many are still deeply fearful of getting COVID because of the propaganda and demonization of the virus -- Erin.


Selina, thank you very much again for another extraordinary report.

And thanks so much to all of you for joining us for it. AC 360 starts now.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: It used to be the only three sure things in life or death, taxes, and Donald Trump not releasing his tax returns after promising too for years. Soon, though, it could be back to two sure things.

John Berman here, in for Anderson.

Today the Supreme Court dealt the former President a big loss, refusing to issue a stay that would have kept the House Ways and Means Committee from seeing the returns, and it wasn't the only legal hit he took today.

Taxes first, though. Briefly, the law says upon written request from the Chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means at the House of Representatives, the Secretary shall furnish such Committee with any return or return information specified in such request.

The committee asked for the return three years ago and keeping them honest, the only reason they had to ask it all, of course, was that candidate Trump and later President Trump, and like any other in modern history refused to make them public from the get go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't mind releasing. I'm under a routine audit, and it'll be released.

I've been ordered that I think for 15 straight years. When the audit is done, I will release them.

I'm under routine audit, and I think it's a very unfair thing.

As soon as my routine audit is finished, I'll release my returns. I'll be very proud to.

I would love to give them, but I'm not going to do it while I'm under audit. It's very simple.


BERMAN: According to Maggie Haberman's new best-seller "Confidence Man," the whole "I'll release it when the audit is over" was something candidate Trump came up with on a campaign flight in March of 2016. Quoting now from the book, "Well, you know, my taxes are under audit, I always get audited, Trump said. So what I mean is, well, I could just say I'll release them when I'm no longer under audit, because I'll never not be under audit." He didn't tell voters that part.

But when Democrats in Congress demanded the returns in April of 2019, he didn't try the audit excuse on them. He just said no. Here is his acting Chief of Staff at the time.


BILL HEMMER, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: To be clear, you believe Democrats will never see the President's tax returns.

MICK MULVANEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: No, never. Nor should they. That's an issue that was already litigated during the election.

Voters knew the President could have given his tax returns, they knew that he didn't and they elected him anyway.


BERMAN: So if your head isn't already spinning, that's Mick Mulvaney, saying the former President had the voters seal of approval for promising them something he had no intention of delivering and then breaking that same promise.

In any event, as the legal battle to keep his returns private dragged on, reporting, especially a 2020 piece in "The New York Times" made clear what the former President was concealing.

Quoting from the lead, "Donald J. Trump paid $750.00 in Federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.00. He paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years largely because he reported losing much more money than he made." Just today in the State of New York's case against the Trump Organization, an accountant for the company confirmed some of that story, admitting under cross examination that the former President reported losses on his personal returns from 2011 to 2018.

And soon, the House Ways and Means Committee will be able to see what else the former President went all the way to the Supreme Court to keep private.

But that's not all. Also today, his 2020 election sidekick, Senator Lindsey Graham, who also took his case to the Supreme Court and lost finally went before a Georgia grand jury investigating efforts to overturn the election there.

And if that's not enough, an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals panel today cast doubt on the former President's arguments for why the FBI's search at Mar-a-Lago required a Special Master to review the materials that were seized there.

All three Judges on the panel were appointed by Republican Presidents, two by the former President himself.

CNN's Katelyn Polantz has much more on that for us tonight.

Katelyn, what have you learned?

KATELYN POLANTZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE SENIOR REPORTER: Well, John, Donald Trump tried a pretty bold tactic in Court today in Atlanta. His lawyers were basically arguing that he was wronged, that his constitutional rights were violated when the FBI came in and searched Mar-a-Lago and took out thousands of documents.

One of the things that they mentioned was, you know, among these things that were taken, there were Celine Dion pictures, there were golf shirts taken and that they were saying was inappropriate. That's why they wanted a Special Master, a Court's intervention to try and make sure that the Justice Department was doing things correctly accessing what they needed.


But these three Judges at the Federal Appeals Court basically said -- and this was a quote from one of them, "What are we doing here? Why is the Court even involved?" They didn't make a ruling today, but they had a lot of really harsh questions for Trump's lawyers, Jim Trusty, one of the Judges cut him off at one point saying, "Are you really okay calling this a raid?" Because he was using the word "raid" to describe that.

Another of the Judges, the Chief Judge of this Court said that he didn't think it was the fault of the government if someone has intermingled classified documents with all kinds of other personal property.

And so this hearing was actually quite short. They spent most of their time really grilling Trump's lawyer, and they didn't seem to be taking that much issue with what the Justice Department is arguing here, getting rid of the Special Master and letting their investigation go forward full force.

BERMAN: Well, that would certainly be an interesting development. Give us a sense of where the timeline is now in the investigation, and how this panel of Federal Appeals Court Justice affects that.

POLANTZ: Right. So this case is about the Special Master. That's a different guy that was appointed by a Court than the Special Counsel who just was appointed to oversee the investigation around Mar-a-Lago.

Special Counsel, Jack Smith, from what we understand from lots of reporting is that he has told his team full speed ahead, keep doing what you're doing. And the way that this case complements that or functions in what Smith is doing is it's just a part of it. Right?

In the Mar-a-Lago case, the Justice Department's Smith's team is going to have access right now to all of those documents marked as classified, classified documents taken out of the Florida beach club. What they are not able to access just yet, and potentially, they could if the Court rules quickly, what they're not able to access right now, are all of the rest of the things, potentially more evidence.

But it depends on how fast this Court could step in here, if they do rule in the Justice Department's favor, Smith would be back on track to do just what he is planning on doing when he returns to the United States from Europe.

BERMAN: All right, Katelyn Polantz, thank you so much for that report.

With us now, CNN contributor and Nixon White House Counsel, John Dean, also CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan.

Paul, I just want to start with what we just heard from Katelyn's reporting there on this Appeals Court panel seeming skeptical. Basically, the whole idea of the Special Master, how much does that surprise you?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It doesn't surprise me at all. You have to understand, these Federal Judges are used to seeing search warrants that involve drugs and guns and other things being seized. And here, you have classified documents, and you have a Magistrate who said there was clear probable cause to seize the classified documents and the other documents.

So, I think they're not at all surprised that the warrant was granted by the Court. What they are surprised about is the asking for a Special Master, because this is a clear cut, justifiable search.

BERMAN: So, John, if this Appeals Court does rule against the President here, if the Appeals Court says, hey, no Special Master, could the President then take this all the way to the Supreme Court?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Theoretically, he could. That's his standard playbook. Whether the Court will accept it or not as another issue, but the Court has been very deferential on process matters with this former President even though they are not always, really in his favor.

So there's a good high probability he will try to run this up because I think he will lose at the 11th Circuit.

BERMAN: Speaking of the Supreme Court and process matters, John Dean, the Supreme Court today denied the former President's request to stop the release of his tax records.

Does the former President have any further recourse here? Or will these records end up in the House Ways and Means Committee's hands?

DEAN: I think this is the end of the road. It was an emergency appeal he took after the DC Circuit ruled against him. I was surprised that Chief Justice Roberts gave him three weeks more as the Court looked at this, and then they issued today, of course, a flat per curiam, pretty bluntly saying this is the end of the road. So, there are no more avenues for him to go to other Courts.

BERMAN: So Paul, what happens when the House Ways and Means Committee gets their hands on these records from the IRS? From Treasury? The Democrats are only in the majority for another, you know, eight weeks, if that?

CALLAN: Yes, they're running out of time, John. So, I think they need a Plan B. And I think a good Plan B would be for them to contact the Senate. There's a Senate Oversight Committee that oversees taxation and the IRS and possibly share the information with a Senate Committee that could continue the investigation.

Because remember, the Senate will remain in Democratic hands, even though the House will be Republican. House Republicans are likely to kill this investigation immediately. So if it is to stay alive, I really think it needs another forum and the Senate might be that forum.

BERMAN: What was the chances the public will see or find out what information is in here?

CALLAN: I think eventually The public will find out what's in there because it's clear that Congress when it's investigating something has the right to go public if it's something of a serious public interest and they may just choose to do that, with respect to these tax records.

They've been trying to get these tax records since 2017, and there's a great interest in the public to see what's there.


BERMAN: John, the Special Counsel, we just heard from Katelyn Polantz about Jack Smith. The Special Counsel as opposed to the Special Master, we know that the Special Counsel wants to go very quickly here and has already started diving into this investigation.

In your mind, is this quickly enough? Because a lot of people think the whole appointment of a Special Counsel will just slow down this process.

DEAN: I don't think that criticism is well-taken. This particular prosecutor has a record of being able to step in, move quickly. He certainly showed that in pleadings in the 11th Circuit in the argument. He blessed the argument they were going to make as well, showing he is on top of the case and its various tentacles.

So I think they are misreading this. From my talk to people who know this prosecutor, they say he is no nonsense. He is aggressive. And he will not -- he will be the last to slow this down and more likely to speed it up.

BERMAN: Paul, I feel you nodding beside me here.

CALLAN: Oh, absolutely. I agree with John completely. This guy -- he is a tough prosecutor. He is a fair prosecutor, but the one thing he knows is that there is going to be no more stalling, and this thing has been stalled for long enough.

So, I think you'll see him moving swiftly.

BERMAN: So less investigating, more decision making as it were.

CALLAN: Yes, I think so.

This investigation has been going on for so long. It really is getting close to decision time. Now, I'm not saying it's going to happen within the next month, but certainly it'll be a fast moving investigation.

BERMAN: All right. Paul Callan, John Dean, our thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

As we mentioned at the top, today also saw Senator Lindsey Graham testifying before the Georgia criminal grand jury. CNN's Sara Murray joins us now with what we're learning about that.

So Sara, any sense of what prosecutors wanted to learn from Senator Graham?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Graham fought for months to try to avoid this. But today, it was his day to appear before the grand jury.

We know that prosecutors were very interested in calls Graham made to Georgia election officials after the 2020 election. In particular, he made a call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Raffensperger came away from that call, thinking that Graham was asking him to discard ballots, which is something that Graham has denied.

So you can bet that was a focus for prosecutors. Prosecutors also wanted to know more about any coordination Lindsey Graham had with the Trump campaign in that period after the 2020 election when obviously Trump and his allies were trying to overturn the election in Georgia -- John. BERMAN: Senator Graham, has he said anything about his appearance today?

MURRAY: His office did release a statement acknowledging that he was there for more than two hours today. They said he answered all of the questions posed to him. That was a big question whether he was going to challenge anything that was put before him, and they said he felt like he was treated with respect and with professionalism.

BERMAN: How close is the District Attorney there from finishing this probe? What more does she need?

MURRAY: Well, she has some decisions to make because she has said she wants the grand jury to wrap up their investigative activity this year. But we know there are high-profile witnesses, people like Michael Flynn, people like Mark Meadows the grand jury has yet to hear from, so she is going to have to decide, do we keep this grand jury going to try to get every possible witness? Or does she feel like she has enough? Does she move forward and have the grand jury write their report and move ahead with indictments?

We've previously been told that she could move forward with indictments as quick as December -- John.

BERMAN: That's right around the corner.

Sara Murray, thank you very much.

MURRAY: Thanks.

BERMAN: Still to come tonight, breaking news in the ongoing legal problems surrounding Infowars' Alex Jones, a big victory today in Texas for the parents of one of the children murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Scarlet Lewis, the mother of Jesse Lewis will join us.

And later, an examination of the police investigation and lack of answers into the murders of those four students at the University of Idaho.



BERMAN: Breaking News Tonight: More than a week after a billion dollar verdict in Connecticut, a Texas Judge has ruled that Alex Jones must pay the full $45.2 million in punitive damages to two Sandy Hook parents despite a State cap. That would bring total damages to almost $50 million for the parents of Jesse Lewis, who was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty-six people were murdered that day, including 20 children.

Jesse's parents had sued Alex Jones for defamation, both parents testified in court. Scarlet Lewis, Jesse's mother was able to confront the Infowars' broadcaster in Court. She called the death of her son an unbearable pain. Worse, she said was to have someone on top of that say, "That it was a false flag, and that I was an actress."

Fortunate that Scarlet Lewis could join us this evening. She is also the author of "Choosing Love: A Pathway to Flourishing, Creating a Safer, More Peaceful and Loving World."

Scarlet, very nice to see you again.

Judge Gamble in Texas said she wanted the amount owed to you and Neil, Jesse's father to be high enough so it "Isn't affordable," basically to keep anyone from intentionally inflicting this kind of emotional damage again.

What's your reaction tonight?

SCARLETT LEWIS, MOTHER OF SANDY HOOK SHOOTING VICTIM: I thought that that was -- you know, it's a very, very strong message that is sent out obviously. I think we're over the billion dollar mark with the other judgment in Connecticut. So it's a huge -- it's a huge amount. But I think the message is the most important thing here that you know that this is not going to be tolerated and I'm hoping that it will never happen to anyone going forward. That was the intention that I had.

BERMAN: Do your attorneys have any sense of how much money Alex Jones actually has?

LEWIS: I know that that's the big question. We really aren't certain. No.

BERMAN: $45 million. Does he have that much?

LEWIS: I do believe, absolutely that he has that much.


BERMAN: You've told me before that this isn't about the money or even about destroying Alex Jones. So, why was it important to you to bring this lawsuit?

LEWIS: Yes, it is absolutely not about the money or the destruction of another human being. It's about the truth. It's about the importance of truth in our society. It is about having somebody intentionally inflict pain on a victim's parent, it was unprecedented, this type of lawsuit.

And, you know, I just -- I hope that it never happens again. I hope that it sends a very strong message out and it was really important, I felt like it was my duty to do this. We have to maintain truth in order to have a civil society.

And, you know, I've spent the last 10 years trying to keep our kids safe with the Choose Love Movement and safeguarding their health and well-being, and so to have somebody out there saying that the shooting never happened, that Jesse never lived, that I'm not a real person, it definitely goes directly against what we all have to be working on as a society, our children are our priority, their safety, health and wellbeing and they are compromised right now.

And so to have somebody that's out there that is directly working against that and compromising efforts to make them safe, that is absolutely not acceptable.

BERMAN: And you think these verdicts might stop the next person from spreading lies like this?

LEWIS: I think this high-dollar amount, yes, absolutely, as Judge Gamble says makes it unaffordable for someone to do that.

BERMAN: I have to say, when you said you spent the last 10 years fighting for this, my heart sort of skipped the beat because it's a reminder that it will be 10 years this December that the shooting took place. How do you plan to mark that day?

LEWIS: You know, it is the 10-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. It is also a celebration in a way for the Choose Love Movement, because we have also been in existence for 10 years offering three essential life skills that I know address the root cause of the suffering that we're seeing that leads to the violence, to the substance abuse, to the mental illness, and we can actually reduce and prevent the suffering before it starts.

So this is what I've been working on for 10 years. We are actually celebrating at the same time the Choose Love Movement and all the millions of people that we have positively impacted, where our programs are in over 10,000 schools and 120 countries, they are no cost.

And so I just invite any of your viewers that want to help be part of the solution to join the movement. It is kind of a celebration also in the face of a terrible anniversary and something that we all really need to wake up to in our society, our children need to be our priority. We can keep them safe. It is possible.

And you know we can have healthy flourishing kids, we know how to do that. It's not rocket science. We just have to kind of buckle down and do it.

BERMAN: The Choose Love Movement is a tribute to Jesse's legacy. You've been doing remarkable work for 10 years and I know you will continue to do it.

We're thinking about you, just know that over the next month during this difficult anniversary.

Scarlet Lewis, thank you very much.

LEWIS: Thank you.

BERMAN: Next, the latest from Colorado Springs in the wake of the Club Q shooting. We'll get perspective on this crime and the larger moment from the mother of Matthew Shepard, one of two murder victims for whom the Federal hate crime act is named.



BERMAN: The alleged Colorado Springs mass shooter is out of the hospital. He faces an initial Court hearing tomorrow and could eventually be charged with hate crimes according to the local DA in addition to counts for the five people murdered and 17 others wounded at Club Q Saturday night.

The attack comes with reported hate crimes up in the FBI's most recent data which is from 2020 and a concern the problem has grown worse since then.

With us tonight is Judy Shepard. On October 7, 1998, her son, Matthew was brutally murdered because he was gay.

In the wake of it, Judy and Matthew's father, Dennis establish a foundation in Matthew's name and pressed Federal lawmakers for what in 2009 would become the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and Judy Shepard joins us now.

Mrs. Shepard, it is an honor to speak with you tonight. Thank you so much for joining us.

Your son, Matthew, was killed 24 years ago. It was a murder that was motivated by anti-gay hate. Now, we still don't know the exact motive for the Colorado shooting, but what went through your mind when you heard about this happening at Club Q?

JUDY SHEPARD, PRESIDENT, MATTHEW SHEPARD FOUNDATION: Well, it was, first of all, I take this opportunity to convey my condolences to the families affected by Club Q. I know what they're going through. There will be scars, seen and unseen, forever for them, and I really feel for them.

This is another tragedy senseless on all sorts of levels. Of course, your mind goes to the incident at Pulse in 2016, and even what happened to Matt and the many hate crimes committed against the gay community before and after Matt.

BERMAN: As we mentioned, the 2009 Hate Crimes Act was named in part after your son and there has been progress since then, in some ways, some progress. But -- but do you have the sense that something feels different now that there is something uniquely dangerous about the moment that we're in for the gay community?

SHEPARD: Absolutely. When the Hate Crime Bill was signed in 2009 in the Obama administration, I think, all of us felt like we were on the right path to achieving equality and equity in the US to be treated as an American like everyone else deserves to be treated here on an equal playing field, and then 2015 happened and then 2016, and all of that hate was just unleashed.


And it's just grown. Hate crimes have gone up every year since then. And in 2020, the rhetoric just got all ramped up in particular. Well, not even in particular has been every marginalized community. Today is the gay community. Last week, it was the Jewish community before that it was the African-American community, that's just senseless and being encouraged in some quarters, it definitely feels different now.

BERMAN: So, an individual who was at the Club Q vigil and Colorado Springs said, quote, it feels like, when is it going to happen to me, as opposed to thinking this kind of thing will never touch me? So just how dangerous do you think it is to be gay in American (INAUDIBLE) --

SHEPARD: I think it's, I'm sorry to interrupt, but it seems extremely dangerous to me. And it's the same things we heard from Matt's friends, when isn't going to happen to me it's not if it's when the whole community feels especially vulnerable right now, knowing that a copycat could occur. Same thing happened when Matt was killed. It was it's not if it's when and you feel it, you feel it all the time. Walking down the street, being afraid to hold hands with your partner. It's ridiculous. It's absolutely ridiculous. But it's there.

BERMAN: You know, we've heard fundamentalist preachers calling for the execution of gay people. There's that. What about political leaders, how much responsibility do you think political leaders have for creating this type of discourse?

SHEPARD: Well, I'm going to, I'm going to take issue with the word create. I think they have amplified it. I think your first instinct mentioned the pulpit was a good start even when Matt was killed all those years ago, that was where he was coming from. And it still is, and it's amplified from a different arm, perhaps, of faith leaders. Certainly not saying all of them. But there is, there's a selection of them who push this hate picked up by political leaders, because I think right now, they think it's politically expedient for them. But in my opinion, the election we just had proves them wrong.

BERMAN: So you, you said previously that you hoped there'd be a point, it was you and your husband thought you would be no longer needed to run the Matthew Shepard Foundation. And once you both founded, that you could close your doors and society had left behind the bigotry and maybe the hatred against the gay community. So, is that they're getting closer or further away?

SHEPARD: Well, we actually thought we were closer until 2015. And then it became obvious that was going to run away from us again. But I think even initially, it just showed us how naive it were to think we could change centuries of hate and bigotry directed toward the LGBTQ plus community. We really felt people would see that people from the gay community were just like them, same dreams, same ambitions, with diversity and make who they love. They've done nothing to harm you. It was even a challenge to get hate crime laws passed it's like, how's that going to harm you to protect the gay community if there -- if they are harmed? I was just, I didn't understand any of that. And I still don't. But I know we are nowhere near close to closing our doors right now.

BERMAN: Well, listen, Judy, you've made some big changes. You made a major difference in this country already. And I have a good feeling that you'll make a bigger difference going forward. Thank you so much for being with us tonight.

SHEPARD: Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

BERMAN: Still ahead, authorities and I'd say they are making progress in the investigation to the murders of four University of Idaho students. They've also released new details about what they found at the home where the students were killed. That's next.



BERMAN: Tonight, Idaho authority say they are quote, making progress, unquote in the investigation into the murders of four University of Idaho students but they're still not providing many details. Police told CNN today that they have interviewed more than 90 people and receive at least 700 leads. Investigators also said they found a dog at the home where the students were killed. The dog who is seen here with one of the victims was found unharmed. But at this hour, there is still no suspect in custody and more questions than answers.

CNN's Natasha Chen took a look at the police response. This is her report.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The incomplete and sometimes contradictory information came in the first days of the investigation.

JAMES FRY, CHIEF, MOSCOW POLICE: We believe this was an isolated, targeted attack on our victims.

CHEN (voice-over): Those words echoed in the press, perhaps leaving the impression that the police knew something that should make the public less worried. But some residents and neighbors near the crime scene we're not comforted by the terms targeted and isolated.

AVA DRIFTMEYER, LIVES NEAR CRIME SCENE: At first, I thought that they actually had something going so you think that makes sense. Like oh, it's targeted, and you wait to see, you know what they say? But now they've said nothing and that they know nothing. So how can you say it's targeted?

CHEN (voice-over): Then the local mayor went further telling the New York Times it could have been quote, a crime of passion. Later clarifying that was just one possibility.

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST, WESTERN CONNECTICUT UNIV.: They don't want people to panic. And yet, unless you have the evidence that you're willing to share with the public and be transparent about how the investigation is going, these words are completely giving false confidence.

CHEN (voice-over): But police say they can't share their entire case for fear of compromising the investigation. AARON SNELL, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, IDAHO STATE POLICE: You can't just put that out into the public side. It would impede the investigation and ultimately it might impede justice at the very end of this.

CHEN (voice-over): But with no suspect identified, many students packed up and left town.

NATHAN TINNO, UNIVERISTY OF IDAHO STUDENT: There's no car or anything. So, it's definitely uneasy on campus right now.

CHEN (voice-over): By day four, police recognized their assurances of public safety weren't resonating as residents fixated on the fact that killer was not caught. Police Chief James Fry went before the cameras.


FRY: We cannot say that there is no threat to the community.

CHEN (voice-over): Still calling the crime targeted but pulling back on assurances there was no public threat and pledging to release more.

FRY: I probably should have been standing here a day or so ago. But I'm here now.

CHEN (voice-over): Between 2016 and 2021, there were no murders in Moscow. So, when the quadruple homicide stunned this town, that 36 person police force was pressed into unprecedented action. With no full-time communication staff.

SNELL: You know, the messaging was a little bit off.

CHEN (voice-over): Idaho State Police were brought in to assist with public messaging.

SNELL: And really put out hopefully the best information we can.

CHEN (voice-over): But the rumor mill has been hard to control. A report of a man loitering at a food truck near two of the victims was knocked down by police, who later said they eliminated the man as a suspect. Reports that someone's pet dog was quote, skinned three weeks before the killings are also believed to be unrelated. Meanwhile, police are trying to protect the integrity of the investigation.

SNELL: If you flood the public with information of everything that's going on, then stories might start emerging.

CHEN (on-camera): Stories are already emerging, rumors are emerging.

SNELL: Yes, unfortunately, rumors are out there. People want answers. You know, a lot of times or all the time on TV, you know, these are solved within 60 minutes. There's an appetite to make sure these are done. And we totally respect that. And we will put out as much information as we can as soon as we can.

CHEN (voice-over): Though some victims' families have expressed frustration with a lack of information.

STACY CHAPIN, MOTHER OF VICTIM ETHAN CHAPIN: Together, we want to extend gratitude to the following --

CHEN (voice-over): This week, the family of Ethan Chapin acknowledged answers and justice can only come now from police.

CHAPIN: The Moscow Police Department who now carry the burden every day, not only for us, but for all of the impacted families.


CHEN: You know, I asked about the threat level to the community given the initial confusion of that message. And Aaron Snell here told me that it's always a good idea to be vigilant since the suspect hasn't been caught, saying that it's a good idea to walk in pairs, to lock doors at night. And he did not rule out the possibility of perhaps more than one person responsible for these killings. I also asked about this being a targeted attack. And he reiterated that they still believe that it was based on evidence found at the scene and the fact that two people in the house survived the attack.

So, if it were a bit more non-discriminant, that perhaps everyone might have died. We hope to hear much more information coming out at a press conference tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. local time, John.

BERMAN: Natasha Chen in Moscow, Idaho. Terrific report, Natasha, thank you very much.

More perspective now from former deputy FBI director, Andrew McCabe, who is now a CNN senior law enforcement analyst. Andy, we just mentioned, we are expecting officials to release more updates at a news conference tomorrow. But it's now been more than a week since the murders. And we really don't have any answers. So, what do you make of the lack of details?

ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, John, there's a couple of things that I think are really troubling here. One, of course, is the lack of detail. Now, you would never expect any police agency to share all of the details of a crime of this nature with the public. But you would expect them to tell you some of the basics about how they're doing and what they're thinking simply to calm fears to let folks know that they're on the job, and they're getting things done. Not only have they not done that, they've actually made statements that are contradictory and cause more confusion than they've helped.

So, they are definitely behind the power curve here in terms of managing this crisis response with their press outreach. And we're just hoping that that's not indicative of a lack of organization, or focus or capability in getting this investigation done.

BERMAN: Because in your mind, there is still very real current public safety concerns there?

MCCABE: No question, you a quadruple homicide, you do not have by their own admission, they do not have a suspect identified. They don't presumably not that we know of anyway, they don't have a communication or any sort of claim of motive or purpose behind that, they don't have a murder weapon recovered yet. So, without any of those facts in place, I don't see how they can possibly state with any confidence that there is not a threat to the community. Clearly there is a threat still out there.

BERMAN: One of the things police have said is they have ruled multiple people out. How useful is that in an investigation to rule people out?

MCCABE: You know, eventually, John, you want to rule people out but I was struck with how quickly they ruled out a fairly large group of folks who seem to have played key roles in the discovery of this crime. So, you have the two roommates who were on the premises when the murders were taking place. You have some number of either a friend or some friends who came over to see those roommates the next morning before the before the 911 call was made. You have the individual who drove the two females from the food trucks back to their house right before the homicides took place. And all of those folks have been kind of dismissed as having no, no involvement.


It just seems kind of quick to be writing off folks who are so close to this event, you think you'd want to do a pretty substantial thorough investigation of each one of those people and their networks to ensure that there's absolutely no connection before you go out to the public and say, yes, we've cleared all these people. But you know, again, I don't know what's going on behind the scenes.

BERMAN: Andrew McCabe, thank you very much for helping us understand the limited details we do have. Appreciate it.

MCCABE: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: So just ahead, a pro wrestler makes a big splash with audiences in Appalachia who love to hate his deeply liberal progressive character. The details ahead.


BERMAN: So, fans of the former president in and around Appalachia don't have to wait for a possible matchup against President Biden, they've got it all ready complete with full Nelson's pile drivers and maybe the occasional Atomic Drop.


CNN's Elle Reeve has the story of how a popular villain on the local pro wrestling circuit has turned a mirror on our national politics.


ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is politics in America right now.


REEVE (voice-over): Channeled through a pro wrestling ring.

DANIEL HARNSBERGER, AKA THE PROGRESSIVE LIBERAL DAN RICHARDS: I just criticize their way of life and tell them how they need to follow a real man like myself or my hero, Joseph R. Biden.

REEVE (voice-over): The progressive liberal Dan Richards is a wrestler who fans in Appalachia love to hate.

BEAU JAMES, INDEPENDENT PRO WRESTLER: When I grab a hold of him, and I'll look in the crowd and say, hit him in the mouth and they all come to the seat. Yes, I hit him in the mouth. And they go, he did that for us.

REEVE (voice-over): Dan and his mentor, Beau James came up with a gimmick when Trump was first running for president.

JAMES: Awesome. Oh, my God, if we had a guy, that was the anti-Trump, we could send him to the ring in these towns. How much heat would we get?

HARNSBERGER: They want to see you get your ass kicked. That's heated the one.

JAMES: There's the greatest feeling in the world. It's a high.

REEVE (voice-over): Now the politics has gotten so intense. It's getting too real for Dan.

HARNSBERGER: The response to me, and people who think like me are more violent.

REEVE (voice-over): Dan really is liberal. I first interviewed him in 2017, which now bizarrely feels like a more innocent time.

(on-camera): So in 2017, you were like an all over print Hillary shirt, or very Hillary focused. Like pieces of current events do you pull from to sort of trigger people?

HARNSBERGER: Well, I've got a Biden colored shirt and one of Kamala Harris. The Biden one triggers more people than anything because I don't think half these people even know who Kamala Harris is.

REEVE (voice-over): Dan says he gets more heat now than when Trump was in office. He thinks fans feel like they got their hero taken away.

JAMES: There's so many people to think an election was stolen. I say realism in emotions. It gets an emotion out of people. So, whatever the headlines are that week, that's what we're going to use.

REEVE (on-camera): But did you ever talk about the election being stolen?

JAMES: Yes. If Dan wins by cheating, then his opponent can go the microphone and like I do. And I say a lot of these good people here tonight, thank you stole that just like an election was stole. The building goes nuts.

REEVE (voice-over): They usually wrestle in Appalachian counties. Some went for Trump by more than 80%.

JAMES: It's a small mountain town. Poor county, poor community. No hope, he represents to them everything that's put them in that position.

REEVE (on-camera): And do you think it's changed in the last five years? How intense it is?

JAMES: Yes. It's more dangerous.

HARNSBERGER: The moment I realized things have changed, I think is when I had rocks thrown at me and someone tried to light me on fire and someone pulled a knife on me.

REEVE (on-camera): So recently?

HARNSBERGER: Yes, I mean, that was a month ago.

JAMES: People are even more frustrated. They're even more divided. So now here's this guy in our town, saying this stuff that we see on television that we don't agree with. So, we can't get those people. We can't get the politicians. Let's get him.

REEVE (voice-over): They'd advertised Dan would be wrestling Beau in Stickleyville, Virginia. A community of about 330 people. Fans came ready to boo Dan.

ALEX ADKINS, INDEPENDENT PRO WRESTLER: We all have our own opinion. But his especially in this area is a lot different. And you know, everybody wants to punch him in the face.

JESSE PROFITT, WRESTLING FAN: We'd love wrestling first of all, but to come and show the liberal like, hey, you know what we stand for?

REEVE (on-camera): Yes.

PROFITT: And definitely not the left side.

REEVE (on-camera): So, do you want to see him get beat up?


REEVE (on-camera): Do you want Trump to run again?

PROFITT: I mean it.

REEVE (on-camera): You do?


REEVE (on-camera): Yes. OK.

(voice-over): Corey Smith wrestles as White Trash Millionaire. He doesn't like Dan's politics, but he's off the Trump train.

COREY SMITH, AKA WHITE TRASH MILLIONAIRE: I don't see how things could get any worse. But with Trump, we would find out.

REEVE (on-camera): You think so?

SMITH: I believe so. Yes. When you stop putting America first. Start putting yourself and what you want to do first. I'm jumping. I'm jumping off any train.

REEVE (on-camera): So, tell me when that moment was?

SMITH: Twitter. If I'm at my job, and I'm constantly tweeting, I'm getting fired. I want somebody that leads his country by actions not by words.

REEVE (voice-over): The crowd was loud for other matches, but when Dan walked out, it was next level.


REEVE (voice-over): Dan got out of there and (INAUDIBLE) rob them up more. A guy looks ready to fight Dan. Some fans fought each other.



REEVE (voice-over): Will cut the match short. Backstage they said the crowd got too hot too fast.

JAMES: We felt it coming. We pushed too far.

HARNSBERGER: It's a different kind of hate now and it's at a level that I haven't experienced previously. So, anyone who doesn't think it's getting more violent and what on what side it's coming from needs to have a reality check.

JAMES: You have to know how to let it breathe. You have to know how to hear it, feel it, live it. You can be great, and do all the athletic moves all the stuff. If you don't know your audience, it doesn't matter.


BERMAN: Elle Reeve is with me now. First of all, fantastic wrestling moves. Second of all, I mean, this is amazing. Is it all about Trump's for these fans still?

REEVE: Well, the wrestlers told me that they used to get Trump chance but those have actually kind of fallen off even if this real hatred for your political enemies still exist. And they also said that there were definitely fans in the crowd who agreed with Dan and wanted to hear what he had to say. They were just a little bit nervous about letting other wrestling fans know that that's how they felt.

BERMAN: Wonderful, wonderful report. Elle Reeve, thank you very much.

We'll be right back.



BERMAN: A quick programming note before we go, this Sunday night "360's" friend Lisa Ling is back with a new season of This Is Life, right here on CNN. Once again, she'll take viewers on a journey around the country exploring communities that are often unknown or misunderstood. Don't miss the debut of the final season of This Is Life Sunday at 10:00 p.m.

The news continues. So, let's turn it over to Kasie Hunt in "CNN TONIGHT." Kasie.