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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Pennsylvania Man Arrested After Allegedly Trying To Bring Explosives In His Suitcase On A Flight; Prosecution Wraps Case, Jurors Visit Crime Scene In Murdaugh Trial; Children From Mariupol Used In Kremlin's Pro-War Rally; Children From Mariupol Used In Kremlin's Pro- War Rally; Russian Government Operating Network Of Camps Where It Has Held Thousands Of Ukrainian Children Since Start Of War; Former Rep. Paul Ryan Grilled For Remaining On Fox Board After Court Docs Revealed Network Knowingly Spread Election Lies; New Study Finds Just 11 Minutes Of Daily Exercise Could Have A Positive Impact On Your Health. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 01, 2023 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: ... due to appear in Court on Thursday. Pretty incredible to think about this happening now.
Well, thank you so much for joining us, and don't forget, you can watch "Out Front" anytime. You just have to go to CNN Go.
In the meantime, let's hand it off now to my friend, Anderson Cooper on AC 360.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "ANDERSON COOPER: 360": Good evening.
And on that story you just heard Erin Burnett talking about, we are breaking new details. There is new information that our sources are telling correspondents on this.
What we are learning about the man arrested on Monday, now charged with trying to bring explosives aboard and Allegiant Air flight from Lehigh Valley Airport in Southeastern Pennsylvania to Sanford, Florida.
CNN's Evan Perez joins us now with the latest.
So Evan, who is this guy?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's 40 years old. His name is Mark Muffley and he was flying, Anderson from the Lehigh Valley Airport, which is in Northeastern Pennsylvania on a flight to Orlando.
According to the FBI, he checked the bag in the routine screening that was happening by the TSA. They found explosives in this check bag. According to the FBI, this is what they found. They found powder that was in a plastic wrap, they found fuses. The powder appears to be from commercial grade fireworks. And so the question is, you know, what was he doing with this? The
airport tried to page him while he was still at the airport, he left and he was later arrested later that evening on Monday by the FBI.
Now, the Court documents that were released today by the US Attorney in Philadelphia don't mention any indication of extremism or his ties to terrorist groups or anything like that. This is something that obviously the FBI was focused on over the last couple of days. Nothing like that appears to have emerged in that investigation.
But Anderson, you know, this is a very serious thing. Obviously, if you read the Court documents, the FBI says that this powder that was included in this compound was susceptible to ignite from heat and friction and pose a significant risk to the aircraft and passengers.
COOPER: So what charges is he facing?
PEREZ: Well, right now, Mark Muffley is facing two charges. One of them is a possession of an explosive at an airport and a second charge of possessing or trying to bring an incendiary device or explosive onto an aircraft. Obviously, these are very serious charges. He's due in Court again in Northeastern Pennsylvania tomorrow.
COOPER: Evan Perez, appreciate it. Thanks.
Joining us now, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe; also Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst and former Inspector General of the Department of Transportation; and CNN chief law enforcement intelligence analyst, John Miller.
John, what more are you hearing about this?
JOHN MILLER, CNN CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST: Well, as Evan pointed to, the first thing the FBI did after arresting this guy on Monday, was to do a complete scrub, so no indication of any leanings or connections to foreign terrorists. No indications of any leanings or connections to domestic terrorist groups, White supremacist, Neo Nazis any of that stuff.
Every indication, Anderson from the local police, we know Mr. Muffley very well from multiple contacts over the years that he is just a local guy who was going to Florida and taking stuff he shouldn't have. So this stuff is packed in wax paper wrapped in plastic. It's flash powder mixed with black powder that you would put in a mortar shell.
So it looks like a mortar shell for fireworks, commercial grade fireworks, it was deconstructed. He took the insides and the fuse which is a quick match and a safety fuse. Does it mean he was going to bring it to Florida and set it off somewhere with his pals? There's also a pipe in there with residue in the bottom indicating possible narcotics that they're further examining and testing.
It does not appear that it was set to go off on the airplane, but let's put all that aside. Let's say that this was the ultimate terrorist and that it was rigged to explode on the plane. The system worked, the machinery sniffed it out. COOPER: Was this in a checked bag or --
MILLER: It was in a checked bag. But you know when you check the bags, it goes through that big machine that scans for explosive residue explosive traces.
COOPER: I always wonder how efficient that actually is.
MILLER: Well, it worked. It worked this time and it works in the testing and you know, it was hidden. It was you know, the fuse was secreted in the lining of the suitcase. So it's an indicator that Mr. Muffley, allegedly knew that he wasn't supposed to be bringing that on an airplane that the machinery found it. They had to evacuate a part of the airport.
They called Eddie Garcia from the Joint Terrorism Task Force and Wittmeyer the bomb technician and they went over the whole thing but then they had to take a look at who this guy is.
COOPER: Andrew, what stands out to you from the items that were in this person's bag?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, you know, Anderson, first, the use of the commercial fire interior, essentially, elements, the powder from a commercial grade firework reminds me immediately of the Boston Marathon bombing. You know, it's not a high explosive, like TATP or something that we see foreign terrorists use. But it can be a very, very effective and very lethal weapon if used in the right way. It's the way the Tsarnaev brothers armed their pressure cookers that they set off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
So this is a very serious matter. And you know, as John is absolutely right, it's also a great test of the system. If there can be a good side to somebody trying to smuggle an explosive device on a plane, I guess the good news story here is not only the technology worked, as John mentioned, the machinery that we have in place to find these sorts of residues alerted the personnel, but the people worked.
Like you know, their diligent observation of those machines and their signals and you know, the warnings that they get are actually followed up on. In this case also, you have an individual who tried to get a bag on a plane and may have tried to just put the bag in the plane without actually traveling and there is a system in place to look for those sorts of discrepancies as well.
So every place where this gentleman could have gotten caught at the airport in the airport process seems to have stood up and worked as intended, which is definitely a good sign.
COOPER: And Mary, what damage could these items have done to a plane had they ignited? What does it say to you about intent if anything?
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Well, if the items had ignited, they could do great damage to a plane. Any fire in cargo hold could bring down the plane, it could put a hole in the wall of the plane. Terrorists, I am not saying this gentleman was one, this accused, but you know, a terrorist -- explosives is correctly placed in an airplane can blow a hole in the plane, it could bring the plane down.
However, the placement and the items in the bag does not suggest that any of them were connected with any detonation device. There was no altimeter device, there was no timing device. And there was no trigger device. Sometimes it'll link to cell phones or other things. So there wasn't a device that could set them off.
However, that's not to diminish the fact that anything explosive or flammable in the luggage could be extremely dangerous in the cargo hold and could bring down the plane. The other things that are in the charging paper was butane. That's not allowed. This is -- it was the lighter. That's not allowed. And there were other things that simply aren't allowed.
So altogether, it's a dangerous cargo in a bag to check.
COOPER: So he's in custody. He is going to be arraigned I think or his first Court appearance is tomorrow. What kind of punishment would he be facing?
MILLER: Oh, he is facing significant time. I mean, what he is charged with, Anderson, and in the purest sense, the charges fit the crime, is attempting to smuggle an explosive device on an aircraft. So they are going to --
COOPER: Did he leaves the airport?
MILLER: So he gets there at 11:40, checks this bag. They detect the explosive residue, and they want to talk to the owner of this bag to say, well, what have you got in there? By 11:45, as they are calling his name. He's getting out to dodge. We've got a video of him leaving the airport and he is arrested at home, you know, later that evening.
So once they started calling his name, I think he knew that there was a problem.
COOPER: There was a problem, it wasn't for an upgrade.
MILLER: That's right, not for an upgrade.
COOPER: Mary, what does it tell you that the suspect went to this regional airport in Pennsylvania, purchased a ticket on a regional airline. I mean, I don't know if he happens just live near there or if that was intentional?
SCHIAVO: Well, there are so many things about this that suggests maybe and I have no firsthand knowledge of this, but it was almost like testing the system or just seeing what you could get away with.
First of all, in the past with terrorists, they want to make an international statement. I mean, on all the terrorism cases that I've worked on in the past, and, you know, the collection of terrorist cases from, you know, the past hundred years, they want to make a statement and you make a statement with big international airlines.
And so if you really were intending to bomb a plane, a small regional air carrier, such as Allegiant, and a small airport probably would not make the kind of statement that a terrorist would want to make.
And, you know, I also have to remind you that every year, the TSA, for example, last year, they took 6,540 something guns off of passengers. They take fireworks and explosives which people accidentally check every day and the statutes that he is charged with actually have an escape hatch. If you didn't intend to do it, or if it's a small amount, it can actually end up being a misdemeanor.
However, he did two things that a suspect should never do. He concealed the device, concealment is evidence, and then he fled the airport and flight is evidence.
So I think those two factors will mitigate against him.
COOPER: Yes, Mary Schiavo, thank you. Andrew McCabe, John Miller as well.
Coming up next, what the prosecution told jurors in closing arguments in the Alex Murdaugh trial and what jurors saw today when they visited the crime scene.
And later, an update on a Ukrainian teenager, one of the thousands who ended up in Russia, part of a process that experts say amounts to a war crime, potentially even genocide.
COOPER: Closing arguments from the defense are set for tomorrow in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial. Prosecutors wrapped up their case late today, not before the jury though got to do what not a lot of juries are allowed to, namely visit the crime scene, walk in the footsteps of the killer or killers and the two victims.
The latest now from Randi Kaye.
CREIGHTON WATERS, LEAD PROSECUTOR: On June 7, 2021, at the Moselle property and Carlton County, Maggie Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh were brutally and maliciously murdered at the kennels by Alex Murdaugh.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Just before closing arguments, the jury visited those kennels, the crime scene, up close for the first time.
Video of the scene not the jurors was allowed to be recorded by the media. The jury saw this small feed room where Paul Murdaugh was killed.
WATERS: He takes that shot, balk shot to the chest and it didn't kill him. Alex darted. As Alex is putting down that shotgun to pick up the blackout and is startled by Paul, that's why the angle is like that and catches Paul like that and goes up into the ceiling as you've heard the testimony from Kinsey.
WATERS: He blows -- he blows his brains out.
KAYE (voice over): Paul fell to the concrete after the second fatal shot, his brain hitting the pavement. As the jury could see at the scene, all of that was within sight of where Maggie Murdaugh's body was found on the grass near the shed.
The pool reporter measured the two shootings were just about 12 steps apart. Listen, as the prosecutor recreates the alleged events, including the use of the second gun, the blackout rifle.
WATERS: Because Maggie sees what happens and she comes running over there, running to her baby, probably the last thing on her mind thinking that it was him who had done this while he's gotten picked up the blackout and opens fire. Then she takes those two shots and it crumples her over.
KAYE (voice over): In his closing, the prosecutor zeroed in on how Murdaugh lied to investigators about being at the kennels with his family around the time of the murders. The video later found on Paul's cell phone was recorded at 8:44 PM, minutes before prosecutors say they were killed.
Alex Murdaugh can be heard talking in the background, though for 20 months, he denied being there.
WATERS; Why in the world would an innocent reasonable father and husband lie about that and lie about it so early? Because he didn't know that was there.
KAYE (voice over): Prosecutor Creighton Waters reminded the jury today that the State's ballistic expert determined it was a family weapon, a 300 blackout rifle that killed Maggie. He based that on the fact that shell casings found near Maggie's body matched casing scattered all over Murdaugh's hunting property.
In other words, the gun had been used there many times before.
WATERS: A family blackout killed Maggie. It was present just a couple of months prior to the murders and it is gone now. A family weapon, the defendant cannot account for killed Maggie.
KAYE (voice over): The prosecutor left the jury with this --
WATERS: We couldn't bring you any eyewitnesses because they were murdered, but common sense and human nature can speak on behalf of Maggie and Paul.
When you look at this in its totality, common sense and human nature can speak for them and they deserve a voice. (END VIDEOTAPE)
KAYE (on camera): And tomorrow, Anderson, when the defense delivers its closing argument, I think we can expect them to certainly highlight reasonable doubt and to try and convince the jury that the man the State has painted as a perennial liar can now tell the truth and is telling the truth.
And the defense, I think we'll also try and convince the jury that even though Alex Murdaugh has admitted on the stand that he's a liar and a thief, that doesn't make him a murderer -- Anderson.
COOPER: Randi Kaye, appreciate it. Thanks.
Joining us now CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson, also Jessica Roth, former Federal prosecutor who now teaches at Cardozo Law School here in New York.
Jessica, we talked about this the other day about the prosecution's closing arguments would be heavy on the timeline and we saw that. Do you think that's their most effective argument?
JESSICA ROTH, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: I do think it's their most effective argument. And I think the prosecutor appropriately leaned into the timeline today both to show that the defendant had the opportunity to commit the murder, clean up quickly using the hose that was available to him there and then go to his mother's house to try to set up an alibi and also to show how implausible it would be for anybody else to have the opportunity to get in in that very narrow window to commit this double murder, using guns that they would have had to know is available, that were available to them there.
COOPER: Yes, Joey, I mean, what did you think of the closing argument? Because to Jessica's point, Alex Murdaugh had the time to do it. Hardly anybody else did have the time. That timeline does not argue for another killer.
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, they boxed him in. Right? And so the defense certainly has a lot of work to do tomorrow. But in saying that, remember that closing arguments, right? That's what they are. Their arguments, they are not evidence. But I think the defense will attack three things.
It was a compelling closing argument for the prosecution, no question. And the timeline is very significant. But I think what you're going to hear tomorrow is when you talk about means, motive, and opportunity, the defense will say not so fast.
With respect to the motive, why would a person who loves their family, who loves their wife and child do this? By all indications he was a loving father and he was a loving husband. And so the prosecution talks about a motivation of money. Right. So I think they will say that it's misguided and why did the prosecution spend so much time speaking about money, and not about the facts and the evidence of the case? Onto the timeline, yes, the timeline seems to mitigate against the
defendant and go to the issue of guilt, but I think you'll see the defense expand that. We've heard their expert witness that talked about the junk science, do you really want to tell the jury that you knew he was dead at nine o'clock? Because you took your hand or your finger and put it under his armpit? Is that the way we conduct science in this country?
JACKSON: Or should it be more scientific, more appropriate, and more thorough, which would expand the timeline, and therefore lend more credence to Mr. Murdaugh's story?
Last point, Anderson, and that's this. I think you'll see the defense do what they did during the case, which is to say there are other people who certainly would have meant harm to the family. If it wasn't to Mr. Murdaugh for his pill addiction and spending $50,000.00 on the unsavory characters. It certainly could have been his son, Paul.
So they're going to be fighting that tooth and nail tomorrow. This is going to be highly contested. It's not over. We think it is, because we've heard the prosecution.
COOPER: I keep wondering, you know, does the jury buy that he loved his wife and kid so much? I mean, he was addicted to pills for how many decades? He spent how much of their money which he had stolen from poor families in his community, on pills and not on his family?
You know, the housekeeper mysteriously died? I mean, does anyone really believe that he had his family's best interests at heart for his entire life?
ROTH: I don't know what the jury believes at this point about sort of who he is and how he felt about his family. I do think one of the weaknesses for the prosecution is the motive in the sense that, even if he didn't -- even if he at this point was sort of was not being showing -- care toward his family, right, because of all his -- because of his addiction, because of the pressures he was under, would he really kill them, right, to forestall these inevitable reckonings?
I think that's -- it seems so extreme and irrational.
COOPER: Although he did allegedly pay somebody to shoot himself in the head.
ROTH: And I think that's what the prosecution needs to come back to, which is to say he was acting irrationally, right?
COOPER: I mean, he lied to police repeatedly, irrationally and he only told the truth because it happened to be caught on a video that his son took that he didn't even know about.
ROTH: I think they're going to have to say to the jury, you may not fully understand his actions. He was acting not like you or I would, but the evidence proves that he did it and we've given you enough of a background and a context of what was happening in his life for you to believe that he did it.
COOPER: Joe, do you think the visit to the crime scene changes anything in one way?
JACKSON; You know, I don't, I think certainly what it changes is their perspective, it adds context. So the answer to your question is predicated upon, does it move someone who was going to vote for the defense or the prosecution or vice versa? That's not what I'm thinking.
But what I do think is that it certainly adds context, right? I mean, you know, Jessica will tell you --
COOPER: It makes it more real.
JACKSON: Right. When you do trials, it's about bringing someone to the event. What do we do? We do that by photographs. We do it by surveillance. We do it by really showing and painting the picture. Here, you don't have to paint that, you took them there.
So I think it'll add a great deal of context and perspective. Does it move the needle one way or the other? That, I don't believe.
COOPER: Joey Jackson, Jessica Roth, thank you. Appreciate it.
A quick reminder. Stay tuned tonight for a special hour-long presentation at the top of the next hour in the case "Inside the Murdaugh Murder Trials," hosted by CNN's Laura Coates. It's 9:00 PM Eastern right here on CNN.
Coming up next, for us, Russia's policy of in many cases, stealing Ukrainian children and indoctrinating them. In some cases having them actually adopted into Russian families. This has not gotten the attention it should have over the last year.
Tonight, details about one child from Mariupol who ended up as a part of Vladimir Putin's propaganda pep rally, where she is now and the fate of thousands of other kids, when we come back.
COOPER: We have an update tonight on a story we've been focusing on repeatedly. Russia's policy of taking children from occupied parts of Ukraine deep into Russia itself, in effect t stealing them.
According to numerous international law experts, this is a war crime. Russia is taking Ukrainian kids from their parents in many cases trying to turn them into Russian kids, which they call a humanitarian gesture.
Tonight, we're getting new details about some video we saw from a rally celebrating what Russia calls Defense of the Fatherland Day The rally was last week.
At the event there was a 13-year-old girl, Ana, nicknamed Anya, that's her from Mariupol and on this day she was made to read apparently scripted words of thanks to a Russian soldier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANYA, 13-YEAR-OLD (through translator): Thank you Uncle Yuri (ph) for saving me, my sister and hundreds of thousands of children in Mariupol.
I forget a little.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Anya, don't be shy. Go hug, Uncle Yuri.
Everyone give a hug. Look, it is the man who saved you all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Not6 for nothing, his callsign is Angel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, tonight, we know more about Ana and her story.
CNN's Melissa Bell did some of the reporting for us. She joins us now from Kyiv.
So what have you learned?
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that this child, Anderson is several times over a victim of this war, not only because of course, she lived through the siege of Mariupol that went on, remember for three long months, sheltering in basements with her mother, brother and sister as the city was pounded by heavy artillery. She then lost her mother, a single mother of three who had done her best to raise her so far in fairly difficult conditions, as we understand, as she left the basement one day to go out, she was killed.
Ana has been mourning her ever since online, with her social media we were able to see that, but also because of course, she was then taken from Mariupol to Moscow for this very public display, not just the many hundreds of thousands who were there, Anderson but of course, everyone who saw it aired across Russia, but also in Ukraine.
And what we understand since is that this child has been become abused online by people angry at what they saw threatening to hang her should they manage to retake Mariupol from the Russians. So it's an extraordinary story of a child completely unprotected and open to very public abuse ever since that extraordinary spectacle -- Anderson.
COOPER: Were you able to speak with people who knew her in Ukraine?
BELL: We were. We were able to track down -- and remember that we're talking about occupied territories at this stage. We simply don't have much access.
So we did manage to track down a couple of people, one a close family member who told us more about her sad history even before she made it to that stage, but also a woman who sheltered with her for those many weeks in the basement saying that look, Anya, was a really nice girl who spent a lot of time looking after her brother and sister, and who said she was really shocked when she saw that video.
She burst into tears, in fact talking about it saying look, she may look older than 13, but this is a child and what's being done to her is simply completely inhumane -- Anderson.
COOPER: I want to bring in Nathaniel Raymond, Executive Director of Yale University's Humanitarian Research Lab, the team that produced the report that made headlines detailing the scale and the scope of this mass seizure of Ukraine's children.
First of all, just what's your reaction to this specific case?
You've seen -- you've seen a lot of this.
NATHANIEL RAYMOND, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, YALE HUMANITARIAN RESEARCH LAB: It is absolutely stomach-turning, Anderson. This is a girl who is being used as a prop for propaganda for domestic Russian political audience and that is a war crime. Underneath the Fourth Geneva Convention, the use of children as props is a violation of their special protected status. That, for me, Anderson, that is a hostage video.
COOPER: Even if Russia was legitimately trying to protect children in war zones, there are -- who are orphaned or whatever -- there are protocols for how children are to be treated.
RAYMOND: The Geneva Convention, the Law of Armed Conflicts is basically a user's manual for Russia about how to move kids during armed conflict. They not only didn't do what's in the manual, they did opposite, they -- and did everything exactly the way they shouldn't. And what does that mean? Well, that is a war crime and potentially a crime against humanity, as the Vice President, the President and the Secretary of State said in the past week.
COOPER: So, what are they doing? Why are they doing this?
RAYMOND: There is three reasons why they are doing this. One is a broader project that they call Russification that you mentioned before. They are trying to return children primarily from Eastern Ukraine in the Donbass and Luhansk and Donetsk home as pro-Russian. And then --
COOPER: They say there is no Ukraine. Ukraine has always been --
COOPER: -- part of Russia.
COOPER: So, the Russification of the children there -- RAYMOND: Exactly. And this is straight out of the playbook from cold war Soviet Union days under Stalin. They are using many of the same facilities from Soviet Union political education called the Pioneer Camps. The second thing that is going on here is really an attempt to rebrand an invasion that is failing. And to present to a Russian audience, basically, propaganda that we are saving these kids from purported Nazis. The third thing what is happening here, which for me is what keeps me up at night, is they are gaining leverage potentially. You know, people ask me all the time, what is the worst thing that could happen in Ukraine? A nuclear strike? NATO intervention? No, the worst thing has already happened. They took the kids.
COOPER: Melissa, what have you learned about these camps where these children are being held?
MELISSA BELL, CNN'S PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Really harrowing tales that we are hearing from parents who are desperately trying to find their children. There is a website that has been created here in Ukraine, Children of War, that is updated daily as parents reach out, put pictures of their missing children up in the hope that somehow they can be found. This is extraordinarily difficult. Getting to the other side of that border, finding the children to begin with in these camps. And bear in mind, Anderson, that a lot of these parents, they are the children that got lost in the fog of war, found themselves on the wrong side of the border, got sent to the camps or put up for adoption.
There are also the children who were sent by Ukrainian parents from the occupied territories as the Russians came in, in good faith. They were encouraged to do so because this was a two-week free holiday by the sea sometimes, where the camps are in Crimea. They were encouraged to go by their teachers, their classmates were going. Parents thought they were doing their children a favor, sent them off to these camps, and haven't heard from them since or if they have been lucky enough to hear from them, haven't been able to get them back.
Once they are there and we know a bit about what goes on in them, not just from what the parents who get to speak to their children sometimes, but also because Russia makes no secret of this, Anderson. They publicize these videos showing what goes on in these camps. So the kind of activities you would expect in a normal summer camp, but also Russian language lessons. The teaching of the Russian national anthem; the singing daily of the Russian national anthem.
COOPER: Right. It is indoctrination.
BELL: And a revised history that they are forced to imbibe.
COOPER: Yeah, Melissa Bell, appreciate it. I mean, have you -- you've done this work for a long time. Have you seen anything like this? RAYMOND: This has been the most overwhelming immediate response to
human rights reporting that I have either seen or been involved in. Since the report has come out, we have had statements from the president, from other senior officials. But we have had sanctions on four of the officials in our report by the United States and three from the European Union. But for me, the response which has been most telling, is what's come out of the Kremlin. They have doubled down on this program and they say they are expanding it.
COOPER: Nathaniel Raymond, it is extraordinary work you have done and your team. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
RAYMOND: Thank you.
COOPER: The former president's fight for endorsements from the so- called Maga Wing, the House Republicans next, plus we will talk to a top-Georgia election official who got an earful from Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, who he was sitting right next to during a Republican meeting supposedly about election integrity. We'll be right back.
COOPER: CNN originally spoke to about two dozen House Republican members of the so-called Maga Wing of the party. They said they are not ready yet to endorse the former president's candidacy. That is despite intense lobbying by his allies, a top concern they say is his electability. One House Republican who is still firmly in his camp is Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. On Tuesday, during a meeting, the Republican's Election Integrity Caucus, she was back to pushing false baseless claims that the election was stolen.
This time, in the face, literally one of the top election officials in her state, Georgia, Gabriel Sterling who has bravely resisted immense pressure to overturn the election there. Here is how that went down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): And I do not consider you an expert on this issue. I consider you a major problem. For you to say there were no dead voters in Georgia, that is -- there is -- there were thousands of dead voters in Georgia. And then the other thing is, you have constantly chilled (ph) for this election and I'm going to tell you, there was blatant outright fraud in the 2020 election, complete and total fraud, and you know it. You absolutely do know it. I'm going to follow-up with one more thing, Trump won Georgia. I know you don't like for me to say that, but I'm convinced that he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: For the record, she's convinced. For the record, the former president lost Georgia by 11,779 votes in a state-run by Republicans. There have been multiple recounts. As Mr. Sterling indicated there, there were not thousands of dead voters in Georgia. Officials have only found four such cases to date. Gabriel Sterling joins us now.
Despite a lot of talk a few months ago about Marjorie Taylor Greene modifying her more loony positions, here she was saying this stuff to your face, for which she has no evidence whatsoever and a body of counter-evidence that is factual. [20:40:00]
As a loyal Republican, does it concern you that a member of the House Election Integrity Caucus, no less, is perpetuating these lies still?
GABRIEL STERLING, GEORGIA ELECTIONS OFFICIAL AND CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, OFFICE OF THE GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, it is interesting because we had started the meeting, she came in late. She purposely sat next to me because she wanted to get her social media hits.
COOPER: Of course.
STERLING: And then as soon as she was done, she left. You know what we did? We went about the hard work of talking about how we would really fix elections and following up with Secretary Raffensperger, congress (ph) outlining five things they could do at the federal level. There is an issue amongst millions of voters who have their leadership telling them things they want to believe because it fits with what they want to believe despite the evidence. And they are not bad people, but we have to make them believe that in Georgia in 2022, we did. What's wild to me is that it is 2023 and she is still talking about 2020.
She won both her elections in 2020 and 2022. I don't think she is questioning those outcomes. We had huge wins for Republicans in 2022. And except for the one thing we lost was the senate race with Herschel Walker. And we also lost the 2020 races for senate with Senators Perdue Loeffler, and the areas of the state that were most affected by Republican drop-off because they were told the election was stolen and their votes didn't count. With Marjorie Taylor getting through Greene's district in Northwest Georgia and Southwest Georgia.
COOPER: I mean, there were a lot of Republicans in Georgia who voted for other Republican candidates but just decided not to vote for the former president.
STERLING: There was about 28,000 people that skipped the election altogether. There was about 19,000 people who voted for Senator Perdue in the (INAUDIBLE) counties. And Clarke County, (INAUDIBLE) county, over and above what President Trump got. I mean, that is a margin by itself.
STERLING: I mean, you would be amazed but maybe people wouldn't. But the problem is for people who are very hard-core in their beliefs on Trump, they can't understand how anybody who would be Republican would ever vote against him. And a large part of that comes from years of the left and in some cases, the media, beating them down. And they saw that the Russian collusion things and that kind of stuff was unfair to trump. So, they feel like if we are unfair now, it is tit for tat, it is even. Republicans should be the responsible party. We should be the adults in the room. We should tell the truth. We should be Raffensperger responsible republicans. And just do our jobs and be -- my entire life, Republicans were the responsible party and didn't do the ends justify the means.
People like Ms. Greene or works under Greene is in the ends justify the means, the other side does crazy stuff to raise money. I'm going to do more crazy stuff, even crazier stuff and raise even more money. And the problem is the incentives are bad. She has two million Twitter followers.
STERLING: I'm sure. I'm part of (INAUDIBLE) email.
COOPER: Well, there is no doubt about that. So tell me, though, and I'm so glad you pointed out that she came in late and then after she did her performative thing, consciously sitting next to you, that she left afterwards and you and the others continued to do work. It says so much about the way she views her role as a public official. I mean, she is not there to pass legislation. She is not there to sit in boring meetings and go into the minutia of election integrity like you do day in and day out, and bravely so. She is there to get the, you know, the media attention and then walk out.
STERLING: Well, it is not bravely so. It is kind of like -- elections are supposed to be boring. When you are in that meeting for an hour and a half, the vast majority of it was boring. It was about voters maintenance, when do have certification deadlines, how do you have a top-down or bottom-up registration system?
COOPER: Right, none of which are details she wants to pay attention to or think about, because it doesn't fit what she is trying to do, which is just raise money.
STERLING: And part, yes. And you know, she -- I have gotten a lot of -- I've gotten flak from some people for not pushing back on her and praise from others for my restraint. Pushing back on her in that kind of forum -- I did a couple of things, I mentioned the four voters because, you know what, she is going to do her thing. I am going to see her respectfully (ph), she is an elected representative. She has the right to do that. Just because you have the right to do something, doesn't mean you necessarily ought to do it that way.
COOPER: Yeah. It is a cheap stunt and unfair. Gabriel Sterling, I really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.
STERLING: Thank you, Anderson. Have a great night.
COOPER: Just to add, the latest on the $1 billion defamation suit against Fox News for spreading those election conspiracies. Our next guest, renowned professor at the Yale School of Management says the top executives, including the Head of Fox News, should be fired for "proven misconduct" ahead.
COOPER: In a newly released interview, former House Speaker Paul Ryan faced intense questioning about his role on the corporate board of Fox News and the revelations about the behind-the-scenes politics and financial concerns that played into Fox's spread of election lies in 2020 that are coming to light because of this $1 billion defamation suit against Fox. The interview was recorded last week. Here is some of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHARLES SYKES, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, THE BULWARK: If you are on the board of directors of a company that is pumping toxic sludge, racism, disinformation, and attacks on democracy, if you don't stand up now, then when?
PAUL RYAN, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND BOARD OF DIRECTOR, FOX CORPORATION: So what do you really think?
SYKES: Well -- that's what I -- and I'm sorry it got lost in the mail, but do you have any responsibility?
RYAN: I do. I have a responsibility to offer my opinion and perspective and I do that, but I don't go on TV and do it.
SYKES: Right, I understand.
RYAN: So I have a responsibility.
SYKES: But do you?
RYAN: I do. I do. I offer my perspective and my opinion often.
RYAN: I'll just leave it at that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: My next guest believes that Ryan's actions were not enough and that the Head of Fox News should be removed. I'm joined now by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean for Leadership Studies at Yale School of Management. You know all about leadership; this is your specialty. What do you make about Paul Ryan's position and with the board of Fox News?
JEFFREY SONNENFELD, SENIOR ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR LEADERSHIP STUDIES, YALE SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT AND CNBC CONTRIBUTOR: well, that clip was very telling that we just saw with Bulwark and Charlie Sykes asking where is the line that you would draw to Paul Ryan? Somebody who should have some courage and backbone. And he wouldn't answer that question. That he would go along with anything. He said "Well, I quietly voice my opinion." That is not what a director is supposed to do. That is a failure of management oversight. He is complicit through his complacency.
[20:50:00] COOPER: What should somebody on the board do? Because he's essential saying, "Look, I don't talk about -- I'm in the talking about this publicly on cable news but I'm privately on the board, to the people who matter, I'm voicing my opinion.
SONNENFELD: Well, at the extreme, there's a noisy withdrawal where he could leave, quit the board, that would say a lot if he and Anne Dias, who is another board member who similarly complained, they should have walked off the board. That would have been very well -- you file --
COOPER: We should point out, I mean, they are paid to be on this board, I assume quite handsomely in stock and whatever other ways.
SONNENFELD: Oh, yeah. Conservatively $0.5 million a year to be on this board. They're doing well to meet four times a year, five times a year; it's crazy. They're making a lot of money and they have a duty and obligation, it's called a duty of care to do the job thoroughly, and the duty of loyalty which is not to management, duty of loyalty to the shareholders. You have -- 61% of this company is not owned by the Murdochs. Those 61% ought to be talking to lawyers right now and suing the board for putting them in this state.
The destruction of the corporate value, the lawsuits they are going to be going through, there will be endless derivative lawsuits of shareholders that are made, that 61% that are going down the drain. You take a look at this, they actually have a prominent attorney on the board, a guy named William Burck. He should know better. You've got four members of management, this, as you mentioned in the introduction, Suzanne Scott, their CEO who is a very troubled successor to Roger Ailes. She was the executioner to all this stuff. Lachlan Murdoch who has the -- both on the board and of course, Rupert's son --
SONNENFELD: -- with a lot of management responsibilities. And he is also punishing -- and he -- there are some attorneys -- sorry, some journalists who did the right thing. Neil Cavuto showed courage. Shep Smith before he left showed some courage. And these people who did the right thing were being punished whereas these celebrity anchors who absolutely knew that this information was fraudulent, they were peddling the fraud. Their General Counsel, Viet Dinh, admitted in his testimony that he didn't exercise proper diligence. This is where they failed, lack of oversight, lack of care, lack of loyalty. It's like --
COOPER: Do you think they'll settle?
SONNENFELD: It's hard to know how they'll settle. What you have is a board that created a Foxenstein monster. This is out of control. It looks like several times, Murdoch tried to rein it in, Rupert did and Lachlan overruled him as it is management team. But if they had to settle, I don't know what they would do in addition to paying a lot of money to Dominion. They'd also have to go on ads ten times a day saying Dominion is a really honest, great company and change their logo maybe to "Fox not the news" or something like that for truth in advertising. It's very hard to see how they'd settle. All the facts are on their side and I just think that Dominion should stay on this until the final bitter end and --
COOPER: It's fascinating, incredible. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
Still to come, our data cruncher Harry Enten and what a new study says about exercise, turns out you don't have to do anything quite as tough as say swimming with Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps.
COOPER: So, there is it seems always a new study out that makes some claim that's often in contradictory a few months or years later, or even days later, by another study making the opposite claim. Nevertheless, this one you might actually want to hear about. A large new study found that just 11 minutes of moderate to vigorous intense aerobic activity per day can lower your risk of chronic disease and death. The findings were in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Our favorite and only Senior Data Reporter Harry Enten is here with details. Because when we think exercise, we think Harry Enten. So, what does moderate to vigorous intensity mean?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN'S SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I just want to be clear, I did pitch Junior Varsity Baseball, so I did in fact have some --
COOPER: Oh, OK.
ENTEN: Yeah. And I went to football camp. So there is some exercise in my background.
COOPER: That was after space camp.
ENTEN: That was -- it was after space camp and after weather camp. Look, here's the deal, Anderson, you don't have to be my girlfriend who runs six miles a day to actually attain this great sort of benefits of lower cancer risk, lower heart attack risk. What we're talking about is moderate exercise, that is exercise that you can do and then you can't really sing, or vigorous exercise, exercise that's so hard that you can't actually continue to talk.
COOPER: Is this high-interval training exercise?
COOPER: Or just 11 minute of running upstairs or on a bicycle?
ENTEN: 11 minute of running upstairs, 11 minutes of going out on the street, walking somewhere and then walking back. So that would be about 5.5 blocks here in New York City. We're talking about something that every American can do, even someone such as myself who you might not think of as athletic.
COOPER: So this is something other people can do like, what do the numbers show?
COOPER: There must be numbers because you're here.
ENTEN: There are always number. That's why I'm here. I'm here to bring you the numbers, even if you can't necessarily understand the numbers, right? So, what's so great about this is it turns out that the majority of Americans actually are already doing this. We know this from a study --
COOPER: OK, well, that's not working.
ENTEN: It's not working for some of them, but I mean, look, here's the deal. If you look, we find that -- I believe it's 57% of Americans are actually doing the average 11 minutes of exercise per day at this point. Now, that suggests 43% aren't, but there are a lot of Americans who are doing this, and so I just -- when we started this segment, we were talking about all the things you would actually want to hear about. We come with so much negative news.
ENTEN: Sometimes, I want to actually (CROSSTALK).
COOPER: So, you're essentially saying, here's a new study but you're already doing it, so it doesn't matter?
ENTEN: No, no, no, 57% of Americans are doing it. That means 43% of Americans aren't doing it.
COOPER: OK. So, how quick is 11 minutes? I understand you have some numbers to show that.
ENTEN: I do have some numbers to share, things to give you an idea of this. OK, let's say you like to bake.
ENTEN: OK. How about it takes 11 minutes to bake up your Pillsbury cookies in the oven.
COOPER: By the way, if you're trying to improve, you probably shouldn't be doing that.
ENTEN: Probably you shouldn't be doing.
COOPER: I love cookies.
ENTEN: But maybe you should reward yourself.
COOPER: It takes 11 minutes for Insomnia to deliver cookies to my house sometimes.
ENTEN: Ooh, that also works as well. Perhaps you're a fan of the 1970s show "Welcome Back, Kotter."
ENTEN: Right, of course. John Sebastian wrote the theme song for that.
ENTEN: I'm a big fan of that. It was number-one hit in America.
ENTEN: And you can listen to that about four times in a row and that gets you to about 11 minutes.
ENTEN: Or maybe you're a little bit more hep, right, and you want to watch a YouTube video. Well, the top-trending video, which is about watching video gamers, is about 11 minutes at this point.
COOPER: All right. Harry Enten, appreciate it.
ENTEN: There you go. Let's go for an exercise, walk together.
COOPER: Sure, absolutely.