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Schiff: "Facts Support A Potential Charge Against The Former President"; Sources: Investigators Are Zeroing In On Two Possible Motives Centered Around Extremist Behavior In NC Substation Assault; Germany Arrests Dozens Suspected In Plot To Overthrow Government. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired December 07, 2022 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, I'm covering the latest shoe to drop, in the Mar-a-Lago document story, but also how that case fits into a growing world of trouble, facing the former President, now that a special prosecutor has been named, the House Judiciary -- and the January 6 Committee of the House is weighing charges to recommend him, and a number of his closest allies.
In a moment, Committee member Adam Schiff joins us.
But first, CNN's Pamela Brown, to set the stage.
What is the latest, Pamela that we know about possible criminal referrals by the January 6 committee?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, I just got off the phone, with a source, tonight, familiar with the deliberations, Anderson.
I'm told that the intent for the Committee is by the end of this week, they will have made the final decisions, on criminal referrals. And the people that they are looking at include the former President Donald Trump, and his allies. Now, I am told by the source that they're only looking at people, who may be under investigation, by DOJ, but that have not been prosecuted, have not faced charges.
So, this week, it's going to be a very busy week, for the Committee, as they go over various names, and deliberate on these criminal referrals that again, as part of these deliberations, include the former President.
COOPER: And the Department of Justice Special Counsel, Jack Smith, has sent grand jury subpoenas, to local officials, in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, as he investigates efforts, by the former President, and allies, to overturn the election, in 2020.
Is it clear, precisely, what those subpoenas pertain to exactly?
BROWN: So, what we're told, by sources, what they pertain to, are communications between Trump, the Trump campaign, and local officials, on the ground, in these three States, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
And the focus primarily appears to be over efforts to interfere in the 2020 election results, and stop certification, of the results, where Biden won. And so, that appears to be a big focus of Jack Smith, the Special Counsel.
And it just gives us a window, into what his focus is on, as he is now the Special Counsel. And it seems to be an aggressive step, to then revisit this, send more subpoenas. We know there've already been subpoenas sent prior to some of these officials. Now, Jack Smith, going, a step, further here.
COOPER: And Smith is involved with the Mar-a-Lago documents case as well. Is it clear how today's newly-revealed discovery of some more classified documents might impact that case?
BROWN: It's not. I mean, it is significant that the Trump team, people overseen by the Trump team, searched this Florida storage unit, and three other locations. And in that storage unit, found two documents with classified markings. We don't know anything more than that in terms of what exactly these documents were.
But of course, it would be of interest to the Justice Department, as they investigate the former President's mishandling of classified information, and how these documents ended up in the storage unit.
As you'll recall, Trump's lawyers had attested to DOJ, signing a form, saying "Look, we've handed everything over that has classified information." And now, we're learning that these two documents were in that storage unit.
I will note though, a Trump spokesperson, Steven Cheung, is saying that they are being fully cooperative, and transparent, with federal officials, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Pamela Brown, thanks. Appreciate it.
To the question now, to the former President's larger troubles, there was this today, from House Select Committee member, Adam Schiff, about their decision to consider criminal referrals, to the Justice Department.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The facts support a potential charge against the former President. And, you know, the Justice Department, in my view, needs to hold, you know, everyone equally responsible before the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Congressman Schiff also chairs the House Intelligence Committee, joins us now, to talk about that, in the latest turn, in the classified documents case. Congressman Schiff, I'm wondering what your reaction is to, first of all, the discovery of two more documents, apparently with classified markings, being found, in a storage unit, belonging to the former President.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, the case against the former President just gets worse and worse and worse.
You have the Archives asking for the documents, not getting them, or not getting them all. You have the FBI asking, you have the FBI subpoenaing. You have a search warrant conducted. And they still didn't get them all.
And the Trump counsel apparently representing that they had done a diligent search, they turned them all over, when that was not the case. And we continue to find out that's not the case, as more documents are uncovered, now at another location.
And, as the Chair of Intel, it scares the heck out of me, to think about what other documents could be floating around any Trump residence, or anywhere else.
And, one final point, Anderson, notwithstanding the Trump representation, counsel representation, that they're fully cooperating, it sounds like they had to be forced to do this, by the judge, in the case, or those documents would not have been recovered.
COOPER: Turning to the Select Committee's investigation, do you support a criminal referral, of the former President, to the Department of Justice? We've heard you tell, NPR, you think a potential charge is warranted.
SCHIFF: Let me talk generally, Anderson, because we haven't announced our decision yet. But, look, I think that Congress, when it sees evidence of criminality, particularly affecting the institution of Congress, has responsibility.
We generally make referrals, where there's a perjury case, a witness before Congress, or witness refuses to show up before Congress. Here, there was an attack on Congress. So, to me, that goes right to the heart of our responsibilities. And so, we are weighing that.
We're going to be announcing our decision, I think, with our report very soon. And I think there's also a high degree of consensus among our members. I know there was some early reporting that members were at odds with each other. I've never seen that on this issue. I think we've been pretty consistent all along in our views.
COOPER: So, you say very soon? When do you -- what does that mean?
SCHIFF: Well, we intend to conclude all of our work, including the issuance of the report, before the end of the year, so that means this month. Now, precisely when this month? I'm not at liberty to say. But we are speeding to put the pen down, to finish our writing. And that day is coming up very soon.
COOPER: So, there's a Special Counsel, Jack Smith, as you know. He's been conducting his own investigation now, to January 6. He's subpoenaed officials in Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona, for their communications, with the former President, his campaign.
At this point, do you believe the Special Counsel knows everything that your Committee does? Have you turned over everything to him yet?
SCHIFF: No, I don't think they know everything we know. And I can't go into particulars of what we have provided or not provided yet. But they will be getting everything. Indeed, the public will be getting the body of our evidence as well.
And, I think, Anderson, watching these, the serving of these subpoenas, recently, it ought to tell us a couple of things, ought to tell us that this new Special Counsel is moving swiftly.
I also expect, though, that because DOJ policy prevents the Department from overtly doing things, in the run-up to an election, that a lot of the groundwork, for what we just have seen, in the serving of these subpoenas, was probably laid even before the Special Counsel took over. But now that the midterms are behind us, they can go forward with these overt steps, in the investigation. And I think we'll see more of them.
COOPER: Why not have -- why wouldn't the committee just have shared everything that they had, when they had it with, investigators, people who can actually bring charges?
SCHIFF: Well, first of all, in many cases, we were way ahead of the Justice Department. And my feeling all along is we shouldn't have been. That is the Justice Department should have been moving with far more alacrity and urgency than they were. But the fact that we were--
COOPER: But wouldn't it have helped if you shared information with them to get them to move with greater alacrity?
SCHIFF: Not if the effect of that was to discourage witnesses, from coming before Congress, or had any impact on our investigation.
I think our investigation really did have the effect of stimulating the Justice Department to get moving, and to get moving, on more than just the people, who engaged in the violence, against the Police officers, in the Capitol, that day, as significant as that was.
But we also have an institutional interest. We want them to be successful. We're going to help them be successful. But it's just not the way that Congress or the Executive branch operates, where one branch says to the other, "Give us all your files."
We don't say that to the Justice Department. Before this, I've never seen them say it, to Congress. But we are making sure that they get what they need. And we want to do that, to a degree those remaining information, as soon as possible. COOPER: Congressman McCarthy has threatened to kick you off the Intelligence Committee, if he becomes Speaker, when Republicans take control of the House, next month. What would that mean for you, when you would essentially have no recourse? And isn't that correct?
SCHIFF: They could probably force me off the committee, if they choose to do it. And what we're seeing is Kevin McCarthy, basically doing what Marjorie Taylor Greene wants him to do. And she wants retaliation, for being removed, because she was, inciting violence against her colleagues.
But more than that, look, I've held their feet to the fire, including the former President, and they don't want me to continue doing it. But I got news for them. I'm going to continue doing it, in whatever committee I serve on. And so, they'll do what they need to do.
But a far more consequence, Anderson, than whether they take me off a committee, is what will they do, if we have a close presidential election, in two years? Will they try to do what they did before? And that is overturn, the election, if they lose. And, to me, whether I serve on this committee or that is a far less significance, than what they can do to injure our democracy, in the meantime.
COOPER: Congressman Schiff, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
COOPER: Next, on the heels of a far better-than-expected midterm election, for Democrats, the question of President Biden in 2024, that and the question of his age, of course.
And later, the raids in Germany, targeting suspected members of a far- right group, the arrests that were made, and the plans that authorities say the group had, to try to overthrow the German government.
COOPER: President Biden recently celebrated his 80th birthday, quietly, likely because fair or not, his age is an issue, especially since signs point to him running for a second term.
And even more so now that the "New York Times" has reported that first lady Jill Biden, told French President, Macron, at the White House State Dinner, last night that she and the President are ready for his reelection campaign.
Here to talk about it, Democratic strategist, and CNN Political Commentator, Paul Begala.
Also CNN's Senior Political Analyst, David Gergen, whose career, serving and advising Presidents, of both parties, goes back to the Nixon administration.
Also, CNN "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" Anchor, Abby Phillip.
Should say the state dinner was last week, apologize.
Paul, if the President does run, in 2024, and wins reelection, and he'd be 82, when he takes the oath, for his second term. How much in your view should voters be concerned about his age?
PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well if they are, they are. I mean he can't change that.
He's, I think, done a very good job. He's got -- he's done probably more in two years, than somebody half his age, could have done in four. And I think that's what he's got to do. He's got to say, "Just look at the scoreboard. How did I do?"
And of course, David worked for Ronald Reagan. We all remember that everybody thought he was too old. And in fact, two years right after -- right before his midterm, 60 percent of Americans thought Reagan shouldn't run. And he carried 49 States! So, I think people should take it into account.
By the way, Chuck Grassley just got reelected, in Iowa, who's 89! And he won by 12 points. And so, I think, people don't see age as disqualifying, right now.
COOPER: David Gergen, what do you think of that?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TO NIXON, FORD, REAGAN & CLINTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST, AUTHOR, "HEARTS TOUCHED WITH FIRE: HOW GREAT LEADERS ARE MADE": I think a lot of Americans do see it as disqualifying. And they're worried about it.
I think Paul is right. The pendulum has swung, now. I think the dynamics of the race have changed, in the last few days, with the midterm elections.
Before the midterms, it was clear that Joe Biden was going to be under a lot of quiet pressure, from within the Democratic Party, not to run. And people really got -- and if the election results, in midterm had been bad? He probably wouldn't have done it.
But the midterms really helped him. They transformed the race, best midterm elections for any president in 20 years. And they make it much more likely he's going to run, and much more -- and very importantly, that the Democratic establishment will rally around him.
In that, I think that the arguments over age will probably subside a good deal, in the weeks to come, Anderson. We'll have to see there are other things that can come along. And if he has a gaffe, or a series of gaffes, and that sort of thing, then he could go backwards.
But I think tonight, as of this moment, tonight, he's doing well. And I think he's celebrating, and moving forward, based on what Paul Begala just said, about how well his presidency has been going, recently.
COOPER: Abby, I mean, is there a consensus among Washington Democrats about whether the President should run again?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY: Well, I think that both Paul and David are right.
There's an emerging consensus. I think that a lot of Democrats, I believe, Biden is perhaps at the strongest position, politically, that he's been, since he won, beating Donald Trump, in 2020. And the midterm elections have a huge amount to do with that.
You're hearing more and more, even Biden's own most staunch critics, of this generational argument that they've been making, starting to say, "Well, he's done a good job so far. And if he runs, I'll probably back him. Maybe I want someone else from another generation." But so far, that person has not emerged.
The one complication to all of this is, I think, Democrats feel most strongly about this, if Biden is running against a Donald Trump.
If that person on the Republican side is someone else, someone who is younger, who does represent a changing of the guard, on the Republican side? I think you might start to see a little bit more consternation. If we're talking about a Ron DeSantis, or someone else, a Nikki Haley, I think it changes the dynamic, both for Biden and also for his party.
But for now, I mean, I'm hearing way more contentment, frankly, with the status quo, on the Democratic side than I've heard, at any point since Biden was elected
COOPER: David, how much of the President's chances, for reelection, in your view, would hinge on the economy?
GERGEN: A lot. And there's a general consensus, among experts now, economic types that we're very likely going to have a recession, in this coming year. And I think that's going to be one of the variables.
It's like gas prices. We've seen that, Biden's numbers went up and went down, according to how expensive gasoline was. That's going to be true in spades, if we have serious recession. So yes, it's one of the things I think could imperil his presidency. But, right now, he's riding the wave that's very positive.
Paul, obviously, there's a lot of talk about Vice President Kamala Harris possibly running, if President Biden doesn't run. Is there any reason to think she'd clear the primary field, or do you think she'd faced an array of Democratic challengers?
BEGALA: Oh, she'd face a dozen or more. There's no way she clears the field. I can't recall a time when a current or former Vice President sought their party's nomination didn't get it. So, she'd be a front- runner. But believe me. There will be 10 or 20 Democrats, flooding the field. But I don't think it's going to happen. The one of the most remarkable things about this midterm, Anderson, is it was in a time, when everybody's upset. It was a great time to be an incumbent. It doesn't make any sense. And yet, it happened.
96 percent of governors, who sought reelection, won. 97 percent of House members, who sought reelection won. A 100 percent of senators. This never happened in American history, where 100 percent of senators, who sought reelection, won.
And I think what it is, I'm not sure, I could be wrong, I think in a time of turmoil, like this, they want stability that voters do want it. Abby's right, the status quo. They want some stability. And the fact that Biden is old and experienced might actually be a very good thing, especially if Donald Trump is the opponent.
COOPER: Abby, I mean, if President Biden doesn't run, how messy could it get, for Democrats, and the party, to unify behind the candidacy of the first woman, and the first person of color ever to be a Vice President?
PHILLIP: If Biden does not run?
PHILLIP: Well, I think -- look, I think that there are a lot of people waiting in the wings here. It's not going to be an easy kind of clearing of the field.
I mean, I think one of the factors is that, Vice President Harris ran before, in 2020. And she left the race before any votes were cast in that primary. So, I think, a lot of other Democrats would be looking at that, and saying, "We have as much of a shot as anyone else."
But also, I mean, remember, Biden is now setting up a change of the primary calendar, for the next presidential cycle. If he does not run, that primary calendar that he wants to have, which would put South Carolina, first, and put Georgia, in the top five States, and Michigan, in the top five States, would help a Kamala Harris, and it would help a candidate of color. So, I think that's a huge factor too.
David Gergen, Paul Begala, Abby Phillip, appreciate it. Thank you.
GERGEN: Thank you.
COOPER: Coming up, the investigation to the attack that temporarily crippled two electric substations, for tens of thousands, in one North Carolina county, are zeroing in on two possible motives. Details from North Carolina, next.
Also, German officials arrested more than two dozen people, for what they say was a plot, with ties to QAnon, to overthrow the government, in Germany. [21:25:00]
COOPER: Days after an electric substation, in North Carolina, was attacked, the same power company, Duke Energy, tonight, is reporting shots fired, near another substation, this time, in South Carolina. Duke Energy says they're working with the FBI, and that there are no reports of anyone harmed, nor power outages or property damage.
Again, this happening days after an attack, on those two substations, in North Carolina county. A curfew and state of emergency there will be rescinded, tomorrow morning. Tens of thousands were initially without power, tonight. North Carolina officials are offering up to $75,000, for information, leading to the arrest of anyone involved.
Sources tell CNN that investigators are zeroing in on two possible motives, and they've uncovered new clues.
CNN's Whitney Wild joins me now, with the latest, from Carthage, North Carolina.
Whitney, it seems investigators are focused on two possible motives, centered around extremist behavior. What exactly are they looking at?
WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, investigators are looking at two threads.
The first involves calls by domestic violent extremists, on social media, on internet platforms, calling for attacks, on critical infrastructure. That's the first thread.
The second thread law enforcement is looking at is a series of recent disruptions, to LGBTQ events, around the country. On Saturday, the very time the power went out, here, there was a local drag show.
Police have not said that there is a specific connection, between these two events, but they are looking at the correlation here, the similar timing, in the greater context, of these disruptions, all around the country, to similar LGBTQ events, Anderson.
COOPER: What have investigators found at the scene?
WILD: Well, Anderson, law enforcement has found around 24 shell casings here. That's according to law enforcement sources telling my colleague, John Miller, what evidence was collected here.
And that's really critical for two reasons. The first is because that can help investigators figure out where the shooter was, at the time of the shooting. And then the second reason is because those shell casings have a unique marking that is specific to the firearm used.
So, when federal officials run those shell casings, into a national database, they can try to figure out, if those shell casings, connect to any specific weapon that was used in another shooting that has since been entered into the database. And what's important to understand, Anderson, is that's not just localized here. They can run that ballistic evidence, all across the country.
Unfortunately, the high-powered rifle, the heat of that rifle, because it is so powerful, burned off the DNA. So, not much evidence there, but the shell casings, Anderson, are very critical.
COOPER: An official said, whoever fired at the substations, knew exactly what they were doing, because they knew what piece of equipment to target. Does that help narrow down the list of potential suspects at all?
WILD: It certainly might. And, at a minimum, it gives law enforcement, a place to start. What they're trying to do now, is basically build this from the ground up. And so, they're looking at any possible lead, any information they can build up -- they can use to build a profile here, of the possible shooter, is critical.
Law enforcement, certainly trying to appeal to the public, the FBI is putting out a poster, tonight, asking the public for more information. They're really leaning on the public, Anderson, and as more evidence of that, local officials, state officials, and county officials, here are offering an up to $75,000 reward, leading to the arrest of this person.
COOPER: All right, Whitney Wild, appreciate it. Thanks.
Now to Germany, officials, there, on their own mission, to combat extremism, this morning, thousands of Police officers, took part in raids, to arrest members of a QAnon-inspired terror group. 25 people have been arrested. Another 27 suspects are being sought. Prosecutors say the group had active plans to try to overthrow the government in Germany.
The White House, today, praised the arrest.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Raids started, in the early morning hours.
Several thousand Police officers, searching dozens of locations, across Germany, including the castle, Waidmannsheil, home of the alleged ringleader, who prosecutors say uses the title, Prince Heinrich the Eighth, from the Royal House of Reuss.
CNN has tried reaching out to Heinrich the Eighth. But it's not clear if he has a legal representative.
NANCY FAESER, GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
PLEITGEN (voice-over): "Based on current findings, the suspected terrorist group, uncovered today, was founded based on coup d'etat fantasies, and conspiracy ideologies," Germany's Interior Minister said.
The group is called Reichsburger, or Citizens of the Reich, and the alleged plotters were trying to overthrow the German government, and install a monarchy, with a prince, at the helm, German authorities say.
FAESER: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
PLEITGEN (voice-over): "Militant Reichsburger are united by the hatred for democracy for our state and for people who support our community," the Interior Minister said.
Conspiracy theorists have a massive following in Germany. In August 2020, tens of thousands, including QAnon followers, and right-wing extremists, took to the streets of Berlin, praising Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, and then-U.S. President, Donald Trump.
PLEITGEN (on camera): Do you like Donald Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
PLEITGEN (on camera): Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Deep State, have long time manipulate, the peoples, the human, and that must end.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): The crowd tried to storm German parliament that day, similar to the Insurrection, in the U.S., on January 6, 2021, crowds ransacking the Capitol, with members of the Oath Keepers militia group, playing a key role, in the violence.
That's another parallel to the alleged coup in Germany that Reichsburger too had already established a so-called "Military arm," German prosecutors say.
PETER FRANK, GERMAN FEDERAL PUBLIC PROSECUTOR: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
PLEITGEN (voice-over): "This Military arm aims to set up a new German army," the federal prosecutor said, "consisting of Homeland Security units yet to be built. According to our information, individual members, of this Military arm, were in the past, active in the German Armed Forces."
Several suspects were flown to the federal prosecutor's office, by Police helicopters, an indication of just how seriously German authorities are taking this attack, on their democracy.
PLEITGEN: And Anderson, the German authorities are coming out, tonight, and saying, they've actually been observing this group, for months, now.
And they say, the moment for them came, where they realized they had to act was when the members of this group were no longer only talking about setting up shadow ministries, and councils, but were actually forming, what they called a "Military arm" of this group. And there were people, who were legally arming themselves, some also illegally, as well.
The German government now, treating this as an extremely high-profile case. We saw there, some of the suspects being flown, with choppers, to the Central Prosecutor's Office. The German government says, for them, this is state terrorism, and they are going to fight it as hard as they can.
COOPER: Fred Pleitgen, reporting. Appreciate it.
Perspective from CNN Counterterrorism Analyst, Phil Mudd, a former FBI Senior Intelligence Adviser.
Phil, this is bizarre. I mean, this guy's calling himself a Prince, this group, inspired by QAnon, and the former President, and the attack on January 6. I mean, why do you think the -- does this strike, you, as just really strange?
PHIL MUDD, FORMER FBI SENIOR INTELLIGENCE ADVISER, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: No, actually, I would disagree with you. It doesn't look bizarre to me.
Look, in the age of social media, when people can communicate, across continents, we've seen a wave of people in this country, as you know, election deniers and people at the farther-right, talking about things like Deep State, in this country, this become part of a dialog in America, political dialog that you would not have imagined six years, seven years, eight years ago.
If you had said "Deep State," to you, or me, several years ago, I would have said, "I don't know what you're talking about." So, what is not only fringe, but unknown, years ago, has become part of a common sort of political parlance.
And clearly, I think, unsurprisingly, a certain percentage of people, who believe that are going to believe that the only solution is violence. It's just a numbers game. And I'm not surprised, there are a lot of people communicating on the internet, who believe this stuff.
COOPER: I mean, I guess I shouldn't be surprised either. Because I mean, QAnon, which we've done a lot of reporting on, is based on age- old--
COOPER: -- anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic tropes that have been used, I mean, in Germany, and elsewhere, for centuries.
MUDD: Yes. And part of this is validation.
Again, going back to the internet, you're going to have a number of people, who believe, for example, immigrants are bad, that who believe Muslims are bad, who believe that certain other religions are bad, who don't like homosexuals, who don't like lesbians. One of the things the internet does is allow people to gather in groups, virtually, to validate those beliefs, in ways they could not have validated them, 30 years ago.
So, you find somebody, in this country, one county away, one state away, who believes the same thing, and you start to build a sense that you're right. The same thing, I would suspect, is happening, in this German case, where they're looking at -- they arrested 25, but they're looking at, at least 50-plus. That's incredible.
COOPER: According to a German public broadcaster, a former far-right member of Germany's lower house of parliament, who's now a judge, was involved. How does having actual members of government, or former or current, sympathetic to these ideologies, complicate investigations?
MUDD: Boy, this is -- this gets really sensitive, and we're going to see this again.
There's a parallel in the United States. That is, if you ask one question, "Is it appropriate for the FBI, and others, to investigate domestic extremist groups that want to practice an act of violence?" You would say, "Of course. That's what the FBI does."
Let me change the question, for you, and go back to the President Trump's rally, before the Insurrection, and say, "Is it appropriate for the FBI to have informants at political rallies, for member of Congress?" You would say, "Boy! That makes me really uncomfortable!"
But wait a minute! The QAnon people are going to political rallies, and they may be the people, considering an act of violence. What I'm saying is, you're seeing an intersection, between investigations and politics, and that's going to make some members of Congress, I think, uncomfortable,
COOPER: Yes. Phil Mudd, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up next, an exclusive inside look, at what doctors are coping with, as they try to treat the wounded, from the fighting, in Ukraine.
COOPER: New tonight, CNN is learning, Ukrainian officials and lawmakers have urged the Biden administration, and Congress, to give the Ukrainian Military, cluster munition warheads. The weapons are banned by more than 100 countries. Russia continues to use them, with devastating effect, in Ukraine, this video, from April, in Kharkiv.
The request, from the Ukrainians, is one of the most controversial ones, they've made, to the U.S., since the war began.
Tonight, in another CNN Exclusive, we're seeing some of the most damning effects, of Russia's relentless attacks. CNN's Sam Kiley takes us inside a hospital, on the frontlines.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): War- time brain surgery in tandem. Wounded in battle, on the same day, on the same front, two young men, the focus of these over-practiced neurosurgeons.
Kramatorsk is often bombed. The windows even in here are taped to slow flying glass. The effort is intense to repair brains to save lives, memories, loves and future dreams.
They would have little idea, where to start their delicate work, if they didn't have use of this, CT scanner. It can pinpoint damage, find what it's done, and it gives surgeons a plan of action.
OLEG SERKIZ, NEUROSURGEON: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): He says "Yes, and unfortunately there is no left eye. There's a suspicion of damage to the right eye, as well, but definitely no left eye."
KILEY (on camera): This is the fourth patient we've seen in a space of about an hour come in for a CT scan. It's supposed to be doing 15 or 20 a day. They're actually doing 70 or 80. In short, it's wearing out.
KILEY (voice-over): This equipment is vital. The hospital can't afford a new one. But a used one's for sale in the west of Ukraine cost about 120,000 bucks. Price of losing this one? Incalculable.
SERKIZ: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): He says, "He shows signs of severe cranial cerebral injury with acute subdural hematoma and severe brain contusion. He needs urgent surgery."
The administrators here have raised about $60,000. They need help with the rest.
This is the only CT scanner in a vast region.
SERKIZ: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): "Critical, this machine is critical. CT is critical, to provide appropriate care, for patients, with both head wounds and acute brain injuries."
KILEY (on camera): Is it saving lives?
SERKIZ: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): "Definitely, absolutely, a 100 percent."
KILEY (on camera): There's been a steady flow of soldiers injured in a near Bakhmut. That is the scene of the heaviest fighting. This is a hospital that is trying to deal really with an area they say about 300 square kilometers, and a lot of that is at war.
KILEY (voice-over): Some soldiers are relatively lucky. "Duck" was shooting mortars, at the Russians, who shot mortars back.
"DUCK," UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): "My commander was lucky. He sat in front of me, and I sat behind him. And he was unhurt, and I got hit in the leg. But yes, we've seen wounded and dead before. If I'm sitting here, I am lucky."
"DUCK": (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): Ukrainians, on this eastern front, call it the meat-grinder. "Czech" was alongside "Duck" when they were hit.
KILEY (on camera): How would you describe the battle for Bakhmut?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
"CZECH," UKRAINIAN SOLDIER: (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): He says, "World War I, trenches, mud, blood, trenches, mud again, artillery, Trench warfare. That's it. World War I and World War II, something like that (FOREIGN LANGUAGE) something like that."
"CZECH": (FOREIGN LANGUAGE).
KILEY (voice-over): The difference is that modern weapons are now more powerful. Modern surgery often the only route to survival. That and old-fashioned grit.
COOPER: Sam, did the doctors, you spoke to, express concerns, I mean, for their own lives, working so close to the frontlines?
KILEY: The amazing thing, Anderson, is that all of the medical staff, I've met, even on relatively close, to the frontline, here in Kramatorsk, and very much closer in the past, in Bakhmut, I've never heard a medic complain about the danger that they're in, not even those, who are racing to the frontlines, to collect those wounded soldiers.
The -- lot of those soldiers are brought in by unpaid volunteers, with relatively limited medical training, who go and physically to the frontlines, collect the wounded, put them in a van, or an ambulance, and then race them to hospitals.
No, I've never heard anybody ever refer to the danger that they were in, Anderson.
COOPER: So, I mean, that's really incredible that, I mean, the Ukrainian Military, in some cases, does not have the capabilities, of evacuating wounded, its civilians going in, in their own vehicles, and pulling soldiers out, and getting them to medical triage.
KILEY: Yes, I mean, they're volunteer, they're recognized by the Military. They're sanctioned by the Military. But they are people, who step up, to take on that role, because the Military is focused elsewhere.
Of course, there are, of course, Military medics. And indeed all of the people that you saw operating, on the soldiers there, were under Military command, and most of them were medics, in the Military, themselves.
But as you know, Anderson, from your own experiences here, there's a huge volunteer sector, not only on the frontline, and people actually fighting, but also helping out, and particularly people with medical backgrounds, or people, who don't want to fight or kill necessarily, but do want to do their bit. Then, there's an enormous network of people, like that working right across Ukraine, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, everybody involved.
Sam Kiley, thank you so much.
Want to talk now, with CNN Military Analyst, and retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling.
General Hertling, can you tell us what goes into getting wounded soldiers away, from the frontlines, and getting them medical attention, and time, to save their lives? Because obviously, that Golden Hour is critical.
LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), FORMER ARMY COMMANDING GENERAL, EUROPE AND SEVENTH ARMY, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes, the Golden Hour is critical, Anderson. And what I'd tell you is it is a process.
The first thing that normally happens is what's called "Buddy Aid." If it's in a good unit, you also have something called "Combat lifesavers," which are soldiers who have been trained, in advanced medical techniques.
Then it goes to a medic, which kind of does a triage, to see what kind of conditions, you are in, saving your life, getting the blood flow going, making sure you're getting an airway that's clear.
And then, if the medic can't handle it, they medevac you, either by helicopter or ground ambulance, back to an aid station. If it's even more catastrophic, and you have to have surgery, then they, those medevas usually take you back further, to the rear, to a place called a "Combat support hospital."
I explain all that because this is a technique the U.S. Army uses. We have trained the Ukrainian army, to do that. Their Buddy Aids, and their combat lifesavers, and their medics, all have the kind of advanced kit that you need, to treat wounds, to include tourniquets and bandages. But they also have ambulances. I mean, our friend, Scott Kelly, the
astronaut, has donated a bunch of ambulances, to Ukraine, to make sure that Golden Hour is complete.
I saw the same kind of approach, used by the Russian, or attempted to be used, by the Russian army. They do not have the Buddy Aid. Their medics are poorly trained. And it's very difficult to go the long distances back, to their combat support hospital, where they treat traumatized soldiers.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, you and I talked about this, early on, in the war, in Ukraine. I mean, it seems like condition -- I mean, though, clearly not ideal, but conditions for treating wounded soldiers, in this war, certainly seem to favor Ukraine, over Russia.
HERTLING: Yes, it certainly does. The only big difference, truthfully, between the Ukrainian army, and the U.S. Army, is there is an emphasis, in our Army, placed on aerial medevac, and to getting soldiers that are wounded out of the battlefield, on helicopters. And those helicopter pilots are trained. They have medics on board. They treat the soldiers, when they get on board the helicopter, on the way back, to the hospitals.
Ukraine does not have as many helicopters as we do, certainly. So, they're relying on the ground ambulance movement, which certainly affects the Golden Hour, as you can imagine.
COOPER: Yes. Sources have told CNN that Ukrainian officials and lawmakers have pushed the Biden administration, and members of Congress, to try to provide the Ukrainian Military, with cluster munition warheads, weapons that are banned by more than 100 countries. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that?
HERTLING: Yes. Well, first you have to kind of describe what these munitions are. They are some type of either artillery shell bombs, delivered by an aircraft, or a missile, that holds anywhere from 40 to sometimes close to over 1,000 of small bomblets.
They're about the size of a Coke can. It's the equivalent of a hand grenade. What happens is those bomblets disperse overhead, over a unit, the bomblets drop out of a shell, and are dispersed over a very wide area. And they drop, truthfully, Anderson like hand grenades.
In our Army, we call them DPICM. It stands for Dual-Purpose Improved Conventional Munitions. What happens is if it hits a vehicle, it has a shape charge, the kind of anti-armor charge that will go through metal. If it hits the ground, it has like a fragmentation charge, much like a hand grenade. So, it can affect both equipment and personnel over a very wide area. They are effective.
But what I would say, they were banned by more than 100 countries, under the Convention on Cluster Munitions. I think it was back in 2008. I'm not sure the year. I may be wrong.
But they are very dangerous in many cases, because if they don't explode, they're left on the battlefield. Children, civilians can come along, and pick them up, don't know what they are. They literally look like a coke can, and they can explode. So, it causes dangers to civilian population. There is very much of a pro and con on these kinds of munitions.
COOPER: Yes. General Mark Hertling, appreciate it. Thanks.
HERTLING: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up, we remember Pearl Harbor, 81 years later. One of the last two living survivors of the attack, on the USS Arizona, recalls that day, when we come back.
COOPER: Before we go, tonight, we remember one of the worst days, in this nation's history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(VIDEO - U.S. REMEMBERS ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR 81 YEARS AGO TODAY)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: They laid wreaths today, at Pearl Harbor. 2,341 service members died there, 81 years ago, today. The surprise Japanese attack, on the United States, claimed nearly 1,200 lives, aboard the USS Arizona alone. The U.S. declared war, on Japan, the following day.
Only two survivors from the Arizona are still alive. 101-year-old Lou Conter is no longer able to travel to the yearly memorials in Hawaii. But here's what he told the audience there, today, in a recorded message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LOU CONTER, SURVIVOR OF ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR & USS ARIZONA: The rising sun on the planes told us that this was not a drill. We manned our battle stations on the relentless strafing and bombing. But, the damage to the Arizona was severe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the Arizona sank, of course, in that attack.
Other ceremonies, took place, today, at the Friends of the National World War II Memorial, in Washington, and the retired USS Intrepid, in New York.
For the remaining Pearl Harbor Survivors, many enjoyed full lives and still are. A 104-year-old Frank Emond is one example. He played the French horn. He was going to play the "Morning Colors" on that day of infamy. This is him, last month, breaking his own Guinness World Record, as
the "World's Oldest Conductor." Here he is leading the U.S. Air Force band.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(VIDEO - 104-YEAR-OLD PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR FRANK EMOND BROKE HIS OWN GUINNESS WORLD RECORD AS "WORLD'S OLDEST CONDUCTOR" WHEN HE LED THE U.S. AIR FORCE BAND)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And a standing ovation!
We congratulate Frank, and thank all those, who served this country, on that day, and long after. We remember all whose lives were taken, 81 years ago, today.
The news continues. "CNN TONIGHT" with Laura Coates, and Alisyn Camerota, is next, right after a short break.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN CO-HOST, CNN TONIGHT: Good evening, everyone. I'm Alisyn Camerota.
LAURA COATES, CNN CO-HOST, CNN TONIGHT: And I'm Laura Coates. And this is "CNN TONIGHT."